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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
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…
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 words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
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…

“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
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
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…
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

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Does Your Partner Judge or Amplify Your Enthusiasm?

rainbow tree sky


We each got out of the car on our respective sides. I stood up, looked into the sky and noticed the widest most spectacular rainbow arching over the restaurant. I burst out, “Oh wow look at the rainbow!” as I pointed. He looked up, smiled, looked at me and nodded. It was fun sharing that with him. I wanted to move closer, tuck myself under his arm and gaze at it together, but the distance between us in the parking lot and the newness of our acquaintance inhibited my actions. Even if the connection was brief, it felt nice and it seemed like a good sign to see something so beautiful together.

One way to make your relationship extra awesome

In Wired for DatingDr. Stan Tatkin describes mutual amplification as, …Taking something that excites you as an individual and sharing that with your partner so that you both can be excited over it together. Sharing amplifies your joy.

As a highly sensitive person and someone who lives to connect and relate with others, I have a strong need for mutual amplification in a relationship. It gives my curiosity a place to share its discoveries. It gives my highly attuned nervous system a positive outlet. It’s soothing to have my passion acknowledged and reciprocated.

My dream scenario for mutual amplification is reading books with my partner and sharing the excitement of new  insight or the appreciation of an exquisitely written passage.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t

In the past, my penchant for sharing what lights me up, has been met with mutual excitement, apathy and view excited

I felt heard and understood by the mutually excited individuals. Their presence in my world amplified my whole life. Suddenly, birds sang sweeter, poems bled beauty and I noticed every meaningful magical thing. What a high!

This kind of mutual novelty sharing keeps boredom at bay in relationships. It keeps spirits high and attentiveness alive.

I’ve also experienced a meh reaction to some of my exuberant sharing. Not even a look up from their iPhone. Or maybe an eyebrow raise and nose wrinkle, to something that seemed special and important to me.

When you put your enthusiasm out there, it’s an act of bravery. It’s possible you’ll be left swinging back and forth on your trapeze with your hand out and no one reaching for it. That’s lonely. Your idea, gift, story, feeling, rainbow, etc. is not valued or understood and it makes you think, How did I possibly think it would be? 

I’ve shared novel experiences with partners who saw that as an invitation to do the same thing… only better. For example, I’ve had significant others take up running, not because they had a real interest in it but because they wanted to impress me. In their minds, I believe they thought they were connecting with me but they were actually turning me off. I don’t like to compete. I am not impressed by the ability to outdo me. I live to experience things deeply and richly. I want to dwell in awe and invite others to live there with me.

Don’t kill my enthusiasm

I’ve learned to guard my enthusiasm with those more likely to judge it than share it. The judgers kill my light and the light of a healthy relationship.

I take note of the ones who respond to good news texts with happy emoticons and exclamation points, or better yet, immediate phone calls. They want to tuck themselves into the joy and gaze at it together.dancing in field


Who amplifies joy with you? When was the last time you shared something exciting and your partner expanded on it with you? When was the last time you felt someone’s passion with them? 

If you’re interested in learning other ways to enhance your relationship, please contact me for relationship coaching. I’d be happy to show you how to keep your love fresh and alive. 

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  1. Remains Anomymous October 2, 2016 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Brenda, I found your blog this morning during a Google search on “emotional intimacy introvert.” Wow. Your articles speak closely to many of the challenges that have been raised during my last year of marital counseling.
    This particular writing, though, just brought tears to my eyes. During counseling, when I brought up my need for mutually shared moments of appreciation and awe, he told me that very few people actually experience awe, that he very rarely does, and that I shouldn’t have that as an expectation of someone else. … ouch. That was a real kick in the gut.
    Since then, I have learned to create more space for those shared moments with my friends, and it helps, but it is just darn hard sometimes to maintain the foundations of a marriage without those elements. It was good to hear someone else say this. Thank you.

