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Thread: INFJ Shame

  1. #11
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felt up View Post
    I'm wondering about the role of intuition, the first few years of our lives and learning about ourselves in relation to the world. I gather that INFJs with high intuition (96-99% N) would have extreme shame issues...issues that would distance them from other people very early in their lives when they realize they aren't 'normal' like everyone else. Surely this discovery at 3, 4, 5 years old seemed to be a burden, because they weren't exactly sure how to verbalize it or even if they should talk about it. All they know is that it somehow made them feel alien, even in their own body.
    I can relate to what you describe here. I had intense shame as an adolescent and it didn't help that during my pre-verbal years I had interaction with an authority figure with mental problems who was severely emotionally abusive which included using whatever was frightening to me to control my behavior. As I've matured this is monitored better, but I feel too old sometimes to still be dealing with it. One problem for me is that when I feel alienated from others I feel shame about that. The idea of being a big baby or feeling *special* is repulsive to me, so I have to guard against punishing myself for that. There are certain viscous mental cycles like that to guard against.

    What helped me was during adolescence to work out a system in my mind that functioned in tandem. There were the negative emotions and then the observer analyzing what was happening. By thinking from two vantage points simultaneously it increased objectivity. I value the ability to think outside myself highly and as a primary survival tactic. Being able to think clearly means everything to me. One simple thing that helps is making an effort to evaluate myself along the same lines as I would evaluate anyone and it helped in gaining a balanced perspective.

    I have always had trouble making friends. I don't really make friends unless I live with the person. It's hard to describe exactly why because I like people a great deal, although I am distrustful of getting hurt. I do trust other people with themselves though and am not suspicious of whatever they claim to be. If someone says they have a headache or they are some type, or life has been cruel, or they are gifted, I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt and just believe them because whether or not they are those things, they experience the world as though they are and who am I to think differently when I know so much less about their experience. (edit: Now that I think about it, that is balanced with encouraging people to look to objectivity in cases where that seems plausible because that increases survival and efficiency in making life choices, but if they don't appear to be able, then I just go with it) At the same time I feel disturbed when people draw what appear to be almost random conclusions about me, even people who have known me all their life. I am often flabbergasted when people express some opinion about who I am and I just wonder if they ever knew me at all. I hope it is a moment of confusion and that deep down they did know me.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    At the same time I feel disturbed when people draw what appear to be almost random conclusions about me, even people who have known me all their life. I am often flabbergasted when people express some opinion about who I am and I just wonder if they ever knew me at all. I hope it is a moment of confusion and that deep down they did know me.
    Shame, exposure (wrongheaded exposure), plus a loss of privacy and invasiveness not good for any INFJ4w5, I gather.

    Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes sung it best..."If you don't know me by now...you will never ever, ever, ever know me, woooo."

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    At the same time I feel disturbed when people draw what appear to be almost random conclusions about me, even people who have known me all their life. I am often flabbergasted when people express some opinion about who I am and I just wonder if they ever knew me at all. I hope it is a moment of confusion and that deep down they did know me.
    Eep. That's bad, I get it a lot too, it leaves the strange 'is that how people view me' -feeling.
    Quote Originally Posted by felt up View Post
    Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes sung it best..."If you don't know me by now...you will never ever, ever, ever know me, woooo."

  4. #14
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felt up View Post
    Shame, exposure (wrongheaded exposure), plus a loss of privacy and invasiveness not good for any INFJ4w5, I gather.

    Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes sung it best..."If you don't know me by now...you will never ever, ever, ever know me, woooo."
    Ha. So true, especially the "woooo" part.

    In an attempt to analyze why this happens I have come up with the following. The not being understood results from being inward, private, and not knowing how to (or desiring to) explain oneself to others. This is balanced with an underlying desire to be understood. These two things are not compatible and so one or the other must be given up if the goal is to arrive at peace about how others respond and think about oneself. It is still difficult to understand what needs to be said or done to explain myself and I tend to be at a loss, but continue to try a little more while also letting go of the expectation or desire to be understood. The communication gap can also be closed by investing energy into understanding how the mixed up conclusions came about. In doing that it is possible to better understand others and possibly bridge that gap, or at least be moving in that direction.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    4s with a social variant.
    My social variant is last. I'm sx/sp. I just think the variants determine where you shame will reside. I actually do feel shameful socially because it's in last place and neglected (if I'm confronted with it or it's exposed). Otherwise, I don't think about it. If the first variant is dysfunctional then social first would feel shameful about that variant too but they would place more importance to the area and focus on it much more.

