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Hard to be a friend to an undiagnosed Gifted

UserPost

February 27, 2011


Cindy

Member

posts 10

1

I'm not Gifted so maybe you will tell me to take a hike! I am here to
seek help for an undiagnosed Adult Gifted male.

 

I am trying hard to be a friend to him and it is an exercise in
frustration. This individual is complex, high energy plus, ultra perfectionist,
charismatic, exceptional verbal abilities, feels out of synch, etc etc.. He
fits almost every Gifted parameter I know. The challenges I’m facing are to
convince him that he actually is Gifted and to get past the multitude of
self-protective layers surrounding his Self. I know the latter will come only
after long association and after trust is earned.

 

Anytime I disagree with an idea, or attempt to keep him on focus with a
current project he withdrawals. Ends all communication for extended periods of
time. When he resumes communication, he uses his control of language and his
mastery of people to sidestep issues.

 

As an aside, I’d like to add that I make a distinction between a friend
and an acquaintance. A friend for me is someone who you can rely on no matter
what. A friend (for me) represents: trust, safety and unconditional acceptance.
I am offering Friendship to this person, but he’s never had a close Friend and
is suspicious. This is a sad thing.

 

Advice and help please!

 

Thanks all

March 1, 2011


Sonia Dabboussi

Canada

Admin

posts 394

2

Hi Cindy.  I'm so glad you're here!  For many gifted people finding great friends is a difficult task, so knowing that you are there for someone who may be struggling is such awesome news.  You may be an example for so many others to follow, so keep sharing your insights here.

I'm not sure how much you've had a chance to read around the site, but giftedness can carry with it a lot of pain and baggage, especially since it has been so misunderstood for so long by both the gifted and the non-gifted.  Much of what you have described is common in this group because of negative life experiences that have shaped us.

As for your friend specifically, to be fair to everyone I can only guess at what may be his challenges but here are a few thoughts:

- It may take time and a lot of patience on your part to gain the trust of your friend.  Not because you are not trustworthy, but because the gifted tend to have experienced a lot of rejection because our thoughts and behaviours aren't always exactly as the norm would expect them to be.  As a result we've generally gotten very good at building up walls that protect us emotionally, and sometimes physically, from other people.  Show him that you care about him in whatever ways you find appropriate, and accept him just as he is and won't judge him, and trust will likely come more quickly.  This article is an interesting read on this topic: ** You don't have permission to see this link. **

- Maintaining focus on one particular project for any length of time isn't very common among the gifted so I wouldn't suggest pressing him in this way. Encouraging him to do only one thing, or sustain something he isn't interested in for any length of time, is like putting him in jail.  It sounds strange, I know, but we have a voracious need to learn and grow, and that means experiencing many different aspects of the world.  Support him in what he wants to do (as long as he isn't physically harming himself) and he's sure to find that refreshing and inspiring.  Here's an article to help explain this: ** You don't have permission to see this link. **

- Disagreeing with his ideas, especially in the beginning of a friendship, for him can be seen as rejection of who he is and what he is all about.  Even if you don't mean it in this way at all, he is probably very sensitive to criticism, so you might try finding as many commonalities as you can and focus on those to start.  Little by little you'll be able to disagree more, and the gifted can really get into a good debate when they're open to it, but acceptance without the need to reshape is the best place to begin.

- As for recognizing his own giftedness, you might want to look for way to bring your friend to this site.  I've found that it's often difficult for people to consider the fact that they're gifted, even if they've been specifically identified at some point in their lives, but when they encounter other people who share the same experiences as they do it helps a lot in the growth process.  You can choose a non-threatening kind of article – like one with an interesting video, or a list of cool things – to increase the chances of him reading it.  I'm not sure what his interests are, but this one might work: ** You don't have permission to see this link. **

It's really great that you've been able to recognize so much of the elements of giftedness in your friend.  That by itself is a gift on your part, so congratulations!  We definitely need more people like you around us.

Please let me know how things are going for you and your friend.  I hope all of the right doors will open for both of you and you'll be able to experience the excitement of life as, and with, the gifted. :)

Gifted for Life – Find the freedom, skill and motivation to live, love and lead with passion and make an evolutionary impact on the world!  giftedforlife.com

March 1, 2011


Cindy

Member

posts 10

3

Hello Sonia

Thanks so much for your reply, it has already given me valuable insight.

I am currently in another communication exile from my Gifted Friend, these typically last anywhere from 1-4 weeks. In an attempt to keep him focused on his new business venture, I disagreed with an idea and even suggested that he hadn't thought things out thoroughly. I now know this to be a major mistake and apologize with sincerity to all the Gifted everywhere for even imagining that something would not be worked out from every conceivable angle!

I would love to bring my friend to this site but I know it won't happen in the near future.

My reasons for thinking this are: 

 

1.  He does not see himself as Gifted even though we both agree he fits almost all the Gifted parameters I am able to find.

2.  He puts "Gifted" in the same category as a "Label" such as "Dr. Sir, Mr".  A "sense of belonging or status", a "comfort zone of title".

3.  I am convinced he is a highly visual-spatial learner as he often says he thinks in pictures and short movies. A selection of funny movie clips or artwork might lure him here, but text holds little interest for him.

