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  1. #11
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Yeah, Wanderer I think from what I've seen that this is something that INFJ males are especially prone to, although I admit that most I have known have only been online.

    I actually agree with what Vicki Jo is saying. That's not to say that one shouldn't be wary of the person or circumstances which put their defenses up. It's just that when you are feeling bitter or angry and erecting barriers around you, you cannot move on with your life or absorb the care that other people have to give. INFJs generally are pretty prevention oriented and avoidant of what could put them into unresolvable circumstances, particularly in an emotional arena. Therefore it makes sense that when we get hurt, it determines us to never put ourselves into a position of allowing that to happen again.

    In addition, I think INFJs have a tendancy to suck up more inconvenience or frustration than they should in a relationship or friendship simply because they can predict their own response better than the other person's, they want to be accommodating and not high maintenance, it takes them some to sort out whether their initial negative feelings are reasonable, and sometimes resentment at the imbalance can sneak up before they realize the enormity of it.

    I guess it depends what has happened to you in the past how difficult it is to resolve the problem you are facing. I'm assuming though that it's fairly serious. In my own experience, it is only God's supernatural power that I've seen offer the ability to let go of all that. I believe that attachment brings about resilience. Attachment to a just being whom I believe created me, has control over what ultimately happens, and who is sinless and will never let me down even though others will can allow a kind of resilience to develop in circumstances that would normally crush us.

    Aside from that though, the passage of time helps to add perspective, so long as we don't become so ingrained in these new attitudes, outlooks and habits that they take on a life of their own aside from the original problem. I think one problem for INFJs is that the Ni ability to shift perspectives can just create a bewildering mess of emotions to wade through. In interests of moving on somehow, sometimes we end up just picking a point of view about how things are and sticking to it. I've found that space and distance from whatever is creating those conflicting feelings allows me to process them in a more healthy way or at least let them settle enough that I can revisit the issue some time later with better results.

    You cannot be close to anyone unless you have a sense of trust in them and can be vulnerable with them, so your concern is a very valid one. I think awareness of what is going on with you is the first step in changing it.

  2. #12
    Professional Trickster Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    (I don't think Vicky Jo is so bad... though those damn dolphins on her site drive me absolutely nuts. Egad!)

    I think it interesting that I'm not the only one who has noted that INFJ men can fall into this "tin man" trap. I know a couple of older INFJ men who are exactly like this which I find very sad.

    It seems like the crux of the problem is that the INFJ has decided to protect their heart at all costs. In other words, this all boils down with vulnerability... him choosing to be or him choosing not to be vulnerable.

    I'm not sure what advice I can give other than to say that I immediately thought of my favorite TED talk which is directly on point. It is call "Brene Brown on Vulnerability." You can watch it by clicking the link below:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown...erability.html

    I know it's 18 minutes long, but it's well worth watching. (It has going on 5 million hits. This says something about how powerful what she has to say is.) I burst into tears when I first watched it.

    Hope this helps.

    ENFP with kick*ss Te | 7w8 so | ♀

  3. #13
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starry View Post
    Vicky Jo! It's not enough for you that INFJs are the most amazing type in the universe...angels on earth with your magical powers and beautiful dolphin wallpaper??? And now you've got to go and steal my job too?...the one and only thing us poor ENFPs are good for on this planet...being a catalyst? haha...I'm just kidding Wanderer!!!

    It doesn't really matter what word is substituted in there...'Catalyst' or 'Dolphin Spirits'...I definitely think the content of the article applies...and I think it is meaningful that you brought it up...and I will return (I'm running out the door) and hopefully write something meaningful myself.
    Oh man... Vicky Jo has a lot of good points, IMHO, but things like these...

    It can actually annoy me when somebody tells me what they want -- because I wonder if they think I am stupid and don't already know. Of course I know!

    It strikes me that Fi's generally know right away who they are and what's right for them if they listen to themselves. And Fe's know right away what other people want or need, but are frequently at sea when it comes to figuring out what they want for themselves. (It's hard to hear that "other" voice.)

