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Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Discovering The Truth

When I first found out I was gifted, and that was what was "wrong" with me, I was absolutely furious. I just couldn't believe that no-one had told me! I was 25. I screamed and ranted and cried for about 2 straight days - pity my long-suffering dog. I felt so wounded by this act of concealment that had caused me to question my sanity and ability on numerous previous occasions. Why, why, why?!!

After I had calmed down a bit, I grieved for a long time, getting depressed and disengaging from life. I was in a space where everything was "if only...". I reviewed my life to date and could quite easily imagine that if I'd known, everything would have been perfect. But, dreaming aside, now what?

Pulling myself together, I started to research what it meant to be gifted. I read everything I could get my hands on, asked lots of questions on message boards, and started the long search for a helping professional familiar with the special needs of the gifted. This phase provoked a lot more bursts of anger and mawkish weeping, as I discovered more things which now needed to be grieved in light of my new information. For those familiar with Dabrowski's theories, it was a classic case of positive disintegration.

Slowly, I realized that the reasons I hadn't been told were many-layered and complex, mixing family, cultural, social, and gender stereotypes. Compassion dawned as I understood that the people in my life were trying to protect me, as well as themselves. Not knowing anything about the special needs of gifted people, they just didn't realize how much ignorance of my IQ was hurting me.

Why do I blog about this now? I know gifted adults all over the world are having the same revelation at various ages and being thrown into the same emotional storms. Just knowing that you are not the only one to go through this turmoil, and that it does calm down eventually, might be useful to someone out there.

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Just be glad you didn't find out in your forties. Talk about rage! It took me months to start getting past it. I think we've been on very much the same trip, discovering what it's all about and who we are.
I am surprised it took you that long to make this discovery. It was SO obvious to both my husband and myself at a very early age. We both knew we were significantly different and in general, the way in which we were different. That being said, it wasn't until we had two gifted children that we researched the intricacies of the matter...and that explained so many things about ourselves we hadn't understood. Knowledge is power. Still, we have one child who publicly shuns the label and another who fully embraces it. I think it's a matter of emotional development catching up with the intellectual side.

Overall, I think our little family is lucky to all be "weird" in the same general way. At least we understand each other, even if no one else does!

It's been hard work getting the educational system in our area to live up to their end of the bargain and meet the special needs of our gifted youngsters. It doesn't make you popular. How difficult can it be to understand that a child reading novels at kindergarten age doesn't find it interesting to spend the day with other children just learning the alphabet? How many times have I have that the learning "disabled" need the help more because the "gifted" kids will make out just fine in any learning environment? All that despite the fact that each group is as far away from the median as the other! Try explaining that to some anal-retentive school board administrator. Sigh. Fortunately, we persevered and were successful. One less battle to fight in the day to day.

The bottom line, though, is to remember that being gifted is just one part of who you are. You must also work to develop all aspects of your being to fully grow as a person.
soh, I'm one of those people who grew up before the topic of giftedness was known to the general public. My husband knew that he had a very high IQ, but probably never even heard of giftedness. Many years after the event, I realized that I had taken an IQ test in school. Maybe I didn't score high enough for a gifted program, maybe the school didn't have one, or maybe I was rejected because I was an underachiever. Who knows? The only result, if it was even connected, was that my parents were suddenly pushing me for better grades because "we know you can do it." My discovery of my giftedness was also the discovery of the subject. This was before home computers and the web, so the information wasn't something that might just pop up, the way that's possible today.
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Interesting, soh - I've heard frustration with school systems is an almost universal issue for parents of gifted kids. Perhaps that's one reason why my parents didn't want to investigate too far. It had the unfortunate side effect of leading me to conclude there must be something wrong with me, though, because my difference was not to be talked about. That was the big revelation - I didn't have a mental pathology or moral failing, just an unusually active brain.

As for the idea that giftedness is just one part of who I am, I don't really understand this statement! Would you mind writing a bit more about it? For example, what other "aspects of your being" are you thinking of?

Thanks in advance,
I will take some time next week and try to form that sentiment into a cohesive mode of thought, for me as well as you :-)

Catana: Giftedness wasn't well known when I was a child either. It's just that both my husband and I "just knew" and I can't articulate it any better than that. There was something intellectually different about us. Interestingly, in both of our families this difference was never discussed, encouraged, discouraged or flaunted. It just was there. It was obvious and that's how it was. As I write this, there is so much more to be said about it. I need to make time to write about this.

Thanks Joanna, for providing this fascinating forum for discovery.
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