Where you end and I begin | Page 4 | INFJ Forum

Where you end and I begin

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by soulareclipse, Feb 28, 2019.

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  1. OP
    soulareclipse

    soulareclipse Community Member

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    I'm sorry you're going through that right now. And I'm not sure whether to congratulate or sympathize with you on your bar navigation handicap, but it sounds like it did work out in your favor after all. That last bit you wrote is so true for me with regards to casual stuff, particularly about it not fitting with the type of person I want to be so I knew that's where a boundary needed to be set for myself.
     
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  2. RonjaRaeubertochter

    RonjaRaeubertochter Community Member

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    Sounds familiar. Back then I used to do that to after a breakup. Being alone made me all fuzzy to the point I just couldn't sleep.

    [​IMG]
    Still learning.
     
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  3. ThomasJ79

    ThomasJ79 Pondering

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    lol, maybe a little of both? lol :)
     
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  4. just me

    just me GONE

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    We get burnt by the fire, used, hated, but we do what we do. Someone has to. I hope my friends understand, even though it appears they do not. We say what we say and help how we can.

    Sorry for the edit. Don't want to look at it any longer.

    This caring and sharing goes way beyond our relationships with a SO. Putting others first doesn't always help us in the long run; not on this planet. Maybe elsewhere! (no preaching)

    We become vulnerable when we try to share things.

    It must be nice to "not care" sometimes, but that is not in my vocabulary. This, to me, is like getting our bread from the center of the loaf. I will never believe we are like this for no reason. I would rather NOT fly too close to the sun. Opening up can bring a burden(self-imposed) to others.

    As the old prophets knew well: "I will serve the Lord, and let the chips fall where they may." Saying that is a good example.
     
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    #64 just me, Mar 3, 2019
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  5. John K

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    There's such a lot been said already in this thread that's absolutely spot on - the need to manage boundaries comes through so intensely from you all. I'll add a few thoughts that may not have come up already. Needless to say I have my own tales to tell that are a similar story. I've told them before a few times elsewhere in the Forum so apologies for those who already know my circumstances.

    The first thought is that the Forum is a wonderful place for empathic people to come and discuss this issue safely, explore how to control and manage it and get some support if we are in difficulty. All of us share the problem in some form or another, and we can give each other support from the inside - without crossing each others' boundaries hopefully lol.

    My experience of the need for boundaries is one of introjection - I seem to internalise the feelings of other people so that they become my own. Their problems become my problems. For example, before I retired, I ran an IS team in a large pharma, and there was loads of opportunity to help folks - the adrenalin rush was good, and there is lots of satisfaction in making people happy with good outcomes. This is internalising in a small way - the main risk here is running too many hares at the same time. I have problems with snarled up traffic because I get all the broadcast frustrations, impatience and anxiety of the surrounding drivers deafening me - and the guy behind mentally twitching all the damn time. That's a boundary I would like to harden to opacity LOL, but it's not really a big deal.

    On the other hand, my wife suffers from a severe anxiety disorder that is only kept in check with a cocktail of strong medication. When she first developed this in her late 20s of course I internalised that too. Over the years we have had a number of crises and she had to go into hospital for weeks on end - we had small children when this all started up and that complicated the thing no end. Internalising it nearly finished me because I got very near to the cliff she was falling over.

    My Enneagram type is bang in the middle between 4 and 5, and I think it's the E5 that saved me, with hindsight. I have always been a strong Ti thinker, and I managed to use that to switch off my over-empathising by rationalising that I'd help nobody if I became ill myself and had a breakdown. Boundaries - I drew one and pulled myself inside it. I didn't stop caring for my family, but I withdrew my unreasonable commitment of feeling as far as I could and concentrated on practical (external) caring. Caring for myself was the first priority to get myself some space and stability, and then for my wife and family. Like a lot of the excellent thinking in the thread - it is easier to chew this sort of thing over in a nice cosy Ni / Ti loop than to make it work out there in the world. I felt like I was betraying my wife, and she felt emotionally abandoned in the middle of one of her breakdowns. It was horrible quite frankly. The alternative would have been even worse, and I've come to realise a lot more now about the dynamics of all that happened.

