Introvert shaming

I was just reading an article about introversion posted to Facebook by an introverted friend: So Apparently There Are Four Kinds of Introversion

(I was split about equal across all four kinds, by the way)

…And then, of course, in the comments to this article you find mean stuff accusing introverts who post on Facebook about introversion, of looking for pity and attention-seeking.

Sigh….

Once again, people really don’t understand introverts.

No, it’s people posting articles they find meaningful and helpful, the same as everybody else does on Facebook.  My husband’s Aspie cousin also posts lots of things about airplanes.

No, it’s about trying to understand yourself and explain it to others, after spending a lifetime of dealing with people who accuse you of being stuck up, or rude, or all sorts of other things, simply because you are quiet and introverted.

Who have abused you for it, or rejected you for it, or teased you for it, causing deep scars.

Who have scolded you out of the blue, when you were simply being yourself.

And it happens quite often.  It starts in childhood, when you have no idea why the other kids keep rejecting you and bullying you, or why you can’t please your teachers and other adults.

Most people want the approval of others, so telling us to just “shrug it off” won’t work.  No, stuff like this works deep in your psyche, a kind of introvert-shaming.

It causes you to feel like a freak, because not only can you not behave the ways that everybody keeps telling you, you “should,”–

but oftentimes you don’t want to.

Heck, I’ve just come through YEARS of fighting to recover from the emotional damage of being traumatized by Richard and Tracy for being introverted.  The whole story, the extent of how they abused me, starts here.  I recently realized that I finally made it through the darkness and have rebuilt my life again.

Another person in college, Shawn, also psychologically damaged me by criticizing all my introverted and NVLD traits.  I was in love with him, but he rejected me because of my introversion, while also sexually using me.  You can read about him here.  I had to go to counseling to untangle myself from him.  Yet years later, things he did and told me sometimes ring in my head.

If these things happen to me, then they happen to others.  I post my experiences to help other introverts and abuse victims get through the jungle of depression and self-pity, and to the point of accepting themselves–and not accepting abuse from others.

I had no such resource to help me, so I felt all alone.  But I can provide it for others so they don’t go through what I did, so they don’t feel alone.

Finally, we introverts have found a way, through Facebook, to quickly explain to all our friends that our behavior is actually normal and common.  We hope that finally, the judgment and criticism will STOP so we can relax more in social gatherings.

This is also a way to say, “We’re here, we’re introverted, get used to it!”

A way to reverse decades of emotional trauma by realizing we are OKAY.

To begin to empower ourselves.

To rebuild our confidence and become comfortable in our own skin.

To finally have the words we need and the gumption we need to tell people the next time they criticize us, “I’m an introvert, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

To STOP taking the criticism to heart and crying the rest of the day, or however each individual introvert deals with rejection and criticism.

To STOP apologizing for how we are.

To STOP trying to change ourselves and failing, destroying our confidence in ourselves.

To realize that we do indeed have something to offer, making us more attractive to employers, mates and friends.

To have a happy life of taking care of our own needs, rather than fighting against the grain of our own natures.  And that gives us the energy to take care of others’ needs as well.

…And we get accused of “attention-seeking” or looking for “pity.”

Or, another one I’ve seen, of trying to show that we’re “better,” or smarter or whatever, than extroverts.

Um, no.  This is just more introvert-shaming.  Quit it already!

(A Psychology Today article on reversing the effects of “introvert shaming,” on feeling self-worth instead of victimized, is here.  Another blog post from a kindred spirit on introvert-shaming is here.)

 

My Priest has retired–and realizing my church no longer connects to my narcissist

It was sudden, even to the parish council.  And nobody has yet been found to take his place.

We hope we do not go the way of Richard and Tracy‘s church, which shuttered some time ago because of the lack of a priest.  (Note: Richard and Tracy do NOT come to mine, and I have no idea where they go, if anywhere.)

