Why Introverts might love January

Phew, thank goodness that’s over for another year!!

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I have an INFJ personality type.

It is said that I am the rarest personality type with less than 1% of “me’s” in the World population! I think that’s pretty cool but it does cause problems when I talk about my introversion to my amazing Extroverted friends and family.

If you want to know your type, take the test here

You see, I need to give you a little bit of geek info here for all of you personality type junkies. Although I possess introverted intuition which basically means I live my life in my head (it’s great there!), the “f” in my formation means that I also possess extroverted feelings. Again, to the laymen this means that I like to make people feel at ease and happy so I can appear extremely extroverted. I also morph into the situation I’m in.

For example, at parties, I will appear to be the life and soul but this is short lived as I quickly become exhausted and feel trapped in a World of small talk and exposure.

I can cope with it at work and as I have a job which requires me to be on the same wavelength with many different people, it works well. Also, I get to go home and veg for an hour to process my day and rest my tired brain,

You don’t have to have the same personality type as me to feel this way but many of you (almost 50% have an “I” formation don’t forget) will be identifying with some of what I’m saying.

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Here are 5 signs you’re a strung-out introvert following Christmas…

  1. I feel tired all the time – mental tiredness is different from physical tiredness which we all feel at this time of year. Your brain just can’t seem to get into gear
  2. I feel upset or angry and I don’t know why – agitation with others is a sure sign that your introvert walls have been breached
  3. I feel as if everyone is getting to me – I will often describe this feeling as “fractured” like an eggshell that has been partially broken
  4. I want to be alone all the time – you’ve had enough “people time” you’ve been using your extroverted skills for the last few weeks and you’ve had enough
  5. I don’t feel like myself – you’re not serving the need inside of you to have quiet time. Often returning to work can be another stress, having to be around people and be your work persona

Luckily, there are things that you can do to help you through and soon you’ll be feeling your amazing quietly confident self again…

Own it!

Know that you are more introverted and accept that you actually need to be alone sometimes. This doesn’t mean disappearing on a Buddhist retreat for a month, it simply means accepting that it’s ok to feel as you do and understanding why.

Be Mindfully Alone

By this I mean take time to acknowledge that you are putting time aside to be alone. Even if it’s a walk, a run, a bath or shower; tell yourself “I’m taking this time for me” and enjoy it. You could even try notching up the amount of minutes you’ve taken throughout the day and indulgently look back on them at the end of the day.

Breathe

This is the best way to deal with, well, ANY situation. If you can find your breath and truly be with it, you’re onto a winner. First of all, look at the way you breathe. Stand in front of a mirror and take a deep breath in. Chances are your upper chest will rise and fall as you breathe…

WRONG!!

This is sadly the way too many of us breathe. We are only using our upper torso to breathe which means we’re missing out on essential yummy life giving oxygen.

Do a full BELLY BREATH try and bring the breath to the bottom of your belly so that it inflates when you breathe. If you don’t know what I mean, watch a baby or an animal breathe, they’re so much better at it!

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Once you have the hang of this, breathe in fully for a count of 6, hold for a count of 6, breathe out for a count of 6 and hold for a count of 6.

Repeat this for around 1 and a half minutes. you’ll probably feel a bit dizzy (that’s the oxygen) but you’ll be energised and that’s another 1 and a half minutes just for you! you can do it anytime, anywhere.

Don’t be Afraid to say No

I’m rubbish at this, always have been –  and even now as I try an explain myself to my nearest an dearest I get blank looks. I choose to remember how much better I feel when I serve my self and my needs. I become the best version of me!

Hopefully, you will have found something to like about this blog. If, however, you’re reading it thinking “What is she talking about?” you’re probably one of the other amazing 50% of the World who are extroverts.

Extroverts! I salute you!

Introverts! I salute you!

Ambiverts! I salute you! (that’s a whole other story!)

Remember to be aware, but most of all, be kind, after all we are all needed to make the World go around.

If you like what you see here, please hit the “follow” button, leave me a comment below or contact me directly.

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What just happened?

It’s INFJ day!

The Ultimate Four Letter Word

Why Introverts especially love a snow day – How Teenagers can survive school

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What just happened?

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I’ve just opened my laptop after what seems like a lifetime. Flickering hopefully on the screen was the first few lines of my pre-Christmas blog. Eerily enough, I was due to talk about the fact that Christmas is not always a great time of year.

Many of the young adults that I work with do not look forward to time at home. At best it can be a source of stress or, in some cases; prolonged exposure to emotional and physical abuse.