    • Brenda Knowles October 2, 2016 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      Oh RA, I know the loneliness of celebrating/appreciating/being awe by yourself. I’ve experienced relationships where my partner does not necessarily understand or feel the same level of awe I do, but he at least encourages and admires my passion/excitement. The worst is when they kill your spirit. I hope you find the glow and warmth of mutuality as often as possible. Sending you peace and understanding. Thank you for sharing your comment.:)

  2. Holly September 27, 2016 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Dear Brenda,
    I found your site today. Thank you so much for writing the words that I rather desperately needed to hear. I am a 56 year old single mother of 1 child. I am a professional and my son has turned out to be a fine young man. And I have discovered that many find my exuberance and joie d’vie offputting or annoying at worst, charming and quirky or people adore me. They often cannot reconcile this trait with the fact that I am somewhat introverted, have the “highly sensitive personality” concerns, and haven’t been on a date in over 10 years (although men and women friends tell me I’m very pretty, attractive and stylish. Ew!! Sorry…trying to paint a picture but just came across creepy). I have also been considered the commedienne of the family for years (specializing in light sarcasm).
    Anyway, thank you for your site. I will consider scheduling phone/video chats with you in the future. It was just such a relief to read the words that others are also judged bc of their enthusiasms.

    • Brenda Knowles September 28, 2016 at 5:03 pm - Reply

      Dear Holly,

      I’m thrilled my writing resonated with you. One would think enthusiasm would be a pleasant emotion to emote and evoke but it sometimes leaves us out on a limb. I hope you feel more adoration than annoyance. 🙂 I would love to talk with you!

  3. Kat September 10, 2016 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    This post made me think of a dear friend of mine, and her latest experience with her bf! She came to me wanting my opinion about the following:

    He had done something terrible to the relationship lately. Friend took some time to be angry and to go through the rest of the inevitable unpleasant emotions of pain, resentment..etc. As she was starting to find it in her heart to forgive him, and as she started to open up again, to her surprise, there came another blow that involved him not ‘being at the same level of enthusiasm’ that she had, towards something that was extremely important to her. Her boss gave her a day off in the coming week expectedly, and she immediately contacted her bf. Knowing he ‘can’ take that day off too, as she knew his schedule etc, she expressed her excitement about the possibility of spending the day together. His response was ‘I can try’!. She said ‘I immediately felt deflated and …sad!! How could he not feel my joy? how could he not sense my yearning to be with him and reciprocate?’.
    My friend deiced at that moment, to not compromise any longer. She stated her feelings clearly. He jumped to his own defence protesting ‘I am military! I am used to ‘planning’ and making sure that I can 100% deliver before I make a promise! I just need time to figure things out’. To him it was simple ‘let me see if I can make it work’. To her, it was an entirely different story, she wanted to ‘feel’ the mutual excitement. She wanted to feel he senses the same joy. She was not ready for his focus on ‘planning’.

    I fully supported her in her decision to not compromise her needs. The incompatibility between them, in my opinion, in the sense of one being spontaneous about a day together, expressing their joy over the ‘little things’ in life, like a dinner or lunch or whatever that brings them joy and that might take place all of the sudden and unexpectedly, is going to be a problem for them again and again…One party will continuously feel they have to ‘tone it down’, and put the brakes on life’s little joys and simple spontaneous surprises like a sudden appearance of a beautiful rainbow, or a marvelous sudden opportunity to stop the predictability of life even if it is for one day, and take that day off and spend it together and create amazing memories.

    I have come to believe, people who get ‘giddy’ over a sudden appearance of a rainbow, a chance to go out for dinner without planning, or who get excited, animated with their eyes smiling and their faces lit up over hearing a beautiful Andrew Bird song with an amazing amazing nostalgic violin skills like ‘Hole In The Ocean Floor’ for example 😉 _ yes that’s me _ find it very hard at times, to find someone, who can share that joy and that beautiful child like giddiness the way they do….and yes that is sad…but…I have a feeling, people who ‘can’ FEEL that joy and that giddiness, are never ready to stop or allow anyone to stop them from ‘feeling’ and expressing…I truly believe they are the lucky ones!

