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  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything due to regular computer access issues.  Am going to try to post semi-regularly.  It may be once every two weeks or so but may be less often.  The posts won’t be as lengthy as in the past either.  Sorry about this. 

     Since seeing Brene Brown on one of the afternoon talk shows (forget which one) discussing the subject of shame, that got my attention immediately!  Shame is something that is not talked about much even among mental health professionals. 

    Brene Brown mentioned her book on this program and I purchased a copy: excellent!!!!  Cannot speak for other introverts, but I’ve often felt shame for being one! 

    What is shame?

    Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we’re flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.  P5

I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t)

by Brene Brown

It’s an emotion we’ve all felt, both extroverts and introverts, but find difficult to understand. 

 

The following are some examples of participants in a study conducted by Brene Brown on shame:

Shame is that feeling in the pit of your stomach that is dark and hurts like hell.  You can’t talk about it and can’t articulate how it feels because then everyone would know your ‘dirty little secret’.

 

Shame is being rejected

 

You work hard to show the world what it wants to see.  Shame happens when your mask is pulled off and the unlikeable parts of you are seen.  It feels unbearable to be seen.

Shame is feeling like an outsider. 

      Brene Brown says its nearly impossible to explain shame without evoking incredibly powerful and overwhelming feelings associated with it. 

      Wonder if introverts being especially sensitive feel the pain of the shame more than the average?   How detrimental are the effects of long term shaming on introverts.

    I will be continuing the subject of shaming in future blogs.  That’s it for now.

      We’re quiet, too quiet for the extroverts’ liking…often appearing to be off in our own little world.  Wool-gathering, perhaps?  Or are we engaged in plotting something as extroverts presume we’re doing because we’re not talking?

      There’s a grain of truth regarding ‘plotting’… 

      Some of us introverts and HSPs (high sensitive people) may just be plotting a short story or novel or gathering ideas for a poem, or writing songs.  A high percentage of Introverts and HSPs are very creative: art, music, photography, and writing, both fiction and non-fiction.  Our innate traits lend themselves well to creative pursuits: vivid imaginations, intuitive, observant, and empathic: in my case, it is writing, photography and art, in that order.    

      How are my introverted and highly sensitive traits used when creating?  Well, my imagination is very vivid and can visualize both characters and situations with not a whole lot of difficulty…asking ’what if’ is non-stop;)  Observing people, studying how they look, behave, and speak is invaluable when developing characters that are believable.  Do I ever base characters on real people?  Not a specific person, but taking traits from a number of individuals to create a unique character is very common among writers, including me.  Being empathic, sensing what others feel without a word spoken, is a unique ability: using this ability in fiction by picking up what is not said between characters and conveying that in a story. 

     Photography is another of my passions that incorporates so many of the introvert and high sensitivity traits. The ability to observe, noticing details that perhaps are missed by a great many people during the course of a day.  Being able to see what is unique about a subject and sensing some kind of energy in an environment makes for special photographs of familiar scenes that make other people utter ‘I never noticed that before’.  I noticed something about that subject that others might not ever see because my brain is wired differently; it’s as simple as that.  The same traits used in photography are also used in my third passion, art, so won’t go into these again.

 

Now that you know what goes on in this introvert’s brain when she’s being quiet, does this information change your perceptions about her personality?  Hopefully;))   Tomorrow, samples of poetry, photography, art, etc with some background as to how they came into being…   

What does ‘Highly Sensitive’ mean to you?  Does the image of someone who is deeply wounded emotionally by someone who hurts their feelings?  That could be true; however, High Sensitivity is far more complex. It is innate and physiological.   Research indicates a Highly Sensitive Person’s (HSP) brain and nervous system are wired differently than other people: HSPs are acutely aware of and attuned to themselves and other people and their environment.  While browsing on-line last evening, I found the perfect description of high sensitivity on architectureofmeaning.com:  “…it can feel like you are living without insulation – with your nerves exposed.”  That is exactly how it feels – and it can be very intense!!   

      The traits of a highly sensitive person (HSP)may include – each person will be affected slightly differently, though: easily overwhelmed by strong sensory input; aware of subtle changes in their environment; other people’s moods and energies; bright lights,  strong smells, loud noises; rich complex inner life; super-conscientious; startle easily; get rattled when there is a lot to do in a short period of time; avoids making mistakes; avoid watching violent tv shows and movies; when competing or being observed when performing a task, the person becomes so nervous and shaking that they do much worse than otherwise.  Some HSPs experience their strongest feelings empathically: feeling everything that the people around them feel: this is true for me. I feel everything the people around me feel very intensely. If people around me feel animosity, dislike, jealousy, envy, nervousness or anxiety, for example, I feel it instantly and know who it’s directed toward.  Likewise, if people are feeling happy, positive, optimistic, I feel that too.  It’s very like the sensation you get that someone is staring at you and you look, finding that is indeed the case.  The sensations HSPs have when feeling others’ emotions are more intense and deeper, though. At least they are for me, though I cannot speak for other HSPs.  However, I would suspect this might be true for other HSPs who experience their feelings empathically. 

