Where do you draw the line?

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langaan
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Where do you draw the line?

Postby langaan » Thu Jul 21, 2016 10:14 pm

Hi all, I am coming up to 40yrs old this year, married for 17 and have 3 kids.
My wife diagnosed bipolar in 2006, has been a roller coaster ever since, but that's a story on its own.

Me however, I have just come to realize that I am an introvert, and not some antisocial homebody etc...

To describe myself, here are somethings/tandancies about me... so let me know if I am right by saying I am an introvert..

I don't like social events at all, infact, the very thought of having to attend such an event stresses me out.
I don't do well in groups/crowds, I don't enjoy crowds, I basically sit there and don't say much. I more or less watch the time waiting for it to end.
I cant speak very well to crowds without my voice trembling, but 1on1 with the right person (basically anyone that I can connect with) and I can talk all day. Infact, I probably share too much, as if I am very open/outgoing when 1on1 but the exact opposite in a crowd.
I absolutely DREAD things like parties, bar scene, get togethers, reunions, overnight visists at the inlaws, overnights visits with others in my house (al though not as bad as being in their house)...
I would live to camp with my wife and kids, but I would absolutely HATE it if there were other people there.
I love quading with my family and sometimes our neighbors, but the idea of quadding with 5 groups of people all day is sickening.
I don't mind buying groceries at the local store, but if its busy and there is a line up it sucks. (but bearable and I can get through it because its over quick)
I don't look forward to visiting inlaws period, but if I have to and have the option to choose how... I would rather do half a dozen short small visits with just a few of the family several times a year as opposed to large gatherings once or twice a year.
I don't drink alcohol, everyone else does, which just makes the problem even worse.
I like people, I find myself to be very patient and easy to get along with, but if were in a crowd youd probably think I don't like you because I don't say anything at all.
i can easily go on vacation with my wife to mexico, to a resort with thousands of strangers, but i cant do it if we go with other people we know as a group.... because,,, well because then im expected to socialize.


anyways you get the drift.

problem is, my wife is an extrovert, social butterfly, yada yada.
I do not prevent her from spending time weith her friends, or anything for tha tmatter. but there are definitely some ongoing problems due to the fact that she is social and i am not. she wants me to socialize, she wants me to make friends with her extrovert friends husbands because "why would you, they are good people" etc....

she and the kids are going to her family reunion this weekend. she is going in early and staying few days afterwards. So 7 hours drive Wednesday, staying at her moms with lotsa visitors all week, then to a bigass camping reunion for the weekend, and back to mother inlaws for another few days before returning home.

so, to me... jebus... that makes my stomach turn and my head hurt. Stuck in that situation, feeling obliageted to socialize, nowhere to go, and not to mention the fact that the alternative of staying home and having the house to myself for a week sounds absolutely amazing...

anyways, wife and i have just gotten back together for the 3rd time (bipolar related), and she is making a real effort to make thigns work.

however, i promised myself a few months back that I am done with sacrificing my happiness, so I have refused to go this time.

if I could just explain to her and if she could just understand, there are many other ways we can spend time together and spend time with family, but there are certain "hard no's" that i need her to understand.

so, as an introvert, am I still being selfish for not going? even though most of you will understand the absolute nightmare things like this are... and how much worse it is being 7 days long....

(PS: i cant go because of work anyway, but since we are working on this marriage i would like to address this problem once and forall)

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Orientalist
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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Orientalist » Sat Jul 23, 2016 4:40 am

You're right. You are an introvert. :D

I think many of us have to sacrifice our happiness some of the time, the question is, how much?
If the truth hurts, you ain't livin' right.

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DC1346
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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby DC1346 » Sat Jul 23, 2016 5:04 pm

langaan wrote:so, as an introvert, am I still being selfish for not going? even though most of you will understand the absolute nightmare things like this are... and how much worse it is being 7 days long....


As a reclusive introvert who is also autistic (high performing spectrum, Asperger's Syndrome), by choice and genetic predisposition, I HAVE no friendships or relationships outside of work. The closest I come to interacting with others whilst I am not at work is when I go shopping (since I sometimes have to talk to store employees). I also email and participate in chat board forums like this one.

I ended my last friendships a year ago. I also broke off an engagement two years ago.

I have been alone ever since. Please note that this is not a statement of self-pity because I do not feel sorry for myself. Far from it - I feel quite liberated and independent.

