Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

It’s A Jungle In There — Explaining Giftedness


Flickr, Creative Commons, Shigenobu Sugito

Flickr, Creative Commons, Shigenobu Sugito

It’s embarrassing. You probably don’t tell anyone that you read this blog. You keep it a secret. Right? Because if you told them, you’d have to explain just what a rainforest mind is. And then you might have to tell them that there could be a very very slim chance but it’s probably unlikely that you’re um g-g-gifted.


I want to be perfectly clear. I’m not here telling you that you ought to be proclaiming your smartness hither and yon. That you should be reminding your coworkers that you had the answer before the meeting even started. Or that you ought to tell your friends that you’re tired of counseling them. Or that your partner should automatically understand why you’re still procrastinating. That is not what I’m saying.

I’m here because it’s time you realized that what you’re calling ADD or OCD or bipolar or quirky or dorky or geeky or anal retentive or impatient or poor communicator or eccentric or too sensitive or too dramatic or too whatever– may, instead, be a rainforest mind doing what it does.

No one else has to know.

Except you.

Because when you stop pathologizing your giftedness, then you can create the life you’re meant to create. You can step into your Youness and tackle the tasks that are before you. You can find your honest powerful compassionate voice and use it change things. To make things better. To spread a little more love.

But, I don’t want to hide it, you say. I’m tired of dumbing down, you say. I’m no good at the stealth thing, you sigh, looking at me with exasperation. And, besides that, I have a gifted kid. What do I tell people about my kid?

I understand. I didn’t mean that you were supposed to go underground. That’s the last thing I want you to do. And if you’re a parent, you likely need help navigating the so-you-think-you-have-a-gifted-kid world.

How about this: We know people who are like meadows. Gentle, sweet, flowery. We know people who are like volcanos. Ready to erupt at any moment. We know people who are like oceans. Deep, vast, mysterious, salty. You and your kid? Jungle. Or, more politely, rain forest. Extremely: intense, complex, sensitive, lush, smart, creative, misunderstood.

 And making things better. Spreading a little more love.


To my bloggEEs: Do you tell people that you have a rainforest mind or that you’re gifted? How do you explain these traits to others? Do you have a child with a rainforest mind? What’s it been like to communicate with others about your child?

This post is part of a blog hop with (a great website with lots of resources, not just for home schoolers) Click on the image to read some excellent posts from parents of gifted children and professionals who work with the gifted.







Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

83 thoughts on “It’s A Jungle In There — Explaining Giftedness

  1. I’m going to think about what this means, but I’m pretty sure I could cry reading this. “may, instead, be a rainforest mind doing what it does.” Love it. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Yes yes yes to this post! I remember coming come after the SENG conference last summer thinking OMG, you mean I am probably GIFTED too. That this thing is not all about my kids …and then NOT feeling like I could tell anyone about it and have them even remotely understand what I am talking about. So powerful to have a community of support where we get each other. Thanks for writing this:)

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Ever been on the receiving end of a long distance “hug with words” from a complete stranger? Yeah, well, me neither, until I read this post. A-mazing. Thanks seem inadequate for this (wholly unexpected) re-affirmation.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. YES! YES! A word is just a word. Gifted is just a word. It is a word that describes a facet of a person, like tall or dyslexic. WE in the community, as advocates for our children, need to help them to grow up knowing there is nothing wrong with them just because this is one of their facets. Gifted is not better, it’s not worse, it just IS. It does not mean that they are destined for eminence, achievement or success. It is not what a person does it is who they are. There are a lot of people talk about changing the word thinking that somehow that would change the things, but it won’t. A word is just a word. It’s society’s connotation of a word that determines how it is interpreted and accepted. We need to change that perception not take a trip on the euphemism treadmill. Part of what a partner of mine, Dr. Joanna Haase, and I work on in out non profit an outreach campaign to provide a toolkit for how to talk about giftedness. I am so happy to see this get press. THANK YOU for spreading this word! No where more in giftedland does it take a villiage.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Paula, another Paula sent me a link to this post as a virtual birthday gift. Thank you both for showing me that perhaps I no longer have to obsessively attempt to glean a box to put myself in from the pharma-friendly DSM.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Again you shine light on the understory of my life. I want to share, just to have someone to talk with about these things and I have carefully shared this blog at least 3 times (which is a lot for me!). I’ve had a mostly positive response, with a couple other rainforest minded people finding safety here, or my other friends overlooking the link and not talking about it.

