How my classmate transformed my life

Postby Purple_Monkey » Sun Jul 24, 2016 7:27 pm

Hello! I am not sure if this topic is appropriate for this forum, however I just want to share my story.
I used to be a really weird, introverted and probably even slightly autistic girl. I always played by my own and didn't even tried to make any friends. I was very quite most of the time, however sometime I became really agressive with no appropriate reasons. School was a real Hell for me, since I used to be constantly bullied by my classmates. I felt completely missunderstood and hated almost everyone. I wasn't any good at study, since I really lacked concentration. I spent most of the time constructing fantasy stories and creating my "own worlds".
Once the teacher put me in one desk with the girl, who was my complete opposite. She was one of the most popular girls in our class, very active, communicative and had a lot of friends. At first she wasn't happy about this, however she didn't have any problems with me in the year, when we used to share a desk. Sometimes she talked to me and unlike my other classmates she treated me just like a normal person, not like a freak or mentally ill.
Next year we didn't share a desk, but we still kept interactingwith each other. She also became really protective towards me and when some of my classmates bullied me she tried to stop them and almost all of her friends also started to support me instead of bullying. I finally stopped feeling like whole world was against me. Sometimes she even helped me with my study and was very patient. Once teacher asked her to form a team for literature "Brain Ring" and she invited me. I was really surprised.
-Are you sure, - I asked her ,- I am not any good in this.
-But you are ,- answered she.
And she was right. That time I answered really good and got a lot of points to my team. Afterwards I took parts in a lot of different contests and performed really successfully. My relationships with classmates dramatically changed. That year I became one of the best student in my class and made some new friends. Some teachers even said that they barely recognized me and it's really surpissing, how can someone changed so quickly. The rest of my school years I was just a happy teenage girl. I was a really good at study and often helped my classmates and they also helped me with my socialization.
Now things are still that easy and I still have a lot some problems interacting with people. However I'll never forget the classmate, who completely transformed my life. I don't where I'd be now without her. Probably I would kill myself or become a murderer with all those hatred I used to have. You don't have to be a super hero, but your unindifference can make a real miracle.
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#1

Postby 2scents » Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:31 am

Purple_Monkey wrote: You don't have to be a super hero, but your unindifference can make a real miracle.


That's awesome....how long has it been since these days in this grade? It's a great sensation to honor someone like you did.
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#2

Postby Purple_Monkey » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:18 pm

Thank you, 2scents. It has been 7 years since I left school. I used to be an outsider in childhood, but my life has dramatically changed, when I was 12-13 y.o. I can't even blame my classmates, because things used to be the same in any peer's collective. I really had some serious problems.

In fact, when I was a child, most of my acquaintances found me mentally ill. My teacher in kindergarten told my parents, that I was mentally retarded and would not be able to learn in a regular school. However she wasn't right. Actually, I was good at math and scored high on IQ test. I was cold and emotionless, but in fact I constantly felt deeply rejected, and misunderstood. My classmate was the first, who treated me just like a normal person and tried to understand me. At that time it was a real miracle and caused a profound change in me and my relationships with people.

Now I am 24 and work, as a computer programmer. I still have a lot of things to work on, however it is nothing compared to what it used to be.
Please, excuse my errors, since English is not my native language.
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#3

Postby gavinfg » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:48 pm

It is pleased to hear the transformation.
Introvert is not a crime but the society has norms against it :(
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#4

Postby Purple_Monkey » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:03 pm

gavinfg, yes it is difficult to be different, especially in the children's collective.

I think it is actually impossible to become extroverted, if you are an introvert. It is just the way you were born. I prefer to have just a few close friends and feel really uncomfortable in large groups of people.

However, it is really possible to adopt some social skills. I really have a lot of oddities, but learned to appear more normal. For example, now I can make an eye contact, what I never used to do till 19 y.o. I also have some type of obsessive movements, like shaking my hands, rocking body e.t.c. and now I mostly control them, however when I was a child I did it in front of people and looked pretty odd. I often misunderstood people and someone's harmless joke could be easily mistaken for aggression. Now I have much more understanding of social situations and appropriate behavior.

