Posted tagged ‘introvert’

Introvert Game Changer

January 29, 2010

One too many fights between the sisters got me annoyed.  I had to do something or I was going to start screaming.  What was the deal??

I formed a hunch — space.  Big sister aka. introvert hated little sister messing up their room, moving and touching the big sister’s stuff and generally being annoying.  Hence the constant bickering or constant big sister yelling at little sister.

Except, I really wanted the girls to share a room — philosophically as much as physical space wise.  I wanted them to stay up and giggle, to be good friends, to share, bond . . . you know, like camp!

My own childhood memories of my sister and I in our room are great – playing dress-up, listening to music, laying in bed while mom read us a book and the occasional locking little sister  in the closet.

But, as I still am learning, this is not me.  They are not me.  I must do what is best for them and all that . . . sigh.  Big sister, my seven year old, needed her own room.  Now.  Or I would be suffering.  (We all would.)

So, I moved little sister out and across the hall.  My husband and I moved into a small little room at the end of the hall with our only television, a love seat and bookshelves lined walls.  Surprisingly, I loved it — even if I couldn’t walk around the side of my bed.

Life for big sister changed from day one.  I saw huge behavior changes.

Bed made.

Clothes put away.

Toys in baskets.

Desk clean.

Smiles.  (Gasp!)

She’d grown responsibility wings and flown!  Game change!

Gone was the bickering with little sister.  Gone was the child I worried about so much.  In her place, a new, mature young woman, acting friendly and responsible.  All I can attribute it to was a room of her own.  Incredible.

Books on introverts say it’s important for innies to have their own space . . .

I guess they are right.

Love is (hardly) unconditional

August 30, 2009

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This week I’ve noticed myself getting annoyed with my daughter — I mean, really annoyed. Why?

Because she doesn’t do what I want her to do. She doesn’t talk to people, she barely talks to me. She doesn’t make eye contact. She is moody. She doesn’t hug. She doesn’t say, “I love you,” — except for the one time. She, quite frankly, challenges me.

I keep getting this phrase in my head, “Love is NOT conditional.” Over and over. And, it won’t leave. Right.  And as seen in the list above, I’m seriously conditional! But, I so don’t want want to be judgmental or conditional.  I hate it.  I feel stuck with my awful feelings.

But, today in church, things became clear.  The pastor spoke about seeing others through Jesus’ eyes, not our own.  We see the outside.  Jesus sees the heart.

Suddenly, it clicked.  I could apply this to my daughter and get unstuck.

I saw her behavior.  The outside.  (And got irritated.)  Did I notice her inside?  Her heart, her fears,  her introversion?  Well, that’s a no brainer.  No, I did not.

Wow.

I don’t normally blog about my faith but in this case, it’s relevant to how I can better love my innie daughter.

My life hasn’t changed in an instant but my vista is different.  Rather than a sky filled with menacing clouds, raining on another turbulent day, I choose to see beautiful shapes, shades of gray, smell of fresh rain, and glimpses of light.

I pray that with my new vision, my eyes can see the beauty in my daughter’s spirit and my love pours forth, unconditional and with abundance.  I will love her because of who she is, not what she does.  I don’t want  poor vision anymore.

I want God’s glasses.

Fear of . . . continued

June 2, 2009

Remember last week when my introvert was afraid of the rain?  That night, the worst night it could have happened, my other daughter had a seizure.

I called 911, administered a rectal injection, and tried not to wonder where my introvert had hidden.  No longer in her bed, I couldn’t worry about her worrying.  Not when something much worse was demanding my attention.

Four paramedics, two firefighters and two policemen clumped up our stairs and into the girls bedroom.  I asked my husband, “Where did she go?”

“I saw a girl hiding behind the bed in the other room,” said one uniformed man – maybe a firefighter?

As they started to check my baby’s vitals, I squeezed passed three of the men through the hall and across to my bedroom.  My introvert was hiding behind my bed on the floor.

All I could do was hug her.

“Don’t go, mommy,” she cried.

“I have to go to the hospital, I’m the one your sister needs right now.  Daddy will stay with you.”

We loaded up her sister, I climbed into the ambulance.  I knew the fears would be worse, and there was nothing I could do.

I guess sometimes that’s life.  I still felt totally awful. But, I had to let it go so I could be present with my baby who had no fears, no function, no presence of her own.  She was somewhere else and it wasn’t dreamland.

