Introspection and Extrospection…

Over the past few days, I have had the thought to write a blog about these two definitions.  It’s not because I’m some language buff, but because they both have played a significant role in my life, as well as my exodus from my X-monster. Others can call this “ruminating”, which also fits (embarrassingly). Either way, it’s a great skill to learn which can also be quite painful. I’ll explain later.

I was going to counseling last year and sadly, I had to quit going due to finances. My counselor is a wonderful person, though I’m not sure if she could help me in the long run. Everything I would go through and learn in the months after, have been due to the art of “Introspection and Extrospection“, and speaking with everyone here…others who have gone through EXACTLY (it’s so precise, it’s amazing) as I have. I just don’t know if she would have been able to, as I figure out things and learn on my own. It sounds haughty and egotistical, I know. It’s not that at all. It’s my natural inclination.In a few of our sessions, I would explain the things I had learned the previous few weeks about myself, and she would look dumbfounded, smiling, and exclaim, “What you have learned in such a short time, would normally take me MONTHS to bring out in a person. I’ve never known anyone like you”. It’s not an ego-boost. It was more of an eye-opener for me. Most people (I assume) haven’t learned this art. I have, by some unknown desire to fully understand. The thing is, it’s what I’ve learned as I’m walking through life, noticing my internal and external reactions to certain scenarios or ‘happenings’. I notice my own natural reactions to things, then I ask the question, “why am I reacting this way?” Next, I continue mulling over the previous events until I have analyzed them into a neatly formed parallel. I get it. I understand the why’s and what for’s. The next step is figuring out if the reaction is normal or unbalanced. If it’s unbalanced, I try making steps to correct it. If the reactions place me in harms way, I walk away from the situation, entirely.

Much of what I went through with my X, could have and SHOULD have been avoided…like the plague he IS. You see, I noticed what he was causing to erupt inside of me. The fear, the turmoil…the FEAR…and lastly, the absolute confusion, which I am still moving out of. Did I mention the FEAR?!

I remember a phrase that my dad used, while he and I were talking one day. “…You can’t see the forest for the trees”.

At first that phrase really struck a chord with me, though I really didn’t understand it. As I am well known for, I began picking it apart. I was able to paraphrase it into a more understandable definition… The ‘forest’ represents the BIG picture. The trees represent everything going on around you, what you are dealing with, personally, in your life. What happens when you are in a literal forest? All you see are the trees. You have no way of completely knowing just how LARGE the forest is…until you walk a significant distance away from it, and can see the vast expanse it is! Life… A whole myriad of trees, and only one BIGGER picture. How do you place yourself outside of the forest to see it?

Not many people will come up to you with an eye-opening statement that will tell you the situation you are in, is dangerous and stupid. We might have a few very close friends who are not afraid to be that open with us. The fact is, most won’t because they don’t want us being angry with THEM! Who’s left to tell the difficult stories and facts? Just us.

Please bear with me, here. I’ve never put this process in writing before, so it’s a little difficult…

It begins with noticing the (as it pertains to a toxic relationship) internal pang; the nerves going into overdrive in an instant. Introspection is allowing yourself to notice it, and work to understand it. Anxiety, feeling afraid or anxious. It’s indescribable and undeniable, but begs to be recognized and understood. “Why do I feel like this? It’s awful, uncomfortable and excruciating.  Well, I felt that way…it’s anxiety, I think. What caused it?” Then you think about the moments, prior… From the outside looking IN… Extrospection: You remember the instant that he verbally demeaned you…made you feel like the slut…insignificant…or flat out YELLED at you for absolutely NOTHING related to that moment. Nothing real, nothing from any base in reality, but you suffer for it. Extrospection lets you realize that what he is doing is abusive, and he’s psychologically controlling you. It’s everything that other’s should say to you, but are unable because you’ve all but shut your friends and family out of your life. Extrospection also allows you the ability to understand the why’s of HIS behavior! Why he’s chosen to treat you “that” way. You can see the forest because you’ve developed the ability to look at your situation as if through someone else’s eyes. That’s what I was able to do from the beginning.