  6. #16
    Senior Member wedekit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by karenk View Post
    My social variant is last. I'm sx/sp. I just think the variants determine where you shame will reside. I actually do feel shameful socially because it's in last place and neglected (if I'm confronted with it or it's exposed). Otherwise, I don't think about it. If the first variant is dysfunctional then social first would feel shameful about that variant too but they would place more importance to the area and focus on it much more.
    Self-Preservation
    People with this theme are often advocates of risk. Can be reckless, court disaster or just flirt lightly with loss. Take chances to stir up emotional intensity, play out melodrama or to get attention. Can have a desire to punish other through hurting themselves. The logic is, "If I die then they'll be sorry and finally appreciate me." Can seem like counterphobic Sixes in their behavior. With a 3 wing this subtype is more flamboyant and makes a show of their daring. With a 5 wing they grow more sullen and self-punishing. Movie examples include: Nicolas Cage, Moonstruck; Meryl Streep, Out Of Africa; Judy Davis, Impromptu.

    Intimate
    Fours with this theme tend to be highly competitive in close relationships but also more generally. With a mate they are prone to jealousy. Want to be the most important person in mate's life. Could be jealous of a partner's past relationships, maybe want to be the only person the partner has ever loved. Related to the dependent side of 2. More broadly can be consumed by professional envy. Long to best others in their work. Can jealously measure their contributions. Petty about keeping score. Want recognition for their uniqueness. Take away from successes of others when threatened. See F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus, Harriet Andersson in Cries And Whispers, Nick Nolte in New York Stories.

    Social
    Prone to shame because they compare themselves with the "normal" world around them. Can be highly self-critical and feel ashamed for their deviance from imagined group norms. Sensitive to criticism. May romanticize their defects but feel bad about themselves anyway. If they have a 3 wing, may cover their shame with charm. Can also seek status or be driven to achieve to get revenge against those who once laughed at them (Danny DeVito, Batman Returns). With a 5 wing, can grow antisocial and depressed, bearing their shame in solitude (Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant's Woman).
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    Social
    Prone to shame because they compare themselves with the "normal" world around them. Can be highly self-critical and feel ashamed for their deviance from imagined group norms. Sensitive to criticism. May romanticize their defects but feel bad about themselves anyway. If they have a 3 wing, may cover their shame with charm. Can also seek status or be driven to achieve to get revenge against those who once laughed at them (Danny DeVito, Batman Returns). With a 5 wing, can grow antisocial and depressed, bearing their shame in solitude (Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant's Woman).

    Yea socials seem to have more shame from the description. Why is that variant more prone?

  8. #18
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    Shame, by its very nature, is social. All of the variants of the feeling triad (2,3,4) suffer from it. But I'm no social 4. I'm also an sx/sp. Social fours are more prone to succumb to the expectations and behaviors of their social group. Social 4s feel way more mainstream than I could ever be. I expect to get disapproval from others because of the way I look, act, carry myself in the world. That's a given in my life. But it doesn't stop me from feeling upset that they've got me all wrong, (yet again). The shame issue of an sx can feel more pronounced, especially when romantically rejected.

  9. #19
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felt up View Post
    Shame, by its very nature, is social. All of the variants of the feeling triad (2,3,4) suffer from it. But I'm no social 4. I'm also an sx/sp. Social fours are more prone to succumb to the expectations and behaviors of their social group. Social 4s feel way more mainstream than I could ever be. I expect to get disapproval from others because of the way I look, act, carry myself in the world. That's a given in my life. But it doesn't stop me from feeling upset that they've got me all wrong, (yet again). The shame issue of an sx can feel more pronounced, especially when romantically rejected.
    Is it so?

    I could easily envisage a situation where an athlete at practice consistently runs slow and would be ashamed at himself for this. He may simply have his own standard for how athletically fit he must be, and his own failure to meet such a standard would likely be the source of his feelings of shame.

    Essentially however, shame is an emotive psychological notion. Our emotions are often the strongest when we relate to other people, as people generate emotions more than any other entity we may come across.

