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During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
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
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
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 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.
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
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
J.K.
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
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

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Perhaps You Need a Superior Man? Finding a Partner Who Can Handle Ups and Downs

by Jenn of Broken Open

Image credit to Jenn of Broken Open

The relationship is new — less than one month in. The abnormal mammogram results arrive just as we are getting started. I hesitate to tell him because I don’t want to introduce ‘drama’ at this early stage. I end up sharing because, well, it is impossible to not reveal the weighty thing that  is occupying my thoughts. I don’t cry or break down when telling him my worries or fears. I state them matter-of-factly. I do not want him to think I’m one of ‘those women’ who always has a problem, always need taken care of and whose emotions bleed all over the place. I can take care of myself, self-soothe, and handle it.

But, the night before the follow-up mammogram I do not want to be alone. I know the night will be endless and sleepless if I endure it by myself. I am vaguely aware of how this could be construed as using him. I am not entirely sure I’m not. I just know he offered to have me sleep over and I was grateful.

His face lights up when I walk in. There are flowers and a balloon on the table. He’s wearing a sweatshirt with his and my mother’s alma mater on it (an intentional connection reminder). He stretches out his arms and takes me in. I instantly know I did the right thing. I know I came to the right place and person for comfort and companionship.

We spend the night in innocent togetherness. We lie together with no hanky panky, just a man and a woman in closeness. We discuss the worst possible outcome from my mammogram — the C word. He says, You’ll get to pick out a new set of boobs and I’ll bring you cheeseburgers when you recover. I feel his strength and steadfastnessThe underlying message to me — I’m here for you. I’m not going to run. I can handle your ups and downs.

He is his own person. He is immune to my anxieties. Miraculously, his personal integrity and strength, fortify me. Normally, I am so conflict-avoidant with my intimate people I fear ‘bothering’ them. I walk on egg-shells, making sure I don’t get upset or upset them. I don’t have to hide my fears/truths/nature with him. His calm, calms me. I relax. I get confident.

Emotional by design?

A New York Times article written by a seasoned psychiatrist titled, Medicating Women’s Feelings states, WOMEN are moody. By evolutionary design, we are hard-wired to be sensitive to our environments, empathic to our children’s needs and intuitive of our partners’ intentions. nurturing-mother

The same article claims, We have been taught to apologize for our tears, to suppress our anger and to fear being called hysterical.

Why is this? Why is it not OK to be emotional? Why are stoic masculine traits revered more than sensitive feminine ones? I do not want to make this an entirely masculine/feminine thing. Tears, fears, empathy and emotions are HUMAN facets, not just female or male traits. We all experience them.

Like extroverted and introverted traits, couldn’t they co- exist for the greater good?

Author, David Deida, thinks so. In his book, The Way of the Superior Manhe discusses the masculine/feminine interplay with regards to mood and emotions.

Moods, growth and superior men

He says any woman, if she has a feminine sexual essence, will cycle through moods of closure. You (men, masculine essence) cannot change this or wait for the moods to stop. You can only develop your skills at serving her into openness.man kissing womans hand

Don’t tolerate her mood, participate in it. Bloom her into fullness. Move her body with your body. Open her heart with your humor. Penetrate her closure with your fearless presence. Open her heart, again and again and again. She could do it by herself, but if she could grow more by herself than by receiving your gifts, perhaps she shouldn’t be with you. — David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man

And there it is. It’s all about growth. We share our gifts/traits in order to create relationships that encourage growth.

Fearless presence

man holding woman armsIt’s been over five months since my mammogram scare, biopsy and final benign results and the relationship is still evolving. His fearless presence is unwavering and his calm still calms me. We both seem to be learning and growing within the relationship. Perhaps I’ve found a Superior Man? 😉

Who calms you? Who is your rock? Is integrity as contagious as anxiety? Do you think women’s emotions are healthy or hindrances?

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22 Comments

  1. R April 24, 2015 at 11:44 am - Reply

    Hey Brenda. A short message from Norway: Thank you for your continuance on this blog. It must take an enormous amount of time and effort, but it helps many many of us. Thanks again.

    • Brenda Knowles April 25, 2015 at 8:34 am - Reply

      Oh geez! My pleasure! It does me as much good as anyone else.:) So happy my writing is helpful.

  2. Zen Child April 9, 2015 at 2:05 am - Reply

    Again such an inspiring piece of writing. There is little else in this world that means more than your partners unwavering support. To be loved and understood at the same time is a rarity. Admitting when things get tough is a massive challenge for an introvert. Strange as it may seem, by being there for someone else we sometimes replenish our own strength and reserves. We are very selective with our time and space, but whomever gets allowed in will have a relationship like none other. May this be a special and lasting time for you Brenda.

