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  1. #1

    Default who is my INTP? (long)

    I have a boyfriend who is an INTP. He has taken the test multiple times. Well, the reason I'm writing this because of my sweetie is that I could use a dose of INTP logic. And I want to understand better where he is coming from with certain stuff.

    I know that in my boyfriend's past there are some issues with emotional control and impulsivity. He left high school due to school refusal-- was diagnosed severe anxiety and depression and just stopped going. He ended up going to a school for kids with behavioral and learning disabilities. He has been described by several people as a former "angry" teen.

    Then in college the first year, apparently he was busted with alcohol, drugs, and vandalism, plus he had a friend who stole some guy's wallet and they both got caught. He was thrown out.

    This was a huge trauma but he seemed to do better. I think he has matured since then.

    He loves studying everything-- sports, theater, the occult, math, music-- and is developing a lot of artistic projects. I think he will really come into his own this year.

    However, generally, I see a huge discrepancy between the complete emotional turmoil of his past, and the sensitive, gentle, somewhat scholarly boy that I love spending time with and have come to care about more than anyone. If anything, he has two "vices" the first of which is being shy which makes me love him even more. And the second is being angry.

    I am baffled sometimes when I see another version of him come out, and he'll just be angry and upset.

    He is by far the more sentimental and gentle of the two of us, but at the same time, he can get quite testy. We have thought about going to see a relationship therapist over this. He has said he thinks it's just him, he needs more work. But I am sure my own blind spots contribute to us fighting.

    I just want to know him better. Any ideas, INTPs? We have been dating a year and yet I feel there are so many aspects of him that I can't understand.

  2. #2
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    Us INTPs struggle with our emotions. We actually are very phyiscally sensitive, and very emotionally sensitive. We take the slightest criticism, as if we were stabbed. We normally run from our emotions, because they hurt us so. So we don't spend that much time with actually looking at our emotions, and consequently don't have the experience with them with which to understand them. So we have these 2 worlds, the world of the purely unemotional, that we spend most of our time in, and are happy with, and the occasional dip into our emotional selves, that give up really powerful feelings, that we don't understand, and find difficult to control, due to lack of experience with dealing with them.

    Also, as a consequence of not being that good at understanding or controlling our emotions, we aren't that good at understanding other's emotions, or controlling ours to produce a desired effect in others. So we aren't that good at manipulating others as a consequence.

    So we spend a lot of time in our unemotional selves, learning and thinking, which leads us to come up with many good ideas. But because we have so little understanding of how to manipulate others and get them to do our bidding, we find that others rarely listen to what we say, and rarely listen to our good ideas. So we have all these great ideas on how to help ourselves and others. But not much of a way to get them implemented into reality, not even for our own needs.

    The anger comes from the conflict that we have lots of great ideas to get what we want, and to get what humanity wants, but are rarely given the chance.

    Really, as we mature, we learn to control our emotions, and we learn to understand others' better, and we find more and more ways to get what we want out of life, and to help others as well. We eventually learn to trust ourselves, and then we just go ahead and do what needs to be done.

    As to understanding him, no-one seems to ever understand an INTP all that well. But that's part of our charm. There will almost always be more to learn about us. We are almost always interesting.

  3. #3

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    I have found with several Ts in general that when they have an abundance of feelings, they don't quite know what to do with them. They feel "stuff" that can't immediately be quantified. Often this can lead to frustration, especially if the stuff they feel is negative. As a result, the negative "stuff" mixes with the frustration and the whole lot gets dumped into the "anger" bucket. Anger is an easy & familiar emotion. Everyone has a mechanism, (good or bad) for dealing with anger, so it's a way to kinda cope with the stuff.

  4. #4
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
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    He's not my enneagram so I don't really relate. But here's some thoughts.

    Most INTP's struggle in teens, ofcourse it differs for every INTP, but it is pretty clear that the struggle is always there in some form. Largely contributed by the fact they are constantly dissecting the world, while basicly being told what to do or who to be without any apparant reason, and this causes frustration and rebellion.

