Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

It’s Time We Talked About Trauma, Resilience, Intuition, And Spirituality

53 Comments

I was asked on a recent podcast about my work with clients who experienced trauma as children. Are rainforest-minded clients more traumatized than non-rainforest-minded clients when there is abuse in the family? Are they more resilient? Is there a difference between a highly sensitive, intuitive, gifted child and a regular more typical child when it comes to growing up in a seriously dysfunctional family? What about intuition and spirituality? How do they play a part in the life of a rainforest mind experiencing trauma?

(photo by Jeremy Bishop, Unsplash)

Well. As usual, I can only speak anecdotally. But I have worked as a therapist since 1992 so that is quite a few years of anecdotes!

That said, as you might imagine, the answer is not simple. And because I work exclusively with rainforest minds (RFMs), I have no real concrete means of comparison. So, those of you with a more skeptical, analytical bent, bear with me. I am simply sharing what I have seen and I am open to hearing your thoughts.

Another thing. The population of gifted humans I know is also a particular group of folks who want therapy, can afford therapy, and are actively choosing self-examination. So, I will be speaking about a fairly select group.

Yet another thing. I do realize that people write volumes on each of these topics and here I am writing an itty bitty blog post. Apologies.

Eek. One final thing for new readers. Not all gifted folks have rainforest minds. But all rainforest minds are gifted.

Phew. Disclaimers aside. Here ya go.

Over the years, I have worked with many clients who were abused in their families of origin. There are clear impacts that can include: intense anxiety and hypervigilance, depression, safety-trust-control issues, self-doubt, self-hatred, low self-esteem, codependency, boundary problems, relationships that repeat the unhealthy patterns in the family, somatic symptoms, PTSD, and delayed achievement in career paths. And more. Clearly, RFMs are deeply impacted by early trauma.

One might think a highly sensitive child would be more affected in an unsafe environment than someone less aware or less sensitive. And, yes, these kids are likely more vulnerable due to their keen awareness, empathy, and sensitivity. And yet. What has surprised me, even with the greater vulnerability, has been the quality of resilience. In spite of the severe abuse that many of my clients experienced, I have not seen them becoming abusers themselves. They do not develop serious personality disorders. They still maintain their powerful empathy, sensitivity, moral compass, and mental agility.

How is this possible?

I have theories.

Many of my clients tell me that at a very early age, they knew something was wrong with their parents so that they were less likely to fully blame themselves for the abuse. There was a certain capacity for observation or, perhaps, metacognition or intuition. This awareness may have provided some protection from the intense self-hatred and acting out behaviors that many children develop in these circumstances, that can lead to more severe outcomes including serious addictions and deep-seated mental disturbances such as narcissism or psychopathology.

There is more.

The intuition and spirituality that comes with a rainforest mind is a natural resilience builder. RFMs are often quite intuitive. They know things and do not necessarily know where the knowing comes from. They receive ideas, direction, and support from particular intuitive insights or psychic capacities. There is often an unusually strong spirituality including a mystical connection with Spirit or Guidance or Nature or the Universe or God. Clients have told me that when they were quite young, they felt the presence of angels or spiritual guides providing protection, support, and love during those early years.

Many RFMs seek meaning outside of traditional religious circles. Some explore Buddhist practices, earth-centered beliefs, or shamanic influences. They often find peace, a sense of belonging, and wisdom when they spend time in the natural world, communicating with animals, trees, rivers, and plants. One way to think about it is that this intuitive and spiritual circuitry provides a strong safety net when a rainforest-minded human is threatened.

On occasion, I have mused that RFMs might be old souls and all of those lifetimes contributed to their set of unique traits and to their resilience. And, more recently, it has occurred to me, that perhaps these clients are born with a crystalline strength that runs through the center of their body-minds that not even the most horrific abuser can touch, much less break.

