How do combat Imposter Syndrome when people assume you're strong?
Any advice on how to combat the imposter syndrome that comes along with people instantly assuming you are strong and have wise lessons to share simply for having had cancer? Of course I have had a lot if unique experiences and good coping skills, but the immediate respect and awe can throw me off when we were just having a casual conversation prior. How do people "keep it casual"?
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Cancer Support Group.
That's not an easy one to answer, @annalise. I wonder if people need to see you as strong and wise to help them for their own comfort because your experience is one they not only can't imagine, they also fear. I bet @coffeesd @amandafl @ana15vankoeverden @jessica0 @leukskywalker @stephtubman @haileyc have more to say on this.
Annalise, how do handle these curve balls? I'd be tempted to tell them cancer gave you superpowers to read into the future or something goofy.
I usually just say something like, “you learn not to sweat the small stuff”. Or something like that.
I agree that this is tough. I was writing about this idea the other day when I felt like I finally said something right in one of these moments; I was speaking to a woman whose husband just had a recurrence, so I did want to say something positive if I could (I ended up just sharing with her a bit of my personal experience that I thought might be helpful). Usually, I something like what @amandafl mentioned above about not sweating the small stuff or I just shrug off any compliments and change the subject, lol.
I love that you responded this way. When I was first diagnosed, I was terrified. My first doctor (not Mayo) just told me to get my affairs in order. I didn’t want to be dismissed when I told people. I had a few people just say..Well, it’s in God’s hands now or you”ll be fine. This upset me even more. I think I wanted people to say, how are you doing or if they had been through it to share their own experiences to give me hope.
Thank you! I'm so sorry to hear your first doctor said something like that. That's horrifying. I have heard a lot of generic things from people, especially the old "you're so strong" "you got this" mantra. I try not to be too annoyed by it because I think people honestly just don't know what to say and they sort of freeze when they hear the word "cancer". I know the few who shared actual advice with me or shared their own personal stories really impacted me the most, so I hope that I can do that for others now.
I had not thought about Imposter Syndrome in relation to cancer and how others will interact/respond.
I wish for all that we can be frank and honest , sharing compassion,recognizing the scary reality of facing sickness.
I’m joining this Connection Community because the people around me just say “I’m sorry.”
Welcome @ccaryh. I would be interested in hearing more about you and your story. Were you diagnosed with cancer?
Yes, I have a cancer diagnosis. I’m not an imposter on that count.
Stumbled across this Connection Community in light research.
@ccaryh, happy to hear you're not that kind of imposter. 🙂 I'm glad you found Mayo Clinic Connect. Might I ask what type of cancer you're dealing with? I can help connect you with others with a similar diagnosis or similar "this sucks" stuff.