Are personality types initially formed by neuroses? | INFJ Forum

Are personality types initially formed by neuroses?

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by justeccentricnotinsane, Nov 4, 2009.

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  1. justeccentricnotinsane

    justeccentricnotinsane Community Member

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    I was thinking about this this morning.

    You are not born with a personality type, it is a learned thing, it's cultural. In the case of INFJ, a habit to help (often to your detriment) others, shyness, extreme intuition etc. seems to fit itself to a particular set of neuroses.

    For instance. I have a very high "N" and a low "F". The reason I have a low "F" is because I feel very much for others but am not actually attuned to my own emotions (won't get upset over sad films, soap-operas etc. but will empathise to the extreme with real people who I meet).

    I used to be very, very shy and would literally not speak but I would watch others in the group speak together. I am a very good judge of character and can often predict what others will do/say and whether or not they can be trusted etc. before I've met them (ie. seeing them across a room) It's my belief that this came from literally studying others because I was essentially external within social groups even if I was there as "part of" that group and through that I intuitively read others.

    The feeling side, my fear to hurt others and my need to protect, may come from this intuitive learning. I can not only immeditaely read others but feel so "in sync" with them that I can sometimes literally "feel" they're insecurities. I can always explain to friends why someone has been impolite or unfair to them - ie. this person said this to you because they were feeling this - it's a reaction to their own issues and actually has nothing to do with you at all.

    As for the "I" and "J", I think I've learned this from my mother who is introverted and "a doer". We both feel guilt if we don't "do" and need to be working all the time to have things finished - can't feel satisfied unless they are finished.

    What do you reckon? A lot of profiles of the INFJ say they can literally become physically ill under stress. I am ill all the time through stress - particularly when it involves the feelings of others or when I'm stuck in a situation where there are social politics and I get angry that other people can't just be nice to each other and have to be out for themselves. Do you think this physical reaction may be because INFJs have learned their personality through a set of neuroses and are sensitive to stress?

    Just a thought....
     
  2. Solar Empath

    Solar Empath Community Member

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    Well, first you have to prove that there is no genetic predisposition for certain functions. :)

    Secondly, I categorically reject the idea that there is something wrong with who I am (implied by the idea that type is caused by 'neurosis').
     
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  3. OP
    justeccentricnotinsane

    justeccentricnotinsane Community Member

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    Oh no, no, no. I don't mean there's something wrong. Everybody in the world has their own set of neuroses but we're all different. I don't mean "neurosis" as in disease. I mean insecurities, which we all have to some extent unless we're literally psychotic!

    Also, personality is generally learned. Intelligience is genetic but intuition (which everybody has to a certain extent - it's an evolutionary process - means we get natural "cautions") is certainly learned. Some people develop it more easily. It's generally accepted in psychoanalysis nowadays that personality is a learned behaviour as their is no "core" to identity - we develop personality through culture - although there may be some things that are genetic, which depend on biological processes - such as hormonal changes (your personal hormonal pattern) will certainly affect behaviour.
     
  4. Puck

    Puck Perilous Pixie
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    I'd substitute the word 'neuroses' for 'experience', 'nurture' and/or 'conditioning'. Otherwise I largely agree with your hypothesis, but you do have to factor in genetic predisposition, fate, acts of God and the intervention of the Faerie realm.
     
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    #4 Puck, Nov 4, 2009
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  5. OP
    justeccentricnotinsane

    justeccentricnotinsane Community Member

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    Not sure I've actually explained myself. Modern philosophy claims that identity doesn't exist (because we cannot think before language and language is a cultural construct). This is why personality is purely cultural unless there is a biological reason (some say there is actually a depression gene! Although this has not been proven and is a very controversial idea) or a natural instinct that drives it. It's very contentious ground, actually. Philosophers and psychoanalysts are currently debating what parts of us are genetic and what parts are learned, although the vast majority of your personality is most probably learned - more proof on this side. :)

    Just to be clear, in case people think it might be offensive or pessimistic or anything.
     
  6. iconoclastic

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    I just said this in another thread actually. You expressed my feelings exactly.
    Introversion, to the extent it's often felt by an INFJ, gives us the ability to observe others thoroughly, because we are less inclined to participate. I've spent my entire life watching others interact, noticing their body language, their movements, and how they communicate or associate themselves with others.
    Because of this, I know how I should act around certain people to get them to respond to me in certain ways.
    But, I rarely engage myself with other people.

