13 reasons why being an introvert is awesome.

introvertsurvival

1.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on presents.

2.  You read more than the average person.

3.   You tend to be educated beyond your schooling, because you read so much.

4.   People think of you as smart and/or deep.  Because you’re self-educated from all that reading.

5.   You project an aura of mystery.  This can be sexy.  (It can also be creepy).

6.   You stay out of drama, or at least you try to.

7.   You tend to be able to see more than one side of a situation  because you’re always observing other people and you think so much and give yourself time to reflect.

8.   You have more insight into yourself and others.

9.   You appreciate nature.  This extends to animals.   As an introvert, you feel more in tune with living things if they’re non-human.  Beautiful scenery inspires you.

10.  You’re probably artistic.  Or musical.  Or literary.

11.   Your friendships, being fewer, tend to be deep and close ones.

12.  Once you have chosen someone as a friend, they can count on a friend for life.

13.  It’s hard for you to be bored, because you’re so good at being entertained all by yourself without the help of others.

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Is social awkwardness suddenly cool?

socially_awkward

It seems to me that Millennials like to tell everyone how socially awkward they are, even when it doesn’t really apply. I don’t think it’s false modesty and I don’t think a majority of this younger generation has Aspergers, Avoidant or Schizoid Personality Disorder, or Social Phobia.

No, I think they think being socially awkward is cool. Maybe it’s just that people who frequent Internet forums or write blogs are more introverted, but I think there’s more to it than that.

Take my daughter. She’s the opposite of me in many ways. She’s never been shy. She always made friends easily. She was always invited to all the parties and the popular and cool kids always liked her. She always knew what the latest catchphrases meant and seems to know about fashion trends before they’re really mainstream.

It’s true that over the past year or two she’s become a little quieter and is less likely to go out with her friends or out to parties, but I think that’s because she’s a little older now and is engaged to a guy who’s more introverted than she is and likes to hang around at home.

The other day she wrote a new description of herself on her Facebook profile, which announced to the world that she was socially awkward. But she isn’t. Does she just see herself as socially awkward when she really isn’t? Or is social awkwardness the new cool?

I wonder about that because for the past few years, being an “Aspie” seems to be a kind of badge of honor for Millennials. I think they think being an Aspie makes them seem smarter. It’s true that many people with Aspergers are very intelligent, but not really more so than the general population, and there are dumb ones too, just as there are dumb neurotypicals. But Aspies, no matter what their intelligence level, are known for their social awkwardness. So if being an Aspie is cool, maybe that extends to social awkwardness being cool too.  I think movies like The Social Network, which glorify geekiness, might play into this trend too.

I sure wish social awkwardness was cool when I was my daughter’s age, because I really am socially awkward and have always been that way. Maybe I would have been regarded as cool and that would have been good for my low self esteem.

I think the meme I posted above might prove that my suspicions are correct!

Why I’ll never have a Youtube channel.

no_youtube

Yesterday, someone asked me why I don’t have a Youtube  channel.  That’s a good question and I’m going to answer it.

Having an accompanying Youtube channel seems to be increasingly popular among bloggers, especially those who blog about mental health issues. It’s so ubiquitous these days, that it seems almost required to have a Youtube channel to get any sort of traffic for your blog (this blog does just fine traffic-wise without one).   If you’re a mental illness blogger and aren’t on Youtube, people wonder why the hell aren’t you? They suspect that maybe you have something to hide.

Let ’em think whatever they want. Because you won’t ever see me nailing up a shingle on Youtube. No way, no how. And I’ll tell you why.

1. I’m socially awkward and not very articulate.
It’s true. While I express myself very well in the written form and can present myself well verbally when I must (such as on job interviews and horrible office Christmas parties), the latter is very exhausting for me. As an INFJ and a person with Avoidant Personality Disorder, I’m an introvert and socially anxious. That extends to speaking into a camera on my computer, knowing that my voice is what people will be listening to and my face is what people will be looking at. I pepper my spoken language with a lot of filler and “ums” and “uhs” and “you knows” and “likes” and do strange things with my hands and face while speaking to cover the fact my mind goes completely blank when I have to speak in front of other people, even if it’s recorded ahead of time.

2. I’m not a performer.
I know not everyone with a Youtube channel is trying to be a celebrity and many mental health and narcissistic abuse v-loggers are wonderful people who probably have good hearts and really want to help others. But for me, talking to an audience for the purpose of making a video comes very close to feeling like a performance, and that’s just a whole lot of stress I don’t need or want.

3. I don’t want to worry about what I look like.
When I blog, I’m usually lounging around on my bed or on the couch, my hair uncombed and my face as naked as I was on the day I was born. I’m usually dressed in some grungy pair of threadbare in the thighs jeans or yoga pants 3 sizes too big (I lost a lot of weight the past couple of years but haven’t replaced many of my clothes) and a holey T-shirt covered with coffee stains. On a few occasions (especially in the summer when it’s hot), I like to lounge around in nothing but my underwear and a tank top. I also like to eat or chew gum while I blog, and have no particular desire to be talking to an audience while snapping Wrigley’s or munching on a mouthful of Herr’s Cheese Balls.

