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This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Sharon
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
Megan
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
Indepthwoman
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Niko
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Sherrie
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
C.M.

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A Divorced Introvert: Evolving Not Dissolving Post-Breakup

evolution cartoon girl

I didn’t fall apart during or after the divorce like everyone expected. I was worried as hell about how it would affect our children, scared to death about taking care of everything myself (how would I find the energy?) but ultimately not afraid to be alone.  I knew I was on my way.  I was doing what I needed to do in order to evolve, for all of us to evolve.

I believe that a marriage should not survive at the expense of its participants and that families evolve, not dissolve, as a result of divorce. ~ Tara Eisenhard, Relative Evolutions

The above quote from a space2live reader spoke to me. My sentiments exactly. I see my children grasping and growing and I feel myself transforming in a way I would not have if I stayed married. I’ve noticed a new willingness to listen and reflect in my ex-husband as well.

This post is not an endorsement of divorce. It is encouragement for those who have experienced the shake up of a broken marriage.

Divorce cracks you wide open so that a new soft-bodied animal can emerge, one who is open to learning, independence and empathy.

You Have to Fight to Evolve as an Introvert Post-Divorce

You have to rise from the ashes and:

1. Say this is not me.  I have to be true to myself.

2. Spearhead your existence.  Stop competing, find your natural bliss and take action.

3. Give yourself permission to say, I have to think about it. It’s OK to make decisions slowly.

4. Defend boundaries constantly. Protect your solitude and space.

5. Be OK with your unpopular or non-mainstream perspective.

6. Learn to live with less money, less time with your kids, less stability (for a while).

7. Do what you find meaningful rather than impressive.

8. Build relationships that feel right.

  Not Doing It the Extrovert Way This Time

In my marriage I followed.  I rushed.  I filled every second with doing. I squeezed myself into a pair of high-energy jeans that only truly fit every once in a while. End results were more important than what was developing inside me. I felt I was in competition for everything (often with my ex-husband), — best parent, lead conversationalist, quickest thinker, most in control, one who sacrifices and produces the most. Exhausting and inauthentic. I felt I was failing because I couldn’t keep up or compete.

It’s OK to Choose Your Happiness:  The World Will Benefit

…Based on massive evidence of fulfillment: When you choose your happiness, you become infinitely more productive, useful, and magnetic to those around you. You enable yourself to truly be of service. ~ Danielle LaPorteDo Not Do Shit to Please Your Parents

You can do things because you love someone but not to please or appease them.  Not to be worthy in their eyes. If you aim for others’ approval or others’ abilities it will take away your spirit, your light, your curiosity. You will be a generic copy of yourself dressed in clothing picked out by other people. A Barbie with no soul or joy. Trust me, I know.

I’m not going to try to be like others this time around by doing and doing and focusing on achieving.  I am going to protect my solitude and listen to my internal guide. I am not going to rush my decisions or rush my children in order to accomplish oodles of achievements and activities.  I want them to taste learning and savor living long enough to notice their own values and inner voice. I want enough space for kindness to be easy and respect to be considered. I will explore this world with an open mind and heart.human-touch

I already feel infinitely more connected with myself and others. My children have commented that they feel closer to each of their parents now. I feel I add value to the world through my writing and relationships. I love encouraging others to embrace their introverted gifts.

I used to feel pushed or pulled through life, now I feel I am leading, scouting ahead to discover my full potential.

Oh, I regress and try to put on those skinny restrictive busy-jeans that our culture heralds as must haves.  I feel guilty when I need time to myself.  I get sucked into the achievement/productivity vortex. I forget to connect with my kids and instead dole out commands and criticism. I still worry about having enough energy but…

I am increasingly more at peace and content with my circumstances.

Are you evolving or dissolving? Have you had a life altering experience that helped you transform?

If you enjoyed,  A Divorced Introvert: Evolving Not Dissolving Post-Breakup, you may also like:

First One Over the Wall:What It’s Really Like to End a Marriage and Start Over (space2live)

Are You Someone’s Priority: Do You Need to Be? (space2live)

The Introvert’s Love Affair With Solitude: Will It Always Be Taboo? (space2live)

First Year on My Own: Divorced, Dating, Parenting, Me (space2live)

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22 Comments

  1. Bea January 10, 2015 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Hi Breena! I´m from Spain. I´m sorry that my english is not very good.