    • Michael Buley September 10, 2016 at 10:18 pm - Reply

      Kat, it’s funny. if you scroll down a bit, you see my reply to a reply of Brenda’s. sort of saying the same thing. yes, it’s hard to find someone who has that giddiness … and let’s not compromise that part of ourselves, for anyone.

      you said ‘they’ are the lucky ones. you are one of them, too, Kat. yes, we are the lucky ones. let’s stay who we are. and only have those in our lives, who are there with us, giddy and excited and brimming with enthusiasm over who knows what — it can be about anything!

      good post. good words. thank you for sharing YOU …


      • Kat September 11, 2016 at 10:36 pm - Reply

        Michael, Thank you for your comment! Yes it is nice to know there are other ‘odd’ people who get more enthusiastic and joyful about teaching their puppy how to swim for example, than to receive an expensive gift or a surprise holiday somewhere exotic! Ok ok I’m probably going a little too far with this :)…let’s just say, people who don’t believe in constantly monitoring and tempering their enthusiasm over the little joys, when those little joys present themselves in our life! And thank you Brenda for creating this safe place to share and discuss such issues…

        However, if one to ask me personally, is it easy to be that way? I’d probably respond, no it isn’t! Most people I know, are ‘adults and grown ups’ :)! They have learnt through culture and experience, how it’s safer to not look very excited about things in general! Be it to maintain a ‘professional’ image at work, impressing their family members, spouses or their social circle with how ‘mature’ they can act and behave or for whatever reason they decided, it’s more fitting to tone down their excitement and to be quietly (or sometimes very quietly) expressive of their joy!
        Now, I’m not suggesting I don’t/haven’t found it exhausting, to be around people who seem to ‘always’ be on with an endless reservoir of energy and enthusiasm about anything and everything! A balance between the two approaches is definitely a nice thing to have and master! However, again, most people I know, are more on the side of ‘let’s always tame our scary enthusiastic beast inside, and keep it that way! Less risk of standing out. Less risk of…well disappointment’!
        Am I balanced? To me! May be. To others? I don’t know ;)…

        This read about this subject resonated with me. Hope you find it interesting:
        ‘Spontaneous Idealists are creative, lively and open-minded persons. They are humorous and dispose of a contagious zest for life. Their enthusiasm and sparkling energy inspires others and sweeps them along. They enjoy being together with other people and often have an uncanny intuition for their motivations and potential.

        Spontaneous Idealists are masters of communication and very amusing and gifted entertainers. Fun and variety are guaranteed when they are around. However, they are sometimes somewhat too impulsive in dealing with others and can hurt people without really meaning to do so, due to their direct and sometimes critical nature.

        This personality type is a keen and alert observer; they miss nothing which is going on around them. In extreme cases, they tend to be oversensitive and exaggeratedly alert and are inwardly always ready to jump. Life for them is an exciting drama full of emotionality. However, they quickly become bored when things repeat themselves and too much detailed work and care is required. Their creativity, their imaginativeness and their originality become most noticeable when developing new projects and ideas – they then leave the meticulous implementation of the whole to others. On the whole, Spontaneous Idealists attach great value to their inner and outward independence and do not like accepting a subordinate role. They therefore have problems with hierarchies and authorities.

        If you have a Spontaneous Idealist as your friend, you will never be bored; with them, you can enjoy life to the full and celebrate the best parties. At the same time, they are warm, sensitive, attentive and always willing to help. If Spontaneous Idealists have just fallen in love, the sky is full of violins and their new partners are showered with attention and affection. This type then bubbles over with charm, tenderness and imagination. But, unfortunately, it soon becomes boring for them once the novelty has worn off. Boring everyday life in a partnership is not for them so that many Spontaneous Idealists slip from one affair into another. However, should the partner manage to keep their curiosity alive and not let routine and familiarity gain the upper hand, Spontaneous Idealists can be inspiring and loving partners.’