Certainly, many rainforest-minded clients have a long, complicated grieving process in therapy to heal from the serious traumas and the devastating losses they have experienced. But they are not broken. At their center remains a powerful, tenacious, enduring, robust, resplendent Light.

And that Light saves them. And just might save us all.

___________________________________

To my bloggEEs: As you can tell, I am a little anxious about this post (Did the 5 disclaimers give it away???) I am not sure why except that, perhaps, this is an even more complicated and controversial topic than usual. And then, I realized I’ve written about this before. Here. Go figure. Please share your personal stories in the comments. Your insights and experiences are so valuable. If you know of good resources about trauma, resilience, intuition, and spirituality, please tell us about them. Here are a few worth looking into: Spirituality: Tara Brach. Clarissa Pinkola Estes. On Being by Krista Tippett. The Evolutionary Collective. Trauma: Judith Blackstone. Complex PTSD. Healing Trauma. Sending you much love.

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.

53 thoughts on “It’s Time We Talked About Trauma, Resilience, Intuition, And Spirituality

  1. This really resonates with me. Spot on. Heartfelt thanks for all the powerful RFM content you share!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The first reply seemed to get sucked into some WordPress place and insisted I create an account. Try again?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I relate to the instinctual knowledge of my parents’ brokenness. While I did feel loved, my parents were very self-absorbed, in part because they were very young.

    By the time I was in high school my mother was turning to me for wisdom and support, a reversal of roles which I now know to be an exploitative betrayal of trust. By then I knew that I was essentially on my own when it came to dealing with my own emotional needs.

    Still, I have always been skeptical that the origins of trauma lay solely within the family. It is my belief that school was where I was traumatized the most, because my top grades never seemed good enough. Teachers also demanded rapt attention, a buy-in to a learning style not compatible with my own, and above all silence, passive obedience and 100% dedication to the curriculum, the teaching styles and all authority, no questions asked.

    To make the authoritarian state of education even worse, I attended Catholic schools where blind obedience was not only a prerequisite for learning, it was taught as a moral obligation as well.

    When learning is so important to a rainforest mind, being routinely punished and humiliated at school for breaking expected norms is indeed traumatizing. Any thoughts?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, Nic. The trauma isn’t necessarily just within the family. I have heard many stories about bullying in school and inadequate education. Parents have told me that their 6 year olds were so excited to be going to school but then so disappointed when they got there. Thank you for sharing. Maybe others will chime in.

      Like

    • Hi Nic, yes – I agree with you that it does not solely lay within the family. I think the cause of attachment trauma often does, but it things like PTSD can absolutely be a result of things that happen outside of the family. I have experienced abuse when I was a child. The abuse itself was outside of the family, but my mother had a postnatal depression so that complicated things at home (attachment issues). The way I coped with this, I feel strongly has a connection to my RFM. I recognize a lot in what Paula writes when it comes to the way I dealt with this – including the spiritual and guardians.

      I currently see in my son that school can absolutely be traumatic too for RFM’s. My son has a school trauma and because of this did not go to school for 2 years. He is now back in school, but it is still a struggle sometimes. Paula and I talk about this in the podcast as well…

      Thanks for sharing your post. Take care 🙏🏻🦋

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel seen. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I grew up with an alcoholic father, a sad mother, and 3 older sibs. I am just now, in middle age, learning about all the ways this insidious addiction has threaded its way through my life. I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. Sure, I can cook with it and drink a rare cocktail or sangria. Still, the smell. Deep, deep down I hate alcohol. I can’t stand being around drunk people. I get stressed to my core and I relive the trauma of sad people doing stupid things like drinking too much and making everyone around them miserable.
    Living in a dysfunctional, alcoholic house during childhood affected my school life, my grades, and my self-esteem. I am just now realizing that my mediocre grades and my inability to grasp most concepts when they were introduced probably had to do with sadness and stress at home. But I knew how to just go through the motions, follow the directions and get an answer and pass with Cs.
    Also, interestingly and sadly, all three of my siblings became alcoholics.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was just talking with a client today about how smells can be very difficult triggers to resolve because they go straight to the amygdala so that the cognitive part of the brain doesn’t have a chance to intervene. Alcoholism in families is quite traumatic so it makes sense that it would affect your achievement in school. Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that you wrote this: “ Another thing. The population of gifted humans I know is also a particular group of folks who want therapy, can afford therapy, and are actively choosing self-examination. So, I will be speaking about a fairly select group.”
    That kind of awareness in research as well as in life is a gift to the world. Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thank you Paula for exploring this with me. I thought it was special that you intuitively seemed to see the child inside of me. She felt seen and I am grateful.