    'I used to be very, very shy and would literally not speak
    '
    I once asked my mom if a person could forget how to talk, because I did it so seldom that I truly feared I would lose the ability. :]

    As for feelings, I think INFJs have a good deal of patience with others because they are so understanding. By offering a person the chance to communicate why they act a certain way, even if just through our own intuition, we are able to understand where they are coming from or why they are acting a certain way. So we can relate ourselves to them and have compassion and empathy for them.

    As for your initial question, I'm not sure how I feel about it.
    I will say though, that before I found out about personality types or began learning about my own, I was diagnosed with social phobia and general anxiety.
    Now, I've accepted it as just my personality. But did my disorders stem from my personality, or did my personality stem from my disorders?
    I think it's more the former, but I can't say for sure.
     
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  7. OP
    justeccentricnotinsane

    justeccentricnotinsane Community Member

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    Yes. These are definitely better words to use. I meant "neuroses" (absolutely NOT neurosis - which implies bad health) as interchangeable with these words but you're right, the connotation is different. The natural "securities" as well as "insecurities" are factored out or ignored when I use the words neuroses. Good point. Prefer "conditioned".
     
  8. Tamagochi

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    Not sure if I follow you completely. Modern psychology has proved that some personality traits are inherited and some may be acquired. Neural connections in brain reach their optimal configuration somewhere around age 27 - until then personality can be influenced by lots of factors, including neuroses.

    INFJs have a dominant introverted percepting function (Ni) and therefore appear more sensitive than most folks. Many qualify as HSP - and there are some evidence that this trait might be inherited.

    One more interesting trend I've noticed that a lot of INFJs have had a hard childhood - it's in favor of your theory.
     
  9. Solar Empath

    Solar Empath Community Member

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    Sorry for jumping on that.

    First I think it's a mix of genetics and environment. Certain genetic combinations cause specific hormones to be slightly stronger or weaker in each individual, causing related functions to be stronger or weaker. In addition intelligence plays a large part in an individual's perception of their environment, thereby also affecting the balance.

    Outside of that, yes I suspect that childhood experiences further define and refine an individual's natural preferrences for certain functions over others. We learn to rely on what works with our parents and siblings.
     
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  10. OP
    justeccentricnotinsane

    justeccentricnotinsane Community Member

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    I would say they were symbiotic - inform each other. But obviously that's a theory.

    "Disorder" is a powerful word. We only use the word "disorder" if it actually destroys our functioning in life (which social phobia often does). But then our lack of functioning is actually just because other people function in a different way. If we don't "fit in" we can't function. Social phobia often stems from a fear of not being able to say/do the right thing to fit in with others or not appear stupid. Which possibly could be because you think differently from others? - this theory is a bit tenuous admittedly.

    Is it possible for an "E" to be shy I wonder? If so, my theory is blown out of the water!
     
  11. Gaze

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    I think i understand what you mean. Could you describe a little what characteristics come to mind when you say neuroses? You make an interesting point but in order to flesh it out, it would help to be a bit more specific.

    Edit:

    Cultural identity is learned, but strongly shapes personal and social identity. This would suggest that cultural identity shapes personality, but yet we know that each person has distinct identity however malleable.
     
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    #11 Gaze, Nov 4, 2009
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  12. OP
    justeccentricnotinsane

    justeccentricnotinsane Community Member

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    I LOVE that. Thanks. Hadn't thought about how intelligience effects perspective. Also just realising that "identity" refers more to what we believe ourselves to be rather than "personality" which suggests behaviour and preferences. They are linked but not the same...

    ...my theory grows weaker :)

    Excellent stuff guys, I'm loving this conversation! (what a geek :p)
     
  13. OP
    justeccentricnotinsane

    justeccentricnotinsane Community Member

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    I think "neuroses" was the wrong word as it pertains to "fears". I think I mean what we are comfortable with ("securities") and what we are not ("insecurities"). Certainly our securities and insecurities are PART of our personality but are they also the root of a deepening of our personality traits?

    Ie. Shyness leads to intuition.

    Introversion (I) also includes shyness of a type - need to exert more energy to remain around others for a long time (like a party) - extroverts gain energy from being with others, introverts find it tiring as they have to make more effort.

