Imposter Syndrome - Anxiety/Depression - Perfectionism -Gender


Decide to write this one in Chinese with the hope that I can convey my idea better. (但是写到最后变成了尴尬的中英混杂)


睡前随便打开了一个podcast,系列的题目叫做The Psychology of your 20’s,感觉很有趣,于是翻到第一篇,发现第一篇的题目叫The Psychology of Imposter Syndrome - why do you feel like such a fraud?? 这个时候我更加的被吸引了 – 说到20’s 的心理问题,第一反应可能会是情感/家庭/对未来迷茫之类。而Imposter Syndrome确实实实在在是我的最大问题。在过去的几年里,我的大部分时间用来科研或对科研焦虑,科研的大部分时间在Imposter Syndrome里煎熬。



The cycle

主持首先提出了她对大部分心理现象的观点:If it survives, it must have a purpose in nature. 而Imposter Syndrome存在的原因是什么呢?一个很有趣的观点是,如果从适者生存的角度来看的话,自恋是更符合自然选择的一种行为模式(自恋确实是一种人格障碍,Imposter syndrome并不是)。 目前大部分人的imposter syndrome产生的原因是peer preasure (以领英为首的社交媒体)触手可及。

Imposter Syndrome的cycle:

First stage: 一个被指定的任务中产生的Anxiety(trigger)

Second stage: I need to be special/the very best(anxiety leads to over preparation/perfectionist -> also leads to fear)

Third stage: Superman/Superwoman expects. (Now that the person is convinced by the idea from the second stage that they need to be the very best, they will overwork, and believe that they have some superhuman ability, or need to adopt some superhuman ability in order to achieve the expectation )

Fourth stage: The fear of failure. The syndrome is often exacerbated when it is an achievement related task, because the fear of failure is a possibility.

Fifth stage: Denial of competence. This happens once the task is finished or near the end. There is difficulty internalizing the success and accepting praises as valid. This is not a display of false modesty, but because they set the expectation so high and they almost convince themselves that they need to have superhuman abilities to achieve the goal they have set out for. It is hard for them to take credit in the end. Because they often have the sense “there is something outside of me that allows me to do this”

Sixth stage: Fear and guilt about success. Especially if the success is unusual amongst family and peers. Imposters will be less connected and more distant, and they will be overwhelmed by the difference and worry of being rejected by others.

我自己进入imposter syndrome的状态很类似于这个cycle。现在想来是微不足道又惭愧的。在看这些材料和写下这些文字的时候脑子里回顾了一遍自己的经历,但是实在没有勇气一起写下来,我还是偷偷记录这部分吧:)


主持认为最精确的对Imposter Syndrome的定义来自Austin Cammie: Imposter Syndrome is a psychological phenomona, in which people are unable to internalize accomplishments.


Imposter Syndrome通常会伴有Anxiety/Depression,但至今它并没有被认为是一种disorder(Anxiety/Depression属于disorder),提到这一点是因为Imposter Syndrome不应该被认为成人格特征的一种(低自尊的/极度谦虚的)。而它没有被认为是disorder的原因是它常常属于患有Anxiety/Depression问题的人群的症状中的一环。

然而在一些情况下,Imposter Syndrome会严重到几乎delusional的程度。

Imposter Syndrome 和 perfectionism的关系:

They often go hand in hand.

Imposters tend to discount positive feedback; maintain high standards for self-evaluation. They are also very critical of their inability to realize these standards.

Feel self-conscious about what they do -> leads to lots of self-reflection.




Imposter syndrome与personality和disposition有关,也就是一个有imposter倾向的人很难改变这一点。另外一个来源是成长期不稳定的外界评价,比如父母/教师有时赞扬你很聪明,有时又开始批评你,并且分界不明的话,你自己也会找不到评价自己的标准,从而出现imposter syndrome。原文说的是You will not think that your accomplishment is consistent.

另外Imposter Syndrome还会影响attachment style,因为imposters想从中获取constant positive feedback。

一个有趣的发现是一些强调natural intelligence rather than developed intelligence的家庭中imposters的出现几率更大,因为imposters无法从自己获取了developed intelligence中得到成就感。


除此之外,这期节目的另外一个很重要的观点是Imposter Syndrome在女性和有色人种中出现的比例更大。然而对这两个话题我有太多想说的话太多想记录的事情,暂时还没有勇气写下来。希望以后能更加详细的专门写出来。