    Thank you for sharing this part of the rainforest mind with the world. I realise talking about this or writing about this is not easy. I remember my anxiety when I placed my first post about this looking for answers… I think I removed it 3 times before I felt safe enough. But I notice a lot of people can relate… I am grateful that it makes them feel seen 🦋

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Paula, para mi es una bendición haberte encontrado.

    Poseo una mente salvaje, y fui víctima de abandono de mis padres, y maltrado continuo de los familiares con los que me crié: Alcoholismo, prostitución, abusos, maltrato psiquico y agresiones durante toda mi infancia y adolescencia.. En fin, una tormenta perfecta.

    Hoy con 45 años continuo el camino de la sanación, pero durante toda mi vida, la luz me ha guiado y me guía para no desviarme por senderos oscuros.

    Siempre supe que el camino era guiarme por mi intuición, y ella me ha llevado siempre a la conexión de todo lo bueno que soy y que tengo. Pero es cierto: he tenido la posibilidad hace años de poder acceder a terapia, y me cambió la vida. Miro atrás, y se que sin ayuda, sin la claridad de mente y corazón de terapeutas y “brujas” me hubiera quedado en medio de la nada.
    Tengo que decir que leerte me ayuda a llegar a rincones que no había podido antes.
    Otra vez gracias

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Camus famously said: “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
    And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” I think you and Camus are describing the same thing! In my own case I experience this as a small still voice that appears especially during times of distress and crisis. I wonder how many of us who experienced childhood trauma have decided not to have children. In my case, I was aware in my early adulthood that I was still reacting to some of the difficulties in my early life and did not trust myself to not perpetuate that trauma. I can understand how that breaks the cycle of abuse, but I would be interested in learning more about how that has the potential to “heal the legacy of your family line for past and future generations”, as you said in another blog post. That small still voice sometimes whispers in my ear that this is one of the things I am meant to do.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is one of those things you can’t prove, Someone. But intuitively and spiritually, it feels to me that when we do the deep healing work, it doesn’t just make our personal lives better but it provides a safer world for our children and also in some mysterious way, heals something in our ancestors as well. Thank you for the Camus quote. I do suspect that sensitive, more conscious people might choose to not have children for those reasons. But I wonder if they, you, would actually make better parents because of your awareness!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow, subject of a lot of my work lately! Seeing what I absorbed, that I do not want to carry, and removing those ties or habits. Interestingly the problem person recently said what a good parent I am (no, not dreaming). It’s taken me decades to realize my parenting skills came from a family I stayed with for a few days as a child. I am profoundly grateful.
        Thank you Paula.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. That bit about ‘crystalline strength’ really rang a bell in me. Even though I’ve been deeply challenged with depression, low self esteem, lack of appropriate boundaries and everything else that comes from childhood abuse and severe neglect, I’ve always been able to find strength from somewhere. I feel an inner core of ‘something’. My close friends, those who know about my difficult childhood have often commented on my ability to carry on, be positive in the face of awfulness and their surprise at how strong I can really be when the proverbial ‘sh*t hits the fan’. I’m also very good in a crisis and find a well of strength to carry my friends through tough times too. This can occasionally mean some people have me on speed dial when life goes wrong for them but strangely mis place my number when they’re having that barbecue!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I am in my 60’s, my Mom is alive and well in her 90’s (my Dad passed 20 years ago). They were the best Parents to my Brother and I. My Mom loved her parents, as did I, BUT;
    I can tell you my Dad’s father was very mean and strict, my Dad HATED him and left and went far away as soon as he could.
    So the cycle CAN be broken, children can learn how NOT to be a parent from their parents.
    The problem I have is finding a mate who will accept me and just enjoy life. I made the incorrect assumption that people were more like me than not, and that my love and acceptance of them for who they are would help them enjoy life….. wrong!
    I struggle to not become apathetic and cynical, but you know “US”, we will survive and “reset” and can start fresh, right?
    Love,
    Keith

