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  1. #1
    Junior Member the_STRATOSPHERE's Avatar
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    Unhappy Being an INTP has become a LIVING HELL. HELP.

    I am here because I am in a quagmire and need help, or suggestions. From any personality. That is specifically why I am not posting this in INTPc, because I need input from others not like me; the solution probably lies outside the INTP realm. I'll make this as short as I can.


    I had written off other people for the most part. I could never relate with them on a meaningful level; most non INTPs never seem to be interested in the "truth", or any theory that attempts to realize it. I mitigated my disconnect from them by constructing theories, and researching known ones, about the human mind, society, etc. Everything was going fine at first...my interactions were mitigating the boredom by asking questions of them to feed my theories.

    Until that is, I met someone; this person is not a romantic interest, so don't put me in that box. This woman, probably an ISFJ, is nothing like me. Very culturally involved, non-intellectual, concrete, essentially "normal", or so I thought. She is also one of the most kind, considerate, caring, peaceful person I have ever met.

    At first, I thought that I could classify her morally, which should be easy to do. Most people that seem extremely kind have alternate motives which can be discerned soon enough using any thought tool (Rand, Utilitarianism, Machiavelli). I turns out, I couldn't find a contradiction in her behavior; for the most part, she seemed genuinely good. Perhaps its cultural then? Perhaps she was brought up in an exceptionally good home, or community, etc?

    I realized that my theories were failing. Moreover, I realized that I couldn't understand where she, or anyone else was coming from, how they felt. What her experience was. In trying to understand her goodness, I was undermining it by objectifying her.

    I want to "feel people out" now. I want to empathize...but I don't think I can. I can't help but fit them in some sort of framework, and it makes me feel ashamed that I have become that alienated from humanity. I feel trapped in all of my theories and wonder if its too late.

    I wonder what my pursuit of the "truth" has made me? Less or more human? What have I become? The truth has led me to a truth that defies its own persuit....

    Any help from any personality, is greatful...
    Last edited by the_STRATOSPHERE; 04-26-2008 at 05:47 AM. Reason: I meant ISFJ

  2. #2
    you are right mippus's Avatar
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    I don't know if this helps. It seems you have spent a lot of energy in creating a framework, a system that helps you understand the world around you, but it seems very N'ish. It is like a skeleton with no flesh to it. That would make your next step: to give the system "soul" by adding the very concrete. Like many INTP's, you may (I really don't want to make a judgement, just guessing) have chosen to ignore what we are least good at: our F-side. We need it since some things go beyond the rational. We can understand, but it stays a bit clinical and distant. To add the "soul" aspect, we need not only to understand the concepts, but also experience and -yes- feel them. True understanding comes from (pardon this cheap metaphore) brain and guts.
    The good thing is that as INTP's we are far from doomed. F can be developed. Question people, ask for the reason why they experience things the way they do. They will most probably start about "feely" things. Your questions may well be understood as more than academic interest but as empathy. And then you'll be on your way.
    Being an INTP is no living hell at all. It is great, especially if we are willing to understand and use our F. (we do have some, you know )
    Hm, don't know if this makes sense...
    Vanitas vanitatum omnia vanitas

  3. #3

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    Your ISTJ is not an exception.

    There is genuine kindness and compassion in many people. In fact, I would say that everyone I have known to a fairly close level (even if only a close acquaintance) has had some genuine kindness.

    Chances are, you will eventually find contradictions in her behavior; she is only human. Still, that ought not erase her status as a genuinely kind person.

    Perhaps all of are a little evil, or have ulterior motives, etc. All of us have defense mechanisms.

    You can argue theologically, or theoretically, that we are driven by selfish motives. There is truth in that.

    However, we are all also driven to some extent by altruism. Whether a person's altruism is, in-fact, a conscious way to benefit self in the log-run is often not discernible (motive is very difficult to ascertain).

    You are still human, even if you have trouble empathizing. You're just a bit different from the others (like everyone else).

    IME, empathizing can be learned through practice. Your empathy may never be as quick and accurate as it is for people who are "naturals," but it can be made adequate.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #4
    Junior Member the_STRATOSPHERE's Avatar
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    The point about her being "contradiction-less" was only relevant because I have a filter in my mind to keep me from feeling for someone who displays moral contradictions. I required a logical beauty of character for me to feel anything.

