Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

Gifted and Misunderstood


photo courtesy pixabay CC

photo courtesy pixabay CC

How are you misunderstood? Let me count the ways.

People tell you to lighten up when you’re just trying to enlighten them.

People tell you to stop being so critical when you’re just making careful, thoughtful and thorough observations.

People tell you that you need to stop overthinking when you haven’t even begun to truly analyze the situation.

People tell you that you’re arrogant when you’re just desperate to find someone who can discuss the philosophy of William James. Doesn’t everyone love William James?

People tell you that you don’t know how to have fun when you’re having a ball reading Tolstoy.

People tell you to slow down when you’re already going at a painfully plodding pace.

People tell you that you’re OCD when you’ve painted your living room 12 times in the last 3 years, but you discern the difference between white, off-white, and off-off-white. And, you’re distressed when the color isn’t right.

People tell you that you’re lazy when you’re actually choreographing complicated mathematical equations in your head.

People tell you to stop daydreaming when you’re actually mentally entertaining yourself because the intellectual stimulation in the room is less than negligible.

People tell you to just write the darned e-mail but you have to get the punctuation, grammar and tone exactly exact.

People tell you to stop repeating yourself but you’re just trying to be sure that they understand what you’ve said; to be sure that they understand. What you’ve said.

People tell you to pick one career and stick with it but you can’t stand a job once you’ve mastered it. Why would anyone stay in a job that no longer teaches them anything?

People tell you to pick one career and stick with it but you have too many interests and abilities so you have to get to at least 42 of them before you die.

People tell you to just make a decision already but you’re considering all of the possibilities and the variables within each possibility.

People tell you to stop being so sensitive, so dramatic, and so emotional but you’ve been looking for the off button for years and have finally determined that there is no off button.


Maybe, many of “the people” will continue to misunderstand you. But, that’s OK.

Because now, you understand yourself.


To my bloggEEs: In what ways have you been misunderstood? Let us know in the comments. And if someone you love misunderstands you, share this post (and others) with him/her, and use it as a way to start the conversation.

And speaking of being misunderstood, I’m getting a little nervous since I haven’t heard from many of you about my webinar. (the last post) I suspect that, because it’s an hour and 20 minutes long, you’re waiting to find enough time to savor the full-on experience of, well, me. Ha! But, if you’re unhappy with something in the webinar post, I promise, I want to hear it. OK?




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.

59 thoughts on “Gifted and Misunderstood

  1. People tell you that you’re intimidating. Moi? I’m just a pussycat. Well ok, maybe sabre tooth tabby is closer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Why do people have to be so offended just because I’m faster than every other person on the planet. I slow down to a crawl and they say I’m still too fast for them.

    Once, I worked at a factory. The union foreman sat me down and told me that I had to slow down because it made everybody else look bad. So I slowed my work down until I was producing twice what the next closest person produced. But I just couldn’t go any slower. (I think I was at 3-to-5 times the next fastest person before the conversation).

    When I joined my novel group, most of the members hadn’t produced a single book in five years. In my first year, I produced three novels and have started on my fourth. The people in my group got very angry at me and very critical of my work. It was not difficult to read between the lines–they felt intimidated, although competition was the furthest thing from my mind. I eventually had to leave and find somebody else to work with. I got tired of being verbally shredded.

    Whenever people try to keep up with me, they quickly get frustrated. I hate competitive people, and I don’t do whatever I’m doing to be competitive. I just operate at a pace that is comfortable to me. But others seem to get highly offended at my pace, and look for ways to belittle or invalidate me.

    Why? Our society teaches children that they need to wake up in the morning and look for somebody to beat. Unfortunately, the guy who does everything fast tends to draw unwanted attention in this area.

    Can’t we all just get along? I’m not looking to beat others at anything. Why does my normal pace draw the ire of others?

    And yeah, If I could just find that darned emotions switch…

    Thanks Paula. It is so wonderful to know that there are other people out there like me. I’m not insane, I’m just different. And that’s okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think most has to do with insecurity, they feel “threatened” by your abilities, for example that factory job you had. It’s the same as when I was at school. I kept back because if I did too much, or performed out of the norm, people might pick on me. I did not want to be treated like someone special, that would cause me to be ignored by my classmates and no kid wants that. I was even behind on certain topics because of this behavior, which when I look back at it now, was ridiculous. After Elementary school I decided to go for it and guess what, the very thing happened that i tried to avoid by acting the way I did in elementary school. I was picked on and during that time I was 17! Imagine that. It was not because they did not like me, it was because I did better in class, way better, than them. Because I often had the answers before the teachers gave them. In other words I did pretty good and in this society doing “pretty good” is seen as being cocky or arrogant sadly. Or so it felt to me back then, it still does sometimes. My advice to you is not to hold back, ever!

