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  1. #1
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Default Seeking feedback from outside the confines of INFJ thinking

    Something interesting happened tonight with a neighbor, and it seems like a really good example of those microcosm moments that build up to a doorslam: I’m interested in hearing how other types would have dealt with it.

    I have new neighbors that moved in this past week directly in back of me. Earlier this afternoon, their kids were throwing rocks at the back of my house and broke the glass in the patio door. I don’t remember what they were aiming for- they weren’t trying to break glass, but they did. I called the police instead of going to their house and talking to the parents directly because I wanted to intimidate the kids into not doing it again. About an hour later, the parents came over- with the kids- apologized profusely, made the kids admit what they’d done and apologize themselves, and assured me they would take care of the broken panes. They fully owned up to how unacceptable it is and overall gave me a solid impression that they are respectful people who are genuinely embarrassed. We exchanged phone numbers and planned to get in touch about how to replace the door.

    All of that^ went down very respectfully**. My issue is with what happened next. I was washing my face, getting ready for bed when the grandfather knocked on the door- around 9 pm (the neighbors are grandparents, the kids were their grandchildren). I had to dry up and get somewhat re-dressed to answer the door, which took a couple of minutes. They were no longer at the door by the time I got there, so I walked into the front yard to see if I could catch whoever it was. I noticed the gate to my backyard was open.

    My first reaction was to feel really angry. My first thought: if someone doesn’t answer the door- especially at 9 pm- then whatever needed to be checked out in that person’s backyard should wait until the next day. The shades I have covering my windows are translucent, the only way to see inside the house at night is to be standing up close to the window. And even so- I’ve got an 8 ft high wooden fence around my backyard- so it seems like I shouldn’t have to worry about someone seeing in my house. If I am home alone, I won’t think twice about walking around the house in my underwear sometimes. I am a really private person, the thought of someone taking the liberty of going in my backyard without my permission disturbs me.

    I walked around into the backyard to find the neighbor measuring the dimensions on the door (standing up close to the window of my living room with the translucent shades). His grandson was with him, probably to hold the flashlight for him. In short: if I hadn’t heard him knock on the door, it’s entirely possible they both might have caught me dancing around my living room in my underwear- scratching my butt, picking my nose, or any other number of things people might do while they don’t have to worry about being seen.

    Here’s the integral INFJ turning point: once I saw how frazzled he was, my anger immediately faded. This is a prime example of a situation where I go- from sensing something is clearly ‘off’, feeling offended and getting angry about it- straight into empathizing with the other side, thinking “it’s no big deal” and deciding not to make an issue out of it. I could see that getting the door replaced as soon as possible was weighing heavily on him, and I wasn’t willing to point out to him how I was more non-plussed about the privacy invasion than I was about the broken door. It truly, instantly felt like ‘no big deal’: no harm, no foul. I decided I’d wait and say something if it ever happened again. I didn’t want him to feel like his efforts to amend the situation respectfully by fixing the door as quickly as possible went unappreciated.

    I realize, to some extent, my knee-jerk reaction to contain my anger and empathize is based on the wish that others would stop and think about both sides before exploding in anger at me for something I’ve done. But the ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ approach to getting along with people falls short sometimes in the sense that it can resemble ‘my way is the best way’. I think maybe INFJs have a more averse reaction to having someone snap at them in anger, I think we feel the weight of the other person’s anger/injured feelings more than most types. Sometimes I even think we sense more anger in that other person than is actually there (because it takes a LOT of anger for us to lash out in that same way).

    Anyway, I’m trying to break out of ‘my way is the best way’. I’m wondering how that same event would go down for other types. How would you have reacted in that situation: both internally (thought process) and externally (how would you actually have behaved)?


    I feel compelled to point out that- while I’m using this incident with my neighbor as an example- I really don’t think I’ll have a problem telling this specific person not to wander into my backyard without my knowing if it happens again. I’m trying to get at that underlying shift which tends to happen in INFJs- from intense annoyance to it being ‘no big deal’- and causes problems in friendships and/or relationships when it begins to accumulate. I want to see what that ‘annoyed/offended’ process looks like in other types.

