Wednesday, 19 October 2016

INFJ Stuff

Being an INFJ on the internet is an experience that leaves me with mixed feelings.  It is apparently a personality type that is appealing enough to some that they misdiagnose themselves or misinterpret things and believe themselves to be one when they are not.  Whatever other people think about their own personality type and temperament is not my business even if I do have an opinion.  INFJs are supposedly among the least common types but if they are to be found in high numbers anywhere it would seem to be online.  That's not overly surprising considering the internet is often a comfortable place for introverts in general, INFJs are likely to be seekers of information, studiers of systems and highly interested in what we call the soft sciences, or in other words, human nature.   Those descriptions all definitely fit me well.  I want to understand everything I can about myself and other people.  I am driven to do this because it seems to me that this would enable me to contribute to making the world a better place and to helping people.  In this way I am very typically INFJ

I think we should all beware of falling into stereotypes though and if we readily say oh yes, yes, yes, all those things are me therefore I am X, I would suspect we are deluding ourselves.  We are all still individuals and are a unique collection of genetics and experience and thus no two INFJs will be identical.  It is not a wonderful thing to be a rare type, though for some this idea seems to contribute to what is called Special Snowflake Syndrome.  I've spent my life with the perception that I do not quite fit in, that others do not think or feel the way I do, nor do they quite get me.  Getting me is not the same as accepting me so don't imagine I have spent my life feeling miserable and isolated.  I have not.  But I have always felt just a little bit 'Other'.

In studying MBTI I have come to believe that this is because I am an N-type and the world has more S-types.  It should.  Because the S types are the doers who function well in the here and now.  The N types are future oriented, dreamers, and we need them but not too many of them.  Imagine a tribe.  Does the tribe need more hunters and gatherers or does it meed more shamans?  The Ns are the shamans, the inventors, the healers and the teachers.  Not that S types cannot do these things, of course it's not that literal, but it's a tendency, an apt generalisation.  Sometimes we do things, select a career for example, that doesn't quite match our type.  We can do it.  But we may not be happy or comfortable.  We may burn ourselves out or be unfulfilled.

No type is better than another.  Different is not better, it is just different and all types are needed, though I suspect there are ideal proportions of them for a society to run smoothly.

I am an N type who has spent much of her life surrounded by S types, raised by S types, and always feeling that something was wrong about me.  I married an S type, of course I would, having been raised by them.  It didn't go well.  He couldn't understand or value me.

The INFJ type is often prone to being spiritual if not religious.  I guess that is a good feature for a Shaman.  I am definitely not.  Not religious and not even spiritual.  That doesn't mean I am not capable of feeling great wonder and awe, of awareness of just how small I am in the vast multi-verse or of how I am small but yet connected to it all.  But to me none of that is spiritual, it is science.  I reject religion but I do love philosophy.  I am intrigued by non-religious Buddhism, its philosophy not the religious trappings which developed and spread, creating a variety of Buddhist sects.

 I am a loner who loves people deeply but needs to spend the majority of her time away from them, a very very close few excepted.   Some people say that INFJs are the type most likely to be Highly Sensitive People ( not the only type but the most likely type ) and some talk of Empaths as though it is something separate from regular human empathy.  To me this is getting into Special Snowflake territory and I want to shun it, and yet I cannot deny that I am highly sensitive in some ways, more so to physical things like noises, bright lights and strong smells and too much time with people.   I am highly in tune with the emotions of others and feel them in my own body before I am conscious of it.  Before I knew about MBTI and that I am an INFJ I used to describe myself as a sponge who absorbed the emotions of others and felt it too.  I make no claims to do this from a distance, but only with people I am in close proximity to.

A friend once told me I am a magnet for broken people. He acknowledged being quite broken himself and that he could not imagine his life without me.     I want to help and heal and will sacrifice too much of myself to do that before I realise the cost.  I am learning to pull away. I have already given more of myself than I can support.  There are some who believe that CFS/ME is actually a manifestation of being the type of person I am.  I'm skeptical but can see how it is at least a chicken or egg thing.  Which came first.  Am I exhausted and has my body actually altered because of who I am, or is a very physically caused disease contributing to how I function in this world?  I don't have the answer but I do know there is a strong physical basis to this illness.  It is not a psychological one although it can have psychological effects.

Are INFJs prone to rambling and navel gazing?  probably.  Why am I writing this?  This blog is one of many forms of journalling that I use, and its intent is to reach people who may be like me, who may be helped by knowing they are not alone.  Anyone spending any time on the internet reading articles about INFJs will encounter the idea that most who think they are INFJ are not.   This gets bloody depressing.  I get tired of reading the idea that if I declare myself an INFJ most people will doubt it or immediately think I have special snowflake syndrome.  Not that I actually declare it often, except here.  Where I have decided I want and need to write about it, regardless if anyone cares.


1 comment:

  1. I needed to read something like this. Thank you for sharing.

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