    With 2 and probably a 3rd gifted child ( he starts school on the fall). All my arguements feel like a house of cards. Even though none of us started reading at 2.

    Why is it still easier to say I have ADD? Which I do have a medical diagnosis for? People understand ADD. They get the distractability. But it’s my mind that’s the biggest distraction!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I tell people that my kids are gifted and I found school too easy. Most of my school years were outside the US where we didn’t have a “gifted” classification, but it was obvious I was bright.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Apologies to commenters, I don’t know why my replies aren’t coming out under your comments. I’ll see if I can fix that.


  9. Finally i stumble upon something that addresses the gifted parent raising the gifted child. This is hard on levels I never knew existed. I feel for my child, I “literally” feel for my child. His pain, his anxiety, his loneliness, his fears, his sensitivities. It doesnt help that I have my own. Sigh.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, Malvi, your empathy is likely as strong as his. If you look over the other posts in the blog hop, you may find more on this topic. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Malvi, I echo this! Just realized I am gifted at 37! And I have a gifted child! I feel everything she is going through, i “feel” big time. I understand her more than anyone else, all her sensitivities and all her strange things. No idea where to start from, how to deal with “me” and “her”.


  10. “Because when you stop pathologizing your giftedness, then you can create the life you’re meant to create. You can step into your Youness and tackle the tasks that are before you. You can find your honest powerful compassionate voice and use it change things. To make things better. To spread a little more love.” <—- WOW. Yes, Paula. Thank you for this.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for reading, Caitie. I’m heading over the the blog hop right now to read yours and the others.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It is an amazing thing, this leapt out for me too, and yet, I am so very scared of this as well… the thought of actually living the life that enables [as opposed to stifles and restricts] seems like a dream, one that is both dark and light, I don’t live life the way it would make me happy, yet, to change my life, would cause at least one significant other so much pain. I don’t like causing pain. And so it seems like a terrible fork in the road…which route do you choose? Either way involves paiinful outcomes and yet, at the same time, either way someone, just perhas not me, stands to be happy [ish].

      How do you weigh up what is more vital, more beneficial and do I [having walked so far into this life] really have the right to put me first? So many thoughts overwhelming. Those pathways of thoughts that lead me to other questions too…and exciting possibilities that I almost daren’t dare to hope for…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautifully written, Paula. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I don’t tell people I am gifted or that it causes me a lot of problems.
    I think I’d have more success telling them I’m an alien from another planet.

    Which is exactly why my memoir is being written from the perspective of a shipwrecked alien.

    Why is the topic of our own giftedness and how it affects our lives still largely taboo? Jealousy? Even in the western world where we supposedly worship at the altar of individualism — secretly we don’t really like individuals…(shhhh).

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mark,
      If all this wasn’t so common to all of us, I’d worry you were seeing my life! I just got in a more heated than it should be discussion with a co-worker because she’s been trying to help me navigate the gifted school system for my daughters, as her daughter just graduated from it – and she completely downplayed a ton of my concerns because “gifted kids don’t really have that many issues even if the schools don’t serve them well, they all do well without it.” I think I lost it.

      I’d love to read your memoir!

      Liked by 3 people

      • Try not to be too harsh, sometimes people literally only seek to comply with regulations and don’t understnd how utterly limiting life becomes. My eldest brother was identified at the age of 8yrs as especially gifted and a special school for gifted children was offered to my mother for him. She turned it down believing that since it was boarding school he would have been miserable, however, always regretted that as his life was completely miserable at school [he stood head and shoulders above everyone else including the teachers who taught him – but, he found a wonderful tech teacher who saw the giftedness and nurtured that, but equally at home life sucked for him as other children bullied him and even our step father labelled and told him for years that he was thick and would never be anything… [not going to go there!]

