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  1. #1
    Senior Member angelhair45's Avatar
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    Default Going through a time of transition and self-discovery, not sure about my type

    I'm 30 years old and have been going through a period of transition and self discovery. I usually test as an INFP, but rarely and ENFP. (and looking on the website I see that it's common for the lines to blur between those two types)

    Lately, I feel like I'm undergoing changes and I'm changing in all sorts of ways. I've been reading Personality Type :an owner's manual, but so far I still can't figure out what I am. I actually tested as an ENTP for the first time. According to the book, going through a transition period can definitely skew results, so I am assuming that is the case with me, since I've always identified with INFP or ENFP.

    Do you think a serious of trauma/challenges through childhood and adolescence could contribute to me putting my true self on a back burner and adapting in different ways? I'm considering that maybe I am a ENFP, but introverted because I couldn't deal with life? When I read descriptions of ENFP or INFP I sound like both of them a lot.


    So here is some details about myself

    I am very unconventional. I've always felt I was a contradiction. I can be a rebel, but I like to follow rules and please people. If something is important to me I will fight for it to the death, but I tend to avoid confrontation.

    I love(d) to write, sing, act, dance. I need to express myself. I've also always been very sexual, but suppressed it for years because of pressures and standards placed on me. That brings me to this, and maybe this will give some more insight. This could wholly irrelevant, but for some reason I think this pattern of events may tell something about me.

    When I was 5 my parents divorced. From that point on I began to withdraw and struggle with depression. My mother remarried a man who I did not get along with at all. I was miserable living with them for most of my life. My dad never remarried, but he was a drug addict/dealer. I loved him more than anything. He was up on a pedestal big time, and I preferred being with him over my mother and step-dad. When I was 8 he went to prison for selling drugs. Again I was crushed and withdrew etc. When I was 10 he was released, but had to move away from where I lived and I rarely saw him anymore, only on vacations, summers, etc. When I was 13 he died from AIDS. It happened really fast for me, he told me in August and died that January.

    So basically I couldn't deal with what life threw at me. I was stuck on all the bad things that had happened, and I had no one to talk too. I desperately wanted someone to talk to, to sort it out, but I didn't have any friends or family who were there for me, nor did they take me to counseling (though I asked). I started having a really tough time dealing with life and reality and kind of went crazy for a while. Then at 15 I started going to church. It was very cult like and they put a lot of pressure on me to conform. I was labeled the rebel, but still went on to pursue ministry (since that was deemed acceptable. I originally wanted to be a performer, but that wasn't deemed as "christian") As I got older I became more and more legalistic. When I got married he was more legalistic than I, and I kind of pushed myself down more to be what I thought I should be for him. Of course my first inclination is to blame everyone else, and the circumstances, but I allowed it because of the path I was on. When I was younger I allowed it because I was vulnerable, broken, depressed, and crying out for anybody to care about me.

    Back to now. Over the past few years my husband and I have changed dramatically, and in the past few months I have really changed a lot. I'm not sure if this is some of my other functions trying to assert themselves or what, but to me, it just feels like I am recognizing things in my life that I don't like and I am changing them. I feel like life is too short to be unhappy. The changes started in small ways, and then became pivotal one night with my husband. Basically I loosened up sexually after many years, and now it seems like I've been able to loosen up in many areas. Suddenly I'm more creative, I don't worry constantly, I don't care what society things of me anymore, and won't hide my differences like I used to. I am trying new things, more flexible etc.

    So that was a seriously long ramble, but maybe it will give some insight.

  2. #2
    Senior Member angelhair45's Avatar
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    I was just reading the type descriptions here INFP Profile

    I sound exactly like both ENFP and INFP. The more I read about the type descriptions, the more I think I am a contradiction.

  3. #3
    Senior Member angelhair45's Avatar
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    I just took the test again in the Personality Type: An Owner's Manual.

    Here is my score
    E-9
    I -5
    S-3
    N-11
    T-7
    F-7
    P-10
    J- 4

    So according to this I am an ENFP or ENTP. I really thought I was an introvert, but now I'm wondering. The profile for ENTP does sound like me too, but not as right as ENFP or INFP. I'm more confused than ever, but I don't really mind. LOL!

