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  1. #121
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I said I was leaving but I guess not!

    I don't know but I do know that at this point the ineffable, immaterial, indescribable Ni sounds substantially less mystic and obscure than this Fi people are talking about. Walking through crowds and picking up people's emotions? Having to move your office because of being bombarded with people's energy? If this is the case, I'm quite happy I have a natural mental boundary between myself and others because this sounds like emotional and mental rape. And here's a mercenary thought: I'd find a way to capitalize on this ability and harness it into something lucrative.
    Well, I admit I was reluctant to bring up my experiences as a kid because of just such reactions. Yes, I'm sure there could have been a incredibly lucrative career for me as a child for doing involuntary what any other reasonably observant person could do voluntarily. Such a useful talent!

    Seriously, though, could you be locked in a room with someone honestly sobbing and not feel the smallest pang? I think it's more a matter of degree than something mystic.

    I think you can agree that some people are more emotionally sensitive and open than others. I would guess the NFPs are at the more open end. I think I was dysfunctionally open and sensitive at one point in my life. I doubt it's even typical for most NFPs, but clearly there are some who were that way at some point in their life. I don't see it as something self-aggrandizing, though. Merely unpleasant.

    I know for me, my empathy is bound to situations I've personally experienced. When someone says they have/had a family member who has cancer and all the effects of that I feel like I can safely say I empathize. When someone speaks of racism and sexism I empathize. I have once before in my life felt like I was going to murder someone. I've seen red before. Whenever my mother's face scrunches up in pain, I feel that to my soul. I've felt anger, love, lust, shame, disgust, happiness, contentedness, etc. so I'm fully aware that if I've felt it I can make a strong connection to how I've felt and the way another person feels/felt.
    Who hasn't felt lust, shame, digust, mourned something? Are you claiming that NFPs haven't felt those things, too, and so can't make a strong connection?

    I admit to not having the ability to automatically know what another person is feeling if I've never felt it or been in a similar situation. I understand that's not exactly what Fis/NFPs are saying, but that's the closest approximation I can wrap my head around at this point. I can ask, I can conjecture, I can speculate, I can watch their behaviors and body language and make educated guesses (which can be wrong!) but I don't know.
    We don't know, either. We can't know. But we tend to empathize with what we perceive, whether it's accurate or not.

    Take this for example (and it's kinda melodramatic but bear with me), if I'm some villager in a war torn country and some American volunteer tells me they know exactly what I feel I would hope for them to fall into a dinosaur sized pile of manure. I'd feel insulted. What would they know of my life? The lesser virtue of sympathizing would be more suited in a situation like this. Sometimes it's more appropriate to admit you don't know what a person feels but still feel compassion for them anyway and stand beside them. Maybe you'll come to develop some empathy in a meaningful and more accurate way.
    You never REALLY know what someone else is going through. You've never had all the life experiences they had. You may think you can accurately empathize with someone whose family member is dying of cancer, but what if it's their young child dying of cancer? What if they already had a visceral fear of the disease and now they have to deal with it daily? What if they secretly hated that family member, so now they feel guilty and conflicted on top of everything else? There are a million reasons why your experience may not match up with theirs. There's always some presumption because there's has to be some assumption that your understanding of their emotions has some correspondence to their actual experience.

    We could go around assuming that the emotional states of others are absolutely unique and impenetrable. I could go around kicking people who get in my way on the assumption that just because being kicked is irritating and painful for me doesn't mean I should assume that it is for others. If I haven't kicked a given individual before (and who can keep track?) why should I assume their emotions are like mine?

    Clearly that's absurd, and we all make daily assumptions that others are like ourselves and that all people are similar in some ways. Seems like you are saying we xNFPs over-generalize and our behavior is unwarranted. That's a reasonable thing to claim, but surely you can see it's a matter of degree.

    And sympathy vs. empathy... I'm not sure one's more ennobling than the other. Both involve trying to understand another's emotional state. Both can be wrong. Empathy is just more participative.

