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“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
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
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
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 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 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.
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
M.G.
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
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
Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
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Intuitive Introverts and Routine Maintenance: From House Repairs to Relationships, We Can Do It

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In the past month, I’ve done a flurry of maintenance. From home and auto repairs to dental work and updating my will. Although I enjoy the final results, the constancy and expense of nagging little jobs, stress me out and scare me.

The unexpected repairs give me the most panic. They interrupt my perfectly designed schedule of interactive time buffered by solitude — usually invading the time earmarked for deep solitude. My calm life-plan slips through my fingers one faulty water heater at a time.

Just as introverts often dislike speaking extemporaneously, perhaps we dislike making repair decisions extemporaneously too. I’m sure I had a deer-in-the-headlights look when my mechanic told me the transfer case in my car was leaking and I could fix it now for $1600; wait and possibly experience an even bigger expense when the inner-workings grind to a halt; or trade in the car before any of this happens. Wait… what?

One morning I had three different work crews converge on my house. Needless to say, there was not a lot of writing or coaching going on that day. I tried to make the most of it and read in between their requests for direction or approval, but my work momentum and pocketbook took hits.

Don’t sweat the small stuff! 

I won’t. I’ll just curl up into the fetal position.

pressure gaugeAnd those are the large, out of the ordinary, maintenance projects. The smaller, day-to-day tasks are a whole other monster. I care enough about appearance and everyone’s comfort to make sure our house is reasonably clean. I don’t like clutter and feel itchy when too many piles of mail and school forms invade our living space, but sometimes I just can’t keep up with all the detritus the kids and I bring home. Touching each form/magazine/bill/school paper that comes through the door is almost impossible.

Keeping up with the kids’ routine doctor appointments (pediatrician, orthodontist, optometrist, dentist, dermatologist etc.) has me reaching for an Excel spreadsheet and a Xanax.

As an intuitive thinker, this kind of detailed maintenance blows my big-picture, inner-voice led, mind. I’ve missed doctor’s appointments, not swept my kitchen floor for days (a week?) and have half-folded laundry on my couch right now.

I can’t do it all myself, but…

As I get older, I’m more about good enough. I still consider myself pretty together. I used to be more together but I give myself forgiveness points for managing a household and three children by myself. My perfectionist crown sits a little crooked on my head and that’s OK.

Slowly, I’ve built relationships with a cadre of specialists to cover all of my external repair needs. I can’t do it myself but damn I know a good painter, dentist, HVAC guy etc. I collect and treasure them like first-round draft picks. They are my anti-DIY team. In the process of repairing and maintaining, I’ve met some interesting individuals. They’re artists, Harley guys, musicians, world travelers, storytellers and perhaps a carnie or two.

Relationship maintenance

“When an introvert cares about someone, she also wants contact, not so much to keep up with the events of the secure healthy coupleother person’s life, but to keep up with what’s inside: the evolution of ideas, values, thoughts, and feelings.”
― Laurie A. HelgoeIntrovert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength

The above is one of my favorite quotes which is why I used it in this post too. It is the absolute truth for me. I enjoy connecting with others but a run down of their daily events will quickly lose my attention. I want to know what’s going on inside. What have they learned? How do they feel about that? What else do they care about and why? These areas of discussion will have me wide-eyed and engaged.

The everyday upkeep of a relationship — discussion of household responsibilities, listening to work details, providing physical gratification, attending obligatory social events and more— can numb the romantic heart and thirsty mind, but I’ve figured out in the last year, the importance of responsiveness in a relationship. When a person expresses a thought or concern, their healthy mature partner responds in a supportive manner, leaving the individual feeling heard and understood. It’s as simple as that, but difficult to find and consistently provide.