     HSPs comprise 15-20% of the population and of the 15-20%, 70% of those are introverts.  It was after reading Elaine Aron’s “The Highly Sensitive Person” that I realized I am an HSP.  Last year, I discovered I am an introvert after taking a Myers-Brigg personality inventory.  I think I’ll refrain from taking more quizzes for the time being, apprehensive about what will be revealed;)    

     Those of us who are introverts tend to be individualist by nature: do not follow the crowd, think for ourselves and prefer validation for our novel ways of living.  We don’t make most decisions based on what is trendy or popular or based on what the group believes is the only way to find creative solutions, achieve some goal or reach consensus on an issue.

     Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World The Can’t Stop Talking” addresses the idea of collaboration in Chapter 3 When Collaboration Kills Creativity.  She uses “The New Groupthink” to describe the way many institutions are organized.  Schools and workplaces now organize people into groups or teams believing that creativity and productivity comes from a sociable i.e. extroverted place.  Research shows that the opposite is true: the world’s greatest thinkers have often worked in solitude.  Psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (author of “Flow”) and Gregory Feist suggest the most creative people in many fields are introverts because introverts are very comfortable spending time alone: solitude being a crucial and undervalued ingredient for creativity.  Susan Cain provides several examples quoting Malcolm Gladwell, “Innovation – the heart of the knowledge economy – is fundamentally social”: “None of us is as smart as all of us” Warren Bennis, in his book “Organizing Genius” : and “Many jobs that we regard as the province of a single mind actually require a crowd” by Clay Shirkey in “Here Comes Everybody”.  Apparently, some gung-ho team work advocates have even claimed the painting of the Sistine Chapel was a group effort and only completed because Michelangelo’s assistants worked on it, too.  The assistants were ‘apprentices’ and would have worked on small parts of the Sistine Chapel under strict supervision. Michelangelo did the vast majority of the painting, no one else did. Wonder what Michelangelo would think of the claim the Sistine Chapel was a team effort? 

     Groups abound in society as humans have a tendency to form into groups.  There certain features of a group:

  • favour your own group because it’s advantageous to yourself
  • protection of self by protecting others like yourself
  • imposes unwritten rules upon members of the group, with the expectation that  individual members will be loyal and conform or face consequences such as expulsion and/or blackballing 
  • warp or exaggerate our decisions
  • dull or stifle creativity
  • favour members of a group over others
  • look for a leader to worship
  • fight other groups and/or individuals for supremacy
  • look for a leader to ‘worship’

     I cannot speak for other introverts but none of the attributes of belonging to a group seem positive or remotely appeal.  Maybe there are groups which do not share most of these attributes that are perceived as cult-like or cliquey by me.  This introvert does not get the ‘need’ to belong to a group, to think collectively rather than as an individual. LOL  The groups I’ve encountered have been very negative experiences, mostly because my introverted characteristics were totally at odds with most or all of the above characteristics.  Likely, I am not alone.      

Could this be true?  Extroverts often perceive the introvert in their midst very negatively: solitary, antisocial, perhaps mentally ill, off in our own little world, passive, loner, nonverbal – the list could go on and on.  Our natural inclination to be quiet, preferring solitude to the idle chitchat that goes on around us and requiring quiet to think sets us apart from the office social butterflies.  That we are different and don’t socialize is immediately a hot topic around the water cooler at work or in a social situation: have personal experience with this. Gossip can and does escalate and it is never positive.    

     What is gossip, and how does the dictionary define it? Oxford defines it as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people typically involving details which are not confirmed as true.”  Dictionary.com’s definition: “idle talk or rumour, especially about the personal or private affairs of others.”  Another definition found described it as malicious talk, based on assumptions, innuendoes, erroneous beliefs and perceptions…basically ignorance.  Occasionally, someone may actually try getting information from someone who isn’t providing what they want to know.  I’ve actually had someone say to someone else standing nearby but clearly referring to me (the clue being they were looking in my direction LOL) ‘we’ll have to pump her for information!’  Apparently, the two co-workers believed I really wouldn’t have two clues what they intending.  Somehow, people equate quiet people as being naïve or deaf, or stupid: perhaps all three??  Ummm, none of these in my case.     

     So why do people gossip and what motivates gossipers?  The research on this topic was fascinating!  

