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Thread: INFJ childhood

  1. #1
    Member Jaded Idealist's Avatar
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    Default INFJ childhood

    From the other INFJs here, I would like to see this discussed: might there be such a thing as a "typical" INFJ childhood? I often find that there is a great deal of difference between myself and other INFJs on these forums even though we supposedly are of the same type. Perhaps it's because when I was growing up I experienced a lot of deprivation of my Extroverted Feeling function (from poor articulation and social naivete) whereas others may not have. I was especially interested to stumble upon the supposed fact that INFJs are good articulators as well as writers, while INFPs are poor articulators, which doesn't seem true for me. The gap between my writing and my speech seems tremendous. In even day-to-day conversation, I constantly feel like my Introverted Intuition has written a check that my verbal communication is simply unable to cash, having to "dumb down" and tame what I am saying verbally to others, sometimes to the point where what I say about something really differs in kind from what I actually think and know about something. Small talk comes easily for most, but with great difficulty for myself.

    Edit: In other words, the sort of childhood environment that involves a poorly developed, unsupported Extroverted Feeling may belong to someone like myself that is forced to "retreat" somewhat into Fi. Fe remains a function, but I am not the least bit unacquainted with the introverted aspect of F, either (and I'm definitely no INFP...I am a neat freak perfectionist and at times a self-righteous kind of person, overwhelmingly because I've always felt a desire for everything in life to have a point, a definable purpose). I guess you could call such a person a "jittery" INFJ, as contrasted with a "comfy" one. Although, in theory, a childhood that involved an adequately supported Fe is more likely to belong to an ENFJ adult than an introvert, am I right?

    We are such bundles of paradoxes, aren't we?

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    I spent a lot of time in Fi was often called very self-aware. Part of the problem was that I was harassed very badly growing up and I was very sensitive. I retreated to my personal bubble to avoid being constantly teased. I think my preference for either changes based on what I'm doing at the time honestly. I've been working to promote Fi in myself recently as Fe was exhausted for work and personal reasons in the last several years. I needed to be able to unplug and look at myself. And to worry less about what others think & feel...
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    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Yes, I think how one is raised and ones experiences as a child and teenager greatly impacts the 'flavor' of INFJ (or any personality type) one ends up being. Nature vs. Nurture - both play a role.

    I know it can explain a lot of the differences between myself and a few of the INFJ's I know in real life.

    I grew up in a family of very introverted introverts, where things of substance were rarely discussed, and feelings were rarely expressed. None of us ever talked through anything.

    So yes, I think I ended up being very 'stunted' socially and emotionally. I can relate to what OddlyRefined wrote about withdrawing into myself. I basically became afraid of my peers, and never opened up to anyone. I learned to keep everything to myself, and to work through everything on my own.

    As to the OP and fluency: probably due to my childhood and my lack of experience/skill in socializing and communicating my thoughts/feelings to others, I came to believe I sucked at verbal communication. :-) So it came as quite a surprise when I would have a couple of midyear/yearend reviews in my mid and late 20's, at work, when communication was cited as one of my key strengths. My reaction was - I always knew my written communication was above par, but I thought my verbal was severely lacking.

    I've written this before on here, but I think the discrepancy is that there are a million things within me that I am unable to verbalize on-the-spot, or explain in a way that I am satisfied with, so what I DO say is a very condensed version of everything else that I'm not saying. So what I do say, while it might be eloquent, or succinct (while sometimes vague), is a shadow of everything else -- which is frustrating. Like, verbally I might say only a handful of sentences to describe this post, whereas obviously when I'm actually sitting here, without pressure or time limitations, I can dig through my thoughts a lot more and be a lot more thorough.

    Probably ties to my childhood, and self-consciousness that I still have when the spotlight is on me -- I want to deflect the spotlight. Other INFJ's I know don't have a problem with this, and are incredibly talkative and great story-tellers (I'm an atrocious storyteller) .
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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    Member Jaded Idealist's Avatar
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    I am unable to deal with the "spotlight" thing, myself. People already have trouble "getting" me from the carefully chosen pieces of information I've given them about myself (the SJs are the worst, since they like to think they know me like the back of their hands right off the bat). When I'm made the center of attention, it feels like an interrogation or an intervention.

    I always knew my written communication was above par, but I thought my verbal was severely lacking.
    Perhaps this is what it is: when it comes to repeating matters of fact, to anyone that is willing to listen, I can articulate better than nearly everyone I know, NTs included. But when it comes to matters of belief or opinion or something personal, it's a much different story. And I've always had a very strong leaning toward the intellectual, largely because it enforces the INFJ need to feel that I am on the "correct" side of as many issues as possible.

