Saturday, July 12, 2014

On Myers-Brigg and Other Random Topics

In the spirit of self-analysis and living ontologically, I recently took the Myers-Brigg personality test (well a shortened version of it) again, and wound up as ISFJ barely. It was really 50/50 on the N/S front. I've taken the full blown test before when I was about 18 and INFJ was my results then, and I find it interesting how true this test remains over the years

Here were my actual results from this particular version:

ISFJ  - Introvert(89%)  Sensing(1%)  Feeling(12%)  Judging(56%)
  • You have strong preference of Introversion over Extraversion (89%)  
  • You have marginal or no preference of Sensing over Intuition (1%)
  • You have slight preference of Feeling over Thinking (12%)
  • You have moderate preference of Judging over Perceiving (56%)

This first descriptor is identified as the baseline for ISFJ:
"ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their 'need to be needed.'" 

This does not resonate properly with me. I cannot identify this "desire to serve others, their 'need to be needed'" as the foundational characteristic of my life.

However, regarding the work life of an ISFJ made me nod my head in agreement:
"...ISFJs....are notoriously bad at delegating ("If you want it done right, do it yourself"). And although they're hurt by being treated like doormats, they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they're getting, it's somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work (which is supposed to be a virtue in itself)."  I've so been there multiple times in my work experiences!

And this part just made me chuckle:
"One ISFJ trait that is easily misunderstood by those who haven't known them long is that they are often unable to either hide or articulate any distress they may be feeling. For instance, an ISFJ child may be reproved for "sulking," the actual cause of which is a combination of physical illness plus misguided "good manners." An adult ISFJ may drive a (later ashamed) friend or SO into a fit of temper over the ISFJ's unexplained moodiness, only afterwards to explain about a death in the family they "didn't want to burden anyone with." Those close to ISFJs should learn to watch for the warning signs in these situations and take the initiative themselves to uncover the problem."

 I admit, and it's sometimes gotten me in trouble over the years, that I am useless at hiding my emotional state. And then explaining what's going on--that takes so much courage on my part, I can barely express here what that step does to me. The mental and emotionally agony I can go through at times on whether or not to bare my soul to someone; it's exhausting!

It's not that I don't want to share or that I don't want to receive help or comfort. I do. And for those who know me well enough to ask or question me, I can express better--although completely expressing my thoughts rarely happens.

Fictional ISFJs:

Bianca in Taming of the Shrew
David Copperfield
Hero in Much Ado About Nothing
Melanie in Gone With The Wind
Ophelia in Hamlet

When it came to the list of fictional famous ISFJs, though, that's where I really had to shake my head simply because of the list, these are all characters who I dislike or don't understand, mainly because of the servitude attitude that goes with these characters and irritates me! Get a backbone and stop letting the world either deceive you or use you.

So despite the test results of that particular version, I tend to believe in my previously tested results of INFJ.

Here are some highlights and personal commentary on that particular description.
  • Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills. INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately. Can I be so crass as to simply say, "duh"?
  • they often possess a strong personal charisma,and are generally well-suited to the "inspirational" professions such as teaching (especially in higher education) and religious leadership. and houseparenting apparently! Actually, the more I read about good job choices and the characteristics of this kind of personality, the  more I realize I'm in the right kind of job for me--despite the extroverted side of it all.
  • idealists   I find myself less idealistic about other's behaviors and actions than I am of myself. I am absolutely my own worst critic.
  • preference for closure and completion - generally "doers" (who take on too much responsibility) as well as dreamers I cannot explain how much I hate leaving things left undone. But then with the "doing" part, I tend to take on to much at times to get everything undone. But the undone things niggle at my brain until I accomplish them. I play a online game with my husband where one person can concede defeat to the other when they realize they are going to die. And it irritates me so much when I cannot take those final few moves to win the game, and the other person just concedes and finishes. Oh the agony.
  • deeply concerned about relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large with deep convictions held about the weightier matters of life and if activities.  Always. I hate the idea of being on the outs with people. That gives me so much mental and emotional anguish; sometimes even years after things have changed and time has passed. BUT the following is also true "The concept of 'poetic justice' is appealing to the INFJ."   Which is ironic because while I hold concern about the relationship; I also hate injustice in relationships or in life, and that also drives me crazy.
  • Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends. Such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words. They are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few individuals.  This is so foundational to my existence. In the previous idea of being concerned about others, etc, I desperately want to have good relationships with everyone I'm around--in almost a ridiculous, idealistic way. BUT, in reality, I have a small inner sanctum of people who get to know the real me. And even of that inner sanctum, only a few truly know all of the real me. And those who are in that sanctum, I maintain friendships with for years--despite time and distance and even lack of communication at times.
  • at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers." Oh yes, when I hit overload, I have to shut down. Have to. Fortunately, my husband gets this and has built in time in our lives and our crazy job that allows me time to be withdrawn and by myself. I honestly don't know if I would survive as a houseparent if he wasn't so good about providing those opportunities for me. And, fortunately, he knows me well enough that I don't always have to ask for those breaks; because if I did, I'd be in trouble. Because I'm supposed to be perfect and capable of going on and on and on like an energizer bunny, no matter how depleted I may be. Right?
  • INFJs readily grasp the hidden psychological stimuli behind the more observable dynamics of behavior and affect. Their amazing ability to clearly deduce the inner workings of the mind, will and emotions of others gives INFJs their reputation as prophets and seers. Not perfection insight, for sure, but I do see things frequently enough that prove to be true that I've learned to trust myself more in this area.
  • This empathy can be strong enough to cause discomfort or pain in negative or stressful situations. Yes. I literally get physically ill in certain situations. I've had enough experience in this to dread that emotional state. 
  • extreme inner conflicts are also not uncommon--"tug-of-war" between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals.  And this. See, right here, this is one of those areas that even in writing, I'm finding it difficult to "articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings." Seriously, I'm sitting here with so much to say on these two points, but completely trapped in my own brain on how to express these thoughts. So I shall end here and contemplate my inner INFJ in secluded silence.

  • To read for yourself or take your own quiz:

    This is a graph identifying how frequently different personalities show up in society. INFJ is about 1% of the population. I'm in a small crowd. How apropos.

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