    I´m a Highly Sensitive Person and I would say I have some of the Sensation Seeker in the way I need and look for the “new” and I´m easily bored.
    I´m divorced for seven months. I have a son. He´s two years old.
    At the beginning was very difficult and very hard. I was alone, without family close and I felt I couldn´t walk my way after divorce. It felt inhospitable and heavy. It seems life died in front of me. Dead wrapped her arms around me. Slowly.
    My son pulled of me. He gave me “ the must” of being alive. My responsibility of being alive. He saved me of a depression.
    Now I understand all the reasons that brought me at the present point in my life.
    Now I feel lucky, very lucky.
    I have a cordial and polite relation with my ex-husband. We make an effort everyday. Sometimes is difficult and I want to shout my ex-husband: “please let me alone right now”- when he comes to see our son and he criticizes everything I do. Sometimes we hug each other and there is a nice, beautiful atmosphere between us.
    I learned not to blow up immediately and it´s worth.
    Now I know that he´s one of the best ex-husband ( at the moment) that I could have and a good father for my son.
    I´m a dreamer. I always wanted to have a close family but I now understand that maybe I feel better alone. There´s nothing compared with a quite, serene home with my son. Having time for myself to think, to process all the information, to recover for all the stimulus and all the energies that I receive everyday.
    Living in a latin country and being Highly Sensitive Person is really hard. I feel I don´t fit with this culture and their values. Sometimes I feel like an alien between the rest of the people.
    But it´s my way and I´m trying to do the best.
    Thank you for be the inspiration and the support for many people.
    Take care

    • Brenda Knowles January 11, 2015 at 11:51 am - Reply

      Dear Bea I am so happy to hear from you. It sounds like you have done a lot of self-reflection and learning. Your English is great by the way.:)
      I can imagine it is difficult to be sensitive in a culture that values togetherness and family so highly.
      I think you are doing an excellent job with self-care. Ultimately, that will create a better environment for your son. Being a divorced mother myself, I understand the importance of a positive relationship with your ex-husband. It takes effort but everyone feels better if the relationship is kind and friendly.
      Keep honoring your nature and spreading awareness. You are not alone. You are perfectly wonderful in your way of being. Thank you for commenting and sharing your story. You’ve found a home here on space2live. 🙂

      • Bea January 11, 2015 at 2:07 pm - Reply

        Thank you Brenda for your encourage answer. There´s not any information about introverts and Highly Sensitive Person in Latin Countries. Just a little one but it´s not clearly defined. One of my challenge is create a spanish blog and show these characteristics. I wonder when it could be because I have zero time with my little son.
        Thank you so much

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  3. November July 6, 2014 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    This post is so ME, as I face divorce in the next few months…..I gave and gave and gave, and I did not ask for, demand, OR take….nor was I given to (well, not nearly as much as I ended up needing). I lost so much of my identity because I tried so hard to be everything HE needed, which was everything I expected of myself–because we treat others the way we want to be treated. And he could not or would not fill those voids.

    And even though I’m very much in recovery mode (I feel like a tree that’s been damaged and needs to produce new growth to cover its wounds), all I want is to connect with someone again….but this time, on MY terms, with someone who gives to ME. I think, now that I know I’m an introvert and what it actually means, I can weave it into explanations of who I am. This time, I will look for signs of effort….the effort someone else makes to understand, work with, respect, and encourage me.

    • November July 6, 2014 at 1:02 pm - Reply

      Also, reading this post and the comments is reassuring me that: it’s ok to get divorced because you’re an introvert and you ended up with the wrong person despite truly loving him.
      As someone who seeks permission and approval, this settles the inner turmoil a bit. 🙂

      • Brenda Knowles July 7, 2014 at 7:46 am - Reply

        Divorce is never an easy choice obviously. If your relationship is doing more harm than good then something needs to be done. If you can’t work together and make it better then other steps need to be taken. Only you two know what your relationship is made of and if it can change or improve so you both can grow in a healthy way. Trust and be gentle with yourself. 🙂

    • Brenda Knowles July 7, 2014 at 7:41 am - Reply

      I know, for me the next time around I’m going to look for someone who appreciates (not just tolerates or dominates) my way of being (introverted/sensitive). Understanding from my partner boosts my energy and helps me be a better partner for him. We both have to give/understand/appreciate/respect each other. A two-way love affair.:) I also know I have to be good with myself before I can expect a partner to cherish me. I’m in recovery mode too, still healing, learning and growing.
      I think we will both be much wiser and stronger in our future relationships. I’m rooting for you November.:)

  4. […] A Divorced Introvert: Evolving Not Dissolving Post-Breakup […]

  5. Luna from LonerWolf April 2, 2013 at 4:58 am - Reply

    I love how much heart your articles have 🙂 I thought this statement was quite impacting: “Be OK with your unpopular or non-mainstream perspective.” I’m not sure about other introverts, but I find this particular point a big struggle, especially when you prefer flying like a free spirit, but at the same time despise the confrontation that comes with differing too much from other people and their opinions and beliefs. Physical confrontation makes me so uncomfortable I just prefer keeping my perspectives to myself sometimes (and that created a lot of repression in my past). Good on you for doing things your own way!