I must admit it raised a smile when I read the beginnings of what would describe my Christmas this year… not all it’s cracked up to be.

We knew this year was going to be different but in a good way. For the first time in 10 years I was not going to be hosting Christmas! I was excited to be staying with my Dad and Step Mum and being thoroughly spoiled. This happened and thank goodness, as it provided a flicker of happiness in a very dark time.

You see, my husband’s mum, my mother-in-law; died quite suddenly on 14th December this year. 

There it is, said in one sentence but an event which shook our World at a time when families unite. It seemed like whilst the whole World hurriedly prepared for parties, presents and holidays, we were talking to funeral directors and choosing coffins.

So, Christmas has mostly been something to “get through” this year.

But, get through it we did, and here we are, ready to face a new year and a new time for our family.

We’ve had to dig deep and find the laughs where we could. Oddly, there were many of them and we are beginning to define our new normal.

So, my message is particularly personal this time. I want you to spend a minute or two thinking about what is most important to you. Then, give thanks for it and appreciate it. We are all loved in some way, make sure you know how you are loved and be aware of your own ripple effect too.

Much love to you all and a Happy 2019 from me.

HELP! the expert who feels like a beginner

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When a counsellor feels inadequate

Surprisingly, this happens a lot.

Is there more at play here?

Do we, as school counsellors, feel that we are older, wiser and therefore better equipped to know the meaning behind the words we hear?

As an INFJ personality type, I pride myself on my almost psychic ability to smell out when there is more to a story than meets the eye.

Every so often though, I get side swiped!

So, how do we deal with it?

I, for one, am not good at dealing with these feelings. In general, I always feel that I could, or should have done more. I often switch from my extroverted feeling function and wallow in my shadow personality function of the logical thinker.

 

I try and think about what could have led to the current situation. I will torture myself by reading into conversations, looks, body language, etc until I piece together how the revelations were drip fed to me and create the whole “logical” story. The story I missed!

It’s a grim part of my personality and one which I try and work on as I’m aware that whilst I’m worrying about what I could, should, would have said, I’m not giving my attention to the person who now needs it.

There is no answer for people like us who do these jobs because we care about others, except a wise example that my clinical supervisor once gave me.

“Difficulties we face in our personalities are often caused by the over-active use of a skill we have”

Let me use my situation as an example…

I have a skill and that skill is the ability to genuinely care for others and to support them to be the best version of themselves that they can be. This makes me happy.

Sometimes, I over-do this skill by thinking that I must be the answer to everyone’s problems all the time. Obviously, I can’t because that would be physically impossible. This makes me unhappy.

So, if we imagine an upwards curve, when we are in our happy place, the curve is in an upward motion.

When the curve starts to tip, the tipping point; it begins a downward trajectory.

Think of this like an upturned smile or a down turned sad face.

So after I have wallowed in self-pity for a while, I begin to examine my curve and concentrate on its upwards-turned smile.

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If you like what you see here, please hit the “follow” button down below, better still, leave me a comment below or contact me directly.

You can also see what I’m up to on Twitter and Facebook

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Abuse -the soft signs

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Abuse – what is it and how do we deal with it?

Anyone who has been watching the news this week may have heard the term “Coercive Control”

Coercive Control falls under new legislation which makes it illegal for your partner to abuse you using softer tactics than physical abuse.

The new behaviours which are covered by the law are…

When your partner

  1. Shares indecent images of you
  2. Restricts or denies your access to money
  3. Stops you seeing family and friends
  4. Scares you
  5. Threatens to reveal private things about you
  6. Places tracking devices on your phone
  7. Puts you down
  8. Acts with extreme jealousy
  9. Forces you to obey their rules
  10. Controls what you wear
  11. Makes you do things you don’t want to do

On their own and even if we think of just a few of these things, we may dismiss them as nothing to worry about or we may make excuses for our partner saying that they have issues which means they are a bit controlling but it’s fine we can handle it.

The thing to remember about this type of behaviour is that it is the same as bullying. All bullies need a victim and once they have found the victim, they steadily increase their control over them. The relationship falls into a pattern and before we know it, things have gone too far.

Figures show that 9 out of 10 women who were murdered last year were murdered by someone they knew. A shocking 85% of women were killed in their own homes.

Of course, domestic abuse does not only affect women in heterosexual relationships, it affects men and women in any type of relationship and can devastate lives.

In my job as a counsellor working with young adults, I often come across behaviours which fall into the above categories. I feel it is important to look at how people arrive in these relationships.

It’s easy and nice to have someone care so much about you that they want to do things for you, they may even defend sharing images of you on social media by saying you are beautiful or hunky and they want everyone to see that. But this is not OK!

