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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 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

“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
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
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…
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
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…
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
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…

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What Past Wounds Haunt You Today?

Photo credit Magyar Tehrani via Unsplash

I got really excited the other night while the kids and I played Trivial Pursuit with our Amazon Alexa. I knew the answer to a question about one of the latest space rovers so I exclaimed, “I know that one!” The problem was it was not my turn to answer and my exclamation covered up the correct answer spoken by my son. Alexa got confused and did not give my son credit for his response.

Then, all hell broke loose. You would have thought I stepped on my son’s face or kicked a puppy. All of my kids yelled and told me I have to stop talking. I may have talked out of turn another time too… They brought it up later during the game and at the end of the game as well. The next time we play, I’m sure I’ll be reminded to keep quiet again.

Now this is seemingly a small issue but inside this really bothered me. I apologized and did not mean to ruin my son’s answer. I felt hurt they were so quick to jump on my mistake and enthusiasm.

It’s not you, it’s everyone before you

Since I’ve been doing therapy and a lot of reflection on my childhood, I know most of my big emotional reactions stem from things that happened in the past. My emotional reactions are not only responses to current situations but they are also connected to raw and unresolved feelings from past similar situations.

For example,  I feel overwhelmed (more than the average person) and sad when home repairs start to pile up. This reaction has its roots in many years of feeling alone when it came to taking care of everything and everyone in a home. Even when married, I often felt alone, like no one saw me. It wasn’t that I didn’t have help, my ex-husband helped around the house when he was home, but it was that I felt alone and unknown. I felt like all I was was someone to fix things.

So why my hurt over some shushing and condemning during a game with my kids? Many times as a young person and even in adulthood, I’ve found myself in close relationships with people who make fun of me (and others) for being different, excited or making a mistake.


My sister was the first to lay in wait for my error or unbridled enthusiasm. When I showed vulnerability or joy, she was there to point out my weakness or crush my happiness. For instance, if I was singing in our room, she would go out and tell the rest of the family how horrible I sang. After a while, I learned to avoid mistakes by not doing or saying anything around her. I saved my enthusiasm for times with my friends.

This may sound like simple sibling squabbles, but it really affected me. I think again, it made me feel alone. I don’t remember my parents protecting either of us from each other. I admit, I was not a perfect angel. I dug into my sister and her weaknesses too.

My sister and I were competitors more than companions growing up. I don’t wish that setup on anyone. It did not serve either of us. We are more companions and confidantes now and it is way more fortifying.

I beg all current parents to encourage a team atmosphere at home, especially if you have someone with a sensitive nature in your family.

Hiding parts of myself

I have also experienced an adult romantic relationship where being excited or making a mistake were pointed out as things not to do again. And if having those things crushed or pointed out upset me, I wasn’t supposed to show that either. Getting emotional was a no-no.

The effect was that I learned to hide parts of myself. Eventually, I knew that was not a safe and fulfilling relationship. I had other more secure relationships (including one with my sister) to reinforce my decision to leave that one.

Making sense of the past makes the present more tolerable

My boyfriend’s response when I told him about blurting out during Trivial Pursuit, was a light and joking, “When will you learn?” He did not chastise me or make me feel small. He just teased me with a smile and stayed steadfastly in my corner. What a relief.

I am aware I have strong reactions to certain behavior because of past wounds. I was not thrilled that I am still hurt by people shutting down my excitement and condemning my mistakes, but with a better understanding of where the sadness and shame come from and other secure relationships where I feel safe and seen, I was able to get past it more quickly. For those of us who like a little science, my reasoning prefrontal cortex was able to take over my emotional limbic brain and get me back to equanimity.

Oh I love a good psycho-biological connection! See, no fear of showing my geeky enthusiasm with you. 🙂

Striving to break the cycle

When I apologized for blurting out responses during the Trivial Pursuit game, I also told my children excitement and mistakes are OK. We all make mistakes.

