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Being An Introvert

Good morning, Dear Reader!  Today, I thought we would talk about being an introvert.

 

Introverts are often very quiet people,  people who gain strength from being alone rather than being around others,  become mentally & physically drained after being around other people, hate being the center of attention, focused, introspective, highly intelligent, explore their few interests deeply, become irritable without sufficient alone time & prefer having only a few very close friends rather than many acquaintances.

 

This describes me very well.  I absolutely cannot tolerate much time around other people, even those I love dearly.  In fact, a lifelong friend of mine is also an introvert, & when we get together, it doesn’t take us long & one of us will say, “You ready for some introvert time?”  Neither of us is offended by this, since we both understand the strong need for alone time.  Instead, we both laugh about it & go home.

 

It seems to me that most people are extroverts.  They need to be around other people often as it energizes & strengthens them.  They are highly energetic people & often bubbly & excited in the ways they express themselves.  If they are alone for any length of time, they become depressed.  They have many friends & many interests.  Being the center of attention is a positive thing for them.

 

The large amount of extroverts compared to introverts can make being an introvert rather challenging.  Introverts often think there is something wrong with them for not being like most other people.  We feel like we are weird or  flawed. We also feel like there isn’t anyone else who prefers the company of a good book over people.

 

Also, extroverts can’t understand us introverts any better than we can understand them.  Often, they try to “help” us by making us more social, such as wanting us to go places with them when we would prefer the solitude of our own home with a good book.  They also may think we are depressed rather than introverted, & try to “cheer us up” by wanting us to do things that cheer them up.  If you are fortunate, the extroverts in your life understand that you are simply different than they are.  They quickly learn not to try to change you, & that there is nothing wrong with you for being introverted- it is simply a personality trait rather than a flaw or illness.

 

If you are not as fortunate with the extroverts you know, life can be a bit more challenging.  I had a friend years ago who I cared a great deal about, but he was very extroverted.  He constantly wanted to go places & hang out with me.  We always had fun together & I enjoyed it when we went spent time together, but due to my introverted nature, there were many times I would have preferred to stay home alone.  I ended up hurting his feelings quite a few times for turning down an invitation to go to a bookstore (our favorite activity) or out to lunch.  I didn’t mean to- I just needed my introvert time, & he didn’t understand that as he didn’t like to be alone for very long or stay home.  He did accept my boundaries, & usually with only a little trying to convince me to change my mind.

 

Unfortunately, this is unavoidable when an introvert is friends with an extrovert.  The good friend, like mine was, may have his feelings hurt, but will accept that you don’t want to hang out together 3 times a week (or however often he wants to).  Some extroverts aren’t as nice as my friend was.  Some may get pushy or use guilt to try to manipulate you into doing their will.  They may push you hard to try to become more extroverted as they are.  Don’t give in if you are uncomfortable doing so!  You have every right to be as introverted as you would like to be, just as others have the right to be as extroverted as they would like to be!  Set your boundaries & stick to them.  You have that right!

 

Also try to explain to your friend that it is nothing personal or wrong with him- you just need some alone time.  As he gets energy from being around others, you have that exact same reaction to being alone.  Maybe explain it this way- “You know how good you feel after you spend an afternoon with friends (or at a party or whatever social activity your friend enjoys)?  That’s how I feel after some time to myself.”

 

Most extroverted people will understand & respect your boundaries.  As for those who don’t, or those who continually try to change you into an extrovert?  You may want to reconsider your friendship.  Normal healthy people don’t try to change other people.

