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Dragasaurus and Extroverting as a Gifted Introvert

By Dr. Patty Williams on June 23, 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.

Dragasaurus and Extroverting as a Gifted Introvert

I am worn out- like seriously worn out. I coordinated volunteers for our FREE MOM HUGS booth at BISBEE PRIDE this weekend and wore my extrovert skin all day while entertaining a lovely extroverted houseguest. It was important, and it was hard.

I think I am able to sustain extroverted energy as a gifted INFJ, as many of us report also doing this. This is likely due to my ability to compensate. I write about this tendency in my book about giftedness and trauma:

In her article about gifted compensation, Dr. Linda Silverman (2009) shared how gifted individuals excel at problem-solving and present with a capacity for abstract reasoning that is then used to compensate for a lack of ability in other areas. That is, there is a tendency for gifted persons to adapt to adversities throughout development by using strengths and creativity. We often call this creative or adaptive problem-solving. Socially, this problem-solving can turn into a masking of traits or abilities seen frequently in the gifted population. This may be particularly true if the gifted person also has a second exceptionality or neurodivergence. (From the unpublished manuscript, Intersection of Intensity: Exploring Trauma and Giftedness By Patty Williams, MSMHC, Ph.D., 2023).

I also need to honor my need for seclusion though. How do I do this while remaining front and center? Well first, I take advantage of hidden spaces, walks alone, and trips to the bathroom. Also, I like costumes (intentional masking, if you will).

When my family was younger, we used to take my daughters and friends out to a local saloon to sing karaoke. To ride this sort of event out successfully and compensate for my introversion, I would wear a onesie… I have several, as did my children. So, as a dragon, Olaf the Snowperson, a rainbow zebra, a unicorn, or otherwise, I would attend this event and sometimes even sing. I am also known for wearing my onesies to social gatherings at the college where I work.

At Bisbee Pride, however, there was no way you would find me in a onesie outside in the Arizona summer heat. What some did find me wearing was a blow-up T-Rex suit. We named her Dragasaurus as she also donned bright pink lipstick, some dramatic purple and blue eyeshadow, a colorful feather bowa, and a rainbow bustle.

I was SO HOT!!! And it was so worth it. My introverted self was an extroverted dino who danced with pride attendees, posed for pictures, and twerked for the SOUTHERN ARIZONA LGBTQ+ SOFTBALL ASSOCIATION (S.A.L.S.A.) booth participants. It was fun. I sweat A LOT. I’ll do it again next year but with a frozen vest and iced CamelBak hydration pack.

Not all neurodivergent and gifted masking and compensation is bad. In fact, sometimes it allows us to be our most authentic in spurts. I look at it as honoring all my parts, even if it wears me out.

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