What is it and what does it have to do with chronic pain?
My entire life I felt that I didn't measure up to others, that I wasn't intelligent enough, smart enough, thin enough....good enough at anything. I labeled it as perfectionism, and that's part of impostor syndrome, but there is much more to it. I also felt like I didn't deserve any of my successes and when people mentioned them, I downplayed what I had achieved. I still do this today!
When I mentioned to Dr. Schubiner, my TMS doctor, how I had been feeling, he said, "That's impostor syndrome." I had never heard the term before but what he described made sense and sounded like me. What surprised me is how many people deal with impostor syndrome.
What does impostor syndrome have to do with pain?
I never would have thought that dealing with impostor syndrome could lead to chronic pain, but there is a connection. As I mentioned above, perfectionism is part of impostor syndrome, and perfectionism is also one of the personality traits Dr. Sarno identified in most of his patients. The personality traits in TMS cause us to repress our own feelings, which leads to internal rage, and this can eventually lead to pain and other symptoms. The same applies to impostor syndrome - the constant need to be better, to achieve more, and the fear of being "found out," causes a tremendous amount of tension and internal rage.
In the article I link to below, the author talks more about impostor syndrome, and how to overcome it. One simple thing she suggests is to ask yourself, "Does that thought help or hinder me?" I love that and it's something I plan to implement in my own life. To read more, click the link below:
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