    I find that Jung's concept of projection is very useful here. I'll say a bit about it for those who may be unfamiliar with the idea. We all project parts of our unconscious personality onto others - typically we project our shadow all too easily and it seems like they have those negative attributes not us - you eat like a pig, he's got an awful temper, she's really sly .... We project our hopes and fears too, our emotions, our longing for love and connection. I wonder how many of us have projected the partner of our dreams onto some poor unsuspecting bf or gf, who may be nothing like that, but we don't see it at first and end up disappointed when the other doesn't match the expactations - pity the poor INFJ who absorbs their partner's ideal mate image and tries to live it for them. Needy people with serious emotional problems project those onto others as well. Then along comes your friendly neighbourhood INFJ whose instinctive role in life is to inject themselves with the needy projections of other people - this is great with ordinary needs in manageable doses, but not with the world's problem people. If the INFJ hasn't drawn their boundaries well and is managing them properly, then there's a very high risk of transference. When that happens the problem is projected outside the person suffering and located in you - so from their point of view the resolution and cure can only come from within you, oh godlike saviour, you angel, you! ;) This isn't a deliberate process as far as I can see - it just develops by itself. So the poor INFJ becomes integrated into the other's illness and if the situation stays unchanged, the other will never look within themselves for a way forward, but only to you. In fact, doing what a lot of INFJs do naturally can actually make the situation worse. When I had to erect my boundary, my poor wife was forced to withdraw the transference, which was pretty traumatic for both of us. It was the right thing to do, because it caused her to take much more responsibility in her own mind for her own way out of the problem, and that I could support 100%. I can see now that good trained therapists take great care to avoid transference developing in their patients because it stops any chance of a way out, and can screw up the therapist too.

    There is no cure for my wife's anxiety problem, and she remains on medication permanently. But we had our 45th wedding anniversary last year and we'll both be 70 at the end of this year - so we have survived and even thrived a bit, and must be doing something right. How do i feel about all this? Well I have a load of inner scars, and I have used inner resources that don't get replaced - but it has been worth every bit of it. Our relationship isn't one-sided, and I don't just need to be needed (I do of course but not just that LOL) - my wife has been a champion through all of her illness that would have finished off many another. She's an INTJ with a strong Fi that has given her the will to carry on even in her blackest moments - I have never felt just used, and she has given as much as she has needed. In a way, it feels to me like a vocation fulfilled, as though I have been lucky enough to find my purpose, hard though it is to fulfil it.

    Just one other thought. I tend to context shift according to the sort of people I'm with - it stops me from behaviours such as sharing too much or too little. I wonder if any others of you do that? - it works pretty well. I mean that I tend to just suspend belief, and naturally take on the world view and character of the people I'm with at persona level. That acts as a very powerful protective barrier - I can interact socially with them, the parts of my deep inner core that are compatible get out through this filter, but the rest is blocked. My inner self is protected to a considerable exent from incoming stuff as well. In fact, there are very few situations when the world view of the people I'm with even remotely matches my inner world, and I've shared little of it till I joined the Forum. This sort of context shifting could potentially look inauthentic, but I don't think it does in practice. I just settle myself into the low-ranking pecking order end of the social spectrum with a bunch of ES types for example and they are quite happy with that - and so am I ... I'd have nightmares if I could pass as a socially high-ranking ES :D
     
    #65 John K, Mar 7, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2019
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  6. Hostarius

    Hostarius Apostate INFJ

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    Wow, thanks for sharing all that, John. I may be one of the people you referred to who already knows this part of your story, but there's nothing repetitive about sharing it. It's always revealing.

    I do this, too - I think everybody does it to a greater or lesser extent. Adopting social registers is just a normal part of being human, as far as I'm aware, but I'm not sure if I ever recognised that it helped to maintain proper boundaries.

    Funnily enough, I watched a video today about narcissistic behaviours, and one of them was that they would fail to adopt appropriate registers, in order to belittle the people they were with or boost their own appearance of intelligence. I recall an instance where my old head of department did this exact thing. He was talking to a very lovely PE teacher (a man) about a shared student, and he said 'He really is the most indolent child I've ever met' (in a really supercilious Edinburgh accent, if you can imagine that, even though he was actually Glaswegian), knowing absolutely that the PE teacher would not know what 'indolent' meant. I had an inner eyeroll moment when I heard this because I knew what he was doing - the HoD was an arrogant man, who veiled his arrogance behind a thick veneer of Fe joviality and generosity. The PE teacher said straight up that he didn't know what that meant and I witnessed in real time the HoD get exactly what he was looking for with a condescending little smirk. I was absolutely outraged at this little social stabbing, which is probably why I remember it - that shit crossed my boundaries, because the PE teacher was honourable and kind and just did not deserve to be belittled like that.

    I think one problem is that other people take our personas seriously, and their expectations can almost force us into acting out stereotypes of ourselves, meaning that we never quite 'get around' to being our true selves.

    This is related to what you said about context shifting, I think, and I can say that I experienced this quite recently on this very forum when I started to 'act out' as an NT. I don't think I was being inauthentic, because it was mostly unconscious, but I do recall feeling uncomfortable later on about the persona I was projecting onto the forum, and how it didn't really match my 'true-self'. Incidentally, I just thought that this could be referred to as something like 'autostereotyping', and I looked it up - it's a thing, as it happens.
     
