Don’t treat introverts like this

For a moment, I wonder if any other cultures in the world expect so much openness toward complete strangers.  It feels unnatural.  A person can’t be best buds with everybody they meet.  You have to be around them longer than a few minutes before you can open up.  You don’t really know what kind of person they are, or if you have anything in common.

While you’ve decided in ten minutes that I’m generally morose and must be taught to open up and be the life of the party, or that I’m the one making the hubby reserved–Well, you know nothing about me at all.  You sure don’t know the hubby, either.  He acts his own way, and I have nothing to do with it.  If I’m not bubbling over in laughter ten minutes after meeting you, it’s because nobody has said anything that funny, NOT because I have no sense of humor.  I’m also very shy.  It’s a natural trait, one I was born with, and one that can’t be eradicated or changed.

It gets particularly annoying to have people you’ve just met try to force you into laughter, or “jokingly” insult you, when your entire life, people have abused and otherwise mistreated you for being quiet, shy and introverted.

When people would corner you and scold you for not being “more lively.”

When guys would scold you for not being more playful/extroverted, and refuse to date you because you’re shy and/or introverted.

When an ex called you a “party pooper” as one reason why you’re a horrible person so he’s not coming back to you, even though you had always been playful and witty with him.  An ex who, by the way, turned out to be an abusive narcissist who can’t settle down with one job or one woman.  And you wonder if it’s because some creeps did nothing to make you feel comfortable at a party, and then talked about you behind your back, and the guy you liked turned it into yet another reason to scold you for acting “wrong.”

When people comment so often on your quietness in social gatherings that you started spending less and less time in social gatherings over the years.  That you have written thousands of words on the subject and posted them online.  So you have long since stopped the polite smiling and laughing you once did when people commented on you not talking.

When a couple abused and manipulated you because of your naturally quiet and introverted ways, so you had to break up with them, then spend years trying to undo the abuse and gaslighting they did on your head–while they stalked you online.

Then you go to a party and people bully you for being quiet and not bubbling over with laughter with people you just met who haven’t said anything particularly funny yet.  And get all amazed when you do laugh at something that actually is funny, as if you never do it.  When the truth is you laugh often and easily.  It’s just not funny for people to make personal remarks and try to force you into laughter when you don’t feel like it.

It’s just the way we are.  And no, we can’t change it.  We don’t particularly want to, either.  Because this is our natural state.

And no, it isn’t funny.  It’s not a joke.  We won’t have a good time.  In fact, you’ve just turned an enjoyable party into a horrible ordeal.

We aren’t sitting here waiting for somebody to tell us we have to smile or laugh or jump around or talk, and then we will just magically start doing it.  IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.  We’re not trick ponies.

Seriously, crap like this makes an introvert turn into a hermit even if she/he wasn’t one before.  We may be polite to you to avoid a scene, but we will quietly seethe.

It’s obnoxious and rude to treat us this way.

F*CKING STOP IT.

 

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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.)

 

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A post to make my blogging worthwhile

I just found this in my stats:

January 23rd post, “Finally, Someone Who Gets It

This blogger just found my post tonight: On Being Judged For Shyness.  After she read it, she wrote, “I’m crying internal tears of joy knowing that there’s someone out there who understands how I feel on a daily basis.  Her closing paragraph really hit home:”

My closing paragraph:

Please, don’t be that person.  Don’t expect shy people to talk.  Draw them out instead by asking questions.

If we still don’t say much, don’t take it personally; sometimes it takes a while for us to become comfortable enough with you to talk easily.  Or maybe we simply have nothing to say about that subject.  Because our brains have such a hard time coming up with conversational topics off the cuff, just give us a chance.

Let us be ourselves, and don’t make a big deal about our quiet natures.  It may take a few meetings, it may take 20 or 100, but eventually, we may begin to open up to you.  Even now I can be very quiet in a group of people I’ve known and been comfortable with for years, but one-on-one I can often be more talkative.

It does my heart good to see my posts connecting to others like this.  To know that all the clicking away I do all the time, is starting to reach out to others and make a difference.

 

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