    Gifts are another example of that. Fe's know exactly the right gift for other people without asking, but will twist themselves in knots trying to determine what they want for themselves. They'd struggle to write a letter to ask Santa for what they want. Fi's know what they want for themselves, but can tie themselves in knots figuring out what to give other people.
    I remember an INFP friend remarking that he would gladly throw a rope down in a hole to help somebody out, but he wouldn't get down in the hole with them. You can see by my track record that I'll get down in the hole with them, bring candy and a CD player, and have them take a break while I take over shoveling them out. Introverted Feeling sympathizers observe on the sidelines, but extraverted Feeling wears game shoes.
    ...make me think she has a wee bit of a martyr complex. :/
    Tentative typing: ISFJ 6w5 or 9w1 (Sp/S[?]).

  4. #14
    Undisciplined Starry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viridian View Post
    Oh man... Vicky Jo has a lot of good points, IMHO, but things like these...


    ...make me think she has a wee bit of a martyr complex. :/
    Whoa wow yah. Not only a martyr complex but an extraordinarily superficial/simple understanding of Fi & Fe (I wonder how Mother Teresa would feel about that second quote!)

  5. #15
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Hello fellow NF's;
    I'm not sure how to start this post, so I'll just dive right in. What I want to discuss is pretty straightforward.

    Some of the hallmarks of an NF is our ability to empathize and our depth of feeling. Over the past year I've noticed myself becoming more detached. There's either a lack of emotion on my part or a general feeling of distance. Emotions are muted (the majority of the time) and (according to others) I'm angry and cynical a large portion of the time. I'll ask that you take my word for it that a majority of the anger and cynicism is justifiable. Well, as justifiable as those two traits can be.

    In short, the INFJ characteristics that used to be so prevalent for me (Patience, kindness, empathy, caring, warmth.) are all but gone. They still surface occasionally around one or two people, but I'm very analytic and probably don't even seem to be an INFJ anymore to the majority. "Asshole" is probably a more accurate typing.

    This is from http://www.infj.com/The_Tin_Man.htm
    [I realize she is NOT a preferred source, but I was checking her website out anyway. I agree that she's out there :crazy: some things, but on others she seems solid. This appears to be one her more lucid moments xD.]

    The pertinent portion of that entry;



    Except I don't feel a need for a hug anymore.

    Have you personally [or a fellow NF that you know] ever gone through this? If so, would you agree that the excerpt from "The Tin Man" article is salient and accurate? Does this happen to ALL INFJ's as they get older, to some degree? Or is it just an unhealthy and uncommon coping mechanism?

    Most importantly. How would one reverse that process?

    INFJ's in particular are of interest to me, naturally, but any NF's (or other types!) are welcome to weigh in. Any and all thoughts on the matter are welcome.

    I'd love to hear @fidelia and @SilkRoad weigh in.
    You liar! You DO need a hug!

    Well, we have discussed this kind of thing a little already. I do relate. I have felt somewhat similar lately. I don't think INFJs have a monopoly on this sort of thing but I certainly know a few (probable) NFs who have erected barriers, become bitter, etc. I have even looked at one or two who I am genuinely fond of and thought to myself that it is a shame and I don't really want to get to that point. But I do feel angry, detached and bitter more often than I care to (though I'd hardly say it's all the time or anything like that.)

    Contributing factors have been:

    -A number of letdowns in terms of what I perceive as people's reliability, honesty, and trustworthiness
    -Occasional jealousy at seeing others get things which deep down or not so deep down I want too
    -Cumulative stress - though I think this was very bad a few years ago and is not so bad currently
    -Living in a big, tough city which tends to heighten stress and tensions and make me feel more self-protective (at the same time, paradoxically, that it makes me feel liberated, strong and empowered)

    As for overcoming it, I think @Tiltyred made some great points (even though she didn't like the original source! ). I could be wrong but...you may not be as much of an asshole as you think you are. I sometimes think about something I've done, said or thought, "man...I'm just turning into a nasty, hard, cynical person." SOmetimes I sense-check this with someone I think will give interesting, honest feedback (not just tell me what I want to hear). In general, they tell me that I'm being normal and self-protective and that I'm still a caring person, and that it's perhaps a shame that I got to the point of feeling that way, and didn't protect myself more earlier. I can sometimes become harsh and cold toward individuals who have hurt me (or toward the thought of them, as they'd generally be out of my life at that point) and I have occasionally had that pointed out to me. I am then usually willing to qualify my harshness and coldness about that person with the fact that it still hurts me to think about them, and it's sort of a coping mechanism. Even amidst those kinds of feelings I can usually find some kind of balance - even if it's a bit elusive or doesn't hang around long.