Scary doesn’t begin to describe it.  Fear doesn’t even capture my emotional state of being.

Terror.

Disappointment.

Numbness.

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She said “I love you”!!

May 20, 2009

“I love you, too,” my daughter shouts, pulling open the front door.

“What?” I ask.  “Did you just say I love you?”

She smiles, “Yes.”  Then, she’s off to the bus stop.  The door slams behind her.

My world slows down.  I take a big breath:  inhale, exhale.

She finally said it.  After seven years of waiting.

“I love you, too.”

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Swimming Lessons – A Metaphor?

April 6, 2009

It took a  “social service” moment to stop the madness.   –Let me explain.

My introverted daughter began swimming lessons at age two – a mommy and me class.   She would swim with me but screamed and cried if the instructor tried to swim with her.   I had no problem with that.  Stranger danger and all.

Her next class was at 3 1/2 and by herself.  Four weeks, twice a week.  She did not get in the water even once.  “I don’t like boy teachers,” she told me.  Okay.  (I guess?)

I registered her for the next session, believing that it was only a matter of time before she’d be ready to try.  Ha.img_0252

She did get in, once – with me.  One day after class, I got so mad that I changed into my suit and said.  “We aren’t leaving until you get into the water.  I don’t care if it takes all night.”  She eventually got in.  It was not satisfying.  I was still annoyed.

The rest of her swim session was a struggle.  She remained in the seahorse class for  four months before progressing to the Pollywogs where she stayed.

Moving ahead a few years to age 5 1/2.   We switched to a different pool and a different program.  I was ready for some progress!

But, the first lesson, she refused to get in the water.   I thought of elaborate bribes.  She choose the “buy a book” bribe for every good lesson.  Whatever it took I figured.

Next lesson, she wouldn’t even sit on the side.  She stayed on the chair with me watching and crying.

“But, remember what you get it you do a good job!” I cajoled while watching as the other children swim laps and practice breathing to the side.

That didn’t work either.  And then my crazy mom behavior emerged.

“Get in the water!  NOW,”  I screamed.

“No.”

So, I may have pushed her in.   Yes, I did.  Or did I throw her in?

Then, I noticed the horrified expressions of the other parents watching, not the lesson – me and my “social service” moment.

We dropped out of swimming.  I gave it up.

She eventually decided to learn to swim the summer she was 6 1/2.  I didn’t even watch the class.

The bigger lesson: My introvert is only motivated internally.  No external influence, me, rewards, consequences, . . . nothing will influence her at this time in her life.  She will do things when she feels ready. It applies to everything in her life up to this time.

My hope: That it applies to peer pressure later on in life!

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I need an instruction manual for this kid!

March 1, 2009

Last week, we had a bunch of friends over for lunch.  My “innie” daughter who is old enough to know better (almost 7) hid behind my leg.  And refused to speak to anyone.  And ran up to her room and shut the door.

With a house full of company, it seemed out of the question to throttle the child.  People tend to frown on the throttling.

Even though I was mortified, I tried to remember that it is not about me.  So, if it’s about her, she’s acting rudely.

“You need to go down stairs, make eye contact, and say hello . . . in a voice loud enough for someone to actually hear.”

“NO.”

Okay.  Plan B.  I’m trying to remember how uncomfortable it is for introverts to do all of the above listed things.  However, her behavior is rude and she just needs to try a little harder.   No excuses.

“Go do it now,” I say firmly.

“NO.”

Plan C. . . Dang, I don’t have a plan C!

I try this.  “People feel that you don’t like them if you do not speak to them or make eye contact.”

No answer.

And so, I give up for the moment because I have 18 people in my house and I have no idea what to do.

Some days I feel like such a failure as a parent.  Why can’t there be an instruction manual for each kid?

Don't take my picture, either.

DON'T take my picture. NO, I am NOT being rude.

What is an introvert?

January 27, 2009

Carl Jung, the renowned psychologist, first described an introvert as a person who becomes emotionally and physically worn out from being around other people for a long time.   More recent research describes introverts as getting energy from inside themselves – as opposed to extroverts who get energy from interaction with others.

Are you an innie or an outie?  Suite 101 has a quick test if you want to determine what you are – but you probably already know.  I’m somewhere on the introvert side, but in my Myers Briggs test, I was pretty well balanced between the two.

I think it’s helpful for me to know that I prefer alone time – when I feel exhausted, I have to remind myself to just curl up with a book and recharge myself.