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Thread: thoughts on INFJ aggression1249 days ago

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    Newbie e-vagrant's Avatar
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    thoughts on INFJ aggression

    You probably think I'm mad to mention INFJ and aggression in the same breath. You probably think this because we have a certain conception of INFJs as non-confrontational people who are easily taken advantage of by others. But allow me to explain:

    Almost all INFJs are easily hurt, but there are those who cope by withdrawing and "bottling up", and there are those who cope by lashing out. The latter type of people are never detected as INFJs because they don't fit the popular image of INFJ as meek victim. (Thus, it's hard to tell whether they are actually less common or just underrepresented.) And because other people fail to look beyond the belligerence to notice that hypersensitivity is what's causing it.

    Let me elaborate: when an INFJ has a bad temper, poor impulse control, or both, they easily become a "defensive aggressor". I know all about this because I used to be one when I was young. All the kids thought I was crazy in elementary school because I would get into fights with pretty much anyone (and everyone) over minor teasing. I was never actually a victim of full-fledged bullying, but that didn't prevent me overreacting in "self-defense". Eventually other kids came to be afraid of me because I had a reputation of flying off the handle over the smallest offenses. As an adult I'm not nearly as angry or reactive, but I'm still able to identify others like this quite easily due to having been there myself.




    Which is why I also think the belligerent INFJ constitutes one particular type of abusive romantic partner. If you know about psychology, you know that certain types of people are particularly prone to becoming abusive partners. (Not surprising, as such patterns tend to emerge in all areas of life.) The sociopath is the popular prototype, due to their predatory nature, but I think another distinct type is the insecure INFJ with a bad temper.

    Here's why: the INFJ's hypersensitivity and emotional intensity, coupled with the emotional intensity of being in love, already sets up a potentially volatile situation. So when the person in question is also insecure and has a quick temper, it almost guarantees disaster. They are obviously not acting under the same motivations as the sociopath, but they get themselves into the same situation by way of being too passionate in unhealthy ways.

    Although I generally avoid "typing" celebrities and fictional characters (it seems silly), in this case offering a concrete example might be helpful. So here goes: if you have ever seen 8 mile...? That would be the kind of behavior I'm talking about.

    I wonder if any one else notices this manifestation of the INFJ personality in the real world. They are typically very kind, caring, and loyal to their own (excepting those who abuse their partners) but hard-edged and downright aggressive in most other avenues of their lives. I see it in men mostly (that's to be expected, of course) but it obviously isn't exclusive to men. I'm female myself.
    Last edited by e-vagrant; 31-05-11 at 11:48 PM.

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    Community Member detectivepope's Avatar
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    I was typed ENTP at first because of this.

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    Community Member Peppermint's Avatar
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    This forum is mostly in denial about it. Everyone goes on about how Fe seeks harmony. In reality, it's a two edged sword.


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    Carrier of the INFJ antivirus the's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e-vagrant View Post

    Although I generally avoid "typing" celebrities and fictional characters (it seems silly), in this case offering a concrete example might be helpful. So here goes: if you have ever seen 8 mile...? That would be the kind of behavior I'm talking about.

    Cheddar Bob?

    When I think of INFJ aggression, I think of Chris Hanson.
    "You are a bit dreamy. Eyes don't lie." - LucyJr

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    Quotidian Schismatist Wyote's Avatar
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    As a kid I was very prone to flying off the handle for things that people were really caught off guard by. This still happens to a certain degree, but I've learned how to identify that emotion swelling up in me and figured out when I just need to take a break. Now, if somebody does not grant me that break they are probably going to find themselves in some trouble.

    I'm a pretty stable person overall though and people very often say that I seem like a very calm and peaceful individual haha. If only they felt what I did, and understood how much I work to give myself that sense of peace.
    One of the most responsible things you can do as an adult
    is to become more of a child.
    ~ Dr Wayne W Dyer ~

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    I do not mean to judge anyone, but I would never hurt anyone. I will take rage out on myself, but never another person. I will take a beating & never retaliate. Could be attributed to my "turn the other cheek mentality," though...
    "Don't let anyone else disturb your peace of mind." ~my sweet Honey Badger

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    Unfortunately I became this way I didn't start out this way. It was because in my opinion my patience, which I characteristically have a lot of, was worn out beyond belief.

