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.

alone bed bedroom blur

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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!

adorable baby beanie bonnet

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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.

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…

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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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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Where is Your Boat Heading?

It’s INFJ day!

 

Gee – A real life story – Part 2

Following the success of the first part of Gee’s Story, I feel honoured to share her next chapter with you. It’s almost impossible to sum up in a relatively short blog post, the trials and triumphs of Gee and many others like her but i’ll give it a try.

Please also look out for another inspiring story coming soon – Chantelle’s Story

Year 11

Year 11 for Gee started out in much the same vain as she had ended Year 10. She was sulky and complained about her awful summer break. She was glad to be back at school.

There were still problems for Gee in school and she was dodging lessons and shouting at teachers who were trying to get her back into them. Patience for Gee was wearing thin and, with GCSE’s looming, I knew that her chances of exclusion were high.

I decided to work through a timeline with Gee. This is a method I use often with young people as it can help them in many ways to make sense of events in their lives and can also help with less talkative students. For more information see my article on timelines.

Gee’s timeline revealed that she had lived in Basingstoke and Devon for her early years and moved to the Midlands around the age of 8. Her early childhood had, it seemed, been largely uneventful.

The last two years, however, had been too traumatically eventful. The extend of which I would not discover for another two years. As it was, what she revealed explained a lot.

At age 13, Gee’s parents had started to have a lot of problems and they had to move to a new house. At the same time, Gee was visiting her Nan in a care home regularly and her granddad collapsed and was ill in hospital.

Just before Gee’s 14th birthday, she was told that her Dad was, in fact, not her Dad and that she had a different Dad to her two younger brothers with whom she was living.

From her 14th birthday onward, things seemed to spiral. Gee’s Nan died and Gee wrote and read a poem at her funeral, a big step for any 14 year old.

Her Mother and Step-father split which resulted in a court case for custody of her two younger brothers.

Finally, the icing on the cake, Gee was being bullied at her previous school and moved to this school; her last chance.

In the space of 10 minutes working through the timeline, it was easy to see why Gee was a mess.

There had to be something inside of her, something that had grown within her in those early happy years that was inside waiting to fight back and break through the blackness that now resided in her mind.

I felt Gee’s sense of hopelessness as she told me that she had discovered that her biological father had been abusive towards her Mother, due to his own awful childhood. “That’s my Dad…am I like him?” she asked.

Her Mother had told her during an argument in a crazy moment of anger that she was indeed just like him.

I had a vision of a desperate child, helpless and suffocating as giant shovels of dirt were falling over her head. With each shovel, she was disappearing, and I knew it wouldn’t take many more to lose her altogether.

Then something happened…

Gee told me that her Mother had left the area and had told her and her brothers that she didn’t want any contact for a while. Surprisingly, rather than the final shovel for Gee, this was to prove to be the hand that she needed at the time to pull her up.

As sad as it was for Gee to have lost contact with her Mother, it took away a lot of the emotional angst that she felt, and she had to help her Step-father who was struggling to work and provide for them all. I felt this gave her some focus when she needed it.

Within a couple of weeks, I saw what I always knew was inside of Gee. She was a strong, kind girl; committed to making things right for her family, whatever form that took. A light had been ignited inside of her and she shocked everyone with her determination.

Gee announced that she was going to pass her GCSE’s! A naturally clever girl, she had missed so much work that this was a tall order. She had been predicted D’s in most subjects. Gee also announced that she wanted to stay on in 6th Form as school was the only place she felt safe and happy.

We looked on, helpless spectators, willing her through it. Teachers stepped up and gave her extra help, even those she had told to “Fuck off” seemed to have been placed under her spell.

The time came for Gee’s GCSE’s, she got through every single one. She continued to see me until the school broke up in July. Then came the anxious wait…

If you like what you see, please follow me here on wordpress or twitter or Facebook

Here are some more articles you might like…

Time for time

Gee – A Real life story

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It’s Always the Quiet ones…

Gee – A Real life story

I feel blessed to be able to do a job I love and to have met and continue to meet the super heroes that share part of their journey with me. The icing on the cake for me is that a few of these amazing individuals have agreed to share their stories with me.

I’ll be chronicling their stories in short bursts but will also make their full stories available on this site to devour and enjoy.

I hope that these stories will help teenagers who are in crisis but also educators and parents who want a chance to delve into the lives of young adults.

I am in a unique position to see a person as they really are. No pretence, no fear of disappointment, “no holds barred”.

I’ll also be following up the stories with information and help and advice for those who may be able to identify with some of the stories.

A quick disclaimer here… the following stories have been written with the knowledge and permission of the young people concerned. Names and some details have been changed to protect their identities and to maintain confidentiality for them and their families.

For my first Story, I’d like you to meet Gee.