    • brennagee April 4, 2013 at 12:26 pm - Reply

      Hey Luna.:) For some reason your comments always go into my spam file. I apologize for just responding now. I am constantly flying into confrontation because of my penchant for free-spiritedness. I don’t know if I will ever be comfortable with it. I still wonder if I’m being selfish. Most of the time now I feel my work is worth the backlash I get from those who want me to follow the blue-print they do. Recently, I’ve noticed slightly less backlash when I make space to work on my projects or differ in opinion on a topic. Perhaps they are seeing the benefits of working slowly, creating space in life and taking time to reflect and replenish. With my children, I try to teach them that my ways are not better or worse than others, just different. I want them to have the freedom to choose their brand of living (and read and seek solitude without feeling guilty – if they wish).

      I keep hoping that the introspective and freedom-loving movement will catch on. Seeds are being planted. I’ll do my best to nurture them and spread the message.:)

      Thanks for your comment Luna. I always love to hear your thoughts.

  6. Wendy April 1, 2013 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    This is just a thank you as I go back to re-read your posts on introversion again…and again.

    As a happily divorced mom who has just broken up with another boyfriend, you remind me that my need for solitude (interspersed with connection) is not crazy, unhealthy, or wrong.

    Even though I am an introvert, it’s nice not to feel alone!

    • brennagee April 1, 2013 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      We are kindred spirits! Happy neither one of us is crazy, unhealthy or wrong.;) You can be a good person and need space. You are definitely not alone. I hope you feel at home at space2live.

      Thank you for reading and responding.

  7. Harvest (@HarvestingHomes) April 1, 2013 at 8:52 am - Reply

    “Divorce cracks you wide open so that a new soft-bodied animal cam emerge”. I believe I speak for many of your unspoken readers in saying that you find the most thought provoking ways to help us see ourselves better, and be in closer touch with the growth we’re experiencing. Your writing automatically pulls us to awareness of the need to pay attention to what’s good for us, what fuels our soul. Thank you.

    To be awake (or learn to come awake) to change my direction, from being pushed or pulled to instead leading and scouting and discovering my true potential, is happening daily now because I changed my work to do what captivates my best work. I changed my work entirely. I used to be pulled by the 40 clients I served daily, so that dozens of people needed me to be at my best, to serve them. Now, all my creativity and energy goes into my own work, so I’m free to devote all my energy to finding ways to drive the change I want to share in a business that gives back. It’s an incredible feeling. And the timing of seeing your writings fuels it more because – finally – I see how beneficial it is to give myself permission to have lots of quiet, alone, inspired creative time. Thanks for this too!

    • brennagee April 1, 2013 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your very kind words Mr. Harvest.:) In a writing class I learned that a writer’s job is to make the specific universal. It’s still amazing to me that I can write about my personal experiences and they hit home with others.

      I want everyone to slow down and pay attention to their world because honestly, that’s how I operate the best. I also believe in listening deeply to our inner voice. When we pay attention and reflect we are able to make associations and discover what truly resonates with and inspires us.

      I love that your internal work and personal spearheading has led you to a career that fuels you and gives back to others as well. It’s all connected in the end.:)

  8. elizabeth2560 March 30, 2013 at 7:30 am - Reply

    Although I am going through it in a slightly different way, I too feel that I am truly evolving. I love this post and especially like the theme of “slow down”, and “it’s OK, to slow down”. I too felt rushed ALL the time throughout my marriage, trying to keep up with a frenetic extrovert. I am now really enjoying the freedom of taking my own time in deciding on things and getting things done slowly, one step at a time. The choice to end the marriage was not mine and I was initially highly traumatized. So this is a slowly evolving revelation, that life can be so much more relaxing and enjoyable at this calm introvert pace. A blessing in disguise.
    Thanks for this inspiring post.

    • brennagee March 31, 2013 at 9:15 am - Reply

      Elizabeth I am so happy you are feeling the peace of a slower pace. There is beauty even in the most distressing times. Breathe in your space. You will become more and more you and it will be incredible.:) Thank you for sharing.

  9. Claudia March 30, 2013 at 6:58 am - Reply

    Enjoy reading this article. It brings me comfort because it resonates with my deepest desires. I am a mother of two who is going through a divorce. I also believe we will all evolve after this experience and I long to deepend my connection with myself, my kids and the world. I know it wont be an easy ride but a necessary transition that must take place. Thank you!

    • brennagee March 31, 2013 at 9:11 am - Reply

      You will evolve. I am sending you strength and peace. Take it day by day and know it’s OK to slow down and breathe. You can always say, “I need to think about it”. Connect, connect, connect with your children. You will need time for yourself but that comes easier when your kids are feeling secure. I’ve learned this.

      Thank you for sharing your story.

  10. Doug Toft March 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    How wonderful that your kids feel closer to both parents.

    P.S. I am studying your headlines and leads to learn from you.

    • brennagee March 31, 2013 at 9:07 am - Reply

      Yes, I’m grateful that the kids are adjusting for the most part.:) I love deep connections.

      I have found that using key words and asking questions helps with headline success. Also adding in an unusual word is fun.;)

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