“Double Imposter Syndrome” Has Multiple Shrinks Worried | HumorOutcasts

“Double Imposter Syndrome” Has Multiple Shrinks Worried

January 2, 2018

FLUSHING, New York.  It’s 1 a.m. on January 1st, “prime time” for identity thief Mikhail Kraznov, a Ukrainian national in the U.S. on a temporary visa.  “So many credit cards will be lost tonight,” he says.  “It is like taking candy from baby, no?”

But this reporter finds the young man’s disaffected expression to be at odds with his apparent good fortune as he picks up a Discover Card left behind at The Neutered Elf, a neighborhood bar here.  “I don’t know what it is,” he says.  “I have a good job taking money from innocent people, and yet I don’t feel as if I deserve it.”

Kraznov and others like him are victims of what psychologists and psychiatrists have started to refer to as “double imposer syndrome,” a state of mind experienced by those who live falsely and yet feel that they are not authentic.  “Double imposter victims are haunted by a gnawing suspicion that even though they are openly duplicitous in some fashion, they aren’t very good at it, or aren’t entitled to the fruits of their success,” says Dr. Emil Kronapka, a resident at the Piersall Center, a multi-disciplinary psychiatric facility in Framingham, Mass.  “We try to get them to understand that everybody else is just faking it too, so it’s no big deal.”

“Please don’t ask me to impersonate myself.”


One sufferer who’s unconvinced is Shecky Feldman, a B-list impressionist who is currently booked at Caligula’s Palace in Las Vegas during the post-New Year’s lull.  “I’ve been an impressionist since I was a kid,” he says, shaking his head disconsolately in his dressing room after opening for The Flying Crostini Brothers, a magic act.  “For some reason–I can’t quite put my finger on it–I don’t feel as if I’m realizing my true personality.”

At least one case of triple imposter syndrome has been reported, involving Slappy McGrath, a ventriloquist’s dummy dressed as a mime who is currently working on the first draft of “Dummies for Dummies,” to be published in 2019.  “I’m perfectly fine,” he says as he jerks his head backwards at his owner, Con Chapman.  “It’s this guy who’s the sicko.”

Con Chapman

I'm a Boston-area writer, author of two novels (most recently "Making Partner"), a baseball book about the Red Sox and the Yankees ("The Year of the Gerbil"), ten published plays and 45 books of humor available in print and Kindle formats on amazon.com. My latest book "Scooter & Skipper Blow Things Up!" was released by HumorOutcasts Press last year. My humor has appeared in The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe and Barron's, and I am working on a biography of Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington's long-time alto sax player for Oxford University Press .

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One Response to “Double Imposter Syndrome” Has Multiple Shrinks Worried

  1. January 3, 2018 at 1:52 am

    I might actually hav this condition, and I don’t even have a dummy.

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