Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Raising genius

I really enjoyed this article by Andrew Solomon in the NY Times Magazine, "How do you Raise a Prodigy?" I thought the parallels between raising a prodigy and raising a sociopath were compelling. He first talks about his recent research in parents that raise children with special issues:

Prodigies are able to function at an advanced adult level in some domain before age 12. “Prodigy” derives from the Latin “prodigium,” a monster that violates the natural order. These children have differences so evident as to resemble a birth defect, and it was in that context that I came to investigate them. Having spent 10 years researching a book about children whose experiences differ radically from those of their parents and the world around them, I found that stigmatized differences — having Down syndrome, autism or deafness; being a dwarf or being transgender — are often clouds with silver linings. Families grappling with these apparent problems may find profound meaning, even beauty, in them. Prodigiousness, conversely, looks from a distance like silver, but it comes with banks of clouds; genius can be as bewildering and hazardous as a disability.

He then goes on to express some of the particular difficulties in raising any child who is different than the norm, particular a child who is different from the parents themselves, and how there are no easy rules:

Children who are pushed toward success and succeed have a very different trajectory from that of children who are pushed toward success and fail. I once told Lang Lang, a prodigy par excellence and now perhaps the most famous pianist in the world, that by American standards, his father’s brutal methods — which included telling him to commit suicide, refusing any praise, browbeating him into abject submission — would count as child abuse. “If my father had pressured me like this and I had not done well, it would have been child abuse, and I would be traumatized, maybe destroyed,” Lang responded. “He could have been less extreme, and we probably would have made it to the same place; you don’t have to sacrifice everything to be a musician. But we had the same goal. So since all the pressure helped me become a world-famous star musician, which I love being, I would say that, for me, it was in the end a wonderful way to grow up.”

While it is true that some parents push their kids too hard and give them breakdowns, others fail to support a child’s passion for his own gift and deprive him of the only life that he would have enjoyed. You can err in either direction. Given that there is no consensus about how to raise ordinary children, it is not surprising that there is none about how to raise remarkable children. Like parents of children who are severely challenged, parents of exceptionally talented children are custodians of young people beyond their comprehension.

I love the Lang Lang quote. It is such a great acknowledgment that different folks require different strokes. If there is anything that I hope to achieve with the blog and getting people to think about the presence and role of sociopaths in society, it is probably to preach this gospel that we're all really different from each other in ways that we too often either ignore or pretend don't exist. There's nothing wrong with heterogeneity, in fact it is probably what keeps us so viable as the dominant species on this planet. Monster babies are born into all types of family every day. But the word monster need not mean B movie horror matinees, it could also be someone more like Lang Lang.


  1. Hello SociopathWorld

  2. Lol once again comparing sociopathy to genius or whatever else suits your fancy. Come on, dude.

    Also a 'prodigy' is not the same thing as 'genius'.

    1. "Lol once again comparing sociopathy to genius or whatever else suits your fancy. Come on, dude."

      I want to pet those snakes again… this is why I write you as a telepath; you say what I a think so often.

      "Also a 'prodigy' is not the same thing as 'genius'."

      Then again, sometimes your just MOTO.

    2. I used to think ASPD was all nurture but being here, trying to heal myself, forming bonds with some SW members and my own study has made me change my mind.

      I think people are born with varying degrees of proclivity to ASPD.

      You can see it in the astrological chart, too.

      It is quite clear that there are degrees of sensitivity to conscience. There are degrees of being in touch with emotions. These two things would be indications of empathy.

      There are many factors to consider.

      One of my mentors saw a chart of a famous serial killer and said he was born a sociopath.

      I am humbled before the whole question.

      However, if parents could help a child find his gifts and learn to deal with his limitations, that would be a wonderful opportunity for the child.

      He would have the best chance of reaching his full potential.

  3. Good morning everybody!!! Good morning MP and Medusa!!!!

    How are you all today?

    PS- To answer "Raven's" question from yesterday, I dont know why I enjoy using so many exclamation points, lol, its just how I type when iam happy/excited I guess!!!!

    Thank you for your compliment yesterday Monica, also, thank you too Lunar, I do mean well, I try to.....

    1. Also, the last part of "Up from, the sofa" is great and has me wanting more!!! Now Iam wondering what is going on in that "Research Wing" of the building........

      Suspense!!!! I like it!!!!

  4. Monica began to speak.

    She glanced at Rich and saw that he was beet red and trembling.

    "My God, Rich, what is it?"

    "I am having a panic attack"

    Before Monica could do anything, Rich was on the floor in the fetal position.

    Monica got next to him and held him like a baby.

    "It's OK, Rich"

    "I am sorry, Monica. I feel so stupid. How can you want me to protect you when I am an incompetent loser"

    "I am a loser, too, Rich. How about we try this, again, tomorrow after work? Are you up for it?

    They both started laughing.

    1. Elicit made it the hard way.

      She was brainy and beautiful. She used her brains when she could, but when other things were needed she did not demure.