    Could this be because introverts feel more "insecure" around people? Less comfortable with company? And why could this be?

    I'm interested in a point made below that many INFJs have proved to have had difficult childhoods.

    My friend is also INFJ and we have both had mental health problems. (though I'm not saying all INFJs do, I think this is a separate matter). What's interesting is that our mental health problems have almost exactly the same root (the thoughts we have about ourselves/others and our worries are almost exactly the same and these thoughts have caused mental health issues). Our health has also progressed along the same line - I tend to be a year ahead of her but if I experience something (a run of panic attacks around a certain thing for instance) - she will almost definitely have EXACTLY the same trouble a year later.

    Possible this is connected to our same personality type?

    (Interestingly, my friend was never as shy as me although occasionally gets nervous in social situations - she finds it impossible to read people and takes a long time to react to them/decide whether they can be trusted - often when it's too late!)
     
  14. iconoclastic

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    Then disorder was used in the proper context for me. It has impaired my functioning incredibly.

    'Social phobia often stems from a fear of not being able to say/do the right thing to fit in with others or not appear stupid.
    '

    Yes, that's exactly where it stems from; fear. The fear of rejection.
    I do feel as though I think differently from others and like they won't understand me, so perhaps that is where the fear first came from?...

    Excellent theory! :]
     
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  15. Gaze

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    Oh, ok. I understood what you meant by neuroses, and i think it fits (for me personally) as it would describe how i feel about some of the obsessive tendencies I have, and the difficulties I've experienced relating to other people in a socially acceptable way because of overvaluing introversion in contrast to extroversion.

    I'm not sure if the word "insecurities" fits. I think tendencies works best as a term to use, because it indicates that it is a common pattern of behavior without judging it as an inferior characteristic.
     
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  16. soulseeker

    soulseeker Permanent Fixture

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    :m2:this is so cute

    it's like the threads are all repeating hahahahaha:m059:

    i think there were threads like this last year or a few months ago

    and a lot of threads are also repeating

    wow :m153: most of us kind of like think alike that's cool
     
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  17. OP
    justeccentricnotinsane

    justeccentricnotinsane Community Member

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    Well I think the theory might be a bit shaky and there's certainly a lot more to it. I'm starting to confuse myself! Nice to discuss it though.

    Interesting as well that we're all discussing what is the best word to use and what connotations each one has as I read in a profile once that INFJs search for exactly the right word to describe something (which makes them good writers)
     
  18. Gaze

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    Really? Hmm. Never heard this before. That's interesting. I do this quite a bit. i think we're sensitive to the misuses of various terms, and the many possible connotations a word may have, depending on the context in which it's used.
     
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  19. naisiay

    naisiay Newbie

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    I don't really think that personality types are formed by "insecurities" rather each

    person has a predisposed personality type that can be influenced by the

    environment.Also,These personality types carry within them their own insecurities and

    weaknesses, how each one responds to these weaknesses may slightly differ.

    Referring to the environment/culture again.Kind of like a cycle here.

    I stand to be corrected though.
     
  20. testing

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    Once again I am left with the eerie feeling someone has hijacked my thoughts.

    You know, I really relate to the OP, especially that last bit, as I had awful illnesses related to stress as a young child/teenager, and my inclination is that this reaction is largely inborn, probably somewhat learned or activated by experiences. Nurture tangoing with nature if you will, with nature in the lead. Yes, I kind of learned my personality, but I think it was there waiting to develop anyway.

    There have been studies that show shyness is indeed genetic/inheritable.

    I still get that "sucker punch to the gut" feeling sometimes, and sometimes I feel things almost palpably when people I am close to are upset. (I don't/can't do it for the world at large anymore.) I stop eating sometimes! Which, under normal circumstances, I quite like to do.

    I have two siblings who are nothing like this... they are far more sensible and less angsty, and in fact, somewhat clueless about the feelings of others sometimes. (Idiots. LOL! j/k) We had similar childhood experiences.

    I reject the idea that I am somehow flawed or damaged, or that my parents made me this way -- my childhood was a bit chaotic at times... Mom & Dad are party animals. How they wound up with me as a child just goes to show God has a sense of humor. But it was overall loving and certainly all basic needs were met. I don't think I was traumatized into being this way!

    Thought provoking!
     
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