Confusion about the Introvert & Extravert HSP
This is a discussion from Elaine Aron's blog in Psychology Today about Susan Cain's new book: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking. Elaine thinks ( and I agree) that Cain is actually talking about HSPs ....not the introvert in the general population ....
By the way, Susan Cain attended the 2005 HSP Gathering Retreat at Walker Creek Ranch and wrote a delightful review of her experience on pages 133, 134 and 152.
Here is the link to Elaine's Psychology today blog: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/att ... y/comments
And here is my post in the comment section
How thoughtful of you to remember and speak up for we extraverted HSPs. I agree there is much confusion about the terms introversion and extraversion….especially as these terms are defined and used in the dominate culture versus the meaning Carl Jung assigned to them.
As an extraverted, high sensation seeking HSP, I can and do get my sense of energy renewed (Myers Briggs terminology here) by putting my thoughts and ideas “outward.” This does not mean I like large parties or that I am overly social (the stereotyped example of extraversion.) However, (unlike my youthful extraversion pursuits,) it is important to add that as an “empowered HSP” I carefully discern which types of environments I choose to put my thoughts and ideas “out.” (I also believe it is possible to be an introvert, high sensation seeking HSP as well…but that’s another article.)
However ~ and here is the important distinction ~ because of the genetic HSP trait .. even though I am an extravert, I must also retreat in order to recover from the over stimulation of the external world. Thus it is not surprising when taking the Introversion-Extraversion assessment on page 13 of Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, that I could easily be mistaken as a true (?) ~according to Susan~ introvert. Why? Because, according to her assessment, yes, I prefer: one-one one conversations; enjoy solitude; seem to care less than my peers about wealth, fame and status; dislike small talk; enjoy work that allows me to dive in with few interruptions; feel drained after being out and about, even if I’ve enjoyed myself; often let calls go to voicemail; and prefer weekends with nothing to do rather than one with too many things scheduled. But yet, as confusing as that may seem, I am an extravert, high sensation seeking HSP. Perhaps a brief look into the Myers Briggs Personality Assessment can help explain this seeming contradiction.
As a HSP professional counselor who has been certified to utilize the Myers Briggs Assessment since 1991, it is easy to understand Cain’s confusion about introversion, extraversion and the HSP trait. When interpreting one’s MBTI type, it is important to overlay the HSP trait in order to get a more thorough understanding of type, extraversion, introversion. This helps us grow toward what Carl Jung called "full type individuation" ~ or learning to use all the MBTI preferences in service to our authentic self which is necessary for our own spiritual and psychological development.
So how are HSP introverts and extraverts different? The main difference I have been able to distinguish is that we extraverts have a much easier time transitioning between the two spectrums. We can be ‘out’ and we can be ‘in’ ~~ thus choosing to when to extravert and when to introvert~ as if these terms were verbs and not nouns.
I have learned from my work with HSPs that many introverts, can find it difficult or anxiety producing to ‘extravert’ ~ i.e., put their thoughts, feelings & ideas out ~ especially if coming from painful or dysfunctional childhood environments which did not value their perceptions or feelings. However, that does not mean introverted HSPs cannot and do not ‘extravert’ when in safe environments talking about subjects which are meaningful to them.
Such a safe environment can be found at the HSP Gathering Retreats which I happy to say, we co-founded back in 2001. By the end of the fourth day at the HSP Gatherings, it is truly difficult to distinguish between the HSP introverts or extraverts! And, unlike the ‘myth’ that HSPs don’t like small-talk – that is exactly what they are doing on day four ~ chit chatting away ~ however ~ engaging in this ‘small talk’ is only after they have had the chance to be authentic and share a deeper part of themselves through meaningful and sometimes structured conversations first.
By the way, Susan Cain attended a HSP Gathering Retreat back in 2005 and gave a delightful review of her experience there on pages 133, 134 and 152. Thank you Susan. …
Finally, for those interested, here is a link to an article I wrote called “An Insider View of the Extravert High Sensation Seeking HSP.” http://lifeworkshelp.com/newsletter/8/A ... ngHSP.html
I think it sheds even more light on this often confusing subject.
With gratitude to you Elaine for your dedication and support of we HSPs,