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Living with Intensity

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  646 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Gifted children and adults are often misunderstood. Their excitement is viewed as excessive, their high energy as hyperactivity, their persistence as nagging, their imagination as not paying attention, their passion as being disruptive, their strong emotions and sensitivity as immaturity, their creativity and self-directedness as oppositional. This resource describes these ...more
Paperback, 305 pages
Published 2009 by Anodyne, Inc. DBA Great Potential Press, Inc. (first published 2008)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  646 ratings  ·  87 reviews

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Allison Corbett
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book for anyone who has ever felt or been told that they were "too much" or perceived that perhaps they just felt more than other people. As I read the beginning of this book I found myself crying because of how much it helped me understand myself. It offers a comprehensive view of "giftedness," what they term "Intensity," including 5 areas of OE or overexcitability. These authors view the emotional conflicts, intensity, and differentness of OE, intense, gifted individuals as potential ...more
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
Amazing. This explained my life. It explained my students. It explained my friends. I was particularly interested in the section discussing the misdiagnosis of many gifted kids as ADHD because of their overexcitabilities. The information and research about gifted adults was particularly refreshing, as I haven't read ANYTHING else like this.

I'd recommend reading this book after reading The Drama of the Gifted Child.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book really helped me understand other people. Weird huh? As a gifted adolescent you'd think that in the constant search for myself this would help illuminate all of my quirks and problems, in addition, perhaps, to solutions. Not quiet. Growing up i knew that i was "different" and i attributed this to many things. I knew that i was empathic, intelligent, creative et al... albeit i never tied these things together or looked at them holistically. All of these things were just personality trai ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As a mom with three kids in the "gifted" program at school (quotes because I use the term loosely; I'm under no illusion that I'm raising the world's next Einsteins), I'm always on the lookout for books exploring various traits exhibited by such kids.

"Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults" was great! It's really a compilation of articles by various authors, and especially highlights works insp
Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome. So far it's like reading a book written about my daughter :-)

I've read enough of it to know that I want to own it. I imagine I'll reference it off an on forever.

I did buy this and I just re-read the part on young kids again to recharge me :-) Intensity takes a lot of energy and I've been burning out trying to deal with her. She deserves better than that :-(
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sciences, natalism
Popular psychology approach to education & parenting, employing Dabrowskian theory. Includes sections regarding adults, but the center of gravity is juveniles.

I'm finding Dabrowski's concepts very useful: overexcitability, multilevel development, asynchrony, personality disintegration, positive maladjustment, and so on.

Basis is that there are five levels of personality development, not related to age. Level I, primary integration, is animalistic, marked by concern for money & power. That descri
Elizabeth Andrew
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-to-self-help
Revolutionary, at least in my little world. This book is essential for understanding giftedness, perfectionism, intensity, and human development. I most appreciate how Dobrowski's theory parses apart varieties of "overexcitabilities" (a clumsy, unhelpful term), to help me understand and be more compassionate toward intense people (myself included). I'm buying this one so I'll have it on hand to read again in a few years. ...more
Emily Evans
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Excellent if sometimes emotionally difficult book on the psychological needs and experiences of the gifted with a focus on Kazimierz Dąbrowski's theories of overexcitabilities and positive disintegration. While it's primarily written about gifted children, there are a few articles on adults as well. It should be required reading for parents of gifted children, and I'd highly recommend it for gifted adults as well. ...more
Sep 18, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a hard book to review because I have mixed feelings about it. The most salient point is that this is *not* a practical book. I bought it under the impression that it would have strategies for day-to-day life, but it's a very theoretical book, containing essays about Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration and how it can be used to understand the behaviour of gifted people throughout the lifecycle. As the chapters are contributed by different authors, they have very different tones, ...more
Dec 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book's greatest value to me was in helping me to understand my husband and my relationship with him. He is gifted, and that makes him both interesting and wonderful but also difficult to live with at times. It helps to understand that his differences are not unique to him, though they are uncommon. He is the kind of person who can talk passionately and at length on almost any subject. It's great, until I am exhausted. And he has certain sensitivities that I never realized were connected to ...more
Nov 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This book talks about over-excitabilities and the theory of positive disintegration both ideas posited by Dabrowski that explain why gifted people do not fit in the norms for behavior.

It spoke to me as an adult gifted person. I read it because I felt that my children fit in this mold only to find out that I was in the midst of trying to deal with my own level 3 disintegration and deal with my own boredom brought on by not engaging my questing and creative mind.

A great find for parents of gifted
Jan 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
This is a mixed bag: some good essays, some meh, some painful. Useful if you need an overview of Dabrowski and wanted more than Wikipedia had to offer. It reinforced what I knew about myself as a child (and see in my own child), and that's either very nice or an example of cognitive bias.

(I don't know how much credence I give to personality theories in general, and as far as this goes, the research is incestuous. I'd like to see how well this weathers extensive academic scrutiny.)
Daniel Reis
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Highly practical for gifted people. There is too much information in this book to provide a fitting summary, but I will try.

If, when you were a child, you were told you need to calm down, or that you overthink things, or that you're too sensitive, or that, perhaps, you need to learn to listen better, or that you need to stop fidgeting, this book essentially explains that you have some form of giftedness that, perhaps, may be presently suppressed a great deal. This book will help you understand w
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
I appreciated the parts of the book about overexcitablities, but I was expecting more practical information about how to live with OE or how to live with a child with OE. All the material about Dabrowski's theory of the levels of development assumes a belief in a humanistic transcendental experience of self-actualization as the ultimate goal of human experience.

