Do you remember the first time you realized that you were an introvert? I remember a specific incident. I was in my late teens and I was in a car with my date and another couple I had never met before. We were on the way to a house party where I wouldn't know anyone except my date. I was so reluctant to go that I was hoping we'd get a flat tire .... anything that would get me out of going to this party. I had no idea what it was of course.... but in retrospect I think it was a mild anxiety attack.
I was in my mid 20's before I even knew that introversion was a thing. I had always thought there was something wrong with me as a child/teenager. I didn't understand why other kids or people always had an easy time carrying on conversation when I didn't. I was always labeled as quiet or shy when I'm really not once you get to know me.
I didn't realize I was an introvert until my therapist told me in my early 30s. I'd heard the terms introvert and extrovert plenty of times, but I didn't have a real clue about what they meant. My therapist recommended a book, The Introvert Advantage by Marti Olsen Laney, and that helped me begin to understand. It explained so much about my childhood and why I am the way I am. I'm glad I finally figured it out and understand the difference between introverts and extroverts and why I click better with some people than others.
When I was four I hid under my parents' bed when my mom told me someone was coming over and she was about my age. Hours later, after calling the police they found me asleep under the bed. We called it being being shy but I now know it is because I was an introvert. My mom totally didn't get it because she was an extrovert and kept trying to push activities and people on me. It didn't work.
Yep! I tried all kinds of extrovert activities only to accept that I wasn't. Panic attacks were thought to be heart or stroke issues. They were fight ,flight/flee/freeze reactions to stressful situations. I am so relieved the science has caught up to my mental capacity NOT to enjoy people or their presence.
A few incidents stand out for me. In high school, I remember overhearing a family friend talking to my mother about what a loner I was. In college a friend remarked that I was asocial rather than antisocial.
After speaking for about 5 minutes with a counselor I was seeing - he said “ it’s obvious you’re a flaming introvert “
I can remember playing with other kids and then, without ceremony or anything, just getting up and leaving to go home because I had decided I'd rather be playing by myself. It wasn't because I wasn't enjoying whatever game or whatever was going on... I just was done doing it and saw no reason to stay. So I didn't.