    **edit: OKAY. Things to know before you get critical of me for calling the police. The op was already too long-winded so I didn’t put these details in, but the thread is almost getting derailed by their omission. (1) When I say ‘kids throwing rocks at my house’, I mean junior highschool age kids, laughing- in broad daylight- throwing large rocks (2” diameter) directly at the back of my house from their backyard. (2) When I say they broke 2 panes on my patio door: it’s a sliding glass door, both 36X78” panes are shattered from top to bottom. And it’s old- so it isn’t a matter of replacing the panes- the entire door and frame are going to have to be removed and a new one put in: EXPENSIVE. I’m just glad I happened to be home at 3 pm, because I otherwise would have assumed someone tried to break in and would have ended up paying for it myself. (3) While some of my neighbors are nice, respectful people- there are enough questionable people in the area to make me wary. In the past 12 months alone: the entirety of my exposed wood fence has been tagged with gang graffiti twice and I’ve had a windshield wiper (the entire metal arm) ripped off of my car while it was parked in my driveway. There are enough kids living in my area getting their shits n giggles out of destroying property that it wasn’t unreasonable for me to assume that’s what I was dealing with- and I wanted them (the kids) to know that I won't hesitate to call the cops when they destroy my property.

    For the record: I have a 16 year old son. If someone were to find him behaving like those kids when he was their age, I wouldn’t have a problem with the cops being called. That door will likely cost a thousand dollars or more to completely replace; they’ve got to learn it’s absolutely not acceptable to destroy someone else’s property like that for impulsive shits n giggles. If I had known the grandparents were so nice and respectful, *maybe* I would have called them first; but judging from the kids’ behaviors, I wouldn’t have guessed that’s what I’d find.
    Last edited by Z Buck McFate; 05-29-2010 at 11:25 PM.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  2. #2
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    Reading through the OP made me see so much of myself, the way I process things and reactions I've had in different situations are so similar.

    It would be interesting to see other responses. Thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
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    If you want to look at it in MBTI terms.. your gut reaction sounds Fi not Fe

    So I would consider that.

    In general terms what you have are people who are trying to do right after a wrong and maybe were bit over zealous about it.
    Your reaction is that a good person either way.

    But you went all Fi 1st ..

  4. #4
    Professional Trickster Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arclight View Post
    your gut reaction sounds Fi not Fe... you went all Fi 1st ..
    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with Arclight. Z Buck McFate sounded like she was using Fe to me... textbook Fe in fact.

    Maybe I can shed some light on this as an ENFP who has Fi as her auxilliary function and Fe as a shadow function. Per CognitiveProcesses.com Extraverted Feeling is about connecting with others and considering the needs of the group. Fi is more.... it's sort of hard for me to articulate what Fi is. It's sort of like considering the value of your values.

    For me, Fi is about what is Right (with a capital R). It transcends social norms. Let me repeat this because this is the heart of the matter. Fi for me is about finding the essence of Rightness. This is the primordial Right that social norms grew out of, but they are only a reflection of the principles that I seek to guide my behavior.

    For example, about a year ago, an INFJ male in my acquaintance engaged in some behavior I found morally reprehensible. Fe, as I understand it, would have led me to respond in some manner in keeping with social norms and in a way that I could connect with him at least enough to have strong empathy for his side of things.

    Perhaps, if I had auxillary Fe instead of Fi, I would have privately seethed but decided to not rock the boat by confronting him. Or, maybe I would have doorslammed him. But my Fi finds these choices a bit “little picture.” Afterall, my Fi is concerned with the underlying truths of the social norms that so inform Fe. So in this respect, social norms are only a point of reference for me.

    After much reflection, I decided that a bigger moral issue was at stake than not rocking the boat. This gave me the self-assuredness to point out his transgressions to him… social norms be damned.

    I didn’t make this decision rashly. I knew there would be some serious social fallout from it. And, I knew that what I had to say would hurt and shock him. So how can I, who as an ENFP is so concerned with people liking me and making the people around me comfortable, do something that she knows is going to provoke antipathy and evoke much pain? I could do it because of my Fi. I tried to deliver my diatribe with as much kindness as possible, but I was very direct in pointing out his sins. I just HAD to do it because it was the Right thing to do.

    To an outside observer, it might have appeared I was trying to hurt this person or that I had no filters. But nothing could be farther from the truth. I truly care about this person and weighed my decision very carefully. I tried to make the most moral choice possible. And I guess I felt like social norms were rather limiting considering the bigger principle at stake.

    It seems to me that for Bucky Z McFate, Fe came into play first when she reasoned through her decision to call the police. Her decision was the result of a cognitive process in which she chose the most efficient option that would force the offenders into socially correct behavior. That is Fe.

    Bucky Z McFate, I find what you wrote here very interesting. I'm going to have to ponder a bit... In the meantime, I wanted to tell you that it gave me a lot of insight into the INFJ essence.
    Last edited by Esoteric Wench; 05-29-2010 at 02:05 PM.

