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  1. #81
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    Oh, wow. This point hit me hard. This is exactly my childhood. I had great parents and a great sister, but there were a few "friends" in my life that would just turn on me out of nowhere, and it made me socially anxious and mistrustful of people I didn't know well. I started becoming more independent, more self-reliant, and started making people have to hang around me for a LONG time before I considered them trustworthy enough to open up to. I was always afraid that the rules would change, or they'd read my shyness as snobbery, or something along those lines. One example, in junior high one day, I was standing around in a group with friends, and just mostly listening. This girl who was sort of aggressive and frankly intimidated me, since I was a shy kid, just out of the blue looked at me and said, "You just think you're so much better than everyone else, don't you?" And this was the first thing this girl had EVER said to me. I mean, where does that come from, and how do you even respond to that? So now I'm HYPER sensitive to acting friendly, so nobody gets their emotional panties in a wad. I had lots of weird things like that happen when I was a kid...
    That type of thing has happened to me and it is partly why I get tired around people. In my experience I had people assume I was judging them when it never crossed my mind. In high school i was on the outer fringe of the "bookish girl clique". In the locker room they would joke and tease with each other and I would withdraw because of shyness. In my mind i would think "what is wrong with me? I can't ever think of responses on the fly. I suppose i will never be able to interact socially, etc." At one later point one of the girls said they thought I was judging them.

    I've spent my introverted time analyzing these types of social interactions and misunderstandings. I have come to realize that when you offer people a blank slate, they paint their fears on it. It was especially interesting to me to learn that was a specific technique used in Freud's psychotherapy. In my limited understanding of it, I read that the therapist was to express no personality or mannerism, so that the patient could project onto them the issue they have with other people. Then the therapist and patient work through the original problem. A strongly introverted person is going to have trouble filling in everyone's blanks during interactions, so I adjust by limiting my interactions. I also make an effort not to do the projecting myself.

    On a vaguely related note to the thread: If you want to overcome the need to have other people like you, teach lots of students. It's precious near impossible to please everyone when in authority. No matter what you do someone is going to complain. If you work with enough of them, it naturally becomes depersonalized. No one has the energy to care on an individual basis if 900 people like them.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
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  2. #82
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    ...In the locker room they would joke and tease with each other and I would withdraw because of shyness. In my mind i would think "what is wrong with me? I can't ever think of responses on the fly. I suppose i will never be able to interact socially, etc." At one later point one of the girls said they thought I was judging them.

    I've spent my introverted time analyzing these types of social interactions and misunderstandings. I have come to realize that when you offer people a blank slate, they paint their fears on it...
    Very insightful. Both you and 'lulah, I identify with. I realized at some point that my silence (which was me basically judging myself and being afraid of being judged) sometimes left other people feeling that I was judging THEM and/or was snotty.

    I don't know if this had an impact on me starting to extrovert friendly feelings more, just so I could put out discernible signals so others had more trouble "projecting" on me, but it definitely helped with feeling part of the group and being accepted.

    But dammit... now I am looking at my relationship with my parents. If I have kept silent so often as to avoid hurting them, maybe they took it differently; lord knows how much they project. *mulls*
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #83
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    ... I have come to realize that when you offer people a blank slate, they paint their fears on it. ...
    Incredibly profound statement!
    And so true!

  4. #84
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    ... If I have kept silent so often as to avoid hurting them, maybe they took it differently; lord knows how much they project. *mulls*
    I started noticing this with my husband.
    I began to realize that since he's not a very good mind reader,
    I should probably speak up.
    It causes more friction,
    but it avoids misunderstanding.

  5. #85
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    That type of thing has happened to me and it is partly why I get tired around people. In my experience I had people assume I was judging them when it never crossed my mind. In high school i was on the outer fringe of the "bookish girl clique". In the locker room they would joke and tease with each other and I would withdraw because of shyness. In my mind i would think "what is wrong with me? I can't ever think of responses on the fly. I suppose i will never be able to interact socially, etc." At one later point one of the girls said they thought I was judging them.

