When dealing with pain and to cope with pain, introverts often recharge by spending time on their own. Pain, as well as their tendency to think deeply, may lead them to overthinking just as much as mindfulness or contemplation.
It can be fascinating to observe how different personality types adapt and/or react to the events in their life, both positive and negative.
Specifically, in this brief post we’ll have a look at how introverts deal with pain, and why. But first, here’s the definition of “introversion” in psychology.
Introverts vs extroverts
We all have a basic understanding of the two terms — introverts are the quiet, reserved ones, and extroverts are the talkative, outspoken ones.
Now, psychologically, the behavior and traits of each are simply the manifestation of one fundamental quality — the direction of their psychic energy.
Which may sound complicated, but it isn’t. If you think of psychic energy as the mind, and its direction as what the mind focuses on, you know what introversion and extroversion are.
By the way, the terms simply indicate a certain position in the spectrum. You can’t be 100 percent introvert, or extrovert. You can, however, be predominantly one or the other.
- Introverts tend to direct their psychic energy toward the subject (their own inner world, thoughts, sensations, interpretation of events, etc.)
- Extroverts tend to direct their psychic energy toward objects (the outside world as it is, sensations and feelings as they are)
To clarify, it’s not like introverts are detached from the external world — more like, they form ideas based on their own impressions of it.
Also, introverts tend to think slowly, but deeply. Again, this is because all impressions and perceptions of the world have to first be processed, consciously or unconsciously, by their mind.
Dealing with pain as an introvert
When there is pain, you would expect the average introvert to keep things to themselves, and to not always show their emotions. And you’d be right.
Besides their tendency to think deeply (which can actually lead to overthinking — we’ll see this in a minute), introverts are quite private and don’t always want others to know what’s going on in their life.
Now, this type of behavior can be both a blessing and a curse. If nobody is aware of your pain, that makes you more independent and less vulnerable.
On the other hand, who is going to help you, or give you advice? Who is going to smile, support you, tell you you’re amazing? Or perhaps help you take life less seriously?
Introverts may not show or communicate their pain, or whatever difficult phase they may be going through in their life, but it’s there, and it hurts.
This is one more reason for introverts to open up and communicate, when appropriate; and for everyone else to never label them, and never assume what their feelings are just because they are so quiet.
How introverts deal with pain
Here are five common reactions of introverts when they deal with pain in their life. Note that all five behaviors have one thing in common — pre-existing traits taken to an extreme.
Well, hopefully not to an actual extreme. Let’s just say that when there is inner tension, introverts can become a bit too introverted, and extroverts a bit too extroverted.
When dealing with pain, introverts can…
1. Crave solitude to recharge
For some introverts, silence and solitude can be compared to food. They nourish their soul; they literally give them energy. This can be difficult to understand for extroverts.
When dealing with pain, it is likely that introverts will need to recharge even more. Sometimes it’ll be a two-hour conversation with a close friend; sometimes they’ll just be on their own.
2. Avoid stimulation and distractions
Not all introverts are highly sensitive, but most highly sensitive people are introverted. And in general, introverts don’t really like noise or mindless distractions.
So when they deal with pain in their life, they may feel the need to keep distractions to a minimum. “Distractions” could mean anything from loud noises to parties or crowded spaces.
3. Value independence a bit too much
Introverts, especially judging types, tend to be self-reliant and dislike the thought of having to rely on others.
Now, when dealing with pain or a difficult phase in their life, this trait can be exacerbated to the point where the introvert refuses the very thing that would help them — support and advice.
4. Overthink, then overthink again
We have seen how introverts process information slowly, and “think” slower as well. Nothing wrong with that.
The issue is that there is often a fine line between deep thinking and overthinking, and when dealing with pain, the introvert may end up thinking in circles, stuck in their own mind.
5. Meditate and be mindful
Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting in silence and focusing on your breath for an hour. Mindfulness doesn’t have to be pure contemplation.
Unknowingly, some introverts will turn to meditative practices or hobbies when they are dealing with pain. This could be anything from long walks in nature, to reading, to simply doing nothing.
The way we react to unexpected situations, negative events, and challenging times can tell a lot about our personality.
Pain sucks. Nobody would ever consciously choose to experience pain. Yet “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and pain can indeed be transformed into growth.
When dealing with pain, introverts can tap into precious resources that other personality types may not have.
Deep thinking, independence, perseverance, individuality, imagination and creativity… to name a few.
Introverts, just like extroverts, have many strengths. Pain can be the blessing in disguise that makes those strengths emerge and make introverts not just stronger, but wiser and happier in the long run as well.