Imposter Syndrome

The Haven recently published an article on imposter syndrome, the so-called syndrome where one is unable to take in all of their achievements.

This is good advertising. People want a syndrome, a label, and one about how they are, indeed, much better than they think they are…

Missing the obvious fact that one has to first identify as successful to view this syndrome as something they own. Meaning that anyone who likes the article is likely a different type of imposter.

This is a far cry from the original purpose of Haven, to rid of the pathologizing of the mental health system. Everything is a syndrome, disorder or illness these days and this very process of pathologizing creates the disorders it presents.

For more on this, please see Ethan Watters.

I didn’t think I had an imposter syndrome until I read the article. Then I realized that I wasn’t successful enough to be an imposter. Meaning that maybe I am an imposter!

Also presented in this discussion, identity states. Missing the hypocrisy that at Haven I was constantly evaluated and told who to be. Not only who I was but who I should be. This is the surest way to guarantee an adolescent takes the route of identity foreclosure rather than a state of exploration or achievement.

Of course, I made these comments but was deleted.

I have clearly enough material on existentialism and empathy to make them into pages, try to focus better… I will hopefully get to that. It is perhaps the most important Jenga block to take out–the notion that there is a superior version of being and relating and there are only a certain few who hold that wisdom.

Maybe you think none of this really matters. Maybe you think I should get over it, move on, etc. Maybe you think they may be philosophically and ethically misguided, but they aren’t actually hurting anyone…

To which I leave you with this: the image of a scared kid, wondering how much more of herself she has to sell before she reaches a state of acceptance. And what to do if any aspect of self remains, how to rid of it. So used that the notion of giving up the self was not a terror–the terror was the notion of having anything leftover… Taught that her very core was a monster. Who wouldn’t try to sell that?

If that doesn’t stick with you then I fear nothing will.

When I started this, I really had no goal or notion of where it would lead. I only knew that it was the surest way to own myself again, and in the process, teach myself that I was worthy of owning.


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