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  1. #1
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    Default Fe and not having a strong sense of self-identity.

    FJs want to be their own person. But let's face it, you have to start from somewhere. So here is how I think young and immature Fe puts too much emphasis on other people (especially secondary Fe).

    Always doing what the other person wants. We figure out what the other person wants first. Then, we usually go along with it, assuming the other person would be most happy doing what they said they want to do.

    Among two Fe-users, this can cause nothing to get done. Take me and my INFJ friend. When we are deciding what to do, it goes like this: "What do you want to do?" "What do YOU want to do?" "I don't care what we do. It's up to you." "No really, it's up to YOU." Either we randomly switch between activities, not really knowing what we ourselves want to do. Or, one of us actually does have an opinion and says: "Fuck it. I want this." without acknowledging what the other person wants at all. And, both of us being people pleasers, the other person submissively goes along with it.

    Among a Fe-user and non-Fe-user, this can cause the non-Fe-user to always get their needs met, while the Fe-user never gets their needs met. So, the we become resentful. Fed up, eventually we outwardly express our anger to you. Then you wonder why we are so pissy, because you know that if we had just said what we wanted, we wouldn't get resentful.

    Not reacting until someone else reacts, then matching their reaction. We don't know how to act around you or what to think about you until you react first. That way, we can be most pleasing to you. Or, if you react negatively, then we assume it would be most logical to you if we were negative back. Until you react to us, this can make you think we're indifferent and uncaring about you. It also prevents you from knowing what we truly think of you. If we can seperate ourselves from you enough to even have our own opinion about you.

    Communicating with you based on what we think you want to hear. We try to match your communication style so that you can think we're just like you and you'll like us. As said earlier, if you communicate to us first, then we can easily mirror how you communicate. If the circumstances change between us, and we haven't communicated since then, we freak out. Since we have no example or guide, us NFJs can get some pretty weird theories from our Ni of how we think you'll react. Then, every time you react, we automatically adjust our communication style again to match your own. To you, this switching in tone and wording can make us seem oddly scattered, rapidly bipolar, or passively opinionless. It makes it difficult for you to know what we really think, and as said earlier, if we can seperate ourselves from you enough to even have our own communication style.

    In conclusion, what a Fe user thinks and does is all based on other people, and changes in a Fe user's behavior and thoughts is based on other people's reactions, making it difficult for an immature Fe user to have their own opinions and identity.

    So, what do you think? Relate? Don't relate? Has to do with Fe? Doesn't have to do with Fe? Any differences between the four FJ types about this? Anything else to add?
    Last edited by Random Ness; 12-02-2010 at 03:37 AM.

  2. #2
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    I can relate to what you say in the context of personal relationships I care about. With people in general, I'm rather resistant to peer pressure. I am different with each person I work with one-on-one by focusing on their details and responding in their context. There is a "me", but it is really private. By matching the other person, I make a connection and most effectively communicate while remaining hidden. This process can also be exhausting and so I can't do it for long periods of time.

    My core self is in my creative expression. It is what I consider "me". I have experienced that sense of losing myself especially when people I am close to shock me in a hurtful way. Realizing my own inability to see it coming and feeling a break in connection, like they are blind to who I am, makes me still try to connect with empathy, but I end up sharing that feeling of being blind to who I am. I see myself through their eyes and know it isn't me. It is an isolating feeling and at its worst feels like non-existence.

    I recover by being alone in nature because the connection I feel there in the stillness is my core. I can then express my experience and know it is real. The only time I ever experience certitude is when I create. The rest of the time there is a feeling of ambiguity and lostness in an ever-shifting world that defies comprehension with its endless ironies and contradictions.
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  3. #3
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    I relate to much of what Annwn said. My core self is also my creative outlet. I'm happiest and feel the most like myself when I'm alone and creatively working. I've also experienced that sense of losing myself when there is a break in a connection with someone I care deeply for and feel they have really seen and loved me in return. If there is a break, I completely lose my balance and feel lost for a time. Since I was a girl, I've sought solace in nature. It's where I try to spend most of my free time. In nature I feel most at home because what is out there mirrors what is inside me. It helps me to gain perspective on relationships and realize that even though everything shifts, there is a stillness and beauty that is a constant.

  4. #4
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    Interesting OP. My ISFJ friend is like that....I won't call him a people pleaser, because he's not, but since it is very important to him, their needs become his needs. I've tried to reason with him, that he doesn't have to go to that level to help the person- either he can or he can't, but in his mind, if he can help them, he feels obligated to do so. One time he went to this guy's house to look at some electrical problem the night before he left with his family to go to vacation. The guy could have lived without it- it was minor in the grand scheme (he's an ExTJ worrier type) but my friend felt that since he was called upon he had to deliver.