    Things that help me a great deal are:

    -My faith and the resilience, support and hope that it gives me when I place my burdens there rather than carrying them all myself
    -Remembering that I've had far more wins than fails in my human relationships, even though the fails hurt badly
    -Spending time with people who are loyal, reliable, fun friends and who won't stress me out. Remembering that I've stuck with them too and that we deserve each other.
    -Seeking out my interests in culture, the arts etc
    -Getting out of my head - er, not with drugs and preferably not with too much alcohol, but with music, exercise and so on
    -Trying to look after myself but also not be too self-focused. Inevitably if I feel very angry, sad, lonely, bitter, etc I'm focusing too much on myself.
    -Letting the passage of time do its work. I think that for INFJs, even more so than for some other types, this can take a very long time, which is tedious and painful and sad and sometimes awful. But eventually it helps.

    I don't know if any of this is very helpful, but I mean, you're not exactly beyond hope. I really think that as with so many things it is about finding a balance. Be self-protective, but don't build the Berlin Wall around you. And I know this can be really hard to do. I think in my case, for instance, it's not so hard to put this into practice with friendships, but with romance I really screw it up. I either let myself be too open and get over-attached to someone before anything much has even happened, or I wall myself off emotionally because I've had one too many painful, disappointing experiences and I just don't want that to happen any more. I don't know what the answer is in finding balance - besides what I've suggested above. But it is achievable. And I think it's possible that you're not becoming the horrible person you think you may be.
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  6. #16
    Member Inverness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Hello fellow NF's;
    I'm not sure how to start this post, so I'll just dive right in. What I want to discuss is pretty straightforward.

    Some of the hallmarks of an NF is our ability to empathize and our depth of feeling. Over the past year I've noticed myself becoming more detached. There's either a lack of emotion on my part or a general feeling of distance. Emotions are muted (the majority of the time) and (according to others) I'm angry and cynical a large portion of the time. I'll ask that you take my word for it that a majority of the anger and cynicism is justifiable. Well, as justifiable as those two traits can be.

    In short, the INFJ characteristics that used to be so prevalent for me (Patience, kindness, empathy, caring, warmth.) are all but gone. They still surface occasionally around one or two people, but I'm very analytic and probably don't even seem to be an INFJ anymore to the majority. "Asshole" is probably a more accurate typing.

    This is from http://www.infj.com/The_Tin_Man.htm
    [I realize she is NOT a preferred source, but I was checking her website out anyway. I agree that she's out there :crazy: some things, but on others she seems solid. This appears to be one her more lucid moments xD.]

    ...
    As an INFJ male, I can say the 'tin man' concept definitely resonates with myself in many regards. Constantly setting such barriers and preventing people from getting close, even despite an explicit internal desire wanting to grow closer to someone. It's like an unhealthy knee-jerk isolation reaction. I do my best to be open (at least to those I choose, definitely not just anyone)...but at the end of the day, many barriers still stand. And while I don't think I'm hateful, intolerant, or cranky on a daily basis...as I really do love people...the qualities of 'patience, kindness, empathy, caring, warmth' do sometimes get thrown out the window. And I don't like who I am when they do.

    Most notably...when I get behind the wheel of a car. I'm a very good driver, but...a very fast driver. And I don't think the kind of driver I am reflects at all upon the stereotypical qualities of an INFJ...it's as if I go straight to cut-throat ENTJ. I don't even like who I am behind the wheel. I have great difficultly internally understanding this dissonance (and trying to reconcile it), but if I had to pinpoint it to one source I could probably track it back to a combination of lashing out from the sub-surface cynicism and frustration of these 'barriers' and stress.

    Would a hug help? Probably...I just really dislike the walls, despite every natural inclination to build then.
    INFJ; 9w1 so/sp/sx; EII; RCOAI; Neutral Good

  7. #17
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Similarly, I'm also unable to see the majority of the traits that I once know identified me as (in the words of Zbuckmcfate) "The most damn INFJiest OP that ever was)
    And it worries me, but at the same time I have no idea how to change it. The author of that article just says "remain open" and avoid growing a "tin skin" - whatever the heck that means.
    I remember this. And it’s hardly worth expressing this distinction, but I’d actually meant the opening post itself (not poster) was the ‘INFJiest damn op that ever was’. It was a total caricature of INFJ woes, if I remember correctly, and I’d honestly suspected someone wrote it to make fun of us. (You’d listed an A list of INFJ hang-ups, then asked “does this sound like an INFJ problem?” Lol. I think it was your first post in the forum?)

