Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chiron & the "Gifted Child" dynamic for personal/professional healers

The Drama of the Gifted Child

Each of us carries within our psyche a form of wounded identity; some of us choose to become counselors or therapists who work with the wounds of others who need help in fixing the pain, memories, and association that come with the traumas of childhood and a dysfunctional family.  In this book, Alice Miller explores the identity of The Gifted Child.

My point is simple but direct: for those of us who are psychological counselors and Intuitive Advisors, this is our Chiron's release point and fulfillment!

"Gifted Children" are often the focal point of a dysfunctional family;  the book The Family Crucible explores this too.  Gifted children are also often the products of emotional abuse by a narcissistic parent.  (My mother has been classified as 'narcissistic'; however, it is my belief that my entire family and I have this issue; I see it as a global human experience. Narcissistic disorder is really about Ego and recognition.)  However, if the child's great need for admiration  is not met for his/her looks, intelligence, or achievements, he/she  falls into severe depression.

Miller has created a work that reaches into the soul and guides the reader through innermost (sometimes forgotten) memories and details of early life. By showing very clearly how gifted children are often relegated to that back burner of the family because of their own innate self-sufficiency, she paints a vivid picture of unconscious, conditioned manipulation and a common lack of emotional maturity in the part of the parents. The child is essentially denied a self of its own, as the needs of the parent are always paramount.

Miller says one can only be free from depression "when self-esteem is based on the authenticity of one's own  feelings and not on the possession of certain qualities."  In this case, a child who is exceptional in some way (and most likely an Intuitive Soul who is unaware of this ability) is the catch-all for the family's myths and issues.  This child becomes the "damaged goods" who never fulfills the expectations of his/her parents because they are "incapable" and therefore appear as non-productive, non-achieving, or introverted in order to protect themselves against the domineering egos of their parents and other family members.

In my case, my role in the family as "the genius who was unable to handle school" left me with an overall sense of personal worthlessness and confusion about my own reactions to the events of my adult life. Not having been allowed true feelings of my own through my childhood, I found myself lost in a sea of immature emotions once separated from the needs of both of my parents and their continual controlling mechanisms and denial of my identity as an adult.  This was also transferred by my siblings to me:  they continue to deny my values and beliefs because they are in conflict with their own and thereby consider mine to be "worthless."  Denial is another phase of this:  when confronted with these damaging statements, effort is made by them to brush aside my demonstration of being injured by their words or representations.

Miller has identified one of the basic problems of her approach: she views the mother as the most probable source of this type of emotional manipulation, as the mother is traditionally the primary caregiver in very early childhood. But if read with a deliberate awareness that both parents (present or not) are involved in the panorama of childhood experience, a more balanced reading will yield surprisingly sharp images and a keener understanding of one's formative years.

WARNING: This book is powerful and extremely insightful, but not the informational or educational manual you might expect from the title--it is very personal, and is likely to evoke unexpectedly strong emotions.  The content of this book is extremely powerful and can be a painful experience, especially for a reader who finds him/herself relating to the content but not ready to face their own reality. Although it is certainly a classic, it is not a book to be offered capriciously to friends and acquaintances--a casual recommendation may be detrimental to your relationship with the unsuspecting victim.

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