      Elicit escaped her native Romania in a gutsy move. She defected when she came to the US in the Romanian Youth Symphony Orchestra.

      She played the cello.

      When she defected, she left everyone and everything behind.

      She had to make it or die. She made it all the way to a Phd in Physics from Cornell.

      That is how she found her way to the top secret research which demanded the utmost in integrity.

      In fact, she would be killed if she let her secrets out. She knew this when she accepted the job.

      Her field of study was invisibility.

    2. Just when I thought Ellicit couldn't get sexier, you throw in that she plays the cello. Nice!

    3. The story tells itself. I was going to change the instrument but it wanted the cello.

    4. LOL! These were awesome!!!! I lovehow you incorporated my panic attacks into the story! LOL! Hopefully next panic attack I can reach for my trusty bottle of xanax! But, I gotta stay sharp on the job....... So its tough to be popping xanax and staying sharp!!!!

      Interesting backstory about Elicit!!! Who knew she was from the Romanian Youth Symphony Orchestra???? LOL THIS IS GREAT A+ WORK!!!!!!!!

      Thank you for the new parts to up from the sofa! Iam going to save them right now ;)

    5. Hehe, I like this. More, please.

      And are you male of female Up on the sofa?

    6. *male OR female

    7. Thank you, Rich. You make me feel like a million dollars Thanks Anon!

      Haven inhabited the mysterious 5th Floor with Dr Elicit and Dr Alia, whose specialty we have yet to tell you, dear reader. Hers is the most bizarre.

      Haven had a shadowy past. She was reported to be related to connected people. She was supposed to have gone to Harvard but none of the students knew her.

      She was a taciturn sort. She would open up once she knew you, but it took time.

      People whispered about failures in her work, in which people died.

      One man went insane, without having prior mental problems.

      Haven seemed as if she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. The gravity of her work may have been the reason.

      The other was that she was in love with a married man. That man was the founder of the clinic and Zoe's father--Dr Franklin F. Fomentile Phd.

      Dr Franklin Fomentile would never leave his wife and his two story house in the tony section of Boca Raton with the triple garage which housed his two pristine Jags.

      He would never leave the money which his wife brought to the relationship.

      Dr F thought love was important, but some things were more important. So, Haven saw him at odd times when he could fit her in.

      The relationship was not known to any of them, so Haven had to be on guard to never let it slip.

      She hated herself for how much she loved him, but he was everything she ever wanted in a man, except for the fact that he would not leave his wife for her.

      Haven's medical specialty was Mind Control.

    8. Creative comments like these always put a smile on my face.

  5. Can I talk about gossip here not the other post?

    1. Ok that's a yes imo.

    2. THis is too much info, I know.

      i was reading about codependents and wondering why they are attracted to borderlines.

      i have a friend irl who says she has mommy issues and is codependent. She is always always always complaining. I give her advice and deal with her self-inflicted victim status. i kind of sort of feel bad for her but really Idk why I engage with her to the extent I do.

      And i also think she feels bad for me maybe! She is very narcissistic.

      I like to distract myself with others, this I know. I don't enjoy looking inward so maybe this is why.

      ANYWHO..... here is the gossip part:

      We end up gossiping. It is contagious. I don't agree with it but I forget. It is bad to like it. She is THERE and I enjoy it. Also, I am oblivious to certain dynamics at the work place and I like to hear about who I don't pay attention to. even if it is her skewed info (I can tell the difference easily) I am focused.

      But then I start talking about myself!!! She likes me and in the moment I forget she is poisonous.

      I am always giving her good advice too.

      I cannot make it out whether I am pleasing her to be liked. She is very very judgmental and victim ,which is why many people reject her over and over.

      I can't figure out why I have no feelings about her and others do. The other day I told her she is always playing at being victim and blaming everyone else. She laughed it off and just started blaming others so I walked away and said gotta go.

      I do not know if I am altruistic to the gossiper. I cannot figure out why I kind of sort of like her and the only thing I can come up with is that I am doing charity.

      I cannot and do not get involved with negative and poisonous people. I do not invite them in socially. This is work person. But I Have welcomed her superficially.

      Would someone mind explaining for me?

      Is this codependence, Monica ? Do I get sucked in to being codependent with another codependent?

      HAven, is this "borderline codependence" ?

    3. LEt me correct something. she does not feel bad for me. that is wrong. She admires me but she gives compliments too much to me, too. She is leechy.

    4. Anon, You have every right to write on here, as much as Raven or anyone else does. Ignore anyone who is a jerk to you.

      That is the first step in healing co-dependency ~

      I will be back to study what you wrote.

    5. To me, Anon, it sounds like you just want to talk to her and enjoy doing it.

      Everyone likes gossip and drama( but some people won't admit it ~)

      Is your life hurt by her? If not, you don't sound co-dependent.

      Co-dependent is when you identity is not solid and you need excessive external approval to feel OK.

      To me, it is a PD because it is stuck on and you can't get rid of it without a great struggle.

      That is my 2 cents.