      Liked by 1 person

    • More unvarnished and straight from the heart truth that resonates so true for me, and I imagine many others. Having bright children is for me, a daily reminder that being “weird” “different” or out of sync with main stream thinking and pace, and very different are to be embraced. Doing or saying things faster, with more thought and preparation, or simply being conscientious are all gifts the world is starving for. I’ll admit it isn’t easy, but when you get down to it, this uncomfortable place is where innovation is born. We may not share our innovative discoveries until they’ve been honed and whittled just right. Again, this takes time, thought, persistence and all the other attributes that many find annoying, yet are necessary to do things well. When my daughter is home from camp I intend to watch the Webinar again. Not only to glean more of your insight Paula, but to share the conversation with someone who will also benefit and enjoy open in-depth conversation about the “g” word!

      I just love how real these posts are, and appreciate that you have insecurities Paula, just like the rest of us! What’s more you share them, which for me is probably the best part. I can totally understand why you’d feel nervous after an endeavor like your most recent Webinar. From my point of view, what you do best is model realness for all of us and help us to remember that our vulnerabilities are our best tools for learning and expanding new worthwhile ideas. I know. Ouch….they can be so uncomfortable, but community like this helps SO much!

      I also really relate to how hard it is to wait for feedback. 🙂 I loved the Webinar, and once again the realness of the conversation.

      It’s so fantastic to see how your work and the work of others is having some real traction in deepening understanding and acceptance of unusually bright people of all sorts. Paula, you are simply a jewel in the gifted community, and I’m so grateful that this conversant world is opening up in safety and understanding for me and so many others. Yeah!

      The book? I am totally enjoying it in slow, languorous, cozy sessions with my journal, a cup of tea, and my little dog. I love to go fast, too, but am finding that I need time to digest the plethora of resources, some new ideas, and simply relish in imagined conversations about…..? I’d love to share some thoughts about that, too, but that’s fodder for another posting! Maybe you’ll share about the writing process?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you so much, agingpotential! I appreciate everything you say here. You’ve calmed my anxiety! I look forward to hearing what else you have to say. About the book? What is it you’d like? A post about my writing of the book??


    • That’s Me: I think people just don’t understand that you run naturally at that high speed and that you’re not purposely competing or trying to “show off.” It’s so frustrating and very hard to explain. Interesting, of course, if you were an athlete, outrunning everyone, then you’d be admired!

      You are not insane! You have a rainforest mind!


  3. This touched my heart. I find your blog so healing. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is all very recognizable. Most of the time I feel like I have to try to fit in and feel like people are annoyed because they think I portray to be a mr. know it all. But I really am not trying to look like that, it’s just who I am.

    It’s in my nature to question things, trying to get to know the reason or meaning behind them, why I (have to) do them etc. Just as you said with that example of an email, trying to get everything straight before I do something, wanting to know the what if and why 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If I was independently wealthy, then merely understanding myself would be enough. “Don’t understand me? Deal with it! I think I’ll go mountain climbing today. Or maybe I’ll go take some harp lessons instead. Toodles!”

    Unfortunately you can’t pay the rent with self-awareness. And being nonchalant about the silly rules and limitations others are happy to live by only makes survival that much more difficult.

    Because teachers, employers, coworkers, and often even friends and family expect the gifted to show a certain amount of submissiveness to the unwritten rules and imposed hierarchies of society no matter how absurd they may be, or the support of the group is withdrawn.

    PS I watched some of the webinar and will watch the rest soon. You seem even kinder and warmer on camera than you do in print Paula. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark, I wonder if there’s a way to understand yourself and accept yourself while being strategic about following some of the rules that are necessary for living safely or comfortably in the world. Like inside yourself you can say, “Don’t understand me? Deal with it.” and then you do what you have to do but your inner self is strong and self-confident. Does that make sense?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes it makes sense. Despite my anti-authoritarianism — which FYI merely means I do not automatically accept or acknowledge authority, especially if its legitimacy is at all in question — I am not a naturally confrontational person. I am more apt to go out of my way to avoid conflict, and so I learned at an early age that suppressing my inner instincts (including my bulls**t radar), is a useful strategy.