    Thus it is plausible to suggest that shame is closely linked with social phenomena, but it is a mistake to maintain that it is in essence social.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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  10. #20
    Senior Member LindseyLadybug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felt up View Post
    Shame. How has it manifested for other INFJs?

    At times I try to coverup my self-consciousness up by taking pride in my 'irregularities', but when I get in that depressive space, I feel such extreme shame.
    I do the same thing but its not so much a cover-up because I truly am proud of what makes me unique. I just hate it when people put me down for it or cant understand me. I try to defend myself when someone says I am a "weirdo" for something so trivial as not liking something everyone else likes. Then they'll just interrupt me with, "No, you're just a freak!" Ouch! With people who never understand, I've started defending myself in my head only.
    Quote Originally Posted by felt up View Post
    I'm wondering about the role of intuition, the first few years of our lives and learning about ourselves in relation to the world. I gather that INFJs with high intuition (96-99% N) would have extreme shame issues...issues that would distance them from other people very early in their lives when they realize they aren't 'normal' like everyone else. Surely this discovery at 3, 4, 5 years old seemed to be a burden, because they weren't exactly sure how to verbalize it or even if they should talk about it. All they know is that it somehow made them feel alien, even in their own body.
    Yes, I totally relate. When I was in preschool, I sometimes would feel like I was an onlooker...watching situations from an outsider's perspective. I would often forget that I was supposed to be involved in certain activities. Or sometimes if my mom would become friends with a fellow preschooler's mom, she'd want me to go over to their house and play with the child like we were best friends while she hung out with their mom. I remember getting this feeling about certain kidsI just knew they would take advantage of my shyness and insecurity.
    Quote Originally Posted by felt up View Post
    It's weird. I can go for years at attempting some sort of 'normalcy' (at least for me) then suddenly I'll get swept under to that place where I'm not sure I will recover again. My core self has been re-traumatized, and the shame I feel is overwhelming, mainly because I'm old enough that I should have mastered these feelings.
    That happened to me when I was in a new situation with a lot of people I didnt even know. I realized just how much I sucked at making friends and that made me feel like such a loser.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post
    How to get by as an INFJ? Be self-sufficient and self-motivating. Enjoy being appreciated when it shows up, but never expect it. Recognize your strengths and the fact they're almost surreal in nature. I've often felt like an anomaly, simply because I've met *very* few people with my focused intensity. Yeah, I have bad days and shoulder too much, but it's quite satisfying that I'm one of the few that can manage to do it. Be proud.
    The other day my mom told me about a couple of her friends commented on my maturity and how much fun I was to be around. I told her to tell me every time someone complimented me because it really keeps me motivatedto know that all is not lost. Being an only child, I get along with adults a lot easier but its almost a curse as well because while many adults become my friends, they are almost afraid to become close friends with me because of my age (even though I technically am an adult @ 22 yrs). I think it creeps them out that theyre old enough to be my mother/father, aunt/uncle, or older sister/brother. If anyone can shed some light on this dilemma, Id love to understand how to have closer friendships without age being a barrier.
    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    One problem for me is that when I feel alienated from others I feel shame about that.
    Whenever I cant click with my peers, its quite discouraging and I feel so isolated. I hate that feelingits so overwhelming.

    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    What helped me was during adolescence to work out a system in my mind that functioned in tandem. There were the negative emotions and then the observer analyzing what was happening. By thinking from two vantage points simultaneously it increased objectivity......One simple thing that helps is making an effort to evaluate myself along the same lines as I would evaluate anyone and it helped in gaining a balanced perspective.
    I have started doing this as well. I have to live with my inner voice and since there are already so many negative and cruel voices around me, I should make the voice I have control over my friend, not my enemy.
    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    I have always had trouble making friends.......At the same time I feel disturbed when people draw what appear to be almost random conclusions about me, even people who have known me all their life. I am often flabbergasted when people express some opinion about who I am and I just wonder if they ever knew me at all. I hope it is a moment of confusion and that deep down they did know me.
    Oh YES! I know exactly what you mean! I desire to know how I come across to others and it eats at me when someone says something like that. One time a girl told me, Ive been wanting to introduce myself to you but you always look like you dont want anyone to talk to you. WHAT?! All this time?!

    I was made fun of and rejected so much in school that oftentimes I can't just "put myself out there". I hate the feeling when I discover someone who I thought was a close friend had been using me all along and never really liked me.

    BTW, how can I find out my enneagram?

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