Are you always striving for perfection? Do you feel that your success is not because of your hard work but sheer luck? Well then, dear friend, you are experiencing classic imposter syndrome.
This syndrome forces you to doubt your abilities and feel like a fraud. It often affects high-achieving people who may find it difficult to accept their accomplishments.
But what happens when you have similar feelings as a parent? A Reddit parent had a similar story that might even force you to re-look at your own parenting style.
This Mum Shares Why She Experiences Classic Imposter Syndrome
Image courtesy: iStock
The user begins by sharing,
“Tonight we had to have one of those life lesson talks with my son about a relatively serious matter. In these situations, I feel like I’m just kind of playing the role of what I think a parent should do in these types of situations, but I don’t really know what I’m doing.”
“I kind of feel like looking around to see if the “real” parent is going to come in to handle it. Then I realise I’m the real parent and it’s up to me to handle it and then I start to doubt whether or not I’m saying the right thing.”
The user goes on to share that there were several times when she felt that other parents knew how to be an adult better than her.
“My parents never handled those types of talks well and I always ended up being judged and lectured,” she shared.
The main intention of having these talks with her son was to make him comfortable coming up to his parents when he had a problem.
“I kept a lot from my parents because it was so uncomfortable to talk with them about things,” concluded the user.
She then went on to ask others in the group if they had ever experienced impostor syndrome as a parent. Much to her surprise, there were many who jumped in to assure her that she was not alone.
What Other Parents Had To Say
One user suggested,
“Try and read beforehand about the situation or talk to other parents or people you trust before having these talks. The act of research or discussion can help you find what you want to say and clarify what you want to say.”
A single dad of a 14-year-old could also relate to the emotions. He said,
“I’ve been looking after her on my own for 2 years now after a divorce…and still feel like an impostor. I worry that a crisis will happen and I won’t be able to handle it.”
Another user shared that this often happens when her kids have friends over.
“I’m hanging out like “wait, you want me to take care of your kids too?”
Well, these responses only prove one thing: if you are experiencing imposter syndrome, you are not alone. In fact, according to studies, an estimated 70 per cent of adults experience at least one episode of this phenomenon in their lives. So don’t beat yourself up about this too much.
However, even after reading about this experience you are unsure whether what you’ve experienced is in fact, impostor syndrome or something else, let us take you through this phenomenon, why it happens and how you can overcome it.
What Is Imposter Syndrome?
Image Source: iStock
Impostor syndrome is often referred to as the internal experience of believing “I am not as competent as others perceive me to be.”
It is the experience of feeling like a phoney, a feeling like at any moment you will be found out as a fraud or you don’t belong where you are and got there only because of sheer luck. It can affect anyone, no matter how established they are in their social and professional life.
Interestingly, this term was first used by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanna Imes in the 1970s, but is used more openly today to address mental health issues. And ironically, a large number of people who has imposter syndrome are high-achieving women.
Imposter Syndrome Symptoms To Look Out For
Some of the common symptoms of imposter syndrome include:
- Constant self-doubt
- Fear that you won’t live up to other’s expectations
- Setting a challenging goal for yourself and feeling disappointed when you are unable to achieve them
- Criticising your performance and attributing your success to some other external factors
The thought process usually works this way: “If I do well, it must be the result of luck and not my competency.”
One of the main issues with imposter syndrome is that even though you perform well, the thought of not being able to own it can annoy you.
For instance, you may find yourself asking questions such as “What gives me the right to be here?” Or, “I am not fit to be here?”
In fact, the more you accomplish, the more intense these feelings become, and in some cases, they may lead to anxiety and even depression.
5 Common Types Of Imposter Syndrome
You can find this syndrome in a number of different ways. Here are the five common types:
- The expert: These kinds of people are never satisfied with their level of understanding. They like to often underrate their own experience.
- The superhero: As they feel inadequate, they push themselves to work as hard as possible.
- Natural genius: They will keep an excessively high goal for themselves and will feel demotivated when they don’t succeed on their first attempt.
- Soloist: These people like to work alone. They consider asking for help from others as a sign of weakness or incompetence.
- Perfectionists: These are the people who are never satisfied with their work and always feel that their work can be better. Rather than focusing on their strengths, they are fixated on flaws. This leads to high amounts of anxiety and pressure.
Can Having Imposter Syndrome Affect Your Parenting?
Image Source: iStock
As evidenced by the conversation among the parents on Reddit, having imposter syndrome as a parent can have a significant impact on your parenting. It can make you doubt your abilities and question your decisions, leading to anxiety and stress.
This can cause you to become overly critical of yourself and your parenting, leading to feelings of inadequacy and a constant fear of failure.
Imposter syndrome can also prevent you from seeking help or support from others, as you may feel ashamed or embarrassed to admit that you’re struggling.
3 Ways To Cope With Imposter Syndrome Symptoms
Some people may not even realise that their feelings and emotions are imposter syndrome symptoms. Either way, it is important to move past these feelings.
For that, you’ll first need to become comfortable in confronting those deeply ingrained negative beliefs you hold about yourself. Here are three easy techniques you can try.
- Have realistic goals: Stop aiming for perfection and try to do your work reasonably well.
- Stop comparing: Each time you compare yourself with others, you will find some fault within yourself and this may give rise to the feeling of “not being good enough.”
- Limit yourself to moderate use of social media: Overuse of social media has often led to feelings of inferiority. For instance, if you try to portray an image on social media that has no connection with you, it will make you feel like a fraud.
How to Combat Imposter Syndrome as a Parent
As parents, we often place undue pressure on ourselves. If you feel the same way, you are not alone. Many of us go through this journey. What’s important to remember is that we do not pass this undue pressure onto our kids and learn to let go ourselves. Here are some ways we can try to overcome this feeling of being “not good enough.”
Recognise and acknowledge your feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy.
The first step to overcoming impostor syndrome is being aware of how we think and knowing when we are being too hard on ourselves. Once you know that imposter syndrome is taking over how you think, you can then clear your mind and start fighting that negative voice inside your head.
Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive affirmations.
There are a lot of positive affirmations that can help you tune out the negativity inside, but the key is repeating and practising as often as you can to really emulate these empowering phrases. Some of our favourites are:
- “I am good enough.”
- “I am the best parent for my child.”
- “My children don’t want perfection; they want me to be present.”
Celebrate your accomplishments and successes, no matter how small.
The truth is we may start out so clueless about parenting, but as time passes, we learn and we improve. We become a better version of ourselves in many ways. So don’t disregard all your progress, and believe that you need to give yourself credit for all your effort.
Seek support and guidance from trusted friends, family members, or professionals.
If you need some reassurance, open up to your partner and closest peers about it. If you feel like you are not doing a good job, they will be there to tell you otherwise.
But if you are adamant that you need help in a certain area of parenting (or just adulting in general), do not hesitate to seek help from other people, even professionals.
Practice self-care and prioritise your mental and emotional well-being.
Hence, we cannot really pour from an empty cup. You cannot give your best if you’re at a low point in your life. Which is why it’s important to take care of yourself. When your needs are met, then you are in the right mindset to care for your family and shut down Imposter syndrome and the negative self-talk you struggle with.
Remember, you are enough. And you’re not alone. We’re rooting for you!
Image Source: iStock
Updates from Camille Eusebio
Are You Fond of Criticising Your Kid? Here’s What It Can Do to Their Self-Esteem
“I Am My Family’s Kinkeeper. Why It’s Both a Burden and a Blessing”
“I’m Turning Into My Mother!” How You Were Raised Affects Your Parenting