My entire life, I have always believed I am a fraud. No, I've always known it. I'm not smart. Not competent. Not likeable. Not worthy of being around. I've just been faking it (not very well, at that), all the while waiting for people to catch on. It wouldn't even take that many people, just one well-placed person who could make the house of cards that is my sham of a life come falling down.
I didn't deserve to be admitted to the college I got into. I definitely was not worthy of a decent law school. I should never have been allowed to pass the bar. What fools gave me loans with which to buy cars or a house? Why did any idiot ever trust me with a paying job? (Or a non-paying job, for that matter?) And it's never just that I should get scolded or written up in some toothless way. I always believe I should be expelled, fired, cast out of my profession, nay cast out of civilized society entirely.
I remember the day I was sure I would be fired from my summer job as a camp counselor at a YMCA day camp. Didn't sleep a wink all night, I was so worried about my horrible failure, a failure that had most likely resulted in the death of a child. Of course, I'd really just made a perfectly reasonable decision that no one thought about twice, that never even registered as an incident to anyone else. Because, duh, it wasn't. (And, no, no child was ever in any danger.)
Then there was the time my ATM card wouldn't work, first at one machine, then at the next (both from the same bank...). The error message was odd, unlike anything I'd seen before. A normal person probably would assume there was something wrong with the bank's cash machines. But not me! Nope, I was convinced my accounts had been frozen, that I was on the verge of losing everything, for some massive failure on my part I couldn't even identify. Fortunately, that insanity didn't last long as I realized there was still a branch open, so I went there where I a) got the cash I needed from my (duh) not-frozen account and b) learned that the bank was switching over to new software for their ATMs and the switch wasn't going smoothly.
It must be nice to go through life unplagued with this occasionally debilitating level of self-doubt. It'd probably be a good thing if I could figure out how to make a mistake without going straight to "I deserve to be strung up by my thumbs and upheld as an object of scorn, contempt, and derision for all eternity." Maybe someday, I'll get there. But it doesn't seem like today will be that day. Because I'm a big, big failure and a fraud and I deserve to be cast out of civilized society, probably strung up by my thumbs, and undoubtedly upheld as an object of scorn, contempt, and derision for all eternity.
It's really no wonder I have ulcers.