    I've spent my introverted time analyzing these types of social interactions and misunderstandings. I have come to realize that when you offer people a blank slate, they paint their fears on it. It was especially interesting to me to learn that was a specific technique used in Freud's psychotherapy. In my limited understanding of it, I read that the therapist was to express no personality or mannerism, so that the patient could project onto them the issue they have with other people. Then the therapist and patient work through the original problem. A strongly introverted person is going to have trouble filling in everyone's blanks during interactions, so I adjust by limiting my interactions. I also make an effort not to do the projecting myself.

    On a vaguely related note to the thread: If you want to overcome the need to have other people like you, teach lots of students. It's precious near impossible to please everyone when in authority. No matter what you do someone is going to complain. If you work with enough of them, it naturally becomes depersonalized. No one has the energy to care on an individual basis if 900 people like them.
    Gosh, yes, I get exhausted around people, because I get tired of having to constantly alter my natural behavior to make them feel better. Meanwhile, I don't necessarily know whether they like ME or not, but they don't have to alter their behavior. They get to be exactly who they are. That's what's hard about being an introvert and/or shy.

    I teach college English, and I still have issues with wanting to be liked, but I have learned that you have to set firm boundaries and that you can't please everyone. I imagine the more experience I acquire, the more I'll adjust.

    I still have to make SUCH an effort in any remotely social situation. The problem is that I can fake it really well, so when I do go into introvert-hermit mode, people do take it personally. And when they see me interacting so easily with the people whom I do trust, they take it as a personal slight. Aaaargh. I know I'm not perfect, but neither is anyone else, and I'd like to be left alone with my idiosyncrasies, tyvm!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Very insightful. Both you and 'lulah, I identify with. I realized at some point that my silence (which was me basically judging myself and being afraid of being judged) sometimes left other people feeling that I was judging THEM and/or was snotty.

    I don't know if this had an impact on me starting to extrovert friendly feelings more, just so I could put out discernible signals so others had more trouble "projecting" on me, but it definitely helped with feeling part of the group and being accepted.

    But dammit... now I am looking at my relationship with my parents. If I have kept silent so often as to avoid hurting them, maybe they took it differently; lord knows how much they project. *mulls*
    It's interesting how we introverts always default to silence when we aren't sure, or when we don't want to hurt others, and then it all comes back to haunt us. And what do you do when your coping method backfires? I do try to project more friendliness, but it just takes up a lot of my energy.
    Something Witty

  6. #86
    Senior Member aguanile's Avatar
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    Wow. That is my life. People projecting onto me. Wow.

    I am introverted and have been called: mean, mysterious, intimidating, cold, uncaring, unkind, etc. This especially is a problem with my mom. SHe is very extroverted and depressed and always interprets my silence as judgment.

    People indeed do paint their fears, anxiety, anger, whatever is going on in their heads onto you.

  7. #87
    Senior Member ZiL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    One example, in junior high one day, I was standing around in a group with friends, and just mostly listening. This girl who was sort of aggressive and frankly intimidated me, since I was a shy kid, just out of the blue looked at me and said, "You just think you're so much better than everyone else, don't you?" And this was the first thing this girl had EVER said to me. I mean, where does that come from, and how do you even respond to that? So now I'm HYPER sensitive to acting friendly, so nobody gets their emotional panties in a wad. I had lots of weird things like that happen when I was a kid.
    Yeah, that's the kind of stuff that happened to me. I get so pissed when I think about it, lol. I was very extraverted as a child, very hyper, loved to entertain, very curious, but after a few years of that kind of crap occuring periodically, my outward personality turned dramatically into a pattern of people avoidance and extreme anxiety that I've only recently begun trying to combat.