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    Junior Member Malkaro's Avatar
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    First of all,welcome to the forum angelhair45. You can introduce yourself on the appropriate forum if you wish to do so.
    Now,only you can really discover yourself,although for me you seem to be more of an E,than I.
    "It might seem like you've got me where you want me and my game is up, but luck is a funny thing. I hope you know how to laugh, because things are about to get really funny."

  5. #5
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelhair45 View Post
    I sound exactly like both ENFP and INFP. The more I read about the type descriptions, the more I think I am a contradiction.
    Since you're a real person and MBTI is just a theoretical construct, I'm thinking more like MBTI is the contradiction and you're just "you."

    EDIT: I'm going to go back to your OP rather than looking at your test scores right now.

    To answer your biggest question, yes, your family situation growing up (and the subculture you live in) definitely can impact your type expression. Type is all about preferences; basically, there are things you feel more comfortable doing than others, and because you use those strategies more often, you get better and better at them, while not improving on things you don't really like to do. And of course this only leads you to want to do the things you're good at even more.

    However, if your environment growing up is not supportive of your preferences (i.e., does not reward you with success for using your preferences), then you will develop things you don't really do naturally but need to develop in order to cope with that environment.

    I am very unconventional. I've always felt I was a contradiction. I can be a rebel, but I like to follow rules and please people. If something is important to me I will fight for it to the death, but I tend to avoid confrontation.
    It's kind of hard to evaluate a personality on a paragraph like this, since it's possible for many types of people to feel this way at some point in their lives. As another "child of contradiction," though, I personally understand what you are saying; I'm basically a non-conformer at heart who does feel good when I fit in harmonously with others. Sometimes this can leave me feeling very conflicted.

    I love(d) to write, sing, act, dance. I need to express myself. I've also always been very sexual, but suppressed it for years because of pressures and standards placed on me. That brings me to this, and maybe this will give some more insight. This could wholly irrelevant, but for some reason I think this pattern of events may tell something about me.

    When I was 5 my parents divorced. From that point on I began to withdraw and struggle with depression. My mother remarried a man who I did not get along with at all. I was miserable living with them for most of my life. My dad never remarried, but he was a drug addict/dealer. I loved him more than anything. He was up on a pedestal big time, and I preferred being with him over my mother and step-dad. When I was 8 he went to prison for selling drugs. Again I was crushed and withdrew etc. When I was 10 he was released, but had to move away from where I lived and I rarely saw him anymore, only on vacations, summers, etc. When I was 13 he died from AIDS. It happened really fast for me, he told me in August and died that January.
    I'm really sorry. Five months is really fast. Not much time to adjust at all.

    What sort of things about your dad made him so special to you? Was it partly because you disliked your step-dad so much, or were there things about him that resonated with you? How did you feel about your mom as a person? Did the fact your dad was a drug dealer and addict create conflict inside of you, or did the disparity never much bother you?

    So basically I couldn't deal with what life threw at me. I was stuck on all the bad things that had happened, and I had no one to talk too. I desperately wanted someone to talk to, to sort it out, but I didn't have any friends or family who were there for me, nor did they take me to counseling (though I asked). I started having a really tough time dealing with life and reality and kind of went crazy for a while.
    Oh gee, well, that is pretty understandable, with your daddy gone and feeling like you had no one else around who understand you. I mean, the sort of issues you were dealing with in your family at that time are ones that most people that age have no idea what to do with or experience with. It's a lonely place to be.

    Then at 15 I started going to church. It was very cult like and they put a lot of pressure on me to conform. I was labeled the rebel, but still went on to pursue ministry (since that was deemed acceptable. I originally wanted to be a performer, but that wasn't deemed as "christian") As I got older I became more and more legalistic. When I got married he was more legalistic than I, and I kind of pushed myself down more to be what I thought I should be for him. Of course my first inclination is to blame everyone else, and the circumstances, but I allowed it because of the path I was on. When I was younger I allowed it because I was vulnerable, broken, depressed, and crying out for anybody to care about me.
    Well, I think it is good to take responsible for one's actions, which you are doing here in how you speak about it; I just want to say that, at the same time, self-forgiveness is important too. Lots of times, especially without any life experience or guidance from adults to go on, we will make big decisions with long-lasting repercussions without realizing what we are doing. You joined this church because it gave you stability at a crazy time and because you thought it was the right thing to do. You married your husband because you thought it was right too.. or at least it offered you yet another point of comfort. And you did some bad things to yourself -- crushed yourself into a box -- because you were all those things you describe and you did not know how else to cope, and life was scary otherwise.

