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INFJ curse of understanding??

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by Ender612, Jan 12, 2009.

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  1. Ender612

    Ender612 Community Member

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    I have thought about this for a while, and here are my thoughts on a phenomenon that I think of as the INFJ curse of understanding.

    I think INFJs have the ability (FYI, this is INFJ forum, and this phenomenon may well extend to other types on this forum that rock the house also…but it is called INFJsforum…hence my slant). Anyway, I think that INFJs have the ability to pick up a situation and look at it from different sides and see a lot of the angles and nuances to it. I think this is evidenced by the fact that a lot of our friends (from what I’ve seen on the forum), come to us for advice. And we’re usually able to help them see a situation from another person’s point of view. This is a good thing, but it reminds me of the Wiggin family (in the Ender Quartet by Orson Scott Card). The particular talent of Ender (and his sister Valentine) was the ability to understand people, and then either manipulate them to do something, love them, or defeat them in battle. It was stated that as Ender got to know and understand his enemy, he was able to defeat them, but he couldn’t get there, to that level of understanding without loving them (his enemy). When he utterly crushed them, there was some…emotional backlash. I digress.
    But let me get back to the point…

    Seeing situations from another’s point of view. This is nice, especially when mediating conflict…and nice in a lot of other situations. But it starts to turn into the curse when you get hurt.

    There are people that walk around life with blinders on, and they actually don’t notice the effect they have on others and how they may or may not be causing injury (I think that can be a whole ‘nother thread…) Sometimes when a person(blindered or unblindered) does something mean, or unexplainable, or just plain brainless, my response is to toss up a screen of outrage, and perhaps even anger (not necessarily visible to the other person) in order to protect myself from the deeper hurt that their actions caused. And here is where the curse of understanding comes in. I can’t help trying to search for a reason why things happen, reasons why people behave the way they do. I don’t necessarily expect it to be logical because I’m not logical, but sometimes when you know the reason why someone does the things they do, you see what they did in a whole new light (This aspect of life is covered masterfully in #2 of the Ender Quartet — Speaker for the Dead). The "problem" with this, is that once I start to understand the other person, the anger that I may have had, starts to fizzle away…and that makes things strange because it leaves the hurt all out there and naked. It’s kind of like being angry at a stubbed toe, it doesn’t do any good, especially if you stubbed it yourself. The former situation is like being angry when someone takes a sledgehammer to your toe, somehow, it hurts less, through the anger.

    So I’ll stop rambling and get to the point.

    What are your thoughts on the ability to understand others motivations/thoughts when they do something hurtful to you?
    Does it help to understand?
    Does it make things worse?
    If you had a chance to understand the truth of the deepest motivations of people who hurt you, and see life through their eyes, knowing that you would lose the anger that you have at them (but keep the hurt and the consequences of their actions) would you take it?
    Would you wait until after they had died? (slanted Speaker for the Dead reference)
    Would you ki
    ll them yourself:m140::m144:, and skip the understanding part??
     
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  2. efromm

    efromm Hiding In My Shell...
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    You speak to me ender612! I wrote about this very thing in the first part of my blog. And in that situation I see it as a blessing now that we are friends again. When I was mad at him it was a curse. When I forgave him it made me feel good again and we are better friends than we ever were before. I still feel that he hurt me. That being said I now understand why he did it. And that makes it better. Although if he burned me again I think we would talk about it first. And if I felt he was justified I would forgive him again.

    I have gained a new way to look at the situations of other people.
    1. I am not responsible for your feelings.
    2. We all are human and have a life with people who love us.
    3. You never know what a person is thinking.
    4. Your life is a lie. Everything that you have been taught is a lie and everything they have been taught is a lie also.
    5. There is no right and wrong. Only what people have taught you.
    6. You are perfect and everything in the world is perfect also.

    By understanding those concepts I have a far greater appreciation of people. I understand that I am myself and they are themselves and that is all that they can be is, themselves. I try not to judge them. I will protect myself if I feel that they are going to do me damage. I just go about it in a non confrontational way. They get the point believe me, because I tell them. Honesty is the best policy it seems.

    I think our ability to sense and feel are gifts. We just need to find away to manage how we inter-pit what we think they are doing. I have realized that if I put too much feeling into what I am thinking I can be overly harsh. I also found out that I have expectations for people but there is no possible way for them to meet my expectations. How could they? They are not me. They don't have my life experience, so how could they possibly act the way I want? I will cut you off has changed to I will listen and understand.