        The gifted school may have caused him some problems, but I think that they would have alleviated a whole lot of other probkems for him. He wanted to go as well. Perhaps she wasn’t intending to minimise your feelings, but recognised your intensity [and I believe we do have a tendency to travel from a – z in rapid thought , which can limit the possibilities of reality. Sometimes, we self limit because for all the very many scenarios we travel, it still is not ‘life’.

        I definitely feel for you, I try not to, but see the risks in everything and try to minimise them by taking the ‘safest route’ where my children are concerned, but that intensity and instant standing between my children and injustice, bullying etc… has not only protected my children but alienated those in authority along the way.

        Being misunderstood and ‘labelled’ wrongly, sucks!

        In the end, I think I have learned that so long as you remain focused on what is important, and pursue that, breath and let some things go. I’ve had to learn to not people please when it comes to significant decisions but instead contain my decisions to based upon my immediate family – that still involves self sacrifice at times [often], but what it has gained for me, is the ability to remain calm when other [well intended] people insist on input in my decision making, sometimes going via my husband to get ‘their way’ because they failed to see the bigger picture.

        In my convoluted way, I’m trying to say, it is okay to listen to others, but remember it does not mean you have to act upon their advice/ guidance or wisdom. And knowing that you are not under obligation to take on board every opinion is freeing, and enables you to remain calm. [sometimes, if people really manage to get under my skin with opinions, I tilt my head slightly so I can nod whilst looking at the floor, then let my mind drift off to more pleasant thoughts ]sshhh! ] It is a conscious way to protect my state of being, sometimes though, i do the same when I am digesting what people say [so hopefully] it is not a noticeable avoidance strategy.

        It wasn’t asked for, but I hope it helps you to figure your own ‘escapes’ whilst appearing to remain present and accepting of advice.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Let us know when your memoir will be available, Mark. (are you really writing one?) Yes, I think there’s still jealousy and lots of misunderstanding.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes I am writing one — well, sort of. My experiences are only part of a broader story. The main theme being the question “What, if anything, is wrong with our civilization? How would a true outsider — an alien who was stuck here — perceive it, what would they think of it, and how well would they actually get by here?”

        I admit that is not a very original theme, but since I often feel alien I wonder if my own experiences might shed any light on this question? And then, what if some of us (or even all of us?) have somehow been parachuted from elsewhere into human bodies to serve some mysterious purpose?

        Is context (place/time/culture) everything? For example, a tiger is one of the word’s most incredible animals in its natural environment — but in captivity a tiger is a pathetic, anxious shadow of its wild self. What if some people are also hamstrung by being “in captivity”?

        This intrigues me, partly because the beliefs that our current civilization is the pinnacle of human evolution and that “the cream always rises to the top” are still so widespread, and that these beliefs are still used to justify so many social injustices, even if it is becoming clearer everyday that continuing on this path may not only be perilous for some, but perhaps for all of us.

        Those are some big questions to tackle! Especially for someone like me who is a horribly unorganized writer, so it will have to be broken up into a bunch of smaller manageable chunks somehow, much like a magazine is compiled.

        Anyway sorry to ramble! Thank you for the wonderful posts and comments, it does encourage me to keep plugging away!

        Liked by 3 people

        • I’ve wondered about this myself: “what if some of us (or even all of us?) have somehow been parachuted from elsewhere into human bodies to serve some mysterious purpose?” Definitely keep plugging away!

          Liked by 2 people

        • Hi,
          Interestingly, I think that is a truth, the more I learned about islam, the more convincing your thoughts are.

