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Thread: Common INFJ issues

  1. #51
    Professional Trickster Array Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    No one needs to know my secret affection for Phil Collin's Groovy Kind of Love.
    That made me laugh.

    Fidelia, I thought the list in your OP was very comprehensive and interesting. Thank you for posting. You have obviously spent a lot of time reflecting on your INFJ-ness which I completely respect. Indeed, I've pulled my hair out many-a-time when encountering some of these "common sources of misunderstanding" with my INFJ friends. (And yet, most of them are still wonderfully adorable people... when I don't want to whack 'em on the back of the head. )

    I think that most of these items are related to the INFJ tendency to be overly rigid about the way things SHOULD be. Seems like so much of INFJ behavior is motivated by deciding how things should be, ruminating on said decisions, and defending these INFJ sacred cows from perceived threats.

    Usually, INFJs and I get along great. But when I have run into trouble with my INFJ friends, it's always about when they have a perception (real or not) that I'm doing something unacceptable in terms of <insert INFJ sacred cow here>.

    God knows that I've sometimes stuck my foot in it over the years, but in general, INFJs who get their panties in a wad because they perceive these "sacred cows" are being compromised, have a tendency to become reactionary. Such INFJs oftentimes need to relax. They can jump to conclusions too quickly and sometimes need to let their judgment hang open a little longer. Or perhaps, they are simply stubbornly refusing to process new, incoming information. Sometimes their <insert INFJ sacred cow here> needs a rethink in light of the new information at hand.

    I talked about the underlying reason for this in another thread on INFJ doorslamming. Let me quote the relevant points here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    I read once that Introverted Intuition is akin to a framework for understanding. Every time new information comes into the INFJ’s psyche, they must reprocess the entire framework to incorporate the new information. This is a very laborious process. Thus, to conserve mental energy, INFJs will sometimes dismiss new information if they judge it’s a rehashing of something they've processed previously. If the INFJ isn’t careful, they will fall into the trap of dismissing outside input too readily.

    In other words, some INFJs use Fe to serve the needs of Ni by rejecting new information. A more healthy, balanced approach would be for Fe to judge whether or not the INFJ's framework is still valid given the new information coming in. This takes more mental work, but it is critical for a healthy INFJ.

    An INFJ who uses their Fe to serve the needs of their Ni, rather than to check its excesses, will be rigid in their life stance. Such an INFJ may come off as opinionated, dismissive, snobbish, or arrogant. These INFJs see only what they want to see and are sorely lacking in humility.
    I found that if I apply the above scenario to the OP, this seems to work as a possible underlying mechanism for several of the listed behaviors.

    I may have to do a similar list for ENFPs.

  2. #52
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    I do agree that sometimes I dismiss new information too readily, or at the very least that I need some more time to be open to it. Usually I am more receptive if people present it to me and let it percolate for a while. If it is something that I haven't already made up my mind about, I tend to pick familiar over unfamiliar. However, upon further examination, sometimes I'll go with it.

    I must disagree with you that INFJs MUST relax and quit being so rigid. Maybe it's just an issue of the language used, but that first section of your post is likely to get most INFJ's hackles up. Not every type is going to hitch. You might not hitch with INFJs, but it doesn't mean that they need to change. It may mean that if you and they are going to work together, both will have to change their approaches somewhat. And for close relationships, you could choose to avoid INFJs because those qualities are a big part of what they are all about. Choose someone that is closer to what you can deal with. I don't like to be short with people or disrespectful to them. You should know though that your approach was disrespectful and rude and it won't win INFJs over to your way of doing things, even if that's how you really, really feel is the best way to fly.

    You cannot glibly tell someone that their basic nature (along with values that are very important to them) are flawed and they need to completely change and adopt your way of doing things and expect they will happily accept your verdict. You obviously have not taken time to understand why some of those things are a Big Deal. More effective would be explaining why what they are doing isn't always effective, give some specific examples and then leave it to them to mull.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    [IMG]God knows that I've sometimes stuck my foot in it over the years, but in general, INFJs who get their panties in a wad because they perceive these "sacred cows" are being compromised, have a tendency to become reactionary. Such INFJs oftentimes need to relax. They can jump to conclusions too quickly and sometimes need to let their judgment hang open a little longer. Or perhaps, they are simply stubbornly refusing to process new, incoming information. Sometimes their <insert INFJ sacred cow here> needs a rethink in light of the new information at hand.
    Quote Originally Posted by Arclight View Post
    I am talking about the INFJ tendency to make unilateral decisions that involve the feelings of others without any consultation or sharing of the decision making process. This is fine with loose friends or associates .. But with those close to you it says "I don't trust you" "I know better" "you are not my equal".. These behaviors will elicit the kind of response from people that send INFJs into defense mode.
    It's emotional cannibalism.
    Okay, I’ve got some questions for Arclight and Esoteric.

