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  1. #1
    Member EnflamedHeartofSand's Avatar
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    Default Trying to figure people out

    I admit it is quite ironic to post a thread about wanting to know if figuring people out is okay, on a forum that is dedicated to figuring people out!!

    Nevertheless, I will ask the question in a different way in order for you to understand why I am asking the question and hopefully you may have some insight.

    Let's say you knew someone but not very well, but wanted to get to know them much better, but didn't want to wait for time to pass to get to know them extremely well. Your interest was piqued to the degree that you wanted to know everything about them. Then let's say that you happened to be in a book store that sold all kinds of rare and obscure books and you happened to see a book written about them in the biography section.

    Of course you would pick up the book and read every page wishing the book never ended but continued to describe every aspect of that person in as much detail as possible.

    Now you've finished the book, and want desperately to hang out with that person because you (after having read the book) now think that you are closer to them and have so much in common with them, or if not in common with them, at least you think you are on their side, and essentially love them, because you "know" them, know them now. So you hang out with him/her but find no words or no point of entry to talk to them at the level you wish to.

    Questions:
    1) If you could read a biography about one of your acquaintances that they didn't know was written about them, would it be wrong to read it? If not wrong, would you consider it an expression of you loving the person?

    2)Does loving someone, necessarily entail wanting to understand them, psychoanalytically speaking?

    3)what is the benefit of knowing someones psychological makeup other than to try and manipulate them, even if that manipulation is towards a benevolent end? Let's say you want to help heal someone of past hurts, can you do so by trying to understand them?

    4)What is healing for that matter? Can the person who read the acquaintances biography help in the healing process of the person? Or would true healing require the more organic nature of true friendships that develop over time?

  2. #2
    Senor Membrane
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    Very interesting question...

    Quote Originally Posted by EnflamedHeartofSand View Post
    Questions:
    1) If you could read a biography about one of your acquaintances that they didn't know was written about them, would it be wrong to read it? If not wrong, would you consider it an expression of you loving the person?
    I think it would be wrong (I don't think I could resist the temptation, though). The only way I can see it ok is if they could read my biography also.

    Quote Originally Posted by EnflamedHeartofSand View Post
    2)Does loving someone, necessarily entail wanting to understand them, psychoanalytically speaking?
    I don't think so. It might even make the person less interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by EnflamedHeartofSand View Post
    3)what is the benefit of knowing someones psychological makeup other than to try and manipulate them, even if that manipulation is towards a benevolent end? Let's say you want to help heal someone of past hurts, can you do so by trying to understand them?
    Yes, there's of course that. I'm not sure if I would like to sign up for a project like that. It's nice from time to time but this would be like a full time job.

    Quote Originally Posted by EnflamedHeartofSand View Post
    4)What is healing for that matter? Can the person who read the acquaintances biography help in the healing process of the person? Or would true healing require the more organic nature of true friendships that develop over time?
    The "knowledge" would maybe help clear some things out, but I don't think it is at all necessary.

    The way I think it goes is that people are healed by having meaningful connections and by seeing how other people manage their damages. It might be more helpful to heal yourself and hand out biographies to your friends.

  3. #3
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    so did this happen to you, or... this is hypothetical?

    1) not wrong, but i probably wouldn't do it unless i was either in love with them or having a recurrent conflict i couldn't figure out with them. i usually find biographies boring, lol. i guess i'd rather experience detail than read about it. plus i like chaos and surprise in people, knowing everything would make them less intriguing. and i would hate to feel like i knew so much about them that i expected certain things from them - like, that's okay when you've known someone for years and you organically understand their patterns, but to get that feeling from a secondhand source is very unsettling to me.

    2) not necessarily on a psychological level, no. i'd rather my lover and me analyze someone else together, actually, lol. i'd rather just -be- with them as opposed to spending our time thinking about us. and psychologically, i'm more interested in how and why we match up well than the tiny details of their personality. plus, after all, biographies are always biased. text can never explain all the nuances and facets of a person. psychology is by nature structured and limited. people by nature are not!

    3) i do think it helps to know past hurts - sore spots, if you will. major conflicts and successes that shaped their lives. how they relate to authority and challenges. it can make getting along with that person easier because you have a better idea of where you can give and take more or less.