    • Brenda Knowles April 10, 2015 at 8:00 am - Reply

      Thank you Zen Child.:) A space where we feel supported and challenged is the perfect incubator for personal growth. Good relationships provide this. I will do my best to be a great partner. I’m learning as I go. Loving the chance to love and be loved. 🙂

  3. sheketechad April 6, 2015 at 9:09 am - Reply

    I’m really happy to see the note embedded that these are ‘human’ traits. Just as some men are more emotive than others, some women are more stoic than others; perhaps as personality traits or perhaps from life experiences – or some combination of the two. I do think that over-emotionalism in women and stoicism in men historically in the past were used as avoidance techniques or in some cases, manipulation. But that doesn’t mean the emotional positions themselves are ‘bad’.

    That you had someone that was close and supportive at such a testing time is great and speaks well of the relationship.

    I see (and sometimes feel myself) a reluctance to open up emotionally because of the seeming transience of relationships these days. It is a strong human who can articulate all of the emotions they feel and experience, male or female, and be comfortable with themselves. Becoming vulnerable is a scary thing for man or woman, and I see less and less of that in the older generation I occupy. In my children’s age group, it is still blooming, and I see more compassion and resilience.

    Superior – an odd word. I’d have sought a more well-rounded word without negative connotations; perhaps “Well-developed” or “Secure” would resound better with me than ‘superior’. LOL!

    Always appreciate your insights and thoughts in these posts!

    ~S

    • Brenda Knowles April 7, 2015 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      I understand what you mean about the transience of relationships. I was getting a little disappointed about the lack of stick-to-itiveness in most relationships prior to meeting my current man. It was as if there were so many other options for dating, there was no reason to work at a relationship that hit a snag. Frustrating. I felt like I had to be perfect or worse that I was flawed.

      I agree secure or well-developed are better choices than ‘superior’ but that is what is used in Deida’s book so I used it too. I personally like evolved or conscious.

      I hope you inadvertently find a ‘well-developed’ companion, but until then you got this lady! You seem content and strong on your own. 🙂

  4. Mithack April 6, 2015 at 6:15 am - Reply

    Hi Brenda,
    I’m happy for you! I have been reading your blog with interest and found it very valuable, and would like your input on the following:

    I am introverted and have a good friend that is very introverted as well. We became close friends with me basically living my own life and inviting her to join activities if she want (which she always did), or arranging opportunities for things I know she wanted to do. Very early on almost everyone around us were of the opinion we were in a relationship (in reality it was a consciously platonic friendship due to us working together on a long project in a foreign country).

    At a stage, I got some very bad news from home – a string of things that just happened at the same time, including the loss of a family member to cancer. My energy drained and I could no longer be taking all sorts of initiative with activities; I didn’t really want people around me but did want to just have someone there with me at times while just being. I think much like what you described above. In any event, I told her I would need some support and she said I should trust her. Then she withdrew almost completely into her own world and would simply be unavailable / non-responsive for days (she used to initiate contact with me daily to see what I was doing or to just come over). When I confronted her about this eventually, she indicated that she feels bad for not being there.

    Since then, she has withdrawn from me and our friendship almost completely – intellectually (discussions about work), emotionally and physically (like hugging hello when we have not seen each other in a while). At the same time, she is openly seeking and connecting with others (and sometimes even strangers) pretty openly, if perhaps not deeply. This has naturally been quite hurtful.

    So the questions I am battling with is what to make of this and how it relates to my and her introversion. I understand the introversion and the guilt of not being there and the need to conserve energy. At the same time I also understand being there for friends when they are in a bad situation as well – even if that means drawing on that extra piece of energy. Maybe she drew strength from me and when I was not strong I had no use to her? I think sometimes being male complicated these things more as there is less tolerance for ‘weakness’ in a man (even in a friendship)?

    • Orange Rhino April 6, 2015 at 2:23 pm - Reply

      Not much of a friendship is it? You can do better than this–but not if she is hanging around. A girlfriend acting as she does is much worse than no girlfriend at all.

      • Mithack April 7, 2015 at 2:32 pm - Reply

        To be fair she was a bit down as well and said she needed ‘quiet time’. So this is about the introvert need for down time vs when a friend is in need of support

    • Brenda Knowles April 7, 2015 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      Hmmm. You didn’t say how long you were down and low energy due to your string of bad news. If this went on for months I can see where she might get drained by being around someone who is perpetually down (albeit justifiably). If you were good friends though, I think she should have, at the very least, continued your friendship and checked in on you occasionally. Her sudden withdrawal doesn’t feel right to me. If she kept up the daily interaction that could have lifted your spirits.
      I will admit my introverted friends and I help each other when the chips are really down but trust that we will take care of ourselves for the day to day stuff, for the most part. It is how we maintain our energy to do what we have to do to get through our normal days of work/family/household maintenance. My close friends I am there for as much as possible but they have similar temperaments to me and don’t ask for constant attention.
      I dated someone who acted similarly. They were an introvert as well. I do think we get scared if someone needs us too much. We are afraid we will be drained/emotionally exhausted. I still think she could have tried harder and then if she truly couldn’t handle supporting you, she should have let you know how she was feeling.
      Thanks for sharing your experience.I hope you find someone who will stand by you better.

