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.
Chaos, disorder, volatility, turmoil, errors, and uncertainty – among other factors commonly perceived as negative – are not necessarily our enemies. Nassim Nicholas Taleb points out once again in his latest masterwork, Antifragile: Things that Gain from Disorder, that we live in a “Black Swan” world where unpredictable events that have maximum impact on our lives happen necessarily and, well, unpredictably. These events are “Black Swans” in Taleb’s prose. In our complex, modern lives, these factors – chaos, disorder, volatility, turmoil, errors and uncertainty – are not a matter of choice; they exist and in ever-increasing quantities. We will run into them, or they will run into us. So, instead of positioning ourselves against them, why not use them as “friends” or at least as “allies” in our development of self?
Intense inner disharmony can sometimes accompany the experience of giftedness. But rather than framing this disharmony as mental weakness or illness, Dabrowski looked at it as a catalyst for advanced personality development. Learn about Dabrowski’s Overexcitabilities, Theory of Positive Disintegration and the climb toward gifted self-actualization in this article.
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?