    4) the question that comes to my mind is, do they want healing? i think the acquaintance could help, but only if that is the explicit desire of the person in question. otherwise i feel like it's only respectful to that person to develop a real relationship with them. and i think real healing comes in positive relationships for both people, regardless of whether either of them are seeking it.

    still curious to the story behind the questions

  4. #4
    Senior Member Rebe's Avatar
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    Hey, this is intriguing dear infp.

    Questions:
    1) If you could read a biography about one of your acquaintances that they didn't know was written about them, would it be wrong to read it? If not wrong, would you consider it an expression of you loving the person?

    It would make me feel awkward. The process of bonding comes from actually getting to know someone face to face, when someone chooses to let you in and tell you all the intimate details. Sure, I would love a detailed biography especially if I am interested in this person romantically. If it's a friendship, I am not so interested in every step of their journey. Everything is a process so to know everything about a person all at once feels like cheating and it makes the person less mysterious. It's fun to peel the onion, so to speak. Yes, it would be an expression of love because if you are that interested in a person to want read a 200 to 500 page biography...something's cooking in the passionate part of your brain.

    2)Does loving someone, necessarily entail wanting to understand them, psychoanalytically speaking?

    Yes. You should want to understand and know their motives, their actions, their emotions, their mannerisms, everything to the point where you can predict their next move. But also, mystery is good and needed in a relationship and a friendship. You can't really know everything about a person. Surprises and new developments/discoveries are good.

    3)what is the benefit of knowing someones psychological makeup other than to try and manipulate them, even if that manipulation is towards a benevolent end? Let's say you want to help heal someone of past hurts, can you do so by trying to understand them?

    For example, if I love you and know you were hurt in the past. I would make sure I'd never hurt you that way. I'd guard you and keep your feelings in mind with everything that I do. I know you were hurt and since I care for you deeply, I promise I won't be that careless or cruel. I can't change their past but I can be there for them in the present and keep them in my mind for the future.

    4)What is healing for that matter? Can the person who read the acquaintances biography help in the healing process of the person? Or would true healing require the more organic nature of true friendships that develop over time?

    Healing, to me, is when something good happens to out-weigh whatever awful thing happened in the past, and you are able to understand and accept, make peace with the past hurt and look into the future with optimism. It doesn't have to be this huge good thing that happens, it could be small things that renew you and your beliefs and values. I can understand a person all I want but without the time, I can't fix anything. Talking only solves so much, listening only solves so much. But if I am able to prove to that person that I truly care and we are able to experience intimate events together, it creates something new and positive for them to move onto.

  5. #5
    meinmeinmein! mmhmm's Avatar
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    1. if they didn't know it was written about them,
    i'd be less incline to read. the untold stuff is
    always more juicy.

    i've read people's entire blogs before--in one sitting.
    it was just an expression of interest. and i like what
    they have to say.

    2. love is more than understanding. but it's also
    knowing that person. (sorry can't think of an
    english word for it.. but to "know someone's heart')
    i just know that i can't possibly fathom everything
    about another person.

    3. i don't think i can heal anyone. and trying to 'fix'
    anybody is what i steer clear from. i can only be
    there while they try to heal them self.

    i spent a part of my youth with florence nightingale
    syndrome, trying to save the souls of lost boys.
    it just doesn't work that way.

    4. i don't get how there's a true of false sense of healing.
    healing emotionally, is up to the person, whether they
    want to or not. some stay wounded for the rest of their lives.
    some move on...
    every normal man must be tempted, at times,
    to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag,
    and begin slitting throats.
    h.l. mencken

  6. #6
    Senior Member copperfish17's Avatar
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    Hey there EnflamedHeartofSand!
    Interesting questions! I had fun answering all of these.

    Quote Originally Posted by EnflamedHeartofSand View Post
    Questions:
    1) If you could read a biography about one of your acquaintances that they didn't know was written about them, would it be wrong to read it? If not wrong, would you consider it an expression of you loving the person?
    I think it would be wrong in the sense that you might come across some material that your acquaintance may not otherwise wish to reveal to you. That is clearly a violation of the acquaintance’s privacy, and depending on the acquaintance he/she may not be so tolerant of such behavior. Well, I know for a fact that I take those kinds of infractions very seriously.