With this being said, it is my understanding that marriage should ideally be a compromise. Marriage also requires communication. Have you shared your candid thoughts with your wife? Do you also understand that in rejecting the big family reunions, you may be hurting your wife's feelings as well as all of the relatives you have chosen not to visit?

I suppose it is easy for me to talk since I have embraced the lifestyle of a reclusive introvert but there was a time when I was engaged and when I also had an active social life. Like you, I have never enjoyed family reunions either but I went to them because that was what was expected of me. I found a private corner and hung out with a cousin and that made things a bit more tolerable. Since I'm a professional chef, my favorite reunions have been those where I was allowed to run the kitchen. By immersing myself in a familiar work related activity, I reduced a lot of personal stress. It also made me feel good to have so many relatives compliment me on the quality of my food.

My family reunions are now a thing of the past, not because I've become a reclusive introvert but because so many of my family have passed away. I am now 55 and all of my grandparents and most of my aunts and uncles are gone. Of my siblings and cousins in my peer age group, only two have married. The rest of us are aging singles. If we talked more, I might ask them if they're autistic as well but the sad reality is that our last reunion ended with the death of our clan matriarch who was the heart and soul of our family.

We are now separated by distance, politics, religion, personal tastes, lifestyle choices and all of the other things that cause us to differentiate among ourselves.

If it wasn't for the fact that I'm autistic, I think I would feel regret. As it is, I feel nothing at all.

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Xsolrac
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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Xsolrac » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:47 am

It is unhealthy for us introverts to force ourselves to be "social", however I think things like family are mattersthat, as much as we would like to, are things we cannot forsake.

Family must be important to your wife (idk), and so I think it would be better for you to actually go (I know you are not going due to work), that type of events, I believe is where you must learn to actually participate. On the other hand, it is also important for you to explain to your wife the way introverts work so that she can comprehend you and not make you go along with so many activities that end up being hard for you (parties, vacations, activities with friends, etc etc)
Why does it has to be that way?

langaan
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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby langaan » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:10 pm

ok, makes sense that I need to go to some events that are really important, and I've always know that.. however, over the years my wife and I have really butted heads on this. And to both of our defence, neither one of us even heard of introversion.
It all started 15 years ago the first couple years after we got married... xmas or other holidays would come along and she would want the big family thing and I wouldn't. Eventually, I just gave in (reluctantly) but have always had resentment over this because its as if she feels her family values are better than mine etc.... She thinks me wanting to have a xmas, or every other xmas with just us is stupid. This extends into every holiday, as well as social events and gatherings all year long. Xmas, thanksgiving, easter, new years eve, weddings, social gatherings, communitee events the list goes on and on.... even Halloween is ruined. And all the times I am lucky enough to be left out, I always get the guilt trips, and yada yada.

Throughout the years my wife has thought and said many things on the situation. Things such as:
when we moved to a new town in 2009, she said "you should join the volunteer fire department and get to know everyone" Ummmm, no.
or "why don't you come out with me and hang out with my friends husbands, they are good people" ummmm, Im sure they are
or one of my favorites " we'll get you drinking sooner or later"

Even during the summer my wife wonders wwhy I am not going to Mens night every week (Golf).

well its really simple, I love golf... but mens night is 3 hrs of guys drinkning, golfing, followed by a long crowded supper with more boos, chatter, etc... noooooooooooooo thanks.

To both of our defence, weve never even heard of introversion til recently. I tried to explain introversion to my wife the other night and even told her I feel quite empowered by simply understanding that I am not alone and that theres nothing that needs to be "fixed"

her response... "there has to be something you can take for that"

I said, "take for what? you think just because I don't enjoy socializing and crowds like you do that there is something wrong with me?"

she said "well yea"

so forgive me, but I do not feel an ounce of guilt that Im not going to this family reunion.

Now back to my original question, where do you draw the line?

Family reunion is big, right? so that's a must do.
but to my wife and her family, everything falls under "big".

Xmas
Thanksgiving
easter
Halloween
reunions
weddings
summer holidays
etc...
plus we live in a tiny community so theres always stuff going on.
I just want to attend the big events that are really important to loved ones, and be excused from the rest. I want my wife to understand I am fine, I am just different than her. and I want her to quit telling me she is embarrassed about having to answer the question "wheres your husband"

Do I need to suck it up for all of them? because I don't know about the rest of you, but just knowing that every single event or holiday all year long is followed by the brutal anticipation of the next one is draining and makes a person unhappy.