So don’t go looking for me on Youtube, because the only thing I’ll ever be doing there is commenting on other people’s videos.

 

 

Take your office Christmas party and shove it.

Tonight I have to attend the annual office Christmas party, so I think it’s time to throw this rant up here again.

The article, which was written a year ago, states I have Aspergers, which for over a decade I believed I had but I found out I do not. It’s most likely my avoidant PD masquerading as Aspergers.

Lucky Otters Haven

officeparty
Get out of my face with your absurd fake smiles and stupid Santa hats.

So tomorrow night is the annual office Christmas party. I will not be attending. It’s not like I have some high level job where my presence is expected or necessary anyway. I doubt anyone will even notice my absence or care.

As an Aspie, I have never been able to tolerate the forced upbeat perkiness and all the small talk and chit chat about nothing in particular that abounds at these events. Too much social input coming in from all directions overwhelms my oddly wired brain, causing it to short circuit. I wind up in a state of near panic and to compensate, I become mute to avoid reading a social cue wrong and say something out of context that causes people to look at each other knowingly and roll their eyes at my social ineptness.

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Introverts fear confrontation.

youre_fired

I came across this individual’s forum post on The Personality Cafe in a weird way. My article “Why Family Scapegoats Become Lifelong Victims,” (which has become my most viewed article ever and is still gaining momentum on the web), was linked to by this writer and there was an excerpt from their own post left in my comment folder. The blurb was intriguing enough that I decided to read it, and holy cow! It sounds like my own life story. In fact, I am going through this situation with a friend even as I write this. (If you’re a friend of mine reading this it’s not you–this “friend” doesn’t read my blog or even know I have one). I don’t want to be friends with this person anymore (who I suspect is a malignant narcissist who likes to “play” with me and make “jokes” at my expense) but instead of confronting them and telling them I want to end our friendship, I’m just avoiding this person, hoping they get the “hint.” I do that sort of thing all the time. Confrontation terrifies me, but what happens is my anger becomes seething resentment and has to come out eventually, so after weeks or months of pretending everything is fine, I’m likely to explode and say things I regret. It also comes out in other ways, like acting passive-aggressive. I’ve gotten better but it’s still a problem. Anyway, here is that article. The writer is an INFJ like me and wonders if this is common in INFJs. I’m also an Enneagram Type 4/5.

If we need to slap a psychiatric label on this sort of behavior, it’s a common symptom in people with Avoidant Personality Disorder and Covert Narcissism (which I still suspect I am, even though my therapist has said I’m only “on the spectrum” but not NPD). I think people with BPD are also guilty of this.

passive_aggression

Has anyone else had this problem in the “social environment”?

As of recently I have made a personal discovery about the origins of how and why I have a certain fear. And it also ties in with the Enneagram 4 labeled fear “that they have no identity or personal significance”. Generally, with “friends” (both close and acquaintance) I tend to hide away or become afraid of sharing my true thoughts and being completely honest with them if there’s a problem (unless they manage to hurt me to the extent that i just cut them off). I become fearful of their reaction before it even happens, so i withhold my thoughts and continue acting as if everything is okay. It’s not only the fear that they will be upset at my honesty, but the fear that I would also begin to hate myself afterwards as well. I didn’t realize there was a term for this as well (even though i knew it as a common term i never understood its meaning). And that term is “Shame”. And while shame is the major factor of why i feel guilt for wanting to speak out, as well as feeling it for not wanting to speak out, I had also come to realize this was also connected to my upbringing. I learned in the article mentioned below, that most scapegoats have high empathy and sensitivity at an early age, which causes them to absorb all of the projections of their parents, thus causing the birth of self hatred/possibly depression. It also informed me that as they continue to go into social relationships, that they will also absorb the projections of what other people think of them as well. For me this explains a helluva lot, of why i fear getting close to certain people and their impact on me if i either

A. Do something wrong.
Or
B. Be honest with them.

I’m personally terrified of being completely honest with someone i’m not sure of, as any kind of minor negative backlash towards me can cause me to go in a state of guilt for a long time. So instead I internalize everything that bothers me about them, and I simply play my part in this “friendship” until i have a reason to avoid them or doorslam. And this is different from constructive criticism, i’m talking about the consequences that may occur if they end up being hurt by my honesty. While their take of it may not be my problem afterward I still hold the shame of what I have done to another human being, even if it was the “right” thing to do rather than continue being dishonest with them and put on the fake persona. I fear hurting them..but I also fear hurting myself. It’s a double edged sword and the ending remains the same regardless of which way i act. I’m fearful of absorbing any new projections one might have of me (specifically negative) which has caused a spiral of paranoia in 2/3 of my friendships, even if they may not take it personal. And before I end this, I am not intentionally hurtful when i’m honest, as I still try to be polite and respectful of the person that i’m talking to. I am also aware that they can be positive in their response, but i’m practically crippled by my fear, especially because of social experiences that didn’t go well.

Read article on The Personality Cafe here.