I’ll oil your gears if you’ll oil mine

As an intuitive introvert, it’s often difficult to find anyone who understands my spiderweb introspective thinking, let alone respond appropriately. For me, responding appropriately usually means emotionally conscious and empathetic. In return, it’s not always easy for me to give a steady stream of responsive reaction. A person’s need to be heard can feel like lots of little requests for attention, but I’m working diligently to make my people (partner, friends and children included), feel secure. I know what it feels like to reach out for someone’s hand on the trapeze of responsiveness and be left hanging. I also know insufficient maintenance now, leads to bigger problems later.

The trick is to know how many people I can meaningfully support with my maintenance capabilities. How many souls can I care for without causing my own inner-workings to break down?

How do I support others while maintaining my own well-being? 

I say no and establish boundaries to guarantee my own energy and other’s ease. I use vision and long-term purpose and meaning as guides to help me choose where to put the most elbow-grease. I check my energy levels throughout the day. These kinds of self-maintenance lead to longer, healthier relationships.

How are you with routine maintenance of your home? Your relationships? Do you see your partner as too needy or too autonomous? Do you feel secure in your partner’s responsiveness? How could you add to your partner’s feelings of security?

If you would like help with the routine maintenance of your relationships and your well-being, contact me for guidance and action steps. 

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8 Comments

  1. Avyanna July 10, 2016 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    Brenda, you wrote “As an intuitive introvert, it’s often difficult to find anyone who understands my spiderweb introspective thinking, let alone respond appropriately. For me, responding appropriately usually means emotionally conscious and empathetic. In return, it’s not always easy for me to give a steady stream of responsive reaction”

    I just wanted to say, HAD to say, that everything you wrote, EVERYTHING you write, resonates and resounds LOUDLY in my Soul. Connects with my Soul.

    The reason your words resound so much with me is I can truly feel the SOUL behind those words. They cease to be just words and information being relayed and shared. They are a Connection. I connect!

    Truly, I KNOW exactly what you are feeling and what you are trying to express. You are me. I am you. You are not alone. We are not alone!

    • Brenda Knowles July 11, 2016 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      We are together in this Avyanna.:) I’m so glad we’ve connected.

  2. Michael Buley July 1, 2016 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    good stuff as always, Brenda.

    most folks aren’t comfortable talking about what’s going on inside, the changes, the learning, the shifts. they’re not aware of their own, and don’t know how to be aware of those within others. it’s easier, safer, to talk about events and other people and who’s doing what. ‘how do you feel about …’ isn’t a question that most ask. ‘how are you feeling about …’ … and then know how to listen.

    the concept of having ourselves ‘together’ — like i’ve got my stuff together — is sort of funny sometimes. i’m not sure too much any more what it really means. does the universe have its stuff together? i don’t know. there is constant chaos, upheaval, changes. there is always beauty and peace and magnificence at the very same time.

    mostly, i think we’re all a mess of questions and doubts and passions and joys and frustrations. we are, i think, everything. and that is a lot to contend with. and … it is a supremely beautiful and sacred thing to live this life. we are lucky to be right here, right now. and we are beautiful in our mess, our chaos, our all of it.

    i’ve sometimes thought, it’s funny how we struggle and wonder and push and pull and question and ache and have all the good stuff … trying to somehow figure it out, or ‘be happy’ — how do we do that?? lol … and one day, one moment, we are gone. poof. we don’t know the moment.

    it’s just all funny to me sometimes.

    Richard Barlett wrote a book called ‘Matrix Energetics.’ He does seminars all over the country teaching his stuff. it’s cool stuff. the thing i took away from a seminar of his i went to a few years ago, were words someone had scribbled on a piece of cardboard, hanging on a wall by one of the breakout sessions:

    “Know nothing, and access everything.”

    I have thought about that many times. I think I know much less than I ever did. and somehow, it’s like a portal into other things we can never know, by knowing.

    to your peace and joy, Brenda. thank you for all you do for me, and for so many. you really do rock our houses! and we are grateful!