I hear and read the comments from various people, and know it’s not just me jumping to the worst possible conclusion, but that many of us worry.  Over the years, people have also grumbled about lack of support from the archdiocese.

You can’t blame our priest: The guy’s in his 80s, and lives in the next county.  He also had two near-misses with deer when driving the long way to our church, two and four months ago.  I’m sure that had something to do with it.  And he says he’s traveled 500,000 miles over the past 23 years, dealing with our church, the church in the next county, scattered parishioners, and various small Orthodox communities around the state.  You can’t expect to work your priest to death.

We could, and hopefully will, still get a new priest.  But this concern has me seriously thinking about what to do if we don’t.

The nearest Orthodox church is our sister parish in the next county.  It’s right across the street from an old and dear college friend, so we could visit.  But my husband goes to a Lutheran church, my son is going into confirmation with that church, and there is just no way I could get there more than once a month, unless I bum a ride with somebody.

I thought about going back to Protestantism, into a liberal church which, these days, would probably suit me quite well.  Even the PCUSA allows gay preachers now.  In a liberal church, there would be no talk of submissive wives, head scarves, or arguments over whether women should read the Epistle in church.  Hell would diminish into nothing.  Gay would be Okay.

But a great deal of thought reminded me of how much trouble I’ve gone to, to become Orthodox.  The many books, the study, the changing of my thinking from Protestant to Orthodox–even kissing icons.  Even praying to saints and Mary.  As a Protestant, I thought that was idolatry.

I’ve even been studying Greek so I can start understanding my fellow parishioners!  I can now pick up words here and there.

As I revise my website, I see Orthodoxy all through the theological sections and the reviews of Left Behind.

It’s gotten into my blood.

Five years ago, after breaking off relations with Richard and Tracy, I was so distraught–so constantly driven to tears–because my very religion reminded me of my former BFF, Richard.  His friendship had been so dear to me that I could no longer even go on Orthodox forums.  You see, his influence led me to become Orthodox, as I describe here.  And I had deeply philia-loved him.

I struggled just to remain Orthodox.  I could barely hold back the tears during Divine Liturgy each Sunday.  Every aspect of Orthodoxy, was about Richard.  And when I saw him at church once in a blue moon, I trembled, and feared just looking at him would send me into a sobbing fit.

Then when he and his wife refused to repent of abusing me, and proved to be so callous as to threaten to come every week, because they knew it upset me, church became a battleground.

So you see, I have gone through a LOT to be and remain Orthodox, more than the typical convert, probably.

It would be SO easy, if no priest is found, to just give up on Orthodoxy.  Maybe become Methodist or UCC or return to the Presbyterian church just down the road.  I even thought about doing so, back when I feared just going to church because Richard might be there.

But I can’t.

Fortunately, God and time seem to have done a blessed miracle: I also just realized that Richard is no longer Orthodoxy to me.  Going to church no longer makes me think of him.

I don’t go on Orthodox forums, but that’s because Net ‘doxy is full of constant rehashing of the same old threads, legalism, and political conservatism that I just don’t see in my local church.  It has nothing to do with being reminded of Richard anymore.

I have a good friend at my church now, someone other than Richard, who understands what it’s like to be a convert.  (Most of the people there are born into the faith.)  I realized he is a close friend now, that I care about him and he seems to care about me as well.  (Don’t worry, there’s nothing improper: I’m much older than he is and don’t need to invite Graduate jokes.  Richard, who reads my blog, will understand what I mean.)

I have friends.  My faith is deeply ingrained in me.  I feel at peace.  I am no longer fighting the darkness.

Now, hopefully this will not be disrupted by the lack of a priest….Our church was in this predicament 23 years ago, too, and then somebody stepped up.

 

Just a quick note celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision

The legalization of gay marriage for all 50 states is a triumph for religious freedom–since, after all, not everybody is of a religion that is against gay marriage.  Now, hopefully, one day polygamy between consenting adults will also be legal.  What business is it of the government’s to tell people whom to love or how to form their families?

 

 

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