    I am not perfect I fail at this sometimes. I still keep trying because I know it is the right path for me to be on. In the end I want to be happy without a care in the world. I don't want to die an angry bitter man. I want to embrace life and die in peace. I believe that humans have hidden powers of the mind and I want to find them...
     
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  3. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    haha ooooooooh yeah, I completly get it :)
     
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  4. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Permanent Fixture

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    Most definitely hear what you're saying! My answers are this:

    If I were to go through life understanding another person who has hurt me to see things through their eyes. I most definitely would! I'm constantly doing this. I remember one time there was this guy who antagonized me but I was in a situation where I could do nothing but stand my ground but not act against him for fear of his situational control over me. I had thought to myself 'what a miserable life this guy must live -- if his only sense of personal power is gained from constantly antagonizing other people. And still it does not cure his poor health or make him happy.' Therefore did not harbour any hatred except for that which was invoked in the situation where he would prick me and I would have to mobilize all of my self-control to keep from doing something stupid.

    Sometimes anger is an option when 'understanding' gives way to the righteous indignation that I have to act or I lose my own sense of personal power. Still the understanding comforts me to a degree. When I hold resentment against someone without understanding. I can feel it eat away at my personal contentment until the person is gone or the resentment condition is resolved. To act maliciously and succeed grants me a sense of personal power, but things like this tend to come back if not directly than indirectly. Hatred breeds more hate.

    And also, the degree of understanding you have of someone elses perspective is not inversely proportional to your ability to act against it.
     
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    #4 Zero Angel, Jan 12, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  5. Ambrosia Lemon

    Ambrosia Lemon Regular Poster

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    I see it as a blessing and curse. A blessing because you can understand people around you and help them. A curse because you can understand someone too well and allow them to continue to hurt you. And that makes so you can't let go of toxic people without a great effort on your part, not theirs.

    I wish sometimes that I didn't understand people and the reason for their actions,I feel it would make my life easier. But I continue to understand, so I deal with it and try not to allow people to hurt me. Easier said then done.:m083:
     
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  6. OP
    Ender612

    Ender612 Community Member

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    I'm glad y'all get this. And have experienced it. Perhaps I should rename it the "cure" of understanding. I forgot my quotes anyway, but I should say I don't think understanding is a problem. It helps with a lot of things, especially with people I'm close too. But there are times when ignorance is easier, not necessarily better, just easier.

    And I highly recommend Speaker for the Dead (by Orson Scott Card). :). Gotta get ready for lab/work now.
     
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  7. Xenfinity

    Xenfinity Newbie

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    I've always found that I was really good at seeing things through someone else's perspective. I find that it's a good thing when you're helping those that are close to you. Although those people will appreciate it and that's a good thing on its own level, it's very rewarding when someone is grateful to have you to listen to them. On the other hand it can be very painful on the conscience when you have to go through other people's problems as well as your own. It's a catch-22. There's one person that I've never been able to understand and it drives me nuts because he's one of my close friends. Sometimes I can't stand to be around him just because I don't understand his thought process. He never opens up and I've provoked him several times. It doesn't help that I'm attracted to him either.
     
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  8. Poetic Justice

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    Humans do have hidden powers of the mind. Congratulations you have found them. See the NLP thread on the Internal world section. You won't believe what is possible with NLP!

    How can you ever be angry at someone when you know and understand what motivated them to behave in that way. The problem with this is people often misinterpret our understanding as weakness. I have learned to find a balance between showing understanding and standing up to people who try and take advantage of me. Because of course some people really do have negative intentions
     
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  9. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    It seems as though I'm going to have to make a study of NLP as a part of my studies on magic that works.
     
  10. Poetic Justice

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    Do you get Derren Brown in Australia? He is a "magician". But wait.... to anyone who knows NLP it is quite obvious that the vast majority of what he is doing is in fact NLP. And believe it or not most of it IS NOT trickery. He is actually doing it. I hasten to add that some of it is trickery. type "Derren Brown explained" into you tube and prepare to be amazed.

    Please try the image streaming exercise I attached in the afore mentioned thread. this alone should get your attention and maybe someone might actually start posting in what I'm hoping to become the most interesting thread on this forum
     
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  11. KingOfSpades

    KingOfSpades Community Member

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    You mean, most people?? LOL.

    What you're describing is empathy, which I think all people possess but only a few people attempt to cultivate.

    I've always been interested in literature concerning itself with empathy and compassion (Mahayana Buddhist texts are a great source of wisdom in that regard; I also like reading people like Osho who talk about this stuff as well). I've always felt that I could "feel" another person's intention very strongly and see life through their shoes.