    Your self-awareness and ability to introspect over all this, I think, is really helping you make positive steps forward.

    Back to now. Over the past few years my husband and I have changed dramatically, and in the past few months I have really changed a lot. I'm not sure if this is some of my other functions trying to assert themselves or what, but to me, it just feels like I am recognizing things in my life that I don't like and I am changing them. I feel like life is too short to be unhappy. The changes started in small ways, and then became pivotal one night with my husband. Basically I loosened up sexually after many years, and now it seems like I've been able to loosen up in many areas. Suddenly I'm more creative, I don't worry constantly, I don't care what society things of me anymore, and won't hide my differences like I used to. I am trying new things, more flexible etc.
    So what made the difference? Why are you now released, as you were not before? Was there a catalytic experience that changed you? It's really hard to make a shift from a legalistic environment, esp one in which the spouse is also legalistic. How is he responding to your changes? (When a marriage is built on one approach to life and then one of the partners changes, the other partner might not like it and the whole marriage can be thrown off unless they change as well.)

    I know this thread is about your type, but your story is very meaningful, and talking about it also can shed some light on type.

    For my part, your story resonates with me; the details are a bit different, but the gist is still the same. I grew up in a family where my father was alcoholic and I didn't much connect with ISFJ mom but she was in charge because he was never there (physically and/or emotionally). She never understood me, and I placated her by reshaping myself relationally into an SFJ-style person. That was how I fit into my family. When I was alone, I was "me" (and not an ISFJ), but as soon as I got around someone, my interaction pattern was very SFJ... as much as a P could manage.

    I was also heavily invested in church throughout those years. I had artistic ability as well and wanted to use it to serve but always felt very constrained by "the rules," which I felt I could not break because I would be rejected or interfered with. It sort of all undermined me as a person and I was very "split" and unhappy. I ended up marrying a conservative spouse and while we worked very hard over the years to keep things together, as an adult I was increasingly unhappy and very smothered in the religiously conservative environment... and eventually the dam broke for me as well. I am now at a point in life just like you where I don't really care either what people think (well, I care, but it's not going to change what I choose to say and do now), I finally broke away from all the restraints on who I was and how it had smothered my voice all those long years. Yet, at the time, I hadn't really known better, and I was too scared of the ambiguity to try any other solution; it takes awhile to become strong enough to be yourself.

    In any case, I am one of those contradictions; I feel like this weird meld of T and F influences, especially now, and sometimes people get very confused over my type, since i grew up in an environment that demanded I learn how to be good at some of my weakest preferences while neglecting my more natural ones.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #6
    Senior Member angelhair45's Avatar
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    Thank you for you responses.

    To answer your biggest question, yes, your family situation growing up (and the subculture you live in) definitely can impact your type expression. Type is all about preferences; basically, there are things you feel more comfortable doing than others, and because you use those strategies more often, you get better and better at them, while not improving on things you don't really like to do. And of course this only leads you to want to do the things you're good at even more.
    I am wondering if I am and ENFP, but I developed the introverted side because of my life's circumstances. I am now starting to become more extroverted than I've been in my entire adult life.


    As far as confrontation, when I was a teenager I was known for liking to argue. I loved to debate, especially things that most people felt were weird, controversial, abstract, or silly. As an adult, I'd rather avoid confrontation, and not argue. But I'm such a rebel that confrontation does happen.

    What sort of things about your dad made him so special to you? Was it partly because you disliked your step-dad so much, or were there things about him that resonated with you? How did you feel about your mom as a person? Did the fact your dad was a drug dealer and addict create conflict inside of you, or did the disparity never much bother you?
    My dad made me feel loved. He listened to me, and genuinely seemed to care about me as a person. He acted like I was important when my mom and step-dad acted like I was a nuisance.

