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  1. #21
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    Thanks for that, tovlo, Wandering. That walls thing and selective few into the inner circle was something that came across in the INFJs handwritings too actually, now that I think of it. Of all the samples I'd seen, the INFJs were the most guarded, for want of a better word. Would I be right to say that it is a self-protection / evaluating if others are worth giving to, and constantly reassessing that, before giving?

    I'd like to understand what creates/motivates holding on to those walls, simply. I can understand an amount of guardedness for protection as being wise, but is this the only reason?
    It's more about whether I want to risk being vulnerable to them, than a judgment on the person's worth. I see so many people who end up in bad situations that they can't get out of because they let themselves become invested so much in the outcome that they couldn't extricate themselves when it was clearly not beneficial to them to remain. They've basically sacrificed part of who they are to their situation or to another person. There's a part of me that refuses to let that happen, that values my "self" too much to permit it.

    I can share without being forced to accept other people's judgment, but their judgment will definitely have some impact on how I see things. It could make me more defensive, less defensive, hopeless, hopeful, etc. They don't change who I am at core, but they can change my attitude towards myself and the world, perhaps even show me a new way of seeing myself. It's hard to explain.

    Does that make sense?

  2. #22
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Does that make sense?
    Makes sense to me! Your second paragraph especially resonates with me; it's along the same lines of what I was trying to say.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  3. #23
    Senior Member tovlo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    Thanks for that, tovlo, Wandering. That walls thing and selective few into the inner circle was something that came across in the INFJs handwritings too actually, now that I think of it. Of all the samples I'd seen, the INFJs were the most guarded, for want of a better word. Would I be right to say that it is a self-protection / evaluating if others are worth giving to, and constantly reassessing that, before giving?

    I'd like to understand what creates/motivates holding on to those walls, simply. I can understand an amount of guardedness for protection as being wise, but is this the only reason?
    For me personally, I would say the self-protection part is correct, but not necessarily the evaluating if others are worth giving to. My giving of care isn't really conditional on a standard of worthiness in another. I feel compassion and caring for people and most are encompassed in that net. Though depending on the situation I may have to care from more of a distance to protect the health of my sense of self.

    I do assess my interaction with others to see if there is a dynamic that threatens me. Usually I will be threatened by people with forceful and unbending opinions it seems they believe everyone should hold, as well as people I fear would judge me harshly if I don't meet expectations for my behavior. I do evaluate, but not really their worthiness, rather my worthiness to interact with them and remain healthy.

    Even when I sense that an interaction might be dangerous for me, I usually don't refuse engagement completely. Rather I limit the closeness of my engagement and keep my emotional investment tightly guarded. I think people probably still sense I care for them, but also likely sense a deep reserve in my interaction as well.

    Even people I trust with my frailties, I suspect might occasionally note walls briefly erected where none were before, when I've become hurt or threatened in my interaction with them. Usually these walls are hastily constructed and just as hastily torn down with the slightest reassurance I'm safe. However, if I'm erecting walls too frequently with a person who previously had my trust, they might find that the walls become a little sturdier each time they have to be erected and come down a bit harder each time as well.
    "We don't see things as they are,
    we see things as we are."
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  4. #24
    Senior Member tovlo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    Does that make sense?
    I took too long too post. Yes, it makes sense to me. As does what the other's posted.
    "We don't see things as they are,
    we see things as we are."
    ...Anais Nin

  5. #25
    Senior Member wedekit's Avatar
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    It is entirely self protection in my case. The black box analogy is exactly how I would describe it. A lot of my protection started early because my ESFJ mother always pointed me in the direction that she thought was best for me. All these expectations she had for me were just played out externally while I had my own convictions inside that I would keep secret. I'm irrationally afraid that if I ever share anything that is in my black box, someone would reject it and that would be very painful. It must be confusing for me to keep referring to my black box, but it is my most vulnerable spot and so I can't just share what's in it with anyone.

    So, that's why I bolded that particular sentence in the quote. I externally project what is expected of me, but inside it can be very different. I prefer to keep a piece of me to myself because I don't want others to contaminate it. The hardest thing to do is to tell someone how much I care about them, because chances are it started out in my black box. Excuse the cliche, but it seems if you give someone an inch, they take a mile. After that, people want to discuss it openly when I would like to keep words out of it. I can't take criticism or jokes when it comes to my black box.

    My mom drives crazy with this. I don't get along very well with my little brother, but it doesn't mean I don't love him. My mom tries to drag it out of me all the time (and especially in front of guests). "Do you love your little brother?" I refuse to answer and she says I am hateful... but honestly, it's MY business. She takes my refusal to answer as a no. If I tell her then she'll make a big deal about it and bring it up all the time and insist I openly talk about it, because she has then formed a new expectation.

    I had a friend that I was always close to since kindergarten and right before we graduated she told me, "Travis, I have known you since I was 6 years old, and now I am 18 and I don't feel like I ever really knew you...".

