Something I Struggle With

A few weeks ago, Marquessa over at The Next Chapter started a writing challenge to get herself motivated to write everyday. Yesterday, I saw that Cyranny had joined in. Cyranny started with the first prompt. That one didn’t appeal to me, so I will go to the second. It is to share something you struggle with.

Regular readers may be able to guess what I’m going to share. It wasn’t the first thing that came to mind, but I got inspired by Marquessa’s post. She shared that she struggles with being called “pretty”. She then goes on to say that brains matter more to her than beauty. Well, I wouldn’t exactly say I’m the opposite, but I do struggle with being called “intelligent”.

As a child, I was often called intelligent. My parents loved bragging about my so-called genius. After I had an IQ test at age twelve, this became even worse. The IQ test, though not the first one administered to me, was the first one about which the assessor actually told my parents the exact IQ outcome. My performance IQ can’t be measured because I’m blind, but my verbal IQ was identified as being 154 on the Wechsler scale. This means I was supposedly within the highly gifted range.

As a preteen and early teen, I didn’t mind my parents bragging about this three-digit number as much. I was proud that, according to my mother, I had the same IQ as my father. Now the only time my father had an IQ test administered, he at least told me that was in the pub with a psychologist friend and he was rather drunk. I’m assuming his real IQ may be higher.

As I grew older though, my apparent high IQ more and more stood in the way of my being myself. It was frequently used by my parents and professionals to “prove” that I should be capable of solving my own problems in social situations. This got me interested in the concept of giftedness as asynchronous development. Later, I was diagnosed with autism. Still, my parents reasoned that I was just extremely intelligent.

The reason I struggle greatly with being called “intelligent” is the assumption that I am smart enough to solve non-intellectual problems. This may be so in most gifted people – I think I remember recent research disproves the theory of asynchronous development -, but it isn’t the case for me. Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, my emotional level is equivalent to someone approximately 18 months of age.

Last year, my IQ was used against me to deny me long-term care. I mean, due to my multiple disabilities and low emotional functioning level, I do best in a care setting normally catering towards severely intellectually disabled people. Because of my IQ though, I can’t get funding based on developmental disability. I am lucky that I’m blind in this respect, because I ultimately did get funding based on that.

Contrary to Marquessa, I do not struggle with compliments about my intelligence because I don’t agree with them. I mean, the IQ test I took at age twelve is rather outdated now and I scored much lower when I took another one in 2017. However, I still know I’m indeed intelligent. That being said, that’s not all I am. In the future, I’d like to be able to take pride in my intellectual abilities without them triggering the fear that I’ll need to be good at other things too.

12 thoughts on “Something I Struggle With

  1. This makes me think that people just don’t really understand what intelligence is. It seems like a whole lot of people think that when you’re intelligent, you have an ease in learning absolutely everything and can be talented at everything, and if you’re a genius – oh gosh, then you probably must have some superpowers plus your character is flawless. – And I guess the different types of intelligence are confused and considered one.
    I’ve never had a proper IQ test, not even verbal IQ, but people have always been telling me I have above average intelligence and that’s what it says on all things like psychologists’ or schools’ opinions, assessments and the like. And while I haven’t experienced it to such a degree as you, I’ve also had people who were telling me things like: “What? You’re so intelligent and you can’t do this, or that, or deal with this, or understand that?!” It used to be awfully distressing and confusing for me because there are definitely things I can’t do or deal with that even people with average intelligence typically can, like math for example, and quite a lot of other things, and then also emotional intelligence is a whole other thing, so I didn’t really know what to make out of it. These days it’s less of a problem for me because I’m just older and more aware of the different types of intelligence and also a little bit more self-aware, but also simply because I interact less with people who are like that, haha.
    I hope you will be able to make use of and have fun with your intellectual abilities without all these negative feelings around it keeping you from it with time and that for you it can also become less of a problem at some point.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So true about the different types of intelligence. Like, my performance IQ would probably be a lot lower than my verbal IQ. Sadly though, it can’t be measured, so people expect me to be intelligent across the board. The reason I had so many IQ tests was because my schools for the blind kept denying I was intelligent and my parents badly wanted me to go to a high level high school or grammar school.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Here, I think one of the main things about having a high IQ is to join an organisation. I had a test as a teenager and was invited (but declined) to join. As an adult, I dislike the idea totally of joining an elitist organisation – we should be looking for similarities, not differences.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I was slapped with the label “gifted” (advanced placement it is called these days) when I was 13. By the time I got to high school and all the bullying and anxiety got to me, I could barely qualify as being on the spectrum. (Even though I have traits.)

    I am still one of the brighter bulbs on the tree, practically speaking, but I also have times of being ditzy, of things not connecting in my brain, of being….not quite there.

    I don’t let it detract from my base intelligence. My vocabulary alone, minus any formal education, kind of tells the story of how hard I try to learn on my own and better myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve never had an IQ test nor do I think I would want one. Intelligence comes in so many different forms. My parents boasted about our accomplishments to others but would never praise us directly.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, same for me, my parents bragged about me to others mostly. I don’t think I’d want another IQ test. I’ve had so many psych evals it’s crazy. Anyway thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t remember ever being told what my IQ was (although I believe I had the tests from time to time) but I was always being told I had a high academic ability and should aspire to go to university — by the time I came to, a huge percentage did so (which was not the case when my parents were growing up). When I was made unwelcome at two successive schools (one a Catholic state comprehensive, one a private grammar school) because of behaviour issues (not major ones by comparison with what I saw later, just having difficulty getting on with other kids and being unable to tolerate being told what to do by them), I was told I needed a school for bright kids with special needs, which local special schools weren’t.

    The school they chose was an abusive and violent one where I was expected to stay at until I was 16 (when I could choose to leave or go to college for the next stage, which I did). Years later, when I asked why I couldn’t have gone to the Steiner school we had looked at the year I started at the Catholic school, my aunt told me it was all about my ability. Parents want their children to achieve more than they want them to be happy a lot of the time, and will justify obvious harm on the basis of uncertain long-term gain.

    Liked by 1 person

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