What makes us INFJ? | INFJ Forum

What makes us INFJ?

Discussion in 'The INFJ Typology' started by Questingpoet, Jan 23, 2010.

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  1. Questingpoet

    Questingpoet Not Afraid to Use His Beard
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    I've been thinking about this one for a long time. The more I get to know people on this forum, the more I am amazed by the fact that we have such different, such varied, backgrounds and have still all arrived in the same place--INFJ! How is it that we can be shaped by such different forces, yet still come to the same way of perceiving and processing? It's quite amazing to me!

    We have people who were raised in stable enviroments with plenty of love, those who came from homes with physical and sexual abuse, those who were constantly moved around as children, adopted children, the list goes on and on. Yet we are still more similar in most ways than others we know. I have always been one to believe that a persons development is equally affected by enviroment and genetics (maybe not 50/50, but somewhere close). But my above observations would seem to deny this hypothesis. They seem to say that genetics play a greater role than enviroment.

    What I am looking for is this: What are factors in enviroment that you see (things we do have in common) that would play a role in our developing into INFJ's?


    I will throw one thing out there, and then watch for all your responses. I see the written word as one thing that bind us all together. As far as I can tell, we are almost all avid readers. We are also largely writers in our little group. I'm not even sure this can be called an enviromental influence, but it is certainly something common among us. I look forward to your responses.
     
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  2. Moxie

    Moxie Absent-Minded Professor

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    I want to respond, but am not sure what to say. It's an interesting insight. Shyness as children maybe? Bookworms? Empathy of others suffering? I don't know if these really answer your post, but I tried. :D

    NICE AVATAR by the way!
     
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    #2 Moxie, Jan 23, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  3. Stephanie

    Stephanie Regular Poster

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    Maybe (and I really mean maybe, because I don't have much insight into this at all) you are looking at it a little bit backwards, or sideways. Maybe our genetics make us INFJ, and our environment determines the flavor of that. I feel like Introversion is genetic, though I don't know for sure. But I mean, where we all have preferences for introversion, intuition, feeling, and judging, the strength of these differ, and the way we use these functions to view and inhabit the world also differs.

    Maybe? Just a thought.

    Also, I feel like Judging, for me, is probably weaker than other judging types because my parents made me clean my room, and I was reluctant, but I now dislike mess even though the chaos fuels my creativity . . . could that count as an environmental factor involved in my type?
     
    #3 Stephanie, Jan 23, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2010
  4. VH

    VH Variable Hybrid

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    I think it's part biological and part environmental. The environmental seems simple on the surface... encouragement and most importantly avenues to develop Ni and Fe.
     
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  5. NaeturVindur

    NaeturVindur Cuddlemaster
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    I know temperament has been shown to be genetic to a degree, and so the I/E is mostly biological. MBTI is a measure of personality, not Temperament, and so the rest isn't perfect, but biology also affects some other traits that are part of one's personality. How it affects the personality is dependent on environment, encouragement here, struggles there, ect. MBTI isn't a perfect measure in this case (and I'm trying to think of a system that would work better, and I can't), so HOW we all got to be INFJ's can't be easily described. SO, just like everything else, its a complex result of nurture and nature.
     
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  6. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

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    You can count me in on this one. My childhood was not the regular kind due to this empathy thing. The kids at school might say, "That teacher is mean! harumph" and then walk away. In my empathy fueled self at age 8 or 9 my thoughts would have been, "oh I see, I feel a lot of pain. The anger is innocent and I can't hate her even though I want to, or however I might have put it together at that time.
    And sometimes I'd feel bad that I wasn't like the carefree other kids and I couldn't seem to just see the teacher; I felt her too. I felt jealous of the other kids for not feeling her pain and seeing that she needed to cry or scream. I would know when someone had reached their boiling point even before they did.
    I knew instinctively when to remain silent and couldn't understand it when the other kids would continue to push buttons.
    I wish I had understood intuition and empathy at an early age, taught to me by someone kind and gentle. When I'd try to talk about things that I felt inside people would just say I was crazy :)
    I found a few teachers who spotted my empathy overdrive, understood and appreciated me. I just about worshipped the ground they walked on I can tell you.
    oh that turned out to be quite a ramble lol
     
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  7. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

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    I would probably go with something like this, too. I have been essentially the way I am in my core person since I was very young (from what I've been told) all the way to this day, with variations on the riff at different times in my life and as I have gotten older.

    What shocks me more (okay, maybe not so much) is how vastly different people can be who share a basic personality type. Sometimes it's delightful, sometimes it's.....not! I suspect this is all part of the same thing...a variation of a theme based on many types of influences.
     
  8. floatingbridge

    floatingbridge Life's a ride
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    I would say having extremely high self-esteem, with seemingly weak defences../we are easily overlooked because of our quiet nature. That is to say, because most of us Are brought up in close-knitted, loving homes...it has provided discipline and confidence? Could sexual and physical abuse be considered the displining from other cases?

    ...Shown through 'The Musical Temperament' by Anthony E. Kemp and some other website I was browsing through.

    It is funny that we all decided to do good for the humankind, and just that...in spite of the impossibility of the mission.

    "It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart." ---Anne Frank 1944
     
  9. OP
    Questingpoet

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    Yes, I would agree that empathy and caring about humankind are both traits that we pretty much all posses. That still doesn't answer the "why" though. This is a tough question. Thanks for trying to all who answered!
     
