'You're Not Who I Thought You Were' Syndrome | INFJ Forum

'You're Not Who I Thought You Were' Syndrome

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by Asa, Mar 24, 2016.

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  1. Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome
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    I've been dealing with this for a while and I'm finally coming to you, fellow INFJs. This is partially a relationships issue, but it is also a personality and career issue. I guess I need to know I'm not alone, and also need any wisdom you may have.

    I've reached a point where I no longer want to open up to people. My closest friends are fellow INFJs because we accept each other and know we will never fully understand each other.

    I was recently ghosted, or door slammed, by two close friends who were on my team for a huge project that is very dear to my heart and important to my career.
    After reaching out to both ghosters, the only clue/response I received from one of them was, 'People don't change; the mask falls off'.

    This is so insulting, but it is a typical reaction I've received all my life. I've heard, "I thought I knew you!" too many times to count. (Curse of INFJs!!) I am always 100% myself, but people only see one or two facets, not the many facets we have. When they finally notice a different facet, they feel distrustful because most people want to compartmentalize their friends and INFJs are hard to pin down. We are not triangles, we are icosahedrons.

    This is very disrespectful and hurtful because it is personal and my career (and income) depend on this project. The rest of the team and I cannot figure out what is causing this reaction. I have asked why, I have apologized, I gave them the chance to simply back out. Silence. I would never do this to another person. An artist’s work is their lifeblood. And this behavior is so cruel. I cannot overcome it.

    I know INFJs are the infamous door slammers, but I rarely do this, and have only done it without changes and explanations in circumstances where I deem a person unsafe. But, I know a lot of people have a habit of ghosting, which is the same thing.

    I am not looking for a way to repair the friendships at this point. I am really just clueless about how to repair myself and continue onward. I find it impossible to finish the final version of this project and give it to the public. I find it impossible to see myself as someone worth befriending. Currently, my shadow traits are dominant, so I feel unbalanced and a bit out of control, and I really want to return to the balanced, positive person I usually am, and start being a helpful person again, too.. Any pointers, advice, or shared experiences?

    Thank you. <3


     
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    #1 Asa, Mar 24, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  2. OP
    Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome
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    How do I delete this? It is making me feel super awkward to share now. Hahahaha.
     
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  3. ruji

    ruji Well-known member

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    I already saved it in my archive
     
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  4. ruji

    ruji Well-known member

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    Don't feel awkward. No one responded maybe because you posted at a time no one was here. Or maybe you're INFP, and the INFJs don't relate to your situation.
     
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  5. Flavus Aquila

    Flavus Aquila Finding My Place in the Sun
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    SJ sensors are all about consistency in presentation, including personality presentation.
     
  6. Sriracha

    Sriracha Not here.
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    Don't delete it. Since they fail to talk to you about it, have you considered you've been a victim of sabotage? Why and what are you apologizing for? Because two people got their britches in a wad over something they are too weak to bring to your attention? Sounds like this is "their" problem, not yours. Stick up for yourself and don't be a doormat.

    (I'm giving you tough love to encourage you, not to get you upset.)
     
  7. Sinny

    Sinny Community Member

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    What did you do to warrant such a reaction? Do you not know?
    "The mask falls off" implies that they, or at least one of them, assumes you to be dishonest, fickle, or two faced somehow.

    If you are neither of these things, then move on, their loss. If you are guilty of something, try not to do it again, but still move on.
    If you are just fickle, tell people that.
    Less they expect from you, less they'll be disappointed.

    INTP butting her nose in by the way :)
     
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  8. Sloe Djinn

    Sloe Djinn Idiot with Internet Access.

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    Can you elaborate on the parts highlighted in red?
     
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  9. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    The mask which fell off might be their own.
     
  10. acd

    acd Well-known member

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    This basically sums up my thoughts.
     
  11. Free

    Free probably just a "like" bot
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    First, thank you for sharing. I know how vulnerable it can make you feel when you bare your bleeding heart. :hug: And secondly, we are ever changing beings. Our experiences in life change who were once were and shape who we're becoming. Feeling unbalanced is a good indication that you're evolving and reshaping yourself. It also seems that you've outgrown them. Good riddance.

    ^This.

    Nurturing relationships are those where we can be challenged with opposition and yet still flourish together. People will only ever know what you share, remember that, and dust yourself off. You are worthy of befriending, but are your friends worthy of you? We are lucky in life that we can choose who our friends are. Being a helpful person is gratifying in so many ways, and can be healing too, but it can also drain you. Focus on yourself for a bit. It's difficult trying to save the world when you need a little saving, too.