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    #66 Hostarius, Mar 7, 2019
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  7. Daustus

    Daustus Community Member

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    John I truly love reading what you share. I get filled with a sense of real community and warmth when I read your posts. It's been a real comfort to discover this forum. I realize how sorely lacking that was for me, and I am happy to have a place to share my inner life with people that "get it".
     
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  8. Impact Character

    Impact Character Watering Seaweed

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    @soulareclipse Thank you very much for opening up this thread.



    This is really just thrown in here for now, and I'm apologizing that I word it a bit vaguely because the more I thought about it and let it just boil in the background the more it revealed (Edit: there is the space topic again). So, regarding the other side of the topic..

    Since boundaries define and create space that can be occupied (in the full meaning and on all levels of understanding) - How do you experience that space? What changes when there are people in the space and when there are suddenly now people in the space? When is it more troublesome to "occupy space" or "defend space"? How much space is there in your life? How acceptable is that space for you or other around you? What does the perception of that space tell you about how you perceive yourself? What effects does that have on other parts in your life concerning limits, barriers and boundaries? And how does that shape the dynamic the other way around again? What about the urge to value parts of limitless open space shifting flexibility? (no commas lol) Maybe a need to limit some value?

    I'm not pushing to get answers to those questions, I just wanted to add something that lives in my head to the thread (btw it's great input that has already been pointed out). I hope noone is bothered that this is opening up the context a bit more but to be honest it echos back to the original thread topic in many forms if it receives allowance to do so..



    (Most importantly: Hello @soulareclipse @Jonah Caan @worthy and @Daustus Nice to meet you :grinning:)


    Edit: *cuckles on how repetition occupies a great deal of space*
     
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    #68 Impact Character, Mar 7, 2019
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  9. John K

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    Thank for all your support Hos :)

    BTW I have this awful fear of turning into one of those old guys who tells the same story over and again to people who have heard it a hundred times before :sweatsmile:

    That's very insightful. I think I must frame shift more strongly than you describe - for me it's a bit like when I suspend judgement and go live in the world created by a good novel I'm reading, to the extent that I'll borrow many of the values of the group for the duration. I think this is because my core worldview is incomprehensible to most folks and it's not the kind of thing that expresses itself in the body language of normal everyday social situations. When I have tried to express it, I have felt all wrong, even violated - the Forum being the first place I have been able to do this comfortably. I'm sure that I never fit very well into the situations I'm talking about, but that's OK because they are never going to be home base for me.

    I detest it when people shift perspectives to undermine and ridicule someone weaker than themselves. That's not the same as pricking pomposity or an over-inflated ego bubble - becomes mandatory there LOL.

    Yes - I noticed :D. I think that's one of the things the Forum is here for. I did exactly the same with Fe last year to test out my type identity - though that was very conscious, and the guys I practised on have my eternal thanks :) [​IMG]
     
  10. John K

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    Thanks Daustus. It's a strange rare thing to be able to share like that isn't it :)
    :<3white:
     
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  11. Lady Jolanda

    Lady Jolanda The Queen of Sophistry
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    Huh. Interesting. I did this too when the forum initially typed me as ENTP.
     
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  12. Infjente

    Infjente Community Member

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    @John K Thank you so so so so much for sharing your story and insights! It was such a meaningful and useful read to me, and I'm so glad you shared it (even though it made me tense up so bad I got a migraine :tearsofjoy:)!
     
  13. Wyote

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    This is a big problem that I notice and I don't know how to help people shake out of it.
    Ultimately it's up to the individual to create their own path of self growth out of this I suppose.
     
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  14. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    @John K – Thank you for sharing. Your stories and process are so important to me, and to others. Thank you for the guidance, even though that wasn't exactly your intention. :)

    I don't exactly "context shift", but I do have a way of compartmentalizing when I am with different people. It isn't being fake. It's the same as introducing people to anything else. You give what they will enjoy and try not to give them a bad experience. As I get to know well, if I ever do, I may tell them some more daring or personal stories.

    I learned to keep what other people give me very close, even if they make it seem like public knowledge when they tell me. I let other people tell their own stories and give themselves to others.

    It is fine to be vague. :) That's your boundary.

    ^^^^ All of these quotes reinforce the idea that the forum is in a really good place where people feel welcome, can be themselves and are not defensive.:) What I mean is, right now the environment seems to allow people to be themselves and not fit exactly into a stereotype, etc.

    ----------

    I just read a series of screen shots from Tumblr. It's really long, earnest, and makes an overbearing point, so I won't repost it, but it did make me think about establishing boundaries with children. The post discussed how the person's mother made it clear that the child did not have to put up with situations like bullies, while the other child's mom made it clear that it was best to just endure the situation until it was over.
     