    Michael

    • Brenda Knowles July 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks for tuning in and commenting Michael. I’ve been thinking about you. Hope you’re doing well and getting your living situation sorted.
      I agree it’s impossible to ever be 100% together. There will always be change and chaos. I guess it’s how calm and peaceful we can stay amid the chaos. I’ll have to look into Richard Barlett. Sounds interesting. I’ll ponder, “Know nothing and access everything.” It already makes some sense to me. Cheers Michael and thank you for your over the top kind words.:)

      • Michael July 4, 2016 at 1:34 pm - Reply

        re the living situation.

        i basically moved out yesterday. still some stuff left to get out, but not much. i will get that out this afternoon. just waiting for the streets to open up after the 4th of july parade this little town has.

        it was ‘of a sudden,’ and not.

        in one of your posts, someone replied, talking about people being neutral, basically. and how neutral isn’t enough.

        i am, by nature, very optimistic and excited and see good things and good people everywhere. i realized that my wife is neutral. we had talked about it several times. she was aware of her essentially dispassionate nature.

        i thrive on passion, encouragement, enthusiasm. positive feedback. positive, kind words. those things don’t, at this time, come easily to her.

        i realized that this depressed me. in a literal sense.

        i run at a high level. i am easily excited, and about many things. and we didn’t share excitement for anything. i have had to fight within myself, to stay excited. when you don’t have someone to share your excitement, that is depressing — a pulling down.

        positive people generally do not lift up people who run at a lower level. we can temporarily. in the long run, i think if, as a positive and excited person, i am with someone who doesn’t have that excitement, it brings me down.

        we cannot change who others are. better, i think, to see who someone is, and accept that, than to think ‘i can be a positive influence in this person’s life and bring enthusiasm where there is little.’ i don’t think it works that way.

        it was the neutrality that in the end did us in.

        i love solitude. no two ways about that. and more than solitude, i need people in my life who are positive, excited, gentle, kind, who have passion and live from there.

        i realize that solitude allows me to create a world where it’s okay to laugh and dance and cry over sad songs and feel things. in solitude, i can be me. solitude is a safe place.

        is there room for a woman in my life? i think yes. and i realize much more clearly what it is i need. solitude is not the be all, end all. and better solitude, than a relationship that is negative, or neutral. in the absence of that positive relationship, then yes, solitude. solitude is beautiful. to share all the beauty and passion and excitement there is, with a woman, would be cool. and if there is no one to share it with, that’s okay. because it is an astoundingly beautiful world, with someone, or without. the beauty of it all is independent of us. whether we witness it, and live in it, well, that’s what i think we want to do.

        Brenda, i have said before how i appreciate this space you offer to share thoughts, to write, to wonder aloud about these things. to open up, and it’s okay. i thank you again. i have not had a space like this before. this community, a place to breathe. to breathe out words and thoughts and emotions. to hear you and others. to feel safe. to offer that safety to others, to witness who they are, and hopefully offer kindness to them.

        i can only imagine how — i’m not sure difficult is the right word; and i don’t like the word ‘challenging’ — how exciting on the one hand, and beautiful and wonderful … and how overwhelming it must be at times to offer what you offer to people. to have so many open up to you, and you to them, and this very intimate exchange of who we all are. i hope all that you do, brings you inspiration, and the love that you give out, is returned many times over to you.

        happy 4th, Brenda.

        Michael

        • Brenda Knowles July 5, 2016 at 9:50 pm - Reply

          I feel and understand your words Michael. I definitely understand the need to have a partner who has a similar level of enthusiasm and passion. Positive words and encouragement go a long way. Like you, I wither in their absence. For a long time I thought I could lift someone else up, but they need to have a certain positive and enthusiasm set point of their own that doesn’t pull me down. I’ve learned that the hard way. There is a certain energy I require from a partner now. If I don’t sense it in the beginning I move on. I agree the world is beautiful, if we just take the time to pay attention. Enjoy your solitude and keep seeing the beauty. May your transition and lifestyle change suit your spirit. I’m thrilled you feel so safe and heard here on space2live. That is exactly what I hope to provide. Take care dear Michael.:)

