I read this blog entry today at Personality Junkie and it reminded me of the last convo in this thread.
From a young age, the INFJ innately senses the difference between behavior that is authentically motivated (i.e., spiritually and psychologically healthy) and behavior that is inauthentic or ego driven (i.e., spiritually and psychologically destructive). Respect out of duty isn’t freely given by INFJs who (to the chagrin of their elders) tend to see adults and children through the same lens and then judge them by this universal qualification: authenticity. If respect has been earned and the INFJ intuits an individual to be primarily authentic (or at least trying to live more authentically), it can be a huge letdown for INFJs when that individual shows him or herself to be a “sinner” or imperfect. Truly, the INFJ doesn’t feel she is being unreasonable, since these are the same (perhaps even less stringent) expectations she places upon herself. Often, it isn’t until the INFJ’s tertiary Ti comes into play that she begins to rationally understand typological differences and thereby exercises greater patience and grace for some types’ need to learn (what in her view amounts to) “the hard way.”
This was a significant problem for me when I was younger. I just knew when someone had put critical thought into what they were expecting of me and I really didn’t make any distinction between adult or child, I just instinctively felt respect where I saw authenticity. It really puzzled me to see other children cooperating in situations strictly from a sense of duty. Though I’d disagree with the assertion that I didn’t feel like I was being unreasonable; it made me feel like bad kid actually, because I’d see other kids complying to the authority of adults without the same qualification I needed myself- even though I behaved well for everyone outside my family (it just wasn’t worth kicking up external conflict to me)- I still felt like a bad kid in comparison. I just didn’t feel much respect for adults who were just going through the motions and expecting ‘senseless’ (because that’s how it seemed to me) cooperation from the people around them though, in spite of how much I also felt like I ‘should’ be feeling it. I just saw them as big children. It was very confusing to me. I needed to be allowed to question things to thrive and feel connected/engaged- and in school environments where that was stifled and I wasn’t allowed to question, I’d just daydream to escape instead.
I think it was in highschool that I finally started realizing that people do the best they can with what they know, and I softened up a bit. Anyway, this was the first time I've found something like this written somewhere. I found it validating. Other descriptions I've read describe INFJ children as being cooperative and eager to please- and maybe that's the case when solid attachments are made early on- but it wasn't especially the case for me.