    To this op: after I go for a period of time ‘looping’ about a conflict- examining as many different possible perspectives as possible- and then inevitably feel like it’s effort that’s been taken for granted anyway, I feel rather numb myself for a while. I’ll feel angry, but I won’t know who I’m angry at or why (since it’s not like the other person asked me to put that much effort into it, it’s just what I do). I’ll feel generally discouraged and exhausted, but I always recuperate eventually and want to dive back into interaction again.

    Mostly I’m with Tiltyred, regarding ‘tin man’ piece. I’m not saying INFJs always throw anger at the right people, but the feeling itself is always there for a reason and it seems to me- at least regarding myself and the INFJs I know irl- we have a hard enough time accepting what we feel and isolating our own anger as valid. I don’t think it’s healthy to push ourselves to not feel it…..the INFJs I know already push themselves to not feel it- which is exactly why it builds up in the first place. But then I don’t entirely understand what Vicky Jo is describing, I’ve never known an INFJ who didn’t eventually get sick of that ‘barrier’ once the grieving period was over (which for us, is ridiculously long) and become interested/enthusiastic about interacting with people again. I’ve heard stories of older INFJ guys being like this, but I don’t think I’ve ever known one. I would think, though, that the very fact this is bothering you- and that you long to return to how you felt before- is an indication that you probably will. When it feels like that flame is truly out for good and you don’t want it back- that’s when I’d start worrying.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  8. #18
    Undisciplined Starry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    I would think, though, that the very fact this is bothering you- and that you long to return to how you felt before- is an indication that you probably will. When it feels like that flame is truly out for good and you don’t want it back- that’s when I’d start worrying.
    This is exactly what I was putting together in my mind yesterday but couldn't formulate the words until after the forum went down (???) @Wanderer the INFJ male I refer to in the first *amazingly helpful* post I made in this thread... He didn't question this 'tin man' process like you are doing. In fact, I suspect he believed it was a very good thing to have happen. And while it makes me somewhat sad and heartbroken...I truly get the sense he saw his INFJness as some sort of defect (a weakness)...and this hardening process as somehow becoming 'a man'. I mean, his INFJness is still there. It's just burried underneath some seriously aloof, uncaring, cold, pissy surface behaviors which are in place to distance/separate him from the rest of the world. And it's a shame really. When I consider how much he has to offer...and how much I sense he truly wants to connect with others. But at the same time I find it difficult to judge because I don't know the challenges of what it is to be an INFJ male in our society. <--- And that is what they claim this is about isn't it? That there is something especially challenging with regards to being an NF male ((Tiltyred helped me discover yesterday that the whole 'Catalyst thing' is, in fact, a term referring to all NFs...so's alls I'm sayin now is that the ENFP is 'the catalyst of the Catalysts' haha!))...but for reasons unbeknownst to me…the INFJ male seems to ‘get it the worst’.

    But yah...awareness is everything.

  9. #19
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    I think that most everyone relates to that first paragraph. It's good advice and a great psychological trend to recognize, but way too narrow.

    How many people have emotional scars because of their past experiences that they need to get over? All of them? How many men do we know who get scorned by a relationship or two and then think to themselves, "fuck dem bitches, ain't need 'em anyway"?

    How do you get over a "tin man" phenomenon? Don't get discouraged. Keep trying. Look for the positive. Look for role models who have 'made it.' Grow from your past experiences without allowing them to leave you feeling alienated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Viridian View Post
    ...make me think she has a wee bit of a martyr complex. :/
    "I know what is best for you at all times. I know you better than you know yourself. Also, here; let me force a bunch of stuff on you that you probably don't need, then claim credit for rescuing you from yourself."

    I utilize a slightly different approach to type than most type users. I don't box people in using four dichotomies the way the MBTI is designed to do. I'm trying to get people out of boxes they may be in without realizing it!
    Instead of 'boxing' people into four continuous dichotomies, she boxes people into two absolute cognitive functions (Fe and Fi). Fantastic.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bologna View Post
    Instead of 'boxing' people into four continuous dichotomies, she boxes people into two absolute cognitive functions (Fe and Fi). Fantastic.
    In her defense, though, she does use the Berens model, in which we all use the eight functions...
    Tentative typing: ISFJ 6w5 or 9w1 (Sp/S[?]).

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