    We did have things in common. We both loved to read and he introduced me to different genres of books at a young age. We enjoyed each others company. Even when I was a young child he included me in his life. He was also more of a free thinker and hippieish, which I tend to be. I know as an adult I would get a long very well with him, and see him in a lot of my personality.

    I've never really liked my mom much as a person, but as an adult I love her as my mom. Growing up I resented her because she never stood up for me, and let my step-dad call the shots. She seemed weak to me. She was impossible to talk to, and never helped me in important areas of my life. She left me to fend for myself for the things I needed a parent most. So yeah, I have some problems with that. We've never discussed it though. She seems to be in a bit of denial.

    Knowing my dad was a drug dealer was awful. It was a heavy burden for me to carry. I got anxious whenever the police would come and talk about drugs. They'd encourage us to tell them if our parents did drugs. I hated it. I felt like I had to keep his secret and it was pretty awful for me. I never told anyone about my dad's situations until I was in jr. high. When he died I decided to tell everyone what happened. My mom tried to stop me, but I used his death from AIDS in a class project about AIDS. It was very freeing to finally tell someone. From that point on I became very frank, open and honest about things until I felt oppressed by people in the church later on.

    As far as what the catalyst was for change, I'm really not exactly sure. My husband, son and I moved across the country 5 years ago and that put us in a position to recognize our unhappiness. We are both pretty introspective and I will analyze things to death. Both of us were always unhappy with the church life and we both were rebels working to change things, but it just was one brick wall after another. Finally we just started asking ourselves a lot of hard questions about life. Then ensued a good few years of fighting and arguing because we both started changing. Recently we've managed to really reconnect and we're both getting to better spots in our lives and SOMEHOW seem to have managed to end up on the same page. A lot of changes happened over time, one of us would dip out toe in, and the other would follow. But, a pivotal event was when I really let go and allowed myself to be free sexually. After I did that I've been more creative in all areas of my life and see the world in different ways. I've also become much more extroverted and adventurous. I used to be content just being home with my family, hanging out, reading, homeschooling, watching movies, working in my garden etc; I wouldn't need to go anywhere or see anybody, but my husband and son for weeks. Whereas now I will get restless, and I need to get out and see new people. I haven't felt like this since before I was married.

    Thank you for sharing your story with me. I'm starting think I am extroverted by nature, but starting at 5 I began to introvert by necessity to deal with everything. There was no outward measuring stick, I didn't know what was expected of me (and as a kid I wanted rules and expectations) so I think I introverted and came up with a lot of my own rules for life. So whereas some E's don't introvert till much older I was forced to at a young age and it kind of took over.

    It still seems so weird that I can be so much like an ENFP and and INFP at the same time, but that seems very common, so I guess I'm in good company.

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    ENFP will feel most stimulated by taking in patterns and impressions in the present external environment as this is their dominant cognitive function (Ne - Extroverted Intuition).

    INFP will feel most stimulated by adhering to their personal feelings, values and morals as this is their dominant cognitive function (Fi - Introverted Feeling).

    Cognitive Functions 100: Basic Functionality Revised - INTP Forum

    I would encourage you to look more into cognitive functions to find out your type (the link above is a good starting point) - tests only give you a suggestion that may or may not be accurate and profiles can't describe all the various manifestations of a type i.e. Hitler and Martin Luther King were both INFJ's! Tests gave me mixed results too (they are only meant to be a suggestion at best), none of the profiles I read really sat completely well with me and I was only 100% confident of my type once I developed a greater understanding of how the cognitive functions work.

  8. #8
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    ... almost asleep tonight, maybe more tomorrow... but your behavior patterns and approach reminds me of my EFP female friends, not the IFPs... i.e., your cognitive perspective is what I'm referring to. As you said, there's a good chance that you're an extrovert forced to pull back and develop an inner world early on because the outer world was not a safe place (just as I ended up developing much more social and extroverted skills than the typical ITP, in order to survive).
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  9. #9
    Senior Member angelhair45's Avatar
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    I've been reading off and on all day and I'm becoming more and more convinced I'm an ENFP.

  10. #10
    Senior Member HollyGolightly's Avatar
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    angelhair45 I think you're an ENFP too from the other thread that you posted I have INFP and ENFP sisters that I am very close to...and I don't think you're an INFP.
    "Dad I can't feel my legs."

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