after having followed this forum för some time, i feel i would like to introduce myself and hear your thoughts on some things. i am myself an infj aswell as an enneagram type four – the identity-seeking type – which probably has something to do with this interest in types and self-discovery.
now, i realize this is an mbti-forum, but hey, enneagram is great too i think it’s fascinating how they relate to each other, at least in my own case, and also how people develop and switch from one type to another, which seems quite possible in the mbti (at least it’s supposed to be impossible in the enneagram).
ok, first, my background and some thoughts on type-switching. when i was 15 i took the mbti for the first time – the only time i’ve taken the *real* test – and scored as an intp, that’s two letters from now! i’m also sure it was the right result, thinking about how i was at that time – skeptical, argumentative, very philosophical in the classical-socrates-sense of the word, wanting to find ”the truth”, etc... (looking back i even find some small traces of a destructive intj) somehow, though, a part of me knew i didn’t *want* to be intp, or rather i didn't want to be thinking – i wanted, for various reasons, feeling. what happened the following years was that i slowly did switch functions, and when i took the test came out as a infp. it's clear to me how i went from primary Ti to primary Fi – should this be possible though? as an intp, shouldn't Fi be my eighth function, and by that impossible to become my first? i doubt it was, though... but of course, needless to say this change brought a very unstable and partly self-destructive personality; it was a bit of a life crisis, my sense of myself was very vulnerable, and still i held on to it because ”i don't want to compromise the way i feel about myself”, the pure Fi-ish way of holding on to something, which in the end made me go against my own nature to the point where i had several nervous breakdowns. this change in function was a slow process ranging from about when i was 17 to 19. after that, one more change of letters to... infj! it was my Ni which, after some time as this unstable infp-wannabe, emerged and made me see through it, see how fake it was, that i was in fact fooling myself (although better than the old intp). however, my ”infj-ness” also took on some destructive, childish aspects in the beginning, but today, one year later, it is much more settled and ”grown up”, and i know for sure that this is ”my real type”.
not so simple, though. first i'd like to compare this to the enneagram: i have ”always” been a four; well, for as long as i've been anything, it's four. (for those of you unfamiliar with the enneagram, Enneagram of Personality - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, the types are listed half down this article.) i recognize both my ”fourishness”, as well as both my wings, 3 - ”The Achiever” and primarily 5 - ”The Investigator” in myself. so, i have always been 4 with a 5-wing, what i did though, as i started developing as an infj, was i tried to take on my 3-wing instead; i felt i had really found something, and (for once) wanted to go out in the world and impress people, i became ambitious, driven and started to neglect my inner need for solitude and reflection. i was trying to act as an extravert and... well... more exactly, what function is this? extraverted feeling, isn't it? infj is Ni and Fe, in that order, and even though the mbti/enneagram might be hard to compare overall, i have found that in my case, my 3-wing consists primarily of my Fe and, yes, my 5-wing represents much of my Ni.
today i suppose i live a very introverted life, having returned again to my 5-wing, as being introverted, and as my Fe, for various reasons, doesn't work very well. now, people are supposed to have one dominant wing, but that only means the other wing needs developing. my interest in personality systems such as mbti and enneagram comes from wanting to understand myself and others, but also to take this and project it into the future – self-change. it's a bit sad when you use these tools only as a means of strengthening your ego: ”this is the way i am, this is how i work, these are my strengths and weaknesses and it's just how it is.” in the mbti, some people would really benefit from seeing what ways they could/should change, whether it's change within one's type or actual switching. one's type doesn't at all has to be one's ideal type – but that is of course something the person must realize for themselves. however, in the enneagram, it gets even more important – your personality is in fact built on a certain ”basic fear” and ”basic desire”, and to develop one must actually move beyond this. i realize i will always, basically, be a four, but through understanding the ego and it's basic fears and longings i can ”expand” and, in personality terms, develop my Fe and my 3-wing.
here is an article on the subject which you might find interesting... the word used is ”essence”, what you ”truly are”, and i very much agree. The Enneagram and Spirituality
and no, you don't have to read everything, the first part about covers it.