Confession of an Introvert

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Why didn’t you ask for help? Why didn’t you go to a counselor? Why didn’t you tell anybody? The questions I got too many times, before and after marriage and single motherhood. They always bothered me until somehow the word introversion came to me too often enough that I can’t ignore it anymore.

I know what it means. Hell, I even took a college course on Emotional Intelligence, but I was stupid enough to forget everything I learned in that course. Since now it’s part of my process of healing, I have a real interest in the subject so it’s time I face my introverted self and understand it better.

Carl Jung, the psychiatrist who was the first to develop the concept of archetypes, collective unconscious, and yes, he is known for coining the words extroversion and introversion. The explanations for both personalities are simple: Extroverts become energetic by external stimulation. Introverts revive energy from within, in solitude. The difference between them is not social skills, it is the way they recharge or gain energy.

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Marti Olsen Laney wrote in her best-selling book The Introvert Advantage that 25% of all people are introverts and a result from a 1998 Myers-Briggs computation of introverted personality types revealed that as high as 50% of the general population is made up of the introverts. Hey Introverts, you can jump with joy knowing you are not alone. Even through I know you may prefer jumping by yourself, but for my sake, just do it!

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In fact, all of us have dominating personality trait of either introvert or extrovert with little of the opposite in us and that’s what made us a tad more interesting (or weird, but it depends on how you take it). Knowing that, no one is purely introverted or extroverted because then nobody’ll want to live with us.

Now, I understand why I was pulled strongly toward to the word. It defines who I am and more importantly, it explains why I didn’t ask for help during those troubling times. Looking back, so many things just clicked and made sense to me.

In these situations, I should have reached out, but I didn’t. To my family and friends, no hard feelings for not reaching out to you like I should have.

Reasons why introverts do not ask for help

Most introverts are reluctant to confess their seriously personal stuff except to most trusted friends or family members, so their support circle tends to be small. Bringing other people into their business means they have to explain things, answer questions, and feel more external pressure. All of that exhaust their energy reserve, so they become overwhelmed and may retreat to isolation.

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For that reason, introverts often prefer to work their problems out on their own, even during the difficult situations. When facing a stressful situation, our body will switch to energy-saving mode in order to survive and the introverts’ energy-saving mode is to turn inward into self.

Other possible reasons are:

Retaining control by dealing with things alone.

Fear of losing control of the situation when asking for help with it.

Fear losing control of who knows about it.

Fear of having to explain to someone why you didn’t take their advice after considering all the options.

Fear of rejecting the time and effort other people want to give you.

Asking for help means admitting you are a failure.

You are embarrassed that you need help.

You let the fact you asked for help defines who you are.

What can introverts do to help themselves ask for help.

I can’t continue beating myself up for not doing any of these listed here when I needed to. I have to just accept what happened as a learning experiences.

1. Take a breath. Nobody’s judging you. Get over that, okay?
2. Start with one. Ask someone you would like to know more out for a coffee. If that person thinks alike, she will make time for it. It always works. But this means you will have to make small talk and that is what we hate the most, so start with asking questions.
3. Have one or two close friends within your reach and who can see you anytime without delay. It’s great to have many long-distance friends, but it is imperative to have someone you trust nearby. Also, nothing can beat the quality time with friends in person, so schedule a time out with a friend at least once every two weeks or whatever works for you.
4. If you don’t have any trusted friend close by, make one. Quickly. I know you’d say it’s easier said than done. We are not in kindergarten anymore! Well, a good way to make friends is through common interests. Yeah, that means you got to get off your ass and take classes or volunteer your time outside of your job, or if your job has projects, sign up.
5. Seek professional help. Better sooner than later. Start with one-to-one therapy and then move on to group therapy.

6.   It’s a good chance that you have extroverted friends who are not familiar with introversion. Explain to them that if you haven’t responded to their calls or emails in a while, it doesn’t mean you’re ignoring them. It just means you may need more time and energy to respond.

 What can you do to help introverts

1. It’s normal for an introvert in need to want to be alone or have some kind of time for solitude. So, encourage her (when she’s ready and able) to reach out to others who can help and support her. This is vital to her psychological and physical well being.

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2. The introvert may resist admitting that they have a problem and need help. The key to helping her is to listen to her, ask her for her opinions, and when she opens up, encourage her to reach out for help in a way that honors the nature of her personality.

The act of asking for help reconnects people with their own inner power and the possibilities in the world. Asking for help doesn’t mean you will lose your power. Actually, you’ll be more likely to gain something beneficial for yourself. People love being asked for help. It gives them the warm and gooey feelings the equivalent of cute little critters that got you wasting hours on YouTube videos (is it their fault they’re damn irresistible?) It’s simply a part of human nature to want to be needed.

And last, but not least, we are living in the present moment. That means in every single moment, we have the opportunity to choose how we will act. Abuse can have a profound and long-lasting effect on adults and children to the point they can become so introverted or even worse, depressed. Just because you’ve experienced abuse in the past doesn’t mean that you have to live in the same pattern today. The past is all a memory in our mind and the future is all guesswork. They do not exist in our present reality because there is only Now and you have the very real ability to respond differently.

It can be hard and terrifying at first; it may take all the guts and nerve you have. But when you take this first step, the rest will be like a snowball effect- you are more confident the next time, and so on.

My name is Bellamie Bachleda and I am an introvert. I just gotta get it off my chest, so there.

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2 comments

  1. Matt Ellis · February 23, 2015

    Thanks for putting me more closer to understanding introverts than ever before. Great post!

    • Bellamie · February 26, 2015

      Thanks!

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