    People gossip for various reasons:

  • to humiliate and put others down
  • out of spite, just because they can
  • because they will benefit in the end result, such as looking better in the boss’s eye (employment setting
  • a deep rooted reason – the gossiper feels as if he/she is a much better person than the subject of the gossip
  • feel superior
  • out of boredom  – these people need another hobby!
  • out of envy – people gossip to hurt those whose popularity, talents or lifestyle they envy
  • to feel like part of the group – when acceptance is based on being ‘in on a secret’, it is not based on a person’s identity but rather on exclusion or maliciousness
  • for attention – person may be the centre of attention while divulging a juice bit of gossip but this is a temporary situation and has little foundation
  • out of anger and unhappiness – sense of retribution with disparaging remarks

 

     According to Eckhart Tolle, ego has much to do with gossiping. Some people suffer from a sense of inferiority than do others and they will do whatever it takes, including passing gossip around, to make themselves look better than others no matter what the cost

    People will gossip about things that happen and stretch them, causing more of an impact when disclosed.  They will gossip about something that is completely untrue, making up the story causes such a rush on the gossiper – they get a power surge from this experience – that they can’t contain themselves and just spit out this story they’ve concocted in their own minds (probably have convinced themselves it’s true too lol)

   The person who gossips about you is someone who carries some (or a lot) of resentment towards you and who doesn’t face the courage to face you directly.  The person has no option other than dissing and discussing you in your absence.  People will gossip about you if they’re jealous of you, if they aren’t strong enough to face you or if they feel worthless.  They will attempt to make themselves more worthy by saying that or implying that they are better than someone else. 

    Is there a way to counteract gossip?  Maybe.

    If gossip is heard, you (yes you the introvert! lol) could try:

   You seem to talk about _____ a lot.  Why the interest?  That this question would be posed by an introvert would blow the mind of a gossip.

   Let’s take a look at things from ______’s side.

   I’m more interested in what you’re up to.  This statement might just have the gossip run for cover.  It’s been an observation that gossips don’t generally want to reveal a whole lot about themselves but they love to dig dirt on others.  Since gossips love to dig dirt so much, why don’t they take up gardening? It would give them a new hobby. LOL 

     

This question was posed to an extrovert (an ENFP, one of many Myers-Briggs types) who’d left a message that he’d like to interview me which I did. I also asked him a few questions:

Which introvert (INFJ) traits drive extroverts around the bend?
You are finicky, the impossibility of dragging you out of the house on occasions. You can be on the tetchy side of things. At times, you want alone time when we want your attention.
As an introvert, I don’t think I am finicky (excessively particular, fussy, fastidious are dictionary definitions). Perhaps this is true but it also might be one of the many differences between an introvert and an extrovert. An example might be how an extrovert and an introvert (after time given to reply) might answer a question: the extrovert wants a generalized response, simplified – however, after much consideration, the introvert gives detailed analysis that includes pros/cons and several possible outcomes. No doubt that might possibly strike an extrovert as a bit finicky?
Then there is the impossibility of dragging an introvert out of the house on occasions. It’s true we don’t always want to go out of the house….but we may actually have good reasons. We might have already had extended periods of being with people and really need to ‘re-energize‘: the number of occasions and the amount of time spent at each are very important factors, so too, is the number of people present. If there have been a number of occasions recently with insufficient alone time afterward, that sucks the life out of us. It helps when we are informed ahead of time that there may be a social occasion coming up, then we can ‘prepare’ ourselves for it. If we decline the ‘invite’ to go out of the house, perhaps the way you approach this might be a sticking point with us. If you try ‘dragging’ us out that will not work;) will just dig in our heels and stay put. If you say, “c’mon it’ll be fun’ as an enticement to lure an introvert from their lair, that’s not apt to work either. Social event and ‘fun’ don’t always appeal to an introvert, especially when others present are relative strangers. The prospect of making small talk with strangers is particularly draining for us – if we can avoid this, we will! Think introverts would rather undergo a full frontal lobotomy than engage in small talk with strangers:)
Yes, I can see how our much needed alone time would be a sore point when you’re trying to get our attention. Think negotiation
Tetchy at times, yes, likely we are. Doesn’t everyone get tetchy at times though? I don’t think this trait is necessarily one exclusive to introverts.