    What percentage of INFJs- in your estimate- are walking, talking cataclysmic emotional accidents waiting to happen? Seriously, exactly how many of us do you suspect don’t have enough of a clue about how our own perceived version of reality negatively affects those around us and those we claim to love?

    Is it that you see us as loaded guns of some sort? So that even those of us who are vigilant about not hurting others, must still work on being even more vigilant?

    I ask because your INFJ-related posts often seem to suggest that you think we all have one foot on a banana peel and the other hovering above a bucket of steaming hot, sticky manipulative self-delusion. I’m really curious how many of us you believe actually have a problem with this- a very real potential to seriously emotionally hurt another person, while completely unawares?

    Do you think the typical INFJ has the problems you've listed in some unhealthy degree?

    edit: I'm not trying to be antagonistic. I've been told my tone comes off that way (especially in writing), but really I'm just trying to better understand where you're coming from with these posts.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    In my experience, we tend to let matters hang for far, far too long. If anything I take too many points of view into account instead of too few. I talk myself OUT of reacting strongly when I would like to. I don't think I'm in the habit of making hasty, unilateral decisions that have huge effects on other people emotionally. Anyone who cares to ask, will most definitely be included and have a window into my decision-making process. If I finally make a very definite decision that the other person is not happy with, it is only as a result of having exhausted every other possible solution and made the other person aware of the problem as well.

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    wants Mifune clone minion Array Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    ^That's kind of exactly my point. I think just as many of us err in the other direction, I'm just wondering if they're aware of it.

    add: I don’t mean to belittle what they’ve been through- unhealthy INFJs can really put the whammy on someone, no doubt about it- it happens. I’ve been there. But it isn’t because they’re INFJ, it’s because they’re broken and unhappy. I know how maddening it is to be the target of another person's NiFe delusion, but we aren’t all loaded with unexploded landmines. There are quite a few of us who are all too aware that NiFe can project unfairly- and we actually compensate in a manner unfair to ourselves (by obsessing whether our beef with someone is justified before voicing discontent- while dealing with others who barely hesitate to share their own) because we aren’t willing to take the risk of throwing melodramatic over-reactions at someone.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  6. #56
    Professional Trickster Array Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I must disagree with you that INFJs MUST relax and quit being so rigid. Maybe it's just an issue of the language used, but that first paragraph is likely to get most INFJ's hackles up.
    First of all, I’m not saying that INFJs must relax and quit being so rigid. Instead, I’m saying that there is a particular kind of uptightness and rigidity that is uniquely INFJ. It raises its ugly head whenever an INFJ uses Fe to serve the needs of Ni by rejecting new information. This uniquely INFJ uptightness and rigidity disappears instantly when an INFJ uses Fe to judge whether or not the INFJ's framework of understanding (Ni) is still valid given the new information coming in.

    Seems like you have extrapolated from one comment I made about how some INFJs behave when they are not at their best as me stating that all INFJs need to be less rigid and relax. Now you know unequivocably that’s not what I'm saying at all. Let me respectfully ask you to consider whether or not you jumped to judgment too quickly here.

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    You might not hitch with INFJs, but it doesn't mean that they need to change… I don't like to be short with people or disrespectful to them. You should know though that your approach was disrespectful and rude and it won't win INFJs over to your way of doing things.
    Furthermore, you go on to say I was being disrespectful and rude because I said that "[INFJs] need to completely change and adopt [Esoteric Wench's] way of doing things and expect they will happily accept your verdict."

    For the record, I am absolutely NOT saying that INFJ-ness is inherently wrong. Or that my ENFP perspective is inherently better. The decisiveness and purposefulness that all INFJs display is one of the things I love about them. Furthermore, I have many INFJ friends and we get along very well. They are some of my closest friends. But Esoteric Wench’s special kinship with INFJs is not the topic of conversation here. This thread started as a conversation about common INFJ misunderstandings (with non-INFJs) and INFJ-related problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    You obviously have not taken time to understand why some of those things are a Big Deal. More effective would be explaining why what they are doing isn't always effective, give some specific examples and then leave it to them to mull.
    Ohhhhhhh, Fidelia. How wrong can you be? You know nothing of my sincere and earnest efforts to try to understand why such things are a Big Deal to INFJs. Let me ask you if you have made a sincere and earnest effort to understand why I and others would make such statements about INFJs? I’ll elaborate on this one more tomorrow. I’m tired now and have to get some sleep.

