Family Visit Dilemma: Stay Away, I Need You

I am an epileptic introvert. Though I haven’t had a seizure in years, I know my trigger well, stress. And what is a viable source of stress for an introvert? Social encounters.

The fear my neurologist has, among other specialists, is having a seizure in my current condition. That would be very serious considering I would stop breathing briefly, my lips would turn blue, and no oxygen would be flowing to the child growing inside me.

We have things well under control through management of medication. However, management of social activities feels very much out of my hands. The promise of new life brings about numerous family and friend gatherings. A sarcastic response wishes to fly from my fingertips, but I can’t. Because I know why they plan to visit. They aren’t doing it because they don’t care for me, but how can I very well ask them to stay away? They come before Baby does and bring the stress of overwhelming stimulation–on demand responses expected during face-to-face encounters when I’m already a little mental-lapsed due to one-half, or so, of my blood being contributed to another individual inside of me.

I expect I will welcome their support once Baby is here. In fact, I’d always welcome their company…. Only that family, or long-term friends, have the potential to carry a lot of emotion into any conversation. They all have their triggers to make a light discussion carry severe gravity if you touch on their pet peeve, sensitive spot, or go for the jugular because you know what means the most to them. At which case, you go for the wounding because they said something off-handed regarding something that meant the most to you. Family is supportive and understanding, if only I could read them a little better. I may avoid excessive social interaction, but I am alive for social action; sociology is a hobby. I just wish I knew if I read people correctly. I think I increase my odds if I’m allowed, sometimes encouraged, to keep my peace in a group discussion. However, how could I be one of the group if I do not participate?

In Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, an interesting fact about extroverts is they are more times wrong than introverts are. However, they are the loudest in the group which guarantees their voices being heard. They speak with such confidence; how could anyone dream of second-guessing them? Because most people won’t. Maybe with that confidence, I could dive into a conversation and not over-analyze everything that was said; how had I misinterpreted them, how can I recover, what can I say that will show my view but not trample theirs at the same moment? I must keep my own passions in check. My mouth can get away from me and, before I know it, I’ve disregarded another person’s lifestyle and walked all over it in stabbing points of truth–or what I believe to be true–sharper than high heels.

I guess there is no light conversation for an introvert. Taking my dog for a walk, passing a stranger, and they greet me briefly–a smile and, “Hello.” I try for the smile and hope it isn’t too broad or too small. I don’t want to seem deprived of social exchanges, desperate for contact, but I also don’t want to appear standoffish (unless that is the mood storm I’m under that day). I said, “Hey,” and then I wonder if that was sufficient. They look like they were expecting something else. Did they want to proceed in conversation? I might see them on a walk another day; I don’t want them to have a permanent idea of my social prowess. No, what I described does not occur upon every brief encounter but provides a fair example of the most-focused social event, gathering all details into one meeting.

Analyzing can be good, useful, a necessary step in development, but as can be seen here, I abuse the task and it comes so naturally for me. Call me the over-analyzer. I’ll analyze it to death beyond recognition and that’s when revising my writing may lead to long-term suffering. Every work needs revision, yes, but I wish I could afford to pay someone else to do it–ask me what I meant when I typed this sentence or paragraph and then maybe we can find an agreeable re-wording together but, left to my own devices, I’ll slaughter it. I’ll do my best not to re-word this and send it out there–a test to see how well I express myself without placing my over-analyzer restriction filter on it. Specifics are best; they need to be released.

Finding myself in a tangent, I must recalculate my route back to where I had solved something of the imminent family visit. Family is a strong bond, I use those words in a fantasy, new adult novel I am currently working on, and I hadn’t expected the words to hold the guidance to my self-created hurdle. But, in the words I thought as I woke this morning–I cannot scare them away. I just know they’ll keep coming back. That is the strong part about the bond, isn’t it? I’ll be there for them as well. Love can nurture forgiveness and encompass understanding. As in, they may not understand what you are saying, how you are feeling (after all, you are a different human), but they understand that is who you are, and they’ll take you as they can get you.

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