    I've been quite the rebellion too, although 95% of that happened entirely internally in my head. Considering I'm enneagram nine, that makes sense though. Early 20's seems to be when INTP's start to blossom (or derail completely, hehe :P ). Sounds to me he's on the right track though. But with INTP's things take time. Nothing is ever really taken for granted, even if it appears like that on the surface.
    ~Self-depricating Megalomaniacal Superwolf

  5. #5

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    Thanks girls/dudes. These were such super gentle and super helpful answers. They have inspired me to understand my mate.

    I love INTPs because they have a depth of love and loyalty. I am recognizing that my boyfriend may not have memorized the cues of how to be "an emotional man" but that he loves me none the less. It cuts my breath short when I think about it.

    I'm aware that he doesn't connect foremost to people and doesn't have a strong drive to dominate/make others subjugated, but I'm fascinated by his sense of justice and how he actually has a very keep instinct of peoples' strength and weaknesses, though he seems not to care outwardly about making an impression on them.

    Sometimes it seems that he was destined to be an artist with this INTP vantage point on human relations.

    Are there any articles I could read about him? (Especially on INTPs and INFx's? I'm an iNFJ or P....). Or maybe I should start a new thread....

  6. #6
    Member Arkigos's Avatar
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    Typing doesn't account for character or for mental or emotional issues but it can inform how they play out. Bad behavior can not be explained away by type. That should really be a mantra, especially for NF types who want to find meaning in the sometimes meaningless. There is no type that is angry and no type that is abusive to themselves or others... that stuff happens regardless of type and, again, cannot be attributed to type.

    That being said, we all have growing to do. I am not the same person now that I was years ago. I don't know any INTP who has gotten in trouble like that before. Such activities are very uncharacteristic for an INTP. Our important functions are Ti Ne .. that means we spend most of our time with systems, statistics, analysis, all in our head. We tend to work it all out beforehand and then present it as fact when we are done. When we do share our thoughts, we inform you concisely and matter-of-factly about what our research has determined and then tend to want to share creative thoughts to inform further research. Ideas, patterns, possibilities are fun for us to talk about. We don't tend to talk about people or things... at all.... or focus on people or things. We don't like to complain, actually - we'd rather keep all that to ourselves and just talk about creative things. We can also be surprisingly caring and careful with other people's feelings. We don't like to focus on our own feelings too much. We prefer to think them out alone, but are typically quite forgiving of feeling in others (when we manage to notice it).

    Most people, when they interact with an INTP on a real intimate level end up thinking things like "Wow, you REALLY thought that through, like, a lot.... instead of remembering to get a haircut." INTPs are very easy-going and impish. No one should take themselves too seriously and INTPs are notorious for playfully messing up other peoples cognitive sand castles. The only time INTPs get upset as a matter of personality is when their carefully thought out analysis is dismissed, patronized, ignored or embarrassingly proven wrong. That's when the cheeks go a little red and we can get defensive. Or when we are forced to get out of our shells and be someone we aren't. We are the court wizard... not to be put in a knight's costume and forced to act just so.

    Give us plenty of time to think things through, share in our creative banter, don't push us out of our shells too abrasively or thoughtlessly, and end up surprised by our unexpected warmth. That is pretty much INTP.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkigos View Post
    There is no type that is angry.
    I have to come to terms with this.

    I think we are breaking up.

    I've tried and tried but we just don't fit together.

    He admitted to me that sometimes when he's angry at the world he just feels like being negative for no reason.

    And that any misunderstanding makes him even more angry and upset which he takes out on others without being able to control it.

    There are worse vices in the world I guess. But it's killing me always to be so tired and us fighting and never just feel at peace in his presence.

    We had a huge fight for the millionth time.

    It was because I stood up for this kid on the bus, a kid getting picked on by bullies.

