I get "overwhelmed" with all sorts of outer stimuli. Especially online, ironically. On my laptop, I fix my web browser to block all flash animations, I always set my volume to mute and I've learned how to manipulate my host file so I can block ads I find annoying and overwhelming from appearing on my screen. I had to learn how to do this after those terrible shadow-dancing ads came out or I'd have gone stark raving mad!!
This behavior is annoying to my husband if he has to use my laptop because he has to change a lot of settings in order to do what he wants online. He thinks I'm weird for being this way, that I shouldn't be doing this kind of stuff, that I should want to be more like him and not so.... weird to want to shut out such harmless, everyday, perfectly normal stuff.
I thought this preference was just one more thing that made me a weirdo freak. Or perhaps a person who was suffering from some new type of mental illness and in desperate need of a pill to snap me out of it. But it makes a lot of sense to me now and I am sooo done with thinking I need to be different.
From Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe:
"..as predicted, introvert brains were busier than extrovert brains...their minds are so naturally abuzz with activity that they need to shut out external distractions in order to prepare their ideas...Extroverts may have more going on socially, but we've got more going on upstairs."
I loved reading that, especially after being mistakenly thought of as weird all my life. Or mentally handicapped, snobby or seriously mentally ill (which are all things people have thought of me throughout my life). It's such a relief to know that's just how my brain works, that there's a perfectly good reason for it and it doesn't make me some kind of freak or mentally ill and in need of pharmaceutical assistance.
And learning all this stuff has helped me deal with people who get annoyed, especially my husband, in a more healthy manner. For example, now that I understand this about me, I've been able to just accept it instead of thinking it means something is wrong with me. Which makes me less defensive and, therefore, potentially offensive to others.
This stuff comes up a lot with my husband and it's not just the computers -it's the TV. He's hard of hearing and likes to watch all sorts of things that sound like fingernails scraping on a chalkboard to me (movies with loud soundtracks, shoot-em up movies, Fox news or any info-tainment show with announcers I'd like to muffle. They work very hard at making their voices be attention-grabbers and it works. Sorry, I don't want my attention grabbed, go away.)
My husband also likes for me to watch TV with him. Most of the time, I don't care to watch what he does and I'm usually doing something online anyway. But we'd get in so many arguments because I'd ask him to turn the volume down. I finally just said, "You know what? I'm going to go in the other room with my laptop when you're watching something I don't want to watch. Don't take it personal, I just can't think with that noise going on."
You'd think that would be a total no brainer, to just do that from the start instead of go through all the stupid arguments we've gone through. And they've been totally stupid and childish lol. It was a blame game ...is he really hard of hearing or am I just overly sensitive?? Of course, I think it's him and he thinks it's me.
I'm realizing that all my life, I've let everyone else dictate to me how Niki should be. I didn't want to offend anyone (because that's a bad thing, can't ever offend anyone, what's wrong with you??) but I'd end up getting defensive and angry and lash out at people and not even know why.
I don't have to get defensive and angry anymore. And if he gets offended by me leaving the room because I don't want to listen to the kind of "noise" he likes, well, so what? He might still think I'm a freak for not wanting to watch Fox news but I don't care anymore. I finally know that's him, not me.
People are just different and I have to learn good, healthy ways to work out our differences. I think I've done that successfully in this case and plan on learning how to do it a lot more with others in the future.