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Daisy
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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Daisy » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:29 pm

langaan, I feel your pain. My first marriage was to an extrovert, I was so unhappy I left him. I think you should be true to yourself, and not go to these functions to please your wife, as she doesn't seem to want to compromise with you. I'd say that I would draw the line at always having to give in to please others. :quiet!:

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DC1346
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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby DC1346 » Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:44 am

langaan wrote:Throughout the years my wife has thought and said many things on the situation. Things such as:
when we moved to a new town in 2009, she said "you should join the volunteer fire department and get to know everyone"

Now back to my original question, where do you draw the line?



I thought I answered this question but in reading your last post, it occurred to me that we may have totally different perspectives on what it is to be introverted.

I infer from your post that introversion means you need alone time though I'm not clear on whether you would prefer this as with or without your wife.

I am a reclusive introvert, so outside of work, I don't socialize AT ALL ... but this does not mean that I'm antisocial. Far from it ... I quite enjoy volunteering for various community service groups.

Over the past 55 years, I've picked up trash for Texas Parks and Wildlife. I've been a Red Cross volunteer for disaster relief shelters (though my group was never activated). In Saudi Arabia during the 1st Gulf War, I was a volunteer baker for the USO. I'd buy $100 worth of baking supplies each week and would go to the U.S. base where I'd bake cookies ... peanut butter, chocolate chip, oatmeal, sugar etc. until all of my ingredients were gone. While in Saudi Arabia, I was also a volunteer host for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. I took members of our Armed Forces (including civilian DOD personnel) home for a holiday meal.

In Pennsylvania I was a volunteer firefighter. I went through state training in Harrisburg and served with a rural engine company until I threw out my knee during a carbon monoxide call. A woman's CO alarm went off and my partner and I donned masks with air packs. When we went down the stairs of her home to check the furnace, I found that she had stacked magazines on the steps and I stepped on a pile and started to fall.

In that brief instant I knew that I had a choice. I could fall forward onto my partner or I could throw myself at an angle and hit the wall. I hit the wall and twisted my knee in the process ... and surprise-surprise ... volunteers had NO HEALTH COVERAGE. In fact, volunteers had annual dues that we had to pay for the PRIVILEGE of serving our communities. Go figure.

In Arizona I've been a church videographer and have downloaded, edited, sequenced, and produced a welcome (to our Church) DVD for a United Methodist Church to give to visitors. I have also worked in a food bank.

I have been an active volunteer in several organizations but I don't have any friends and I have no social life outside of work.

As previously stated, I think you need to talk to your wife and to hash this out. I can't tell you where to draw the line because I don't know what your limits are. You have already noted that telling your wife no to really big things like Christmas and Thanksgiving would not be acceptable to her. As to what would be acceptable to her, I cannot say because I don't know her and other than the posts I've read, I really don't know you and what your personal limits are.

In terms of what your wife said about the volunteer fire department, I didn't volunteer to meet people. I volunteered because there was a day in June back in 2004 when my local department had to respond to 7 calls within a 24 hour period. I knew there were this many calls because before pagers were introduced, the borough would sound an emergency call using a civil defense siren.

I knew those guys had to be running ragged and so I went down and volunteered the next day. I took months to train me up but eventually I became an assistant nozzleman i.e. the guy behind the one with the hose. As the assistant nozzleman, it was my job to help brace the guy in front of me because the water pressure coming through a fire hose can be quite strong, ranging between 8 and 20 bar (800 and 2,000 kpa or 116 and 290 psi) ... basically strong enough to knock a grown man off his feet unless he's braced and supported by another guy.

As a volunteer firefighter, not only did we respond to fire calls but we also responded to accidents. The things I've seen ... an ATV rider who went off a steep slope and impaled himself head first on a tree branch that went THROUGH his helmet ... a motorcycle accident in which a car hit a motorcycle, sending the rider headfirst into the pavement so hard that his helmet split and brain matter and blood were left in a messy 50 yard trail ... a car that lost control and rolled over, sending 3 passengers flying because they weren't wearing seat belts ... one was crushed by the car, the 2nd died in an ambulance on the scene of the accident, and the third we found in a creek ... her fall had been broken by willow saplings and we put her on a medical rescue helicopter to send her to Harrisburg (and I recall as we carried her on a stretcher that she clutched my wrist and begged me not to let her die) ... I remember all these things and more.