  5. #5
    Professional Trickster Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    I think analyzing how Fe and Fi would have handled this differently can tell you a lot about how INFJs work. See the chart below:
    INFJ Hierarchy of Primary Functions
    1. Ni (Dominant) - Foreseeing implications, transformations, and likely effects
    2. Fe (Auxillary) - Connecting and considering others and the group
    3. Ti (Relief or Tertiary) - Analyzing, categorizing, and evaluating according to principles.
    Both Fe and Fi are about being considerate and cooperative. My Fi would give me a natural way to express my anger w/o feeling like I was violating one of my core values. In other words, I wouldn't see rocking the boat as such a problem. Thus, stress expressed. Stress released. I move forward. No doorslam.

    Unresolved anger due to Fe preventing the INFJ from expressing it can cause uncomfortable emotions to build up and spill over. Eventually, teritiary Ti kicks in which means all sorts of antics ensue.

    Our tertiary functions are relief valves that handle the overflow from our dominant and auxiliary functions. They are either on or off. And we usually don't have conscious control of it.

    Introverted Thinking is about analyzing, categorizing, and evaluating according to principles. And, this goes a long way explaining why INFJs might feel doorslamming is a good idea. If tertiary Ti kicks in for an INFJ, then they try to categorize. If they judge that a person needs to be put in the "keep at arms length" category or the "doorslamming category," for example, then the INFJ quickly shifts gears and recategorizes the person.

    It also explains why sometimes INFJs feel so horrible after doorslamming someone. After the doorslam, when Ni or Fe is in charge again, the INFJ may agonize over their tertiary Ti-driven decision, which is not in keeping with Fe values.

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    Thank you for clarifying..

    See in my case I would feel sympathy, (even if I couldn't empathize because I was too busy being upset), for the grandfather and child.. But My Fi would go wild over the initial thought that someone is in my personal space.

    Same behaviors different causes ..

  7. #7
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sky is BLUE! View Post
    Reading through the OP made me see so much of myself, the way I process things and reactions I've had in different situations are so similar.

    It would be interesting to see other responses. Thanks for sharing.
    Thanks SiB, I was hoping other INFJs might chime in- to also give me a sense of how common this experience is. It really seems to me like it's a major component of the doorslam, so it's good to hear if this is as common an INFJ experience as I suspect it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arclight View Post
    If you want to look at it in MBTI terms.. your gut reaction sounds Fi not Fe

    So I would consider that.

    In general terms what you have are people who are trying to do right after a wrong and maybe were bit over zealous about it.
    Your reaction is that a good person either way.

    But you went all Fi 1st ..
    I'd actually been wondering if the problem isn't lack of Fi: the initial sense of feeling offended is never concrete enough for me to give it much weight, it seems to disappear too quickly when I step back and throw the other person's point of view into the mix. It *seems* to disappear. Yet when it happens on a regular basis with someone, a distinct feeling of dissonance begins to accumulate- that's what I'm looking to get rid of here.

    I'm not sure if it's even helpful to bring the functions into this, per se. I'm just looking to compare the process of 'automatic thoughts' I have when I get annoyed to the process other people go through.

    edit: esoteric- I'm a 'she'. Just for the record. I posted this^ without seeing the inbetween posts yet, I'll get back to them soon.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  8. #8
    Kraken down on piracy Lux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    I'd actually been wondering if the problem isn't lack of Fi: the initial sense of feeling offended is never concrete enough for me to give it much weight, it seems to disappear too quickly when I step back and throw the other person's point of view into the mix. It *seems* to disappear. Yet when it happens on a regular basis with someone, a distinct feeling of dissonance begins to accumulate- that's what I'm looking to get rid of here.

    I'm not sure if it's even helpful to bring the functions into this, per se. I'm just looking to compare the process of 'automatic thoughts' I have when I get annoyed to the process other people go through.
    This describes me too.

    I honestly don't really get mad, I may have twinge of it, or feel annoyance or be offended, but it never never lasts. It never seems like a big deal. In your OP I would have picked up on your neighbors discomfort and my feelings of discomfort would immediately have been taken over by his. My own tend to dissipate, upon the discomfort of another. Not always, I am sure, but for the most part. It is like I am looking at the situation from a removed perspective, and I am far enough away, that I don't personally get upset.. I don't even know if that makes sense. Hmmm...
    "It is not length of life, but depth of life." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Thought breeds thought." ~ Henry David Thoreau

  9. #9
    Senior Member The Outsider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    I'd actually been wondering if the problem isn't lack of Fi: the initial sense of feeling offended is never concrete enough for me to give it much weight, it seems to disappear too quickly when I step back and throw the other person's point of view into the mix.
    That is exactly how it is for me as well.

    Though it seems that your initial reaction is a lot more severe than mine. I wouldn't even think of calling the police.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    I’m trying to get at that underlying shift which tends to happen in INFJs- from intense annoyance to it being ‘no big deal’- and causes problems in friendships and/or relationships when it begins to accumulate.
    I do not believe that has anything to do with being an INFJ or not.

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