Seeing the best in life's challenges

Indigos, Egos, Pitfalls and Love

on November 13, 2012

Much has been written on the Indigo Children.  Indigos were first identified by Nancy Tappe in the early 1970s, but Lee Carroll and Jan Tober brought the idea of Indigos to the forefront with their book The Indigo Children, published in 1999.

This is a broad topic and it is impossible to adequately cover the thoughts and descriptions of Indigos in a short blog post.  If you are interested, definitely read more.

I stumbled onto the idea of Indigos while reading parenting literature, trying to gain a better understanding the kids I know.  Once you read about Indigos, then observe people around you, it is pretty easy to spot this type of person.

Indigos are bright, creative, outside-the-box thinkers who are system-busters.  Some would describe the life purpose of Indigos as those who are here to “shake up” and expose those institutions and beliefs that no longer work in today’s society.  And as I observe those I know, they definitely play this role – it is their Service to Humanity.  Lots of things in our world need to change, and somebody has to push to overthrow the status quo.

We need people like this.  They push our buttons.  They make us uncomfortable.  If we are able to take a deep breath and think about what they show us, we can learn an awful lot.  Interacting with Indigos is great practice in overcoming ego, letting go of judgment of right and wrong/being open-minded, and gives one lots of chances to self-reflect.  Dealing with Indigos can be a lot of work.

It’s not easy being an Indigo.  They don’t “fit” so they frustrate parents and teachers.  They are wise and don’t hesitate to point out what they see.  They soon learn that most people would rather ignore problems than try to fix them.  Adults would rather they sit down and be quiet, which can be infuriating….or, in many cases, the Indigo just ignores this fact and speaks up anyway.  Indigos get labeled and diagnosed.  Adults want to figure out what is “wrong” with them.  Why can’t they just get along?

Depending on each situation, Indigos learn to cope in various ways.  Every situation is different, each personality is different, so of course it’s hard to generalize.  But they can be very strong-willed, stubborn, forceful and even mean and spiteful when pushed too far.

Understand, that to play this role, a person NEEDS to be strong-willed, stubborn and forceful.  Otherwise, no one would pay attention!

But the Paradox is, this presents Pitfalls

Having watched several Indigos for many years, I can see how this role in life can be really tough on a person.  When it’s time for them to focus on their own self-growth or their own relationships, their battle scars and resulting defense mechanisms can be formidable barriers to be overcome.  Let’s face it:  being vulnerable is tough for all of us.

Indigos, especially the ones who have been around for a while, have had to learn to protect themselves.  If they did not grow up in an understanding environment (and even if they did), they have dealt with a disproportionate amount of opposition and criticism.   Almost nobody “gets them” and this can feel very lonely.  But don’t think an Indigo will compromise what he knows, just to get along!!

What protects us?  Our ego.  Indigos have needed a strong sense of self-worth to survive and maintain their sanity, and this is a role that the Ego is there to fulfill.  Pride in this important role and a feeling of superiority can result.

The high level of frustration that results from being able to see things so clearly, when other people seem oblivious, can be extremely hard to process.  This frustration can lead to a strong connection to being “right” and to the view that other people are “idiots.”  It is very hard for an Indigo to give other perspectives equal weight.  Especially if Indigos grew up in families with a Critic Mindset, they can come to rely on criticism of others as a defense mechanism.  (See How Often are You the Critic?)

How to help an Indigo?

As a parent, or perhaps a close, trusted friend or family member, you can support an Indigo.  Just don’t go thinking you’re going to “fix” them.

Listen to them.  We all need to be heard, but too few people are able to listen to Indigos.  Indigos have learned to assume that you are stupider than they are, so you can’t get offended.  And you probably won’t be able to tell them much.  You can make gentle observations here and there, but don’t be surprised at resistance.  Just love them.

Let them live their life.  You can be there for them, to support and listen, but you will rarely be able to give an Indigo advice.  They have to learn the hard way, and especially when you are the parent, this can be very hard to watch.  But if you let yourself get sucked in, you are not doing your Indigo any favors – you are just delaying their own learning experience (and probably insulting them at the same time).  This can be a parenting balancing act nightmare.  Love them anyway.

Encourage self-reflection and empathy.  These are traits that don’t come easy to an Indigo, especially if they have been beaten down and feel defensive around those who oppose them.  Acknowledge the Service they provide and help them to understand how others can have a different perspective and it doesn’t mean they are “wrong”.   Just love them.

Stand up to them.  This takes a lot of skill to get right.  You cannot get in an emotional shouting match with an Indigo because you will lose and they will lose any little respect they had for you in the first place.  Using guilt as a weapon will get you nowhere.  You must state your position calmly, be firm, affirm that you can see and respect their position, but that you still maintain your own.  (I practice this all the time, and don’t always succeed by any stretch.)  You are still loving them.

At the heart of the matter there is another way to look at this.  My belief is that every single person, regardless of their role in life, their personality, their belief system, their personal habits, or any other trait…..EVERY SINGLE PERSON is worthy of unconditional love.  This is not something that is easy, or maybe even possible for us as individuals to actually do.  But an Indigo child, especially, will constantly ask a parent this question:  If I do this, will you still love me?  Over and over, through challenge after challenge, I have faced this question.  All too often, that inner child has received an answer that is contrary – you are wrong, you are too loud, you are not worthy, etc.  Indigos push us to rethink those answers, and as a result, we can become more loving, tolerant and understanding.

Hard work.


(And for the record:  don’t get too hung up on the “label” of Indigo.  There’s not agreement “out there” on what actually determines who is an Indigo.  Remember, the label is something that is useful so that we know what we’re talking about;  but the label itself only represents a concept.  It’s not really “a thing.”)

One response to “Indigos, Egos, Pitfalls and Love

  1. war rior says:

    awesome , heh its war, gimme an add i am blocked from that and message lulz. ALso i am an indigo and this much describes me. Plus indigos seem to have high levels of energy.

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