To feel being an introvert as hindered me in life?

(19 Posts)
Openup41 Fri 30-Sep-16 08:31:44

I have been rather down this week. I struggle to connect with people - always have. Even my dm says she has never bonded with me. I do not like hugging anyone unless it is my dh or dc.

At work I was placed with an officer on a project. I found the working relationship challenging as she was impulsive, worked chaotically and was dismissive towards me. The project ended and another colleague worked with her. They immediately got on like a house on fire and she is far different with her.

Looking back at my childhood years, being shy and introverted meant I had few friends and was invisible even when around others. I was bullied too.

I have struggled in every place I have worked - always slightly on the outside and I really do try to stay present and current. I now realise the office environment does not suit me at all but this is where my skills lay.

I wish I was outgoing and the kind of person that had a buzz around her. Years ago I even tried to behave like an outgoing friend and gave in after a week. I know I come across as dull and " ex friends" commented on my inability to be the life and soul of the party.

I cannot change my personality but I do not want it to continue to affect my career and other opportunities in the future.

Any other introverts out there with perhaps a different outlook?

TheSparrowhawk Fri 30-Sep-16 08:39:44

I think you could do with some counselling. You are not a dull unlikeable person. My guess is that your mother was/is cold and critical. You need to love yourself first and foremost, then everything will get easier.

Saltfish Fri 30-Sep-16 08:40:50

I completely agree..this world caters to extroverts. Introverts are incredibly misunderstood. Peoples opinions of you are their problem though. Not in anyway based in fact. I find most people neglect to realise we all have a story.

I love introverts, how great of a thing to get energy from being in your own company? How many people can say they are emotionally equipped to do that?

insancerre Fri 30-Sep-16 08:44:22

I'm a happy introvert
I also have a very responsible job that I can do because I'm very passionate about it

Hotlingbling Fri 30-Sep-16 08:46:54

I'm a introvert but tend to be more lively around my family.
In school I also forced and pushed myself to be the entertainer so that people didn't find me boring but now I think I am not here to entertain and humour. Does anyone try to entertain me? No, so why am I the boring one?

sentia Fri 30-Sep-16 08:47:49

No one is dull. Really. It's just a question of finding "your" people, and there don't have to be lots of them.

If you don't click with someone then conversation will be difficult but it's not necessary to click easily and instantly with lots of people. I certainly don't.

I liked being alone when I was a kid and I still do, I don't see anything wrong with it. I have some coping strategies for small talk and so on, but I find spending lots of time with other people quite tiring. As you say, you can't change who you are. I like being an introvert, lots of thinking time!

What your mother said re bonding with you is really hurtful for a parent to say to a child, and if she was like that all the time I'm not surprised you still feel pain as a result. That's much more likely to be the problem - her not you.

museumum Fri 30-Sep-16 08:50:36

I would suggest some business coaching around working with Myers-Briggs or similar. We had a team once with a real mix of introverts and extroverts and we did a load of exercises around how to get the best from each other which were great. Even if you do it alone you can get a few tips that you can say to a new person you're working with "I like to work like x, y, z"
One example is that extroverts often like to talk things over and throw ideas around spontaneously but introverts can prefer to be pre warned and do some thinking before saying anything.

Touchacat Fri 30-Sep-16 08:53:17

Try reading one of the books out there about the benefits of being introverted. I read one called Quiet by Susan Cain and it helped me a understand myself more and realise my strengths. I agree that being introverted hasn't been helpful in social situations but I am much more accepting of that now. It's ok to be quiet and not be like some people I know who pick up new friends everywhere I go. Because I'm introverted, I don't want or need tonnes of new friends anyway.

If your workplace is up for it, encourage them to do some Myers-Briggs stuff. I was really sceptical about the whole personality grouping thing but actually it made everyone in the team understand each other, and where all our strengths and weaknesses lie and it was a really useful exercise for us all. And I also found out that my introverted nature and the skills that came with it were highly valued so that made me feel great about myself!! It was a real confidence boost for me.

Bobochic Fri 30-Sep-16 08:59:35

I'm an introvert though my mother, who was far more introverted than I am, criticized my extroversion all her life. I get exhausted at parties and stop talking though I am incredibly communicative one-to-one. Noise really bothers me and I hardly ever listen to music/the radio/TV though I love films and all forms of intricate storytelling and analysis. The one time in my life when I was in an open plan office was hell on earth and a a student I almost never went to the library. I need lots of time on my own in order to be happy, though I also need a lot of visual and analytical stimulation.

Being happy is about fulfilling your own needs and they really are pretty much laid down by biology.

shovetheholly Fri 30-Sep-16 09:02:20

"Even my dm says she has never bonded with me."

This leapt out at me.

