Extravert/ introvert

Robin Robertson asserts that after reading his account “The reader should be able to say with some confidence whether he or she is an introvert or an extravert, and probably be able to identify the attitudes of many others who are significant”. I can’t, actually. I don’t have a clue. Have I understood?

One type of person instinctively draws back when the world approaches him or her, another instinctively reaches out toward the world… Though we are all able to pick either of the two approaches when the situation demands it, we vastly prefer one or the other.

Extraverts may be unaware of their inner world. They can never get enough experience of the outer world to satisfy them.

Introverts prefer their own company. They are more interested in their inner world than the outer world. They need to know the Rules before they may function comfortably in the outer world.

The “inferior function”- extraversion in an introvert, and vice versa- is our gateway to the unconscious, the source of everything which is magical and wonderful in life. It has all the energy which has been diverted to the unconscious whenever consciousness was unable to deal with something.

-A paraphrase of Robin Robertson.

So, which might I be? I love to perform, and I have always loved to perform, and here I am, secluded away in my living room most of the time, in my solitary pursuits. My physical exercise is either solitary- cycling and walking- or individual in karate. I need the company of others, though less so than when younger. A balance of both, as Robertson says: a few are at the edge of the bell-curve, but most are a mixture, though with a stronger or weaker preference to one or the other.

It is what he says about the “inferior function” which makes me think I am introverted. Picture us hippies away at camp, “making community”, a nice, safe space where we may be happy with our own kind of people. Tim brought us into an Awareness of the world, which I named Presence to myself, and have sought since. That complete sense of being in the outer world and shutting off the Monkey Mind seemed like a spiritual way of being. That would make me introverted, but extraversion, when I access it, is my way into the Unconscious.

Freud saw introverts as narcissistic. Jung, with more sympathy for both, realised that narcissism exists, but not everyone who spends as much time navel-gazing as I do is narcissistic: they may simply be introverted. That is a relief. Narcissism is Bad, and I am pleased to be absolved from its taint. And all the introspection I have done has been necessary to my self-discovery and self-acceptance, and to address the question of what sex I am. I have not found that question as easy as most people do. This is particularly introvert: in a conversation, I had to remind myself- ‘Andrew is talking about his stuff now. This is the time I ought to Listen.’

2 thoughts on “Extravert/ introvert

  1. Great post, Clare. Yes, I think there is a difference between narcissism and introversion and your examples are quite clear here. Being able to listen as someone shares from their heart is a true indicator that the listener is not narcissistic. I like that. – Cathy


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