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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    These questions may be kinda vague, but I hope someone well versed in typology can give me some answers. Can a very difficult and stressful childhood coupled with a response of emotional suppression and any other number of environmental and internal factors actually mold one into a different type (such as a thinker instead of a feeler, or I instead of E)? If so, does that mean that what we were before is still our most "natural" way of functioning, our true type, or are we forever changed? This is assuming that we start out very very early in life with a definite type preference. I guess I'm wondering, if one is forced to carry extreme burdens in the stage of life when we are rapidly developing our personalities and developing our sense of self, how much of an effect can that have on transforming our personalities, and is there any going back?
    I have often quietly speculated on this myself. I wish I could answer definitively. I've tried to make connections or divides on this in my own journey inwards over the years, long before I happened across the MBTI tool or Enneagrams of Personality. My thoughts on my experiences have pertained more to my T/F spectrum rather than any other of my function preferences. I'll have to give my IN-J more thought.

    (I was/am a member of a frightfully large, dysfunctional family and was the recipient of repeated physical/verbal/psychological abuses throughout my young years.)

    Typology in general has shed light on some matters, but only opened more doors to long door-filled corridors, so I'm not sure when/if this will be clarified. It would be interesting to converse with other members who are MBTI-savvy as well as Abuse Counseling-savvy to see what trends there may be.



    __________________________________________________ _____________
    Lengthy, optional reading as follows:

    Speaking as a reflexively emotionally expressive person who has been such as long as memory serves, and growing up in an environment where emotional expression --particularly affection/sadness/visible suffering were tantamount to treason, I recall long periods of time with something like bodily disassociation or living death. My situation could best be described as being unable to stop "feeling" and trying to inhibit the expression of "feeling" due to external forces, then psychologically numbing myself as if I had died and was watching myself from the outside in a state of persistent manic detachment. This sort of experience is often recounted by NDEers. My experience clearly wasn't actual death, just a form of psychological death where I was desperately trying to smother a part of myself, but only succeeded in muting it. About a year ago I discovered a description of the INFJ child under extreme stress that seemed startlingly accurate:

    "If stress continues, they feel unreal, fragmented and disassociated. They split off from their physical bodies and suffer paralysis due to suppressed feelings. Physical symptoms can be real or imaginary.
    ...
    they will begin a process of disassociating from their physical body. Sometimes it looks like they are standing dead still while their face fills up with color and their eyes start to float. At this point they are starting to push down their feelings and its taking all their concentration."

    For the most part, emotional suppression (being the necessary "survival" response to my circumstances) felt a lot like playing a part or a role. I was just trying to survive. But I do not believe I actually succeeded in transformation. Two quotes in Please Understand me (I/II) by David Keirsey have echoed in my mind:

    "Our attempts to change spouse, offspring, or others can result in change, but the result is a scar and not a transformation."

    "Our attempts to reshape others may produce change, but the change is distortion rather than transformation."

    Returning to my "former" self has been natural given my inclination for the "marriage" of identity and authenticity, yet arduous beyond reckoning. It requires MUCH fortitude, patience, and love to build the self-acceptance required to bridge a psychological chasm the size of the San Andreas fault. I don't know if my experiences/realizations/results jive with anyone else's, but I'm curious to know.
    __________________________________________________ ______________
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  2. #12
    Senior Member placebo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    I have often quietly speculated on this myself. I wish I could answer definitively. I've tried to make connections or divides on this in my own journey inwards over the years, long before I happened across the MBTI tool or Enneagrams of Personality. My thoughts on my experiences have pertained more to my T/F spectrum rather than any other of my function preferences. I'll have to give my IN-J more thought.

    (I was/am a member of a frightfully large, dysfunctional family and was the recipient of repeated physical/verbal/psychological abuses throughout my young years.)

    Typology in general has shed light on some matters, but only opened more doors to long door-filled corridors, so I'm not sure when/if this will be clarified. It would be interesting to converse with other members who are MBTI-savvy as well as Abuse Counseling-savvy to see what trends there may be.