        However, as mentioned in comments above sometimes there is nothing you can do to avoid conflict, especially when other peoples’ jealousy, fears and insecurities are involved.

        For example, here’s another story: Back in my teen sporting days I was a talented “up-and-comer”. As a “multipotentialite”, sports was never my sole interest, I also loved art and music among other interests. Around the age of 16 I got into the exciting world of punk rock music, and while I didn’t exactly advertise it by walking around with leather and studs and a giant mohawk, (I think the most extreme look I ever had was wearing punk band tshirts and shorter — at least for those days — than average hair), nevertheless I attracted unwanted attention from some of the uber-conservative people within the sport.

        One day the head coach from the regional team (which you had to make before the ultimate goal of moving on to the national team), came up to me as I watched from the side of the course and just started to rip into me, despite the fact we had never spoken to each other before. “You think you’re so cool! You may think you have everyone else fooled but I know you are a giant fraud. As long as I am coach you will never make the team!” And without even allowing me a chance to defend myself he moved on. The cruelty was crushing, especially because I know he mistook my quietness for arrogance. That day my dream of becoming a professional athlete was officially over.

        So that is how being misunderstood can be damaging, and how we sometimes have no control over how people are going to treat us or judge us.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks for the example Mark. So sorry you went through that and so many other experiences of being misunderstood.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thanks. And I am sorry if I sound pessimistic or defeatist, because I am trying not to be. I think it is better to acknowledge a problem exists rather than to dismiss it and hope it somehow resolves itself.

            I grew up going to Catholic schools in one of the most conservative places in North America, so I know a thing or two about authoritarianism, pressures to conform, and the necessity of learning how to hide in plain sight if you are different.

            But no matter how hard you try to fit in, there will be times when someone notices you don’t. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  6. It is totally finding the chunk of time to watch the webinar. I promise to give you feedback when I do. … it will probably be September after the kids are in school.
    I hear crickets chipping after I say things in conversations with people sometimes I try to follow with self deprecating humor to relax whomever I am speaking with and make the puzzled look and head tilt disappear.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. People misinterpret your authentic expressions of love, enthusiasm, and commitment (friends as well as colleagues or lovers) because they don’t understand your ability to perceive them fully and deeply and assume you can’t hold space for their entirety.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I feel like I need to send this post to everyone I meet & know so I don’t have to keep on (or begin) explaining myself; used as their warning for what they’re getting into with me lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved that you said, in quotes, “the people”—because pondering who “the people” are has been one of my greatest therapies! Somehow realizing that “the people” don’t have anything any more figured out than I do deprived them of the power to issue edicts on the usefulness (or lack thereof) of my unique ways! It is great to demystify “the people”–the sting of being misunderstood is somehow calmed when I realize that both myself and my critic are, to quote Pink Floyd, “just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl…day after day….” (I’m really not that pessimistic–I think it’s a great fish bowl and I don’t feel “lost”, really, just mystified by the immensity, but I do love that song.) My experience of swimming just has a lot more sensory data attached to it than my critic’s. He just hasn’t done the research!
    But here’s the more poignant thing as I take the next step into “completely vulnerable” here in this cyber community. When I immediately became excited and wanted to comment, even here I felt the familiar check on my inspiration from my inner self-management: “Perrianne, watch it now. you’re new to this blog community. You might be over-doing it. Don’t look too eager! Show that you can hold back and not need to tell everyone every thought you have! After all, you don’t want to wear out your welcome so soon. Save your “too muchness” for later and safer times. Don’t come on too strong!”
    It surprised me that the voice of “the people” could extend even to this spot which, as I understand it, is intended to be a safe place far away from the voice of “the people”! Powerful beings we are in these webs we weave! In response to these misgivings, I did what I have learned to do best: LAUGH at the humor of it all…and…..have the courage to post anyway, realizing that actually being in the discussion is more important than being understood! (She resists the desire to add a smiley-face here, though she feels it, because she fears that is probably way too pedestrian for this community…and might be misunderstood! ha ha) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay, Perrianne!! Be eager!! I’ve wondered about the smiley-face and heart emoticons myself and have thought, “Hm, maybe I need to look more sophisticated…yada yada yada.” But when I don’t feel like I communicate well enough with words, the emoticon helps. So often I want to send love to my bloggEEs. Then I think, “Oh dear. Can’t send too many hearts…” So, you can join us with your questions and hesitations. And we can all have some humor about ourselves. And post anyway. Chances are, everyone is still limiting what they’re writing just because in some ways that makes sense in a forum like this, just in the interest of space and time. So it’s also realistic. After all, you have SO MUCH to say and share. It really might be impossible to write everything. But I hope you feel welcome and free to share some of who you are. I’m guessing that, as you read the comments, you see how valuable they are and how you learn as much from them as from the post.


