#NAGC chat—February 29, 2012
Our guest expert for #NAGC chat on February 29 was Lisa Erickson, a Seattle based psychotherapist and trainer specializing in gifted adults.
Adults usually avoid identifying as gifted, even if directly asked, because of belief that giftedness is defined by actual eminent achievement, such as a Nobel Peace Prize or owning a Fortune 500 Company. Knowing one’s giftedness and having a well-developed sense of identity as a gifted person are crucial for the development of potential. As parents, we can improve our gifted child’s awareness and acceptance by taking our own journey toward self-understanding and acceptance. The apple never falls far from the tree.
Consider, what do you wish you had received from your parents regarding your giftedness that you did not receive? What did they do well? What do you want to do differently?
As a gifted adult, you may know you are different but not realize why. Many gifted adults experience (from the Gifted Development Center):
- a sense of humor and creativity few others understand
- a sense of alienation and loneliness
- outrage at moral breaches that the rest of the world seems to take for granted
- being out-of-step and on a separate path
The following is a few additional qualitiesdiscussed by Annemarie Roeper in the article “Gifted Adults: Their Characteristics and Emotions” published the Advanced Development Journal:
- Gifted adults have a special “problem awareness.” They have the ability to predict consequences, see relationships, and foresee problems which are likely to occur.
- Because gifted adults know more what is at stake, risk taking for a gifted person may be more difficult than for others because it may take longer for them to decide.
- Gifted adults often develop their own method of learning and grasping concepts which can lead to conflict with others who don’t use or understand their method.
- Gifted adults are often confronted with the problem of having too many abilities in too many areas in which they would like to work, discover and excel.
- Gifted adults are often driven by their giftedness and may be overwhelmed by the pressure of their creativity. Giftedness is a drive, an energy, a necessity to act—it’s a need for mastery, intellectually, creatively, and physically which grows from the need to make sense of the world, to understand the world and to create one’s world.
Consider, how do you experience the world differently from those who fall under the IQ curve? How where you different as a child, and how has that shaped you?
According to Deidra Lovecky, author of Can You Hear the Flowers Sing? Issues for Gifted Adults, five traits seem to produce potential interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict in gifted adults: divergency, excitability, sensitivity, perceptivity, and entelechy. Unless gifted adults learn to value themselves and find support, identity conflicts and depression may result.
Consider, how have your relationships been affected by giftedness? How do you manage friendships? According to Annemarie Roeper, gifted adults relate best to others who share their interests and may have a small circle of friends or sometimes only one, but the relationships are meaningful. During chat, participants revealed that they have had obstacles to maintaining friendships. Many due to a sense of “out-growing” the relationship, others due to their astute “problem awareness” coupled with excitability that eventually led to losing valued friendships and relational frustration. Chat participants overwhelming expressed comfort in discovering this commonality.
Stephanie Tolan suggested in the article Discovering the Gifted Ex-Child that the gifted frequently take their own capacities for granted. Not understanding the source of their frustration or ways to alleviate it, they may opt to relieve the pain through addictive substances and behaviors. Or they may simply hunker down and live their lives in survival mode. Lisa commented that there are significant gender differences in the way gifted identity is experienced, and the prevalence of introversion among gifted further complicates the experience. According to Linda Silverman, about 60% of gifted children are introverted compared with 30% of the general population.
Consider, how does giftedness affect your work? Are you laughing? According to Noks Nauta and Frans Corten, authors of Gifted at Work, “Gifted adults (particularly top 2%) sometimes are not able to function adequately at work.” Their high intelligence can inhibit adaptation to work situations, sometimes leading to absenteeism and disability. However, hardly any scientific research on this topic has been performed.
NAGC’s 2010 position paper, Redefining Giftedness for a New Century, calls for increased focus on gifted and talented adults. The bottom line is all gifted children grow up. Giftedness is an orientation toward the world that continues to affect experience in every context throughout life.
Join us every Wednesday at 8:30 pm/EST for #NAGC chat on twitter!