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Extroverts - how much truth is there in these statements?

(100 Posts)
CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 17-Jul-13 12:52:59

My STBXH, who has been emotionally abusive, just to give the history, is not yet accepting that our marriage is ending. He seems to be talking at length about it to anyone who'll listen (fair enough), and today he forwarded me an email conversation with a friend (with her permission).

He seems to have our marital problems reduced to "I'm an extrovert; she's an introvert." Which actually is how I summarised it in my head about eighteen months ago (before I learnt about EA on MN).

These are some of the things he's saying about what it's like to be an extrovert and I'd like to know if other extroverts agree:

1) Extroverts are not private people; they share personal things about themselves easily with others.

2) About being criticised: For us extroverts it’s not that we’re brushing it off, we just don’t know how to internalise things because we live our lives externally. We hear a comment like that and deflect it, we keep it outside, we justify ourselves and move on, because we don’t really know how to keep quiet, absorb it, ponder it, consider it, and process it, and then change our behaviour and attitudes as a result.

3) If you want an extrovert to hear something difficult about themselves, you will need to say it many many times before it gets through layers of defences and the extrovert takes it seriously.

4) Extroverts don't really know how to think when they're by themselves: they need someone to bounce ideas off.

5) Extroverts don't see patterns of behaviour: each hurtful remark (for example) is a one-off for them.

6) Extroverts don't notice non-verbal communication; they need verbal explanations of feelings in order to understand other people.

7) Extroverts often say things without stopping to think about how it will be taken by the person they're talking to.

8) Extroverts express things strongly that are really quite inconsequential to them, because they seem important at that brief moment of talking about them, but much less so when the moment's passed.

Wow, I wasn't expecting that list to be so long when I started. Hope you can help me sort out the fact from the self-justification fiction here!

yamsareyammy Wed 17-Jul-13 15:13:42

Extroverts. He may be right on points 1, 2,4, not sure about 7 and 8.
I dont think he can have 3,5,and 6.

Agree that some of it sounds autistic/aspergers.

Dont agree with you and some MNetters that people cannot change other people's behaviour to a degree.
But tbh, you may have a big job on your plate, here.

But he could probably change most of the things on that list, at least to a degree, if he wanted to.
Even the behaviour of people with autism/aspergers, a person themselves can change over time, so there is no excuse reason why he cant imo.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 17-Jul-13 15:15:02

The argument on the table seems to be 'that's just how I am' and IME it's the last refuge of the person that doesn't want to accept responsibility for their actions. If 'that's just how he is' and you don't like how he is and don't want to live with it any more, then the words you want are 'big' closely followed by 'whoop'. hmm

MadBusLady Wed 17-Jul-13 15:21:02

Yup, at the risk of labouring this point, you don't have to "win" this argument and prove that you should divorce - he'll never let you win anyway, he'll just keep coming up with more bullshit. The fact that YOU want out is enough.

squeaver Wed 17-Jul-13 15:22:58

Completely agree with Notactually.

I am definitely an extrovert but it is ONE facet of my personality. I know many other extroverts and you can't make blanket assumptions about their entire personalities just based on that.

He sounds like an utter arsehole. I'm very glad to hear you're not together.

Morgause Wed 17-Jul-13 15:24:01

1) Extroverts are not private people; they share personal things about themselves easily with others.

True

*2) About being criticised: For us extroverts it’s not that we’re brushing it off, we just don’t know how to internalise things because we live our lives externally. We hear a comment like that and deflect it, we keep it outside, we justify ourselves and move on, because we don’t really know how to keep quiet, absorb it, ponder it, consider it, and process it, and then change our behaviour and attitudes as a result.

3) If you want an extrovert to hear something difficult about themselves, you will need to say it many many times before it gets through layers of defences and the extrovert takes it seriously.

4) Extroverts don't really know how to think when they're by themselves: they need someone to bounce ideas off.

5) Extroverts don't see patterns of behaviour: each hurtful remark (for example) is a one-off for them.

6) Extroverts don't notice non-verbal communication; they need verbal explanations of feelings in order to understand other people.