    Emotions on their own aren't any more useful than any other kind of subjective experience on its own. What empathy does bring with it is a tendency to treat another's perceived emotions as more equal in importance to one's own, because the emotions (when empathy is accurate) are shared. It's harder, though not impossible, to hurt someone if it hurts you, too.

    And synarch, I agree; I find it highly PRESUMPTUOUS to even make such a claim although I don't find empathy itself presumptuous.
    So when is empathy not presumptuous? How can we know? Should we not try to empathize since we haven't gone through their exact situation? None of us have gone through anyone else's exact situation. My identical twin brother had a vastly different childhood than I did, and we grew up at the same time in the same places with the same genes.

    Sometimes, I agree, it is presumptuous to claim that we know what someone else is going through. Sometimes we can't know, and we try to empathize, anyway. Sometimes some understanding is better than none. I think it's always a mistake to claim we know exactly what someone else is going through. We can guess, sympathize and empathize. We can't know.

    I like these definitions of empathy although there are many out there and I bolded what I think are the most important parts:
    1. A sense of shared experience, including emotional and physical feelings, with someone or something other than oneself.
    2. The feeling or capacity for awareness, understanding, and sensitivity one experiences when hearing or reading of some event or activity of others, thus imagining the same sensations as that of those actually experiencing them.


    If NFPs want to assert that they have a greater capacity for/predisposed to/more concerned with/biologically hardwired to empathy according to the above then OK. It's not a competition and it will reveal itself somehow.
    All I was claiming is that I don't see anything wrong with claiming Fi predisposes one towards empathy. I agree it's not a competition, and I freely admit Fe users have plenty o' empathy, and possibly other functions lead to empathy, too.

    What's interesting to me is why this thread sat here for a couple of days before anyone commented? Maybe people were reluctant to...obviously there's a lot of opinion about this topic anytime it's brought up it typically explodes into this.

    But why did it sit here? Maybe that's an indicator of something. Tesla's thread is winding down, people may not have wanted to answer because of that. Maybe people were reluctant to offend FPs? What would that be called? There hasn't been very much FJ comment on this thread and I wonder why that's so as well. Why was the first critical comment in this thread interpreted as an act of aggression?
    I can't speak for others, but I didn't feel like jumping into the fray again so soon. I find it unpleasant when things break down.

    I believe the best way to get productive discussion about this is to specifically go to individuals who seem capable of calmly discussing this without offense and that in my experience has happened via PMs.
    I agree that it's easy for emotions to run high on this topic, and it doesn't take much to set people off.

    I'm going to have to ask the NFPs I know if this is something they experience though.
    I wouldn't be surprised if a few do, but the majority don't. I wasn't claiming my personal experience as universal. I just thought it illustrative of empathy existing without being intentionally developed. I freely admit that I was a weird kid in some respects.

  2. #122
    Once Was Synarch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seymour View Post
    Seriously, though, could you be locked in a room with someone honestly sobbing and not feel the smallest pang? I think it's more a matter of degree than something mystic.
    I could. I don't say that in a boastful way. I think you are forced with a decision point when subjected to strong emotions. You either identify or you distance yourself as a means to protect yourself. I learned to and decided to distance myself.

    The more confident you are about your own emotions the more likely you might be to identify. I am not confident that way. For me, I worry about suffering being contagious and since I have a difficult enough time maintaining my own sanity I enforce a strict regimen of what I call "emotional hygiene". I do not want to be overwhelmed by the emotions of another person. I must maintain control of myself for fear of losing control of myself.

    I think you can agree that some people are more emotionally sensitive and open than others. I would guess the NFPs are at the more open end. I think I was dysfunctionally open and sensitive at one point in my life. I doubt it's even typical for most NFPs, but clearly there are some who were that way at some point in their life. I don't see it as something self-aggrandizing, though. Merely unpleasant.
    I think it's more a question of boundaries. Sensitivity often involves a coming together that collapses boundaries between people. I am not sensitive in this way, generally.
    "Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."