        • Michael September 12, 2016 at 3:58 am - Reply

          lots of interesting stuff there, Kat. I enjoyed reading what you said.

          i have only had one friendship (i use this word because, as I’ve said in other posts … 🙂 … ‘relationship’ is 4 syllables, and i like short simple words, and ‘friendship’ is what i want, not a relationship; too stuffy, really) with a woman where there was that spontaneous fun. because we laughed a lot. more than i have ever laughed with anyone. we had lots of serious talks, too, about all kinds of things. it was a super fun (super! how’s that for enthusiastic? i like that word!) friendship for me, with her. for awhile. only for a few months. and i learned, in time, to damp down my enthusiasm because she didn’t have it the same. but it was so fun for me, i pushed and pushed in that friendship. boy did i want her. too much, in hindsight.

          a breaking point — a telling point — came after i had moved about 90 minutes from where i was, to live in her town. a pretty, oh so beautiful little town on the water. omg. i loved it then, still do.

          after a month or so, she invited me on a friday afternoon to join a couple of her friends, whom i knew, to play games. i love to play games! lol …

          being it was a friday afternoon, i had had a beer when i got there. i had a glass of wine. i was feeling GOOD! i was happy! more or less exuberant! more, i think! lol …

          well, i got excited playing this game! i mean, i was having fun! and the three of them? well … i was having too much fun, basically!

          a few days later, she said something like, essentially, you were being weird that day. my friends thought you were weird. yes, i was having great fun! i sinned, father, please forgive me! lol …

          but i was fairly crushed. it was basically, tone yourself down … and i thought … but this is ME! it’s me … and ‘me’ wasn’t cool … i’ll always remember that.

          and not long after that, she broke it off. and looking back, i see where, as much fun as i had with her, i still had tamped it down. still having more fun than i’d ever had with anyone. omg, i was so excited! all the parts were fun, exciting. the laughter, the talks, all of it … still, as the months went on, i learned to not be so excited.

          and then she said what she said. and that was really about it. i began to pull back. and we came to our end shortly after.

          see, my problem is, i get all excited like that, about all kinds of things. i can listen to music with my headphones, and sing out loud and dance around while i walk my dogs! heaven! yes, expensive trips and gifts mean little to me. there is already so much that i am downright gleeful about …

          is it easy being me? hmm. not around most people. which is why i realize i am better living alone. i am married to, and separated from, a woman who could NOT really show joy, excitement, enthusiasm. somehow, i thought i could help her find it … instead, i found depression, self doubt, disapproval in many ways.

          i saw in your description of the spontaneous idealist (Brenda, you know i hate these big words! let’s use, instead … hmmm …. really excited people!) the part about ‘in extreme cases, they tend to be oversensitive.’ that’s me, basically. hypersensitive. easily excited, easily tamped down. and so i have learned, to survive, basically, that i have to control my world, let in only people who are excited, or at the least who don’t frown on my excitement.

          Kat, Brenda, I don’t know if either of you find this next part.

          Jung coined, i think, the phrase ‘shadow self.’

          a bright light, casts a big shadow.

          it’s a complex subject, too much so for here. and when i burn bright for awhile, when i show extended and intense kindness to others, laughter (i can make people laugh pretty easily; heck, it’s easy to make people smile and laugh!) … then i have to withdraw.

          i have a very bright light. very intense excitement and energy. am very highly creative. sort of off the charts. love, light, kindness, laughter … they flow from me, more than anyone i have ever met.

          and there is a polarity to it. life is full of polarities. day and night. light and dark.

          i can be out in the world … all the excitement anyone could have, more than just about anyone. i can be that on my own. and then … then i must go quiet. then i must have no one around me. it bothers me intensely to have anyone in my space. i’ve never had someone, of similar polarities, basically, so i don’t know how it would be to be with one who really does get me.

          i think my excitement scares a lot of people. you stated it well, Kat. ‘adult,’ grownup, etc. i’m not those things. but boy, i have also been severely taken advantage of by people because of that child part — which is my essence, which is where my creativity comes from.

          and my dark scares people. and when i am dark, withdrawn, i want everybody out! gone. not in the same house. i need to be alone. i don’t want to talk with anyone. i can write, like this, all day. it’s often my only release. Brenda knows how i can go on … and she allows it here, for which I have thanked her, and always will. omg!