    I think it comes down to your values. Maybe harmony is a key value to Fe users? And as long as the harmony isn't getting over on something much more important, it's not a big deal, but when you look at your experience to non Fe people, it seems like you're getting steam rolled. I know my boy feels like that. When he tries to act like he doesn't care, like us-, his friends who aren't Fe-ers- but he does, it bothers him a whole lot. This guy's 30+. He's not a kid. So it has to be a struggle if you don't know WHY.

    That's why I enjoy MBTI- It's educational, it helps you to why you are who you are. I introduced him to it, but he felt like I was pigeon holeing him. But he couldn't deny the description. LOL

  5. #5
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Yeah, I relate to a lot of what you have expressed, RN.

    I actually am quite opinionful and do not easily change those, but I do some adjusting using the reactions of the people around me to my emotions. Most people who only know me superficially are not going to see me risking a lot of unproductive conflict with them, so the people who get more facets of who I am displayed to them are those who have shown respect, reciprocation and receptivity to me, they are someone who I cannnot work around without dealing with our differences, or they are in my very innermost circle. So I don't think it's all a matter of trying to please because I don't know who I am. Instead, I am protective of who I am and I dislike conflict if it doesn't serve a purpose, so I am selective about who I show the less edited version of myself to.

    I think as I've gotten older, I've realized that I'm actually frustrating people at sometimes by being overaccommodating and then getting resentful after awhile that they are always in charge. It's easy to let someone else take charge, but it also foists responsibility onto them that ought to be shared. I think one of the reasons I tend to want to overaccommodate is that I hate emotional surprises from other people, so I feel that at least if I suck something up myself, I more likely can deal with that than the unexpected or unknown response from someone else. Unfortunately, dominant, extraverted personality types tend to attract me and while initially I like the things that come with that, they often only give what they feel happy doing and don't always recognize how far I'm going to accommodate them. I'm getting better at communicating my needs more directly, being a little more insistent about things that really matter to me and speaking in the moment when I'm hurt and upset with them.

    My tendancy is also to need an invitation of some sort that says I am welcome to interact with a person. A couple of years ago, I realized that I had missed a lot of good friendships this way. I was focussed on not intruding and on not wanting to be rejected, when many people are unsure of themselves and appreciate someone coming in and "imposing" themselves in a pleasant way. It took a breakup where most of our friends chose my ex bf before I started seeing why they liked him better, despite me putting much more effort into those relationships in some regards. It had never occurred to me that I was actually being a little selfish by being so careful that I was welcome that I was actually missing seeing other's unexpressed needs or wishes.

    The one thing I struggle with is that all my interactions with someone are based on my last interaction with them, instead of working in real time in the way I relate. I think this is confusing to them, but because I tend to be more of a responder, I find it hard to interact until I've had some time to reflect on what really was going on during our last exchange.

    I've also found that since I tend to calibrate my emotional state by the reactions of others, and because I put more emphasis on where information is coming and accept it is very likely true if it's coming from someone whose judgement I trust or whom I love, I sometimes can take something as truth if the other person sounds certain of it, when in fact it is not. This is one of the big INFJ downfalls. We tend to go on people's past behaviour and make decisions accordingly. If they were untrustworthy in the past, it takes a lot of time and experience to change our perception of that. If they were trustworthy and kind in the past, it takes a long time to recognize immature or selfish behaviour for what it is and draw appropriate lines to protect ourselves. It's easy for us to really believe the other person is right about us if they are someone we love.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fidelia
    I think one of the reasons I tend to want to overaccommodate is that I hate emotional surprises from other people, so I feel that at least if I suck something up myself, I more likely can deal with that than the unexpected or unknown response from someone else.
    Yes, for introverts who use Fe, I think it's partly a control mechanism -- you don't know what the other person can give or will give, but by being the one to give and mold yourself to the other person, you can reduce ambiguity over what might happen next and even sort of channel their response by what you're giving and how you're accommodating them. (This is why I think IFJs can get upset when the other person does not reciprocate over a prolonged period of time.) It's not the type of control where you really want to control per se, it's control meant to alleviate potential for conflict and/or bad emotional responses in situations that are possibly ambiguous.