  3. #123
    Glycerine
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    yes, I concur Fe seems to be more objective and Fi seems more personalized. Both are good in different ways. Fe seems to care in more of a formal, cold, distant way while Fi comes off more warm and fuzzy (if the person trusts you). Fe can be blind when it wants to avoid negative things and emotions (dark side of life) and/ or they need to believe in some fragile self or group perception/ideal (same can go w/ INFPs) . Fi, IME, seems to like to revel in both good and dark things. It can be blindsided when it gets too stuck in its emotions. Not to be mean, INFPs (Fi dom) are the type that seem to get blindsided the easiest. Just an observation I've seen on the forum. This is more aimed at INFPs and EXFJs.

  4. #124
    Once Was Synarch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pitseleh View Post
    yes, I concur Fe seems to be more objective and Fi seems more personalized. Both are good in different ways. Fe seems to care in more of a formal, cold, distant way while Fi comes off more warm and fuzzy (if the person trusts you). Fe can be blind when it wants to avoid negative things and emotions (dark side of life). Fi, IME, seems to like to revel in both good and dark things. It can be blindsided when it gets too stuck in its emotions. Not to be mean, INFPs (Fi dom) are the type that seem to get blindsided the easiest. Just an observation I've seen on the forum. This is more aimed at INFPs and EXFJs.
    Hmmm, interesting. Maybe Fe is ordered, proper emotion? Fi is more authentic emotion?

    Agree with the point about Fi users reveling in both good and dark things. Like I said, they seem more confident to me in their emotions. They trust it enough to rely on it.
    "Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."

  5. #125
    Uniqueorn William K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Synarch View Post
    Agree with the point about Fi users reveling in both good and dark things. Like I said, they seem more confident to me in their emotions. They trust it enough to rely on it.
    Yeah, and be extremely stubborn and prickly about it, especially when others tell us we are wrong :P

    Sort of like that scene from Star Wars where the rebels are attacking the Death Star. One pilot is telling the other to pull up but the latter is insisting that he can make it... and then Bam....

    Wait... or was that Independence Day....?
    4w5, Fi>Ne>Ti>Si>Ni>Fe>Te>Se, sp > so > sx

    appreciates being appreciated, conflicted over conflicts, afraid of being afraid, bad at being bad, predictably unpredictable, consistently inconsistent, remarkably unremarkable...

    I may not agree with what you are feeling, but I will defend to death your right to have a good cry over it

    The whole problem with the world is that fools & fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. ~ Bertrand Russell

  6. #126
    Once Was Synarch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William K View Post
    Yeah, and be extremely stubborn and prickly about it, especially when others tell us we are wrong :P
    But that is what makes it admirable.

    They stick to their guns. No compromises to the vision.
    "Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."

  7. #127
    Revelation Lauren Ashley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pitseleh View Post
    yes, I concur Fe seems to be more objective and Fi seems more personalized. Both are good in different ways. Fe seems to care in more of a formal, cold, distant way while Fi comes off more warm and fuzzy (if the person trusts you). Fe can be blind when it wants to avoid negative things and emotions (dark side of life). Fi, IME, seems to like to revel in both good and dark things. It can be blindsided when it gets too stuck in its emotions. Not to be mean, INFPs (Fi dom) are the type that seem to get blindsided the easiest. Just an observation I've seen on the forum. This is more aimed at INFPs and EXFJs.
    Ah, okay. I was going to reply that the Fe description absolutely does not describe me. I can come off as cold initially, because I'm an introvert. But I warm up over time.

    I personally believe that the boundaries between Fi and Fe are not as clear cut as they are made out to be. A lot of what is said about Fe can apply to Fi, and vice versa. Especially when Fe is paired with Ni, and Fi paired with Ne.

    Quote Originally Posted by Synarch View Post
    Hmmm, interesting. Maybe Fe is ordered, proper emotion? Fi is more authentic emotion?

    Agree with the point about Fi users reveling in both good and dark things. Like I said, they seem more confident to me in their emotions. They trust it enough to rely on it.
    No, Fi is not more authentic emotion. Again, I don't know how much Enneagram factors into this but I am a 4 so emotions are very much my terrain; positive and negative emotions. Most INFJs on this forum are 4s as well, so I doubt they would agree with that assessment.