          i currently have a long-time friend, sick and broke, parked on my couch. has been for 10 days. no details necessary. my light wants to love him and care for him. very much so. and my dark? get the ‘f’ out of my space. go. be homeless. get out. i can hardly stand it. you brought yourself to this point. i can’t help.

          light wants to do anything for him … i have in the past. dark says … get out. i don’t care where. go to a shelter. get out.

          and now, at age 61 — god, the need for solitude is so intense. yes, the need for connection, too … it is a war within myself. the light used to win … yes, stay, stay … yes, i’ll take care of whomever … now the dark is welling up after short periods of light, wanting to care for him.

          i don’t consider myself a normal introvert. more an extreme introvert. an extremely sensitive man. sensitive to everything. someone’s presence. mood. thoughts. where they are. i know. i just know. which is why, when anyone is around, i feel them. it bothers me having someone around most of the time.

          is it easy being me? no. i realize i must have a lot of time alone. and it would be interesting to have someone in my life of somewhat equal enthusiasm. who gets the dark side — ‘dark’ connotes evil; it’s not necessarily that at all; night time isn’t evil.

          we have light and love. and we have not light and love. there is so much emphasis on light and love — which i get, which i am, in greater measure than most. and we discount our dark side, our shadow side, that can only do that for awhile.

          i don’t trust ‘always happy’ people. i can sense feigned happiness. feigned interest. i like real. i like whole. i like pure light. i like pure dark. most people are scared to death of their dark. those impulses in all of us that aren’t light and love.

          i embrace my shadow self. it is critical to the light.

          the thought came to me just two days ago while i was walking — just a phrase that came into my head; it’s super cool how it works! — ‘the dark protects the light.’

          our shadow self, the shadow, exists only with the light. the shadow is dependent on the light. no light, no shadow. if our light goes out, the shadow dies, too. if our spirit dies, our light dies … so, too, does our shadow. and the shadow doesn’t want to die. it is its own entity, in a very real way.

          and so the shadow will fight against those who want to tamp down our light, extinguish it, even. and some would have us do that. some who say they love us. it is a conditional love, if love it even is. ‘be different, and i will be happy with you.’ etc.

          the shadow will burn everything down … to protect the light. i understand that now.

          10 weeks ago, i one morning said to my wife, ‘I’m moving out.’ and that day, i did, after many false starts. it was life or death at the moment. my shadow said, basically, get out or die. i have been there before … and i left. i didn’t care the consequences. it didn’t matter.

          one quote from Jung … “the attainment of wholeness requires one to stake one’s whole being. nothing less will do. there can be no conditions, no substitutes, no compromises.’

          most of us will compromise our true life away.

          which is why i more or less, any more, truly detest the world ‘compromise,’ and ‘work’ in a ‘relationship.’

          if i can’t be all of me, and you can’t be all of you, and we’re together … then let’s not be together. if i can’t be whole with you — bright light, dark shadows, and everything in between — then i do not want to be with you, or anyone.

          i have compromised. i have worked. and for me, it doesn’t work. i don’t understand why we value ‘compromise.’ be you! all of you! i’ll not only ‘let’ you; i’ll encourage it, push for it, insist on it … if you want. if you don’t? if you want to be restrained? if you want to deny your shadow? be nice all the time? then do that … just don’t be with me.

          the whole is much more real — it is real — and interesting, than compromised spirits. this world is full of them. dim lights, or lights gone out. i see them everywhere. nice smiles … no real joy or laughter. they’ve been beaten down. they’re compromised to where they have no idea who they are any more. but they are ‘accepted.’ they are ‘loved’ — sometimes it really is a joke, what we call love — and they are nice and polite and kind to everyone … and it’s fake. fake people everywhere. my god.

          it is why laughter, more than anything, is the measure. can you laugh, from within all of you? at all kinds of stuff? easily? even the greatest difficulties? if so … you are alive. life flows through you.