          • Michael Buley July 5, 2016 at 10:10 pm

            it’s funny. almost a year and a half ago, i told her that what i needed, above all else — really, the only need i have; the rest i can take of myself, or they follow naturally in the relationship — was to be told i’m brilliant and beautiful. often. in those words, or some way shape or form. the real meaning being, uplift me, encourage me, see me, tell me all that is good with me. i see my flaws and faults and shortcomings. i also know my brilliance and beauty. not in a narcissistic way. just i see it, and so i see it clearly in others.

            i saw a beauty and brilliance in her from the start. i still see it. and somehow, her little child got shut down from maybe close to birth. and her little child is, basically, choking for air. i see her. and i can’t help her. i so dearly wish i could. because she is so incredibly beautiful, and wanting so much to be loved and seen and cherished. i think i hung on so long, because who i saw, who i see, is so extraordinary. and there is nothing more i can do. and that brings me a deep sadness. have you ever felt like you were a lifeline to someone? in a way no one could ever see, and that you can sense so clearly?

            i have a very strong intuitive sense about people. i see much that people don’t often see in themselves. i see gifts and beauty and brilliance and genius, because i see my own. yes, i see things not brilliant, too. i see the many facets we are. and long ago, i understood that what we see in others, we bring out in them. what we speak in others, we bring out in them.

            and i saw that we can only see in others, that which we see within ourselves.

            the saying goes, what someone says about us, speaks much more loudly about them, than us. and likewise, what we say about others, says who WE are, not who the other is.

            Ruiz, in the 4 agreements, said, ‘take nothing personally.’ because it’s not personal.

            we all like the part when someone says, ‘I hate you,’ and think, no, i won’t take that personally. and it applies, too, if someone says … ‘I love you.’ don’t take that personally, either. because it’s not.

            she could not, and would not, give me the one thing i needed. i think i understand why. and it just wasn’t there.

            why did i wait a year and half, and longer, really, for that thing i needed so much? we learn as we go along. about ourselves. it is said, too, that people stay in our lives, situations stay in our lives, until we learn what we need to learn. and i have learned. and for that, i am so very grateful.

            so as i write these words, I’m listening to ‘After the Rain,’ by Michael Jones. a beautiful piano piece, about 13 minutes. and I’ll listen to Keith Jarrett, and other songs that soothe.

            i have some rebounding to do. a lot of things where i need to get back on my game. it’s been too long!

            i wonder, had i not come across you, if i would have had the strength, and the clarity, to make this move. i’ll never know. i do know that you, and those in your community, have helped a great deal. know that there is a soul whose life you have touched in a beautiful way, Brenda.

            funny. it was about 7 years ago, I remember myself praying to God, the universe, whoever it is that is with us, ‘Give me clarity.’ I have more today, in ways I never would have, without going through all I have gone through.

            a quote on Pinterest I saw awhile ago basically said, ‘Give thanks for everything, always.’ for good stuff, thank you. for bad stuff, thank you. for difficult stuff, thank you. just thank you all the time. i like that! because ‘the bad things’ are often the very ones that bring us to a new place, a new life, a new way of being and seeing and living and loving.

            I love John Mayer’s song ‘Clarity.’ it’s a neat song. interestingly, in it, he never uses the word ‘clarity’ one time.

            to this beautiful life. it truly is magnificent. we are all doing our best. and that is good to remember about everyone, including ourselves. how can we ask for more?

            thanks again, Brenda. i appreciate you and am grateful for you. you take good care of you.

            Michael

          • Brenda Knowles July 7, 2016 at 11:25 am

            Thank you for your rich, wise words Michael. I listened to ‘Clarity’ too thanks to your comment about it. Beautiful video and song.

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