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Old January 17th, 2009, 04:13 PM
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HisHeathenHoney HisHeathenHoney is offline
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Difference between introverts and extroverts, MIL.

My MIL is an extrovert--she loves other people. In fact she seems to be one of those extroverts who basically feels as if they don't exist without other people around--she'd about as soon die as be alone. (This is not especially surprising as she grew up as the youngest of SEVEN).

I'm an introvert. I like people but require alone time to recharge my batteries, and I don't like large groups much at all. (Since I have young children, I get only barely enough alone time to keep me sane. And some might debate that.) I think DS2 is going to be an extrovert, but DS1 clearly has my temperament.

Anyway, MIL came over this morning to visit with the kids a bit while I got various household stuff done. MIL brought a magnetic tic tac toe game and was trying to teach DS1 tic tac toe (actually, I think he knows how to play it, but he's not very into games). Characteristically DS1 wanted to do his own little creative thing with the tic tac toe board, not play a real game. And I overheard this conversation:

DS1: I want to play it by myself.

MIL: But it's no fun by yourself.

DS1: (after a pause) It's fun by *MY* self.

Yes, some of us actually LIKE to do things by ourselves!!

MIL means well, but she really, really doesn't get that.
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Old January 17th, 2009, 05:08 PM
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KayKay KayKay is offline
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Re: Difference between introverts and extroverts, MIL.

I'm not sure, but I think my DS had the same exact conversation with my MIL. Did your MIL get upset, or did she take it in stride?
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Old January 17th, 2009, 05:24 PM
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Re: Difference between introverts and extroverts, MIL.

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I'm not sure, but I think my DS had the same exact conversation with my MIL. Did your MIL get upset, or did she take it in stride?
I only overheard it from the next room, didn't see her face. She seemed ok, but this is fluffy bunny lady, right? There was a teeny attempt at a mini-guilt-trip ("Well, I guess we can't play") but she seemed to handle it ok. This woman is married to the king of obnoxious. She's really good at pretending that things far worse than that have NOT been said. Oooh, look, another bunny!!

She did seem a bit down today, not her usual fluffy bunny self. I doubt that was CAUSED by that, although actually I was not around that much, I barely interacted with her. I was racing back and forth and spent a lot of time away from the house---DH was studying for his certification, and I was doing all that "go to a million different stores to get the stuff you need" thing. (Which I so love.)

You'd think she would love just being with the kids. Maybe she was down because of something else, or maybe somehow her interaction with the kids disappointed her. I really don't know because I was pretty disengaged. She invited herself over, we said fine because I could do my usual household stuff and DH could study and the kids would be amused by a non-electronic babysitter but we didn't alter our general routine.

The other thing I did notice though, is that early on they both kept calling her "Grammy." (Grammy is MY mom, she is "Nana.") My mom was here last week, and that visit is probably why "Grammy" was more on the tips of their tongues. I don't know if it bugged her, but I know she does feel like my mom gets to see them more, so it may have.

She wanted us to come up to her house for a casual family dinner but DH said "Not until after my test, mom!"

FIL bought a cruise for April (yes, ALL of April--it's entirely around South America) so I think we can expect a bit more pressure to get together more often before they go.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 07:14 PM
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Re: Difference between introverts and extroverts, MIL.

I'm an introvert who is interested and likes people too; I'm very comfortable around people, but I love and adore my alone time.

I was born this way; I remember as a kid the other kids coming to the back door to ask if I could play and being torn: do I want to stay and play by myself or read--or do I want to go out. It was about half and half.

My daughter is an absolute extrovert. Because she has me for a mother she's been forced to learn how to occupy herself, but there is NO activity no matter how much she loves it (like coloring or jewelry making) that she will not abandon with alacrity if someone shows her ANY attention. She will happily do things she doesn't enjoy just for the company.

She's the youngest of five children and was in day care since 6 weeks old and just likes people and interaction. She has tons of friends, of all ages, and knows EVERYONE in the community. "Hi, are you so and so's mom" is something I hear ALL. THE. TIME. We can't go to any store without meeting people she knows. It's sweet.

But also annoying. My daughter, 8, has a habit of walking through the house, up the stairs, circling the upstairs, down the stairs, through the living room, dining room kitchen, out the back, in the house again, out the front, back up the stairs, up the hall, down the hall, down the stairs, through the living room, dining room, kitchen, around and around and around.

She's just waiting for someone to notice her, to say something to her, for a conversation to occur that she can join, for some activity to start. She'll drop conversational teasers, butt into other people's discussions, hover over other people's activities. Most of the time it gets her included, but often it annoys the heck out of people. "Find something to DO!" people tell her.

If she has to go a whole day without company and interaction, she 'wilts' and will actually get pale and droopy.

She's cheerful, friendly, helpful, funny, accommodating, and delightful. She's genuinely good company, never whiny or complaining, always a good sport. She wants to join every group, and always be on the go. SHe loves a party, and finds any excuse for a party (she's strongly hinting about President's day). She knows everyone's birthday, everyone's favorite color, what everyone is going to name their future children, the names of everyone's siblings and pets, etc...