Unfortunately, I think part of the reason my son was so upset I ruined his correct answer is that he believes he has to know it all and compete with his siblings.

What past experiences strongly affect you now? Do you feel free to express excitement? Make a mistake? 

Would you like to speak to someone who can help you tease out what wounds still affect you? Contact me here. I’d love to help.



For those of you in the Minneapolis area, please save the date: March 10 from 4-6 PM. I’ll be at the local Barnes & Noble for a meet and greet. I’d love to meet you or catch up with you if we’re already old friends. 🙂




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  1. Indepthwoman March 9, 2018 at 3:36 pm - Reply

    Hi Brenda,

    When I was a child and even as an adult, people TRY to make me feel bad for being smart and making different choices. I’m the black sheep of the family. I used to get yelled at for complaining or getting upset when my siblings did something. My mother expected me to know better. My other siblings got away with not knowing better. My father never was happy I love to read and write and got good grades in school. He always had something negative to say and I notice that every now and then when a guy is interested in me and they see I have a brain they try to make me feel stupid and want to be manipulative and controlling like my father. They want me to be docile and I’m not. Some men feel like they have to know it all and they don’t. So a female knowing more or what they think is more, is a threat to them and it shouldn’t be.

  2. michaelrbuley February 9, 2018 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    I remember some years ago something similar happened. I had been with M for about a year. One afternoon, she called me, and invited me to join her and two friends, both of whom I knew, to play some games.

    I love playing games! It was a Friday afternoon, I’d gotten my work done, I’d had a beer, and yes, let’s play games!

    So I went there. They were playing Apples to Apples. As I am when I play games — and do life! — I’m excited and enthusiastic. I remember getting excited about one of the picks that one of M’s friends made for the card. In good-natured and excited fun, I said, ‘What?? How could you pick that one? C’mon! …” If you know the game, you know how that can go!

    My excitement was not well received. They were, I came to see, very reserved kinds of players. Some mild laughter, excitement and such. But nothing really overt. Which is not my style … 🙂

    Some days later, M said something to me about it. Like, ‘How you were being was really weird.’

    Who I was, was too much for her and her friends. I was shocked, actually. Hurt, yes. Me being me is … weird? You don’t like it when I’m excited? Okay … And it wasn’t long after that, that we came to an end.

    Most of us learn to tamp down our excitement, if not extinguish it altogether. Better, for me, to be with friends who are similarly excited — not just about games, but about life, all of it. And to not be with people who are not those things. And if need be, better to be alone with my excitement and enthusiasm, than be with anyone who doesn’t share it. i.e., be me, even if that means being alone. Better not to change who I am ‘to be accepted’ … lol …

    We learn all through our lives what ‘acceptance’ and ‘approval’ mean — to others. We change ourselves for others. If we’re lucky, we discover that we actually CAN be ourselves … and far better to be who we are, than to be something else so that we get some modicum of approval — I won’t call it love, because it’s not. If we have to change who we are to somehow make someone else comfortable or ‘happy with us,’ that’s not love. It’s not love from the other person. And it’s not love for ourselves.

    Keep being excited, Brenda!! lol … and though you may commit crimes against humanity by being excited and blurting out the answer and you completely ruin the entire game for someone in so doing, and perhaps you destroy his or her entire LIFE in so doing … stay excited and bubbly and enthusiastic!

    Our world needs desperately people who are excited — and for those who would make fun of that beautiful childlike delight and excitement? Well, of course when they’re kids, we can’t just ditch them! But may ‘the key person in our life,’ if we have one, be one who loves our excitement, and shares it! Being excited is truly being alive! Let’s stay alive!


    • Brenda Knowles February 11, 2018 at 2:34 pm - Reply

      Hi Michael! Good to hear from you! Where have you been? 😉 Thank you for encouraging my enthusiasm. I’ve figured out there are enough people out there who appreciate it and who are tolerant of my errors, that I don’t have to spend too much time with people who squelch my ‘aliveness’. Keep on living brightly Michael! I know you will. 🙂

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