The most thing my classmate did for me, is that she really changed my attitude to people and to the world in general and helped me to become more open minded and get rid of all those hatred and aggression I stored inside me for a long time. The truth was that I used to hate everyone so much, that really understood the boy who organized mass shooting in his school, because of being bullied by his classmates. Futhermore, she made my classmates undertstood, that someone who looks and behaves a bit freaky, can be just a person like everyone else. Sometimes you should give person a chance before labeling.
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#5

Postby Julia Stretton » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:21 pm

Purple_Monkey wrote:I think it is actually impossible to become extroverted, if you are an introvert. It is just the way you were born. I prefer to have just a few close friends and feel really uncomfortable in large groups of people.


Just because you have acquired this belief as a result of your experiences doesn't make it a fact. Why would anyone be born an introvert or extrovert, without any exterior influences that could have created this condition? You are what you want to be. If you feel shy around other people, and you want to change it, there are ways and means to do so. It will most likely require practice and hard work, but there shouldn't be any reason why you wouldn't reach a stage at some point where you feel completely comfortable around any amount of people.

Obviously, if you currently only feel comfortable sitting with a few of your friends, you don't want to be visiting a fully packed stadium to start out with. You try out smaller gatherings first, and then you work your way up. It is only the victim mentality that creates the belief which tells you you can't do it. But once you realise that these are just excuses, and that introversion or extroversion has nothing to do with genetics, you are ready to take the first step. is that what you want? If yes, I suggest that you go for it. But if you are happy living a secluded life where social encounters are kept to a minimum, there won't be any need to change anything, and you can carry on justifying your behaviour in any way you want.
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#6

Postby Julia Stretton » Thu Jul 28, 2016 11:47 pm

Actually, I have just done some reading and there does seem to be at least some hereditary component involved. But nevertheless, it also appears that character traits such as introversion can be changed, if someone is willing to do so.

The article concludes with the words

[...] people appear capable of altering personality traits if they are motivated to do so and take part in psychological interventions that can help with the change process.

So spare a thought for what you would like to change about your own personality. Saying "I can't help myself" may not be a valid excuse after all.


While you may never become the great speaker who is capable of inspiring millions (and I doubt you have that in mind, anyway), progress can indeed be achieved, which can then become a decisive factor for the motivation needed to take the next steps.
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#7

Postby JuliusFawcett » Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:21 am

love dissolves hate
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#8

Postby Purple_Monkey » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:11 am

Julia Stretton wrote:If you feel shy around other people, and you want to change it, there are ways and means to do so. It will most likely require practice and hard work, but there shouldn't be any reason why you wouldn't reach a stage at some point where you feel completely comfortable around any amount of people.

It seems like you are talking about two different things. Being introverted and being sociophobic(shy) is not the same. In fact, people with sociophobia can be either introverted, or extroverted, but they limit their social life, because of their fear and social anxiety. However, introverted person just don't need that much of comunication, but they are not even necessarily shy or sociophobic. It is determined by the type of nervous system you were born with. Big noisy crowds stimulate extroverted people, however introlverts get tired of communication really quickly and should always have the opportunity to spend some time alone. Elsewhere, communication overload can lead to severe nervous breakdown, at least in my case thing is like that. In fact, you just have to understand your type of nervous system and try to optimize your life according to that. However, as I said I try to work on my social skills and shyness. I used to be really sociophobic, but now my social anxiety mostly gone and I can do a lot of things that I couldn't do before because of my fears, like visiting shops, caffes, cinemas, making calls to people I barely know e.t.c.

Julia Stretton wrote:Obviously, if you currently only feel comfortable sitting with a few of your friends, you don't want to be visiting a fully packed stadium to start out with. You try out smaller gatherings first, and then you work your way up.