    But before I go, let me just say that it seems to me that you quickly decided that I was being rude, inconsiderate, disrespectful, and glib. Once you made this judgment of my post, you then saw everything through that lens. In other words, you saw what you wanted to see rather than pushing aside your snap decision about me and your preconceived notions about what I was trying to say. Perhaps a little inductive, instead of deductive, reasoning is called for in this case.

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    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    No, some of those conclusions were based on previous threads you have written in about INFJs where I believe your perceptions were inaccurate, yet you did not address the issues that were brought up. Some were based on your exact words. Terms like "INFJs who get their panties in a wad" etc. indicates to me that you think they are just being childish and difficult. While of course maturity is a factor when talking about any type's behaviour, I think that most INFJs over-analyze and choose their reactions very painstakingly, putting themselves in others shoes and cutting a lot of slack. Therefore, I think your conclusions about INFJs are generally based on insufficient understanding of what makes them tick.

    This quote of yours also feels to me that you are saying that INFJs are arbitrarily nitpicking over something that only they feel is important.

    I think that most of these items are related to the INFJ tendency to be overly rigid about the way things SHOULD be. Seems like so much of INFJ behavior is motivated by deciding how things should be, ruminating on said decisions, and defending these INFJ sacred cows from perceived threats.
    This is never the case. Those "sacred cows" have become such because they are an outgrowth of INFJ core values. Authenticity and integrity is very important to us. Therefore, yes, there is often a way that we perceive things SHOULD be. Asking us not to have those beliefs is sort of like saying that INFPs should not enjoy the pursuit of abstract knowledge or that ESTPs should quit being so scattered and gregarious.

    Perhaps the misunderstanding stems from needing a more specific example of the behaviour you are talking about, rather than just making a statement about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    Okay, I’ve got some questions for Arclight and Esoteric.

    What percentage of INFJs- in your estimate- are walking, talking cataclysmic emotional accidents waiting to happen? Seriously, exactly how many of us do you suspect don’t have enough of a clue about how our own perceived version of reality negatively affects those around us and those we claim to love?

    Is it that you see us as loaded guns of some sort? So that even those of us who are vigilant about not hurting others, must still work on being even more vigilant?

    I ask because your INFJ-related posts often seem to suggest that you think we all have one foot on a banana peel and the other hovering above a bucket of steaming hot, sticky manipulative self-delusion. I’m really curious how many of us you believe actually have a problem with this- a very real potential to seriously emotionally hurt another person, while completely unawares?

    Do you think the typical INFJ has the problems you've listed in some unhealthy degree?

    edit: I'm not trying to be antagonistic. I've been told my tone comes off that way (especially in writing), but really I'm just trying to better understand where you're coming from with these posts.
    Hi Zanzi
    And I am guess I am addressing Fidelia as well.

    First thing I want to say is, this thread is titled "Common INFJ issues"
    It feels in the case of Esoteric Wench and me that we are not welcome to share our perceived issues without having some real opposition and sense that we are somehow attacking.

    I realize you keep excusing your tones and word choice but the theme remains the same. You don't like other types piping up about how your common issues can be destructive not only to yourselves but to those around you.
    I am sorry as well, and I do not wish to engage in conflict.

    I have been racking my brain trying to find a solution and a way to articulate what it is I exactly feel. So that I could express it and not hurt people at the same time. Because so far I have not been very successful and I would prefer not to alienate people I like and respect.

    This is the best I can come up with.. But I have a feeling I might get a hit here.

    I would like for you to think about about how hard you guys judge yourselves. The standards you hold yourselves to. The depth of your own self expectations.How self critical.
    Think about how you feel when you fail yourselves. The shame, the embarrassment, the horror, the anger, the shock and the hurt.

    You know how hard you can be on yourselves and you know it's almost impossible to reach your own ideals.

    Now I think Esoteric Wench and I understand this about each other. We have been Judged by an INFJ by the same standards that you use to judge yourselves. and we failed. and we are hurt.
    It hurts even more that we would never judge you by your own standards.
    It hurts when we are the ugliness you see in yourselves when we once shared the beauty instead.

    So now I cannot speak for EW about this part, although I suspect I could anyway.
    When you talk of the very behaviors I have been wounded by and have yet to understand, a lot of things happen inside. I cannot excuse myself beyond that. It's my problem not yours.

    I cannot expect you to answer for the hurt I feel, and I think that is ultimately what I am doing.

  9. #59
    Junior Member Array blucie's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Fabulous Post!