    Liked by 3 people

    • Finding a compatible mate is not easy, for many reasons, Keith. Certainly, having a rainforest mind is one of the challenges. Continuing to do your inner work can help. You might explore the work of Esther Perel or The School of Life on relationships. And I’m still planning to write the book on love and RFMs but I am just getting started so it will be a long while.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Another bloggEE sent me this insight:

    “I love this! On so many levels. When I read what you wrote I also add the other layers of being black, brown, indigenous, immigrant, differently abled or gendered etc.

    Mix one or more of those in with trauma + giftedness and wowsers!…”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Paula,

    I have often been asked how I was able to deal with the childhood that I experienced. Your blog really resonates with how I see the past, and how I have addressed my life. At a very early age, I understood that I understood.

    I was thrown out of religion class on a regular basis (I went to Catholic Schools … and raised by Catholic parents). To my alcoholic father’s credit, every time he had to come get me…his answer was always…My daughter is smart and she has lots of questions. He knew, I knew.

    I feel at peace in nature. I love animals. I practise honouring the wheel of the year. There is this beauty in the solidness of how how these systems operate.

    And yet, at 58, I can say to people, I do not really know how someone who is wired like I am, can deal with all the things that this world is. I feel so deeply. I have such an extremely sensitive sense of smell and of touch. I put things together in ways others simply cannot…or will not until much, much later.

    I recently did a neuro scan of my brain…as I was providing consulting work for the the company and I was assessing the experience for the owner to build best practises. They called me to redo the testing as I scored in the 99th percentile for processing speed. They thought they made a mistake in the testing. I laughed. What came out of the scan though, really impacted me. There were areas that were impacted by trauma (so they say).

    It messed me up for quite a while. The owner of the company could not understand why I was so upset. My brain…well, it seemed that it was the only thing that got me through my life. That I could think myself out of the conditions of my childhood, out of the crazy world that we live in.

    I do not know if anyone can follow my trains of thoughts here…but the fact that understanding my gift…at an early age has helped me tremendously.

    Having an imperfect brain…well that was a challenge.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Following your trains, cherylhlmn. Thank you. Fascinating to study our brains and the impact of our wiring and how trauma effects the brain. Then again, there is the plasticity of the brain and, perhaps, those other factors that support us…

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This is certainly an interesting topic! And as is often the case, my experience has been quite different. I was raised by a widowed mother and sometimes my grandmother. Between my new-age type mother, long before that term was even a concept, and my grandmother who was a rigid Christian, I found my strength in seeking the rational and connecting with the real.

    I would be, in today’s world, described as a neglected child, but I never thought of it that way at the time. I sought my salvation, so to speak, in resistance and confrontation, and realized quite early on that I had to raise myself. I was aware that this was very unfair and that I wasn’t going to do an especially great job of it, but better than my mother, who left me on my own a great deal, sent me to boarding school on and off, starting at the age of three! Let me drink liquor regularly and smoke cigarettes when I was as young as ten. She thought it was cute, I guess. I learned to read when I was three and lived in books. It was impossible to converse with other children. I got over both drinking and smoking, the drinking pretty early and smoking later as a young adult. I still like to read.
    As a mother, I was attentive and knew the need to set boundaries and model what I wanted my daughter to learn. I used my mother as a reverse template for what not to do, but I understood that that wasn’t enough, I read extensively to find out what positive steps to do as well.

