Updated: Feb 15, 2020
This was originally posted on March 24, 2017
I originally submitted this story at Quiet Revolution about a month ago after putting a lot of effort into my writing during my spare time both during school and at home. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive a reply back and it’s safe to assume that my story wasn’t good enough. But alas, I won’t let the time I spent writing this put to waste so here it is for me to share!
Being born and raised with an authoritarian dad, most of my personality was heavily shaped by him: I was treated in a strict and harsh manner as I became socially withdrawn and extremely quiet as a child.
During elementary school, I received counseling because I wasn’t speaking in class. It wasn’t that I couldn’t speak, it was just that I felt that I didn’t have the need to. I kept a lot of thoughts to myself—with my voice being silenced, my mind was used to listen. There wasn’t anything I did wrong to anyone; yet, it caused trouble with certain people and I was picked on for being different and weird.
In 5th grade, speaking was a requirement which was letter graded—getting myself to talk and participate in class was something I didn’t want to do. Although I grew comfortable sharing my weekend with the class every Monday, there weren’t any specific guidelines on how to get an A because of how society naturally favors extroverts over introverts.
During college, I eventually learned that forcing yourself to change from an extreme introvert to an extrovert was no easy task. Even though I enjoyed pushing myself by making video blogs about my personal life and acting as an extrovert for club activities, it quickly drained my energy as I became unhappy at the end of the day. I simply wanted to change myself for the behavior my dad has ingrained into me.
But I’ve later learned a truth:
“People change for two reasons: they have learned a lot or they have been hurt too many times.”
This was months after becoming severely depressed from the effects of authoritarian parenting as an adult. Being forced by my dad to do something extroverted such as getting anxiety for calling a stranger on the phone that you’re going to be late to an appointment, my dad truly didn’t know me at all after all these years.
Although I now identify myself as an ambivert after long periods of self-reflection and learning, it was my introversion that eventually helped me get through my depression. I’ve tried many ways to cope with it—counseling, advice from friends, writing blog posts online about my negative feelings. My mind was kept shut for so long because of my dad as my thoughts grew louder and stronger, becoming more dangerous in the process as it was about to affect people around me. But it all started with an idea—writing a novel to put these dangerous, developing thoughts inside something that can be used for creativity and imagination. It’s personally huge feat for me. And because of that, I’d rather think introversion is truly a gift of mine. Even though it was seen as a problem in the eyes of myself and others in the past, it was also the very thing that helped me fight my inner demons as well.
Though I’m still working on parts on myself slowly—my accidental rudeness, my subconscious fears of being criticized and punished—given to me by my dad, even though I was raised in a tyrannous fashion, even though my dad unknowingly turned me into an extreme introvert, just know that it’s possible to undo the negativities of yourself just as long as there is someone willing to help you recognize it and with given enough time and solitude to reflect upon yourself.
Try learning a new skill or hobby. It doesn’t have to be big but bring out something that can turn you slowly towards introversion or extroversion. But be careful not to become too ambiverted like me; you’ll end up wanting to work in different two careers: one introverted and one extroverted to balance out your ambiversion.
- Michael Leon
If you're interested in reading content like this, I highly recommend reading a book by Susan Cain, regardless of whether you're an introvert or extrovert:
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