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    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded Idealist View Post
    Perhaps this is what it is: when it comes to repeating matters of fact, to anyone that is willing to listen, I can articulate better than nearly everyone I know, NTs included. But when it comes to matters of belief or opinion or something personal, it's a much different story. And I've always had a very strong leaning toward the intellectual, largely because it enforces the INFJ need to feel that I am on the "correct" side of as many issues as possible.
    I relate very much to this, and thank you for bringing it up. It's another factor that I've recognized before but forgot to mention. It's why I can excel on the job, in meetings, bringing up issues or questioning things -- because on-the-job, things are pretty cut and dry, and I can hone in on things and be quite to the point, direct, and fearless, for lack of a better word.

    Like you, with personal life, beliefs/feelings, I can't verbalize nearly so well. I often stumble over my words, or back up and rephrase because I don't get it right the first time. And yeah, philosphical stuff....I can write volumes when it comes to that stuff, and my thoughts/musings (ha!), but actually speaking it? Impossible. Probably because there are too many threads and I know it would be a lost cause to explain ALL of the threads. And without all of the threads, it isn't a cohesive whole, so I decide it's pointless, so I end up just being vague or generic.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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    nevermore lane777's Avatar
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    For starters, I loved my childhood. You might say, I have a slight case of the Peter Pan syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded Idealist View Post
    Perhaps it's because when I was growing up I experienced a lot of deprivation of my Extroverted Feeling function (from poor articulation and social naivete) whereas others may not have.
    I grew up in a family of T's, but this didn't stunt my Fe in the least; my mom encouraged this quality in me and my family was respectful of personality differences (familiar with typing systems, thanks to mom). Of course knowing about my own personality also helped me to accept myself, instead of feeling "wrong" and wearing a mask as INFJ's often do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded Idealist View Post
    I was especially interested to stumble upon the supposed fact that INFJs are good articulators as well as writers...
    About writing fluently - well I don't. The reason why I manage to come up with coherent sentences is because I'm a perfectionist and determined to improve on my poor T skills. It also doesn't help that I'm constantly filtering my thoughts through my Fe ... always choosing less offensive terms. For this reason, I really appreciate T's; I can relax.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded Idealist View Post
    Perhaps this is what it is: when it comes to repeating matters of fact, to anyone that is willing to listen, I can articulate better than nearly everyone I know, NTs included. But when it comes to matters of belief or opinion or something personal, it's a much different story. And I've always had a very strong leaning toward the intellectual, largely because it enforces the INFJ need to feel that I am on the "correct" side of as many issues as possible.
    I can relate. Are you an Enneagram 9w1 by chance?
    To die would be an awfully big adventure - Peter Pan

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    Member Jaded Idealist's Avatar
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    I found that overall I had a better connection with my ESFJ mom than my ESTJ dad. His Spartan quality always felt alien to me.

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    "Everything in its place" fill's Avatar
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    I was a very creative child, and I specifically remember an instance where one of my friends was constantly praised for being creative because he could draw things well (by looking at them, not from memory). I think that was a point where I realized that all that was my imagination had gone unappreciated. I was always creating something in my spare time, and I hardly ever showed people what I had made (I built some fucking awesome lego masterpieces; I always mixed the pieces that came in different kits, haha).

    When I would come out with my ideas, they were shot down by either A) an unimaginative SJ (no offense to them) or B) my dad (also an SJ) who called my creations "bad" or "disturbing" because they carried so much emotional weight. I've had countless drawings taken away from me and put in the trash because they're "evil" or "inspired by the devil," which is why I started to resent Christianity.

    My home was very strict, and my parents were quite protective of me, which made me vulnerable to almost any sort of "bad" thing because it was new to me and I was curious, and, again, the SJ adults could never understand why I wanted to explore or try new things. *sigh* I only see it more now, really, which is why I'll seldom share my intuition with anyone.
    "Poor bastard. Wait 'till he sees the bats. "
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaded Idealist View Post
    I found that overall I had a better connection with my ESFJ mom than my ESTJ dad. His Spartan quality always felt alien to me.
    My Mother is an ISTJ. It's always interesting and I'd wish I'd known years ago.
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    Senior Member the state i am in's Avatar
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    inj children are very sensitive.

    i came from a family of four introverts. surrounded by S types in my extracurriculars and in-class. kind of tyrannical and anti-social. infp mom was supportive and encouraging but from a small town value system that was about 50 years obsolete (and obvious to me from a very young age). istj dad was rather stoic and outwardly inexpressive. i was depressed throughout most of high school and it took me most of college to become a halfway decent person.

    the N groups i've found and belonged to have played the largest role in helping fix me up and send me on my way. as with all things, social life included, practicing skills promotes serious improvements.

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