    The word spirit, means non-physical and is closely related to the mind and the internal processes of the human consciousness. The idea of ‘spiritual’ does not work for me. Some of it is due to the people I have known who use it in ways that I find counter-productive or even manipulative. Some of it is just having a different understanding of the world and how it works. Since I was a very young child, I have always known we are connected to, and a part of, the rest of life and the entire universe (external) and that all of it matters immensely. That each one of us is just somebody else to everyone else, and it is important to know and acknowledge that.

    I don’t believe in furthering the narcissistic view that exalts the human brain/psyche/consciousness and claims ‘the answers are solely within,’ or any other view that rejects the real world. This kind of thinking is leading our species to destroy the real world for fantasies, which include spirit and money and more recently AI.

    I don’t think that everyone who seeks meaning in spiritual ways is necessarily wanting to destroy the world for their beliefs, but there are far too many who would and are. Those fantasies/figments, including religions, then become more real and more important than what is truly real, that is, life and the natural world. And where such thinking can lead is truly disturbing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do have some clients who also are not finding a spiritual source and what I am writing about here to be part of what helps them, although many do. Those clients would be more inclined like you, hksounds, to put their trust in the more rational, concrete experience of nature, the planet, the awesomeness of life, what they also would define as the real world. (if I am understanding what you are saying) I appreciate your sharing your particular experience with this!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow, this one hit home.
    My parents, well I am sure they tried, but is the expression “perfect storm” me being rainforest so smart and very very very sensitive and lots of empathy and needing time to think things thru, and my parents, not very smart, very very very bad at emotions, and little to no empathy. So I always felt as a brown bear being raised by chipmunks.
    I know they tried, but it didnt work.
    then school, also big problems, again brown bear in a class of, well to be honest, stinging jellyfish.
    a teacher who gave the at that time amazing advice to just hit the kids that where bullying me back. and my respons that I wouldnt because that would hurt. and watching the teachers brain go into mallfunction because of that.

    I cant say when I first understood that they all tried but really couldnt do any better. but I was young. less then 8. it still hurt though. and it made it so much harder to put blame where it should have gone. because how can I blame someone who is really trying but cant. But then who to blame? my self? fate? sociaty?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, yes, your empathy! It can get in the way of holding others responsible for their abuse and/or choices. When a client is reluctant to blame their parents, I tell them they can have empathy for them but also hold them responsible for their behavior (in the therapy setting). Recognize that the parents made choices and had behaviors that hurt you, and that you have had to spend years recovering from. Simply put, abusive parents are at fault. Holding them responsible, feeling your anger and grief, is all part of a healthy therapy process. Eventually, you can come to a place of self-acceptance and self-compassion and a sense of being unburdened by the trauma.

      Like

      • Hi Paula, I did learn to put the blame where it should have been. and then I went overboard on that and was angry at everything and everyone.
        with the result that I didnt even like myself anymore. because I am not naturally an angry person.
        by now 5 years later I feel like I have some sort of equlibirium.
        but also learned to accept it, like the weather, I can get angry about the rain, and then make my day a bad day, or I can just see that it rains. and get wet. I will dry up again.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think that can happen for a while, ewabs2, being angry at everything! And then you move through that, too. Equilibrium is a good word for it, and an inner peace, perhaps. Thank you.

          Like

    • Beautiful!- the malfunction part. I would watch the adults in my life say one thing & often know they were lying. I would respond to what they said (because it didn’t sit right) & watch that same malfunctioning brain. I can now laugh at that, where I was really upset as a kid. It takes a while to assemble all the puzzle pieces. Thank you.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. The topic of trauma response and information processing among gifted/RFMs fascinates and intrigues me more than most, and I’ve spent a great deal of time exploring it introspectively, therapeutically, and conversationally with many other gifted/RFM and NT (neurotypical) folks.