    • Your post seems so authentic and honest Perrianne, I hope I can find such a voice in myself in times to come.


  10. Both my parents, brother, son and me have all been told we’re ‘too’ something, we overthink, overly sensitive, fast, all of it.

    It never hurt me until I was 26 and a friend shredded me with a couple sentences about how me and my family always think too much, gawd! she said, I can’t stand it! I asked her then she insisted on being around us, why date my brother then and hang out with me? She was laughing but it cut to the bone. She is artistically and musically gifted and herself misunderstood by others. That same evening she took issue with me about quite frequently sitting with a notebook, writing and doodling after or before an open mic performance or in places she would take me too to hang out. I tried to explain it’s because I don’t do small chat in a noisy room and would rather hear the music and doodle in between than force myself to be the socialite she thought I should be. She’s an extrovert, I’m not. I tried to explain that too but she didn’t want to hear it and claimed I was just a mopey misfit who would never have any real friends. That was the beginning of the end of that friendship because she wasn’t a real friend. I already them.

    And, there was a webinar?!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve started watching the video and it’s lovely to see you in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for this post. The description feels so relevant, though this also makes me fear I’ll never be able to change myself or make things right. Difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul. It may not be about changing yourself; may be more about accepting yourself and understanding your rainforest traits. Then finding other rainforest folks who understand you and are more like you. If you feel more self-acceptance, you can adapt or be flexible when needed. You can feel more compassion for yourself and others. And things will get easier.


  13. Wow. As usual, you have nailed it. My eyes are full of tears. When I was pregnant with my first child we had recently moved across the country. I had one friend, no job and lots of time on my hands. I spent my time going to yoga, reading War and Peace and watching Gilmore Girls reruns. It was bliss. War and Peace is my favorite book, it gets so deep into the psychology of the characters as they struggle with conflict. But I can never tell anyone that! It would sound so pompous. My husband let me name our second child after William James’ little brother…another of my very favorite authors. Thank you so much for your blog. You really make me feel loved and understood even though I’ve never met you and I’m sure I never will. I promise to view your webinar soon. I’ve been meaning to, but it’s been a busy summer with the kids out of school.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Sarah. I have to smile at your connections to Tolstoy and William James! Wow. A little bit of synchronicity! I’m so glad my blog helps you feel loved. No rush with the webinar. It’ll be there when you have the time.


  14. There is a webinar?! As soon as I am back from vacation I will listen! Awesome! I am retreating from the world with my family this week, very limited access to the Internet. Time to go to the beach!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. To escape being called pushy and over smart I pretend to be a stupid many a times. I am considered show off in my kids parents circle and over thinking in my friends and family circle. This pretending of cool is not an easy task to do and I see my son growing up with similar traits, don’t know whether to be worried or feel blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

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  17. I love the one about not staying in a job where you aren’t learning anything. That is torture to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. My psychotherapist complained that I “bad mouthed” her when I presented her with a 200-page critique of her work!!

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  19. Thank you for this post. My whole life has been a battle of being misunderstood. My particular problem is being seen as arrogant. It doesn’t help that I’m very tall and extremely good looking, and overwhelmingly charismatic, alongside the intellectual abilities (while it pains me greatly to be this blunt, I’m sure you gifted folks understand the very matter of fact way I’m stating this). This perception of arrogance started when I was 4-5 years old (!) and has continued into adulthood. It is very hurtful because the truth is the opposite. I would rather jump of a bridge than put myself in a position to feel I’m better than someone else. As a child, I admired the other children, desperately wanted to be as cool as them and belong to their group. When I went to the bathroom at school, some kids said I’m going there to admire my own beauty at the mirror. This confused me very much, because I was innocent enough to be completely oblivious to my own or others physical appearance. When I tried to engage with some kids, they would just chant “me me me me me”. My mother would tell me some teachers think I’m looking down my nose at the other children. It is hard to express how much this all confused me, and how deeply it hurt.