I treasured my time with the volunteer fire company because when all's said and done, if you live in a rural area, who will answer your call if there are no volunteers? Who will put out your fire? Who will use the jaws of life to wedge a broken car apart so we may safely extract you (or someone you care for) so you may be helped by the paramedics? Who will clean up the shattered glass and debris from a 3 car pile up that would otherwise be left on the road as a traffic hazard?

Volunteer service matters because the lives we save could be your own or someone you care for.

Plus it's really cool to ride in the engine truck with flashing lights and wailing sirens, watching civilians pull over (although some of the more stupid ones will BRAKE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU.

I remember my first fire call. The Captain always rode shotgun and he turned around in the front passenger seat and told me that he had 3 simple rules. The crew on board that engine all chorused, "We all come home. We all come home. We all come home."

Hot diggity but I miss that volunteer company.

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Daisy
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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Daisy » Tue Jul 26, 2016 8:06 pm

DC1346, You should be commended for all the volunteer work you've done. Hard to believe of an introvert. :idunno:

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DC1346
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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby DC1346 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:39 am

Daisy wrote:DC1346, You should be commended for all the volunteer work you've done. Hard to believe of an introvert. :idunno:


Thank you.

I am only introverted because I am autistic and due to this disability I am socially awkward. I lack the capacity to understand most types of body language and I have no understanding of sarcasm. I am also literal and have problems with figurative language especially if this involves emotion.

For example, if an angry person says, "I want to kill you," I will always assume that the threat is valid. I lack the capacity to differentiate between someone who is blowing off steam and someone who has genuinely threatened me. It is for this very reason that I have not seen or spoken to my sister in 48 years. The last time we spoke she told me that someday she will kill me. I have no reason to doubt her and have been waiting for an assassination attempt for nearly 5 decades.

Interacting with anyone outside a structured work environment is challenging. Since I regard all types of volunteer service as work, I can function as a volunteer as long as the service in question is structured because structure provides the expected and rules within which I can function.

As someone who is autistic, I function within structured environments by developing sophisticated scripts with which to face the world. For me my scripts work as a flowchart. For every anticipated outcome, I have a preprogrammed response. This allows me to role play the part of being the consummate chef instructor. I also role play being a volunteer host, a food bank worker, or fire fighter.

Sadly I have not yet figured out how to role play being myself. Without the constraints of work parameters, the possible input/output outcomes are almost infinitely varied and I cannot anticipate how any interaction will evolve.

To avoid this problem, I do not socialize outside of work or volunteer work environments.

langaan
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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby langaan » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:46 pm

well my wife and the kids are leaving this morning for the 6 hour driver to her moms. They will stay for a week, and they will go to the big camping (family reunion) on Saturday. I am at work, I feel guilty, but I keep telling myself that if I wasn't so busy at work ( its just terrible timing ) I would have gone.
But then I think, yea I would have gone, but how upset I would be. In the end , there still would have been no compromise. but then again maybe its a situation where I shouldn't expect compromise... gah

anyways, she is upset with me and disappointed. to add, with her bipolar and such she will have some nasty anxiety with the kids and all those people all week, which makes me feel even worse.

So how does a person compromise with someone who doesn't understand ?

Here's how compromising on some situations plays out in my head:

Let's say there's another family reunion next summer:
So she would "notify" me of when it is and without saying anything would just expect that I do what I need to do to arrange for me to be there when she says so. And if she has decided she is taking a week off to visit at the same time, well I should just know that I need to work that in too.
So, IF I had the opportunity to compromise, I would look at it like this:
Whats important to her?
well this is tuff, because if I asked her she would say its important I go for the week and she shouldn't even have to tell me that.
for me, I would say, how bout you go down for the week and I will come up for a Cpl nights during the actual reunion... to make an appearance and see everyone... then go back home and enjoy the house to myself for a Cpl days. That way it seems to me we compromise and both get what we want.
her response to this would be exactly this.... and she would be very condescending as she says this.. "so you want to waste $300 in fuel just to take 2 vehicles down there so you can leave early, and leave her and the kids there themselves during "our" family holiday?"


lets say its a discussion about this upcoming xmas. So how this works is, my wife, her dad and her mom all kinda just decide who when where and what is going on for xmas... and again.. I am to comply.
so lets say my wife tells me that for this year the plan is for us to go down there, and again she plans to take a few extra days off.
well, honey I would like to spend xmas on our own for once but I realize how important it is to you so how bout again I come down for just a few days and then head home? I could even bring the kids back with me so you have a few days to visit with you mom and sister with no kids...
her response will be "we're not taking 2 vehicles, and I cant visit my mom without the kids"
but honey, the kids will be there, they would just come home early with me...
"no, you either come or you don't. if you don't want to come we will go alone. is tha twhat you want? you want to spend xmas alone?" GRRRRR


if only she understood.

