Intuitive and Introverted Withdrawal Pattern

Are you intuitive and introverted?  According to Jungian-based personality types, only four percent of the population is both intuitive and introverted.  Intuitive introverts tend to be highly creative, both in the sciences and the arts.  They are the most creative of all the personality types and are capable of adding great works to the collective wisdom of humanity.  Most of my clients (and I as well) are intuitive and introverted.  An intuitive introvert feels life intensely and keenly.  When our intuition is highly developed we can sometimes literally feel the emotions and the physical symptoms of people around us.  We can become easily overwhelmed by stimuli that most of the population thinks of as normal or even mild.  At the same time, if we’ve achieved emotional literacy, we are able to go deeply with others into unknown and even dark emotional territory, becoming healers with our presence.

So, while it’s a great blessing and gift to be an intuitive introvert, it also has its challenges.  We must honor our needs for solitude and quiet time, and we must accept our need for more self-care than other people.  At the same time, we have a great capacity to become conscious of our unconscious patterns and shift out of them.  One of the typical patterns that we share is withdrawal from the world and from people who upset us.  This pattern can cause us extreme suffering, including isolation, depression, and feelings of worthlessness and being misunderstood.  I’m not saying that we should tolerate behavior which is upsetting to us.  However, withdrawal is not usually a helpful solution.

The tendency to withdraw feels almost instinctual in us, and therefore a challenge to even notice.  But, when we can notice this pattern, the next step is to choose not to withdraw or to act on those withdrawal feelings.  Instead, Speak up!!   Usually our tendency to withdraw occurs without telling the other person what is going on with us.   We may have a hard time formulating what to say because of overwhelm at our own reaction to whatever happened, and we think we need time to sort through all our emotions and thoughts.  But, even simply telling the other person that we are overwhelmed can prevent a full withdrawal and allow the other to help us communicate.

If we speak up before we can withdraw,  we empower ourselves by standing up for our own needs and emotions.  On top of that, we give the other a chance to respond in a way that may honor us and surprise us.  (As intuitives we think we already know how they are going to respond, so why bother to speak up?)  We give the other a chance to know us even better than they did before.  If our needs aren’t met, of course we are free to respond however we need to, and that can include leaving the relationship behind.  But, we now operate from conscious choice instead of from an unconscious pattern.

In my own life I was struck by the number of relationships that I have had to leave behind since I began my spiritual path.  Most of these relationships had ended because I was changing and growing so quickly the relationship no longer had a common ground, but some ended because of my own tendency to not speak up on time.  After I’ve failed to speak up on time, it’s usually too late to salvage the relationship—even if my mind thinks I should continue the relationship, my feelings won’t allow it—any relationship with the other now feels like a huge invasion.  I’m sure the other person never understood what they did to cause me to leave the relationship, but how could they know?  If this sounds like a familiar pattern, you are probably an expert at withdrawal. 

As a very happy intuitive introvert in her relationships, I encourage you to be honest about everything you are feeling with your most loved ones.  When the tendency to withdraw arises, tell your loved one how disappointed, angry, sad, whatever-you-are-feeling in that moment instead.  Let them know who you are.  (Please make sure to speak in inarguables, that is, about your feelings and your experience.)  You’ll probably discover more about yourself and your relationship than you expected.   I know first hand how vulnerable and dangerous this can feel—it’s certainly easier to withdraw.  But, the rewards of staying put and speaking out are worth it.   With practice you’ll leave the withdrawal pattern behind for good and dive into the deepest and risky-loveliest intimacy with your loved ones.

Would you like to know more?  See Personality Types, Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Don Richard Riso.  Look at type 4 and type 5.

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10 Responses to Intuitive and Introverted Withdrawal Pattern

  1. Pingback: [INFJ] Intuitive and Introverted Withdrawal Pattern

  2. Pingback: Intuitive and Introverted Withdrawal Pattern | Warrior Soaring Spirit

  3. Billy Bonza says:

    Interesting and accurate information. I should know. I’ve only just become familiar with this term “Intuitive Introvert” having come across it for the first time only days ago as the result of a very long and intense line of synchronicities I have experienced. Obviously some reading up on synchronicities lead me to some Jung reading which lead me to this concept of such a personality type.
    From all that reading and research being done I must say it appears my traits would see me off the charts as being an intuitive introvert. I have brilliant empathic ability whether that is on an individual basis or in an environment of a large crowd (which I despise more than anything else). As far as other people go, I don’t blame them anymore, I no longer expect that they should or will understand.
    While my empathic ability is freakish, my defect is in my emotional development for a variety of life reasons. Too bad for me because the effect is chronic ill health at 33. It’s burning me alive from the inside out.

    • Elaine says:

      Hi Billy,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your health. You are not alone. Many Empaths and Intuitive Introverts suffer from chronic illness, which can be hard to treat because so much of the cause is at the emotional and mythic levels. Please continue to explore my website–there’s lots of good information here that will help you understand the challenges of being an Empath. You may want to consider working with a shaman at some point to help you clear out the wounds from your emotionally painful past–this is very likely to impact your health in a beneficial way.

      sending you love!

