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Thread: INFJ childhood

  1. #31
    Junior Member thats.mana's Avatar
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    I remember being fairly social, knowing the other kids in the neighborhood and school but rarely being the first to play with the new kids I meet. Even at a young age I depended on my brother or cousin to make friends with someone than I would join in on the activities. Because of this I found myself wondering around the neighborhood and school yards by myself alot.
    Junior high was hell, no friends, lots of books read. I think part of the reason it was hell was because I realized how big the world was, how small my part might be (haha). This was probably around the time I started to conform and adopt to others influences in my attempts to fit in.

    I hated when my parents argued, I felt to much.

  2. #32
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    I have really enjoyed reading the different descriptions of people's childhoods. I suppose this thread may be a good example of how INFJs may self-disclose (and not be obtrusive) as a way to get to know other people, in person or online. Basically, building a connection with others with personal revelations; an expression of Fe?

    Anyway, I appreciate the level of detail that people have put into their posts; it helps paint a picture for me.
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all

    Joni Mitchell

  3. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by statuesquechica View Post
    Anyway, I appreciate the level of detail that people have put into their posts; it helps paint a picture for me.
    I really appreciate it as well. Thanks to all who posted (and thanks for the link poppy). It has really helped me. I can relate to functioning more as a T. I can also relate to the posts about not being able to express yourself on things you aren't certain, and having to constantly restate it. I then get frustrated with myself because I sound like a broken record, and then people perceive that I'm frustrated with them and not at myself.

    I grew up with a big family. My mom is loving, but a bipolar enfp not on meds. My dad is an INTJ who worked all the time to provide for our big family. It was hard to really get to know him. However, I cherished the times I did have with him because he "got" me, and I could be myself.

    My oldest sister who pretty much took care of all of us siblings, is ISTJ. The younger siblings vary...and am not quite sure what they are.

    This dynamic really pushed me more towards an TJ mindset. I learned that I could survive if I could be TJ. In my mind, if I showed strong emotions it was like being over-emotional like my mother. The TJ mindset also helped me to be more like my sister and avoid conflict. This led to me hiding my true feelings, and never really expressing myself. Then, occasionally, my feeling side would explode from repression, and everyone would be shocked.

    I remember a time I hurt my sister deeply without meaning to when she expressed to me that I was her best friend and I knew everything about her, but I told her that she knew nothing about me so how could we be best friends?

    Anyway, fast forward to today... most times I can be my normal INFJ self. However, I have extreme difficulties when I'm under a lot of stress/pressure. I then resort to my "survival mode" which is the TJ that got me by in childhood. I find that it doesn't work in the real word, and confuses the heck out of people. I'm still learning how to function under stress/pressure. Something that is interesting is that if I take the MBTI when I'm under stress...I come out INTJ. If I take it when I am feeling fine and relaxed, I come out INFJ.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by sade View Post
    Interesting. And it has been suggested that I developed a sensibility to people's moods and emotions in order to adapt to that or to avoid it somehow.
    Given your situation, this is a reasonable theory. Based on some similar experiences, I can relate to this aspect quite a bit. Although, I'd prefer not to describe the situation.
    Doorknob: Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction.
    -Alice in Wonderland

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by harmonyizmine View Post
    I learned that I could survive if I could be TJ. In my mind, if I showed strong emotions it was like being over-emotional like my mother. The TJ mindset also helped me to be more like my sister and avoid conflict. This led to me hiding my true feelings, and never really expressing myself. Then, occasionally, my feeling side would explode from repression, and everyone would be shocked.
    I did this as well and my mother is an ISTJ. I patterned my behavior after hers as she was my only parent. I dealt with stress like a TJ and would explode. It's a very frustrating tug of war.



    Quote Originally Posted by harmonyizmine View Post
    I have extreme difficulties when I'm under a lot of stress/pressure. I then resort to my "survival mode" which is the TJ that got me by in childhood. I'm still learning how to function under stress/pressure. Something that is interesting is that if I take the MBTI when I'm under stress...I come out INTJ. If I take it when I am feeling fine and relaxed, I come out INFJ.
    *nods* I do this still. And test the way you do. In fact, I posted a thread about it awhile back. And people seem very confused.
    Doorknob: Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction.
    -Alice in Wonderland

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oddly Refined View Post
    I did this as well and my mother is an ISTJ. I patterned my behavior after hers as she was my only parent. I dealt with stress like a TJ and would explode. It's a very frustrating tug of war.

    *nods* I do this still. And test the way you do. In fact, I posted a thread about it awhile back. And people seem very confused.
    It's refreshing that there's someone out there who understands. I can feel isolated at times.

    It is really interesting to note the ISTJ/INFJ dynamic in an INFJ's childhood. I wonder if there are any other INFJ's out there who can relate to this?

    I would love to read the thread if you have a link to it.

  7. #37

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    This thread is absolutely fascinating to read.

    My childhood was interesting. The biggest thing that stands out in my mind about it was that my childhood was very, VERY far removed from reality. I'm an only child who was raised by a single INFP mother. She was quite far removed from "reality" herself, so it was never encouraged in me to be more "down to earth." In this respect, I was very lucky because I grew up in a wonderful environment to develop my Ni. However, I didn't grow up in a good environment for my Fe.

    I think because I was so similar to my mother in a lot of ways, she couldn't understand why I was so intent on making people happy/pleasing them/keeping the peace (Fi versus Fe, I suppose). There was a constant battle in our household whenever I would come back from visiting my father (ISxP) and step-mother (ESTP). I would always mould myself into someone who fit in with this part of the family, because neither of them were very supportive of my "dreamy" Ni-ness. So I became a bit of an ISFP around these people, which never made me unhappy (for not being true to myself) because it kept the peace and pleased my dad.