      Raven, if you don't like the Comment section, add what you want. No one is stopping you.

    6. To Anonymous at 9:5.... Could it be that you see part of yourself in her?

      Also, it could just be that you are friendly to EVERYBODY (Like I am) and that from time to time these people just manage to find their way into your life because of that? That may be it too.

    7. Monica, I haven't been here today. I hope you're not aiming to provoke me in some way. You promised me you'd quit that shit.

    8. Raven, someone insulted Rich under your name. I didn't know it was not you. From now on, I will not assume it is you, unless you have your actual account.
      I have no desire to fight with anyone.

    9. Yeah... this is the second time I've seen someone using Raven in the last few days. I will only be commenting here with my blogger account from now on.

    10. Ok Good to know!

    11. Thank you very much to Rich and Monica. Raven OR Raven impersonator *smirk*, you do not get invited in for cookies much, do you?

      Monica I do like gossip. I admit that. My favorite guide book for living a clean life says not to do it though. Also, I think a buddhist would not do that and I want to be a better person. I want to be content in my self and gossip only makes me feel more ugly. It is the last thing I want to do is feel more ugly than i do already.

      Rich I see some of myself in her. We both had narcissistic mothers. I am also too nice to everybody. It's funny because this girl is not too nice!

      I don't want to need to be validated like the twitter says. That is the worst part of me and that is why my path has halted right now. I am lost. i do not want anyone to validate me. They have no power. None. Now I have to validate myself. I feel too weak and then I want to hate myself more, and then it's a circling shitstorm of self hate going on.

      I cry everyday. I do not want to live like this -this "healing" you talk of is just crying for myself everyday, many times a day. I do not like myself now. I used to,or atleast it seems so,but idk.

      And I think this place is driving me madder than ever and it is the sociopath here who is liking it. So get the fuck off my back.

      Thanks again for reading :)

    12. Oh, and fake Raven whoever you are, I already know I sound like I am whining so I will save you the nasty comment.

    13. See, and now you're out of control with the diary style writing. Now no one will listen to you. HA! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

    14. Well I have a tire iron in my bookbag, Fake Raven. K?

    15. Good because i have a flat and you're changing it.

    16. ^ that's me again. Fake Raven.

    17. I'm not your slave, Fake Raven.

    18. sociopath does not have the power to make a borderline self-hate. Don't blame any of us. you do that all buy yourself. stop blaming people you don't know and never met. chill.

    19. ok. U r right! No one can make you hate yourself unless you are a person who can be controlled by guilt mongers.

    20. Anon 10:18
      I understand where you are and I can relate in so many ways. I will share with you.

      I have been through a period when I am trying to come out of a PD.I am not sure of the name of it because I quit going to shrinks when I realized I was getting worse( and worse and worse ~)

      You cannot fix your mind with your own mind, Einstein said. You have to fix your mind by releasing your emotions. The field of therapy is Right Brain Trauma Therapy.

      I made my own program and it is working. I, also, got a program on how to come out of PTSD which I had from abuse.

      I think my PD would be co-dependent with borderline leanings( but not that much) and Narcissist traits but not Mal Narc. I am really low on the histrionic which will surprise most people ~

      Anyway, I won't rest until I can have my own feelings and needs and be able to stand tall and proud with who I am.

      It is coming very slowly and painfully.

      In a word, I think it is a reduction in shame.

      Anyway, that is my story. Don't let anyone run you off from here. There is a place for everyone who can take the heat, but there is a lot of caring peeking our from the hard exteriors, too.

      I have gotten a great deal of support from unlikely places.

    21. "You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.: -Friedrich Nietzsche

      Just saw this on FB. Posts on FB seem to hit me just when I need them lol

    22. Thank you, Monica.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Just Shut. The fuck. up. YEah this is aimed directly at you, anon 9:58. Get a fucking shrink. THuis is why I barely come here anymore.

    1. A shrink will only tell me to concentrate on myself but in a more self promotional way. they will make me feel flawed and shamed of myself in circular fashion so I don't stop hitting myself.

    2. I will talk about the twitter quote instead, Raven.

      THis one.

      "Loyalty cannot be tested. A test of loyalty is no less of a betrayal than whatever acts of malice come in response."

      Maybe the verbose mindless pleasures can give concrete examples. Many of you turds are too cryptic.

    3. not raven. it has to be extremity or another pathetic sociopath. I pity them.

    4. That wasn't me. Who ever it is needs to learn to snipe at people under their own name.

    5. That wasn't me. Raven knows it's not me anyways.

  8. Anonymous Phantom 1May 22, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    You sociopaths are egotistical in the extreme. A "prodigy" is not a "monster" like you, but someone who is highly intelligent and advanced for their age. Next thing you'll be saying is that Einstein was a creep like you. You think that just because you lied to somebody and stole from them that that makes you superior to them. When people like you are found out, and you always are, you have to move on. As science progresses with an empirical diagnosis, you will be eliminated from the gene pool along with retards and aspies.


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