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  1. #1
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    Default NF child and fears

    Would love to get a bit of feedback about my 11-year old NF son (INFJ, I believe). He is very creative, theoretical and highly imaginative. Unfortunately, his imagination sometimes frightens him and gets in the way of him being more independant. For example, he is very scared of the dark, he claims to 'relive every scary book he's ever read.' He is also disturbed by a lot of what he sees on TV- real and fiction. He saw something about a kid who set a cat on fire, and couldn't get over it for days. He also couldn't sleep at night thinking about the cat.

    He's also ADHD, immature for his age and his psychiatrist has wondered if he also has some anxiety. I'm just wondering if some of these things are typical for an INFJ - or are they outside the norm.

    Thanks.
    Alicia

  2. #2
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    This sounds a lot like an INFJ, yes.

    E/I and J/P are influenced by personality disorders (pretending to be extroverted/social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive/[which personality disorder makes you indecisive?])

    S/N and T/F are rather independent on personality disorders. Theoretical and affected by bad happenings sounds much like N and F.

    ADHD sounds more like an ENFP but fear of yourself sounds much like an INFJ.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your input but I'm not sure what you mean by E/I and J/P being influenced by personality disorders.

    I did wonder about the N and F being at the root of these fears. Can these be calmed down in some way or perhaps they will diminish as he grows up and hopefully becomes more balanced. Right now though, it's certainly getting in the way of his peer relationships. He's focused on things like 'building a better world' and the other kids just want to play basketball. He's also focused on clay sculpting and teaching himself to play the trumpet when he's not worried about the world.

    The ENFP ADHD kid, is a stereotype IMO (as a non-ADHD, living in a house with 3 of them). I know that there is huge controversy on this board about ADHD and personality, but my opinion is that you have ADHD in addition to being whatever MBTI type you are. It's determined these days that ADHD is a neutrotransmitter disorder (dopamine mostly) just like many disorders like depression and I think all types can have it. When your ADHD is treated (just like depression) your MBTI type will become more clear. But that's another can of worms!

  4. #4
    Senior Member whimsical's Avatar
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    When I was a kid I was definitely shyer because I would always imagine a whole bunch of possible outcomes in any given (social) situation and fear the worst would come true. My doctor called it being selectively mute. Anyhow, I'm 19 now and I have anxiety & depression, but they are not to the level that I cannot talk to anyone, actually, I am a pretty good talker if I am comfortable enough.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
    Temporal Mechanic. Lexicon's Avatar
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    I had a rather vivid imagination growing up, and my mom didn't really censor what I watched or read. I can definitely relate, to some degree. Anything I read turns into a film reel in my head.

    I got over being afraid at a younger age, however, it probably wasn't through the most nurturing means. My mom refused to let me sleep with her if I was afraid, ever. If I refused to stay in bed, punishments would be handed down, etc. So I guess fear of the parent overtook fear of my imagination after awhile.

    Not to mention, older siblings tend to tease the younger ones about this stuff.. and play tricks.. my brother definitely did. :rolli: Desensitization for the win.

    I imagine some of your son's sensitivity will, err, balance out, with cumulative exposure to real life events, the good and the bad, and their meanings, or lack of meaning, over time. If that makes sense. Maybe it would help to talk about the concepts behind the things he sees, real or fiction. Even if you haven't read what he's been reading, maybe it'd help to ask him, next time he's upset, about what he thinks the main ideas were in the stories, and try to figure out, with him, how the particular scene that affected him fits in, and why it was important. Finding some sense of meaning, understanding, concrete or abstract, brings closure [which, J's require].

    I was actually diagnosed with ADHD as well; I'm pretty sure a few INFJs on this forum have ADD or ADHD. Must be that dominant Ni and inferior Se bouncing around in there, hah. I mean.. just looking at it in terms of MBTI functions, not the imbalance of neurotransmitters [that goes unsaid].

    Sometimes anxiety problems can stem from AD[H]D. It makes sense to me.. I mean.. you think of most folks with ADD as prone to 'getting carried away' in some context or another, and anxiety's all about that snowball effect. Is it being managed in any way? Through meds or regular therapy?
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  6. #6
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    Very interesting replies. Thank you.

    At this point he is on meds - adderall and a tiny dose of zoloft (to see if it improves his fear, anxiety etc.). He is being treated by a new child psychiatrist who specializes in ADHD and so far I'm very pleased. He's not one to just give you a drug and send you on your way. He's taking things slow and trying small doses. Over the past 18 months we have also worked with two different psychologists. What can I say? One was an INFP type who was very nice and basically told me husband and I that we were too nonchalant about his fears or worse that we didn't respect his fears enough. So we had to discuss and analyze his fears whenever they came up and steer him to solve them logically himself. Unfortunately my son got worse with this approach. Then we saw a 'behavioral psychologist' who told us the exact opposite - that we were catering to his fears and magnifying them. We were to desensitize him and use rewards for being braver and so forth. This method only resulted in him keeping his thoughts to himself!