    Nice work! That was thorough!

    I'm married to an INFJ, and those all sound so similar to his issues - I emailed him a copy of your text.

    Regarding thinking too long and not knowing when to confront - tonight he again lamented not decking a guy who said something that begged for it. It took him too long to decide that was the right course of action. All the other things sound true to form too. Pretty crazy. He does not buy makeup or magazines though

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    This thread is really interesting. I have two INFJ friends - an ex-roommate and a guy I've been friends with since middle school - and an INFJ parent, so I can relate to some of it (though not with one of the INFJ friends as much, because he's a straight man). And the ones I don't relate to are still fascinating, and I have questions about them:
    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    2) Need for resolution - What may look to some like being nitpicky or unforgiving or even holding onto the past often has more to do with their need to geteverything put away in it's proper place before closing the chapter on it. Without doing so, it keeps coming up again and again.
    I had never even considered this mindset as being possible. And in the case of holding on to the past - speaking as someone who also has a compulsive need for closure - why not tidy it all up in a much nicer and more calming way by forgiving, or moving on, or putting things in perspective?
    11) Get less receptive to advice if the other person tries to skip over the venting that they need to do in order to bleed off excess emotion or when they feel the person hasn't taken enough time to understand the situation. Often their solutions are gained primarily from discussion with someone, not from getting the answers from someone.
    I've seen this sort of thing from my mom and my ex-roommate plenty of times, and, though it makes sense and I understand it, it's still sad for me sometimes, because - and I don't know if this is the case with most INFJs - I think they take me for granted in situations where they vent at me in the guise of asking for advice. I would be totally fine with it if they would at least acknowledge the fact that I'm listening and being a good vent-ee, but it never happens, so I feel like I'm being used.
    19) Stubborn - I tend to need a lot of convincing with a new idea before I will adopt it, because it involves changing the whole structure over again.
    This concept is amazing, and completely foreign, to me. "Changing the whole structure"? Could you elaborate a little for a poor confused ESTJ?
    22) Sometimes my very closest friends may feel that I disagree with them but don't express it. That is occasionally true, but if it is not a huge issue of integrity, I'm not sure how expressing it would be helpful. And yet, I don't think that I have to change my mind about it either, as long as I still like and respect them and am not being passive-aggressive. I think INFPs are much better friends in this respect.
    My INFJ guy friend intentionally withheld his political party from me for years because he "didn't want to offend anyone", but that action in itself offended me, because - and this might be immature - it's the same thing in my mind as saying to someone "I have a secret, and it would make you really mad, so I'm not going to tell you." I hate it when people I really care about keep things from me. I'm all about having everything out in the open, and when people withhold things from me for no reason I can think of, it's frustrating because it makes me feel like I'm not worthy of full disclosure, which is sad because it puts the INFJ on a different trust level than me because I ALWAYS disclose everything with my friends. It's as if the friendship isn't mutual anymore. Not that this is how it is with other types, but it's how it is with me - even though it's not an integrity thing, it's still completely and utterly maddening sometimes.
    I'm wondering if any of these traits are influences by enneagram (1w2 so/sx) or if they fit with other INFJ's experiences (or those of other types with INFJs). Oh yeah - and did I mention long-windedness? ...
    I think some of it definitely has to do with your Enneagram type, because I entirely relate to #6, 7 and 10, and 18 when under more stress than usual. And we have the same Enneagram type

    Since you mentioned "frustrating" issues, here's one that has always bugged me about two of my three INFJ friends (and please, INFJs, don't go for my jugular on this one! I like you guys a lot! Really! I'm a friend, and I'm unarmed!):

    Numbers 12/20 (overburdening yourself), 14 (responding and not initiating) and 16(not expressing opinions), among other factors, seem to sometimes lead to what I'd call, for lack of a better term, a "martyr complex" - i.e. it can make it so the INFJ tends to become a passive victim of other people's actions towards them. This can make it tough for Fe-inferior people such as myself to deal with INFJs when they're in that mode. On the one hand, terrible things have happened to them - they're overworked, overburdened, overused, underappreciated, and often blaming the world at large (or, in my mom's case, particular groups of powerful people, making her ventings sound like conspiracy theories) for it. On the other hand, they are also to blame, sometimes more than the world at large, but it's not like you can say that to them - it would be insensitive, and the INFJ would yell at you. So what do you do, besides nod and make sympathetic noises every once and a while?

    Again, I love INFJs, I really care about the ones in my life, and I want to be able to comfort them, help them and make them happy.
    Last edited by EJCC; 07-18-2010 at 11:57 AM.
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