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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby langaan » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:48 pm

now again, im not trying to get out of these things, I realize its important and quite frankly if she would compromise with me I could go into these situations quite happily.

if I knew that this xmas would be a 3 day and 2 night visit with big meals and lots to do, followed by a 2 or 3 day rechardge at home alone... that would be PERFECT.

but if its a 7 day ordeal that I am forced to do just to comply with what everyone else wants... then I will be miserable during that week as well as all the weeks leading up to it.

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DC1346
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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby DC1346 » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:04 pm

langaan wrote:now again, im not trying to get out of these things, I realize its important and quite frankly if she would compromise with me I could go into these situations quite happily.

if I knew that this xmas would be a 3 day and 2 night visit with big meals and lots to do, followed by a 2 or 3 day rechardge at home alone... that would be PERFECT.

but if its a 7 day ordeal that I am forced to do just to comply with what everyone else wants... then I will be miserable during that week as well as all the weeks leading up to it.


And that is the perfect example of a compromise. You do the 3 day and 2 night visit and then you come home to recover. If your wife doesn't like it, take two cars otherwise guess what ... you're not compromising. You're giving in and she gets everything and you get nothing. Where's the fairness in that?

Think about what your end goal is before you talk to your wife. Be specific like you were with the Christmas plans.

Have you thought about seeing a marriage counselor if you're having problems with talking to her? If you go to church, you might not even need a marriage counselor. The two of you might talk to your priest or pastor.

The alternative of last resort is divorce but that's emotionally draining and it can lead to financial hardship due to legal fees and alimony. It will also restrict your access to your children since you probably wouldn't be living together. You should only consider divorce if you no longer love your wife and you can't make the marriage work despite your best efforts.

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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby AcousticPond » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:03 pm

Daisy wrote:My first marriage was to an extrovert, I was so unhappy I left him. I think you should be true to yourself, and not go to these functions to please your wife, as she doesn't seem to want to compromise with you. I'd say that I would draw the line at always having to give in to please others. :quiet!:


This was my life for 23 years. My ex was an extreme extrovert, and it was a constant battle between him and I over social issues. In his opinion, if I didn't want to get together with other people at least 3-4 times a week, there was 'something wrong' with me. For him, a small get-together was only around 10-12 people. Christmas at our house was a nightmare, with around 50-60 people coming and going over a 3-4 day period. I had no choice but to put up with it.

For much of the marriage, he worked on the road, so he'd be gone for days at a time, which gave me time to recuperate from the social madness. Five years before the marriage imploded, he got a promotion, which meant he was sitting in an office for 8 hours a day, and sitting at home the remainder of the time. I lost my time alone, and he had friends over far more frequently than before, which ended up affecting me physically. My home is my 'safe place', and I no longer had that. I'd come home after dealing with people all day to find my kitchen full up with a crowd who all wanted me to participate and talk to them for hours. After several years of this, I handed him divorce papers and walked out. It was the best move I'd ever made.

There was nothing 'wrong' with me, and there was really nothing 'wrong' with him. He only felt good when he was in a crowd, and I only ever felt good when I was alone. It was just a match made in hell.

For a relationship with an extrovert to work, they have to be willing to give you as much space as you need. It's a necessity. The problem is, the amount of alone time you need usually seems excessive to them, and many of them can't seem to understand why you need time alone in the first place. I've had people (family and friends) believe that 'time alone' meant spending time only with them, and they'd get hurt or offended when I really didn't want their company. They also have a hard time understanding that the more time we spend with people, the more time we need to recharge. It can become something of a battle. I've always believed that only an introvert can truly understand another introvert.

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Re: Where do you draw the line?

Postby Orientalist » Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:12 am

Extroverts (not introverts) are the problem!! :D
If the truth hurts, you ain't livin' right.


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