    [rant]
    A couple of years ago a friend of mine stumbled upon my private journal which she read without informing me beforehand. I’ve detested her ever since. She got me thinking: Gee, people nowadays don’t even have the MOST. BASIC. HUMAN. DECENCY. of respecting each other’s privacy!
    [/rant]

    I honestly think there are better ways to express your love to your acquaintance than to read his/her biography.

    2)Does loving someone, necessarily entail wanting to understand them, psychoanalytically speaking?
    Hmm… Not for me, ‘coz loving someone is very different from wanting to understand someone IMO. I think one can love someone without wanting to understand that someone (this is true in my case). It’s like having a flirtatious boyfriend, per say – you love the dude, but you just won’t be able to bear all the stories about his ex girlfriends. So you choose not to dig into it, and instead just tell yer boy to “shut up and kiss”. (Hope the metaphor isn’t lost on you, ‘coz I love this metaphor!)

    Likewise I think one can want to understand someone without loving that someone. For example I might want to understand how a serial killer’s thought process goes, and that certainly doesn’t mean I love the serial killer.

    …Yes, I use strange examples. Please bear with me!

    3)what is the benefit of knowing someones psychological makeup other than to try and manipulate them, even if that manipulation is towards a benevolent end? Let's say you want to help heal someone of past hurts, can you do so by trying to understand them?
    Oh, this is a touchy subject for me. I’ve had numerous NFP’s come up to me telling they wanted to “heal” me of past hurts, which TBH was very, very irritating. My internal response to such attempts was:

    [rant]
    Who are you to delve into my past hurts? Who are you to propose to “heal” my scars? Why are you getting so personal with me? You are terribly rude, not to mention nosy. I know you mean well, but I don’t care, because unwarranted intimacy is absolutely repulsive and I want no part of it. Mind your own business, and GTFO of my personal life which does not, thank GOODNESS, involve you.
    [/rant]

    Now that included some exaggerations, but that is the drift of it. My point is, there are people out there who dislike (even hate) attempts to either/both heal them or/and understand them.

    4)What is healing for that matter? Can the person who read the acquaintances biography help in the healing process of the person? Or would true healing require the more organic nature of true friendships that develop over time?
    It could, but only if the acquaintance is okay with having you find out every little detail about him/her and won’t see the act of reading his/her biography as something that violates his/her privacy.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnflamedHeartofSand View Post
    1) If you could read a biography about one of your acquaintances that they didn't know was written about them, would it be wrong to read it? If not wrong, would you consider it an expression of you loving the person?
    I wouldn't consider it necessarily wrong but I'm not really that happy about doing something behind people's backs. I'd much rather have them share the details of their lives with me as they wish, at a comfortable pace set by them. I see it as a way of building trust and getting closer to one another.

    But yes, if I read the biography, it would most definitely be out of love, showing that I value the relationship with that person enough to take interest, care about them and try to avoid misunderstandings that may arise.

    2)Does loving someone, necessarily entail wanting to understand them, psychoanalytically speaking?
    Yes, I think it really does. I don't think people are ever really able to fully understand one another, no matter how much they try to psychoanalyze themselves or others. It's always a matter of interpretation and that often causes misunderstandings, even if the facts are all clearly in front of everybody. There's always going to be surprises as things change and that keeps things interesting.

    3)what is the benefit of knowing someones psychological makeup other than to try and manipulate them, even if that manipulation is towards a benevolent end? Let's say you want to help heal someone of past hurts, can you do so by trying to understand them?

    4)What is healing for that matter? Can the person who read the acquaintances biography help in the healing process of the person? Or would true healing require the more organic nature of true friendships that develop over time?
    Maybe knowing would also benefit avoiding manipulation in the first place? Maybe being aware of it could help stop getting your own selfish goals out of the way and yes, turn it towards really helping the other person. It is possible, but people tend to take the easy way out and still force things depending on their motivation, I guess.

    To answer the second part of the question #3 and Q#4, yes, I think you can help people "heal", but it can only happen when they allow that. Healing is a way of letting go of the negative of the past and learn something positive from the experience. If another person can help you along the way, then why not take the chance. And here is where the trust and being close comes at play, when the information about the past is shared willingly and over time. If you have read the biography beforehand without them knowing, then the trust isn't established and any attempts to help would only be met with resistance because the person would feel vulnerable and the attempts would be seen as you trying to "fix" them. Not helpful.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by EnflamedHeartofSand View Post
    1) If you could read a biography about one of your acquaintances that they didn't know was written about them, would it be wrong to read it? If not wrong, would you consider it an expression of you loving the person?
    I don't find the analogy helpful because anything in a bookstore is being sold / has been sold and is thus "public knowledge." It's not wrong to purchase and read public knowledge.