          as i said in an earlier post, i’m older than you and Brenda. when i was in my 30s and 40, and 50s … i fought these essential parts of me. wasn’t really aware of them. i compromised. doubted myself. thought i should ‘work’ at it, hang in there, count my blessings — always a good one to use when we are dying inside; ‘count your blessings’, meaning … no, it’s not what you really want, but count your blessings and shut up!’ … i’m all about gratitude. just no longer all about compromise. and i’ve only really arrived at that now, at age 61.

          i wish i had seen things earlier. and i am grateful, truly grateful, for what i see now. and an excited about what lies ahead, more excited than i have been in a long long time.

          life is a journey. we just have to be sure to keep moving.

          it has been hard for me to get to this place. a lot of resistance all along the way. and you know what? resistance is perhaps the key to ‘getting there.’ i had greater resistance with my current wife, than i ever had from anyone. i wanted to run long ago … and i also wanted to stay, because i knew, inside, that there were things i HAD to learn, about me. it’s like a great weight on you. and i either developed the strength to push back, to stand up tall and strong … or be crushed. it wasn’t certain how it would go … and i knew that this was part of my path. and so, for reasons she will never understand, i am grateful for who she has been in my life. i mean really really grateful. she’s a beautiful person in all kinds of ways. and she WAS that resistance, that got me to here. a gift in ways beyond compare. she was the teacher i needed. she likely will never understand, because she doesn’t know her light, nor her darkness. she seeks safety and security above all. for reasons i very much understand. she never had those, in any measure, all through her life.

          always be grateful for the ones in your life, perhaps especially the difficult ones. they are in our lives to teach us, about US. just do we learn? do we realize we have things to learn about US? ditch the blaming the other person for this and that; i have done that plenty, too. and it always, always comes back … to me.

          i hope i haven’t bored you and Brenda, Kat. as i have told Brenda, i have no other place to write like this, to share like this. I know, to most people, i am scary — both in my intense excitement — and it is super intense, i feel like i am almost bursting many times — and in my shadow, where everybody get the hell out.

          i love all of me, finally. accept all of me, finally. if i ever find someone who loves herself, all of her … perhaps i will have found someone who can love and see all of me, too. i will love all of her, too. it will be interesting, incredible, staggering, if it ever comes to pass. and if not? i will finally be content alone.

          with my two pups, of course. god do i love my two pups. they sleep on either side of my head. they are truly angels for me.

          thanks for this space to be, Brenda. thank you, Brenda, and Kat, for your words, for reading mine. i hope i haven’t scared the hell out of you! … and if i have, well, sometimes we need to be scared!! lol … it IS an incredible life! omg!


          • Kat September 14, 2016 at 9:30 am

            Michael, I don’t know where to begin! You have brought up quite a few points! And if I fail to address them all in my reply, please be assured it’s not due to the lack of care or interest!
            First, it’s great to be ‘you’! To accept who you are with the good and bad, the light and the dark! And to actually peek really deep inside one’s self, and actually ‘see’ the dark, along the light, is scary and shocking (at least to me), so I can understand and appreciate you being very open about who you really are! It’s not easy to do! We all have caught ourselves, at more than one occasion throughout our lives ;), trying to hide the dark! So you being able to reveal the dark, look at it, acknowledge it and assess it, is wonderful!
            Thank you for sharing your experiences!
            All I can say about the relationship part! Yes relationship (friendships like you prefer to call them), is a tricky subject! People are different, we are all different, complex human beings! I can’t give advice, as I’m not qualified to do so :)…Brenda is amazing at this part! I can only listen (read) :)..but thank you for sharing it with us all here…