What can I say about Gee… She’s smart, funny, awfully hard on herself, crazy, creative, strong, independent. She literally crawled and clawed her way through school and is now studying at University! Gee wanted me to tell her story as an inspiration to others and also as therapy for herself. She’s excited to see herself through the eyes of another.

Without further ado, please meet Gee.

Gee’s Story

Introduction

Gee first “stropped” into my life around 4 years ago when she was on the verge of exclusion for her behaviour. A miserable Year 10, teachers and support staff had tried everything to get Gee to engage. I noticed very quickly that a lot of the staff liked Gee and wanted her to succeed. After a couple of meetings with her, I understood why.

Gee had a quiet determination about her. She was stubborn, barely spoke, constantly ducked out of lessons and didn’t seem to care what happened to her. Looking into her conker-brown eyes which were framed by endless black lashes, I saw a deep soul. It would be 3 years before I really knew more about Gee’s problems or before I would come to know the real “her”. I’m not sure, even now, if I or anyone else has, or will ever really know her.

Of course, this immediately became interesting to me and I wanted to help her reach her full potential.

Our first few sessions were quiet. Gee spoke exceedingly quietly and would cover her mouth making it even more difficult for me to hear her.

“No one understands” would become a stock phrase of Gee’s.

“Help me to understand” would become a stock phrase of mine.

We plodded through the last few weeks of year 10, I tried all the tricks in my toolkit to help Gee to open up, but I never gave up on her, and she never gave up on me. I was always honest with her and as time went on, I felt a maternal affection for her which I sensed was lacking in her life.

Gee’s relationship with her mother was strained. She had never known or met her father who was abusive towards her mother. Gee had two older brothers who had grown up and left the family home and two younger brothers who were the product of her mother’s relationship with Gee’s Step Father. The relationship had broken down and Gee’s Step Father took on a flat nearby, so he could still see his kids. To Gee’s disbelief, this included her.

Finally, things came to a head with Gee and her mother. Her mother threw her out of the home following a bitter row. Gee had nowhere to go and her Step father took her in. Gee’s mother would not speak to or have any interaction with her 15 year old daughter. The only person she had in the World was her Step father.

As Year 10 came to a close, I had little hope for Gee making it through Year 11. We agreed we would work together when she returned to school in September. That was when our journey really began.

If you feel that you can identify with Gee’s story so far, check out my tips for anxiety  and a look at what causes anxiety. Also what to look for when teenagers are unhappy.

Look out for my blog covering hints and tips for parents who are separating, coming soon.

Alternatively, check out some articles of interest here

Attachment “disorder”

Personalities and how they affect us

Mindfulness

Please follow me on Facebook or Twitter or for more information, please contact me

It’s Always the Quiet ones…

Focus on what’s NOT being said by teenagers

During my first aid training (many years ago!), the first thing we learned was that if faced with multiple casualties; we check the quiet ones first. They are the ones who may not be breathing or conscious. If someone can shout, they’re alive.

I was inspired to write this blog by my nail technician (she’s also a friend and a very amazing businesswoman! as well as being an ESFJ). Her son is due to start high school next September and like many parents, she’s worried. Will he suddenly morph from her blue eyed angel into a dirty, drug addicted, self harming, bully?

Of course, nothing is guaranteed in life, but we can take an educated guess. His parents are both business people and both accomplished in their chosen fields BUT, their overriding mantra above all else is FAMILY COMES FIRST! both of their children are taught that hard work pays off but that love and support underpin everything that can make a person successful. Sounds like the perfect combination…but

As parents you should always be vigilant of what your child is NOT telling you. Tales of dramatic events in school, like in life; always make the headlines. Thankfully, the reason for this is that they are rare. So, stories about so and so telling a teacher to f**k off or someone self harming because their boyfriend cheated on them do not define a school or, indeed, a high school experience.

What can define these experiences are hurtful comments made by others, a broken friendship, a bad relationship with a teacher or even the child’s personality type.

For example, if my friend’s son is an extrovert like her, the chances are he will enjoy the busy hustle and bustle of school more so than if he is an introvert which could leave him exhausted at the end of the day and in need of some alone time to re-charge.

So, what do we do as parents then? the only thing we can do…

Trust – in ourselves that we have done the best job we could

Trust – in our children and let them have the space to learn and make mistakes like we did

Listen – to ourselves. We are the best judge of how our child is doing. Look for changes in behaviour which are outside the realms of stroppy teenage angst.

Listen – to our children. Follow these tips

  1. Don’t judge – you were there once
  2. Don’t interrogate – try doing an activity together or talk in the car to avoid intense eye contact, they’ll just switch off
  3. Ask them what they want you to do. It may be nothing, they may just want to talk. If you let them, they’ll do it again.
  4. Respect their wishes – this is one of the biggest complaints from teenagers. they are human and deserve respect just like we do

Hang in there! You can do it! And so can they!

For more info or advice please contact me