Picking My Battles With Social Topics

I know people who are very much entrenched in a lot of social topics. I personally don’t really make a point of entrenching myself in too many.

Much of which has a lot to do with my last post and here’s why: Because of my (unfortunate) knack for internalizing a lot of negative emotion and energy from people, situations, etc… I pick and choose my social topics quite carefully. I also pick my “audience” quite carefully. And on top of that I pick my interactions very, very carefully. Some people thrive off of a lot of conflict and confrontation, heated debate and highly charged interactions surrounding a lot of social topics. I do not. Part of this is because of being introverted. Too much stimulation can be very hard for introverts and a lot of those kinds of interactions can cause a rather large amount of stimulation in a very rapid-fire manner, leaving us floundering at times. Sure, there are some topics that people like me can work very easily with. But they are chosen. They very carefully chosen.

It’s not a willy-nilly kind of thing. There is no “just ’cause” reasoning for it. It’s a calculated thing. And sometimes we even calculate to not engage in it if a less than desirable situation arises. Some people are just not the kinds of people we like to engage with on heated topics. Now, some people may look at me and feel like I am ignorant on a lot of topics. Indeed I am. I will not say I’m not. I choose to be reasonably ignorant on some topics for a lot of personal reasons. Much of which stem from my last post. Some topics are just too much for me to handle sometimes.

Some topics are things I delve into rather slowly and sporadically. I actively avoid topics like politics. Especially with most of the people I know.

I will listen and attempt to take in as much as I can from those around me, but often because of the rapid-fire style in which a lot of people discuss these things, it becomes very overwhelming. My brain latches onto a particular thing that triggers a connection to some other similar topic or thought and it will want to stay with that one thing, which everyone else easily moves from topic to topic and back again. Now, I’m not unable at all times to follow random tangents. I sometimes go off on my own and manage to come on back just fine, depending on the topics. If it’s really just casual conversation rather than some kind of heated debate, or more in-depth topic then I am pretty capable since it doesn’t take as much overt thought on my part.

I have felt often enough a physical reaction to heightened emotional states based around certain things. I’ve explained it to a handful of people over the years, and the consensus is usually the same. I get an elevated blood pressure, and I start feeling a pain and/or tingling in my chest and left arm. Lots of things have triggered this reaction, and occasionally it still gets triggered. Not nearly as much as it used to, however. Which to me is a good sign that I’m doing something right for myself.

The general consensus (no, I’ve not spoken to a doctor about this specifically yet) is that it very well could be some kind of heart thing, or stroke, some such similar thing. I’ve learned to read my body quite well and I do keep an eye out for this kind of thing happening for any reason whatsoever. There is also a history of stroke in the women in my family. My mother, and my grandmother have had many tiny/small strokes. My mother had her biggest one my senior year of high school. She’s had small ones since. My doctors do know about this family history, but seem to have no overt concern for my health in relation to this particular family medical history. All the same, I do keep a close eye on myself during physical activity as well as highly emotional experiences.

Though, I am curious to get the opinion of a medical professional or three at some point. I just haven’t remembered in the moment of being AT the doctor for one of my usual scheduled check ups. I will find out eventually.

Anywho. This ties in because there are quite a few times when I’ve let myself become involved in some kind of heated and emotional exchange with someone and had this physical reaction. Eventually I realized with the likelihood that it indeed might be connected to my family’s medical history I made a point of not allowing myself to be roped into such interactions with others, or even to expose myself to topics charged enough to cause such a reaction in me. And because of that, I do continue to be extremely selective in the kinds of things I research, or read up on, let alone discuss with others.

And yes, I am indeed extremely selective in whom I do allow myself to engage in many discussions/debates/conversations with because I know how that person is, and whether or not the person is capable of pushing me to that physical point. This physical reaction is the more obvious reaction that I can have to things/people. The less obvious is connected to my last post about internalization of emotional energy. (No, don’t go by the classic psych definition of “internalisation”.)

What many people in my life have called a “short temper” is actually an outward manifestation of the internal turmoil that I often end up dealing with because of the overwhelming energies that come from a lot of people, topics, politics, religion, beliefs, theories, situations…. Any number of things can cause me to be overwhelmed, and while some things are consistent, some are seemingly random and even I can’t predict how I’ll react. This very much ties into being an introvert. I one thought I knew what introvert meant… I had a vague idea, when it came down to it.

I’ve recently came across a couple of articles that basically put it into layman’s terms and it really hit home so much it amazed me. It explained so many things that it’s really opened my eyes even more about myself that I was only scratching the surface over on my own. It never really hit me to seek out information on introversion before. I will definitely be seeking it now. The “temper” that comes out because of frustration and being overwhelmed is something that I didn’t like. It was at times a reaction I couldn’t control because I didn’t understand or know why I was getting so upset. It happens far less these days because I am more aware.

Though, there are times when I do fall back into the habit of not paying as much attention to myself as I should, and not speaking up when I should about feelings that are cropping up. Even within my relationship with my husband I tend to fall into a false sense of “I’m ok” and I get lazy when it comes to really keeping tabs on my own emotional state. And we’ve seen that blow up enough times for me to once again attempt to keep better tabs. And to some extent I think it’s also become somewhat of an issue for my husband as well, so we’re working on being more communicative with ourselves as well as with each other.

Choosing to be somewhat lacking in the social topics area of my life is sometimes a bit embarrassing, but thankfully it seems like those closest to me seem to take it enough in stride. Those that just know me a bit more in the acquaintance arena are a little less forgiving. Which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest because a lot of people don’t think in terms of “many ways of being” and essentially project their “own way of being” onto those around them. I know that other people do things certain ways, and I do things differently. I guess one could say that a lot of people don’t see past the end of their own nose. Which is not surprising. In some ways, we’re very much not taught to. Even those people that are doing some kind of work to better the world, often don’t see past their own noses in regard to whatever work their doing. But I digress.

Many people don’t like the idea of others needing more time when it comes to topics, or ideas, or time to think something over before spitting out some kind of response. This can become frustrating for me because there are times when I need time to consider something someone’s said in order to formulate and articulate a response. The pressure of an instantly expected response often only hinders my ability to actually form one.


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Wife, student, new first time mother. Crafter and creator. Animal enthusiast. I had a miscarriage in March 2011. But we tried again. March, 2012 was the birth of my first child. Off and on I have been dabbling with small business, trying to get it off the ground since, every so often changing direction.

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