Why do extroverts have such a negative view of introverts when they really know nothing about the person, only that he or she is quiet? This question is a two part one: Why does a ‘quiet’ person in the midst unnerve extroverts?
Because most extroverts confuse it with snobbery or stuck up and we hate it when you are not giving us attention.
That we are snobs or stuck up because we’re quiet is absolutely incorrect. Introverts are quiet because 1) we’re thinking 2) we don’t find it necessary to talk for no reason. We think first then talk! Extroverts think out loud while introverts do it in our heads. So, the fact that we quiet folk do not pay enough attention to our louder ‘cousins’ is a sore spot, eh? Sorry, if we ruffle your feathers…it’s nothing personal – really!
Part 2 response to this question
It’s the quiet ones you always have to watch for. If the quiet one is not talking, they are plotting something and we want to know what you are plotting.
This is true, we are plotting …a coup by introverts to take over the world and shush extroverts to get some much needed quiet! LOL Seriously, introverts are not plotting when we’re quiet…we just don’t feel the need to verbalize our thoughts and our brains just aren’t wired that way. When introverts are quiet, they are processing information that has just been communicated to them in some form, most likely verbally. If it is brand new information, hearing it is far more challenging for the typical introvert. Although I didn’t know anything about this aspect of introversion at the time, listening to lectures at university was often overwhelming and I struggled to keep up listening wise. Attending university as a mature student, I assumed the difficulty was a lack of background in some subjects. Now I realize this style of learning is the weakest one for me – the introvert. I am reasonably certain other introverts can relate. Reading new information clarifies concepts only vaguely comprehended when listening to the same material explained. Writing and/or providing illustrations in the form of charts or other materials is much easier for us to communicate our ideas than by verbalizing them. So when we don’t talk as much as you’d like, it is a matter of different communication styles. We aren’t withholding information or plotting something diabolical.

I’m an INFJ, what type are you? Perhaps the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator is new to you? This is relatively new to me, too, discovering it only within the last year. After taking the test on the http://www.humanmetrics.com site, the profile of my type was right on, described me to a tee.
Carl Jung introduced the idea of different psychological types in the 1920s. Isabel Briggs-Meyers and her mother, Katharine Briggs Meyers made Jung’s theory of psychological types more easily understood to people: essentially the theory states that behaviour is quite orderly and consistent due to basic differences in the ways people prefer to use their perception and judgment. (Meyers-Briggs.org). Briggs-Meyer and her mother developed the test to determine psychological types in the 1940s. Research on psychological types is ongoing.
Perception involves all the ways of becoming aware of things, people, happenings or ideas. Judgment involves all the ways of coming to conclusions about what has been perceived.(Myers-Briggs.org) If individuals differ in what they perceive and in how they reach conclusions, then it is only natural to differ in their interests, values, motivations and skills.
Four areas are covered in the test:
Preferences: Do you prefer to focus on the outer world or on the inner one? If on the outer world, this indicates Extraversion (extrovert). If your focus is on the interior world, the mind, this indicates Introversion.

Information: Do you focus on basic information you take in? That indicates you take in information via your Senses. If you interpret and add layers of meaning, this indicates processing information through Intuition.

Decisions: Do you first look at logic and consistency when making decisions? If so, this is Thinking. If you first look at the people and special circumstances, then your method is Feeling.

and finally,

Structure: When dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided? If so, this is Judgment. Or do you prefer to stay open to information and options, then you’re Perceiving.

After deciding on your preferences in the Myers-Briggs test, you will have determined your own personality type, expressed as a code with four letters. There are eight variations: ISTJ; ISFJ; INFJ; INTJ; ISTP; ISFP; INFP; INTP.

INFJ = Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging
INFJ people are a rare breed indeed; only 1-2% of the entire world’s population.
• quiet exterior, hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life.
• accurately suspicious about other peoples motives. INFJ’s are not easily led. These are the people that you can rarely fool any of the time!
• very selective of friends.
• INFJ’s are introverted intuitives enjoy a great clarity of perception of inner, unconscious process than all but INTJ’s. Readily grasp hidden psychological stimuli behind the observable dynamics of behaviour and affect.
• have an amazing ability to figure out inner workings of the mind, will and emotions of other people and can give the impression we’re reading their minds LOL
• caught between the desire to express their wealth of feelings and moral conclusions about the actions and attitudes of others and the awareness of the consequences of speaking (or writing) this aloud. Sometimes it’s necessary though but will only confide in a trusted person. Trusted is a key word as INFJ’s are well aware of the treachery that can be found in people.
• complex, highly intuitive, gentle, caring, artistic and creative.
• operate within themselves on an intuitive basis, entirely spontaneous; know things without being able to pinpoint why and without detailed knowledge of subject; are usually right and they know it.
• uncanny insight into people and situations, strong feelings about things and intuitively understand them.
• the ‘type’ most likely to have psychic experiences, the sort of things other types scoff at and ridicule. An INFJ does not even understand this at a level that can be verbalized.
• very protective of inner self, only revealing what they choose to share when they choose to.
• deep complex individuals, quite private, quite difficult to get to know but not impossible. INFJ’s hold back part of themselves.

There is much more that could be written on the INFJ’s of the world. To read more, click on the personalitypage.com and personalitydesk.com links below.

..

http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp
http://www.personalitypage.com/INFJ.html
http://www.personalitydesk.com