• Cedar Counseling & Wellness

Trauma & Imposter Syndrome

At Cedar Counseling & Wellness, our trauma-informed therapists understand how multifaceted the impact of trauma can be for the people we work with. No two people experience and manage traumatic events in the same ways. One unexpected effect of trauma is a greater risk to experience imposter syndrome. The term imposter syndrome refers to a belief that you are not who others believe you are, you’re faking it until you make it, or you’re not good enough. If you’ve experienced trauma and now you feel like an imposter in your own life, it may be time to consider talking to a professional about how trauma-informed therapy can help you manage all of the many effects of trauma, including imposter syndrome. You can learn a bit more about trauma-centered imposter syndrome in this blog or by getting in touch with one of our knowledgeable therapists.




What Is Trauma-Centered Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a common concern that people at all stages of life struggle with. You’ve likely experienced the belief that you’re not good enough to have a specific job, be in a relationship with someone, or receive recognition for your efforts. You feel like you’re constantly faking it until you make it, but you’re one false step away from slipping up. You’re sure everyone sees who you really are and they judge you. For individuals experiencing trauma-centered imposter syndrome, there are two main differences compared with the more general type.

First, general imposter syndrome is typically related to just one aspect of your life. Maybe you feel like a true success at work, but your personal life is struggling or vice versa. Trauma-centered imposter syndrome tends to impact all areas of your life, leaving you feeling inadequate all the time. In other cases, imposter syndrome seems to jump from one part of life to another. As soon as they feel more confident and secure in one area, the imposter syndrome simply transfers to another area.

Second, trauma-centered imposter syndrome tends to involve higher levels of shame. People who have unprocessed trauma often struggle with shame surrounding their traumatic experience. They don’t want to talk about it or feel like they can’t. They feel embarrassed that they went through something that is impacting them so deeply, and the longer they experience the effects of trauma, the more deeply affected they become. Trauma-centered imposter syndrome feeds off this shame and hiding, and it grows.


How Do People Move Beyond Trauma-Centered Imposter Syndrome?

One of the best ways to make a positive change and address the way that trauma-centered imposter syndrome impacts your life is to let go of the shame and start talking about what you’re experiencing. That means talking about the way your trauma has impacted your life and how you’ve been feeling like an imposter. We’re a little biased, but therapy is a safe space to work through the difficulties associated with trauma and start reclaiming your agency and authenticity, so you can lead a life that is more fulfilling.


There’s one thing that any trauma survivor can do when they’re feeling overwhelmed or trapped in negative thinking related to imposter syndrome. Simply take a few moments to utilize self-compassion, and remind yourself that you are doing your best. In this moment with the resources you have, you are doing just fine. Whatever you have done at the time of a traumatic experience or since, is the result of your body’s survival mechanisms protecting you, and they have kept you safe. That’s a good thing, and it’s okay.


Will Therapy Help?

Absolutely. Therapy is a great resource for people who are healing from and processing all the effects of trauma at any stage. If you’re dealing with trauma-centered imposter syndrome, one of the therapists at Cedar Counseling & Wellness would be happy to partner with you to better understand what imposter syndrome is and how it can impact you. Then, we can work together to develop the necessary tools and strategies to overcome trauma-centered imposter syndrome and live with greater self-acceptance, confidence, and authenticity. When you’re ready to get started, we’re here to help. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to schedule an appointment with us today.


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