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    Wow! e-vagrant are you writing a research paper? You've presented excellent points and made a very good case. What I empathize with most is that fact that I can get very defensive and even angrily blow up at people. This is especially true when I'm threatened, frustrated, nervous, scared, tired, ...basically, when I'm not fully in control due to emotional overwhelm or another reason. I find the same attributes that make INFJ's likable, such as being personable, easily connecting with people, attentive to others' needs, etc.. those can also be used for evil and can cut other people very deep. Good post.

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    The last time I remember being aggressive/rage-like is when I took that guy by the collar and told him that if he would touch her again I would find him and kill him. I guess I was sounding convincing.. But it seems like all my aggression just turns back at me. It's really hard for me to be angry, I have to release myself, make myself to be this way. And it's not the kind of persona I am used to. But I can. If I become disappointed and upset about something it is turning against me most of the time, makes me want to hurt myself just to stop this feeling of anxiety this kind of anger brings.
    "...and the crowns of the seven kings, and the rods of the five wizards...
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    Hail, Éomer, king of the mark."

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    What do you mean, I can change my Usertitle acd's Avatar
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    I used to have a temper. I'd break objects when I was a kid and a teenager.
    I'd lash out verbally at my mother or brother.

    I got older and became more mindful and self aware and learned how to think about a situation instead of just reacting like an animal..because I always felt wretched unleashing my acid tongue, even if it got me the last word.. I have a curse for knowing exactly what to say to get under someone's skin and end the argument.. But I choose not to do that in a fight. It is never worth it, it solves nothing, and I always end up feeling like a devil afterwards. Fighting like that dooms relationships.. regardless if they are friendships, family or romantic relationships... I figure there is more to fighting than competing to "win." Lashing out is something people should grow out of by the time they are in their late teens, I think.

    I don't get seriously angry often, now. Mostly, I get angry when someone is consistently rude and demeaning to other people..or when someone shows a pattern of having to be superior over others...I guess I like to knock these people down a peg. (Which still is not very nice of me, I suppose.)

    I'm better at conveying my rage with a quiet voice and sharp words... I don't hurl swears in impotent rage... Those are a waste of energy and futile in their meaninglessness. When I'm mad, I want the other person to know exactly what they have done to piss me off... which is why I'm very "clinical" (so I've been told) in my confrontation. I don't enjoy attacking people.. but I am still capable of it. Even when furious, I'd much rather be able to say something that will exhort the other person to take a look at themselves and improve..

    As for INFJs being abusive partners.. they are as capable of having personality disorders as other types.. I've unfortunately made the acquaintance of an INFJ with what had to be Borderline Personality Disorder.

    But I do not think that the INFJ personality type is at risk for being abusive or being at risk for hooking up with an abuser... Hypersensitivity is immaturity and insecurity. Overcome the immaturity and insecurity and you are no longer hyper sensitive and volatile. INFJs are capable of overcoming these issues when they decide they are tired of being miserable and do not want to live in an abusive cycle any longer.
    Last edited by acd; 01-06-11 at 05:11 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peppermint View Post
    This forum is mostly in denial about it. Everyone goes on about how Fe seeks harmony. In reality, it's a two edged sword.
    Bingo. Fe can be used for harmony as well as to really get people where it hurts. We can say some mean shit sometimes. I mean, really mean.

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    I get angry. . but not outwardly aggressive. . the anger gets turned inward. . dont sleep, feel detached from the world around me. .. then toward the end of it end up feeling like an idiot for getting so wrapped up in something that was stupid to begin with. .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peppermint View Post
    This forum is mostly in denial about it. Everyone goes on about how Fe seeks harmony. In reality, it's a two edged sword.
    Oh yeah, INFJ agression is definitely there. It's ugly and quite painful when it does actually manifest (usually, anyway).
    When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! GET MAD!
    I don't want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these? DEMAND TO SEE LIFE'S MANAGER! Do you know who I am? I'm the man that's going to burn your house down... with the lemons! I'm going to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!

