Introverts & Extroverts Parts I and II

Introverts & Extroverts Parts I and II

About this Podcast:

An exploration of the differences between introverts and extroverts based on actual biological differences in how their nervous systems’ process data and how that translates into behavior, experiences and the differences we have a superficial understanding of. Caution! I’m fair, respectful and kind to both personality types.

Episode Transcript:

Good morning. I just wanted to do a brief video on a topic that I've been meaning to speak on for some time in my work as a couple of therapists. It's always interesting to notice how many introverts and extroverts are attracted to one another and then how much conflict arises from significant differences in their nervous systems. So I wanted to sort of like lay the groundwork on what an introvert is and what an extrovert is. First, we want to strip away the idea that extroverts are naturally more social. They often can be. And we want to strip away the idea that introverts are shy or socially avoidant. They certainly can be, or they often become based on their nervous system. But if we were really to break it down to the physiology, an introvert is someone who has a nervous system that triggers at a lower level of stimulation. That nervous system attributes more emotional, psychological charge to that experience and that experience or that charge is held much, much longer than an extrovert. So conversely, an extrovert has a nervous system that doesn't trigger until a higher level of stimulation, and it drops the emotional charge of that stimulation much faster. So the part I want to share with you this morning is just to lay the groundwork in how that gets experienced and what the results are and what the superpowers are and what the challenges are for both of those nervous systems. Because introverts are not a majority, We already know what the accusations are that introverts can't handle stress and the introverts turn inward a lot and can be avoidant etc. etc. But generally, an introvert because their nervous system triggers at a lower level of stimulus and holds a charge longer, that means that they're going to absorb an enormous amount of data from their environment. And that's why introverts need to go away, and they need to digest that data because it's not going to just go away. It doesn't just dump. So, introverts can become, they can look shy, or they can look avoidant. And sometimes they are shy, because no matter how much they enjoy people's interactions, if you put them in a social situation with tons of interactions with different people, noise, stereos, music, etc., etc. There's going to come a point at which they are just flooded with data that they haven't really processed or made sense of, and they need to go away, and they need to ramp down their nervous system and make sense of that. That naturally turns them inward. Now, here is their superpower. There is nobody on the face of the planet who can recognize subtle long-term patterns in behavior or systems like an introvert. The subtleties they're recognizing because they're recording everything, and they have to deal with everything. And so they began to recognize these long-term patterns in ways that are really helpful to society. On the other hand, I am a serious introvert, but we get overwhelmed. It's just a fact, and we get criticized for that, and it bothers people. People wish that we could withstand stress for longer periods of time, but it is the backside of that superpower. Extroverts, their superpower is if you have a really chronically stressful job with tons of stimulation, nobody can do it like an extrovert. They are capable of dumping at the moment, dumping that charge and dumping that charge and dumping that charge and continuing to deal with that. In fact, they'll even start having fun with it. And introverts and others look at them and go like, I don't get it. And we will criticize ourselves, why am I not like that? And we have been set up by society to think, oh, we should work towards that. Well, certainly you should increase your resiliency, but always remember that The very thing that feels like a weakness to you is your superpower, your ability to record enormous amounts of data and to recognize subtle long-term patterns that are important to society. The challenge for the extrovert is that they tend not to see those patterns. Introverts get very frustrated with extroverts because introverts will say, you know, you do this thing over and over and every time I see you getting ready, you do this thing, and it creates a problem for us, X, Y, or Z, like. I don't get it. And the extrovert will be like, what are you talking about? Well, that was just that one time. I don't know why you always bring up the past. So they're not doing that just to be obtuse, but their nervous system literally doesn't record and hold the recording of that emotional charge long enough for them to recognize long-term subtle patterns the way introverts do. So introverts get very frustrated with extroverts because extroverts don't see those patterns and can't take ownership of them. And extroverts get very frustrated with introverts because introverts just can't handle the amount of raw data coming in. And at some point, introverts are just like, I'm out. Even if it's a positive experience, I'm out because this is just overwhelming. So that's just the foundation. There's a lot more that I want to say about that. I've spent lots of time thinking about it, but I wanted to leave that with you this morning. Thanks and have a great day. Good morning, everybody. This is introversion and extroversion part two. So we started with the basic physiological fact that extroverts nervous systems do not trigger at as low of a stimulus, and they don't hold the charges long, which means that they are perfect at dealing with stressful situations over and over. In fact, they start having fun with it. So they're great at that and the introverts nervous systems trigger at a much lower level of stimulus, and they attribute a psychological or emotional charge to that stimulus, and they hold that charge for much longer. This results in a couple of things. Number one, introverts get overwhelmed easily, and you will see them turn inward to deal with that overwhelm, and they need to process all of that data in order to sort of make sense of it and to move on. But number two, introverts are really, really