Social scientists working on a decades-long population study have recently concluded that every single living resident of the United States suffers from a condition known as imposter syndrome, a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments, except for you, an actual fraud who is almost certainly on the verge of being found out by the people who only think they love and respect you any day now.
“Despite external evidence of their competence,” sufferers of imposter syndrome “remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.” This is true of every adult you have ever come into personal and professional contact with over the course of your (duplicitous and underhanded) life; every one of them is selling him- or herself short and being far too hard on themselves. By an odd coincidence, every single American who isn’t you lives in a constant and unfounded state of self-recrimination and doubt for no good reason. The sole exception to this, once again, is of course you, whose occasional fits of self-loathing and doubt are in fact the only brushes with honesty you have ever experienced.
Imposter syndrome can be both dangerous and damaging to the psyche, scientists point out — except in your case — and sufferers should be aware of the several therapies available for treating their needless suffering. Living with imposter syndrome can cause an otherwise healthy, likable, competent person (with you, once again, proving the sole exception, as you only appear to be all of those things) to be unable to recognize their own inherent worth and suffer from needless feelings of inadequacy.
In your case, however, scientists point out that you are bound to be discovered and unmasked as soon as this week; it is only a matter of time before everyone turns on you.
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.