Deviant INTJ (or am I?)
Long time no post! Sorry guys. I keep doing that to you. I’m going to do my best to get onto a regular posting schedule next year. If any of you can suggest some fun blog prompts or yearly blog challenges, I would love to hear them. I was all on top of things when I had the DP work to do. But now that’s over, more or less. I haven’t posted the book reports yet because I feel accomplished enough with my spirituality that it hasn’t been a priority. Sounds very INTP of me though doesn’t it? Dropping a task as soon as I near completion to start something else? Well, INTP isn’t one of my possible types, but this does lead me quite nicely into the topic I mean to blog about right now.
I’ve been defending my INTJ status for a few years now. Nevertheless, I don’t fit into the INTJ box very well. If I did, I wouldn’t fee the need to keep defending my place in it. But every so often, I start to question myself. Could I be an INFJ? Drop the INFJ bomb in any INTJ forum and they will immediately go to the standard script: INTJs don’t question their type. More INFJs are mistyped as INTJ than vice versa. The mere fact that I am questioning my type must mean I am not INTJ. Perhaps. There certainly is a correlation. Other facts and correlations that don’t work in my favor include being female and former female INTJ Youtubers revealing that they are really INFJ. But if we can just put aside these quick-solution correlations for a moment and look at the facts of my particulate situation, that’d be great.
I have been told that I am intimidating as many times as I have been accused of being personable. But there is a clear differentiation of context for each identity. When I am doing customer service work such as tech support or cashiering, I am always labeled the most personable employee. Customers seek me out on purpose because I am the “nice one.” This has been consistent across the board in every job I’ve ever held. Get me out of my day job and the friendly facade is gone just like that. Not that I am necessarily mean, but the immediately approachable persona is no longer there. I become an acquired taste. When people get to know me, they no longer fear me and they even come to me with their problems from time to time for advice or just an ear to listen.
Watching my youtube videos, I have a hard time figuring out what it is that intimidates people. Truth be told, I wish I was intimidating. It’s an aspect of INTJness that I like to play up, but when I watch myself in action, I laugh at how stupid I come across. How in the world can anyone find that mess of derp intimidating? I discussed this with my husband and he said that my youtube persona doesn’t match how I behave most of the time out in the wild. I really want to believe it. But I have no idea how I really come across except that people have told me they don’t know how to approach me, so there must be something to it.
My behavior has also changed with age. I go out of my way to avoid conflict and to try, albeit poorly, to be a peace keeper. This is normal. People change as they mature and some develop their tertiary functions more than others. Could this be my issue? Do I have a super-developed Fi? Maybe, but this still wouldn’t explain why I try to avoid conflict. Fe is the one that bases morals on societal norms and tries to adjust their behavior to harmonize with the group. But is it even harmonizing that I do? If I was harmonizing so well, people wouldn’t be intimidated. Before I was 18, I had no intuition for group dynamics and social queues. I was so Aspie it’s embarrassing to remember. I did what I wanted as I wanted to with no regard for how it affected others. I was completely oblivious to the social atmosphere around me. I cringe remembering some of the horrible things I’ve done in the past, now that I can understand the big picture in hind sight. Today, I excel at picking up group dynamics and it surprises me how natural it has become. However, I don’t pick them up right away. There is a processing delay. I don’t get those famous INFJ vibes in a room the minute I walk in. But I can analyze the landscape fairly quickly. Once I do, I will try my best not to make waves.
I enjoy debate and any excuse to have discussions about hot topics, but only with select people who also aren’t wave makers. I might attempt to speak my mind from the beginning in an unfamiliar group, but the minute someone takes it personally, I back off. I don’t go around proactively trying to create harmony, but I make sure I personally am not involved in the discord. In fact, it has occurred to me that conflict around me doesn’t bother me. It only bothers me if I know I am somehow involved.