    I got home and told him about it and he said I did the wrong thing.

    There is no worse thing he really could have said to me that would make me feel with every fiber of my being we do not belong together.

    I tried to explain, "don't do that, don't say that." But he wouldn't listen.

    He said it wasn't that he was trying to make me feel bad, he just has weird issues about speaking to teenagers.

    I felt in my heart that it wasn't that, that he just wanted to see me shot down. Or maybe he was like one of those other people on the bus who just let bullying happen.

    But my repeated questions "what do weird issues with teenagers have to do with it?" were met with silence and then anger to the point he was not able to speak. Finally he emailed me apologizing multiple times but for the first time, I didn't want to talk any more.

    Then finally today we talked and I spoke to him lovingly and tried to make it better between us like he was doing. He said he was so sorry and it was all his fault and he doesn't know why he does this. But again, I asked, "you didn't really think it was a mistake for me to stand up for that kid, right?" and he said, "no, I already explained, I just don't like teenagers." And so I said, "I still don't understand." And he got angry again.

    I don't know.

    He says five years ago he would have considered me a hero but life has made him angry.

    I asked him if we can start thinking about going back to being just friends. I can't see this relationship lasting. I don't think we're going in the same direction.

    He said that we should do couples therapy.

    I don't know but I know the time that I spend worrying could be taken up with love, peace and comfort. I have a pretty stressful life and I spend a lot of time, up to half the time we spend together, fighting about these little things, his constant irritability and my constant sense of wanting something better in life and fantasies of us just not being together, which makes me SO GUILTY.

    I don't know what is wrong with me. Maybe a little bit him too.

    We may try couples therapy but I know in my heart that people don't change unless they really want to.

  8. #8
    Member Arkigos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostlanguage View Post
    I have to come to terms with this.

    I got home and told him about it and he said I did the wrong thing.

    ....

    There is no worse thing he really could have said to me that would make me feel with every fiber of my being we do not belong together.

    ....

    I felt in my heart that it wasn't that, that he just wanted to see me shot down. Or maybe he was like one of those other people on the bus who just let bullying happen.

    ....

    He says five years ago he would have considered me a hero but life has made him angry.
    Well, from this you certainly sound like an INFJ (less likely an INFP, like you say). One of my dearest friends is an INFJ and he would have spoken just like this... wrestling his Counselors intuition and wisdom against his tendency to love deeply and loyally. This is why I do not envy your type as I've seen him go through this more than once.

    Now, I cannot say for certain what type your boyfriend is.. and please take this all with a grain of salt... I find that analyzing things is often as close an offering of compassion as I am capable of, so here goes:

    I'll tell you when I said that Type does not account for abuse, but it can inform how it is expressed - each type lashes out in different stereotypical ways. For us INTPs it is often 'Correction'. When my emotions flare up and I start getting really angry, I start criticizing meticulously and aggressively. We already devil's advocates, but in that state we want to see people 'shot down' more than ever. My wife is forced under a microscope to run a mad gauntlet of my OCD criticism. It's a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde dichotomy that most people never see. That is how it plays out with me, and I suspect it is possible that other INTPs are the same. I have a brother in law who is an ENTJ and is a very abusive person... and his tantrums are similarly about bearing down absurdly precise logic on his surrounding and exploding on his wife and children with each logical misstep until he's worked through his fit. You can see fear and uncertainty in his children's eyes and so much stress and regret in his wife's. Whereas my wife needs to endure it very mildly and very rarely, his family gets it several times a day and often quite severely. What is the line between acceptable human nature and pattern of abuse? To that I can offer no answer... just my sincere empathy and hope for yours and his well-being, together or apart.

