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Dubai Counsellor writes about Imposter Syndrome Feeling A Fake or Fraud

Nicola Beer runs life coaching certification and relationship coach training certification and one of the main areas she helps with is imposter syndrome.   

I’m sure we can all think of few situations in life where we have doubted our own abilities, questioned whether we were suitable to do something or felt undeserving of something. This is totally normal to have a passing fleeting thought. However, for some, it goes a lot deeper. There are situations that bring out feelings of being fake or a fraud – to the point where the person is in a constant state of anxiety because they fear they may be caught out for being an imposter or feeling like they have to constantly reach a certain standard in the eyes of others, so they continue to perceive them as this great person. Or they have this ideal to be perfect and anything they do that is not perfect they feel I’m a fake, I’m going to lose it all.   

The standard Imposter Syndrome definition is “the experience of feeling like a phony—you feel as though at any moment you are going to be found out as a fraud—like you don’t belong where you are, and you only got there through dumb luck. It can affect anyone no matter their social status, work background, skill level, or degree of expertise.” (Cuncic, 2021).  

Over the years, as a Dubai counsellor and life coaching certification trainer, I have worked with many individuals who felt like they were experiencing these feelings of Imposter Syndrome. I can think of one particular case that really stood out to me – Adam who found me after searching for anxiety treatment in Dubai and Dubai counsellor.  

Adam was a 38-year-old married man with two children. He had started a business and from day one things weren’t going great as he had spent more money setting up than he had initially set out. This meant he essentially started off in debt. Nonetheless, he opened his business and on the outside, it seemed like everything was going well. He had people all around the world praising him for his ability to start a business from scratch and he became the envy of a lot of people around him. He had this reputation of being this young businessman living his best life.  

Soon enough, he realized that there was more going out every month than they were earning and 2 years later, Adam had no option but to close. However, instead of telling his friends and family that the business didn’t succeed, he decided to say he is moving location so that they would continue to think he is this successful businessman.   

But deep down he was torturing himself – he thought he had got the respect and praise from others by pure luck and didn’t want to disappoint anyone. When in reality many people were closing down businesses due to COVID – but he couldn’t see this. All he could focus on was his inability to run a business and letting people down. He felt like a phony and would torture himself with these self-sabotaging thoughts of “I don’t deserve any respect or support”.  

Once COVID restrictions eased up, Adam was able to plan a reopening of his business and even though he was starting over – which a lot of people couldn’t afford to do – he couldn’t let himself feel proud of his accomplishments. He was constantly anxious about failing and spend an unhealthy amount of time focusing on what he can do to make this business a success. He always felt like he wasn’t doing enough or what he was doing wasn’t good enough compared to others. He worked around the clock, unable to stop for fear of losing everything.   

This impacted his marriage because he spent a most of his time and efforts in proving himself as a business man as he couldn’t internalize the fact that he was becoming more and more successful each month and was capable of running a business. Rather than spending quality time with his wife and the family he stayed at the office. He also had a fear that his wife or children may find out that he wasn’t good enough – so felt he had to keep up the presence of everything was perfect, even though some days were not good days. His family did not have negative thoughts about him – it was all scenarios he had thought up in his mind because of his insecurities.  

This is a classic case of Imposter Syndrome. It is a constant internal battle – making excuses for why you’re not good enough and putting yourself down constantly or scaring yourself by telling yourself you can lose it at any moment it’s all down to luck.   

Also it’s harder for people who experience Imposter Syndrome to be open about what they feel because they already worry about others finding out that they’re not deserving or not good enough to do what they do – so by talking about it would only bring unwanted attention to it.   

Sometimes it can also be reinforced sadly by others who judge and may throw comments like “you have had a lucky break, don’t be too complacent”. Or be careful you are in a risky industry you could easily be let go or lose it”  The difference is someone with imposter syndrome will take this seriously and worry, another person who feels good in themselves will hear such a comment and laugh it off.   

Today, I want to share what the typical characteristics of Imposter Syndrome are and how this can impact relationships. I will end by sharing my tips on how to release these tense feelings.  

A person who experiences Imposter Syndrome will relate to some, if not all of the following characteristics – (you can learn more about this one on one with Nicola or take life coaching certification course with Nicola Beer and you will also complete a relationship coach training )  

 

  • Feeling like you’re not good enough/ lack of self-confidence – No matter how successful a person is, Imposter Syndrome will make a person feel like they got their successes by luck and they are not truly deserving of them. Making them feel like they’re not actually good enough to reap the rewards or call themselves successful.
 

  • Fear of being judged or not living up to expectations – Often people with Imposter Syndrome will find themselves constantly people pleasing and outdoing their own work so that there is no room for judgement. As they feel like frauds, they don’t want to be found out as not meeting expectations or judged for not being capable.
 

