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Growing Up as an Intuitive

I’ve been doing coaching and consulting for a while now, and I’ve had a wide variety of clients. From big companies (like Oracle and Zappos) to small companies to solopreneurs, from individuals trying to get to the next level to couples in failing relationships to people just trying to figure out what they want in life. In almost every context, when I profile and coach an Intuitive I hear the same story again and again: “My parents just didn’t get me.”

It’s kind of a broken record among Intuitives. As I’ve mentioned before, the biggest discrepancy in how we understand each other is whether or not we have an Intuitive learning style versus a Sensory learning style. (See: What’s the Difference Between Intuitive and Sensory Learning Styles?) Since the majority of the world is Sensory, that means most Intuitives were raised by at least one – if not both! – parents favoring a Sensory preference. And that means that at least one parent looked at their kid as if they must have been swapped at birth.

Now, it’s not always so dire. Just because someone is radically different than their parents doesn’t mean this is always going to end up in a major problem. But just as we all want to feel understood, especially by the people we love the most, feeling this vast difference without having words to explain what’s going on can be extremely disheartening.

Of all the coaching and consulting work I do, I always get the most excited when I hear the words, “Oh, this helps me understand my son (or daughter) so much better!” As I’ve written about before, permission is one of the most important components in a healthy Intuitive’s life – the permission to be fundamentally different, to make mistakes, and to explore alternative ways of living your life. As a rule, our parents would love to give us this gift if they only knew what that gift meant.

This is only one of the reasons why knowing, understanding and communicating learning styles is so important. Most of these issues go unspoken because they don’t have words. I mean, how often throughout your life have your heard the phrase, “Oh, you must have an Intuitive learning style” when you do something outside of the norm? Never, right! But what a relief it would have been if your parents were armed with this information. Instead of giving you the “look” that said ‘why on earth would anyone behave the way you do’ they said, “Oh, I know what’s going on – you must be Intuitive” and then subsequently acted on this information by providing you (or even just making at an attempt to provide you!) with the unique needs you have.

Getting this information into the public consciousness is a major priority for me. If you happen to be Intuitive and have what you suspect is a Sensory parent, I recommend explaining this difference to them even as an adult. Help them understand that what may have caused rifts in your relationship has nothing to do with anyone being ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. See if they aren’t more understanding of you once you have actual language to describe how your mind thinks versus theirs.

And tell me how it goes in the comments!


p.s. If you are an Intuitive and you suspect you have a Sensory child, make sure you’re looking after THEIR needs, as well! Provide your Sensory child with safety, security and concrete conversation.  Don’t make the mistake of overvaluing your preference – you’ll be doing the same thing that was done to you.

Antonia Dodge is a co-founder of Genius Awakening, a business designed to help people leverage their own mental processes to optimize productivity, communication, job satisfaction, and most importantly – happiness. She has over 10 years in applied psychoanalytics, profiled hundreds of people, and consulted for companies such as Zappos, Zappos Insights, Hot Topic Media, Oracle and Voyage Media. She has helped developed over 20 high level trainings, products and resources and served on the leadership team to plan and orchestrate TEDxSinCity, an independently organized TED event held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

About Antonia Dodge

Seeing how people tick is at the heart of Antonia’s natural ability to understand how people systems work. She is an author, thought leader, coach, trainer, systems thinker, and personality profiling expert.  At the age of 15 Antonia picked up a book on personality psychology and her world changed forever. She began to see the patterns of why people do what they do – not based on behavior alone – but based on how the mind works. Antonia has co-developed a 6-month profiler training course that teaches coaches and business professionals how to "speed read" people, understand how their mind works and and then work with the unique personality for achievement, life purpose, or team building.
  • David

    One of my main problems is that I “muddle” my way to some depths that others may not be able to follow. When (as happens often) people wonder what I am talking about, I have trouble tracing (and expressing) my thought patterns to satisfy them. Lots of times, I just stop talking and let the conversation go on without me.

    • antonia

      Your natural talent and skill is to get to those depths… that doesn’t mean you have skill built up in communicating them. In fact, this is a skill ALL Intuitives need to exercise. Think of it as being bilingual. Few people have a natural aptitude for language unless they were taught the skill early in life.

      However, it’s extremely high leverage to do so. I have a model that helps with this quite a bit. This gives me a GREAT idea for a video blog on the subject. So, thanks! And keep your eyes peeled for that upcoming video. 🙂



      • Victoria

        I can relate to the need to be “bilingual” in English, too. My husband is an engineer who expects a different way of talking than my most natural style. He keeps saying he likes clear, concise language and that’s what he speaks. I have wracked my brain trying to come up with all kinds of interpretations of “my language,” but the gist of it is that I need to translate my thoughts into a more concrete style for my hubby! By the way, he also tested as an Intuitive in the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator. Still, he definitely is more sensory than I am in his observations and subsequent conversation.

        Your upcoming video blog on how to translate highly intuitive thoughts into a more sensing style.

        By the way, I have a Master’s in Linguistics, teach college English and Creative Writing, and am in Sales.

        I’m enjoying your blogs, tests, and deep information on Intuitives very much. Thank you for sharing this knowledge!



    • Laurel

      Can totally relate. I usually feel like I am disregarded as not knowing what I want to say, but usually it is just so profound that I cannot find the words for others to be able to understand what I see. I think in the future I will stop being so hard on myself and see what happens.

  • Angeline

    Interestingly enough, I had the privilege of being raised by two Intuitive parents and my brother (the only Sensory in the house) was the one who felt extremely left out! I realize this now as an adult and feel a little bad about the superiority complex I had with him. He married into an EXTREME S family and fees like a King over there–very hard for me to watch.