Daily Prompt: The Great Pretender


I guess I started out with two setbacks in this regard; one I am female; and two I am Scottish.  The wonderfully helpful link clarified for me what imposter syndrome is and confirmed that it is most common in women and you would probably have to be Scottish to know that generally, it is not accepted to gloat about your achievements and the most socially acceptable way to talk about anything you have achieved is to pretend that it was nothing really and that you were not really responsible for achieving it. 

I was not like this as a child, and I was prone to boasting.  I was always in my dad’s loving words “a smart arse” but I learned very quickly and rather harshly that people will try and pull you down a peg or two if you act like you are smarter than they are and I very much played down everything I achieved for a long time, to the point where I actually stopped achieving very much.  I fell out with education because I didn’t achieve the grades I should have (blaming the teachers for persuading me to take the wrong subjects – Higher maths what the f@*%?) in that sense I guess my instinctive nature was more masculine than feminine. 

The truth that I have accepted now is that it was actually my own fault, I picked the wrong subjects for the wrong reasons, started rebelling and grew uninterested in achieving good grades and doing the kind of degree your parents would pee their pants about.  I did what many people do – I self-sabotaged. Self-sabotage, imposter syndrome’s evil cousin and procrastination’s lover.  At least with imposter syndrome you actually achieve something even if you pretend you are not responsible for it afterwards.  Self sabotage will get you right to the finishing line in first place and then make you decide that you will finish the race on your hands or that you don’t like racing after all and you have to return to the start on principle.  Procrastination will encourage you to sign up for the race, buy a new pair of joggers and then decide at the last minute that you really don’t have the time to do it because you have been so anti-social recently doing all this training and that you just have to go out the night before with friends instead of actually doing the race.

Now I accept responsibility for everything I achieve and everything I don’t achieve. The smallest achievements make me very happy, and I can’t quite believe what I have achieved.  I am quite quiet about it, but if someone congratulates me, I will accept it without protestation. A friend once said to me and I think about it every time someone compliments me “V – when someone gives you a compliment, just say thank you and nothing else”.

I don’t think imposter syndrome is something I really have to worry about – it’s the other two that are the devils.  Like, right now, I should be writing short stories for competitions or working on my novel, but I am writing this wonderful post instead – it’s still writing though right – so it’s not really procrastination????

9 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: The Great Pretender

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  6. Hi V,

    You’ve made some thoughtful points about “The Great Pretender.”

    While I don’t think as a person I am literally, “my achievements,” I’m always proud of my accomplishments, but still I feel awkward and uncomfortable when I’m on the receiving end of a compliment.

    Like your friend, my mom always encouraged me to graciously accept a compliment and move on. That’s not as easy as it sounds, though.

    Bask in the sunlight of every little or big achievement … you earned it and no one can take that away! 🙂

    I enjoyed your post.

    Take care!



  7. Pingback: Daily Prompt: The Great Pretender | Nola Roots, Texas Heart

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