    I have found, anecdotally of course [disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer], that by-and-large, gifted/RFM folks really do seem to store/process personal (behavior driven) childhood trauma differently than NTs, and that difference may contribute to the reason they don’t tend to perpetuate the behaviors that traumatized them as children. Here is my very incomplete, woefully ineloquent, and overly simplified theory of why we seem to respond and grow/repair differently than NTs. I apologize now for imposing my shortcomings… I think I’d need a day-long interactive video chat forum to effectively share my feral RFM thoughts/theory on this!

    Similarly to NTs, we have that same emotion-link-to-trauma-event response, and form an emotional (amygdala) memory that shapes and affects our subsequent lives.
    Differently, we are often able to add and append a strong cognitive narrative to that emotion-memory, label it, and catalog it. “…This is a horrific feeling. It results from treatment to me. I am a human being. It is therefore, mis-treatment of human-beings. Catalog it. Keep it. It is useful”.

    I think our gifted/RFM ability to build and wrap a cognitive “meta-narrative” around the emotion-memory and catalog it, is what allows us to somewhat untether ourselves from the natural personal threat response, and helps to reframe it as a more [objective] cognitive page in our “Library of Life Experiences…the Good, the Bad, and the Indifferent”. Doing so also allows us to a develop a defensible, and protectable morality by encapsulating emotion within the rules of cognitive reason — a sort of bridging of two competing biological systems… limbic and cognitive. I think this is something unique to gifted/RFMs. Something NTs do not seem able to do as well. And perhaps it is something that offers us purpose.

    Just maybe…
    We recognize or intuit deep in our core, right from the get-go, that we don’t fit in as a direct peer-level participant in the [NT] life experience. We frantically and relentlessly seek to understand why, in order to solve… to “fix ourselves”. But maybe, if we’re fortunate enough to be at that part of our gifted RFM journey, just maybe we discover the futility of fixing “don’t fit in”, and instead accept that we CAN’T fit in on THAT level. Then we are free to understand and engage a uniquely different gifted/RFM purpose… to be super efficient, super capable “amassers”, aggregators and emotional-cognitive “bridgers” of life’s experiences, and use our unique “cogno-emotive” understanding of these experiences as a tool to help improve and enhance the evolutionarily incomplete, biologically faulted, human existence. Maybe. I’d like to think so.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Whoa, lackosleep! Thank you for this. No disclaimers needed! 🙂 Beautiful. And THIS: “…Then we are free to understand and engage a uniquely different gifted/RFM purpose… to be super efficient, super capable “amassers”, aggregators and emotional-cognitive “bridgers” of life’s experiences, and use our unique “cogno-emotive” understanding of these experiences as a tool to help improve and enhance the evolutionarily incomplete, biologically faulted, human existence. Maybe. I’d like to think so.”

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Thank you for this post. We also need to talk about the psychiatric abuse of RFMs. I recommend checking the NGO “Mad in America”.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. I wish I had the means to afford myself sessions with you, is all I can say upon reading your post, in which I’m not missing a single thing (all of what you mentioned, happened, and I can agree with all that you’re saying about it, particularly that there is something inside of us that apparently didn’t become all broken, at the very least that, which I refer to as “sentience”. But you said it more beautifully, more poetic, of course).