7) Extroverts often say things without stopping to think about how it will be taken by the person they're talking to.

8) Extroverts express things strongly that are really quite inconsequential to them, because they seem important at that brief moment of talking about them, but much less so when the moment's passed.*

All of those false. I speak as an extrovert of many years. wink

FriendlyLadybird Wed 17-Jul-13 15:25:42

I think he's muddled up extrovert with egotist. I'm an extrovert in that I am typically interested in other people and things that are going on around me, but I actually don't recognise myself in ANY of those statements. He sounds most unpleasant.

missbopeep Wed 17-Jul-13 15:50:40

Myers Briggs
Extroverts get their energy from being more with others than introverts who need time alone to regain their energy.

I've been 'typed' and had detailed follow-up with the person who analysed my results.

Anything else your bloke says is bollocks.

TalkativeJim Wed 17-Jul-13 15:52:25

'I think, though, that thinking all this through could be useful, because I am so used to trying to accommodate his worldview and see through his eyes that I am not sure what is reasonable and what isn't any more.'

'I spend too long trying to understand him!'

Yes, you do, and this is more of that.

Step back a minute. Now take a looong look at your opening post, all the 'introvert/extrovert' stuff. It's utter guff , isn't it?! Basically a whole list of justifications for bad behaviour/his behaviour, and why there's a Big Special Reason why it's all a-ok. No point in pulling it apart, others have done so, none of it makes sense, no it isn't any sort of accepted set of characteristics for 'extroverts', like it's a fucking star sign or something!

You sound smart and I'm sure you know that. You've just spent years being trained, or having to train yourself, to accept bullshit from him.

The best thing you could do is

a. Stop listening. Here's a big list of his nonsense: a massive cross-section of people have judged it as such. Next time he opens his mouth, why don't you just assume it's probably going to be bullshit, and even if it isn't, it's no longer of any use to you as information?

b. Stop caring. Let's just assume there's some big Insight here into this person's character - why is that of interest to you? It couldn't be less interesting surely: you've had the dubious pleasure of having this person's character thrust in your face for years, you've finally decided enough is enough - why on earth would you want to throw more good time after bad by spending time scrutinising his ramblings in order to think even MORE about his character?

Next time: Mm-hmm. Yes, I'm sure you're right. Must dash...

mercury7 Wed 17-Jul-13 15:57:29

The list seems much too dogmatic about what extroverts do and dont do, as others have said it seems to describe someone who is egotistical and impulsive.
(not to mention a self serving pain in the arse)
There are lots of other categories of personality which don't necessarily align with the introvert/extrovert axis.

This one just seems daft
'6) Extroverts don't notice non-verbal communication; they need verbal explanations of feelings in order to understand other people.'

and is he trying to say he has no internal life??
what is he a robot?

mercury7 Wed 17-Jul-13 16:02:27

I agree with Jim, he's using 'I'm an extovert' to justify bad behaviour.
He's mendacious.

How about you give him a list of things that you need because you are an introvert?

What Jim said ^

Stop listening and stop caring.

You've decided it's over, so you no longer need to try to see things from his POV. Easier said than done, but you'll get there!

Ipsissima Wed 17-Jul-13 16:10:42

Utter nonsense (apart from point 1)
However 5,6,7 and potentially 8, describe aspects of Aspergers (ASD)
Could this be his problem?

GoshlyoHeavens Wed 17-Jul-13 16:12:07

Oh, Jim.Jim.

GoshlyoHeavens Wed 17-Jul-13 16:12:51

I agree with Ji. ~Is he a MAN?

becscertainstar Wed 17-Jul-13 16:19:44

I started to write a long detailed rebuttal to his email then thought 'Meh, the guy's clearly a dickhead'.

(He may also be an extrovert, who cares? Introverted dickhead, extroverted dickhead, he's still a dickhead whichever way you slice him.)

You're well shot my dear.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 17-Jul-13 17:04:41

You are caught in trying to justify your decision, trying to get him to see your point, and trying to see if there is anything reasonable in his arguments.

Stop. This is no longer the time. You have left him, and he is unwilling to accept this. That's his problem. Your choice is made, and what he thinks of it is not your problem anymore.

