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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!

Lweji Wed 17-Jul-13 13:46:08

Some of it sounds right, but then there are others where he just seems to justify emotionally distant behaviour.
Being introvert or extrovert is a lot about where your main energy comes from.

Not necessarily about layers to get to the inner core.

Didactylos Wed 17-Jul-13 13:47:28

He may have extrovert traits

but as an adult he still has to take responsibility for his actions and choices. If he has insight into his behaviour then he should be looking for insight into how you might feel about it. Not just - well the list says I overshare and cant take critisism so you just have to put up with it
and he sounds like a self justifying twunt

Incidentally how do you respond to being labeled an introvert - is this a set of traits you recognise in yourself?

Dahlialover Wed 17-Jul-13 13:48:00

Carol - that is what I have understood from the Myers-Briggs stuff my friend is interested in.

I have come across people who seem to think it is a really good thing that they are an 'extravert' and use it as an excuse for poor behaviour and see it as a red flag and walk.

I know others who are clearly very extravert and have a very good understanding of people around them, so it is not univeral.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 17-Jul-13 13:48:24

Lol at some of these responses - thank you everyone.

Tbh, I'm so pleased blush that you don't like the sound of him! He seems to charm everyone irl, which reinforces my longheld belief that any problems I have with him are my problem.

I am slowly escaping, but I have a feeling I have a way to go yet!

Dahlialover Wed 17-Jul-13 13:52:48

TBH, all we know of him is the list above, so no access to the charm!

It does seem to read as a set of rules as to how an extrovert should behave, rather than a personality type.

There must be some charm involved, otherwise you would have not been attracted to him in the first place wink

flippinada Wed 17-Jul-13 13:53:03

I thought so. It just screams "me me me". If be integrated to hear the friends take on it as well.

I'm picturing a scenario where she gets talked at/lectured by him on the fascinating topic of "me", until she loses the will to live and agrees to his request just so he will shut up and leave her alone.

flippinada Wed 17-Jul-13 13:53:54

I'd be interested...bloody phone!

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 17-Jul-13 13:57:37

Didactylos - I'm an introvert to an extent: I need time to myself to recharge. With 4 dcs under the age of 10 and an oft-absent H, I haven't had as much of that as I need for years (my fault according to H for not reminding him of this need and nagging till he allows me some time off by organising his work schedule to accommodate me), but reaching back in my memory I know that after a while I have to get out there and be with people again. I might not have much to say most of the time, but I need the company.

So I wouldn't want to pigeonhole myself. Thinking about it, he does seem to imply that I have to remind himself of my existence periodically or he will totally forget about me just take me for granted.

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 spend too long trying to understand him!

firesidechat Wed 17-Jul-13 13:59:20

My understanding is that extroverts gain energy by being around other people. Introverts gain energy by being on their own.

I'm an introvert. You would really think I am a people person when you meet me but I need time on my own to recharge my batteries.

Your STBXH sounds like my idea of a car crash to be honest.

As carolthesecretary said. I can talk to anyone, including totally random strangers, but I need my own space to recharge.

Can't honestly see the point of your husbands message OP. He may well be right about other extrovert traits ( probably not though) but it doesn't change the fact that he sounds impossible to live with.

Lweji Wed 17-Jul-13 14:02:30

Same here, previously I have actually scored more as an extrovert than introvert, but I need time on my own. I can't simply be with people all the time. I can be chatty and even loud, I can make friends fairly easily, but not with very loud or self-centered people.
That is different from being an extrovert.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 17-Jul-13 14:03:22

flippinada - that's certainly what he's done with my parents. They try to give him their time and love, but he does leave them weary and wondering if it was worth it.

The friend has been trying to give him an insight into my perspective. I suppose his replies could be read as, "Yes, you're totally right, now more on the wonderful topic of meeee."

GettingStrong Wed 17-Jul-13 14:11:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dahlialover Wed 17-Jul-13 14:15:10

"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."

Miss Bopeeps suggestion of "Aspergers in Love" is sounding even more tempting

steppemum Wed 17-Jul-13 14:22:54

I am very extrovert.

I do recognise some of what he is saying, but there seems to be a mix of extrovert and blatant insensitivity.