    My mother, however, could not, forthelifeofher, understand this about me. I'd come home and, for a day or so, while I was still adjusting to a new environment, be this other person. She thought I was being untrue to myself, which I was, but she couldn't see that it was all for my father (because I loved him so much). The funny thing is, though, I didn't do it consciously/with intention. I just did it instinctively and it's not until now that I've grown to realise the underlying "why" I did it.

    Anyway, my mother could never see herself doing the same thing and, therefore, couldn't see why I would. This was very hard on me because it would make her quite angry and, of course, I wanted to make HER happy, too. I soon began to dread going to see my dad just because of my mother. It was this whole struggle within me and, because I didn't know why I did this thing, I began to feel like there was something wrong with me. The way my mother treated it, I started to feel like I was a horrible person for being this way and so I became more and more guarded in who I let show to her and the world. Because of this, she's never really gotten to know me very well, which she could have if she had just been more accepting. It's also because of this that my dad has never really gotten to know me, either. I suppose this is a problem that INFJs tend to have...being isolated and misunderstood (which is sometimes of our own doing)

    Ah...well...I was not just misunderstood in my childhood because I brought it upon myself. Like I said earlier, I was quite far removed from reality and quite solitary. I didn't need friends because I had numerous ones in my mind, but I enjoyed having them. It was nice to have other kids to pull into my world every one in a while and they always seemed to enjoy it, too. However, I had only a few (quite literally, 3) of these people in my life. The rest simply did not get me and I don't blame them. I was always off by myself either reading or playing with my imagination. I didn't have much of an idea of what one should do "properly" in places like school (which is interesting, because I knew instinctively how to fit in with my dad...but not at school...weird).

    I was teased and picked on more than I like to think about. But I always had my own little world and I retreated into it more and more with every ounce of ridicule. I remember I would spend as much time as possible in the library, helping the librarian and reading (and discovering new books to check out and read). I spent a LOT of time at home playing by myself with my toys. However, I never felt lonely.

    Middle school is when it all changed because it was when I finally got a slap upside the head by reality. All of a sudden I was thrust into the world outside my head. I guess you could say that Fe really started to work here, because I realised that there were really cool people outside my head as well as people who needed a good friend to listen to them and be there. I learned to tone down Ni, but I was still very weird, and I still found it hard to be accepted. I was depressed all throughout middle school and I think I lost who I really was during those years. It wasn't until recently that I found that person again (it is so very, very nice).

    Anyway, I was very aware of myself during that time and very aware of what other people were feeling. I remember once a friend of mine was describing how her ex-boyfriend had called her a bad name. The fact that someone would do this to another person (or why anyone would be mean to that sweet, wonderful friend) ripped my heart up and I started bawling. She didn't know why I was crying so hard, but she started crying, too.

    Middle school was when I became aware of all of the bad things in the world. I was picked on as a child, but it never really phased me because, as far as I was concerned, I didn't have to live in that world. In middle school, I DID have to live in that world. I could see right through the facades of my classmates and I was keenly in tune with the meanness that pervaded that environment. It was depressing. I was depressed.

    Anyway...that is a LOT! Hahaha. I've never really delved this deeply into that part of my life before so thank you for giving me the opportunity! It's been amazing

  8. #38
    Junior Member StormySunshine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staytuned7 View Post
    My mother, however, could not, forthelifeofher, understand this about me. I'd come home and, for a day or so, while I was still adjusting to a new environment, be this other person. She thought I was being untrue to myself, which I was, but she couldn't see that it was all for my father (because I loved him so much). The funny thing is, though, I didn't do it consciously/with intention. I just did it instinctively and it's not until now that I've grown to realise the underlying "why" I did it.
    I just read this article which highlights this "shape-shifting" of personalities that INFJs experience: INFJs unite!

    If you don't want to read the whole article (which is definitely worth it), here's the part that's relevant:

    "With vivid memories of schoolyard awkwardness and failed romances, many INFJs (myself especially) learn to mimic other personality types or, at the very least, take lessons from those other types." -Plight of the INFJ

    I have found myself doing the same thing too, and did it a lot growing up in order to cause the least amount of friction among my family (who are all volatile SJ's). Sometimes this meant mimicking them, and sometimes it meant mimicking other personalities in order to better calm them down. For this reason, I feel now that none of them really know me that well, highlighted when my sister told me a couple of months ago that I'm a very reserved person, something that my friends would never characterize me as. My dad, for some reason, thinks of me as a good leader and go-getter, which I know is clearly not the case, while my mom sees me as lazy and unmotivated, which the people I work with would be flabbergasted at.

    Ironically, or maybe not so ironically, I still find myself shifting personalities, especially when I'm at work as a customer service rep. I tend to be much more extroverted and engaging of others, although it's all learned, since I'm very much introverted. It's quite draining being that way, though, so I usually go home mentally and emotionally drained, oftentimes leading to bouts of depression.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by StormySunshine View Post
    I just read this article which highlights this "shape-shifting" of personalities that INFJs experience: INFJs unite!
    That's a very interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

  10. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    That's a very interesting article. Thanks for sharing.
    Yes! Thank you for sharing.

    "One of my first girlfriends, on our disastrous first date, accused me of “stealing her personality.” She was probably right. In middle school, I developed my social skills by observing others and then acting like them. It wasn’t until late in college when I finally got comfortable letting my true colors show upon meeting someone new."

    I especially resonate with this. It's almost like this guy has lived my life. My ex-boyfriend once asked me why I laughed at things only after he laughed at them. It's kind of like my sense of humour depends on who is around me. This really bugged him.

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