    Anyhow, I didn't want to say this but most mornings I find him curled up on my floor in a pile of blankets due to being too scared to be alone in his room at night.

    I was just hoping that you NFs would give me some hope that some of this will diminish with age.

    I imagine some of your son's sensitivity will, err, balance out, with cumulative exposure to real life events, the good and the bad, and their meanings, or lack of meaning, over time. If that makes sense. Maybe it would help to talk about the concepts behind the things he sees, real or fiction. Even if you haven't read what he's been reading, maybe it'd help to ask him, next time he's upset, about what he thinks the main ideas were in the stories, and try to figure out, with him, how the particular scene that affected him fits in, and why it was important. Finding some sense of meaning, understanding, concrete or abstract, brings closure [which, J's require].
    Thank you - that seems like a very good way to work on it. I will try this.

  7. #7
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    As a child I had a number of fears, which I intellectually realized were unlikely to come true, but which terrified me nonetheless. I used to have a blanket ready by my bed so that if there was a fire (our school was taking about fire safety) I could quickly lower my most important possessions out the window! I read a book about WWII and instantly became worried that it could happen again and planned what I would do if I ever had to go to a concentration camp and be separated from my family. I read a story about a Dutch family who lived near one of the dikes which broke and in the end the mother ended up dying. As a result, I was sure that whenever I was away from any of my family members, something terrible would happen in the form of a natural disaster. I used to carry things to school that would remind me of them (the rag doll my mother made, etc). We had a big campaign on not talking to strangers when I was a kid. I used to run across lawns for the half a block home because I thought that if you could stay away from where they may drive up and offer you candy, maybe you'd have a chance of getting inside one of the houses. I wanted my folks to become block parents. I knew in my head that the chances of this happening were very unlikely, my mother had several talks about how rude it was to step on other people's grass and I agreed to change, but I was too embarrassed to admit what it was that I was scared of. There was a story about the tiger that had his stripes stolen by a stranger and I felt sure that the stranger lived in our basement and would get me when I went down on an errand for my mum. I lay in bed at night as a little kid and used to think about how old my various family members would be when I was different ages and would cry about how young I might be when my siblings left home after graduation, or when my parents would die! I was afraid of the dogs on my route home. All of these were exagerrated fears that were touched off by something I read or something that could have been true.

    My parents handled it very well. I didn't tell them about everything I was afraid of, because I was so embarrassed, but they used to tuck me in and I had a chance to talk about some of it and they gave me ideas of how to deal with it and didn't laugh. No matter what, do not make light if these things, because they are very real to your child! Give him as much stability in his life as you can and routine. Make sure there is downtime on a regular basis where he might have a chance to talk to you about what it is that's worrying him. Limit how much TV/computer games/video games he is playing and eliminate things that give more fodder for fear. Strengthen your relationship as much as possible in other ways and he will also get a lot of security from you and will follow the lead you give him. I grew out of it by the time I was about 10 or 12.

  8. #8
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    I'd like to know how the hell a 2-year-old can have a nightmare about his mother being turned into a robot that says it can't love him anymore...
    Dreams are best served manifest and tangible.

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  9. #9
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by hommefatal View Post
    This sounds a lot like an INFJ, yes.

    E/I and J/P are influenced by personality disorders (pretending to be extroverted/social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive/[which personality disorder makes you indecisive?])

    S/N and T/F are rather independent on personality disorders. Theoretical and affected by bad happenings sounds much like N and F.

    ADHD sounds more like an ENFP but fear of yourself sounds much like an INFJ.

    Please provide a source for this information.

  10. #10
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicia91 View Post
    Would love to get a bit of feedback about my 11-year old NF son (INFJ, I believe). He is very creative, theoretical and highly imaginative. Unfortunately, his imagination sometimes frightens him and gets in the way of him being more independant. For example, he is very scared of the dark, he claims to 'relive every scary book he's ever read.' He is also disturbed by a lot of what he sees on TV- real and fiction. He saw something about a kid who set a cat on fire, and couldn't get over it for days. He also couldn't sleep at night thinking about the cat.

    He's also ADHD, immature for his age and his psychiatrist has wondered if he also has some anxiety. I'm just wondering if some of these things are typical for an INFJ - or are they outside the norm.

    Thanks.
    Alicia
    He sounds like a pretty normal introverted child to me. Being scared of the dark has nothing to do with type, nor does being scared by the memory of scary thoughts or experiences.

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