IS IT ME?: IDENTIFYING THE BOUNDARIES OF INTROVERSION – PART 2
By Karla Holland
In part one of my Article “Is it Me?”, we covered the cultural factors that affect non-verbal miscommunication . But even when meeting someone on a cultural level, miscommunication will occur, for reasons only that person can account for.
After figuring out the regional differences within the United States, I realized that as an unfortunate side effect of our pro-extraverted society, some people over rely on specific outward emotional or physical communication for validation due to psychological baggage. When they don’t receive it, they interpret it as personal rejection. To assure this type of person receives validation would need an introvert to exceed their comfort zone daily. They ignore reasonable factors like a call dropping or not being able to hear in a noisy building. An extrovert can never meet their needs, so you shouldn’t try either. Forward them to the nearest counselor.
On the flip side, introverts can fall victim to those who don’t want friendships, but lackeys. Often in their search for someone to hold down, they’ll mistakenly identify introverted behavior for that of low self-esteem. One of my former friends would invite me to make a decision before shooting it down, mocked other people who had the same traits I did, pushed me out of my comfort zone. Expectedly, I felt so bad for not being like them to the point I would walk behind them. At the time, I had no alternative to compare, so I stayed in this relationship until I reached a breaking point and stood up to her. Though many introverts have low self-esteem (at the moment) , it’s actually a symptom of their environment and their social circle. Any emotional baggage must be dealt with in counseling.
Knowledge, Then Power
When thinking of the more casual interactions from the past, some are mysteries to which I had never been able to solve but they ended up teaching me a different lesson than I expected. For example, I mentioned always being an introvert, yet I was not identified as one at the time. Of course I was given every other label, such as “anti-social” or “quiet.” It became a problem until a gym teacher began failing me despite my participation in class. When my mother had a meeting with the principal and this teacher, it turned out that said teacher’s idea of being social was saying hello to her in particular, to her face, regardless of whether I interacted with the other students or not. I was never mean or rude to this teacher but that was ridiculous. My mother made sure the school took me out of that teacher’s class under threat of litigation. To this day I never learned what issues that teacher had to inflict that kind of neurotic behavior on me but it taught me that such behavior had nothing to do with me. Although a lot has progressed for introversion awareness in the following 15 years, it hasn’t stopped me from encountering more people like this teacher.
This economy has forced people like my old gym teacher to take jobs that directly affect others, such as managers or supervisors, enforcing their standards on other adults. If you believe that you are being unfairly reprimanded on account of your introversion, regardless of your work performance, take notes of behaviors you find unfair, ask co-workers you trust to account for your social interaction, and file a complaint to that person’s supervisor. If your job does nothing and you are still punished for not acting like the high school prom queen as expected, then I suggest starting your search for friendlier employment. It exists.
After looking back at my life with this new perspective, there was only but one lesson I learned: I’m an introvert. I have a personality type, not a disorder. I have nothing to “overcome” but those who find my existence a threat to their own world. The rest will need patience.
Karla Holland is a Charlotte-based Illustrator pursuing a BFA in Graphic and Web design. She’s earned a first BA in Communication and Media Studies and has used this degree to explore the nature human communication, and its applications. Karla has managed to apply her education to gain employment as a Guest Relations Assistant for Charlotte’s major events venues and serving as editor on a film short for the online biodiversity magazine Izilwane.org, which helped earned the film a spot in the Taos Shortz Festival in Taos, New Mexico.
After her brief stint in media production, Karla decided to return to her childhood passion for sequential art, attending workshops to marry her artistic talent with her communication education. In her spare time, Karla contributes daily to her own insight about the world of comics, new media and anything that intrigues her interest on her blog The Gorgon Transplant at The Gorgon Transplant. An avid user of social media, her accounts can be found at About Karla Holland.