          I do agree we do not belong in this world – and that it is a transient stage of our existence, an environment to refine ourselves and do our best to seek self control for the greater good, not the harm. Interestingly , islam holds a very different set of principles for those who are ‘the cream at the top’, they are more responsible, more accountable, more enabled to secure the needs and rights of everyone else. However, there is a warning, to curb desires as it is especially the desires for wealth and power that turn man into tyrants.

          I’ve often observed that people who become obsessed with wealth and power [even to lesser plateaus than national power or international power] can also have real traits of psychopathy and tend to be deceitful, manipulative and become more angry more quickly – especially if questioned on grounds of ethics and being reminded that election is on the basis of caretaking of the masses, not the privilege of self service. Or that management is the platform of ensuring that staff needs are balanced with company needs etc… Even in the home, actually, especially in the home, if the one in whose hands leadership is dominant and controlling the impact on the rest of the family can be far reaching and impact in negative and dysfunctional behaviours.

          However, where you are inclined to seek an alternate planet or perhaps even universe, I’m inclined to seek Jannah or paradise.

          I also believe very much in aliens out there, only I name them jinn and angels. =)

          But anyway, it is good to ramble…you just never know where it will take you. I was searching for 23 years to get my ‘Eureka’ moment. Then I have spent the 15 years testing my moment at every level. Still fascinated and captivated and interested and challenged and learning… I hope I keep seeking and learning till my last breath. =)

          Liked by 2 people

          • Interesting to read your philosophy, Lisa, particularly around islam. Thanks for sharing.

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            • oh, thank you Paula =) Islam is my special area of interest, so I have to try to contain myself as I can find myself irritating even the most committed, learning muslims, so forgive me if I get caught up – it isn’t trying to make anyone a muslim, it is literally the single most huge passion I have and suits the multip aspect as there are so many branches of learning, new language, technical recitation, Arabic is simple yet complex itself in the diversity of meaning of words, the message is far deeper than we get to know via media etc… and many muslims aren’t aware of the multi faceted layers of knowledge, wisdom, passion, compassion, justice, protection etc… so I can’t imagine ever being able to exhaust my love – and I *feel* the connection to God, and I have witnessed miracles as well as literally met demons… I could probably give most things up, but I couldn’t give up islam. God willing! =)

              Liked by 1 person

              • oh! and love is the essence of islam, ❤ I love that too. =)

                Liked by 1 person

              • Another facet that islam gave me was the chance to learn a new skill too, but I poured my creativeness into it and make [nt had time for a while now] artisan prayer beads that are not the usual, and then send them to charities to sell. Very satisfying on every level =D

                Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks for your comments. I suppose I am not literally searching for an alternate planet or a way to escape this one, I am merely searching for truth via mythology (both classical and contemporary).

            At any rate, my memoir keeps getting stalled. I want to tell my story as honestly as I can (well, as honestly as one be while preserving their anonymity), but I keep getting hung up on some basic details.

            For example, I am sure that sins have been committed against me (as we all have). I am sure that evil exists in the world and that it affects most of us, some more than others. And yet I cannot get over the basic problem of telling my sad stories without the danger of invoking within myself an undeserved sense of pride or self-righteousness that prevents me from facing my own sins.

            Put another way, how can we point a finger at someone else without first looking at the others pointing back at us?

            I seem to be stuck in this “loop” where one minute I’m all “damn it, they really hosed me!”, which is often soon followed by the thought “who are you to play the victim? What makes you so sure all of this isn’t you own fault?”

            And then I walk through my neighborhood and see all the homeless people struggling to survive outdoors in Arctic conditions literally in the shadow of multi-billion dollar real-estate developments and my indignation kicks in again and I start the loop all over again….

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            • I think that may be why some people write novels instead of memoirs so they can avoid those worries but the novels end up being all about their lives??

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              • No doubt! But there are several reasons why this memoir idea crept into the forefront of my attention and wouldn’t go away (originally I just wanted to start a band. Period.).