    However, since we are not truly discussing bookstores but rather information about someone online (?) that others have said (to follow your example?), then I think it is far more more gray.

    I am hoping you mean "loving" as in a "broad caring about them as a person" and not actually any sort of romantic or over-attached state. When someone gets sharp/intense feelings for a specific individual without actually having interacted with them, and then acts on those feelings as if deeply familiar with the person in question, it comes across as invasive.

    Knowledge is useful, but it is also dangerous, and the danger here is in feeling a false familiarity. I am quite capable myself of experiencing that sort of feeling toward people I don't know well, who I have discovered alot about online or interacted with over time, but I work hard to keep the boundaries of the relationship at whatever we have actually established them at rather than letting myself act toward them in ways I have not yet earned. When I was much younger, I wasn't as careful and acted with too much familiarity and immediately felt the tension / had a bad experience; so I learned my lesson quickly.

    2)Does loving someone, necessarily entail wanting to understand them, psychoanalytically speaking?
    For me, it does. I know for others, it does not. I wish I could understand how they operate; if I don't understand someone, I can treat them with love, true, but I don't feel very connected. I naturally try to understand everyone I meet.

    3)what is the benefit of knowing someones psychological makeup other than to try and manipulate them, even if that manipulation is towards a benevolent end? Let's say you want to help heal someone of past hurts, can you do so by trying to understand them?
    Sometimes the help that people needs does not involve understanding why they are the way they are; you can just affirm and love them in the moment, support them in the moment, take them at face value, without knowing a thing about their past.

    Some issues might benefit if you had more knowledge of the person.

    I don't really like the idea of manipulating anyone, even if you are trying to help them. Manipulation is manipulation. I think far more damage is done in this world by people trying to "manipulate others for their own good" than blatantly evil sorts of manipulations. Who says you even have a handle on what is going on inside them? Reading about someone online might give you some knowledge of who they are and maybe you have some potential insights.. but you need to walk very delicately, especially in a situation where you don't know them. I especially feel that if you have not considered them worth investing in as a person, you really don't have a lot of clout trying to 'fix them' either. The ability to help someone in such a deeply personal way is bought with a price -- your time and energy in a relationship with them.

    4)What is healing for that matter? Can the person who read the acquaintances biography help in the healing process of the person? Or would true healing require the more organic nature of true friendships that develop over time?
    I think if people are ready, then knowledge will catalyze their healing regardless. If they are not ready, then healing enough to be ready requires organic relationship. Self-styled healers can be frustrating to deal with; they want to fix the person (out of "good intentions") without having committed anything to the relationship.

    Therapists are different, because the patient has typically agreed to enter therapy and a bargain has been made in terms of what the relationship will and will not entail.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member copperfish17's Avatar
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    <Semi Off-Topic>

    Quote Originally Posted by Sky is BLUE! View Post
    If you have read the biography beforehand without them knowing, then the trust isn't established and any attempts to help would only be met with resistance because the person would feel vulnerable and the attempts would be seen as you trying to "fix" them. Not helpful.
    This is, personally, my biggest issue with a certain NF in my life at the moment. She genuinely wants to help other people with their issues... and while I think her intentions are noble, the manner in which she goes about trying to accomplish her goal is quite off-putting. She can easily come off as someone who sees “scars to heal/problems to fix” in everyone she crosses paths with… and she actually does see “scars to heal/problems to fix” in everyone she crosses paths with.

    I’m not trying to say that scarless/flawless people exist, but what I am saying is that some people can get too caught up in healing/fixing others that they forget to respect other people’s personal boundaries. I readily recognize such behavior in unhealthy NF’s IRL.
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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copperfish17 View Post
    ... some people can get too caught up in healing/fixing others that they forget to respect other people’s personal boundaries. I readily recognize such behavior in unhealthy NF’s IRL.
    Yup, that's a lot of what I addressed in my post too... and you said it much more succinctly!
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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