Ok, now things are not like I am afraid of gathering. I can visit cinema, if I like the movie and I even enjoy some types of group activities. For example, I am into board games. However, I don't like conversation in a large group of people. I visit them enough to understand, that it is not for me. I can recieve everithing I really need in one by one conversation, but chating in a big crowds give me completely nothing, but feeling tired and exhausted. As I said, what really important for me is to have just a few really good friends. The time in high school when I used to have two close friends was just perfect for me.
Julia Stretton wrote:But if you are happy living a secluded life where social encounters are kept to a minimum, there won't be any need to change anything, and you can carry on justifying your behaviour in any way you want.

Ok. Can you tell me, why do I have to justify myself at all? Am I hurting someone to have a need of justifying my behaviour? I have all rights to be just the way I am. There is no way that introverts any worse, they are just different.
And in fact, introverts are not always have a boring life, because spending time alone with their hobies can make introverts a lot happier, than interacting in a large group of people. In my opinion, eveyone should just acccept that everyone can be different. And everyone has right to be odd in their own way, until it doesn't hurt others. ,
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#9

Postby Purple_Monkey » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:36 am

Julia Stretton wrote:Actually, I have just done some reading and there does seem to be at least some hereditary component involved. But nevertheless, it also appears that character traits such as introversion can be changed, if someone is willing to do so.

The article concludes with the words

[...] people appear capable of altering personality traits if they are motivated to do so and take part in psychological interventions that can help with the change process.

So spare a thought for what you would like to change about your own personality. Saying "I can't help myself" may not be a valid excuse after all.


Thank you, I've read the article. I think it is mostly about "false" introverts, who became like this because of some conditions, like sociophobia, depresion or trauma. People like this can score
higher by introvertion scale, but they can change themselves fitting their social fears and addopting some social skills. However, as I said earlier extrovert's lifestyle it is just a perfect hell for "true"introverts, because it will just lead to communication overload and nerous breakdown, because there nervous system is just not designed for that much communication. However, I agree that communication trainings are really useful. I tooke part in a few such trainings and they really helped me a lot at fighting my anxiety, making eye contact, understanding unverbal language e.t.c.
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#10

Postby Julia Stretton » Sat Jul 30, 2016 12:23 pm

Ok, I never realised that there were different conditions that prevented people from interacting with the outside world. I can understand that to some extent when i look at myself, and my own unwillingness to be around lots of people. I had always assumed that it was due to social anxiety which I needed to overcome, and while that is true to some extent, there is probably also a large part of me who simply doesn't want to be exposed to the kind of shallowness and delusions that many people subject themselves to, and which will be particularly apparent in large crowds. I obviously didn't mean to offend, and I hope you didn't take it that way. In case any offence was caused, I apologise.

Thanks for your clarification.
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#11

Postby Purple_Monkey » Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:52 pm

Julia, I am not offended at all, everithing is completely OK. I'm agree with you in a lot of sense. We should constantly work on ourselves. And you are the only person, who can make you unhappy. In some periods of my life I used to be really sociophobic. I visited some sorts of trainings and worked with pcychologist. As I said I achieved a really big progress, comparing to what I used to be, whoever have a lot a lot of things to work on. And yes, I still have a little of social anxiety, however it is not my only problem, when I try to comunicate in a large group. I really have a lack of empathy and so called "emotional intellect" and have problems with understanding people's emotions and unverbal language. When i visited training I was tald that I have to learn a lot of things that most people just get on an intuitive level(for example, eye contact).

In fact, when I am in a group I don't share others feelings and emotions e.t.c. and just "stay on my own wave " . It seem's like even being with people, but on the same time I am not here and there. Do you understand, what I mean? So I mostly not involved. When I try to take part and say something it is mostly appeare not appropriate for the situation.Also, I think I must have some problems with sence of humor, through I don't understand most of
jokes, that everyone found funny. However in a small group or in one by one comunication it is much more easier for me to concentrate and stay involved.

I might asume that I might just have not enogh skills to enjoy commucnication in large groups. However, as I said previously, currently it gives me nothing but felling tired.
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#12

Postby JuliusFawcett » Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:29 pm

Extroverts gain energy by being the centre of attention in larger groups, introverts tend to gain energy from more time alone. Neither is better or worse, and we can change, we are always changing. It is fun however, to accept where you are in the moment.
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