Selves and Anti-Superwoman Post Burnout

What about anti-superwoman selves?

I’ve been contacted a few times this week about my Beyond Imposter Syndrome workshop series, specifically around the concept of Superwoman and Anti-Superwoman selves. Superb question! Answer below 👇

I narrowed down the 6 top primary selves that I see most often in those suffering from Superwoman induced Imposter Syndrome:

  1. The Pusher
  2. The Perfectionist
  3. The Inner Critic
  4. The Pleaser
  5. The Protector Controller
  6. The Responsible Self

No matter the combination, it’s clear to see how we can create a stress team that would lead to pushing through and eventually burn out. e.g. The Perfectionist, The Inner Critic and The Pleaser or The Pusher, The Pleaser and The Inner Critic.


If you have suffered with burnout in the past, the Protector Controller will ramp up in order to protect you from ever experiencing it again in the future. Setting that dial as high as survival mode! Makes sense, right?

When this happens, it can be hard to get things done in the same way as you used to pre-burnout. My clients describe this as an apathy/procrastination around doing things; particularly those that might take them in alignment with their life purpose. Pusher may come out to play for a day but it feels completely overwhelming and then recovery mode kicks in for the rest of the week. This is Anti-Superwoman.
Anti-Superwoman Selves

During a burnout out event, the primary selves responsible for the burnout become disowned and a new set of selves take over.

The Apathetic Self, The Protector Controller (and others) become the new primary self system with the old primary self system such as The Pusher, The Perfectionist etc as the disowned selves. Unfortunately, the Inner Critic stays as a primary self because it has a new set of selves to govern!
Moving Beyond Imposter Syndrome with Anti-Superwoman
We start by getting separation and addressing the new primary self system. Apathetic Self and The Protector Controller for starters. We then need to partner and manage the underlying vulnerability before accessing the disowned selves which are now The Pusher, The Perfectionist etc and renegotiate their roles which they are more open to because they have been party to and witnessed your burnout.

There are no good or bad selves, they all have strengths and weaknesses. When the primary self system is running us, we are not conscious to other choices. It is about embracing all parts of us to regain real choice in our behaviours and actions. Instead of playing chopsticks with 4 keys on the piano, we get access to all 88 keys and Debussy.
The workshop series will be taken down Sunday 27th February 23:59 (UK time)

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Do you have a question about your selves? Hit replay and get your questions answered.

Keep opening up,
PS Inspiring Stories Episode 004 of the Women in STEM Career & Confidence Podcast has now dropped featuring Ella Podmore 🏆IET Young Women Engineer of the Year 2020🏁Fault analysis engineer at McLaren Automotive Ltd on how to navigate being the only woman in the room.

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