    ...
    I've often been scolded for and been led to hide away many strong negative emotions as a child and I couldn't go so far as to say it was outright abuse, but it definitely drove me (still drives me) to rather despairing places and led me to supress and devalue a lot of my emotions.

    I also have the most trouble with the F/T dichotomy, and I wonder if there is a real correlation with that. Recently too I've been having problems dealing with my emotions and have been testing INTP/INTJ a lot (even though I still identify as INFP). Feelings are very much a part of who a person is, and to have your family strongly condemn them as you grow up is very likely to cause some kind of damage.

    I'm sorry to hear you were pushed to this 'living death', and really I admire your strength to gain self-acceptance...

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    I have often quietly speculated on this myself. I wish I could answer definitively. I've tried to make connections or divides on this in my own journey inwards over the years, long before I happened across the MBTI tool or Enneagrams of Personality. My thoughts on my experiences have pertained more to my T/F spectrum rather than any other of my function preferences. I'll have to give my IN-J more thought.

    (I was/am a member of a frightfully large, dysfunctional family and was the recipient of repeated physical/verbal/psychological abuses throughout my young years.)

    Typology in general has shed light on some matters, but only opened more doors to long door-filled corridors, so I'm not sure when/if this will be clarified. It would be interesting to converse with other members who are MBTI-savvy as well as Abuse Counseling-savvy to see what trends there may be.



    __________________________________________________ _____________
    Lengthy, optional reading as follows:

    Speaking as a reflexively emotionally expressive person who has been such as long as memory serves, and growing up in an environment where emotional expression --particularly affection/sadness/visible suffering were tantamount to treason, I recall long periods of time with something like bodily disassociation or living death. My situation could best be described as being unable to stop "feeling" and trying to inhibit the expression of "feeling" due to external forces, then psychologically numbing myself as if I had died and was watching myself from the outside in a state of persistent manic detachment. This sort of experience is often recounted by NDEers. My experience clearly wasn't actual death, just a form of psychological death where I was desperately trying to smother a part of myself, but only succeeded in muting it. About a year ago I discovered a description of the INFJ child under extreme stress that seemed startlingly accurate:

    "If stress continues, they feel unreal, fragmented and disassociated. They split off from their physical bodies and suffer paralysis due to suppressed feelings. Physical symptoms can be real or imaginary.
    ...
    they will begin a process of disassociating from their physical body. Sometimes it looks like they are standing dead still while their face fills up with color and their eyes start to float. At this point they are starting to push down their feelings and its taking all their concentration."

    For the most part, emotional suppression (being the necessary "survival" response to my circumstances) felt a lot like playing a part or a role. I was just trying to survive. But I do not believe I actually succeeded in transformation. Two quotes in Please Understand me (I/II) by David Keirsey have echoed in my mind:

    "Our attempts to change spouse, offspring, or others can result in change, but the result is a scar and not a transformation."

    "Our attempts to reshape others may produce change, but the change is distortion rather than transformation."

    Returning to my "former" self has been natural given my inclination for the "marriage" of identity and authenticity, yet arduous beyond reckoning. It requires MUCH fortitude, patience, and love to build the self-acceptance required to bridge a psychological chasm the size of the San Andreas fault. I don't know if my experiences/realizations/results jive with anyone else's, but I'm curious to know.
    __________________________________________________ ______________

    The part about INFJ children under stress is fascinating. I think we have to remember also that children have less of a grip over their emotions. That development and control comes with age and maturity. I've been through a lot of things that forced me to go into "survival mode" and suppress my emotions to the extreme (both positive and negative), and separate myself as far away as possible from any sense of feeling. Much of it was a conscious suppression, spiraling into unconscious suppression. Some of my family did note the change. I do believe I've always been an INTP... I'm pretty sure. What my family says about me as a kid seems to support that I was always a thinker, and always correcting adults in their speech :/ . But they did note that I had become much less emotionally responsive. That continued to be an issue through my teenage years, and of course, we all know being a teenager is quite a turbulent period in itself. Over the past year, I've recognized the imbalance in my own psychology, and actually had to put forth a lot of effort into recalling my conscious awareness of "Feeling". What they described for INFJ's sounds like a similar representation of a psychological detachment from the conscious mind and the emotional/Feeling mental processes.