    Quote Originally Posted by Fidelia
    My tendancy is also to need an invitation of some sort that says I am welcome to interact with a person. A couple of years ago, I realized that I had missed a lot of good friendships this way. I was focussed on not intruding and on not wanting to be rejected, when many people are unsure of themselves and appreciate someone coming in and "imposing" themselves in a pleasant way. It
    I really identify with that. I can be almost neurotic about NOT wanting to intrude inadvertently on another's space but think that definitely in the past this made me seem far more aloof... and even now I have a particular friendship at work where I'm still trying to feel out my friend and don't want to be a bother to her, and yet I'm afraid I'm not showing enough interest instead of too much. This sort of represents how much conscious thought is being invested in respecting other people's boundaries, whereas some people just respond instinctively without thinking much about it, and how sometimes it can be detrimental to try too hard.

    We tend to go on people's past behaviour and make decisions accordingly. If they were untrustworthy in the past, it takes a lot of time and experience to change our perception of that. If they were trustworthy and kind in the past, it takes a long time to recognize immature or selfish behaviour for what it is and draw appropriate lines to protect ourselves. It's easy for us to really believe the other person is right about us if they are someone we love.
    That one could kind of go either way, there is definitely a rational basis for looking at someone's past behavior to gauge their future behavior; it's just basic risk assessment. On my part, I know I definitely like to give credit to people for when I know they are trying, but I keep struggle with the realistic outcomes of their behavior ("it doesn't MATTER what the intentions are if the behavior ends up having negative results and they're refusing to recalibrate").

    Other things I responded to in the OP and elsewhere:

    1. I definitely need something from the other to respond to, and my response (tone and approach) is mostly dictated by the tone and approach taken by the other person. Hostile tones from me aren't necessarily a sign I'm naturally hostile; often I am just matching a tone of hostility even if inside I feel more neutral. And I might actuall feel hostility to a particular person (I just don't "like" them) but I'll still respond in as much a fair and balanced way as I can, using the typical rules of civil exchange.

    2. I show parts of myself that I can sense the other person can connect with; and I don't typically bother to show parts of myself that other won't connect with. So none of what I am saying is a "lie," I'm expressing different facets of me, but it is definitely a selected group of facets. Soooo..... I might really disagree with someone on an issue or even not like them on some levels, but I'll still try to make a connection by showing them stuff about me that I think they can connect with. It's selected/purposeful expression, rather than raw personal expression. Again, CONSCIOUS interaction rather than just raw unfiltered interaction.

    I'm not sure how instinctive an Fe perspective style is for extroverts who primarily live in it, but I think for those for whom it serves as a secondary, the Fe perspective is far more conscious. This would include the IFJs, the ETPs, and the ITPs. It's a tool meant to bolster/support the primary perspective, so it kind of HAS to be conscious.
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  7. #7
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    2. I show parts of myself that I can sense the other person can connect with; and I don't typically bother to show parts of myself that other won't connect with. So none of what I am saying is a "lie," I'm expressing different facets of me, but it is definitely a selected group of facets. Soooo..... I might really disagree with someone on an issue or even not like them on some levels, but I'll still try to make a connection by showing them stuff about me that I think they can connect with. It's selected/purposeful expression, rather than raw personal expression. Again, CONSCIOUS interaction rather than just raw unfiltered interaction.
    This is totally me. I'll build upon commonalities and won't mention when I happen to disagree; or if I do, it's pretty neutral and I won't make a big deal/speech out of it. This is most applicable with acquaintance-type relationships, though. With those I'm closest to, if the negatives need to be brought up and not doing so will cause bad things to fester in the relationship, I will do so. But yeah, in general connections are built on whatever level I'm able to connect to with them. As mentioned in the OP, the negative of this is that the other person could potentially think/believe the connection is much deeper than it actually is - i.e. they might believe it's a 100% connection when in reality I only 'relate' and show to them maybe 40% and the other 60% they really wouldn't like that much or wouldn't relate to at all.

    I relate to other comments that have been made in this thread, though. Yes, I absolutely do cue off of the other person in terms of style and what is being discussed.