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    Quote Originally Posted by e-vagrant View Post
    Here's why: the INFJ's hypersensitivity and emotional intensity, coupled with the emotional intensity of being in love, already sets up a potentially volatile situation. So when the person in question is also insecure and has a quick temper, it almost guarantees disaster. They are obviously not acting under the same motivations as the sociopath, but they get themselves into the same situation by way of being too passionate in unhealthy ways.
    I relate a crazy lot to this. This situation sounds oddly familiar...
    Jack be nimble,
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    The candlestick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by e-vagrant View Post
    Let me elaborate: when an INFJ has a bad temper, poor impulse control, or both, they easily become a "defensive aggressor". I know all about this because I used to be one when I was young. All the kids thought I was crazy in elementary school because I would get into fights with pretty much anyone (and everyone) over minor teasing. I was never actually a victim of full-fledged bullying, but that didn't prevent me overreacting in "self-defense". Eventually other kids came to be afraid of me because I had a reputation of flying off the handle over the smallest offenses. As an adult I'm not nearly as angry or reactive, but I'm still able to identify others like this quite easily due to having been there myself.
    Though not an INFJ I can very much relate to your story as a child/teen. In fact I almost posted something to this effect about my childhood a week ago. Whether it was a threat to me (real or perceived) or somone bullying somone else, I was ferocious and never backed down when approached in an aggressive manner. When I was seven or eight years old I caught two older kids (8 or 9?) torturing a cat. I hit one with a rock (in the neck) and chased the other one until he got to his doorstep and couldn't open the door fast enough. I pushed him into the door then pulled him back to the ground. Just as I was about the hit him repeatedly in the face his mother screamed bloody murder from the window. I came to some amount of rationality and ran deep into the woods behind the projects housing, hiding for hours.

    This is just one instance, but my parents almost sent me to a medical health facility when I was 11. I eventually mellowed and by my first or second year of college I found the the idea of fighting (unless ABSOLUTELY necessary) undesirable. People who didn't know me as a child find it difficult to accept that I acted that way. Most people (except those who know me extremely well) think of me as calm, reserved. Yet something within me still boils with anger and frustration when I witness what I percieve to be injustices against humanity, other animals, and nature.
    Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.
    Hermann Hesse




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    A Permanent Fixture donkeybals's Avatar
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    I really don't think it is likely for an infj to be consistently manipulative/abusive. Unless they were in a really poor or desperate situation. Fe users can hit below the belt in certain cases, or have blow ups, but that's only when they feel others hit them there first. Or they are at their breaking point. As far as being consistently abusive I don't think the infj could live with themselves like that, as they'd feel really crappy if they did.. entj's would probably be the most prone to being abusive imo. Perhaps an estj too especially if they were raised abusive.

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    Donor Billy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peppermint View Post
    This forum is mostly in denial about it. Everyone goes on about how Fe seeks harmony. In reality, it's a two edged sword.
    true, harmony can come from getting along or making others get along.
    Go there ---> http://www.rational-thinker.com/wordpress <--- Go there

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    Permanent Fixture Arsal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donkeybals View Post
    I really don't think it is likely for an infj to be consistently manipulative/abusive. Unless they were in a really poor or desperate situation. Fe users can hit below the belt in certain cases, or have blow ups, but that's only when they feel others hit them there first. Or they are at their breaking point. As far as being consistently abusive I don't think the infj could live with themselves like that, as they'd feel really crappy if they did..
    Yeah, that's why they convince themselves that they're doing it for your well-being. You know the well-seasoned bully... "I'm only mean because I care."


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    A Permanent Fixture donkeybals's Avatar
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    Yess. A breakfast club reference!

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    Permanent Fixture Arsal's Avatar
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    That's not actually a Breakfast Club line, but meh. John Bender is an excellent example of an aggressive INFJ.

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