"Level V is the perfection of the personality. It is life without inner conflict. It is a life directed by the highest guiding principl
Jul 21, 2012 rated it liked it
There were some really good insights in this book and they were laid out in an understandable and logical way. The concept of OE was extrmely helpful in seeing my child in a clearer light and understanding some of the challenges gifted children face. However, it was about 100 pages too long. All the garbage on research methodology and personal stories about people in the field of "giftedness" we're more than I ever wanted to know and not important to learning the material. ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Profound. I understand myself, my gifted students, and my gifted family and friends so much more. Explores all aspects of giftedness from early years to late adulthood. Some articles within were extremely powerful and thought provoking for me including those about Dabrowski’s theory of positive disintegration, perfectionism, nurturing OEs in young gifted, and about the three phrases of adulthood. My life & family in a nutshell. I definitely recommend.
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was maybe a bit of an odd read for me because I wasn't sure what to expect, and then after reading it, I wasn't sure how to apply what I'd read because it was sort of a hodgepodge of perspectives for a variety of apparent purposes. Some of the chapters described theory; some described case studies and examples; some seemed like personal narratives/biographies; some seemed like guidelines for teachers and therapists. Most of the stuff that interested me was anecdotal presentations of pe ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever been told that you are too much? That you are too sensitive or too intense or too persistent or too idealistic or that you analyze things too much or that you have too much energy, so much so that people often can’t believe how much you accomplish in any given day? I have been told all of these things by various people at various points in my life. But these messages were always delivered in a judgmental way that made me feel bad about being the way I am. If you can relate to this, ...more
Antoinette Perez
This title was recommended by Amazon, and I must have seen the high average rating and clicked Buy. They could benefit from including the subtitle on the cover, or changing the cover to somehow acknowledge that this is a collection of pieces from academics and mental health practitioners. The book is not what I expected, which is to say that it was helpful in an entirely different way than I anticipated. I was hoping for "techniques for better parenting of an intense child," but what I got was a ...more
Catherine Gillespie
Living With Intensity: Understanding the Sensitivity, Excitability, and the Emotional Development of Gifted Children, Adolescents, and Adults takes a much more academic approach, which was fine with me but might be dry if you aren’t really fascinated with the topic. I found that there were several chapters I only skimmed, while others I took time to read slowly and carefully, because some dealt with things I’m not dealing with currently, or were better laid out in other books (like the Misdiagno ...more
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, psych
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting, adult-nf
I had high hopes for this book about understanding excitability in gifted people - perhaps my hopes were too high. The book starts by describing types of over excitability (psychomotor, sensual, intellectual, imaginational, and emotional) and development potential as defined/observed by Dabrowski. I didn't spend a lot of time on the development levels/potentials.

The chapters are written by various clinicians about different topics related to excitability. A lot of the book rang very true for me
Apr 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting, gifted
This is not a typical parenting book, and not the kind that gives advice on what to do when your kid has tantrums or won't wear socks or dislikes school. Or at least not directly. Instead, it is series of essays discussing Dabrowski's theory of positive disintegration (TPD) and overexcitabilities, and how they relate to personal intensity.

Some of the chapters relate directly to intense children and teens. There is some useful advice on why your child may be behaving the way he does and how you c
Stephanie Holt
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I found great information within the pages of this book. There were a couple of chapters that I skimmed over, but most of them were full of useful information. I felt challenged by the clinical sections, but in a good way. There is much to be learned from this book regarding the intensities of being gifted. Not just for people raising gifted children, but for those who are themselves gifted. My perspective on the struggles I have faced has changed drastically. In addition, I will approach parent ...more
Dee Mixer
Oct 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Good book for getting me started with these theories of OE's, and disintegration. This book is pretty clinical, and seems geared for counselors instead of parents. Like other reviewers, it left me wanting practical suggestions for helping my child through the process of "disintegration." I am not so foolish to think that there is a book out there that can provide a step-by-step guide to parenting the gifted, but I'm guessing that pretty much everyone who picks up this book is looking for some ki ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: school-education
Personally I would give 3 stars due to my interest level, but I don't want to negatively affect the rating since this was for a class.

I read this book for a graduate level class. Start to finish, took 2 days, and I did skim some chapters for the main ideas.

It delves into the work of Dabrowski, especially the 5 overexcitabilities and 5 levels of development. The author then applies these ideas to the gifted child in adolescence, throughout life, stressors, and the family.

Very informative. I just
Kaitlin Kogucz
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was such an a amazing book. Anyone with giftedness or those that feel alone should read this. There were so many parts of this book where I found myself crying from relief in the realization that I was not alone and what I have felt all my life is something other people experience. This is truly a subject that needs to be talked more about, and I appreciate the thoroughness with which this book approached it. Overall, a well needed read that I would recommend for anybody.
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good reading, though it was a bite disappointing for me as I was expecting it to deal more with gifted adults' common issues / difficulties, unfortunately it was not the case..The book describes more the general function of gifted children and focuses on the features of overexcitability / overemotionality..etc ...more
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Really useful information. I especially appreciated chapter 3 and the phrases parents can use to respond to sensory, intellectual, imagination, psychomotor, and emotional overexcitabilities and how to modulate some of those.
Kate Mccabe
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fairly dense reading but worth the more academic approach for the excellent body of information. This is not a self help or parenting book, although it helped me in both areas.
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