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  10. Speechless

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    Hmm...what makes us all INFJ?
    Most INFJs I have spoken to (the majority of them being online) have had very painful experinces and usually troubled childhoods. Of course there are exceptions as not all INFJs are healthy, but they seem to be able to come out of it as strong and stable individuals and somehow still keep their empathy and compassion intact. I'm not entirely sure why this is but I'm guessing it's their ability to see the bigger picture, the ability to look at things from all angles and try to learn from the bad things rather than feel sorry for themselves. They seem to be able to understand why things happened as they are forever thinking of things other people don't. Every INFJ I have spoken to believes things happen for a reason, that life is a journey etc and even if they have right to be they never seem to be too bitter about things that have happened, they leanr from it and get back up. I haven't really seen this with other types...not to this degree anyway. It's as if whatever life throws at them and no matter how long it takes to get back up and regain their balance they manage to do it and keep their empathetic nature...some are even more empathetic then they were before. Not sure if this really answers the question and I'm worried that I'm sounding biased as I am an INFJ. But it's just something I've picked up on with other INFJs. I'm not that awesome, I'm still working on it =)
     
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  11. Entyqua

    Entyqua Forgotten
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    Very interesting topic...I dont know how I came out to be what I am today. Honestly I look at my background and think...I should be such an awful person. I should have so much hate...I cant answer this, that despite my awful child hood, and awful young adult hood, I still am here in this place where I love everyone, where i can be open about it. How everyone sees me as such an amazing person.

    Perhaps some one else can answer it for me, because I am baffled.
     
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  12. Speechless

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    Your ability to look at situations in a different way and develop a deeper understanding? I have noticed that a lot of INFJs have this, no matter how painful the situation is.
     
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  13. OP
    Questingpoet

    Questingpoet Not Afraid to Use His Beard
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    Thanks Enty, and everyone else too. It doesn't answer my question, but it confirms some things. What in our enviroment contibutes to this? I am from a totally stable and loving enviroment. Almost perfect really. Many here are not. What is the connection? What is the common ground? I am in the same INFJ place as you Enty. How did we get here from such different places?
     
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  14. GaiaGraha

    GaiaGraha Community Member

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    The theory of MBTI says that you do not DEVELOP into being an INFJ - but are born as such. These are preferences that make up only a part of your personality. We, as INFJs, have these inherent preferences in common, and the other things in our environment bring them out more or less, and affect other parts of our personality, our views, our likes and dislikes, etc.
     
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    #14 GaiaGraha, Jan 25, 2010
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  15. Entyqua

    Entyqua Forgotten
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    I think the question reguarding environment is this.

    How does a person abused their whole life, and a person with a happy child hood end up here in the same place?

    A person who was in foster care their whole life, as opposed to a person who grew up in a happy healthy home end up here in the same place.

    (this is not intended to offend, I am just as curious)
     
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  16. WellNoWonder

    WellNoWonder Peace Through Action

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    I think you were naturally born with the power. Given another person under the same circumstances, they probably would have succumbed.

    Sometimes I am glad the Universe chose me to live this Life, cuz I really don't know what good anyone else would have done with it.
     
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  17. GaiaGraha

    GaiaGraha Community Member

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    How is being an INFJ being "in the same place"?
    Being an INFJ is a fundamental part of who we are, describing our preferences for how we view our relationship between ourselves and the world (introversion vs. extroversion), how we interpret information (sensing vs. intuition), how we problem solved (thinking vs. feeling) and how we deal with time (judging vs. feeling). Things can happen throughout a person's life and that does not change those preferences.

    If you are talking about "how can one be loving when they had a bad childhood", well then: psychology says that one must be loved in order to love another. So somewhere along the way you received love from someone, whether it was from a caretaker, from a friend, from your God, etc.
    However, I do think that it is interesting to consider if INFJs have an ability to love other while receiving less love, due to being so internally focused (don't notice the lack of love coming in as much), being idealists, and being so 'decided' and stubborn (J). I have noticed that my sisters (ENFP, ESFJ, ESTJ) are FAR angrier at my parents for what we have all been put through, and I always thought that my childhood was good, until I was older and it was pointed out to me and I realized how NOT good it was....but still, I'm not really angry about it. I accept my parents for their faults and fuck-ups, and everything they continue to do, and I just want to love them and be happy.
    Even after being in an abusive relationship for 3 years, and now being labeled as a "battered woman", I don't really see myself as different. I still want to love and help people. I'm not defeated- not in the slightest.
    My mom has told me that I've always been "resilient".
    So, perhaps, INFJs have more resistance to this kind of thing- to losing their good-will for others, or something like that.
    Hmm....
    :m083:
     
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  18. OP
    Questingpoet

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    Those are some very insightful thoughts Crabby, thanks! I think Entyqua and I have the same meaning of "being in the same place". The question remains: "How can people have such different upbringings and still have such similar outlooks, preferences, and interests?" You have given some good answers here, as have several others. Nice fodder for an article!
     
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  19. Siamese cat

    Siamese cat Madame Cat strikes again

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    I agree with some of you who think that INFJness is something with what we are born. I have very early memories of my childhood (like when I was around 2.5 years old), and every memory I have of myself reflects some of INFJ traits.

    And as for what Questingpoet said about written word binding us, I'd say that the main reason for that is that we are born in a predominantly extrovert world, where idealist don't fit quite well, and that only things that can make our inner world complete are written word and art combined in various forms with that external extrovert oriented world. So that close relation that most of INFJs have with art is not something that surprises me, and I'd go further with that thought and say that for us it is kind of necessary to keep our sanity.
     
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  20. OP
    Questingpoet

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    Nice thoughts SC. I agree with you in that it appears more to me now that some things are predisposed in us. Certain traits that are associated with intravert, with extrovert, etc are "hardwired" in. Maybe the flavor of our particular INFJ is then shaped by our enviroment--i.e. the "software".
     
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