                First is the ADHD I was talking about in another post. I remember events in my life well enough, but after I’ve written ten pages of fiction, (if I ever get that far), I start to forget what I’ve written previously and so it all declines into an incomprehensible mess where I unintentionally repeat myself endlessly, as I am sure I do here on occasion!!

                The second reason is that I never set out to be an activist of any kind. Even when I was deep in the punk rock scene I was fairly apolitical and ignorant about the kind of issues other punks were passionate about. It took years of frustration falling through the cracks of the government and mental health systems to wake me up.

                I suspected there must be more people like me out there and through my research I found many. Around the same time,scientists were warning about the imminent dangers of global warming, I read Daniel Quinn’s “Ishmael” and Thom Hartmann’s “Hunter vs Farmer” ADHD hypothesis began to gain traction, and I started to suspect that all these things were interconnected.

                I think the story of my life is a contemporary story common to a rapidly growing group of people, people who are very smart, creative, sensitive, conscientious and motivated to better both their own lives and others’, but are being held back because those “good” characteristics are either undervalued in society, or are even considered symptoms of sickness.

                I know how much it means to me whenever I read or hear how someone miraculously made it through all the terror and loneliness and self-hate due to being misunderstood and misdiagnosed, through the haze of psychiatric drugs, poverty and social isolation, and the effects of the stigma of being labelled “mentally ill”, even among your own family.

                I am a survivor of all those things. And I have the powerful gifts of art, music and storytelling to share my story of survival with others who I know will help heal this world once they don’t feel so alone and aren’t hurting so much. So that is why I am compelled to write a memoir. I’m not a believer in fate or angels or other supernatural forces, but then again we now know trees talk to each other. So maybe mother nature has a way of helping influence certain humans to help return balance to a chaotic time.

                My apologies for the length of this post. But by writing this and being “enlightened witnesses” (as Alice Miller described them), you are helping my resolve to continue. Thanks! -Mark

                Liked by 1 person

            • A few of the things I have learned to think about are: Why don’t I deserve to show compassion to myself for the same things that make my compassion rush up for others? If I don’t have to search to validate other people when they suffer, the same must apply to me.

              I consider myself a strong survivor now, and refuse to help others to further impact my life by remaining stuck in the pain, usually I find helping others and prayer are the best cures for that. I also learned wing chun kung fu as a means of defending myself and giving myself confidence and courage – and that enabled me to firmly stand my ground against someone who had been very violent, it was a genuine moment of happiness and accomplishment when I told [him] to remain outside my home and not cross the threshold, he hesitated and then placed his foot outside of the threshold [I really cannot tell you how empwering that was, and it also removed my fear. My tone of voice had strength, not threat, in it and it was enough! =)

              You are not responsible for the actions of others towards you [think of worse case scenario of your behaviour during those times…would you have treated anyone the way you were treated? I seriously doubt it, you have compassion, not aggression in you. Whoever did, whatever they did, to you – it is something that they are responsible for, not you. [It took me a very long time to accept that] It is a mndgame played by people who abuse others to blame the victim, leaving us confused and doubting our own worth and character. Yet, one of the most amazing things that always holds true for any person in a position of ‘power’ – is that they could walk away at any time without causing others harm.

              Let the blame rest upon those whose actions were blameworthy, not those who were on the receiving end of those actions.

              Even when stuck, remember you are writing incognito and so you aren’t risking slandering anyone, and write anyway, this is your means of healing and exploring feelings around what happened – you only owe yourself, not anyone else. This is *your* life and the way you need to travel it to get where you need to get.

              You could produce a masterpiece, you could turn your writing into a means of healing and of earning.

              Just writing what you need to offload [your own pensieve =)] is already success!

              Go for it anyway. =)

              Liked by 1 person

              • You know you are absolutely right, I do not show myself nearly the same amount of compassion and forgiveness that I show to others. I was well trained not to.

                One of my parents was an abusive bully — what Paula has dubbed a “chainsaw parent” — and the other one was too cowardly to stick up for me. Displaying any anger, displeasure or even any disagreement with either of them was immediately punished, which served to strengthen the belief that I didn’t deserve compassion.