Surviving the holidays

Ugh. It seems to be that time again. Now that Halloween’s over, all the Christmas decorations are going up. Annoying Christmas carols being blasted in all the stores. Even more annoying office Christmas parties and fakey-cheerful people wearing Santa hats and reindeer antlers. Please. Bah humbug.

What happened to Thanksgiving? Does anyone care about it anymore? Oh, that’s right–everyone’s rushing out after eating to be the first in line at the stores for Black Friday deals. 🙄
Anyway, I wrote this last year but I thought it was time to post it again.

Lucky Otters Haven

charliebrown

I relate to Charlie Brown. As a kid, “Peanuts” was my favorite comic strip (I owned all the Peanuts books too), and Charlie Brown was a lot like me–fearful of what others thought of him, frequently bullied and taken advantage of, and often pessimistic. But he also had a good heart, and his faithful dog Snoopy brought joy to his life when he was ready to give up. So I have used some photos from the classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in my post.

The holidays are a rough time for many people, but they are especially hard on those of us who have been victims of narcissistic abuse and been cut off (or have gone No Contact) with our families. It sure doesn’t help either that I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and become very depressed during the shortest and coldest days of the year.

I have described the…

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Why introverts hate talking on the phone.

Finally, someone gets it! I detest phones. The lack of visual cues, the awkward silences, the AUDACITY of an annoying and insistent ringing phone interrupting me when I’m deep in thought, dropped calls that wind up having you talking to no one at all…ENOUGH! I hate phones and have always hated phones. At least nowadays I can see who’s calling and choose to answer by text instead of calling back or having to answer.

Why Introverts Hate Talking on the Phone

Rooster-with-text

The other day, while talking on Skype with one of my best friends, I realized that something was horribly wrong. The video option was turned off. And, as we all know, Skype without video is just a phone.

Like most introverts, I detest talking on the phone. This begs the question, why do introverts hate the phone so much? After giving it some thought, I’ve come up with a few possibilities.
Lets begin with the ring. Whether your phone sings, buzzes or plays a piano tune, a ringing telephone is annoying. The phone doesn’t care that you are busy, or deep in thought. It pays no mind to the fact that you really don’t feel like talking right now. A ringing phone wants your attention – and it wants it RIGHT NOW!

I once had a friend who often put his home phone in the fridge in order to avoid its intrusive squawking. Thankfully, cell phones can be set to silent or vibrate.

Read the rest of this article here.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

This article is a must read for anyone who isolates themselves from others and doesn’t understand why. You may not have Avoidant Personality Disorder; you may just be introverted or have a few of the traits. I just discovered this blog and the blogger is an amazing writer and I could relate to every word.

I need to get out more.

church_choir

I’ve decided to join the choir at my church.

I don’t normally go in much for church-related activities, but I’ve always loved to sing and I love music, and I feel like this is a way I can encourage myself to interact with actual people in a way that might be fun and not require too much actual social interaction since we’d be spending most of the time singing and not talking.

I know that isolating myself as much as I do isn’t healthy. Introversion is fine, but not to the point where you live as a near-recluse, shunning any social involvement at all. Deliberately avoiding all social interaction isn’t going to help me conquer my Avoidant PD or my covert narcissism or whatever. While I have to accept (and do accept) that I’ll never be an extrovert or social butterfly, self improvement requires me to take this step.

Lately my isolation from others has been bothering me. I’m lonelier than I like to admit. I want to connect with people, even though it’s hard for me to do that and there’s definitely an element of anxiety. My shyness has not gone away.

If I’m ever going to meet people I can become potentially close to, just being around them in an environment where we’re sharing a fun activity (like singing) seems like a good way to start.
So tomorrow night I’ll be showing up at choir practice. I’m actually sort of excited about it!
Why limit my singing to my car where I’m my only audience?

Yikes! Does this mean I’m a narcissist?

Almost a year ago, I wrote this slightly jocular post after I read an article describing covert narcissism. It was the first time I’d actually read anything about it. Even back then, I recognized the symptoms as fitting me like a glove, but was far away from awareness. This slightly humorous, false self-deprecating attitude was typical of a lot of my posts at the time. I think somewhere deep inside though, I knew.

I can’t believe how different everything seems now.

Lucky Otters Haven

yikes
I just finished reading a Scientific American article that delineates narcissists into two categories: Overt Narcissists and Covert Narcissists:

When most people think of narcissism, they think of the public face of narcissism: extraversion, aggression, self-assuredness, grandiosity, vanity, and the need to be admired by others (see “How to Spot a Narcissist“). But as far back as 1938, Harvard psychologist Henry Murray noticed another breed of narcissist among his undergraduates: the covert narcissist. While the “overt” narcissists tended to be aggressive, self-aggrandizing, exploitative, and have extreme delusions of grandeur and a need for attention, “covert” narcissists were more prone to feelings of neglect or belittlement, hypersensitivity, anxiety, and delusions of persecution [I’ve also seen this referred to as “inverted narcissism,” whatever that means].

Um, I’m prone to feelings of neglect or belittlement, am known to be hypersensitive and anxious, and there are times I believe I’m being persecuted…

But it…

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