    A few others mentioned feeling that they withhold their "true selves," while the rest of the world freely goes about their business. That they have to keep their own reactions under wraps, but are willing to put up with the reactions of others. I definitely relate to that feeling. It's like, in a strange way I'm covertly patronizing to most people I meet. I may even consciously recognize that others are painting their fears onto me, but even this realization does not stop me from looking at others as "children" in the midst of an overreaction, that I need to be "responsible" for by not showing my own emotions/reactions.

    The only thing from my childhood that can relate to the above trait has to do with my parents. My mom was very depressed for a while when I was about 6-8 yrs old. She was in the hospital for knee surgery, her mother died - a bunch of bad events converged upon her within a short time span, and her behavior got sorta volatile from what I remember. She had a panic attack, and would mope around a lot. I couldn't stand it for some reason, and so to try to alleviate things, I'd try to entertain her and make her laugh. I was usually pretty good at it. But in the process, I got used to fearing the chaos of emotions on the run, and I felt responsible for reigning them in. Similar stuff went down when my dad had a bipolar hypomanic breakdown causing him to lose his job. This caused my mom a lot of anxiety, and so I went back into the same old pattern, harnessing my own anxiety to create humor to alleviate stress. I still get really nervous around pain, and I tend to feel a phantom responsibility to help alleviate it (through diversion - once again, usually in the form of humor). I don't know if this could tie back into the whole pleasing others thing - avoiding possible pain altogether by trying to make sure it can't get to me (making others happy and needing positive reactions from others towards me to SHOW me that they're happy and there's ABSOLUTELY nothing to fear).


    It's good to recognize within ourselves the irrationality of it all, but to really combat this behavioral pattern, I get the impression that it's going to be necessary to go out there, meet a bunch of different types of personalities, and just deal with possible strife, keeping in mind that we simply can't be responsible for every facet of an outcome. I'm betting it's something that has to be experienced a lot so that we can get accustomed to it. Which is scary - facing those fears - but probably the most necessary step. At least that's the only conclusion I've ever reached. Easier said than done, but must be done.
    ALL AROUND THE WORLD PEOPLE EATIN' GUMBO

  8. #88
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aguanile View Post
    Wow. That is my life. People projecting onto me. Wow.

    I am introverted and have been called: mean, mysterious, intimidating, cold, uncaring, unkind, etc. This especially is a problem with my mom. SHe is very extroverted and depressed and always interprets my silence as judgment.

    People indeed do paint their fears, anxiety, anger, whatever is going on in their heads onto you.
    I also I have learned this is very true, but not always, thankfully.
    As a matter of fact, I make a special effort to pay careful attention to someone describing someone else, even if it's complimentary.
    Very often that person is describing something about themselves.

  9. #89
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    ...It's interesting how we introverts always default to silence when we aren't sure, or when we don't want to hurt others, and then it all comes back to haunt us. And what do you do when your coping method backfires? I do try to project more friendliness, but it just takes up a lot of my energy.
    You're right, it does. I usually go in spurts, where I am outwardly friendly... but eventually I crash and have to spend a day alone.

    The other solution is to pace yourself... just enough incidents of friendliness to create little anchor points / external references that others can look at and say, "Oh, not sure how to read her now, but she was friendly yesterday, so I can just go with that."
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #90
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    I've always wanted people to like me. In my younger and teenage years, I based my self image on what others thought of me. It was terrible. This extended into college, where I joined a sorority mostly due to my need to fit in & for people to like me. I've always placed a lot of value on being popular and liked by others because if I'm not liked, then what's wrong with me? In relationships, I would stick around way longer than necessary just trying to get the guy to like me and approve of me.

    I can't say I have completely kicked the habit, as I still seek approval from those closest to me and in romantic relationships, but taking a leadership role in my job definitely helped a lot. I worked as a manager and let's face it - a lot of people hate their boss. Dealing with the fact that people simply did not like me actually forced me to face my fear of, well, people not liking me. I knew I was doing my best and doing everything that I could do in order to run my office diplomatically. At first it really did effect me emotionally, but it also forced me to evaluate what I was doing right and build self confidence. I've been a different (and much better) person ever since.

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