Introversion is not something an introvert chooses; it’s a temperament that we’re born with. it’s a set of personality traits that we feel inside our own skin. Our introversion is much like our skin color. It’s a part of us, it can’t be changed or removed and we don’t want to change or remove it.
Most of the time extroverts are puzzled by why introverts shut down. why do we suddenly become a loner, withdraw and become motionless?
I have seen too many times where extroverts just can’t understand why introverts shut down for no reason at all…In this article, I will try to explain in a simple manner the reasons why an introvert may need to shut down.
Why Do Introverts Shut Down
There are three main reasons that cause an introvert to shut down:
#1 Feeling overstimulated
Contrary to popular belief, we introverts don’t feel best when alone. Most of us actually prefer to be with a select few and enjoy their company. However, there are times when the number of people around us overstimulates our senses and makes us want to withdraw for a bit. It’s perfectly normal for an introvert’s mind to need rest after a lot of social stimulation.
Our brains function differently than extroverts; we soak up everything like a sponge. That’s why we get overstimulated quickly compared to extroverts.
You need to understand that if an introvert doesn’t “shut down” when they’re feeling overstimulated, they will feel that their mind is overcrowded to the point of suffocation. They’ll experience a headache, and all sorts of messages like “someone else’s opinion is just too loud” or “everyone wants my attention right now and I can’t give it.”
The best way for me to describe closing down within this context is through example. Now, imagine that you’re chatting with a large group of friends at an event, this sitting has been going for hours now, you’re having a good time and then slowly and gradually your mind starts to slow down and it’s becoming more difficult to distinguish one voice from another. It’s as if your mind is being fogged around the edges, and you have trouble concentrating on what each person is saying.
The thoughts swirling in your head are becoming louder; you feel overstimulated by all the noise from your friends and now it’s even inside your own head. When this mental withdrawal keeps for a while your body language will subconsciously close off and you’ll feel the urge to be in a quiet place ASAP.
That’s how an introvert shuts down when overstimulated.
#2 Needing energy back
It really does differ from an introvert to another, but on average, an introvert who has been out and about for days on end without having some alone time for themselves will most likely shut down suddenly and unexpectedly.
It might be because we’ve been in the company of others for so long that we need to recharge our batteries, or it may be because you’re just not feeling well. Whatever it is; we introverts aren’t likely to react well to being “pushed” to continue socializing for longer periods of time and are bound to shut down.
Shutting down forcefully in this case is our body’s way of taking care of us. it’s a sign that our batteries are almost dead and we need to re-energize ourselves.
When an introvert shuts down this way, they’ll experience a lot of mental exhaustion. and will probably need days to get our energy back and hop on the social track!
#3 Being sensitized
Sensitivity is something that affects most introverts. We’re likely to get upset or hurt easily if we feel like someone else’s opinion is just too loud and obnoxious or if we feel like someone is being manipulative.
Sometimes we introverts just overanalyze things that happen…when we start thinking about past events or remembering our past with someone and we feel hurt or upset all over again.
This by means makes us over sensitive. But truth is, we can’t deal with these feelings, introverts simply don’t react well to feeling out of control. So we shut down to prevent these feelings from taking over.
Other reasons why introverts shut down:
- When we feel unsafe in the company of others.
- When we’re in places or areas that make us uncomfortable.
- When We feel like people are not listening to us.
- When we’re being overly anxious or worried.
- When people are being critical or judgmental of us.
- When we’re around too many stimuli at once.
- When we’re not feeling supported/misunderstood.
- When we feel like we need time to think about something on our own
- When we feel like we’re being intentionally cut off from our social group, either physically or emotionally.
There are other reasons why introverts might shut down…but these are some of the most common I’ve come across in my life as an introvert and have seen in other introverts’ lives.
There are reasons that will have us shut down for a bit…when you see your introvert friend do this remember not to be alarmed or concerned. We really need some time alone and even though we say “we like being with quality people” we don’t mean that we want to be around people all the time!
It’s nice to have some time to ourselves, even if it means that we’re going into our own world for a while, this is just who we are as introverts.