My mother says the same - she always used to push me away as a child, both literally and emotionally. She wouldn't hug me and would become exasperated at any demand for physical attention, and she wasn't emotionally open either. As a consequence I ended up being taken off my by Dad a lot to get me out from under her feet while she had a happy time with my very much cuter sister. When he was at work, I ended up spending a lot of time reading books and escaping to a fantasy world in my own head. When I was about 10, she told me that if she faced Sophie's Choice it would be relatively easy for her - she also repeatedly said I was a huge mistake, and she wished I wasn't there. All of this had a lot to do with MH issues and my being the first child and therefore the signifier of a big change in her life with which she struggled to cope.

My point is that telling a child you can't bond with them is an incredibly cruel thing to say, and very much her failure and not yours. That kind of background is likely to lead to emotional issues later in life, and difficulty in feeling comfortable with closeness to others. Spontaneity, for you, probably means a risk of the most devastating rejection - so no wonder you don't feel able to give that part of yourself to a total stranger. I am sure you are not at all dull, it's probably just that you don't wear your heart on your sleeve because in the past, that would have led to it being stamped on!

You don't need to change - but therapy/counselling might be helpful in coming to terms with that history.

QueenJuggler Fri 30-Sep-16 09:07:35

Don't make the mistake of confusing introversion with shyness. They are rather different. I'm an outgoing introvert - I don't suffer from shyness at all, and can connect very easily with people, but I need plenty of time on my own to recharge the batteries, and find too much company exhausting.

The reason I make the point is I don't believe it's possible to change from an introvert to an extrovert. But it is possible to train yourself out of shyness.

Openup41 Fri 30-Sep-16 19:23:17

Thanks for your comments.

Perhaps I am confusing shyness with introvertedness. I can be shy but was an outgoing child - the bullying damaged me.

My dm was warm but I just did not like to hug her past the age of ten. I did not like to hug anyone. It felt awkward. I did not feel loveable.

I have had two rounds of counselling. It was beneficial at the time. I know what my issues are - I have always known. I am over emotional, sensitive, awkward and unsure of myself. I push people away and do not know why. I do not like the person that I am.

whatisforteamum Fri 30-Sep-16 19:53:34

I woner how old you are op? i say this as im almost 50 and it took me until mid 30s to be confident and assertive.My dm criticised me loads and my dsis who has never had a job due to social anxiety.I am amazed when people describe me as bubbly chatty and friendly.I struggle with parties or meals out.I too need time to recharge alone at least one day a week.Why not give councelling a go?CBT helped me loads.

GrumpyOldBag Fri 30-Sep-16 19:57:18

Michael Macintyre was an introvert. hasn't done him any harm:

www.itv.com/news/2015-11-08/michael-mcintyre-tells-of-his-tough-childhood-and-feeling-horrible-with-nerves/

SpeckledyBanana Fri 30-Sep-16 20:00:57

I too am an introvert, but a socially bold one. I don't have close friends at work, but I do my job well and I don't believe it's held me back.

Elphame Fri 30-Sep-16 20:17:26

I am also an introvert ( Myers-Briggs INTJ) and always felt out of place. It took me until my 30s to "grow into" myself and realise that it was the others who were the problem not me!

I can do the "people thing" now when I have to but its a role I have learned to plat and I need a lot of time on my own to recharge afterwards. My friends tend to lean towards the introvert side - I've given up trying to be friends with extroverts - they just don't get it ( their loss of course!)

ChaseAvenal Fri 30-Sep-16 23:13:55

I feel exactly the same OP, I could've written your post myself.
I am glad I have my DH and a few close friends who understand that they may not hear from me for months but that I still care about them. But it does hold me back from making new friends or even acquaintances, succeeding in work and even things like actually getting healthcare I need. I just wish I wasn't stuck in retail. I can fake my customer service but it's all an act, and it's incredibly draining and stressful. I live in hope that some day I can get a job working from home or at least something where I can just get on with a task without worrying about people, it would change my life. But I also don't feel so introverted when

ChaseAvenal Fri 30-Sep-16 23:15:19

Sorry, hit post too early. That was meant to be, when I'm around children (as long as there aren't other adults I'm not close to around) So I also live in hope for my own children as well.

enchantmentandlove Fri 30-Sep-16 23:41:11

Firstly, what a sad thing for your mother to say to you. I can understand why you don't feel confident.

I too am very introverted as well as shy. I have always been friendly to people at work, but have never been in the workplace 'gang' where people would go out for dinner together etc. I'm now a sahm which I love, but try to meet other parents at groups as otherwise the only people I see are dd and dh. It's been hard for me as I don't feel I easily click with people, and it takes me a while to build up trust to let people in, but I still think it's important.

I never used to understand being introverted until a few years ago, but it's something I love and embrace now. I think it helps me to be thoughtful and imaginative, and an understanding person. Of course extroverts can be these things too, it's just something I've noticed about myself. Remember that you can't help how others see you/what they think of you - only you can do that. When I learnt to embrace who I was, that's when I started to love myself. It's a journey, but just having that understanding of myself helps so much. Plus - the world would be so boring if we were all the same!

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