4. I did show him your uTube video and he thought the video about mind mapping was cool.

Thank you so much for the valuable links, will look at them right away! There's no such thing as too much information :-)

March 2, 2011


Arash

San Diego

Member

posts 16

4

I feel like a lot of us don't get the opportunity to properly mature. Our life chapters are all jumbled up because it seems like everyone else in the world is reading a different "book of life" than we are. Before we know it, we've become 20 or 30-something man-children who throw hissy fits because nothing ever goes our way.

Your friend's responses sound familiar… I think I responded the same way to being challenged just a short few years ago – I know how that I responded that way because I was so used to being dismissed. The growing experience came from learning how to differentiate between the two. I was lucky enough to find the proper support structure. I look back at my immaturity from a few years ago and cringe. Sonia, of course, would know a lot more about this than I, but my very limited personal experience has been that it will be a major uphill battle to support a gifted person without the involvement of other gifted people.

I'm not 100% sure if walking on egg shells around him to accommodate his sensitivity is a good thing(?); I know gifted people who reacted to this approach by loosing motivation to really learn about themselves. One of my creative partners is a 35 year old man-child who has been enabled his who life because he's good at yelling. I'm 6 years younger and find myself resenting having to talk to him as if our ages are reversed. But then again maybe I could have really benefited from having a friend like you. :)

Weird, uncharted territory…

March 2, 2011


Cindy

Member

posts 10

5

Hello Arash!

 

Being a highly inquisitive person, I had to check out your websites and "WOW"…  would be an understatement! It is amazing to see such originality, imaginativeness, and artistry together. Also, anyone who is a photographer is A-OK in my book, as photography is a special hobby of mine.

 

I'm intrigued by the subject you raised about "man-children". My friend has often said he prefers to retain childlike qualities. He is approximately the same age as you and lives in your region of CA. I was never quite sure how to interpret "childlike" but assumed it to mean he wants to retain a child's wonder of life and discovery. Perhaps I've misunderstood this and it really is a lack of maturity and unwillingness to face the world. (?)

 

Its an interesting point also that you raised about "walking on egg shells" around a sensitive person. If others are reading this post, I'd really like to hear your views. The question might be purely academic anyway since I'm a chatterbox and will probably not be able to sustain delicate diplomacy for extended periods of time :-)

 

Thanks Arash for taking the time to respond to my post! Much Appreciated!

 

P.S… Still in communication Exile but did recieve a short note saying it could end on Friday :-)

March 3, 2011


Sonia Dabboussi

Canada

Admin

posts 394

6

I think I may have expressed myself in an unclear way, so let me offer a few words here.  I'm guessing the eggshell discussion is referring to not trying to press on criticism issues with this friend, right?  (Correct me if I'm wrong.)  Walking on eggshells is never a good way to be, no matter who you're with, and if a relationship has too many situations where this occurs it can only result in problems somewhere for sure.  If you can never be yourself, then it isn't fair to either person in the relationship as well.

Recognizing that something hurts is different than doing everything you can to avoid it.  If a person is wearing a neck brace you would remember not to slap him on the back in greeting when you meet him on the street, not because you want to pretend he's not injured, but because you know it would be uncomfortable or painful for your acquaintance.  The criticism issue is more like this.  The friend in question will have to learn to deal with criticism because it's definitely a part of life.  Helping him to learn how to do it by offering small amounts of 'medicine' and then slowily 'increasing the dose' will be more effective than taking the whole bottle at once.

Does that make sense?

Gifted for Life – Find the freedom, skill and motivation to live, love and lead with passion and make an evolutionary impact on the world!  giftedforlife.com

March 4, 2011


Cindy

Member

posts 10

7

Hi Sonia:

Thanks for the clarification, and yes it makes perfect sense.  I'll try very hard to be extra sensitive/supportive when my friend is talking to me again. I emailed him the link to that amazing sand art video that you have on your home page but it seems my communication exile is still in effect and I've not received a reply.

I also want to show him Arash's websites (Arash: will wait for permission from you before I do this) with the hope that he may become motivated to connected with other Gifted people. 

I was wondering also if there was anyplace online where the Gifted get together to actually talk, as opposed to type? I would have an easier time introducing him to a Gifted person he could talk to versus tyring to convince him to visit a webiste/forum.

 

Thanks for all the information. Much appreciated.

March 5, 2011


Cindy

Member

posts 10

8

Hi Sonia:

 

Your advice is amazing. Thank you! I am in communication again with my Friend and I understand now that I absolutely need to be understanding and non-judgmental. I believe the rest of the world is critical enough and as a good Friend I should be as supportive as possible. I've also been reading short passages from this website to him and I may get him to visit here yet. I caught his interest with this article: 

** You don't have permission to see this link. **

 

Thanks again

March 6, 2011


Sonia Dabboussi

Canada

Admin

posts 394

9

Cindy, I hope all goes well for you and your friend and that your perseverance pays off.  I would guess that if the article you mentioned has piqued your friend's interest, then maybe he's wrestling with the feeling that he knows he can do more in life but hasn't been able to make that situation real yet.  It's very common among the gifted to feel this way, but for some it's extremely painful depending on their individual life circumstances.

I'm not familiar with any places to actually 'talk' on the internet as opposed to type, but maybe that's something we can work on doing here sometime soon…

Thanks for all that you're doing for your friend, and for other people in a position like yours. :)

Gifted for Life – Find the freedom, skill and motivation to live, love and lead with passion and make an evolutionary impact on the world!  giftedforlife.com



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