I am not an expert in this field so if you are reading this and you are in the least bit worried about yourself or someone you know, PLEASE visit the Domestic Abuse Hotline for help and information for victims or for friends and families of victims.

PARENTS – Don’t think this only happens to adults!!!! Please talk to your young adults and help them to understand the definitions of abuse as early as possible so that they can recognise these behaviours sooner. Check out this powerful video…

https://www.nda.services/control

Also, if you are putting up with an abusive relationship because of your children, you are putting yourself and them in danger.

There is help out there, it only needs to be a click away

If you like what you see here, please hit the “follow” button, leave me a comment below or contact me directly.

You can also see what I’m up to on Twitter and Facebook

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Gee – a real life story – Part 4

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Unravelling…

Gee seemed more settled as the weeks went on and her visits became shorter and more about her latest assignment and her new friends than anything else. She formed “Gee-style” attachments to teachers whom she decided were allowed into her circle of trust and she now had two or three teachers (female) as well as me to talk to when she was feeling anxious or unworthy.

I felt that Gee had created a World around her in which she felt able to cope with the immense stress of 6th Form and the immense stress of not having her Mum around her when she needed it. Things seemed to go along without incident for a while.

And then came Tom.

At first, Gee would mention Tom in conversation with the rest of her friendship group. Soon, they were the talk of the year group, the two love birds who couldn’t seem to exist without each other. Alarm bells rang for me as I knew that Gee was highly likely to form an unhealthy attachment and hearing that they seemed to be joined at the hip concerned me.

Things were rosy for a while and Gee seemed to beam with her new-found love. He was everything she had ever wanted, he was caring, considerate and attentive and he seemed to “get” her in a way that no one else did.

By now, the alarm bells were literally clanging off their hinges!

I battened down the hatches and waited…

Over the coming months, the relationship became toxic for both parties. They argued all the time, he wanted Gee all to himself but she wanted freedom to just be herself. There were tales of infidelity, broken trust, broken phones, endless messages back and forth. The light that had beamed from Gee’s face had gone out.

She had lost a lot of weight, she wasn’t eating properly. Her piercing brown eyes had sunken into her cheekbones. Her clothes hung from her hips and her hair lost it’s shine. A constant enigma to me, Gee had found inside herself the power to achieve against all odds. What I now saw was a broken young girl who had allowed herself to become overpowered and was stuck in a destructive cycle which was also bringing Tom down. What could lead to such behaviour?

Sure, her messy upbringing had played its part. Gee had been exposed to loss and relationship breakdowns. She found maternal affection easily from teachers and from me but the male side of things didn’t seem to be working out for Gee.

She wanted more from Tom than he was ever able to give and she was as incapable of articulating that to him as he was of delivering.

As time went on. Gee reverted to previous behaviours. Telling teachers to Fuck off, skipping classes, even getting thrown out of classes. Her Step dad was informed and eventually, during a showdown between Gee, her Mum and her Step Dad, she was able to say what the real problem had been.

I arrived at work that day to very busy reception. There seemed to be people everywhere, so I signed in and made my way through the people towards my room. As I approached, I was met by the headteacher. “Hey Sarah, can we have a chat in my office please?” Oh no! is always my first response. Over the years I have found myself in hot water with school management and parents over some of my methods to help young adults. I braced myself for a telling off.

“This is a delicate matter. You’ve been seeing Gee now for a while?”

“Yes, nearly two years on and off”

“Has she ever mentioned to you anything concerning abuse?”

“What kind of abuse?”

“Sexual abuse of a minor, Gee being the minor at the time?”

I felt my face flush and my stomach retch. All this time? She had held this burden and never mentioned it.

“No, she never mentioned it” my voice trailed off. How could I have missed this? I knew something wasn’t right, I should’ve seen this.

“Anyway, Gee’s parents are here to speak to me and let me know what happens next and Gee is in your room, she wanted to see you. Is that ok?”

“Yes. Of course. Yes.” I stood and walked out of his office, selfishly wondering what he, everyone else and mostly Gee thought of me for not seeing this.

As I opened the door, she sat there, shrunken into a chair like a child. She looked up at me and smiled.

“Bet you didn’t expect this kind of start to your day?”

 

If you like what you see here, please hit the “follow” button, leave me a comment below or contact me directly.

You can also see what I’m up to on Twitter and Facebook

If you liked this article, here are some more you might be interested in…

Gee – A Real life story

Gee – A real life story – Part 2

Gee – A real life story – Part 3