                This may also explain why I get embarrassed and anxious any time I am singled out for praise or win an award. I believe my chainsaw parent was also very jealous of me, and so they did their best to destroy my spirit. Thankfully most of it is still there, I just have to work hard to “get my groove back”.

                Thank you!

                Liked by 1 person

    • Well, not many. =)

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  13. “gifted kids don’t really have that many issues even if the schools don’t serve them well, they all do well without it.”
    As an “alien”, I must say she needs to be probed — errr — her MIND needs to be probed, to search for any signs of intelligent life of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. It depends a lot on the people I deal with whether I talk to them about being gifted and how I explain it. Quite a few people know I accelerated school, so some already think about that and come to the conclusion that I might be gifted. But I didn’t really explain it to anyone but to some of my closest friends, mainly because I don’t want others to think that I might be arrogant and because I’m scared they might think I was weird / a nerd / …
    There are people I can talk to, though – some of my friends from med school. They made their own experiences with being intelligent, learning easily and being quite perfectionist and so it’s not that hard for them to relate – and I guess some of them might be gifted, too. A lot of the time this makes me feel less alone, and less special (in a positive way though). Since starting university I clearly learned that there are many very intelligent people out there and how good it can feel to talk about the experiences you make with being different / smart / … / gifted.

    I’m so glad this blog exists, because every now and then it certainly gives me new ideas on how to see myself from a new, less judging point of view. Thank you so, so much!

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Just…thank you. It wasn’t until I discovered my ds has a rainforest mind that I began to understand that I just might have one, too. I worry that it’s too late for me (I’ll probably always remain underground), but I refuse to let my children endure being so misunderstood that they begin to disguise themselves. As far as talking about it, I’ve found that most people I’ve needed to talk with will accept the term “accelerated learner” without too much eye-rolling – and that almost no one understands the inherent challenges. We are making lots of changes that are geared toward letting them be who they were created to be. It’s scary to step outside the mainstream, but for us I’m learning it’s absolutely necessary. Thank you for such an encouraging post.

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  16. Your imagery is fantastic and powerful Paula, without being cloying or indulgent, gosh I love reading your words.

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  17. “Because when you stop pathologizing your giftedness, then you can create the life you’re meant to create.” AMEN! And again, AMEN!

    Thank you for another beautiful post, Paula. I love, love your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Celi. That means a lot.


      • Paula, your words are knocking on my heart and knocking on my mind and even though I feel I have to shut the doors to not feel so much, I know I can’t. It is so powerful, and I thank you for showing me, opening and letting ilght into some pretty dark spaces, yet, I’m also fearful of where the doors will lead me. I know this is one of the most important aspects of my journey of life and I ultimately still have the control in my life to be able to hold back my steps, so they are measured and not hasty. So this is challenging, on many levels, and perhaps that is good, because it means, for the best outcome, I must become disciplined, not react and make major life choice in the reaction to the moment of understanding. The virtue of patience – especially with myself is no bad thing. =)

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  18. It isn’t the naming and labeling my giftedness that gets me in trouble interpersonally; it’s the BEING gifted in front of others that gets me in trouble. Eventually, no matter how hard I try, my giftedness will leak, and the negative social repercussions will ensue. I can relate to Mark V’s idea of being held in captivity. You can only contort yourself so much in the service of “love” before you are no longer you. Living in this society is like being forced to wear an emotional burka. I hate it. I’m disenchanted with humanity.

    I am 3+ years into recovering my real self. I’m using my intelligence to make more adaptive decisions. I played a role in creating some of my emotional struggles; I chose communities that couldn’t possibly receive or support me. Whether I am really introverted or not, I now have a war chest of introverted survival tactics. I have learned to tolerate the dark arts of interpersonal politics (not really). I’m spiritually weathered and sturdy; I trust my knees to support me in troubled times (most of the time). I have gone through the painful work of setting hard boundaries with harmful people while seeking out my tribe (still a work in progress). Things ARE getting better, but I’m just so damn tired.

