An Interview with Gifted Adults

As most of you know, giftedness is not something that ends with childhood. It is a way of seeing the world and processing information that remains throughout your life. That is especially true with the emotional aspects of giftedness.  The intensity takes on a different look, as the gifted child becomes a gifted adult and develops different coping skills.  But, the emotional intensity remains is just as much a part of the gifted adult as it is the child.

In the past I’ve done a few interviews with gifted adults. For this post, I decided to merge the answers and really provide some insight as to what some gifted adults think about growing up gifted.

CF: When did you find out you were gifted?

GA: I started participating in some unique activities and classes in school.  That’s when I figured out that I had some sort of label. But it wasn’t until high school that I found out I actually had the label of being gifted.

CF: What did the label mean to you?

GA : Nothing really.  Maybe that was smarter than some of my friends – that school was a little easier.

CF: Does it mean anything to you as an adult?

GA: Actually, yes. As I’ve come to understand more about the intensity that typically goes along with giftedness (thanks for that Christine), I am realizing that some of my somewhat crazy behavior in my teens and as an adult may actually be related to being gifted.

CF: Crazy behavior? Tell me more about that.

GA: Oh you know, things like overreacting to stress, throwing things around my room in high school when I was stressed out about school; feeling like the world would end when I made a mistake or got a score below 100% on something.  Even now, as an adult, I get a little freaked when my boss tries to tell me I made a mistake on something.  It isn’t that I think I can’t make a mistake. In fact, frequently I am pretty certain I make millions of them every day. It’s that I am mortified when I do. Then I get mad at myself for my reaction – for the emotional aspects of it.

CF: Are there any other kinds of things that you do that you relate to your giftedness.

GA: HA! I describe myself as passionate. But really, that just means that I am very very emotional.  For years I thought it was hormones, or some chemical imbalance.  But as I’ve developed a deeper understand of what it means to be gifted (I have attended informational meetings for my kids on this topic), I realize that I’m not imbalanced – just intense.  Now I am learning to embrace the intensity; make it work for me instead of against me.  I have learned that I need to take breaks, find friends that process the world in a similar fashion and reel in my overactive brain from time to time. But, as long as I do these things, I can keep the more negative aspects in check.

CF: Thanks for sharing a little bit with us!

In future posts I will talk about how gifted adults find balance as well as some strategies that may help. Until then, it’s your turn – what do you find most challenging about being a gifted adult? What is the best part? Does the label even matter in adulthood?

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10 thoughts on “An Interview with Gifted Adults

  1. This means the most to me, I think. “I have learned that I need to take breaks, find friends that process the world in a similar fashion and reel in my overactive brain from time to time.”

    Thanks, Christine. Can’t tell you how much of a help you are.

  2. maybe this is why i have 15 WIPs but only 2 completed manuscripts. or maybe that just makes me ADHD. ;)

  3. i didn’t find out till almost 30, having been the ‘drop out’ non conformist type… what it means for me as an adult, is that i also realize that i need to have / find friends who ‘process the world in a similar fashion…’ as my intense reactions to little or big hiccups in life can be overwhelming for most. Self acceptance has been the key to healing my early wounds of being ‘different’… and a life long process. i try to rear my son with the knowledge i did not have when i was young as he too is gifted and intensely passionate about life…

  4. Most challenging ? Understanding that I can’t be understood by “normal” people…

  5. I often wonder, “Am I really ‘gifted,’ or do I just have ‘very, very slightly above average intelligence?'” I’m playing “Words With Friends” with 2 of my friends (see how that works?) I am getting positively trounced by both of them. I expected to be severely trounced by one of them, (she was also in gifted programs in high school and a very high achiever) but not the other one – She was never in any gifted programs, though as far as I know, she got decent grades in high school, but for some reason when we were growing up I used to think of myself as being smarter than her. Not sure why I thought that now.

    So does my gifted-ness explain away the chaotic clutter in my house –it definitely mirrors the clutter in my brain! There is no pill for this –believe me, I’ve tried (the prescribed ones, anyway) ;-)

    I can mirror the 3 comments above mine, and Benoit’s comment also brings me back to school days when I would do or say something that was supposed to be funny. Only a select few would understand and appreciate what I did or said (like the teacher) but I would frequently get these stares from the “popular girls” that to me said, “What ARE you?”

  6. I just got to know I am gifted very recently! before that I knew that I was little different but everything was OK! however, after I got to know about giftedness, first I felt relived but things got really worse. I kind of feel I get another identity that is not familiar to me! I prefer I would have never known about it :(

  7. I am not Mary! Never been, was, am, or will be!

  8. Pingback: An Interview with Gifted Adults | High Ability | Scoop.it

  9. Thanks for sharing this! I tested as “highly gifted” when I was in grade school, but people back then weren’t as in touch with the non-academic sides of giftedness as they are then. And once I left the cocoon of high school, I soon got the message that my gifted traits are not highly valued in the real world, especially in women. I’m so glad more gifted adults, especially women, are stepping out instead of trying to blend in!

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