    I use this filter so much, that one someone came across that didn't have any apparent ones and had a certain beauty of character (from a logical standpoint), I was totally at a loss of what to do. It was a case I hadn't really prepared for. I realized that the filter itself was per paps even invalid.

    I guess, the problem is really how to develop more empathy. How to be a better human being. I don't want to spoil this beauty by asking so many questions...indeed I am fascinated by the beauty, so my first instinct is to shower with questions. I feel by doing this, it is somehow taking something away, it is objectifying her. I don't want to objectify her, or other people I may happen to care about. I want it to happen organically, somehow, but I don't know how to do that.


    Oh and I meant ISFJ in that post, sorry!
    Last edited by the_STRATOSPHERE; 04-26-2008 at 06:22 AM. Reason: clarification

  5. #5
    Senior Member Veneti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_STRATOSPHERE View Post
    I am here because I am in a quagmire and need help, or suggestions. From any personality. That is specifically why I am not posting this in INTPc, because I need input from others not like me; the solution probably lies outside the INTP realm. I'll make this as short as I can.


    I had written off other people for the most part. I could never relate with them on a meaningful level; most non INTPs never seem to be interested in the "truth", or any theory that attempts to realize it. I mitigated my disconnect from them by constructing theories, and researching known ones, about the human mind, society, etc. Everything was going fine at first...my interactions were mitigating the boredom by asking questions of them to feed my theories.

    Until that is, I met someone; this person is not a romantic interest, so don't put me in that box. This woman, probably an ISTJ, is nothing like me. Very culturally involved, non-intellectual, concrete, essentially "normal", or so I thought. She is also one of the most kind, considerate, caring, peaceful person I have ever met.

    At first, I thought that I could classify her morally, which should be easy to do. Most people that seem extremely kind have alternate motives which can be discerned soon enough using any thought tool (Rand, Utilitarianism, Machiavelli). I turns out, I couldn't find a contradiction in her behavior; for the most part, she seemed genuinely good. Perhaps its cultural then? Perhaps she was brought up in an exceptionally good home, or community, etc?

    I realized that my theories were failing. Moreover, I realized that I couldn't understand where she, or anyone else was coming from, how they felt. What her experience was. In trying to understand her goodness, I was undermining it by objectifying her.

    I want to "feel people out" now. I want to empathize...but I don't think I can. I can't help but fit them in some sort of framework, and it makes me feel ashamed that I have become that alienated from humanity. I feel trapped in all of my theories and wonder if its too late.

    I wonder what my pursuit of the "truth" has made me? Less or more human? What have I become? The truth has led me to a truth that defies its own persuit....

    Any help from any personality, is greatful...
    You're going what I went through around when I was 20/21. You've hit a wall as you've travelled too far down a path of rationalisation.

    If you become too rational and push aside everything that appears not to be useful (Including people and simply having fun) then you can become like the Borg (Star Trek).

    Basically at a conscious level you need to start analysing what you do subconsciously (how you act, react and so forth)... once you assess yourself and start comparing this to others then you can see what you'd like to be. Then at a conscious level start reprogramming yourself (If you consciously act/react in a certain way eventually you become it).. Bit like going into sensing mode until your intuition is redirected down the right path.

    You also have to open your channels of what is right/wrong and the thinking/feeling otherwise you'll never bridge that divide by have absolutely black and white views.

    Nb: It takes 5+ years to what I'd call re-engineer yourself.

    One thing I would say to all people.... is try to live in a postive reinforcing world and don't go the conflict = motivation path. One of these is sustainable and the other is not.

  6. #6
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    No offense, but I think your filter is invalid--at least some of it.

    It seems your knowledge of this ISFJ is challenging some of your strongly held beliefs. This is good. Challenges force us to think, to dig deeper, to lay the foundations of our knowledge on rock and to grow in our understanding.