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    • Beautifully said, holbart. I understand your disenchantment. I hope our little blog-tribe helps.


    • Interesting, for a short time I wore a face veil [I am allergic to the sun and my specialist suggested it since I’m a muslim] but I kept getting a mouthful of veil ahh! [apparently there is a certain style that doesn’t do that] anyway, the thing is whilst life may feel like being constrained by a burkha to you, I found the veil utterly liberating, I loved being able to move through society in complete anonymity, i felt more safe, protected and shielded than at any other time in my life. And, even more amazingly, wearing a loose abaya and face veil kept me really cool in the sun, whereas my neighbour [who I would go for walks with] would be wearing shorts and vest top, and her skin would be hot and she would be melting. She told me just looking at me made her feel hot, so I told her to touch my face and she was amazed at how cool my skin felt =D

      Not everything serves to act in the way it appears… It makes sense if you consider that Bedouin traverse deserts in black woollen garments [long, loose and flowing] and thoroughly wrap up the head and cover the face [including men].

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    • …and, on the main point, I’ve given up with some people in engaging in conversation in meaningful ways, just for that reason, it is like the tall strong man, every bully wants to take him on, though he personally is a gentle giant. On 2 occasions with family [extended & inlaws] I’d spent 5 hours travelling to visit, and after a meal, 3 female family members just ganged up and launched a well planned,but still ill thought out attack, I kept calm [but was confused – for me it came out of nowhere…] and just explained why the arguments were weak, then another sister-in-law walked in and was so aggressive that I was really shocked… ‘you always this, and you make us feel that… but her comments whilst not true, were filled with so much venom. Wow! Another of the ladies admitted it was not a conversation of my instigation & she looked so embarrassed and apologised profusely. But I learned to never have an opinion [that I would share anyway] with any of them.

      Ouch, even remembering that occasion is enough for me to not even go to the other incident. =(

      Liked by 1 person

  19. The comments to this particular blog are thought-provoking. Looking back, I realize that I have dealt with a lot of this during my own life. I am no longer in the working world or school, and much of this no longer comes up for me in institutions. Yet it does come up in social situations.
    Perhaps that is a part of why I tend to choose introversion. I am naturally a person who needs a lot of alone time. That is when I create. But the fact that I feel so greatly the disapproval of others for my *gifted* nature leads to my preference for more alone time. When I find a group in which I am fed, I make time for it.
    My experience is that some people can be cruel in their treatment of the rain forest. They pull out their chain saws and rev them up and appear to relish the opportunity to clear-cut. I wish I understood why. I do seem to have the idea that if I understood why, then I could deal with it better.
    Then I think, Why would I want to deal with being clear-cut. LOL
    Is this idea part of being gifted, the desire to understand all different types of folks? Or is it some kind of a poorly functioning defense mechanism?
    I love the responses about meadows, deserts, volcanos, oceans. I’m sure there are urban and agro people too. I don’t know why they are the way they are, but I know that I love being a rain forest. It’s just so fascinating!

    Liked by 3 people

  20. If I had never known about all these blogs and resources, I probably wouldn’t have known of any other option than to pathologise what I seemed to experience differently from most of my peers. Thanks for posts that you think and write about, Paula! (I’d jump around, cry and hug you if I could!)

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Pingback: “Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting…” Extreme Giftedness | Your Rainforest Mind

