Introverts unite

Have you ever noticed that the world seems geared toward the extroverts? I’ve found lots of people online who are proud to be introverts, which is a nice change of pace. Most of the time, the stories we’re told are that there’s something wrong with being an introvert and that we should all try to become more extroverted.

Usually it’s the extroverts telling us that, of course. They want us to be more like them. Notice there isn’t a similarly vocal contingent of introverts telling extroverts to maybe be a little less loud and draining.

The funny thing is that I’m not even that introverted. I genuinely like talking to people and tend to be at my best when I see a few different people each day. But it has to be the right environment–I can’t generally handle loudness for long–and I always enjoy my time alone.

So on a related note, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that my therapist just isn’t a good fit for me and I’m trying to schedule an appointment with a different one. My therapist is a self-described extrovert and most of her suggestions to me are either things I’m not interested in or really want to avoid.

I don’t think she gets the difference between introverts and extroverts, even though her bio said she had specific experience working with Highly Sensitive People. That definitely describes me based on this test, but her suggestions are extremely overwhelming to me. I don’t think she gets what it’s really like to be an introvert or sensitive, but I do get the sense that she thinks my life would be better if I could just be more of an extrovert.

It’s true that extroverts have some good qualities and that they often have an easier time making friends. They’re often the kind of outgoing, charming people that others tend to like. But I don’t think the solution is to try to make introverts change their entire personality type.

There are a lot of other reasons why I don’t think she’s the right therapist for me. Like her insistence that I had to get my husband to start writing notes and taking videos for after he’s gone. That seems way premature, given that he’s still undergoing chemo to try to knock out the cancer. He was upset by the suggestion and I understand why. He needs to be as positive as possible at this stage.

She also wasn’t anywhere near the ballpark of what I was looking for when I said I was worried about my kids’ struggles to figure out what to do with their lives. She took a tough love approach and said I should tell them to get a job or move out. That’s not the kind of parent I’ve ever been or want to be.

Realistically, I expect that they’ll find their ways sooner rather than later. None of them want to live at home forever. But given how many people are still living at home well into their 20s, given the economy and cost of housing, I don’t think her approach is realistic. And I’m certainly not going to risk my (still relatively young) kids becoming homeless if I kick them out for not having jobs.

My 21-year-old has only been out of work for less than 2 months and is trying to sort out gender transition and name change stuff. My 18-year-old wants to get his driver’s license before he gets a job because he doesn’t like being dependent for rides. If he still hasn’t made progress by the end of the year, we’ll have a more serious talk. Plus a big part of his lack of progress is due to the relative chaos of chemo schedules and how that affects family life.

I just feel like my therapist is not a good fit and is trying to change me into being something other than what I really am. I want a therapist who gently nudges me to be better, not one who tells me what to do. And I especially want one who affirms that I’m okay as an introvert and don’t have to try to become an extrovert to be happier.

7 Comments

  1. Have you read “Quiet” by Susan Cain? I found it super validating.

    I’ve no idea if my therapist is an introvert or extrovert, because she tailors everything she suggests to me.

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    1. No I haven’t read that! I’ll put that on my list at the library.

      I don’t think therapists should really tell you if they’re introverts or extroverts. I expect them to be like yours and to tailor suggestions to me individually. I have an appointment with a new therapist in a little over a week and I hope she’ll be a better fit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I feel down about my introvertness, I think of the book.

        Also, you’re right: suggestions should be tailored to you, as well as the atmosphere in sessions, so ideally you won’t even know if they’re introverted or extroverted.

        I hope the new therapist is a better fit. It can be tiring to therapist-shop, but a good fit is important.

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  2. Also I’m in my last few months of “twenties” and moving out is extremely cultural ans well as due to economics. I keep having to explain to White people online that in Asia, it’s the norm to live in multi generational units where everyone chips in. Adults only move out IF they marry and even if they’re married, they don’t always move out. And it’s common to live with, and care for elderly parents as well as young children.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the US is likely to move in that direction as our cost of housing keeps going up. My parents’ generation (the “baby boomers”) are categorically self-centered and independent so I don’t see them going for multi generational housing. But I definitely see it as possible for my generation (I’m 45) and younger. I like my kids. I’d be happy for them to stay with me if they so chose, but they might have to share the rent when my husband dies.

      Liked by 1 person

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