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  1. #1
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    Default INFJs and Internal Dialogue

    In my senior year of college, I met a freshman who I became interested in. We would've dated I think if it weren't for the fact that I was leaving school and we had only met in the beginning of the spring semester.

    She was an INFJ and a smart one. Did very well in her classes, but I should also note that she had a very difficult childhood - her mother, it seemed, was highly unstable. Her relationship with her father fared a bit better - though she only saw him on a limited basis. She also grew up very poor and had an unusual amount of responsibility thrust upon her shoulders, taking care of both her little brother and her unstable mother. I also got the feeling there was a lot more to it than anything she ever told me, certainly. Nevertheless, I felt my protective instinct go to full throttle whenever I was with her.

    So here's the meat of this thread: I remember something very distinct about the way in which she'd engage others in conversation. It was almost as if when she did open herself up to other people, it was more a revelation of her internal dialogue than it was a conversation. And it was always just brutally honest about herself and her feelings - often very painful for me or anyone else she trusted to hear. So it's kind of like she was opening a window into her apartment for certain people to see - as opposed to leaving the apartment altogether into the world and interacting with it.

    This was certainly not something she did all the time, but it was safe to say that it was her primary mode of conversing.

    I should also note that my own mother is an INFJ and displays similar patterns of conversing. She also has had some serious trauma in her past. I would brush off the case with the freshman as an isolated incident if it weren't for this fact.

    My initial thought is that, because her outside environment was so troubling and traumatic, that she completely withdrew into herself, sometime in her early development. And as such, the internal dialogue that made up so much a part of her early life is all she has to share with others. This may not be limited to INFJs, but might be a behavior pattern indicative of two primary introverted functions in the cognitive development profile.

    I'm not sure if any of this makes sense, but if it does, I'd love to hear your thoughts. What do you think explains this correlation? Has anyone else noticed this about INFJs in conjunction with difficult childhoods? Do you know of any INFJs who do this?

    Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    Senior Member InTheFlesh's Avatar
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    I always notice myself having a conversation with myself of sorts when I'm thinking about my emotions and why I feel the way I do or when I'm making a big decision. Although I would classify it more as an argument with myself than a conversation.

    I tend to beat myself up for having certain feelings as well. It's like I'm a feeler that tries to control my emotions with logic, like a thinker, and when the logic doesn't fit the feelings I just get really frustrated and start to hate myself and all the emotions that caused it.

    And oddly enough, like in your situation, when I talk about these things to those I trust most of the conversation is me talking and replying, almost debating, with myself with a few questions here and there from the outside party. It's like I don't understand my emotions fluently enough to just state them as a fact, and even as I state what I am feeling I have to state what makes me think they could be something else so the person can see the whole jumbled mess going through my head.

    Sorry, that last part might be really confusing

  3. #3
    Crazy Diamond Billy's Avatar
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    The nature of Ni in the dominant slot. I notice this about most Ni doms. Myself included. I am not quite as up front about myself as your friend was, unless its someone I really really trust, and know wont be freaked out. I had a seriously traumatic childhood and teen years too. I think INFjs in general have very rich inner dialogue, I know I do, its why I think writing comes easier to me then speaking, less fumbling around and I never have to leave my head and use my mouth. Just my fingers. I think INFJs tend to be super self introspective and we spend a lot of time in our heads working things out and figuring things out, so when we do decide to spill the beans, it flows rather clearly, and people are shocked at the ease and the depth of knowledge I have of myself.

    INFJs being long term thinkers also tend to plan out what we think and would say to people about certain things looooooooong before it ever comes down to the actual talking. I already have lessons planned out for my children in the exact words I will use to make it understandable. I dont think I will have children for another 5 to 10 years lol.
    Ground control to Major Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheFlesh View Post
    I always notice myself having a conversation with myself of sorts when I'm thinking about my emotions and why I feel the way I do or when I'm making a big decision. Although I would classify it more as an argument with myself than a conversation.

    I tend to beat myself up for having certain feelings as well. It's like I'm a feeler that tries to control my emotions with logic, like a thinker, and when the logic doesn't fit the feelings I just get really frustrated and start to hate myself and all the emotions that caused it.

    And oddly enough, like in your situation, when I talk about these things to those I trust most of the conversation is me talking and replying, almost debating, with myself with a few questions here and there from the outside party. It's like I don't understand my emotions fluently enough to just state them as a fact, and even as I state what I am feeling I have to state what makes me think they could be something else so the person can see the whole jumbled mess going through my head.

    Sorry, that last part might be really confusing
    No, this is fine. Thank you for responding! I'm glad to know that my observations at least weren't completely off base. Reading what you wrote, I'm starting to think maybe this is just an INFJ thing in general, and not necessarily linked to traumatic childhood?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy View Post
    The nature of Ni in the dominant slot. I notice this about most Ni doms. Myself included. I am not quite as up front about myself as your friend was, unless its someone I really really trust, and know wont be freaked out. I had a seriously traumatic childhood and teen years too. I think INFjs in general have very rich inner dialogue, I know I do, its why I think writing comes easier to me then speaking, less fumbling around and I never have to leave my head and use my mouth. Just my fingers. I think INFJs tend to be super self introspective and we spend a lot of time in our heads working things out and figuring things out, so when we do decide to spill the beans, it flows rather clearly, and people are shocked at the ease and the depth of knowledge I have of myself.
    Yeah, maybe there's no correlation at all then, though maybe traumatic childhoods are more common than I expected - unfortunately. Seems like I've only identified a trait of the Ni function.

  6. #6
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    I have found it best to reflect on my own cause, im curious and there are some things id like to consider in depth, where others just want to press on and get things over with.

    meh child hood. im alive

    yes i employ the same method, easy to address something and resolve an issue when you reflect indirect on a matter, maybe provide a possible avenue to go down as well. humanizing

  7. #7
    Senior Member InTheFlesh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SecondBest View Post
    No, this is fine. Thank you for responding! I'm glad to know that my observations at least weren't completely off base. Reading what you wrote, I'm starting to think maybe this is just an INFJ thing in general, and not necessarily linked to traumatic childhood?
    Well, I think a lot of INFJ's have troubled childhoods that set them in that personality type. We all have our own barrage of issues

  8. #8
    Senior Member ItsAGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheFlesh View Post
    Well, I think a lot of INFJ's have troubled childhoods that set them in that personality type. We all have our own barrage of issues
    I'm not sure what was supposed to have been troubled about my childhood, though. Nothing I can recall. I know being introverted in school made me an outcast, and that didn't help (and further reinforced being introverted), but nothing traumatic or stressful to speak of.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    An INFJ who never fully leaves her apartment. That's perfect.

    My childhood had some rough spots, no question. And I do the painfully brutally honest thing, too, and then feel just scalded with shame about it afterwards. Conversations always get too personal too fast because that's where I live -- in the (very) personal.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheFlesh View Post
    Well, I think a lot of INFJ's have troubled childhoods that set them in that personality type. We all have our own barrage of issues
    AAAAAAAAAH! Is this true? It's true that a lot of my female friends are INFJs, and that a lot of them had TONS of family pressure (but they're also immigrants/minorities and a host of other things... but not all are). Are you serious?

    As an INFJ with a fairly ugly past, I'm so scared that this is true. And part of MBTI, for me, was feeling like all my quirks are part of the INFJ personality type, and not just me being damaged. The worst possible read of this statement is that all INFJs are damaged... I'm taking a leap here, I know this isn't logical, but it's where my brain goes and I wanted to share so that some older / wiser INFJs who have dealt with their pasts in more helpful ways could respond.

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