While (I think) I am blending in externally, my personal moral code is not Fe driven. I disagree with so many traditional norms and morals it’s crazy. I have my own sense of morality, but no desire to impose it on anyone. I privately judge everyone while behaving cordial. I believe in “to each their own”; live and let live. I might not agree with you, but if you stay out of my way, I’ll stay out of yours.
I read a blog post about sympathetic INTJs and it struck a chord with me. Especially this part:
While I understand people on an extreme level, I don’t feel their emotions the way an Fe user would. My Ni lets me know intuitively what’s going on behind the lines and then I’m able to logically put together what someone is feeling by using Te. I can understand, but I cannot empathize unless I have shared experience.
I call myself an empath from time to time because I do think that I can understand people deeply and even feel their emotions. But only if it relates to a shared experience. I can reason out just about any emotion, but if I can’t relate to it, I won’t internalize it. I have a hard time imagining what it must be like for empaths who claim to internalize emotions no matter the situation.
I read elsewhere that:
[INTJ]s feel uncomfortable with overt displays of emotion, because for them, feelings are highly personal and private. When an INTJ is approached with a personal problem, the INTJ’s first reaction is to treat it like a challenge to be solved. In lieu of emotional support, the INTJ may offer practical solutions.
While I certainly do enjoy helping out a friend in distress, it’s definitely more of a puzzle than an emotional event for me. I love the accolades for solving the problem, but I don’t do emotional support. I want to and wish I could and I hate myself that I don’t, but I can’t handle displays of emotion. Internally, I care deeply when it’s someone in my inner circle; externally, I come across as impersonal and indifferent. When I try to provide emotional support it comes across as fake, cold, forced, or awkward to the point of comedy. In some rare cases, people have told me I was plenty emotionally supportive, so perhaps my efforts can read as I intend them, but they do not come to me naturally or feel natural when I enact them.
Moving on from all the feelzy talk, my “T” also doesn’t fit squarely in the INTJ box. On all cognitive function tests, my Te and Ti are nearly identical. I spend a lot of time in my head, but so do other INTJs apparently. In this case, I think I am misunderstanding Te and Ti rather than using both equally. I am the type to correct details and grammar in others’ speech. I question what others perceive as trivial details, whereas an INTJ is only supposed to be concerned with the big picture. I want the big picture and the details, but the latter only on my terms. I cannot stand people who take forever to get to the point. I will be rude and ask them to get to the point or point out if something has already been stated. If they say a detail I notice as false, I call them on it immediately. I do this to my husband all the time and he hates it. He’ll say something happened on a particular day of the week, for example, and I’ll volunteer empirical data to prove that it couldn’t have happened then. He gets frustrated not knowing why I should even care, since the day it happened wasn’t essential to the story being told. At the same time, I constantly accuse him of taking too long to get to the point. I don’t want fluff details. If the date was never mentioned, I wouldn’t have asked for it. But if an inaccurate detail is placed there, relevant or not, I’ll call you on it. Why insert a random fluff detail if it’s not imperative to the point —especially if it’s not even accurate? This drives me nuts. I have been confusing this as a Ti attention to detail when I’m not so sure that’s really what it is. I will request details as I deem them relevant, but I don’t like the speaker to volunteer any more than necessary up front. I prefer to seek the big picture first and then go back to retrieve details. Still, I do enjoy thinking about stuff purely for the sake of thinking about it with no practical purpose in mind except for logical satisfaction. This is a Ti thing, isn’t it?
The most frustrating thing of it is, I want to be unique. Individuality is a priority for me, but I also want to fit neatly into a box. What even is that? I want a box and don’t want one at the same time? Ok, I do know. I want a box that’s pre-defined but not too crowded.
Results of my most recent cognitive function test are as follows. For the time being, I am still (a deviant) INTJ.
But why am I all whimsical and airy fairy and into the occult and magickal stuff? That’s more INFJ. But the “counselor” personality? No way. I do not go out of my way to help people. If I know you well, and I respect you, then yes, of course. I would absolutely hate to be a therapist. Strangers do not concern me. I wish them well, but I don’t want their baggage on me.