    I have to go to class right now but I want to discuss this a little further in a new post. Thanks for the replies!
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  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering View Post
    Again, for me, it's not a matter of time or anything like that: it's a matter of NEED. If you need my warmth, you're going to get massive amounts of it right away, freely given, no problem. But don't ask for anything else, except small talk. Casual friendship exhausts me, quite simply. Come and see me if you need me, by all means, or let's have some happy funny small talk if we happen to meet, but please don't ask me to start scheduling stuff with you, or to call you every other day, or anything like that. I just can't do that.
    Thank you for explaining that.

  7. #27
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tovlo View Post
    As far as dispassionate sympathy...kind of. At first I thought no, because my actual internal experience feels anything but dispassionate. It feels intensely passionate. However, my expression might appear dispassionate for two reasons.
    Good point! I'm the same: intensely passionate inside, but it doesn't really show that much on the outside (well, I guess... I mean, I can't see myself from the outside, so... ) So I guess it could look like "dispassionate sympathy" to an outside observer.

    Quote Originally Posted by aelan View Post
    Of all the samples I'd seen, the INFJs were the most guarded, for want of a better word. Would I be right to say that it is a self-protection / evaluating if others are worth giving to, and constantly reassessing that, before giving?
    I can only echo what the others have said: in my case, it's not about "evaluating if others are worth giving to", it's almost entirely about self-protection. I mean, ideally, I'd give love and compassion even to psychopaths, because as far as I'm concerned everyone "is worth giving to". But I don't go around giving to just anyone because *I* couldn't take it. It's not them, it's me.

    I'd like to understand what creates/motivates holding on to those walls, simply. I can understand an amount of guardedness for protection as being wise, but is this the only reason?
    Pretty much, yes. To continue with the black box analogy, here is more or less how I see myself:
    * At the center, there is this undestructible black box.
    * Around it, there's this huge layer of puffy matter. It's made up of my own home-grown stuff, but also of stuff imported from the outside: expectations, appreciation, and so on. (That's what Cascade explains so well in her post, for example.) Press upon it from the outside, and you can easily mold it, punch holes in it, cut through it, whatever.
    * On the outside, there is the crust, the walls put up to protect the puffy insides.

    Without the walls, anyone, and I mean *anyone* could pass by me and punch me, cut me, hurt me, deeper and deeper and deeper. The only thing that would eventually stop them would be when they reached my black box core. But that's a LOOOOONG way down!! The damage done on the way would be of monumental proportions!! I'd be a total wreck.

    So there's no other solution but to build and maintain those walls, and let in only the people I can trust to not poke and punch too much around.

    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    I'm irrationally afraid that if I ever share anything that is in my black box, someone would reject it and that would be very painful.
    I don't find it to be an irrational fear, personally. This black box contains the "essence" of my personality so to speak, and for someone to reject it would mean rejecting ME, which would be awfully painful. So it's far easier for me to just not share that blackbox: this way nobody can TRULY reject me.

    It must be confusing for me to keep referring to my black box, but it is my most vulnerable spot and so I can't just share what's in it with anyone.
    Same for me.

    I had a friend that I was always close to since kindergarten and right before we graduated she told me, "Travis, I have known you since I was 6 years old, and now I am 18 and I don't feel like I ever really knew you...".
    Nobody ever told me anything like that, but I think it's because they never realised just how much they didn't know me

  8. #28
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    This discussion reminds me of a page on the web site "INFJ or INFP a Closer Look". I don't have time now to go rediscover which page you need to select from the drop window, but it was a comparison of the differences between INFJ and INFP under stress. The tendency of INFP is to freeze, do nothing until things start making sense again, or until he figures out what the new rules are, or whatever is required. The INFP just stops functioning so to speak but remains in the situation, until he is ready to resume again. The tendency of the INFJ is to withdraw to a safe distance until. This discussion demonstrates to me that very tendency. Its interesting.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by will5250 View Post
    This discussion reminds me of a page on the web site "INFJ or INFP a Closer Look". I don't have time now to go rediscover which page you need to select from the drop window, but it was a comparison of the differences between INFJ and INFP under stress. The tendency of INFP is to freeze, do nothing until things start making sense again, or until he figures out what the new rules are, or whatever is required. The INFP just stops functioning so to speak but remains in the situation, until he is ready to resume again. The tendency of the INFJ is to withdraw to a safe distance until. This discussion demonstrates to me that very tendency. Its interesting.
    This topic has really confused me because:
    A) I do the withdrawing to a safer distance half the time, the other half of the time I DO just freeze.
    B) Many of the things people have talked about on here also sound very much like me. In fact, most of them do.
    C) The test things always say I'm INFP
    D) I really can't imagine myself as anything else.
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  10. #30
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post
    My mom drives crazy with this. I don't get along very well with my little brother, but it doesn't mean I don't love him. My mom tries to drag it out of me all the time (and especially in front of guests). "Do you love your little brother?" I refuse to answer and she says I am hateful... but honestly, it's MY business. She takes my refusal to answer as a no. If I tell her then she'll make a big deal about it and bring it up all the time and insist I openly talk about it, because she has then formed a new expectation.
    What I might do in a situation like that is reply in a shocked voice, "Why, what kind of freak would I be if I didn't?!" Technically, your answer would hint that you do (which is what she wants to hear), but doesn't actually say you do or don't.

    I've always thought that was a good way around things like that...

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