  8. #128
    Uniqueorn William K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pitseleh View Post
    It can be blindsided when it gets too stuck in its emotions. Not to be mean, INFPs (Fi dom) are the type that seem to get blindsided the easiest.
    Since we've been using the deep sea analogy, an INFP is so fascinated by what he finds during the deep dive that he forgets about the basic things such as coming up for air

    There is also the part of feeling things intensely. When I'm in a great mood, I feel like I'm soaring up in the clouds, and then when reality interrupts (or blindsides us), it can be a rapid descent back to earth.
    4w5, Fi>Ne>Ti>Si>Ni>Fe>Te>Se, sp > so > sx

    appreciates being appreciated, conflicted over conflicts, afraid of being afraid, bad at being bad, predictably unpredictable, consistently inconsistent, remarkably unremarkable...

    I may not agree with what you are feeling, but I will defend to death your right to have a good cry over it

    The whole problem with the world is that fools & fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. ~ Bertrand Russell

  9. #129
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Synarch View Post
    I could. I don't say that in a boastful way. I think you are forced with a decision point when subjected to strong emotions. You either identify or you distance yourself as a means to protect yourself. I learned to and decided to distance myself.
    I find that really surprising and foreign, although I believe you. I couldn't NOT empathize in that situation. It might make me angry that I had to empathize, but I couldn't avoid it.

    The more confident you are about your own emotions the more likely you might be to identify. I am not confident that way. For me, I worry about suffering being contagious and since I have a difficult enough time maintaining my own sanity I enforce a strict regimen of what I call "emotional hygiene". I do not want to be overwhelmed by the emotions of another person. I must maintain control of myself for fear of losing control of myself.
    Maybe that's another difference, too. I think Fi-doms arrive at emotional management in a different way. For us (well, some of us) emotions are not inherently threatening. They just are. Plus they often carry meaningful data with them. When I feel irritated at someone, I ask why. That irritation is important information and may indicate subtle things like underhanded manipulation on the other person's part. My irritation isn't the only truth, but it represents a bunch of subtle, unconscious judgments and should be taken seriously. On the other hand, if I'm irritated just because the other person has a habit of saying "ummm" every other word... not so important.

    xNFPs generally choose to deal with emotions immediately and in depth so they don't fester. One of the strengths of Fi is that helps one manage one's own emotional state. While emotions aren't under our direct control, there is a lot of shaping one can do to them.

    I don't like to be overwhelmed by the emotions of another, either. However, I don't see that instantly as a danger when I empathize with someone. There is a level of intensity that is too much, and then, in some cases, I have to physically withdraw. Unless someone is screaming or sobbing, though, I'm not in much danger of being overwhelmed.

    I think it's more a question of boundaries. Sensitivity often involves a coming together that collapses boundaries between people. I am not sensitive in this way, generally.
    I feel I generally have decent boundaries these days. I can empathize but it doesn't change how I feel long term about someone or a topic. I can talk to someone, totally see their point of view and empathize with it, and still disagree. This used to confuse me, but now I have a better grasp of what's going on. Today I'm careful to make it clear that while I understand, it doesn't mean I personally agree with whatever.

    Therapists have to develop the same kind of boundaries and emotional awareness, since they have to both empathize with their patients and still maintain professional boundaries. However, the therapists own feelings are vital information in the therapeutic process. I think xNFPs treat their emotions in the similar way.

  10. #130
    Uniqueorn William K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Synarch View Post
    But that is what makes it admirable.

    They stick to their guns. No compromises to the vision.
    Ok, I'm not trying to play victim here, but admirable is not the word I see being used most frequently to describe it
    4w5, Fi>Ne>Ti>Si>Ni>Fe>Te>Se, sp > so > sx

    appreciates being appreciated, conflicted over conflicts, afraid of being afraid, bad at being bad, predictably unpredictable, consistently inconsistent, remarkably unremarkable...

    I may not agree with what you are feeling, but I will defend to death your right to have a good cry over it

    The whole problem with the world is that fools & fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts. ~ Bertrand Russell

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