    Nowadays, I have the unique ability to make people visibly roll their eyes at me and completely shut me off even after the shortest of exhanges. Of course, being the utterly humble, compassionate and empathetic person that I am, I’m bending over backwards for these people to appear less intimidating, less perceptive, less competent, less charming, less like I’m a genetically engineered next version human. Yes, I would rather jump of a bridge than win, if someone else has to lose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing, Te. I suspect that when a person is physically attractive in the traditional sense in addition to being intellectually gifted, it can be an opportunity to be doubly misunderstood and seen as arrogant. It’s a hard thing to talk about without seeming even more arrogant or inappropriate. Good to hear from you.


      • Yes, it seems to cause strong, often negative reactions in many people. It hasn’t helped that I’ve been completely unaware of my rainforest mind for 29 years (my age). There was no such thing as gifted classes in my school. I received no reaction for getting the best grades of the class (as a boy) other than being labeled a weirdo. I even had some openly resentful teachers. Atleast my art teacher encouraged me to pursue arts, too bad I found drawing and painting relatively unstimulating. Due to this lack of positive feedback, most of my life I’ve though I must be much dumber than everyone else, thinking they must have some grand insights into life that I just don’t have.

        Due to luck, I have found your blog just recently. I am finally able to start building some semblance of an identity, one that’s not plagued by constant negative thoughts of self. I was at my breaking point. I still cannot believe I have found something that makes so incredibly much sense. It’s so wonderful it just cant be true (Yes, I still do often think I’m an impostor, a true idiot and even downright insane). I thought I was doomed to eternal confusion, chaos and ultimate destruction. While I hate to be self absorbed, I believe it is necessary for a while to be able to heal. With time, I hope I will finally have some confidence, and be able to create a social persona that keeps me out of trouble, and doesn’t lead to complete withdrawal of social capital. As much as I wish I was rich enough to be able to spend most of my time alone studying the world, one must frequently engage in society in order to get food and shelter. And I’m not a robot( how wonderful that would be) I still desperately long for human contact. Lol

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m so happy to know that my blog is making a difference for you, Teemu. Keep reading so you’ll see that you are, in fact, gifted and you can get some tips on how to use that knowledge. Yes, some self “absorption” might be needed to sort this all out. If you read the comments, too, you’ll see that you’re not alone in still questioning yourself. Welcome!


          • It certainly has, I’m sure you have greatly impacted many lives. I will be reading everything, it feels like someone is injecting medicine into my brain. I thought I was too weird and complex for this world, but you have me all figured out. Reading your posts, I’m almost starting to feel boringly predictable. It is the most wonderful feeling for a change. 🙂 (have an unsophisticated smiley). Thank you thank you thank you.

            Liked by 1 person

  20. I am so glad to find a post from you when I googled, “giftedness misunderstood as arrogance.” I’ve been encountering this lately. It’s made me wonder if I am an arrogant asshole, or a chronically condescending weirdo. I think the later is truly possible in my most intimate relations, since I tend to want to avoid being vulnerable, but I am wondering if certain things are just not acceptable amongst general society and I should refrain from doing/saying them. Such as:

    When my husband says he believes in Bigfoot, I gasp and nearly shout, “That’s ridiculous! You do know that Bigfoot was an orchestrated sham in 1962 on the coast of California? Besides that it would be impossible that something of that size with its dietary requirements would be not found in the woods of Oregon.” I continued to list the reasons it was not in any way possible, then found an article on the Smithsonian website literally backing up everything I said. Hahahhahaha! All of this was so amusing to me, but my hubby said he felt I was condescending, and my response was – women can know things dear. Which I think might have ALSO been condescending!! Hahahaha. Oh my.