    I wish you the best. :hug:
     
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  12. Scientia

    Scientia A true lady

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    I read your post and didn't know what to say because it sounds like something happened or you said/did something to precipitate the doorslam. I have been doorslammed before but never by two people close to me while working on an important project.

    In this case, I would examine my own actions and try to determine if I was at fault in some way. Sometimes we go along, doing what is in line with our value system and goals but forget how we come across to others.
     
  13. OP
    Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome
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    Ruji- Bahahaha to the archive bit.
    Nope, not an INFP.
    I felt awkward for opening up, especially to strangers. That knee-jerk, “Why did I do that?” Haha.

    Flavus Aquila
    Are they? You just helped me with the riddle. One of the people who ghosted me is an ISFJ. The unexpected content must have grated on the desire for consistency.

    Sriracha
    -- Thanks for the tough love. That’s how I read it.
    I didn’t apologize to one, because I knew it was about her and my general attitude is that she is being a coward.

    With the other I had a hard time believing he couldn’t stomach my work, so I approach him to see if I’d done something else to upset him. While he seemed guilty of it, I don’t think his intention was to sabotage me, but he must be aware that it is a side-effect.

    Sunny — As far as I can tell, the ‘mask falls off’ reference was about the content of the work, but since the person won’t have a discussion w/ me, who knows!
    I’ve also found that INFJs surprise other people. I’m a straight-forward person and still manage to surprise people regularly simply because something I do or say doesn’t fit neatly w/ their perception of me. It is pretty common for INFJs to freak people out (and even scare them off) when we're just being us.
    There are themes in the project people would not necessarily expect from me. TBH, I warned them about this.


    Sloe Djinn
    We (Fellow INFJ friends) just know and accept that INFJs are complex little onions. Haha.

    -- I don’t get paid until I have a ‘product’. Any new work I receive is based on the last ‘product’ on my resume. So, when they walked away from the friendship they were hurting me personally, and hurting my career by delaying a project they had agreed to (and were being paid to) participate in. Months went by before this happened, and starting fresh with new people means giving those people many months to work on the project.

    - I currently feel insecure. Losing beloved friendships messed with me. I also have this sort of, "I don't want to bother getting close to people." feeling.

    I don’t feel like myself when my shadow traits are dominant. It’s rare for me, too. It feels strange to be so negatively emotional and nothing I would normally do to find balance is working. This is partially because I can't detach from the experience while I work on the project.

    Sprinkles
    Thank you for that.

    Free thank you. <3
    I have definitely learned so, so much from this experience, and I am grateful for that. I eagerly await the 'phoenix moment'.

    ^^^^This!^^^^
    Thank you. I agree. I'm just suffering from shock that these particular people aren't the right ones for me (10+ yr friendships). This whole thing has been 'worst nightmare scenario', so it has been very difficult to keep perspective. You are right, though, and thanks for saying it.


    Coincidentally, this showed up on a social media page I follow. Pretty interesting read about INFJs and friendship:
    http://www.jennifersoldner.com/2016/02/infj-friendship-levels.html
     
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  14. OP
    Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome
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    That is why I apologized to one of them.
    It is definitely my nature to over- analyze and examine my actions as if I am an outsider looking in.

    There is no explanation except that it was related to the project.
     
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  15. OP
    Asa

    Asa Resident palindrome
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    I just wanted to say thank you for your input. I still want to delete the thread and run away and hide. (Eek! Hahahaha!) Oh well.

    This did help. Yesterday a friend who is very into MBTI asked, "What is up w/ that stuff you're going through?" (I keep it vague. People know something is up, but I don't talk about it in detail.) Without giving too many details, we talked about the MBTI of the two people in question. He is the same type as one of them, and his perspective was enlightening. Unfortunately, as much as I don't want to believe it, Sriracha maybe right.
    Conclusion: One was bothered by the perceived inconsistencies in my personality. (Expected different content and was upset by that.) The other's behavior may have been an act of intentional sabotage, or at least a mindgame. :/

    In any case, this thread actually helped me find closure.
    I've decide to put the project on the back burner until I can work on it without having a shadow trait-charged emotional meltdown and work on other projects, get those out... find balance... and then hire a new team. (And yup, I've learned how I need to pick my team.)
    Thanks everyone.
     
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  16. sprinkles

    sprinkles Well-known member

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    Their expectation of perfect consistency from anyone is naive.

    They clearly want robots for friends.