incredible at recognizing long-term subtle or not so subtle patterns in human behavior or in systems in ways that are really, really helpful to their job, to society, to the human race. So we're going to go a little more into the experiences of introverts and extroverts and how that stuff goes sideways here in part two. Extroverts get traumatized the same as introverts. They're a little more resilient to stress, but if you treat them really badly in childhood, they get traumatized, they dissociate, they can have depression, PTSD, the same as anyone. However, extroverts tend towards, if they have a narcissistic wound, they tend towards overt narcissism and detachment. Since their superpower is their ability to sort of like not really register anything and not really deal with things that they don't feel deeply. If you push them into a really wounded state, they have a tendency towards overt narcissism, the ability to dump anything, a lack of empathy for others, and they are able to be happy. At least on the surface of things, and they're able to function in society, but they have a real problem with disregarding other people's thoughts, feelings, acting like things really don't matter and getting upset that you expect them to matter. So extroverts, when you see extroverts use self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, they are actually fairly difficult to treat because the resiliency of their nervous system they often use and really enjoy it and their body and their physiology is capable of dealing with the abuse of the drugs. So they can do a lot more that the kind of people who shut down the party. It's a lot harder for them to stop because they actually do use because it's just fun, and they really like it. They might use because they're traumatized, but they also use because it's really fun. Um, and physically they're capable of withstanding the abuse, the physical abuse of the drug or alcohol. And so they have a really hard time abstaining. They're a lot harder to treat when they come in with addictions. Introverts when they are abused or when things go sideways become more along the spectrum of covert narcissism. They're very wounded. They know they're very wounded. They are all about themselves. But they're all about themselves because they're constantly making everything about how overwhelmed they are and how anxious they are and how depressed they are and all these things happen to them. And they're the victim of all of these things. So they may not come across with that sort of arrogant self-interested narcissism that we're used to calling narcissism, but they're extremely self-interested in the sense that they're making everything about themselves because they're lost to to overwhelm of their own experience and to the trauma. When they come through with addictions, they're easier to treat because their nervous system, their body can't handle the amount of abuse, and they really are doing it just for temporary relief from anxiety and feeling miserable. And then they go right back to feeling miserable. And so they tend to be a bit more motivated. If you teach them to meditate and to begin to regulate their nervous system, they will generally take it and run because most of it was not fun anyway. So that's where things go clinically a little. Sorry, coming back, I realized that it got clinical and heavy, and I wanted to leave you on a little lighter note with some takeaways that are useful for either personality. Extroverts, when healthy, want to remain cognizant of the fact that they have a tendency to be more resilient, that they're going to tend to be dismissive of other people. They're going to tend not to understand, so they want to work on empathy and understanding that they're blessed with a nervous system that's really capable of taking on an enormous amount of stress, and that's a superpower, and they should love and appreciate themselves for that, but also understand that they were just blessed at birth with that kind of nervous system. Introverts really want to value their ability to recognize patterns, but also want to be aware that it is our job to manage that overwhelm and not to expect society to set boundaries for us or necessarily even to understand because people don't always understand, and full-blown extroverts certainly don't understand what your limits are. And so introverts, you want to appreciate your superpower and understand that It's really appreciated by extroverts. Extroverts love talking to introverts, and they love that depth and that intimacy that an introvert can create in a relationship. But it is our responsibility to build an exit plans to social situations. I learned early on to make sure and drive when I went out with buddies because they were not going to leave when I was ready to leave. And I either had to impose on them and be like, I need to go now. Or I had to fight through a couple excruciating hours while they continued to stay at the club and do whatever they wanted to do. So introverts need to build in an exit. For themselves, they need to understand that their boundaries are not going to be the same. They should not expect them to be the same and to know that you are protecting something of real value and that you need to learn how to regulate for you not to take what is an ______ culture. We have highly aggrandized the extreme extrovert personality. People remark how Americans are always smiling and loud. It's actually culturally imposed for a lot of people. A lot of people fight to put out that persona and that energy, but there are many of us who are just faking it because the culture has valued that and aggrandized that and projected that as the ideal leader, when in fact it often isn't. It can be, but it often isn't. So introverts, you need to really, really mind your own boundaries. Do not expect other people to understand or Inherently respect your boundaries. That's your job to protect yourself. And if you do, you will find that you have so much to offer that people will really, even if they don't understand, they will really come to respect what it is you offer and to at some point, maybe listen to you and understand why you set the limits that you do. So that's my message for today. Really enjoy both extroverts and introverts. I hope you guys have a great morning, and I'll talk to you next time. All right. Take care.

Meet your hosts:

Jon Sorensen


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