      • Billy Bonza says:

        Hi Elaine,

        Since you reply to my comment, I did what you suggested and contacted a shaman about possibly consulting with him and I provided just some basic introductory information for his consideration. Contact was by email as that is the only means of contact at least initially and he is 1 of only 2 shaman close to where I live and the other didn’t come across as very appealing let’s say and she is located quite a distance still from where I am. Any how the shaman I did contact, totally ignored me point blank. ****** *****. That’s all I’ve got for him.

        That aside for a moment, I believe my major barrier at this point is as follows. I acknowledge and accept and understand all the concepts and philosophies and related ideas that you deal with here on this site, at least to a reasonable extent. I also believe the majority of it to be true and real and applicable to all our lives. The problem is because of my circumstances, events endured past and present and the rest of all that fun stuff life throws us, irrespective of whether I believe it my mind can’t get past the negativity. I can’t escape my own head so to speak. I’ve past the event horizon of suffering and now even though I can see beyond it I can’t escape it or reach beyond it. I’m a prisoner of myself.

        I don’t know if that’s just outright crazy talk or if perhaps you or anyone else understands? I can always hope.

        Thank you.


        • Elaine says:

          Hi Billy,

          I’m sorry the shaman you contacted didn’t get back to you. Would you contact Vanessa, Hilda, or Greta? Their information is on my website, and I highly recommend them. You must remember that shamanic work is non-local so you do not need to be in the same room with the shaman. I do all my work “long-distance” They can work with you over the phone. That way you aren’t limited by your location. Seeing a good shaman in person is great–quite the experience. But since you aren’t near one that you know and like, call one of these that I recommend instead.

          Yes, I totally understand where you are coming from, and the nature of your blocks. Shamanic work is great for those blocks where we get intellectually what our issues and patterns are, but we simply can’t shift it. The negativity, the emotions, and the pattern seems to run too deep. Shamanic work hits at the root level of all of that and takes out the belief system and the wound that is creating all the negativity you are experiencing. With that gone, you will have a chance of shifting the pattern because it will be finally in your conscious control to do so. Hang in there BB!

          Sending you love and hugs,

          • Billy Bonza says:

            Hi Elaine,

            Thank you again for your reply.

            You do truly seem to hit the nail on the head and understand where I am coming from without being judgmental. Something I appreciate very much. And again you are right and this is what has been confusing me so much and causing a lot of internal conflict. That is if I can see and understand the issues intellectually, why is my silly intellect (as grand as it is, sarcasm noted) unable to rationalise its way through the emotional jungle? That’s rhetorical. I already know why. Because I’m just one of those people who has a bigger heart than brain, my heart and emotions are what rules me not my intellectual capacity. I consciously view it as inferior. The mind can be cruel but the heart always acts from love. And I have no ability, no concept and no desire to understand how/why other people can be so evil towards each other and want to hurt each other.

            Thank you very much for your kind words.


          • Elaine says:

            Hang in there Billy! You are obviously suffering–please go get yourself some support from someone that understands what it is like to be an Empath. Yes, we tend to have big hearts that are easily hurt because we are so sensitive. But many Empaths also have huge intellectual capacity that can go to war with our Empath nature. We need our intellect and our emotions to follow the calling of our Souls in order to really thrive. All people do, but as Empaths we will notice our misery more then non-empaths when things are not in order. Sending love and hugs!


  4. Miriam says:

    Much of the advice you give I have put to good and effective use in my personal life. I am blessed to be married to a man who never surprises me how patient, understanding, and respectful he can be. He has been very helpful in encouraging me to stand up to myself. I used to get upset with him because he tends to be more direct and assertive than I am but I have thankfully seen the wisdom of his choice to not be a people pleaser and door mat.

    I am still struggling with the opposing patterns of a passive checking-out of my father and the aggressive banging my head against the wall of my mother. It is very hard to find a way to navigate in a more centered way with such conflicting and ineffective examples that were ingrained at such an early age.

    I seem to end up in jobs where I have high-volume, fast-paced, interaction with the general public in retail and customer service. I have to deal with a great number of demanding and manipulative people and I find this work so draining.
    I am concrete-random (read good making and doing) rather than abstract linear (read good with paperwork and navigating bureaucracy) in my learning and thinking. I have strong intelligence in my areas of the multiple intelligences (visual/spatial, intrapersonal, logical/mathematical, linguistic, rhythmic, kinesthetic). I believe that I am good at reading people but I tend to be more so at a distance. I am not sure if it is a lack of confidence or I am wondering if it is that I am overwhelmed by my desire to meet their needs while trying to meet my own.

    What fields might be more suitable for me. I really need a change. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.

    • Elaine says:

      Hi Miriam

      You sound like you know yourself very well! As you are an Intuitive Introvert, I am very surprised that you wound up in a job where you have lots of interaction with the public. Usually intuitive introverts are more comfortable behind the scenes, away from chaos and too much stimulation. We still like people, but in smaller doses. When deciding on a new field, the most important question to ask is what you love and enjoy. In your imagination design your dream career/job. I remember doing this for myself 20 years ago, and almost talked myself out of it existing. It took seven years to manifest, but I wound up helping people over the phone from my home office. So, I would sit down with yourself and ask yourself what you would do if money and circumstances weren’t an issue. See what your heart comes up with. That will point you in the right direction!

      much love,

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