  22. It looks like I’m finding this a little late, but better late than never! I found out about the rainforest mind while in counseling for depression/anxiety. I instinctively rejected the drugs I was prescribed for depression, because I didn’t want to dull my intellect (Seriously. I know that sounds goofy and nerdy, but I have always known and realized that), but went through with the counseling. After a couple of months, I mentioned to my counselor that my oldest had just tested into a TAG program. He then started in with how I’d need to help my son, that he wasn’t like us, that he’d see the world in a lot more detail, be more intense, be more sensitive, and etc….and I started to see myself in that description. So I asked him if that could be my problem too. IQ had never come up in any of our sessions before that moment. He did ask why I’d never mentioned that fact….I didn’t think it was relevant. Frankly, I’m not sure why he didn’t notice on his own. So there started my long road of self discovery. Interestingly, I’d never made the connection that a high level of intelligence would make me different from other people in so many ways. I felt so stupid for not realizing before that I had a self-isolating condition, but relieved to know that my anxiety and “depression” were just my mind coping with being so different from everyone around me.. It’s been a fascinating journey ever since, both for myself and for my kids. I’m finally doing a job I love (for almost no money, but then I’ve never been motivated by money – of course), and I think I’ve found a career. At 46. And I finally stopped judging myself for how few friends I have, but have learned to truly cherish them, because they are just as rainforesty as I am.

    Thank you for the lovely blog. I love the rainforest metaphor.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Pingback: Your Kids Are Gifted. Should You Tell Them? | Your Rainforest Mind

  24. I don’t talk about it. That’s like telling people you can run fast. It’s not usually relevant. It is obvious to others after any time.
    I’ve simply cultured groups and friendships that value what I have to offer. Some don’t relate but that’s fine. I’m not into lots of things others are. And I have a sense of humor about my proclivities.

    I don’t feel “misunderstood” now because I don’t expect many to understand. But those that do value what I have to offer. And I can communicate just fine about normal things.

    And I learned good life skills like effortless meditation to turn down the intensity, anxiety, and make the sensitivity an asset.
    I also recognize that the gifts are distinct from some of these effects. Intelligence doesn’t create anxiety, for example. So there’s no requirement to be anxious just because we have gifts. And it’s not necessary for sensitivity to be a problem.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for sharing your perspective, David.


    • I have very little time when i do not feel anxious, the exception for me is always surrounded by prayer or reciting or listening to the Quran. they literally are my times of peace – so of course, I take my time and make them last. So I’m very intersted that you have learned to let go of the anxiety. How did you manage that? I’d love to learn how to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve written about anxiety on the blog, Lisa. If you type it into the search engine you might find posts that will help.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, I have been having a real rollercoaster week, with emotions that have gone from a sense of relief, to happy, to grief, to sadness, to anger…anxiety making me more reactionary than usual [then i feel guilty too as I’m usually pretty gentle and make effort to be senstive to how other feel – especially my family. Learning to be contained for so long, and then lifting the lid is like jumping out of a box and sicovering I can’t walk after all, I just fall over in a heap.

          Liked by 1 person

  25. Interesting to see the word “gifted” is a source of misunderstanding in English too. I’m French and we use the word “surdoué” (meaning something like “over talented”). It’s such an “over-the-top” word that it has become downright taboo. Other words have started to make their way into the common gifted vocab like HP (High Potential), HQI (High IQ) or even “zebra” (which I’m not too fond of) because it’s supposed to be the only horse you can’t tame and because they all have different stripes. It feels a bit odd to be likened to an animal that moves around in herds and which is known to be rather dumb. Well, this is all to say that the issue seems to transcend languages so it’s really the concept of “gifted” and difference which is frowned upon. Thanks for your post and greetings from France! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Lisa. Good to know that English speakers aren’t the only ones with this problem. Thanks for sharing! Good to have you here.


    • I am very new here, but I just read your comment. There’s an American author named Stephanie Tolan who has done a lot of work with and written novels for gifted children and young adults. Her favorite metaphor is ‘cheetahs in a lion world’ … you can see a cheetah as a deformed lion, or you can recognize the skills and potential of a cheetah for what they are. Might be better than zebra, at least? Some of her articles should be available via a Google search.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Pingback: Educators: What To Do About The G Word (#Gifted) | Your Rainforest Mind

  27. Pingback: Book Lovers? Your Time Has Arrived. | Your Rainforest Mind

  28. Pingback: If You Still Don’t Believe That You’re Gifted | Your Rainforest Mind

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