The intersection of trauma and giftedness is not a fun topic to explore. But it’s a real one, because there are many gifted adults in the world struggling to heal from their past trauma. I’ve been wanting to write an article on this topic for a long time, but I’ve struggled to do so, ironically, because of my own trauma. If you’re working through trauma, I hope reading my story and healing journey will help you on yours.
Often accompanied by an intense inner disharmony, giftedness has more than once been confused with pathology in the course of history. Kazimierz Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration offers an astoundingly positive and hopeful approach to understanding the seemingly pathological disharmony that the gifted often experience. Rather than mental weakness or illness, he argues that this inner disharmony is the great catalyst of self-actualization.
Many of us conceptualize “struggle” as “bad.” In our limited view, we consider that to struggle means to be in pain, and that to be in pain is bad. But it is exactly this reasoning that has caused so many of us to fall repeatedly into cycles of struggle recreation (often called self-defeating behavior patterns): to avoid struggle is to short-circuit a natural and necessary growth process, keeping us in a “Groundhog Day” pattern of personal and relational problems. How can we resolve this dilemma?
Visionaries aren’t just “people with lots of ideas.” Rather, a visionary’s brain has an astounding ability to make sense of seemingly millions of complex associations at lightning speed, working and reworking the puzzle of an uncountable number of infinitesimal factors, and seeing possibilities and obstacles that many couldn’t have conceptualized given a year’s time to reflect, research and plan. On one hand, it’s fun be a visionary! On the other, there arrives a moment when all of the speedy imagining must slow down: the connections have to converge in order for the brain and mind to focus on the attainment of a singular integrated goal. And for many visionaries and other types of global thinkers, this is the really, really hard part of life.
I spent last summer in America and one of my favorite things to do whenever I’m there is listen to audio books – there’s such an amazing selection of audio books in English. During that period, I was deeply involved in my studies of neuroscience, brain plasticity, and the power of the mind in trauma and…