    I’m going to check out the crystalline strength article. Indeed, I now wonder sometimes how my younger self managed to survive all this (buddies from elementary school would refuse to continue coming to my home once they got a taste of it… I guess, that gives anyone enough of an idea as to what the “climate” there was like…). I guess, when placed in an unhealthy, emotionally dysfunctional environment, one has to grow up quickly and learn to “think on their feet” fast. Yes, intuition is an important part of building and employing the survival skills that allow us to protect our fragile – or not so fragile, after all…? – selves as best as we manage to find out. And “cold reading” the abuser is another important item in the RFM/Traumatic Abuse Survivor’s survival kit, I think, becoming super fast working experts in identifying every little twitch of facial expression, body language and other indications that precede another violent attack of some kind (verbal, emotional, physical, often times all three, which makes them so incredibly harmful in their destructive quality. “I tried to break your willpower, so you’d comply.” Yes. I was the receiver of this very sentence as hard as it is to believe, even now….)

    Maybe one thing, that merits mention: As we see societies run by not necessarily the finest of characters by and large, whose particular “qualities” of bullying others into complacency oftentimes got them their position of power, abuse unfortunately continues even later in life. Sure, there are “pockets” of places providing some serenity and quietude, where our hyperactive nervous system may find a measure of equanimity and solace – if only for a moment, but enough to recharge and keep on fighting the “good” (?) fight. However, mindfulness, open–mindedness, vulnerability… I’m afraid we’ll require another handful of future generations at least until these qualities can be safely embodied on our “Terra Furiosa” planet and among our own species. Or as I heard in a different podcast, where someone recalls a super clever T-shirt slogan: “The meek are ready.” 😉 (biblical, religious reference intentional, I guess… 😉 ).

    Thank you again for all that you do, Paula!

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Paula, it is amazing to me that someone whose books and website have been such a lifeline to so many (and dare I say, a literal lifesaver) is still so modest. You often defer to greater expertise than you own. Once again a perfect example of a truly gifted person, as we are always more aware of what we don’t know than what we do.
    Enter this post about trauma and the thing that I have always felt made me so different from most people. As a very young child I was aware of this “Knowing” it came with every breath I breathed and every ray of sunshine I absorbed.
    I grew up in a very abusive and neglectful environment. I know now that both my parents were severely mentally ill. It is weird because I always knew even as a tiny person with little verbal acuity and a lack of the vocabulary to express myself. It was because of this knowing that I am the woman I am today. I had a sister who was barely 14 months older and sometimes I would contrast her reaction to the abuse with my own. I was never remorseful because I knew I had done nothing wrong.
    My mother’s chaotic and violence-filled rages were separate from me and there was nothing I could do to make her stop. My older sister, however, seemed to agree that we should be more well-behaved and do everything she wanted us to do quickly and perfectly. I thought my sister was soft and stupid for giving in to the absurdity of this argument as if any 8-year-old should be expected to watch over a 5-year-old and 2-year-old without incident. or sweep and mop a ragged kitchen floor to look like a picture in Ladies Home Journal! Be certain that I am not without my scares, but blaming myself for their shortcomings is not one of them. I was the child who got the most abuse because I would look at my mother, as she was beating me, in a way that must have communicated that I knew she was bat-shit crazy, and that only made her angrier.
    Throughout my life, I have known so many people who are unable to recognize “bad” as “bad” because they thought that would make them “bad” too. Giftedness really is a suit of armor and a capacity for good. What could be gooder than the truth? That’s where the freedom is!! We have been endowed by the creator with an innate immunity against lies and trickery to which there is no greater kind of resilience!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Pingback: Gifted In Serbia | Your Rainforest Mind

  21. Thank you for your words and wisdom. This resonated so strongly with me. I’ve never quite come to a satisfactory answer as to how I survived my traumatic childhood in the way that I did. I can see that the inner intuition was very strong for me. I’ve always felt a very strong connection with my ‘being’ or my ‘oneness’ but struggle to put it in to words. Thank you for validating that thought or sense so clearly.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. I loved this article, and, of course, immediately sent it to my therapist, as she’s noticed the same things. Thank you so much! This also gave me so much hope. Keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I love this Post! I completely agree with what you have written. I hope this post could reach more people as this was truly an interesting post. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I completely agree with what you have written. I hope this post could reach more people as this was truly an interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.