Tuesday, 22 March 2016

2e in the Family - Loving the Alien in Us


One of the first things that you read about when you start to learn about what it means to be neurologically different, is that it can feel like being an alien, the veritable 'Stranger in a Strange Land'.

In our family, it was both a shock and a relief to realise that when we were looking for answers to why our children were developing outside of the box that we were also finding the answers for ourselves as well.


Finding out about giftedness was the first of these revelations - that not only did our children absorb knowledge in different ways but that we did too, and that that was OK. It was a relief for me to know there was a reason for many of the experiences of my past when looked at through a gifted lens. Not just the 'smart' part, but the asynchronous, OE part as well. It gave us all the chance to understand why we all needed time to learn, to process, and to allow time to de-stress when we had exciting and stimulating events.  It gave me a chance to understand that not everyone felt with the same emotional intensity as our family, and that was OK.

But that was only part of the puzzle.

When my kids were diagnosed with SPD, we not only started to notice our children's sensitivities, we noticed our own as well. My DH's need for long walks. My own inability to concentrate when there was background music with lyrics. There was a reason for our behaviours . . . and there were ways to cope.

One of the things that changed our family dynamics in profoundly positive ways was when our son was diagnosed with Autism. Understanding the rich and complicated ways Autism and giftedness interact made my DH realise that his son didn't just look like him, he thought like him as well. Suddenly we all had a window into those little miscommunications we lived with because we all believed we thought the same way.

As a result, some of the most amazing conversations I have ever had have come about by asking the simplest questions, like 'when you think of X, what do you see / hear / feel? Where X could be anything from kitchens to abstract music. Stuff made sense. We could talk and know the other was listening - and we both started to relearn all our old habits that had developed from misunderstandings and false assumptions. My son's 2e diagnosis freed my husband. And it lead me to discover that despite being the empath of the family, my husband was the one who was better at deciphering how others think when they aren't thinking like you. My empath antennae would need to relearn what I had learned.

The latest of the puzzle-pieces that fell into place was when our daughter, J was diagnosed with probable ADHD. Because in many ways, she's a little mini-me. When I started changing our environment to help her cope and concentrate - I helped myself. The busy fell away, and stress I had never known was there was suddenly absent. Reading about the characteristics of ADHD was like reading a storybook on my own childhood. And it is bringing acceptance.

I am 2e. I too, am one of the aliens. I too am one of the strangers in a strange land.

In that there is peace, acceptance and grace. It's OK to be who I am, and it's OK for my family to be who they are. It's OK to be comfortable in our own skin. It's OK to love the alien in us.

This post is part of the GHF blog hop, "Recognizing Giftedness in Our Children and Ourselves". Check out the other amazing posts!



9 comments:

  1. Yes!! I love your "empath antennae" and your points about misunderstandings, and about what others are thinking. I think your post could help many adults communicate better with one another, too. Thank you. :-)

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    1. Thank you Emily. Communication can be so tricky, can't it? I think it's nice to spend time not being sure about what other people are saying (as a person who intuits a lot of things, this is hard for me) - I know it has helped our family and I hope it can help others too. Thank you for lovely comments!

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  2. From one alien to another....I get it!

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  3. Wonderful! I love this post, and have often found new insights about myself and my own childhood as I discover new information to help me children. <3

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    1. I know. I keep thinking that I'm only learning about how to help my kids, but it's never that simple ;)

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  4. What a nice read. My kiddo is also 2e, with ADHD and SPD. We found out, along the way, and have homeschooled since she was 3. Now she is a sophomore in college, and loving it. I just joined the GHF blog for the first time, this month, and I blog at BJ's Homeschool.... Nice to meet you!

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    1. Nice to meet you Betsy! I loved your post BTW.

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  5. I really enjoyed this post! I love the acceptance, I love the realizations and I love the way the puzzle pieces came together for your family. Mostly, I love how easy and comforting you make the alien-ness feel!

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