The problem here is that, as I did in a new relationship, you second guess what you KNOW TO BE TRUE! Because, after all, he’s sweet, caring, understanding, a complete gentleman, yadda friggen yadda… It’s here that the art you have learned is placed on the back-burner. Know, however, the skill DOES become second nature if you practice it on a regular basis. I practiced it as a young child, on through adulthood. It was CONSTANTLY echoing in my ears (more like screaming), and eventually I was forced to pay attention. Introspection is almost a twin to conscience. It makes you a better YOU. Extrospection allows you to protect yourself from harm, by allowing you to see the big picture.

Introspection allows you to understand the wrong behaviors and reactions of your gut that you have. Extrospection allows you to recognize a situation or scenario that is harmful (or beneficial) to you. The two together allow for FULL understanding of the situation or scenario.

The trick is, to listen. Follow-through with what your instincts are saying to you. If your gut is in “fight or flight” mode…LISTEN! Its there for a reason. You don’t understand it? Can’t believe that you actually might be right?? Trust me, trust yourself, trust your gut…

YOUR ARE UNEQUIVOCALLY, 100% CORRECT!!!

Introspection: (dictionary.com)

observation or examination of one’s own mental and emotional state, mental processes, etc.; the act of looking within oneself.

Extrospection: (dictionary.com)
the consideration and observation of things external to the self; examination and study of externals.
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10 thoughts on “Introspection and Extrospection…

  1. I’ll never forget the look on one counselor’s face when I told her I’d been angry, and stepped back to ask myself why. She gaped. “You self-analyze.” I shrugged. “Doesn’t everyone?” “No.” The majority of people do not spend time with introspection. I think as survivors it’s one of the tools we develop because of the contradictory messages forced on us. When we learn to trust ourselves, it’s amazing what we are able to accomplish. Great post!

    1. Here again, someone else can relate!! Wow! It’s something I have always thought made me “odd”. To a fellow weirdo…GREAT response 😀

      Learning to trust ourselves…something that amazes me… we analyze ourselves, and learn to believe what we have learned…unless an abuser is in the picture. Why (I do this, but I’m not sure if you experience it, too) is it, when someone who is abusive is in the ‘picture’, do we second-guess what we know?? All the time analyzing ourselves comes back with a “Yeah, but…” . All it does is create more damage.

      1. I second guess myself because I was taught from a very young age I was always wrong. So I have to work through the lie first. Also, abusers are pathological liars, so they’ve had a lot of practice lying and sounding convincing. They would never second guess themselves, while we like to make sure we’re right. It isn’t a bad thing, until it’s used to manipulate us.

        1. I hadn’t looked at it that way. I was also made to believe I was always wrong in one way or another. “…we like to make sure we’re right.” I think making sure we’re right, is something that we don’t just “trust”. It’s almost as if we have to prove it to ourselves, first, without question. In the meantime, we don’t want to be wrong, further, so we behave (or allow others to behave) accordingly. That’s exactly why it took me months to be able to call the monster as he IS…the monster. I didn’t want to be wrong in my judgment of him, his abuse, or even the decision in breaking up with him. Wouldn’t life be so much easier if we just trusted ourselves and our first instincts, without question? learning to do just that, will be tough..but do-able (I hope).

          1. After living a life of DISTRUST in ourselves, it’s going to be a long hard trek to actually allow that for ourselves. I believe what has been conditioned in us, can be undone. it begins with recognizing and understanding each trigger, each step that must be taken and following through in changing things. It’s going to be a day by day, step by step endeavor, but will (i believe) become easier as the trust builds and we relearn our natural (for a time) reactions. Shelling-up in the face of “–” (name your triggers here) needs to be seen at that point in time, and decidedly changed in an instant. Its difficult (down right HARD) to do, as we might not recognize those times at first. As we practice this, it should become easier.

            I’m not sure if I’ll just instinctively trust myself, either, but any step toward a better future is a great, important one. Standing up for myself is becoming easier. It’s a hard decision every time, as my natural inclination is to remain quiet. It’s uncomfortable to express my displeasure in how I am spoken to, or treated. The more I do, I recognize how much easier it is to push through the hard moments.

            You’ll make it, as I will, too.

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    1. I’m sorry, I only just found your comment. I assume your presentation has already been handed in. If not, or if you have questions, I would be happy to help.

      How can I help you? Extrospection is similar to retrospection. They both require you to view things from ouside of your regular viewpoint, in order to see how something affects a particular outcome.

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