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  15. John K

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    I'm glad it resonates with people Infjente. I've learned long ago to talk about these things to sympathetic people. I don't mean pester them obsessively, but bring the difficult issues out into the open with good people who care, but aren't closely involved. It helps to ground me and isn't a large emotional burden on them. I've been very lucky in the folks at work, and in my church community who have been really helpful this way.

    But oh dear! - now I'm all worried and feeling guilty I've given you anxiety and a headache :cryingcat::joycat:[​IMG]
     
  16. John K

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    And thank you very much for this Asa. I think you have put your finger on an essential here - that it's in the nature of our type to compartmentalise, it's not an authenticity problem, it's a gift to be treasured and a key part of who we are. That doesn't mean it can't go wrong - it needs skill and experience, but doesn't everything else we bring out from our personalities LOL.
     
  17. Infjente

    Infjente Community Member

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    Oh, don't worry and DON'T feel guilty! :sweatsmile: It did so much more good than anything else, I promise! <3

    The way you described it felt so real to me, and "familiar from the future" in the sense that it describes what I believe and fear is my destiny in life. I know I would think it was worth it in the end, and that in it self scares me. :nomouth:
     
  18. Wyote

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    Solid life advice
     
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  19. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome

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    This makes me curious about @Hostarius. Hos and Lady J mentioned the pressures to fit into stereotypes. Hos is good at compartmentalizing with people. (Well, he seems like he has well developed Fi.) My INTJ is not. Recently it dawned on my INTJ SO that he overshares and I was really happy he realized that.
     
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    #79 Asa, Mar 7, 2019
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  20. Hostarius

    Hostarius Apostate INFJ

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    Do you think you still do, to any extent?

    I think part of the issue is when people 'type away' from the presumed INFJ baseline of the forum, which seems to make them feel forced (or 'want to', I'm not sure) to play up their differences. It's something like a process of 'outgrouping', whereby the individual that is outgrouped doubles down on their 'special identity', because that identity is not entirely rejected. I've seen this happen with minority nationalities in a group of majority nationality - so the 'one American' in a group of Brits will become overly aware of their nationality and will suddenly start behaving in more 'stereotypically American' ways, if their 'Americanity' (a nice absurd word, lol) is over-emphasised by the group. If you tell people that they don't belong in some way, how are they supposed to react? By comparison, maintaining the ingroup identity protects somewhat against this stereotyping if the sense of belonging and acceptance is strong enough - if not, I suppose ingrouped people also autostereotype.

    I do wonder if this will happen to @soulareclipse if she decides that she's 'more INTP' - will we observe a sudden change in personality expression?

    As an aside, in my case I was raised to believe that I was inherently dangerous by my mother, because my father had been violent, so I was absolutely terrified of hurting people. She screamed in my face often 'don't you ever hit a woman!' and thought that she was making sure that my 'evil violent genes' weren't expressed - to this day she believes that I'm not violent because of 'her training' which is very hurtful. She aborted a second child with my father for this very reason, which she kept secret from everyone. I don't think she's a bad person, but I do recognise the damage that can be done when people act out in fear.

    So of course, when I was bullied, my response was to stand there and stoically take whatever assault was aimed at me, because I was so terrified that I might hurt someone else. I didn't want to hurt anything, it just wasn't in my bones, but the fear that 'deep down somewhere' I might be violent stopped me from even defending myself. I dud this until I was about 13-15, and I started fighting back. Funnily enough, the first time I ever hit anyone back, I broke his nose with one punch and my mum leapt on this fact to prove that she was 'right'. It was a conscious rejection of my mother's teaching because I knew it was wrong. It's very strange because we are told that when confronted with danger we have a 'fight or flight' response, but my response was 'stand there and take it' until I trained myself out of it. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was around this age that I lost respect for my mother, because I felt like I had to 'undo' a lot of the bullshit that she'd taught me (including that men are naturally 'bad', &c.).

    Interestingly, because I was bullied for being a 'Paki' (my skin is darker than most English), even though I'm White European, there was no 'community support' to teach me how to deal with this kind of bullying. My mother told me that they were calling me that because I had 'ground in muck' - i.e. I was 'dirty', which predictably led to me scrubbing myself until raw and bleeding trying to get the 'muck' out.

    This means that I've always had the experience of being rejected in some way by the communities that I belong to, either because I don't belong (negative reasons) or because I stand out in some way (positive reasons). I've never just been allowed to 'be' within a community; always been singled out, either for good or bad, and now I wonder what effect that has had on my personality and development.

    I suppose in the context of this thread, I wonder what effect that's had on the development of my 'boundaries', which I take to be quite strong. Sure I might 'context shift', but often it turns out that I find myself openly disagreeing with groups that I'm part of, and I've very often found myself in the situation where everybody in the group is disagreeing with me. In the past this was mostly because everyone was a racist, and I wasn't, but now other issues force me to kick myself out of whatever group I thought I belonged to.
     
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