The Dyslexic Imposter Complex

The Dyslexic Imposter Complex is a phrase I coined several years ago describing an internal dynamic which I see in myself and what many other persons with dyslexia report. This is the
collision of two observations that we have made about ourselves.

Observation number 1. Over our lifetime we have gathered much evidence about ourselves that we are “stupid”. We have the evidence, inability to read, comprehend what were reading or write. This can be further supported from feedback that we receive from society, authority figures, parents, teachers and documented evidence such as report cards.

Observation number 2. Over our lifetimes we have also gleaned just as much or even more evidence that we are quite intelligent. Utilizing our picture type memory for creativity and to problem solve, intuitivism which some people may describe as being “psychic”. The ability to teach herself through your own personal method. High-energy that can be directed toward success.

The following is a personal example in my life. I was diagnosed as severely dyslexic in my early 20s. I however knew that I was having a “collision” with the educational system the first day that I entered school. I faced failure after failure and my parents were told that I was a “slow learner” and not to expect too much scholastically from me.

Kicked out of guitar class … but

One of my most frustrating failures came at the age of 17, when I was kicked out of guitar class for not being able to learn how the instructor was attempting to teach me. Even though I thought that I had reached my final frustration and failure. I took my guitar home and taught myself. Six months later I was performing professionally.

So is it no wonder that many people with dyslexia report similar experiences. In reality if an individual was really “stupid” they would not be experiencing The Dyslexic Imposter Complex. Why, you ask?

The answer is simple, people that are really “stupid” don’t have these types of thoughts. Furthermore, it is impossible to be diagnosed dyslexic and be “stupid” because one of the major criteria being identified as dyslexic is that the person with dyslexia has an average or above average IQ.

By Jim Bauer

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