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Difficult Gift of the Genie Durak

By Dr. Patty Williams on July 28, 2023

BISN founder and president Dr. Patty Williams is a trauma therapist who specializes in EMDR, ND-Affirmative DBT, and IFS modalities. Through Bright Insight Support Network, she works to counsel, coach, and advocate for gifted, twice-exceptional, and neurodivergent persons, along with other marginalized populations.

Difficult Gift of the Genie Durak

Sometimes in our Bloomers: Gifted and 2e Adults group, we discuss our giftedness origin stories. And by gifted origin, I do not mean when a person became gifted, but rather when they found out they were gifted.

There are several folks in this group who just found out about their giftedness in adulthood. Most agree that it helps them understand a lot about themselves and would have been helpful to know about at earlier points in development.

My gifted origin story or path was odd in ways, compared to many. There was a sibling set of four in my family- two girls and two boys. My older sister was identified as typically gifted. My Irish twin, younger brother was always identified as the smartest in the family for some reason. When I was in primary school, my mother had my younger brother tested for the gifted program while I was to be tested for remediation. They, however, identified me as gifted as well. "What!? PATTY's gifted!!??" My mother was shocked and labeled me a “late bloomer"- she loved to tell my family and friends as much.

Unfortunately, by hanging their hat on my surprised giftedness after that, my learning disabilities were ignored and I was henceforth labeled as a lazy underachiever while my siblings were “just fine." I think my youngest brother is more typically 2e like me… “genie durak” in Russian or “genius fool.” I think they knew a bit more about what to do with him though, and were not surprised by his intelligence like they were with mine.

Throughout school, they questioned my giftedness though. My siblings went into AP classes, and it was assumed that I was too dim-witted to perform in these settings. My high school counselor/advisor believed I had the aptitude to work in a photo lab as a career after high school. College was not explored. But hell, I hardly attended most days so whatever, right? Hm.

I moved out of my family’s home when I was 16 and had my first real apartment at 18 after crashing with friends. It would be a couple of years before I had a car I could live in in Alaska. I was free though.

My other siblings tried going to college but dropped out. I tried also at 19 and dropped out too. I did not go back until I was in my 30s. Now I have several degrees. I’m the only one who actually got degrees besides my mother who retired as a gifted education teacher. Oh yeah- that's icing on the cake for you. But I do not think she really knew what 2e was until I explored it with her, and I do not think she put much stock in whole-person giftedness. Do not get me wrong, she was an amazing teacher and gifted herself. She just does not get what I do. None of my family does.

I believe my sister thinks I run some sort of elitist society, much like people see Mensa if they do not understand it. I think most of the family likely rolls their eyes at me, internally, while applauding my doctorate. They are all gifted also. I do not know what to do with this. Nothing, I suppose. For the one aunt and one cousin who follow my achievements and efforts, I think they get it and appreciate what I do.

So, I do not know if any of this was helpful. There is some more of my story though.

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