            Now, with regard to your friend, it’s hard to comment! Only you knows how the situation is and how to deal with it! You are obviously a very good friend to agree to take him in with all the issues! Give yourself a lot of credit! A lot of people aren’t capable of taking on that responsibility! But you did! And if you want your solitude sometimes, and can’t have it, (tone it down a bit) /that was a joke :)/ -hope it’s ok-.
            I honestly don’t know if I can do what you did/are still doing! Taking care of a sick and broke friend! I can fully see how difficultly it is. I can see the struggle within one’s self, wanting to support, show love and compassion, and …wanting to shake the person, desiring for them to wake up and face reality and ‘fix it’. It’s hard! Hard to be doing what you are doing!
            I do believe, your frustration at times, doesn’t necessarily stem from (just wanting your space and people gone)! I do believe, it stems from caring about the friend! You want them to get better, you want them (back) and on their feet! It hurts to see someone you love and care deeply about, wasting their life away! You know their potential! You ‘see’ what they can’t at the moment, and yes it can be very frustrating! Tough love can be quite hard! Some can do it better than others!
            Again, I think you are doing something amazing taking in your friend, hosting them in your house and caring for them (when you can).

          • Brenda Knowles September 18, 2016 at 2:34 pm

            You don’t scare me Michael.;) I absorb and ponder your words/insight. I agree the dark and the light are kindred spirits. They go hand in hand. As I experience different relationships, I learn it is necessary to accept the dark and light in each person. The trouble I have with the dark is if it hurts too many people emotionally/psychologically. We all get mad. We all lash out. It’s the repair that is done or not done afterward that counts. I have days when it is so easy to be the light and the love for others. Then, like you Michael, I need to retreat and be alone in order to balance my light and dark. I need to rekindle my light in the dark. I need to brood and bitch a little too sometimes. That’s my darkness showing up in the light.;)
            When we first enter relationships, it is so easy to laugh, discover, enjoy the novelty, but then our brains start to automate our reactions and actions with that person because it’s hard to be mindful of so many details and new things all the time. So hard to be constantly present and attentive. We need to streamline, so we automate our relationships. He always cooks and I clean up. He doesn’t like to talk after 9PM. She won’t want to go out on Sunday night because of work the next day. The antidote to boring automation? Staying present and attentive, according to PsyD, Stan Tatkin. I think keeping curiosity alive is one key factor. I want to always discover things with my partner and about my partner.
            I’ve noticed lately that some people want acceptance and freedom (like I do) and others want security and reassurance (I want this too but perhaps to a lesser degree). I hear you saying Michael that you want to be accepted – all of you- and you like your freedom. Thanks for the wonderful banter Kat and Michael. You guys make me think. Imagine if we got together for a discussion!?! 🙂

        • Brenda Knowles September 18, 2016 at 2:08 pm - Reply

          Hi Kat! I love that excerpt! Where did you find it? I definitely have spontaneous idealist tendencies.;) I truly appreciate someone with a curiosity to match mine.

          • Kat September 19, 2016 at 9:16 pm

            Hi Brenda (and Michael),
            Yes it would be great if we get together for a discussion! what do you think Michael? 🙂

            Brenda, This is the reference for that excerpt:


            Glad you enjoyed it.


  4. Michael September 9, 2016 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    good stuff. critical stuff … for those of us ( i am one, too) who get excited about all KINDS of things … it is a killer, it is depressing, to be with someone who doesn’t share it, doesn’t get it, looks askance, basically, at all these things that are so truly exciting, invigorating. breathtaking … i about gasp when i drive along a certain street, see the sun set over the mountains, the water, the ferries crossing back and forth. the colors, often so rich, so beautiful. i don’t even try anymore to share it with anyone. i’ve not met anyone who feels it as intensely as I do. and i realize i no longer need someone to. my experience is intense, full, beautiful. from the joy of walking my pups on a grass field and the skies are blue … or walking in the rain … i feel it all. and i love it all.

    what i do NOT need … is someone who sees little or none of it all … or if he or she does, cannot express it, cannot delight, cannot let those emotions out. THAT, over any extended period of time … is incredibly depressing. I speak from experience. It is stifling, it is really its own killer. to kill the spirit of another … you may as well kill the person. because we ARE our spirit.

    i’ve gotten over needing someone else’s delight, to delight in something. it’s taken awhile. i’ve gotten over tamping down my enthusiasm — it is, i know, unusually intense — over something, because who i am with, can’t match it, doesn’t get it. i’ve accepted that my enthusiasm, excitement, laughter, giddiness sometimes over it all — often in the very midst of difficulties — are who i am. essential parts of who i am.