What law says that extrovert people are also unable to perceive, recognise and respond to emotions!!

I do think more easily when bounces ideas of others, and I can say things without stopping to think.

But the rest is rubbish.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 17-Jul-13 14:27:52

GettingStrong (hello!), good point. He has a good job, but difficult relationships with a lot of people who work for him. He hates being on a team, and having a boss. He is impatient with most people he works with because he always believes he could do a better job than they. I know that most people in my experience are not like this. I just forget when I'm listening to him!

The Aspergers idea is interesting - I know very little about ASD (I'm not even totally sure that's the right acronym!). I'm pretty sure he wouldn't read the book, but I might read up a bit on the subject. Any useful introductory websites you know of?

wordyBird Wed 17-Jul-13 14:39:53

But I know that you shouldn't try to change your partner and you should accept them as they are
.... well...

You can't change people, and if you cannot accept them as they are, you have to move on. You don't have to stay with someone: you are free to leave because you are incompatible, or because one of you has proved to be abusive, or for any reason really.

.....what else are you doing when you bring up a complaint about behaviour you can't put up with?

If it was wrong to call someone on bad behaviour, we would have trouble disciplining our children, and the prisons would be empty. 'That's just how I am' is a poor excuse for bad behaviour from anyone.

This all sounds like circular logic and as if it's come straight from your STBX! It's the kind of thing they come out with.

wordyBird Wed 17-Jul-13 14:45:12

You can be ASD and abusive, extrovert and abusive, or just plain old abusive abusive.

Your last post does make him sound more narc than anything...but <shakes self> it doesn't matter. The main thing is to free yourself, CharlotteC... I remember his behaviour towards you, and there is no doubt in my mind that you need to be free of him.

GoshlyoHeavens Wed 17-Jul-13 14:49:52

haha! binary made me laugh so much i've gone no further.

GoshlyoHeavens Wed 17-Jul-13 14:53:36

Laughed because she's spot on.

Dahlialover Wed 17-Jul-13 14:54:01

I have had a quick look at the book on amazon. It seems to start from the assumption that people with aspergers are quiet which is not always the case - people are variable and some traits fit neatly and others are more complicated.

In some people the lack of social imagination can mean that they do not amuse themselves with their thoughts and don't daydream which is why children are always on the move, keeping their brains busy. Some people deal with things that they want to understand by sorting and classifiying them and doing this as a means of understanding how people around you work would seem to be an aspie trait.

Really, there are as many permutations as there are people.

It might help you to understand how things have not worked out, but won't change things or him (unless he takes it on board and wants to but I wouldn't hold my breath). Being on the spectrum is not an excuse for bad behaviour either.

The introvert/extrovert thing seems a bit simplistic. He has a lot more work to do.

GoshlyoHeavens Wed 17-Jul-13 14:57:14

It is also 'binary'. People fluctuate between introversion and extroversion, don't they? I do.

flippinada Wed 17-Jul-13 14:58:26

I have to say (well I don't but I'm going to smile) - he sounds just like my ex - but then a lot of abusive men behave in a startlingly familiar way.

flippinada Wed 17-Jul-13 14:59:17

I mean similar, not familiar. Familiar isn't quite right.

missbopeep Wed 17-Jul-13 15:02:56

The book

I'll be totally upfront and say that my Relate counsellor suggested I read this some time back when DH and I had issues and I wondered if he was Aspergers- on the Cambridge assessment tool for Aspergers- find online- he scored right at the top of 'normal' but I was right at the 'other end' of normal. We are just very different people.

I decided he is not Aspergers, just has trouble expressing emotions in personal relationships- but now he recognises this he is much better. MUCH better.

I have done the Myers Brigg type indicator. As others have said it's not about your behaviour so much 1:1 as how you get your energy- so his reasoning about what he is doesn't actually stack up if you know anything at all about the psychology.

NotActuallyAMum Wed 17-Jul-13 15:09:59

I'm very much an extrovert and for me personally I would say:

1) Bollocks
2) Bollocks
3) Bollocks
4) Bollocks
5) Bollocks
6) Bollocks
7) Bollocks
8) Bollocks

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