    And understanding is exactly what you need (especially as an INTP). Understanding does not preclude empathy, and this is indicative of how your framework is not entirely accurate. If you are human, then you have an intellect, emotion, and will.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_STRATOSPHERE View Post
    I had written off other people for the most part. I could never relate with them on a meaningful level; most non INTPs never seem to be interested in the "truth", or any theory that attempts to realize it. I mitigated my disconnect from them by constructing theories...
    I'd say you wrote others off prematurely. Not all people are introverted thinkers. Why write people off just because they are not like you? People can be wonderful. Indeed, there is no creature more complex and fascinating than another human being. You like to seek truth and understand? Try to understand another person! The good ones are more elegant and beautiful than anything else under the sun. Just look at the complexity of the human brain--no crystal, flower, animal, or theory even comes close.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_STRATOSPHERE View Post
    Most people that seem extremely kind have alternate motives which can be discerned soon enough using any thought tool (Rand, Utilitarianism, Machiavelli).
    Rand, Utilitarianism, and Machiavelli? This is just a hunch, but I bet someone badly burned you. I'm glad you met this ISFJ. Her behavior is showing you that there are other ways of conceiving of ethics--that it is possible to love others as well as yourself.

    My suggestion: rework your framework. This new data has shown that your old framework cannot rationally interpret all of your experience, and thus it needs to be abandoned. However, this does not mean that you need to turn off your mind and abandon your quest for truth--truth and love are not incompatible, and with love comes empathy.
    Last edited by Owl; 04-26-2008 at 12:06 PM. Reason: some unnecessary quotes deleted

  7. #7
    Senior Member alcea rosea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_STRATOSPHERE View Post
    I want to "feel people out" now. I want to empathize...but I don't think I can. I can't help but fit them in some sort of framework, and it makes me feel ashamed that I have become that alienated from humanity. I feel trapped in all of my theories and wonder if its too late.
    I cannot help you with understanding the ISFJ you were writing about but I think I have met similar person in my life, ONCE. It was he and I met him at a course when I was studying. Around this person I felt peaceful and I'm so restless person that I am NEVER peaceful. He was like what I imagine a buddha would be. He totally radiated peace and calmness around him. It was really nice to be in the same group with this person to do our assigment. I was very interested in how somebody could be so peaceful but I never figured it out. I was lucky to meet such a person anyway even if I didn't understand him, I only felt his peacefullness.

    Maybe you shouldn't try to understand this person, but just enjoy her company?

    With emphatizing, it's simply trying to figure out how the other person is feeling. Does she/he feel happy/sad/ etc. What do you know about the situation? How would you feel in his/hers shoes? How would you feel is something similar would happen to you or to somebody close to you?

  8. #8
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Sometimes the truth is not what you're truly looking for.

    Sometimes when it comes to searching for the truth, even if you think that's what you're looking for, you just have to let go and enjoy what's there. The truth can be subjective, as it is in this case. "All people have done something for which they deserve to hang" can easily be countered by, "But there must be some good in them, too! Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, now." They both say the same thing, and they both may be true, but both are very subjective and one carries a completely different meaning than the other.

    Your focus has been skewed. Many people are naturally attuned to enjoying what's there rather than searching for the truth which such intent. It's necessary to be able to do both.

    Now for practical advice time: Don't try to understand her, try to enjoy her. I know this is easier said than done, but the fruits of your labor shall not be in vain.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sriv's Avatar
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    True connection does not come with strategy. Women do not want to be fully "understood".
    Reyson: ...If you were to change your ways, I'm sure we could rebuild the relationship the two of us once shared.

    Naesala: Oh no, that I could never do. You see, humans are essential to the fulfillment of my ambitions.

    Reyson: You've changed, Naesala. If this is the path you've chosen, I've nothing left to say.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Butterfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_STRATOSPHERE View Post
    I want to "feel people out" now. I want to empathize...
    I wonder what my pursuit of the "truth" has made me? Less or more human? What have I become? The truth has led me to a truth that defies its own persuit....

    Any help from any personality, is greatful...
    Dont worry, youre human, you just think and frame things differently for your own understanding purposes. This does NOT make you less human. Less human would be when you rape, torture, abuse or kill her etc. Cruelty makes one less human. And reading your posts, you have feelings, empathy, kindness and sensitivity!! Hence you are careful about how to pursue things more better.

    How can you empathise more? Simple. Imagine yourself in their shoes!
    Seriously, thats what empathy is, just imagine yourself in their place and feel how it would feel if you were them.
    Thats it. End of. Goodluck Mr Human

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