The phrase, “Imposter Syndrome” has become a hot topic for life coaches in recent years. I have noticed its prevalence among my own clients. The syndrome, which does not discriminate, reaching beautiful, educated, successful women, who easily appear as forces to be reckoned with to the outside world. The term, “Imposter Syndrome,” is described in Wikipedia as:
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, impostorism, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved. Individuals with impostorism incorrectly attribute their success to luck, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been recognized to affect both men and women equally.
(Page name: Impostor syndrome, Author: Wikipedia contributors, Publisher: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia., Date of last revision: 4 October 2019 03:09 UTC, Date retrieved: 21 October 2019 13:31 UTC, Permanent link: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Impostor_syndrome&oldid=919508293, Primary contributors: Revision history statistics, Page Version ID: 919508293)
While this syndrome is an issue that many women face at some point in their adult lives, as an adopted person, an additional layer is added to working through the internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud, and feelings of not deserving all that they have achieved. Adopted persons are often confronted with an identity crisis at some point in their lives, which can complicate dealing with feelings associated with an imposter syndrome or even what is commonly termed as a mid-life crisis. Transitions such as divorce, loss of job, or death of a loved one can be catalysts for these periods of identity crisis, imposter syndrome, mid-life crises and the like.
We live in a world that tries to normalize things, including adoption; rather than address it for what it is. Adoption is a traumatic event. This is not to say that the outcome is not positive or is more often than not better than had a child not been adopted; however, to ignore the trauma of the adoption during the raising of the adopted child means that the adopted person, as an adult, will need to come to terms with that trauma.
November is National Adoption Month. I am both an adoptee and a mother to an adopted child. I celebrate adoptions and the community of parents who have chosen to create a family through adoption. Celebrating the joy of adoption while also mourning the trauma of the loss of the biological family for an adopted person are both healthy responses to adoption. The two can occur simultaneously. When adopted families recognize the loss that has occurred, it provides the adopted person with permission to explore their feelings of identity at a much younger age. I am strong believer that to have a life which encompasses total well-being, looking at the whole person by exploring both sides of the coin, is necessary.
Some adoptees may benefit from traditional counseling and others can benefit from life coaching. As a life coach, my job is to listen intently and to ask thought-provoking open-ended questions which allows the client to explore and access the answers that they have within themselves. Coaching gives clients the gift of time, exploration, and assistance in developing the tools needed for growth and change. Coaching is about taking a client from where they are and helping them define and get to where they wish to be.
While Imposter Syndrome has become so prevalent that it has almost reached the point that it feels like a way of passage for many educated women, working with an adopted person adds that additional layer that I describe. There may be messages that the adopted person does not realize that they have been holding onto simply based of the story of how they obtained their family. This also can be something faced by adults who have come from broken homes and other traumatic childhood experiences. I love asking questions and experiencing my client’s energies change over the course of even just a simple coaching hour. Their confidence improves, their understanding of who they are becomes clearer, and their feelings of finally living their authentic life comes alive. Often with just a few key correctly placed and timed questions, discovery happens.
I do not provide the answers. I proceed without agenda. I understand that everyone’s experience, including my own are unique. I simply help my clients create roadmaps to guide them on the journey that they feel is theirs to be on. Coaching is not therapy. It is a process that is designed to help bring clients from where they are to where they want to be.
Let’s connect now.