    Edit:
    Also people need to learn the difference between mood shifts and personality changes.
     
    #16 sprinkles, Mar 26, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  17. Artisan

    Artisan Dares, Dreams, Does

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    I always try to keep personal and school/work separate. Because honestly they don't mix. Friends who do the same sort of stuff is fine, but working with friends brings work baggage over into your personal life adding tons and tons of un-necessary stress. It's better to be friendly with your team and only go the friends route after a project is over if you don't intend to work with them again. ^^ Also, A lot of people who are great to be friends with are terrible to work with ;p

    INFJ's typically have a personality that is flexible when in contact with other types, so this is likely the reason for the perceived inconsistency in your personality by said people.
    Don't let it get to you ^^ *hug*
     
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  18. #@&5&49

    #@&5&49 Well-known member

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    I don't know if this has anything to do with what you're experiencing but it might so I thought I'd chime in. I've had some experiences where the boundaries between friendships and employees became muddled and confusing. I found it easier to be friends with people when there was an equal status colleague relationship as opposed to an employer/employee or boss/underling relationship. I have met very few people who were able to cross the line from employee or underling to true friend or personal relationship.

    Relationships can be confusing enough but when you throw in the added stress of wearing several hats and playing roles that require different expectations things can get hairy. And when you're in a profession that may require putting personal emotions into your work, such as the visual or performing arts, the lines can become even more blurred. Now there's three roles; friendship, employee/underling and fellow creative person. Yikes, sounds like an introverts nightmare. Of course people's masks fall off. It would be exhausting to play all of those roles simulataneously 24/7.

    As a person in a leadership position, sometimes you have to make decisions that are about furthering the business/project as opposed to furthering personal relationships and anyone who has been in a leadership position for any length of time knows that this is a reality. That's a really tough thing to do when you personally like someone. And people who are your underlings more often than not do not understand this unless they have had to make this choice.

    As difficult as it may be I would chalk it up as a learning experience and use it to handle future professional/personal experiences. I know a lot of people who have had employees/underlings who they thought were their friends only to find out the opposite. Like I said, very few people can cross that line successfully and most of the successful cases I know about left the professional relationship so they could pursue and maintain their personal relationship, or the employee/underling advanced into a position where they could relate to a person in authority as a trusted friend, and even those cases the person went on and worked in a different area before the personal relationship blossomed.

    Don't beat yourself up too much. Balancing a friendship in an employee/employer or boss/underling relationship is a lot to take on. Lots of confusion and hurt feelings can fly. It takes a lot of heartache and seasoning to master that balancing act and it sounds like you're getting you're share of the heartache part. Unfortunately that is all too often an initiation into becoming an employer, boss, or taking on a leadership role. Now you have to learn the seasoning part, which I'm sorry to say just takes time.

    Pat yourself on the back for taking the time to reflect, look at your shadow side, and be willing to see your part. All of those take guts. So, feel fucked up for awhile and lick your wounds, but know, the next time you tackle a similar situation, and I'm sure there will be a similar situation, you can go into that leadership role a little wiser and hopefully walk out of it a little less wounded.

    Take care and good luck.
     
  19. OP
    Asa

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    Thank you, Artisan. :)

    I agree. I knew that rule, and I broke it. I had my reasons with this particular team, and those reasons are still valid, but I learned my lesson. Never break the rule. Even the most polished professionals seem to forget that when you're working for a friend it is still a professional obligation, not a social obligation. I also learned how to be a better team leader from this experience.
    The issue of inconsistency had to do with the content of my work. That is all I can say without speculating because of the breakdown in communication.
    In the end, the team members did not act like good friends, or professionals, and it stomped on my heart. I do have some trust issues to work on now, but I feel much better about this situation after hearing others' perspectives.
     
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  20. OP
    Asa

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    Sadie, Thank you for your perspective. <3 I agree w/ you, too.
    Those boundaries are so important.
    This is an independent project. Company projects are easier because when there is a big name hanging over a door, at the top of a paycheck, and on a resume, people keep their professionalism intact. I've definitely hired friends and made friends in those situations, but we knew the boundaries. But, I've also worked for tiny companies that were much more casual, and everyone still did their best work because you're only as good as the work you do.

    If I were an outsider looking in I would still understand why I chose this team and would not judge harshly, but I will never make the same mistake again. I hope everyone reading this learns from my experience before it happens to them. :( Do not hire friends!

    At this point, hiring a new team will be the easiest part. The biggest challenge ahead:
    How to apply this experience to keeping close friends without growing bitter. I'll figure that out.
     
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