    This has been a great source of confusion for me as well. I wonder and wonder why people do the things they do, and I reach some sort of understanding, and then I forgive them...and if I'm not careful, they will continue to abuse me.

    Family has been a source of tyranny for me, esp. my relationship with my mom. I had to do about a year of therapy to figure out how to deal with her, because I was always seeing things from her perspective, never my perspective. I never really learned up until a few years back how to take care of myself and protect my own interests and needs.

    I don't think our sense of empathy would be a curse if other people bothered to cultivate their empathy as well, but such is the world we live in. Empathy gives us knowledge of others, and as such, I can only think of it as a gift. It's the age-old question of whether ignorance really is bliss -- would you prefer to be ignorant of the motivations of others and just be an ass in your own right? I have fantasized about being such a person, but in the end I still think I would choose to be me.

    It has really helped me to pursue activities where my empathy becomes a source of great talent. Careers like psychology, counseling, negotiation (you know what your opponent wants), even a legal career -- knowing the goals of the other side, knowing them better than they know themselves-- you can do great things.

    And of course, I do think that empathy, in the end, makes us more conscious of the world at large, and we can be a source of spiritual inspiration as well...I think all the great masters who have lived (Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, etc.) have all found their wisdom through empathy, and compassion....
     
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    #11 KingOfSpades, Jan 12, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  12. efromm

    efromm Hiding In My Shell...
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    I had a teacher in the fifth grade who did some esp exercises with me. And I could guess more than a half deck of playing cards right. It was almost like I could see them in my mind. I have always had dejavu experiences. And I have predicted some scary stuff that actually happened. I have also seen things that should not be there. And I have these dreams at times that I can defy gravity just by thinking I can fly. I totally believe that we are supposed to evolve. It's a pity that our attention is focused in the wrong places. These mordern inventions seem to only hinder our growth and keep us in seclusion in my opinion..
     
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  13. dylan

    dylan Bearded Dancing King

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    Yes, I would take it.

    I think it's important to understand people, and their motivations, because it helps to prevent further hurt.

    I'm thinking of a metaphor of a bullfighter and a bull. The bull charges, but the bullfighter understands the trajectory and maneuvering capabilities of the bull, and is able to position him/her self just out of harms way.

    Now I'm not suggesting taunting anyone (as a bullfighter provokes a bull), but if you can understand people's motivations and the way they would go about hurting you, you can take defensive precautions. Those precautions might be as extreme as cutting off all contact with that person, or severely limiting interactions, but they don't necessarily have to be that extreme. It might be as simple as understanding what triggers that person to act in a hurtful way towards you, and avoiding those triggers. Or, if you think it's impossible to avoid the triggers, if you understand in what way that person will act out, you can position yourself so that those actions do not hurt you. You gotta take it on a case by case basis.

    Also, some people with blinders are open to being called out on their sh*t, and would respond to and be appreciative of you pointing out (in a non-confrontational way) their behavior. Some are not though. Again, you gotta judge that on a case by case basis.

    I'd rather understand and lose the anger than carry around a lot of resentment.

    Plus, if you're really dead set on retribution/revenge for the hurt, understanding the other person will enable you to more effectively do that. Cold, I know, but if you really want to defeat them in battle...

    I don't really go for battles myself, though. I prefer dodging. You can also set it up so that if someone comes at you, you dodge, and they fall flat on their face. Then it's all on them. A couple of embarrassing falls, and they'll think twice about coming after you again.
     
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  14. OP
    Ender612

    Ender612 Community Member

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    All that up there^^ (I'm too lazy to quote everyone), pretty much great stuff.
    Yet another reason why I like it here.
    I remember when I first read the description of a sci-fi 'empath' and I was kinda struck by the similarities (to some things INFJ).

    Dylan, the problem in using empathy for destruction, is once I get to the point of empathizing, I don't want to destroy anymore. (I think the real Ender had the same issue...but he figured it out a little later, lucky for me I read the book and saw all his thinking much before I embarked on my wave of destruction.)

    I'm not sure how I feel about battles. I remember getting made fun of by this girl in 11th grade, and finally after a week, I couldn't take it anymore. So I responded in kind. By the end of the week the whole class was on my side, laughing at her, and wondering what new drawing/description I'd come up with next. I still feel a little bad about it, but she was being really mean (in response to my niceness), and I finally went there, and she finally figured out she was a bit over her head.
    Anyways gotta run to work now.
     
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