    it may entail being with no one. and that’s okay. i’ve been ‘with someone’ enough times, tempered my enthusiasm, who i am, enough times thinking that i might be more acceptable … that i just ain’t gonna do it no more! how’s that for great English?? lol …

    no. life is too short for me — really, for any of us, at any time; no one knows the time or the day, as the bible says — to tamp myself down. to be with someone who in the end depresses my enthusiasm, however it happens. Yes, it’s why I do, and prefer to, spend a lot of time alone. better alone, far better, than to ‘calm down, calm down’ … lol … I gotta be me (finally!) …!

    there may (may) be some essential parts of us that we compromise. my take any more? if we compromise those parts … why? are we that afraid of being alone? my god, not at that price. not anymore. I’ve done it. so i know what it is, what it means. i don’t need someone that bad. If someone does, then by all means, do what you need to do. it’s how we learn, and usually not really any other way. we can read all the books we want … and we truly learn, from experience.

    oh, just a comment: ‘amplified enthusiasm.’ their words, not yours, i know . i just can hardly stand people who just can’t talk in plain English. we’re just talking shared excitement. shared joy. shared laughter. ‘do you amplify my enthusiasm?’ … um, gee, i don’t know. what do you think about that incredible sunset? how about all this rain coming down on our heads? isn’t it awesome!?? do the same things make us happy? hopefully really happy?

    i know i know … a pet peeve of mine! lol … have a great weekend, Brenda! and as always … thank you! I have no place else, no one else, to share all this with! I am very very grateful that you don’t put word limits on response! please don’t do that! omg no!

    • Brenda Knowles September 10, 2016 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      I agree mutual amplification or amplified enthusiasm are complicated ways of saying shared excitement or joy. I agree keeping it simple is better. I tend to look at and fall in love with the concept and then disregard the large language in my own head. I try to relate it to an experience in my own life so it doesn’t sound clinical or pretentious.;)
      It does feel like someone kills your spirit when they make fun of or can’t get anywhere near the same euphoria you feel. Your high spirit falls lonely on the ground. If that happens too often, you just stop sharing. No connection, no joy.
      No word limits for you Michael. I get too much out of your input.:)

      • Michael Buley September 10, 2016 at 2:02 pm - Reply

        i keenly know that feeling of ‘stop sharing.’ why continue with it? yet i put up with it for a long time with my still-wife. separated. why? i tell myself because i saw, and do still see, her beauty, who she really is. and truth is, i had this arrogant notion that i could ‘change’ her.

        and i painfully have come to realize that i cannot bring someone up to that level of joy. another can bring us down ever so quickly and instantly. it is terrible, really. what the other’s response can do, to crush my spirit.

        far far better to be alone, and exulting in all i see … than thinking, deluding myself, that i can ‘change someone’ that way. i, too, like all of us … we think we can change someone. we ‘know’ we can’t. we’ve read the books, the sayings. we know it! in our heads … and sometimes get so lonely, so hungry for any kind of what is called love … that we will sacrifice who we are for it.

        and we question ourselves. i sure have. maybe it’s NOT normal to feel this way. maybe i DO need to tamp it down. maybe i’m too weird. gosh, maybe i need drugs … maybe i’m mentally ill (ever had someone suggest that? that’s neat!) …! lol …

        heck. we don’t actually have to tamp it down! lol ….maybe we ARE weird to a lot of folks, unbalanced, etc.

        excuse my french, but f _ _ k them. (i spelled it out, then thought, while it is quite fitting here and perfectly how i feel, f _ _ k works just fine! lol …) quit apologizing for who we are, and being with anyone who would make us feel ‘weird’ and ‘unbalanced’ and whatever else.

        maybe we need to simply accept that there are few who see that kind of beauty, feel that kind of joy. if we find one … hallelujah! in the meantime, see it, laugh, love … and be who we are.

        thanks for no word limits … whew!! yay!! lol …


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