    As for accommodating, yes, I do do that. But to be honest, I'm much, much happier knowing they're happy with whatever we're doing than sensing they're in some way unhappy/dissatisfied. Their unhappiness would make me anxious and I'd then lose any potential for happiness that I might have had on my own because I'd be so vexed by their vibes. And, often if I turn it over to them, I *don't* really care one way or another what we do. If I absolutely don't want to do one thing, I'll state that, but otherwise in a situation of ambivalence I'll always turn it over to them.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member mochajava's Avatar
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    This thread is eye-opening and AMAZING. I always wondered why my identity was so strong and sense of self was so weak. Thanks for expressing things I've felt for years, but haven't been able to put into words. More from me later

  9. #9
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I identify A LOT with what both cascadeco and Jennifer have said here. Cascadeco makes a very important point here. Someone may accommodate me by going to something with me that they hate. However, the fact that they hate it spoils my own enjoyment of it and if the person is close to me, may even make me question my own taste or judgement in liking it. A lot of the people that I accommodate will push me to do something new that I am fairly sure I don't want to do. I will go reluctantly and then end up enjoying it (trying new food, new restaurant, new activity etc - I tend to prefer what is familiar or that I know I can comfortably navigate even though I don't dislike new experiences). They are able to put up with the discomfort of knowing they are making me do something I don't want to. I find that much harder to do. I'm not as sure that I can make them love it or if they don't that it is not somehow a personal reflection of a shortcoming on my part.
    -------------------------------------------------
    The Ni/Fe/Ti combo we have also makes it such that we are very reluctant to express something controversial until we are very sure that we have verified the information over and over again. Ni gives so many different possible explanations to investigate that would motivate an action or behaviour, that we also don't act until we decide which it is. Often when we realize that something is not done maliciously (but still hurts us, inconveniences us, doesn't meet our needs, is dangerous or destructive), we tend to still hang off on acting or let the person off the hook more until we have exhausted every possibility within our own locus of control to ameliorate the situation. When new information, interactions or behaviours are added in to the mix, the whole process starts all over again so we can restructure all of this new information together with the old for a complete picture. This hesitation to act allows patterns to establish over a period of time, which are hard to change once we do come to a conclusion and also feelings of alienation, resentment or hurt to fester and grow within ourselves.

    Because we are quite empathic (and often accurately so), we also mistakenly assume that they would feel the way that we would given the same situation. We are reluctant to embarrass, hurt or annoy someone unnecessarily unless there is a much, much greater good that comes along with our course of action. Sometimes we need to realize that some kinds of people will not get our subleties (we feel we are being extremely clear, when we are in fact not!). Sometimes when people act rudely, we need to make them understand that they are crossing a line. When people put us in a position of danger, or disrespect, our behaviour needs to change drastically towards them so that they cannot harm us, even though it is not our first impulse to do so. This appears to be one reason why younger INFJs often have complete strangers come up to them, or they are saddled with non-reciprocal friendships with self-absorbed people, or they get into bad situations that are hard to get out of. Over the years, I've realized that it is much kinder to mirror back to people what they are doing (if they behave overfamiliarly, disrespectfully or recklessly, they should not get the same warm, welcoming reception that others get) etc. It makes our verbal and non-verbal message match, which is then much less confusing to the recipient and also keeps us out of harm's way.

  10. #10
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    What Fidelia, Cascadero, Jennifer and others here have said resonates with me as well. What you said, Fidelia, about not working in real time, like others might do: what do you mean? Do you mean that others flow with what is currently being said and done in real time whereas you might be thinking about the interaction that took place last week or last month? If that's what you mean, I also think back to the last interaction and must come to a conclusion or have a definitive thought about what happened before I talk with that person again. Then, after talking with them, I'll usually try to smooth over any misunderstanding and see how the other person reacts. If they indicate that all is good between us again, then I'm relieved and feel much better. If I have an unsettling conversation with a friend, I can't let it go in my mind until I see them again. I can't just shrug it off as the other person having a bad day or saying something they didn't mean to say (even though that might in fact be the case). I'm so careful about what I say to a friend that I think my friend would feel the same.

    That analyzation of various alternatives or explanations that is Ni or Ne can be draining sometimes, though I depend on intuition. The trouble is not everything is possible but there may in fact be various reasons why they said or did a certain thing and it's hard to nail down a specific reason that will satisfy (at least for me, I'll endlessly replay a conversation in my mind, and all of the nonverbal language as well). Sometimes I ask myself, what is the most likely reason they're behaving this way given what I know about the person and past experience?

    I will also have my enjoyment of something I love spoiled if the other person isn't enjoying it. As Cascadero said, I go along with something if I'm ambivalent about it to make the other person happy. If I do really care, I'll let it be known. I'm so easygoing that if I do state I care about something one way or another, I REALLY care. I know that in these instances, I hope the other person will just give me what I really need.

    I'm also so careful about boundaries in relationships and relate to what's been said about being invited in first. I'm definitely that way. I can see Fidelia what you mean about missing some friendships this way. I never thought about that. I won't push myself on someone. What Cascadero said about others feeling you're showing 100 percent of youself when in fact it's much less: yes, definitely I know others feel that they know the real me when I'm just showing them a little slice.

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