She's fascinating and delightful, and can be ever present and annoying. She talks to much, but is a great listener. She can be a show off, but truly appreciates everyone else's talents.

She's an extreme extrovert and you can no more change her than change a left handed person to right handed. It's who she is.

I worry that she'll be too influenced by her peers. I worry she'll want to please horrible boyfriends, and stay in a bad marriage rather than 'be alone'. I worry she'll be codependent.

Extroverts always think introverts are withdrawn and cold and miss all the fun; introverts always think extroverts are needy, flighty, and irritating.

My MIL is an extrovert, maybe as much as my daughter. I find her needy, irritating, and idiotic. She finds me cold, controlling, and isolationist. (But our problems aren't just introvert/extrovert clashes: she also is dishonest, manipulative, martyrish, whiny, self absorbed and incapable of taking responsibility for herself, her words, her actions, or her own life).

I sometimes wonder tho if my MIL's personality problems (and she has problems with almost everyone, people will not make eye contact with her because she will instantly 'glom' on) stem from a lot of thwarted extroversion. SHe claims her mother was cold, and her husband distant and mean (I think he was fending/beating off her neediness--and strongly suspect MIL's resentment of her mother stems from her mother telling her to 'grow up').

I wonder if circumstances work against my daughter, if she too would end up as a bitter, clingy, manipulative 'victim of life' too.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 10:50 PM
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Re: Difference between introverts and extroverts, MIL.

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Originally Posted by Black Box View Post
I sometimes wonder tho if my MIL's personality problems (and she has problems with almost everyone, people will not make eye contact with her because she will instantly 'glom' on) stem from a lot of thwarted extroversion. SHe claims her mother was cold, and her husband distant and mean (I think he was fending/beating off her neediness--and strongly suspect MIL's resentment of her mother stems from her mother telling her to 'grow up').

I wonder if circumstances work against my daughter, if she too would end up as a bitter, clingy, manipulative 'victim of life' too.

Oh, I certainly hope not for your daughter!

But I definitely see my MIL as a thwarted extrovert. She grew up with a large family but then married a cold, extended-family-hating man and only had two children--and one of them (my DH) is a major introvert who married another major introvert (and seems to be breeding introverts). MIL just doesn't get what she wanted, what she expected, out of life. SHould have married a warm, family loving guy like herself, had a pack of kids, been in a book club and a bridge club and a this and that club (btw--FIL has driven away most of her/their friends).

But in addition to being an extrovert, my MIL was very naive and unself-aware. (I actually get along with many extroverts, believe it or not!) She didn't know what she should seek out in life, she just assumed she would get what "everyone" wants (she has no idea there is nothing "everyone" wants.) She couldn't avoid an ill-advised marriage because she thinks that everyone thinks like her. If she had been more critical (i.e., critical thinking) and less naive, she could have avoided many of her problems.

So let's say that your DD is a big extrovert...as long as she KNOWS that and is self-aware ("note to self: don't marry an antisocial guy who doesn't like kids and is obnoxious to my friends"), she can avoid the pitfalls of the thwarted extrovert.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 12:14 AM
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Re: Difference between introverts and extroverts, MIL.

It is an interesting concept...Perhaps neediness, clinginess are qualities of extreme extroverted personality, you think?
That might explain things. I always hated going into MIL house (I dont anymore). There was not a minute I could have to myself. She would follow me and talk to me all the time; if we were watching a movie, she would still talk. And yes, she would do ANYTHING just to be involved. She would go with her son spearfishing and stand in the water holding the fish he has caught for two hours and be happy. Like a loyal dog (his words). She would accompany you anywhere, to the most boring appointment.
I NEED MY OWN FRIGGIN TIME. I like being in my own world, browsing Internet, researching, writing letters, reading, doing yoga etc etc. I have been this way since I can remember myself. From time to time I love to go out and see friends, but then I need to disappear and recharge.

But I wonder if that's personality at all....Could this be separation anxiety? Mono phobia (fear of being alone)? Low self esteem?

All I know that our MILs, at their age, should know better about differences between people and different emotional needs.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 08:28 AM
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Re: Difference between introverts and extroverts, MIL.

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Originally Posted by blue_water View Post
All I know that our MILs, at their age, should know better about differences between people and different emotional needs.

Exactly. People need to know what they are, understand other people are often different, and figure out how to meet their own emotional needs without driving others crazy. My MIL should do tons of volunteering and the red hat (or is it purple hat) society, and bridge and...well, whatever she wants to do. But lots of it...she's got the energy, the social drive...but she tries to focus it all on family.

The same goes for introverts. I'm an introvert, but that doesn't mean I get to bark at my 3 and 5 year old to leave me alone when they want to play Candyland or look at a picture they drew or something. I need to work out how to get some me time without emotionally withdrawing from them. It just takes some self-awareness and planning. My MIL just thinks all humans are like her. Sigh.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 12:15 PM
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Re: Difference between introverts and extroverts, MIL.

Oh, hello! Here's a bandwagon I need to jump on! My MIL is the same as yours about no personal space, blue_water. For a two hour visit I can tolerate it, but any more than that and I'm climbing the walls needing space.
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