    Another example, I was meeting someone knew to discuss consciousness, and I told them a little about my background, mentioning that I was in the highly+ giftedness range and noting how this was significant in my childhood because I didn’t have the familial support needed to tend to those particular needs, and they later asked me if people might find that condescending. My answer was, well, I think you do. This particular thing has happened to me a handful of times, and makes me not want to mention this at all even though I tend to only bring it up to others who I feel are in the same situation – partially in hopes of helping them understand their own qualities better.

    I’m truly trying to figure out how to not be condescending EVER, but also I don’t want to make others problems my own. I’m finding it nearly impossible to know when people are being led by their own misguided perceptions or lack of information (does that sound condescending?) and when I’m actually not attuned to the social requirements of any given situation.

    Someone actually said to me the other day – don’t you think we should be practicing intuition and not studying it? Don’t you think studying the origins and types of intuition keeps you from being intuitive? I haven’t responded yet because my immediate reaction is to be like – WHAT? Are you kidding me? Intuition isn’t a separate entity, it’s infused in everything and studying it only enhances the contents of my adaptive unconscious, giving me potential mastery over my domain. Intuition is working at all times in so many ways that wouldn’t be known to me if I wasn’t curious enough to pursue what is both known to us consciously and what is made known through the unconscious. Is that condescending? HAHAHAHAHA!!

    I find the line between my peculiar personality and DNA makeup and being an arrogant asshat to be too thin. Maybe I will just have to be comfortable with appearing as many things to many people, and working on my communication skills and vulnerability issues simultaneously.


    • Wow! What great examples, ellabirt. It’s a tricky thing, isn’t it? First of all, you are not alone with this dilemma. Chances are, you are not arrogant, you are just trying to explain things and be yourself. Or you are wanting to help someone else understand something. Because you are thinking more deeply and widely, you may sound condescending. And your frustration with someone else’s lack of knowledge may be perceived as arrogant. Gifted folks often do have to work on their communication skills and adjust based on who they are with. But it is so lonely! Keep looking for other RFMs so you can be matched in your intellect at least some of the time.

      One thing I have found is that it can be better to describe yourself without using the term “gifted” in the beginning just to see where the person is first. You can talk about your traits that make you gifted but leave out that word at first.

      Thank you for sharing this. I’m sure many readers are nodding their heads in agreement with your frustrations.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Paula! Your voice on the page is so comforting, reassuring. I’m definitely going to hold off on using the G-word. Communicating with others seems so full of rules that I find limiting – but I’m willing to learn! One thing I will never be willing to do again is to hide my abilities to accommodate others. I’ve had a lifetime of that! But maybe, just maybe, I can rephrase a few things so my words land like flower petals instead of bricks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well said, ellabirt. Good to differentiate between communicating to get your message across versus hiding your true self to accommodate others. It especially applies when you are trying to accommodate toxic people. Best to stay away from those types if at all possible.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Interestingly, one of the people in example #2 who had issues with me mentioning giftedness was someone I met in an online forum related to giftedness (although they created their own term for it). I always find it a bit disconcerting when a fellow RFM doesn’t acknowledge this about themselves. I find it happens often in groups that center around spirituality – sometimes people like to believe their intuitive capabilities are mysterious gifts from the ether, but I always think it’s important to first acknowledge the qualities present within our neurodivergent selves. I see spirituality as a meaningful layer (stories, metaphors, interpretations of experience we can choose to believe or just inhabit to create meaning in our lives), but I don’t leave out the obvious when attributing my intuitive capabilities. Neuroscience / neurodivergence, the psychological theory of the adaptive unconscious, a dash of Freud’s repressed memories, Jung’s archetypes / the collective unconscious – these things for me all play a role in the “experience” of intuition. As with everything but the physical sciences (and even those are on shaky ground – muons!) most of human knowledge is unprovable to some extent, but that doesn’t mean we should dismiss the scientific or more mundane causes of sensitivity/perceptiveness/intuitiveness for the mythological, mystical, or speculative stories humans have created to make their lives more meaningful. This is what I think about whenever an RFM denies their capabilities/skillsets have anything to do with their intuitive nature.

            Also – your mention of toxic people immediately caused me to re-examine the details of one of these interactions. I realized I had overlooked a large number of red flags because I get so excited to learn about a new person. Trust in myself!! Intuitively, I was repelled by the person, but it wasn’t until this closer look that I realized exactly why (not entirely related to the paragraph above, more objective red flags). 🙂

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