    It's deeply unfortunate that he chose to attack what we know to be the core of an INFJ - your compassionate intuition. INFJ types place very near to their core self-image their willingness and capacity to act correctly, empathically, and courageously in the very situation you found yourself in. To dismiss it in such a way undoubtedly would cause a great deal of harm. However, as you describe the situation it sounds like one in which an INT- would be very uncomfortable... personally I think that if my wife stood up for someone on a bus, I would beam quietly (while trying to sink into the upholstery and hide)... but I can easily see an unhealthy INTP having a panic attack of some kind in that situation and then either embellishing or outright inventing logical issues with the situation to deal with their embarrassment. That sounds right on the money for us.

    It sounds absurd, perhaps, to offer a suggestion for how to deal with that... why should you have to act any certain way when someone is acting like that? But, nevertheless, the safe word for me in such a situation would be, "I understand". It's like healing water to us, I think, to hear those words and believe them. Just that we are being heard and that you understand... our half-crazed words are being heard and understood and not judged even if they are hurtful and crazy. Anything but "I understand", believed, is probably going to keep feeding the tantrum. We just want our logic to be understood... and we can start calming down. Once the tantrum is over, like all abusive tantrums, we are super receptive and lovely people.... until next time.

    Abusive guys always apologize after. My father was often times brutally abusive to my mother and his apologies were heartfelt and grand... but that did stop him the next time around. It wasn't until 20 years later she left him and after that it took another 10 years for him to finally have the tragedy of his life beat him into a functional human being. He is happily married now and treats her quite well.... and I can guarantee that had my mother played along forever he'd never have changed. The cycle would have gone on.

    Only real effort, measurable improvements are worth anything from someone in this cycle. Words mean nothing.

    I don't know if any of this is true or helpful at all but I hope that it is - please take it with a grain of salt or not at all, as appropriate.

  9. #9
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scorpiomover View Post
    Us INTPs struggle with our emotions. We actually are very phyiscally sensitive, and very emotionally sensitive. We take the slightest criticism, as if we were stabbed. We normally run from our emotions, because they hurt us so. So we don't spend that much time with actually looking at our emotions, and consequently don't have the experience with them with which to understand them. So we have these 2 worlds, the world of the purely unemotional, that we spend most of our time in, and are happy with, and the occasional dip into our emotional selves, that give up really powerful feelings, that we don't understand, and find difficult to control, due to lack of experience with dealing with them.

    Also, as a consequence of not being that good at understanding or controlling our emotions, we aren't that good at understanding other's emotions, or controlling ours to produce a desired effect in others. So we aren't that good at manipulating others as a consequence.

    So we spend a lot of time in our unemotional selves, learning and thinking, which leads us to come up with many good ideas. But because we have so little understanding of how to manipulate others and get them to do our bidding, we find that others rarely listen to what we say, and rarely listen to our good ideas. So we have all these great ideas on how to help ourselves and others. But not much of a way to get them implemented into reality, not even for our own needs.

    The anger comes from the conflict that we have lots of great ideas to get what we want, and to get what humanity wants, but are rarely given the chance.

    Really, as we mature, we learn to control our emotions, and we learn to understand others' better, and we find more and more ways to get what we want out of life, and to help others as well. We eventually learn to trust ourselves, and then we just go ahead and do what needs to be done.

    As to understanding him, no-one seems to ever understand an INTP all that well. But that's part of our charm. There will almost always be more to learn about us. We are almost always interesting.
    Quote Originally Posted by metalmommy View Post
    I have found with several Ts in general that when they have an abundance of feelings, they don't quite know what to do with them. They feel "stuff" that can't immediately be quantified. Often this can lead to frustration, especially if the stuff they feel is negative. As a result, the negative "stuff" mixes with the frustration and the whole lot gets dumped into the "anger" bucket. Anger is an easy & familiar emotion. Everyone has a mechanism, (good or bad) for dealing with anger, so it's a way to kinda cope with the stuff.
    I think these assessments are right on. A common stereotype of INTPs is an emotionless robot which couldn't be further from the truth. We can be quite emotionally intense people on the inside but usually that doesn't show unless you provoke us the wrong way and we act out of inferior Fe.
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