Exceptionally gifted individuals often struggle with a profound internal conflict – they compromise their innate gifts in order to nurture personal and professional relationships. In their quest for societal validation and acceptance, they may employ various defense mechanisms to navigate the complexities of their situation.
The Gifted Dilemma
Exceptionally gifted individuals from a young age, continually question how the world operates, seek meaning in phenomena, challenge established practices, and strive to uncover principles and patterns in the universe, in humanity, and within themselves. They perceive, connect, think, and feel differently than their peers. However, this pursuit of personal fulfillment can be suppressed in order to fit into society. Because being different, faster, more imaginative, creative, quicker, and more vital is dangerous for society, and the individual is accepted only when he/she reflects others.
Society, in general, often lacks both the awareness and willingness to respond to the unique needs of exceptionally gifted individuals due to their “intensive” nature. This lack of understanding and support can deepen gifted individuals’ challenges. They suppress their giftedness as if it doesn’t belong to them, they cut it off, sacrificing their vital energy and life purpose in an attempt to conform and seek validation from those who do not comprehend their distinctive needs.
This emotional toll makes gifted individuals struggle with depression and anxiety, triggered by their unique gifted needs and societal expectations. Frequently, they mask their abilities in maladaptive ways, concealing their true potential to conform to societal norms. They may become extremely introverted, dependent, shy, and sometimes resort to self-harm, aggression, or hyperactivity.
The Compromise to accept less and give more
Compromising giftedness to nurture relationships, whether at school, work, or home, is a delicate balancing act. This process is often marked by emotional turmoil and sometimes leads to questioning one’s own life purpose. Through compromising, many, or even the majority of gifted individuals are lost, especially in times when trends and popularity are intertwined with daily life and everyone’s aspirations.
Gifted individuals frequently accept less than they desire and hope for, surrendering something of great value – their giftedness – to become ‘normal’ and accepted by others. They experience immense inner pain while compromising, all the while under the illusion that this pain is the path to validation, acceptance, and love.
These gifted individuals may employ various defense mechanisms to justify their act of suppression, such as:
These mechanisms may temporarily shield them from the emotional turmoil but often come at the cost of suppressing their true selves.