    However, I still wonder just how drastically one's personality might change in our adolescence due to the environment and our responses to it.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    I think we have to remember also that children have less of a grip over their emotions.
    Yes, but the relevance of response to extreme stress has not become outdated in my case. While the particular response I shared to conflict has become virtually nil in years since, it has actually occurred on two different occasions in the past 5 years --both instances of intense conflict i.e. exceptional circumstances.

    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    That development and control comes with age and maturity.
    Clearly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    I've been through a lot of things that forced me to go into "survival mode" and suppress my emotions to the extreme (both positive and negative), and separate myself as far away as possible from any sense of feeling. Much of it was a conscious suppression, spiraling into unconscious suppression. Some of my family did note the change. I do believe I've always been an INTP... I'm pretty sure. What my family says about me as a kid seems to support that I was always a thinker, and always correcting adults in their speech :/ . But they did note that I had become much less emotionally responsive.
    I can second that self-identification; I believe I always was an INFJ, but certainly the extreme circumstances skewed my preferences into varying depths/shallows throughout turbulent years.

    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    However, I still wonder just how drastically one's personality might change in our adolescence due to the environment and our responses to it.
    I simply wonder if this is possible.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    Can a very difficult and stressful childhood coupled with a response of emotional suppression and any other number of environmental and internal factors actually mold one into a different type (such as a thinker instead of a feeler, or I instead of E)? If so, does that mean that what we were before is still our most "natural" way of functioning, our true type, or are we forever changed?
    I think perhaps events during one's childhood could inhibit them from using their dominant function or one of their four dichotomies (it's seen as bad, or they don't have a chance to use it, or something of that nature). It's much like left-handed children being raised as right-handed. Thus, they'd appear to prefer their right hand when in actuality they would probably prefer their left. As a result, they will probably discover that they actually prefer the left hand later in life, but now they have the use of their right hand, too.

    I wholeheartedly believe that this could've happened to me on the E/I scale due to certain specific events that occurred when I was very, very young. I had the "E" preference all along, but I was effectively raised as an "I." Sounds weird.. but if you knew my childhood, it'd make sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by noigmn View Post
    The more you explore all this stuff, the more clear you will be about your answers on the tests also. If you have mistyped, it would be because your childhood stops you following what is at your core, not because it has changed it.
    Yeah pretty much this

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by iwakar View Post
    Yes, but the relevance of response to extreme stress has not become outdated in my case. While the particular response I shared to conflict has become virtually nil in years since, it has actually occurred on two different occasions in the past 5 years --both instances of intense conflict i.e. exceptional circumstances.


    Oh for sure. I was not minimizing what you experienced, I was just making that point as I had forgot to mention it earlier. So you experience the same sort of ... out of body/disassociation even in adulthood?

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    So you experience the same sort of ... out of body/disassociation even in adulthood?
    With far less frequency I should say --it has not vanished altogether.

    But I'd be hard-pressed to say if it was solely development (i.e. discovering a better way of coping), or solely my deliberate avoidance/removal of myself from violent/traumatic situations (now that I'm an adult and have far more control over my environment).

    Arguably, it's both.
    "The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things." - Rainer Maria Rilke

  8. #18
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    IME, it just creates an unhealthy type, as the child tries to cater to what his family expects of him. I surpressed who I was, I'd say, which then came back afterwards in a massive explosion. No balance whatsoever. Still working that out really.
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  9. #19
    Senior Member bluebell's Avatar
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    Fascinating thread. I spent *a lot* of time thinking about this when I first learnt about MBTI (early 2007). Before that, I'd been leaning very heavily towards nurture over nature for personality. But, coming out of rebuilding from an abusive childhood, I finally realised that there are parts of you that you're born with regardless of upbringing. An example is being naturally being indecisive despite this being forbidden as a child. I was always pressured into making instant choices or I'd miss out and they had to be the correct choices or again I'd miss out *and* get into trouble (which risked my physical safety when I was young). It was, and still is, very stressful to have to decide anything immediately with no time to think.