  5. Katherine April 6, 2015 at 3:01 am - Reply

    Brenda, beautiful words as always. My eyes pricked with tears at the start, as I felt your uncertainty. Having just started a new relationship in a new city, I’m all unease and anxiety. This man just keeps showing up and supporting and calming me – not in a ‘there there, poor girl can’t take care of herself’ kind of way – but more that when I’m with him there is no anxiety or knotted thought threads; I’m simply happy and carefree. It’s going to take some time to stop expecting the rug to be pulled out from underneath me – and to open up and share the way you have – but I’m thankful to have the chance with this strong soul to show my SELF. Thank you for sharing all of these profound insights. And wonderful to hear your relationship and body are healthy 🙂

    • Brenda Knowles April 7, 2015 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      Yay for you! It sounds like you found a man with inner strength to share. As time passes, you’ll feel more and more sure of his presence and your own value/self to reveal. Isn’t it awesome to feel free? May I ask if your beau is an introvert or an extrovert? My guy claims to be an introvert but I see a lot of extrovert traits in him. He’s a ‘the more the merrier’ type. Could just be he has honed his extroverted skills well.
      Enjoy your relationship. Enjoy your self. 🙂

      • Katherine April 23, 2015 at 1:37 am - Reply

        Thanks Brenda! Funny you say that, my beau is the same. He didn’t know much about the introvert/extrovert thang, so I enlightened him. He says he’s more introverted, but he’s a sociable Brazilian and likes being out and about. BUT he does lose energy around the same time I do, so there is a sprinkling of intro in him. Either way, I feel he ‘gets’ what I need. Which is nice. 🙂

  6. Orange Rhino April 4, 2015 at 2:12 am - Reply

    So glad you are healthy, Brenda. Congratulations on your courage.

    A small point, but perhaps valuable. Strong normal men are not fearless. More than twenty years ago Mike Tyson–the youngest heavyweight boxing champion ever–admitted that he, like some other athletes in different sports, felt fear and used it to make himself more ferocious. Psychiatrists and psychologists know that the only men who are truly fearless are psychopaths. They say it is no coincidence that psychopaths tend to die early. Fear protects normal people from doing stupid, dangerous things. I recently read about a psychopath who used to drive 90 mph+ in a 25 mph zone just for thrills. What woman would want to be with a fearless man like that?

    • Brenda Knowles April 4, 2015 at 9:14 am - Reply

      Interesting point about fearlessness and psychopaths. I agree, having no fear at all would not be truly desirable. Perhaps strong or steadfast are better words. Even the most strong men have weaknesses and vulnerability and I’m glad for that. Their humanity is attractive. Goes for women too. Thanks for your intriguing comment Orange Rhino. Made me think.

  7. Art Becomes You April 4, 2015 at 1:06 am - Reply
  8. Catherine North April 3, 2015 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    I’m happy to hear your test results were benign, Brenda – it must have been a very frightening and uncertain time for you. Personally, I think there’s way too much pressure in our culture to be stoic and to not show vulnerability. It forces many of us into hiding our true sensitive selves in order to be accepted. Of course, it’s good to have coping skills and be able to self-soothe, like you say, but I don’t think we’re designed to be completely self-reliant, and in a good relationship we should be able to lean on each other for support without shame when life gets tough. I’m glad you’ve met a partner who has the strength to be there for you. 🙂

    • Brenda Knowles April 4, 2015 at 9:09 am - Reply

      I agree Catherine. We should be able to let our guard down with the ones we love. It’s good to be able to manage emotions to a degree but there is also a point when we stop being ourselves if we are constantly masking our feelings. It was so refreshing to meet someone who let me be a little worried/anxious/upset and didn’t run. He tells me I make him feel free to be himself as well. That is a huge compliment. Thanks for your kind comment Catherine.

  9. Bob April 3, 2015 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your insights, Brenda and for sharing! And so glad you are in a healthy, open, and nurturing relationship!

    • Brenda Knowles April 4, 2015 at 9:05 am - Reply

      Thanks Bob. So far so good. Healthy, open and nurturing are what I would like to maintain. 🙂

  10. mihrank April 3, 2015 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    powerful – great image – what a message – wow!!

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