Your Rainforest Mind

Support For The Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive


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When People Find Your Intellect Intimidating — A Guide For Gifted Women

photo courtesy of Sabrina May, Unsplash

You don’t do it on purpose.

Intimidate people.

You’re just being you.

In fact, you’re holding back. Slowing down. Smiling. Being gracious. Stifling your curiosity and your perceptions. Carefully selecting from the scores of effervescent thoughts that continuously swirl around in your brain.

If they only knew how much you’re NOT showing.

Oh, boy.

And yet, you still scare them.

If they only knew that you just love to learn. You just love reading and research. You’re a pacifist, for heaven’s sake. You slept with the dictionary when you were five. (Unless, of course, your dictionary was on your phone. Then, you slept with Charlotte’s Web and Darwin’s Origin of the Species. But I digress.) How is that scary?

You’re not out to humiliate anyone or prove that you’re a superior being.

It’s just your nature to think a lot, to feel a lot, and to know a lot.

It’s not your fault.

So, you want to know how to be less intimidating?

That’s tricky.

It may not be in your control. It may not actually be necessary. But here are some suggestions, just in case. See if any fit for you.

If you’re interrupting folks with your creative ideas, let them finish before you share your thoughts; imagine designing the next electric car while you’re waiting. If you’re showing how bored you are at meetings when no one can agree on the obvious solution that you shared at the beginning of the meeting, bring your knitting or the New York Times crossword to stay occupied. Let people have their bad grammar and their mixed metaphors; the world will probably not end. Explore various ways to communicate with individuals based on their capacity to receive your insights and view it as a playful intellectual puzzle; there will be some people who won’t be reachable no matter what you do. Exercise your love of debate by running for office. Look for the humor in any situation as a way to entertain yourself and plan your memoir.

If you’ve grown up thinking that you need to be perfect, begin to unravel that belief; your vulnerability will be appealing to others. Feed relatives your terrible cooking. Invite friends to your messy house. Play games that you can’t win. Don’t hide your klutziness. Ask for help from people you trust.

Know that your rainforest-y peeps are out there and they will not be intimidated; they will be thrilled. Keep looking for them.

What I really want to tell you is that as you experience humans finding you scary and intimidating, you may need to accept that not everyone can handle life in the jungle. It’s pretty intense in there with all of those 2,500 different species of vines and 10,000 species of ants. It can be kind of scary, intimidating and overwhelming.

Even to you.

But, remember.

The rainforest also keeps everyone breathing. You are needed and wondrous just as you are. 

(Note: Just in case some of you might be inclined to misinterpret me, I’m not saying that you should change who you are for people who are intimidated. Noooooo. I’m just giving you some suggestions that might help make life easier for you in particular situations where you need them. As you know, I support you in being the fabulous radiant rainforest-y darling that you are. That’s what my blog is all about!!)

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To my dear bloggEEs: Are people intimidated by your intelligence? Have you found any good solutions? How would this post be different if it were the smart man’s guide? How would it be the same? I think gifted men also scare people, but differently. I wonder if the issue for gifted men is more that they can’t show their sensitivity. What do you say, dear readers? Thank you to the bloggEEs who inspired this post. And men, I promise a post just for you, soon.

 

 

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Gifted Women With Gifted Kids — Exhilarating or Exhausting?

photo from Lars Plougmann, Flickr, CC

photo from Lars Plougmann, Flickr, CC

What happens when a gifted woman has a gifted child? Is it a match made in heaven? Is it Exhilarating? Exhausting? Terrifying?

Yes.

“As a mom of a gifted child, we walk a lonely, difficult and heartbreaking road on our unwavering quest to help our gifted children navigate through a world that does not understand them, within a society who often envies and resents them. Exhausted, we pray our gifted child will just come out on the other end with enough self-esteem to be able to live a happy, successful adult life.”  Celi Trepanier, Crushing Tall Poppies 

“I was a lonely and rejected gifted kid, and seeing the same thing happen to my kids is awful.” Mrs. Warde, Sceleratus Classical Academy

“We have a LOT of emotional OEs, and my youngest and I are like clones. She feeds off mine, I feed off hers, my 6 year old turns hers on in a different direction and my husband goes to hide in a closet until we are finished…” Nicole Linn, Through a Stronger Lens

Lonely, heartbreaking, emotional.

Chances are, if you have a rainforest mind, you also feel an enormous sense of responsibility for raising this child well. In fact, your multiple sensitivities, rage to learn and intellectual abilities can combine to produce a relentless drive to be the best mother possible. At all costs.

This does not always turn out well. Particularly the “at all costs” part. Especially if the cost is you.

Rainforest-minded moms have told me that the love they feel for their children is astonishing and extraordinary. At the same time, in the same instant, they can feel overwhelmed, bored, frustrated and angry. And, of course, guilty. You familiar with guilt? Guilt. For feeling overwhelmed, bored, frustrated and angry.

Now, I suspect that all moms might have these feelings. The difference, though, may be in the depth and breadth. You could call it The More-ness Syndrome. You. Your kid. More emotion. More questions. More everything.

Then there’s the Unending Curiosity Factor. Your child is likely ravenous when it comes to learning. You may have your own insatiable curiosity. The energy that it takes to support your child, though, may mean that your interests get pushed aside and your intellect gets malnourished.

You with a malnourished intellect? Well. It isn’t pretty.

And what about The Schooling Conundrum? If your child has been bullied at school or has been frustrated academically, then you might find yourself spending countless hours dealing with educators or homeschooling. Not only that. If your experiences as a child in school were similar, then, your reactions to your child’s pain might be hard to manage. You might be unaware that you’re being triggered by familiar situations from your past. If so, your intense reactivity may frighten you.

This is not to mention the very real possibility that your relationship with your own mother was challenging. If there was abuse of any sort or neglect or serious dysfunction, then, mothering your own child might be tricky. You might hear your own mother’s voice coming out of your mouth and be horrified. The good news is that, in my experience with clients, even those who’ve been severely abused have been able to parent differently. I believe that a resilience, maybe even a spiritual strength, in their rainforest-y selves allows them to access their tender deep compassion in spite of an inadequate role model.

So, what can you do? How do you find ways to manage and enjoy this exhilarating, exhausting and terrifying journey?

Thanks to the internet and social media there are a gazillion resources now available for moms. Enough to seriously overwhelm your sensitive soul, especially if you’re an introvert. But, I’ll narrow it down for you.

photo from Joshua Aguilar, Flickr, CC

photo from Joshua Aguilar, Flickr, CC

Along with the blogging moms I quoted at the beginning of this post, there are other mothers of gifted children writing and sharing ideas and resources. You can find them here and here. There are also a few small presses that specialize in publishing for parents of gifted children. Three that I recommend are here, here and here. A couple of moms I know recently published a book about the benefits of Minecraft. Could be beneficial for the geekish among you.

Finally, there’s this. A song for you. Especially for those of you who didn’t grow up with a loving mother. From Sinead O’Connor. This is to mother you.

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My dear bloggEEs: Please tell us about your experiences mothering your rainforest-minded children. Let us know what resources you use for support. How do you take care of yourself? And fathers, you can chime in, too! We’d love to know what you’re thinking.