    It's hard to know for sure, but I suspect I probably would have still been INTP-ish if I'd had a healthy upbringing but probably stronger Ne and weaker Si than I have now. I was talking about this with someone recently so it's something I've thought through in some detail. It wasn't safe to express anything Ne-like as a child - I got into trouble if I couldn't explain how I knew something or was ridiculed for any flights of fantasy. On the plus side, I learnt how to have a good memory for details (I needed to or again I'd get into trouble or be ridiculed or whatever). I've only recently learned how to conciously not remember everything. Ti/Si = very detailed mental models of life, the universe and everything.

    Quote Originally Posted by greed View Post
    I think perhaps events during one's childhood could inhibit them from using their dominant function or one of their four dichotomies (it's seen as bad, or they don't have a chance to use it, or something of that nature). It's much like left-handed children being raised as right-handed. Thus, they'd appear to prefer their right hand when in actuality they would probably prefer their left. As a result, they will probably discover that they actually prefer the left hand later in life, but now they have the use of their right hand, too.
    Yeah, this is similar to how I see it too.

    Quote Originally Posted by greed View Post
    I wholeheartedly believe that this could've happened to me on the E/I scale due to certain specific events that occurred when I was very, very young. I had the "E" preference all along, but I was effectively raised as an "I." Sounds weird.. but if you knew my childhood, it'd make sense.
    Heh, this reminds me that before I learned about MBTI, I was convinced that this was the case for me too. I was trying sooo hard to behave like an ESFJ (not that I knew what that was at the time, just in hindsight) because I thought that was what it meant to be emotionally healthy. Once I realised I could still be me but a healthier version of me, all this background anger just melted away. Turns out that hiding beneath an extreme introvert was... an extreme introvert, just with less shyness and social anxiety. LOL
    ...so much smoke pouring out of each chromosome.

  10. #20
    Senior Member tinkerbell's Avatar
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    Hi

    I say yes, that you can supress your emotional states to the point of numbing yourself and doing a massive amount of psycological damage.

    Many psyciatric conditions are rooted in supression of different emotional states. Learning to deal with your emotional side in a more productive way can help aleviate the symptoms of emotional supression - ie learning to express them in an appropriate way.

    Ultimately the damage that is done when you are a child errodes your trust in people. Therfore you shrink away from intimacy. By learning and supporting a brick walled approach to life you ultimately cut off your emotional sensitivities and ability to empathise.

    How much you cut yourself of from your feelings is proportional to how distructive it it.

    Emotional health is exactly the same as physical health....
    Damage in the form of wounds need to heal or will perminantly scar.

    Emotional wounds are easy to hide because people can't see them, but you will still have the pysilogical defence around them - heightend fight or flight mechanics, exsessive responce to threats, perceiving too many threats.

    Damage as a kid leaves you with wounds of a different nature:
    Trust
    Self esteme issues
    and possibly abilites to ask for your needs to be met/meet other peoples needs

    Depedning on the degree of damage done, some of it can't be fixed, the individual will be hard wired into specific responces.

    Take Trust - how many people are introverted because they don't trust the world with their ideas/thought/feelings?

    How do you learn to negate the issues with this - practice, learning the behavioural skills of trial and error, trusting yourself to try and allowing yourself failure margins.

    Not sure if any of this is making sense, and I'm not a psycologist (although nursed people with behavioural issues - so more the practical end than the theory end).

    Please dont' absorb - these are just thought not based on air tight theory.

    I would also strongly argue that air tight theory doesn't exsit when it comes to understanding human emotional and psycology, the so called science is realtive new (c.100 year old) and is still learning new stuff. I'd also say that psycologists can do more damage than they fix - my brother went to marraige guidance at one point and found it extremely distructive.

    Lis

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