Breathe. Ignore. You have a right to choose whether you are in or out of this marriage. Period.

(oh, and I'm an extrovert and none of those points apply to me.)

TalkativeJim Wed 17-Jul-13 18:20:56

grin Goshly

I am a laydeee with boobs and everything, and a loowww tolerance for nob-jockeys today, on account of the excessive heat.

BinarySolo Wed 17-Jul-13 18:24:20

He sounds so much like my brother. My brother is very loud (to the point of being obnoxious at times) and he struggles to get on with people, although he can be incredibly charming and very good company. My mom and I have discussed several times that we think he is mildly autistic.

2 1/2 years ago he was verbally very abusive towards me and I suspect had I not been pregnant and had witnesses he would have hit me. We haven't seen eachother since and life is more simple.

As a family we found we had to constantly tread on eggshells as although he was very blunt and insensitive to us he was also hypersensitive to any criticism. He also lived in a very black and white world with no room for debate or compromise.

This sort of person is exhausting. My brother wouldn't read any self help books, or even admit there may be a problem with him. What can really be done for adults who weren't diagnosed as children and now have this mindset? I feel sad for my brother as he's not really happy, but I can't deal with his behaviour any more.

Sorry, not meant to be a hijack, more an 'I understand and offer sympathy'.

WhiteBirdBlueSky Wed 17-Jul-13 18:29:48

It doesn't really matter though whether or not it's being an extrovert that makes him an idiot.

CylonNumber6 Wed 17-Jul-13 18:31:37

im an extrovert and only point 1 applies. the rest doesn't at all. I am still very sensitive

Kernowgal Wed 17-Jul-13 18:35:11

There's being an extrovert and there's being a self-obsessed arsehole.

My ex used to say that I was too quiet, and that it was a shame I wasn't more like my talkative friends. The reality was that I was perfectly chatty when with people I felt comfortable with - ie not him.

It doesn't matter if you're introverted and your partner is extroverted (or vice versa) as long as you complement each other.

Erato Wed 17-Jul-13 19:27:06

As lots of people have said, those traits don't describe an extrovert, they describe a self-obsessed immature dickhead. Why are you even bothering to give his excuses for his bad behaviour the time of day? He sounds like a painful person to be around - normal considerate people do not use personality typing to blame you for their shortcomings.

In any case, the entire reason for typing (introvert / extrovert and all the rest) is so people can understand themselves better and therefore by knowing their own strengths and weaknesses learn how to be better. It is not an excuse of any kind to say "I'm an extrovert" - nothing about extroversion (or introversion) means that certain behaviours are impossible, they might just be more difficult.

garlicagain Wed 17-Jul-13 19:28:42

"And he seems to be empty inside, to have no internal musings whatsoever. He thinks as he talks; he pigeonholes obsessively as if it's the only way to understand people; he needs to be "doing" constantly, as if he's avoiding the void within."

I surmised this from his absurd list. He finds himself fascinating, considers others merely backdrop items for his self-display and is proud of his lack of empathy. He doesn't care about other people, except insofar as he needs their admiration. If they fail to admire, he ignores them (does he punish them, too?) He pigeonholes people because he doesn't care about understanding them, but typecasts them so as to more easily manipulate their opinion of him. You sense a 'void' within, as though there's no "him" inside, only a lightshow reflecting off other people. Have you seen this void in his eyes, maybe only once? You'll remember if you have.

Forget all this ASD bollocks. You've got yourself a Narcissist.

Dozer Wed 17-Jul-13 19:40:50

Hi charlotte, so glad you are getting out.

Disengage from his bullshit. He will be saying all sorts of rubbish, trying to make himself look good, roping in friends (who won't know how abusive he's been to you, for a long time). No need to read or reply or question yourself or try to influence what he or anyone else thinks. You know why you're ending it, and that you have very good reasons.

thanks

flippinada Wed 17-Jul-13 19:44:56

I reckon garlic is bang on the money actually. Funnily enough, you could have written that about my ex...well, you still could. Right down to the comment about the 'void within'...<shudders>.

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