Out in the Open·Full Episode

Impostors

No matter how confident you are in your own skin or how experienced you are at what you do, both in work and in life, many of us have times when we feel like we're faking it. This week, Piya asks: How do you deal with feeling like an impostor?

We have times in our lives when we feel like we're faking it. How do you deal with feeling like an imposter?

A Valentine from Gary Wilensky postmarked February 1993. (Submitted by Piper Weiss)
Listen to the full episode54:00

No matter how confident you are in your own skin or how experienced you are at what you do, both in work and in life, many of us have times when we feel like we're faking it. This week, Piya asks: How do you deal with feeling like an impostor?

Here are the stories from this week's episode...

'If you think about who is feeling like an impostor, it's people not in the privileged class'

Dena Simmons says "it is the easy way out" to think of impostor syndrome as something that just happens at the individual level. She wants us to ask how certain environments often make racialized people feel like impostors. Dena tells Piya about her experience as a black girl in a school of mostly white kids, and how she's channeling it to change schools from within.

'Confronting the truth about yourself is really hard': Rediscovering a complicated youth through adult eyes

Piper Weiss didn't feel like she belonged at the elite private all-girls school she attended. And stakes were high to fit in because her family had worked hard to get her a spot. So she was thrilled when she met a tennis coach who she identified with and felt supported by. But that man turned out to be an impostor himself, when he was revealed as a child predator.

When my second child was born, I started to feel like a fraud

Out in the Open producer Lisa Bryn Rundle's definition of motherhood has always included all the different ways that people become mothers. But three years after she gave birth, her partner became pregnant. And Lisa began to feel like an impostor. In a personal essay, she talks about the internal struggle of being the mom of a child she didn't birth herself.

How a psychiatry professor accidentally discovered he was a psychopath

In 2006, neuroscientist and professor James Fallon accidentally discovered he's a psychopath. But not the serial killer kind. Instead, he's emotionally unavailable, reckless and manipulative. He speaks with Piya about how he gets by around non-psychopaths on charm and what he calls "cognitive empathy" – the ability to understand what others are feeling, without actually feeling it himself.

Even Canada's top law students can feel they aren't good enough

The University of Toronto's prestigious law school draws some of Canada's best and brightest students. So when Nick Papageorge applied, his hopes weren't high. To his surprise, he was accepted. But that didn't assuage an impostor syndrome that would follow him through his three years at the school.


This episode of Out in the Open originally aired on June 17, 2018.

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