We all know someone – it might even be us – who’s super-bright, knows all sorts of stuff, is fast to process information and create new solutions – in short, is fairly genius, but who is hopelessly lost when it comes to anything emotional.
If somebody else is upset – they can’t handle it and walk out, or they blow up with anger and outrage, or ignore it completely and tell you about their latest project.
If somebody else is happy – they can’t handle it, and change the subject, talk about themselves, or walk away.
However, when it happens that our lovely genius is upset – the whole world knows about it. They can’t get over it, they act it out through slamming doors, huffing and puffing around, complaining about everything, or they clam up completely and go into robot mode, distanced, calculating, disengaged. Or they plunge into activity – anything to keep those emotions firmly out of the way – or into unhelpful habits like drinking too much. And they probably deny that they’re upset anyway.
What we have here, ladies and gents, is someone whose intellect is fearsome, well-developed, well-honed. And they’re used to it working, and working damn well. Unfortunately, just like someone who only ever uses their right arm, until it is so strong and dominant that the left is a mere puny appendage in comparison, our genius has so often used and exercised their right arm – their intellect – without their left arm – i.e. their emotional handling capacity – that the latter is totally not up to the task when emotional issues are around.
Now compound this by the mistaken conception (held by the intellect, of course) that emotions should be discarded and ignored because they’re irrational, and you have someone who not only is seriously troubled when emotions arise, but who believes that emotions deserve no place in their world anyway. A mess!
Fortunately, a little re-education can help even geniuses to get more emotionally articulate and competent – for their own benefit and for the benefit of those around them.
The first step is to take the notion, as a hypothesis, of course, that emotions are valid human responses to events. This can be a major hurdle: it goes completely counter to the belief that emotions are irrelevant. So we work from a position of “supposing” that emotions are valid responses, and figure out the implications from that basis.
The second step is to understand when and why emotions arise, what they represent, and how they pass. This is a more in-depth survey of the field of human emotional experience, both practical and theoretical.
Next comes an understanding of how to handle emotions appropriately. Practical, theoretical, and venturing into the ethical: considering how one’s actions affect oneself and others.
With these steps in place, our genius becomes more aware of their impact on themself and on others, and generally more likeable and personable. They’re also better equipped to handle what life throws their way, from minor joys and irritations, to more serious issues like chronic stress, anger, burnout, and anxiety, to big life-changing events – whether positive or painful.
So if you have a emotionally-illiterate genius in your life, or if you’re that genius yourself, there is hope! Your genius can take themself on a self-study exploration of the emotional world, reading, observing, through discussions. Or to shortcut the process and get targeted help and information – and get it fast – you can call in a coach.
How hellish are your emotions – and what do you want to do about it?
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this webpage are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this webpage. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this webpage. Sue Mahony PhD disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this webpage.
Sue Mahony PhD is gifted, autistic, and ADHD. She provides 1:1 specialist support for brains similar to her own, giftedness group programmes, speaking and bespoke support for organisations, and a wealth of articles on this website.
You can sign up for her mailing list for articles, insights, and announcements in your inbox.