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  1. #1
    Senior Member Wanderer's Avatar
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    Default The INFJ Tin Man

    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 The Tin Man
    [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;

    When Catalysts get emotionally injured, they tend to erect psychological "barriers" to avoid suffering further damage. It's a completely understandable reaction. The paradox is that the same barriers which protect them from getting wounded will also act as barriers that inadvertently preclude them from feeling loved.

    It can be a dangerous trap for a Catalyst to become a shielded "tin man." The "protection" thwarts them from getting their own greatest needs met, and thus they can become the bitterest and angriest of people -- with their potential for love, empathy, and understanding completely wasted. Their aptitude for love can become dwarfed by their capability for cynicism, bitterness, and even hate.

    It takes great courage to stay vulnerable and open to the possibility of being hurt when you've been injured in the past. It's even illogical to do so! Nevertheless, the obvious remedy of growing "tin skin" will only result in the Catalyst "dying" inside psychologically.

    It's hard to keep the barriers down, especially when it feels more powerful to live out of your opposite. Unfortunately, when you get stuck in that seemingly "safe" place, you can't really develop or grow.

    So be vigilant, and examine yourself often for signs of "tin skin." If you meet a fellow Tin Man, give 'm a hug.
    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.

  2. #2
    Undisciplined Starry's Avatar
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    In spite of the fact I'm not fidelia or SilkRoad ((it's weird whenever I see OPs requesting responses from certain people - and I'm not one of them lol - my inclination is not to respond. I guess because then I don't feel my response will be 'as valued' but is it ever Starry? 'No.' lol. I'll write a little somethin now because I'm just waking up and drinking my joe))...I'll say that I do not believe this is even remotely uncommon...especially for INFJ males. The one INFJ male that I have known irl...I am assuming he is much older than you and the majority of posters on this site...has become a pretty hateful, intolerant, cranky, pissy, etc. etc. dude. So much so I doubt he would even recognize any of himself in the general INFJ descriptons although he is most certainly one.

    The other thing I was tripping-out on...I haven't gone to the source of this article...but for whatever reason I have never seen INFJs described as Catalysts. Maybe I've completely missed the boat on something or this little bit is lumping together all NFs? I'll click on the link and learn more when I'm more awake.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Wanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starry View Post
    In spite of the fact I'm not fidelia or SilkRoad ((it's weird whenever I see OPs requesting responses from certain people - and I'm not one of them lol - my inclination is not to respond. I guess because then I don't feel my response will be 'as valued' but is it ever Starry? 'No.' lol. I'll write a little somethin now because I'm just waking up and drinking my joe))
    Haha, sorry - Anyone with any thoughts/experience on the matter is welcome to post - I just tagged Fidelia and SilkRoad because both of them have (in the past) posted things I've found tremendously insightful and/or helpful. They don't have the monopoly on that, but they stuck out in my head. I'm not a total regular here, so the only names that really "stick out" to me are the most prevalent ones. Sorry Starry xD - Your full thoughts on the matter are completely welcome - post away!



    Quote Originally Posted by Starry View Post
    ...I'll say that I do not believe this is even remotely uncommon...especially for INFJ males. The one INFJ male that I have known irl...I am assuming he is much older than you and the majority of posters on this site...has become a pretty hateful, intolerant, cranky, pissy, etc. etc. dude. So much so I doubt he would even recognize any of himself in the general INFJ descriptons although he is most certainly one.

    The other thing I was tripping-out on...I haven't gone to the source of this article...but for whatever reason I have never seen INFJs described as Catalysts. Maybe I've completely missed the boat on something or this little bit is lumping together all NFs? I'll click on the link and learn more when I'm more awake.
    I also wasn't sure about using catalyst as a catch all for INFJ's so that's why I posted it in the general "NF Idyllic" forum rather than in the INFJ area. 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 know I don't want to turn into that person (or, more likely, remain that person)
    I just have no idea how to change that or reverse the process.

  4. #4
    Undisciplined Starry's Avatar
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    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.

  5. #5
    FRACTALICIOUS phobik'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.
    Alright, spit it out. How much are you being paid?
    To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
    ~ Elbert Hubbard

    Music provides one of the clearest examples of a much deeper relation between mathematics and human experience.

  6. #6
    Undisciplined Starry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phobik View Post
    Alright, spit it out. How much are you being paid?
    laughing so hard right now!!! Oh crap...I'm going to be late! This site...!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    That excerpt you quoted make me want to punch her in the face, if that's any indication ...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    That excerpt you quoted make me want to punch her in the face, if that's any indication ...
    As much as I realize that Vicky Jo is practically public enemy #1 to many.. she DOES point out something valid. I browsed her site (as I browsed lots of other sites) looking for info on careers that best suit the INFJ and I found this quite incidentally. She IS out there on a lot of things but what she wrote describes a change that my personality is undergoing, quite accurately. Can we discuss the point raised by the excerpt rather then rejecting it out of hand? Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    I don't know who she is. I have nothing against her personally. But people who say don't build up your defenses after you've been crushed need a punch in the face. If they put their guard up, I'll tell them they should let their guard down, and give them another. See, it's easy for her to say. She has not been crushed. And fuck her and her hugs.

    You can see where I am in this process, yes?

    Also: http://lindaberens.com/blog/ Linda Berens is who named us Catalysts.

    How do you get yourself out of it? Spread joy and happiness. Even if you don't feel like it. Sooner or later, some crumb of it will come back to you. This is difficult when you're in Asshole Mode, I know, but, for example, if you see even the smallest thing you can sincerely approve of, state it. Give compliments when you see something nice. To strangers even. Act on anything positive that you feel. If you see someone you can help, do it. (Pick your helpees, though -- you don't want to take on too big or too long-term a task -- I'm talking about a small thing.) Just keep casting your bread upon the waters, even if you don't feel like it.

    Feed your mind positive things -- read. Listen to music. Appreciate art. Do art and music if you can.

    I completely believe you that what you feel is justifiable. So feel it. Just don't stop also doing positive things whenever you possibly can, even if they are only small.

    That's all I know.
    Last edited by Tiltyred; 04-24-2012 at 01:25 PM. Reason: typo

  10. #10
    Senior Member UniqueMixture's Avatar
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    I used to feel like this as an intj. At some point, you have to open up your heart and take a risk. You have to talk to people about the things in your life even if they seem trivial. Talk to people about shared dreams, hopes, and fears. This will help you to express your true self and bond with the people in your life.
    For all that we have done, as a civilization, as individuals, the universe is not stable, and nor is any single thing within it. Stars consume themselves, the universe itself rushes apart, and we ourselves are composed of matter in constant flux. Colonies of cells in temporary alliance, replicating and decaying and housed within, an incandescent cloud of electrical impulses. This is reality, this is self knowledge, and the perception of it will, of course, make you dizzy.

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