 

If you are an introvert reading this, just remember- you’re not alone, you’re not weird & there is nothing wrong with you for being an introvert.  There are plenty of us out there, but you may not know it as we’re most likely spending time alone in our own homes… lol

 

 

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Narcissists Are All Around

Yesterday while talking to a dear friend, she mentioned how I have only written about narcissistic mothers, yet narcissists exist in other relationships & all walks of life. She’s right. I feel that God wants me to focus on maternal narcissism, but also that a little side trip would be beneficial to my readers…

Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD, is in people of every financial status, race, religion, etc. It truly knows no bounds. Dealing with a narcissistic mother is a bit different than dealing with a narcissistic spouse, family member or coworker, though, simply due to the different natures of the relationships. NPD is a spectrum disorder (meaning many people with the disorder act differently, because they’re at different areas on the spectrum). Some narcissists are at the malignant end of the spectrum- they are the bold ones, all “in your face” with their abuse. Others are what I think of as the sneaky narcissists. They feign innocence, naivete, & helplessness. They had no idea their actions would hurt anyone, or so they claim. How could you be mad at her when she simply didn’t know better?? This innocent act means if you get angry, you look like the unreasonable & cruel person.

In spite of the differences, there are some qualities all narcissists share…

Narcissists believe they never should be questioned. What they say is the gospel truth, according to them. This means they don’t tolerate questioning, no matter how outrageous the actions or words.
Narcissists are control freaks. And, if you end that relationship, thus ending their control over you, prepare to pay for your “crime.” How will you pay? It depends on the narcissist. (see below about narcissistic rage)
All narcissists demand supply. Narcissistic supply is praise, listening whenever they want to talk, & other actions & words showing the narcissist he/she is valuable. Anyone who doesn’t provide narcissistic supply is worthless, according to the narcissist.
When narcissistic supply is cut off, no matter the reason, narcissists will go into a narcissistic rage. Anything that threatens a narcissist’s self esteem is what is known as a narcissistic injury, & triggers rage. That rage can be simple, like giving the “offender” the silent treatment or talking badly about her behind her back. Or, it can be more serious behaviors such as screaming obscenities, physical violence, harassment/stalking.
Narcissists lack empathy. When you have a conversation with a narcissist, one giveaway you’re dealing with a narcissist is that any mention of you, your family, your job, your problems, or anything about you is disregarded & the conversation turns back to the narcissist. They are the important one, after all- you & your life mean nothing..
Most narcissists also have “minions”, “lemmings” or “flying monkeys.” That is people who believe the narcissist without question, & when you disagree with the narcissist, these minions will try to “talk sense” into you under the guise of concern for your poor judgment in disagreeing with or even ending the relationship with the narcissist.
And, narcissists love mind games. Anything that they can say or do to make their victim feel crazy, guilty, stupid or other terrible things makes them happy. They won’t hesitate to use any weapon to accomplish their goals, no matter how much damage it causes the victim. They’ll also use whatever your greatest (real or perceived) weakness is, too, such as your religious beliefs. Currently, the narcissist who is harassing me is doing exactly that, claiming I am not a good Christian for not tolerating her abuse. (I guess she believes Jesus thinks tolerating abuse is a good idea?? Doesn’t sound like the Jesus I know!)

Narcissists can be very dangerous people to those without the knowledge on coping with them. Dangerous to their victim’s self-esteem, sanity or relationships. One of the things that makes them so dangerous is that people often underestimate them. Narcissists are often described as selfish or eccentric, when the truth is they are so very much more.

If you’re dealing with a narcissist, be careful! You need to listen to your gut feelings. If something feels wrong, listen to that feeling- never brush it off! Don’t listen to others telling you that she didn’t know what she said or did would hurt you-narcissists are always VERY aware of what they’re doing & what the results will be. Also, trust your memory. If the narcissist says things happened differently than you remember, trust your memory over her words. Keep a diary if need be, so you have written evidence of the truth. Limit your exposure to the narcissist if you must deal with her, or sever ties if you feel that is the right thing to do. And, never, ever underestimate a narcissist. Not all are physically dangerous, but many are. When I was 19, my mother went into a terrible narcissistic rage, & threw me into a wall so hard, not only was there a big hole in the wall, my back was injured badly enough I had to quit working. I lived with pain for 10 years. I never expected her to do that, so I was unable to protect myself from her. Anyway if you feel you are in any danger, never hesitate to contact the police!! I never would hesitate to call them, personally, & you shouldn’t either! You don’t deserve to be abused by anyone! You have the right to be safe!

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism