Here's my history into why my enthusiasm towards MBTI had dampened over the years. I don't dislike it per se--I'm all about separating the wheat from the chaff--but people's limited understanding and application of it has forever stained my perception of MBTI. I think MBTI is a good linguistic framework for discussing psychological brain nooks and crannies; it's not as sterile as most psychological language tends to be, hence why it's so popular.
I was introduced to Kiersey in 2005 by an INTP friend of mine. I've always been deeply interested in psychology and his temperament system was more dynamic and satisfying than what I was reading psychology textbooks. I've always enjoyed psychoanalysis more than clinical psychology and this was definitely up my alley.
After Kiersey I got a copy of Gifts Differing and then Lenore Thomson's Psychological Types and I completely ate it up. My friend at that point hadn't really read anything beyond Please Understand Me and when I get in information gathering mode I have to feed it so I went online looking for people who knew about it so I could blabber on and on. I was on various Yahoo groups and eventually found INTP Central and there began the downward spiral.
At first for me it wasn't about types, or sensors and intuitives, or Fi and Te. It was just information I was neutral towards and learning about. I hadn't made any judgments or critically analyzed anything. So I find INTP Central and I'm like whoa, these people are very very angry. It was like a boiling pot of battery acid. I don't know, what can I say...I like the smell of gasoline so I stuck around in lurker mode. I eventually realized I was one of the typologically hated people! It soured the whole thing for me; yeah I thought it was a very interesting theory but I hadn't taken it to heart that deeply.
I was also personally offended about things that were being said about Fe doms and would take nasty things people said personally and I felt like it was affecting my interactions with people IRL, so I had to put the brakes on that. I ended up shelving MBTI internet forums for about a year, but I still read about it from people like Linda Berens, John Beebe, and Jung himself. During this period I gained some book knowledge about MBTI and actually started critically analyzing MBTI so it ended up being a good thing I think because I depersonalized it and put it in some perspective.
Like many of the forum members here, I think I latched onto it so tightly at first because I was in my early to mid 20s and I was searching for a firmer sense of self, I was in college and being bombarded with new thoughts and things I hadn't ever knew before. Here came MBTI and basically told me what I was like and who I am, it was basically a form letter that I (mis)took as a map to my own psyche. In that sense, I'm grateful for MBTI because I'm pretty sure it kickstarted me onto something that I believe was bound to come eventually just not that early and I'm happy I got a headstart compared to a significant majority of my peers. I think for some people, especially teens that are introduced to MBTI, it's too early for them. To have this type of structured thought about people implanted in your brain isn't good at such a young age if there's nothing there to jolt them into thinking about this critically. There's no counterbalance of experience yet and if you this at 15 or 16, and latch onto it, by your mid- 20s this stuff gets cemented in your brain.
It's a programming script like any other script. While I don't think this is more (or less) dangerous than any other type of programming that's out there, I've just generally become wary of people in the MBTI universe that grip this shit a little too tightly (this as little baring on Real Life since virtually no one takes it seriously). And you can see it plenty when people say I could never date an XXXX or I don't like this function (hehe, I've done that), linking character traits to personality traits, making false and erroneous connections, psychoanalyzing themselves and others based on either four letters or eight functions, basically seeing your world through the lens of MBTI. It's so prevalent here and it's a complete loss of perspective. When people find it more relevant to give someone's type (which could be completely wrong) as a means of relating than any more salient information I just shake my head. I shake my head because I was there at one point...trying to type every single person I came into contact with based on passing statements and fleeting behaviors. When I realized I was too busy trying to discern someone's type instead of getting to know then, I knew I was in too deep and thankfully had the sense to un-immerse myself. Which is funny because now, if someone casually mentions MBTI to me (it's happened a handful of times with my movie group) I'm been there, done that, got the vaccination.
And then the spiral begins anew because they happen to be really into it, and they also happen to be a member of this forum and come back with a story saying how they tried to talk to this person about MBTI and they completely blew it off and was uninterested so therefore they must be a sensor because all the intuitives they know instantly gorge themselves greedily upon the sweet nectar of MBTI...
La la la.
Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship. Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts Social Penetration Theory 1 Social Penetration Theory 2 Social Penetration Theory 3
To have this type of structured thought about people implanted in your brain isn't good at such a young age if there's nothing there to jolt them into thinking about this critically. There's no counterbalance of experience yet and if you this at 15 or 16, and latch onto it, by your mid- 20s this stuff gets cemented in your brain.
It's a programming script like any other script.
Yes, nature has programmed us to believe whatever our parents tell us so that we will survive and reproduce.
Yes, if we thought critically about what our parents told us, such as stay away from the road or fast flowing streams or the fire, we wouldn't survive.
However having survived we are now in a position to think critically about what they taught us. In other words we are now in a position to think critically about our beliefs.
Ha! But to think critically about our beliefs quite often causes us cognitive dissonance. And cognitive dissonance is emotionally painful.
And feeling the pain, we look around for someone to blame. And guess what - it is those critical thinkers who are to blame for my pain. So all I have to do it get rid of the critical thinkers and I will get rid of my pain.
If only I can find friends who believe the same things as me, my life will be OK.
And if we find such friends, we are in Wonderland with Peter Pan, the little boy who wouldn't grow up.
And tragically we remain children all our lives - becoming more and more absurd without knowing it.
I mean, some people, my dad for example, would discount this on the basis that it's unscientific, and not give it any further attention. I agree, it is completely unscientific. You can't evaluate it in an empirical way and decide that it's true or not true. But, if you don't care whether it's true or not, and use it as a lens to look at your life, it tells you a lot. I don't think of MBTI as a set of facts, just a framework from which you can examine other facts.
Mr. Carroll actually uses his brain. How refreshing.
This gives me more reason to distrust what Jung said. But unfortunately, a lot of modern psychology research uses poor methodology No wonder some people think that psychology isn't a science.
Even when we have lost hope in resolving the problems we have, we are still fundamentally part and parcel of the world. By virtue of this understanding, we can do anything realisable within the universe. [So don't give up ]
If you don't like the way this universe is - go somewhere else!" - Richard Feynman