  • Negative self-talk – Regardless of the great comments they receive from others, people with Imposter Syndrome will always talk down to themselves. They will not allow themselves to be proud of their own work and will always think negatively about themselves. Whether it’s comments like “you don’t look the part” “you don’t fit in” or “you don’t deserve this award” “you can’t run this business” etc – these kinds of comments are constantly running through a person’s mind when they think they are not good enough.
 

  • Comparisons with others – With Imposter Syndrome it’s hard for a person to see the good in themselves but they will always think others are doing better than them. They will always compare themselves to others and think that they will never be as good as others are. Which again will lead to more negative thoughts and fear of being judged.
 

  • Anxiety – All of the characteristics above can result in severe anxiety. Constant obsessive and intrusive thoughts lead to being on edge all the time – lack of sleep, lack of appetite and so much more which can cause heart palpitations, excessive sweating, dizziness and more. 
 

With the characteristics above, it can be hard to maintain a healthy, reciprocal relationship. It can feel like being in a one-way relationship when you are with a person who suffers from Imposter Syndrome purely because they are so consumed with negative thoughts about the way they look or their abilities that they are never their true self in their relationships.   The feelings of being inadequate can spread to other parts of relationships too – for example, not feeling attractive enough to be naked around your husband or wife, not allowing yourself to be intimate with your husband or wife because you fear being judged on your performance in bed or how you look. It is also common for people who experience Imposter Syndrome to be so consumed with negative thoughts that it affects their sex drive and lowers their libido. They may become so uninterested in home life because they are focused on their next move and what they need to do in order to meet the expectations of others.    Feelings of being an imposter or a fraud can be so difficult to address because Imposter Syndrome is such a mentally draining experience. It is hard to turn your brain off when thoughts are just going around and around out of fear and insecurity.   Thankfully, there are a few things that you can incorporate into your daily life if you find yourself feeling like you can resonate with the characteristics of Imposter Syndrome and you notice that it is negatively impacting your relationship.  

  • Share your feelings with someone you trust – For someone with Imposter Syndrome this can be a huge challenge because you will have to drop your guard a little to share your true feelings with others. But start off small. Let the person you trust with this know that you have things you want them to support you with, but you are going to take your time sharing so you need them to be patient with you. Honesty is key here and you can really make huge steps when you are able to offload some of your irrational thoughts with someone you trust.
  • Take time out to be with yourself and journal – Start writing down your thoughts and challenge yourself to change that train of thought. For every negative thought, try to write down two positive thoughts. Even if you don’t believe it at the time, when you continue to repeat positive affirmations, you are able to retrain your mind to think differently. Also it helps so much to write out your thoughts instead of letting them fester in your mind where they can escalate unnecessarily.
  • Practice Mindfulness – When you are dealing with Imposter Syndrome, you may find that you are never fully present when you are around others because you are so anxious about being judged or considered a fraud that you are always thinking and not paying attention to what others are doing or saying to you. Practicing mindfulness will help you to be more present – it will support you letting go of the obsessive thoughts and genuinely listen to others.
  • Seek a Dubai counsellor or counseling online.  Speaking to a Dubai counsellor or online, coach and hypnotherapist who can help you let them go at the subconscious level – With anything that is related to your mind and obsessive thoughts, it can be draining trying to overcome it alone. Chances are you have already thought it over enough. By taking a life coaching certification course  you will be able to understand the characteristics of Imposter Syndrome better and learn the best techniques suited to your lifestyle to make your life healthier and happier for you. 
 

I currently offer a 3-day Intensive Breakthrough and life coaching certification course where I support clients in processing their past, releasing trapped emotions and tension, and reframing situations so that they can truly become free.    Clients who have completed the Intensive Breakthrough with me have said –  “The breakthrough sessions with Nicola are incredible, transformative, lightening and enlightening. The three initial sessions are comprehensive, well-structured and life-changing in themselves… and with the materials and follow up sessions provided, you are really set up for success.”  

“I have completed the breakthrough intensive sessions. It really helped me find ways to deal with emotions such as anger, guilt, fear in a better, healthier way. It also helped me with my confidence. It’s hard for me to open up but talking with Nicola made it comfortable and easy to do so. I’m grateful for doing the session with Nicola and for all her help and support.”   If you can resonate with any of the characteristics of Imposter Syndrome or you would like to talk through your own situation in more detail, book a free call with me so we can get you on the path to freedom from your negative thoughts.   Nicola Beer also runs life coaching certification and relationship coach training certification.  nb@nicolabeer.com whats app +971 509454233    References for quote – verywellmind.com/imposter-syndrome-and-social-anxiety-disorder-4156469

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