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The LJ INFJs
and their friends!
howeverbrief
infj_mbti
howeverbrief
Can't Go Home Again
Hi, INFJs. I know this community doesn't see much action anymore, much like livejournal itself, but a recent experience in a much bigger INFJ group on facebook made me miss this place. I don't really know if it was the sheer size of the group or the fact that so many other personality types were in there trolling half the time, but it doesn't feel as useful or helpful as this group.

If anyone is out there still, what are your experiences with being called negative and/or self-centered? (Immature, narcissistic, and butthurt were favorites too. I know, welcome to the internet.) I won't claim I haven't had any of these traits in my life (especially when I was much younger and in lower points of my life), but I'd be interested in hearing some of your perspectives on yourselves and possible weaknesses surrounding these traits. So much "debate" in the other group turned into name-calling and trying to hit people over the head with emotionally-charged "facts" that didn't really lead anywhere in the end, and it's exhausting. I couldn't even really express an opinion about a topic without someone saying my opinion was based on negative assumptions just because I didn't agree with the popular opinion. I'm tired of it, frankly. Maybe I'm part of the problem.

I guess most of what I'm getting at is it's weird to seek out a group of similar people hoping for understanding and the kind of community you used to have and get your hopes completely dashed. Hopefully you understand where I'm coming from. Feel free to chime in.

Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Current Music: The Colbert Report

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Comments
tabular_rasa From: tabular_rasa Date: June 3rd, 2014 04:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I think some communities are just sour, regardless of the intentions of the group. I know my mom's part of some parenting-themed internet community that's been basically nomadic over the years as people keep packing up and moving to a new forum each time it gets overrun with negative people, but inevitably negative people find their way over and it's the same routine all over again. The overarching culture can dictate how a group behaves, too; some places are just more snarky, combative, or less tolerant of emotion, vulnerability, or well-intentioned mistakes than others. Everyone gets kind of caught up in it.

I've certainly been called self-centered and negative before (both online and off)-- primarily when I was going through depression which, you know, is super helpful and just what I needed to hear.

I do think INFJs can come off self-centered especially since we are so introspective and naval-gazy, and we like to talk about ourselves and our feelings both to share for its own sake and order to provide empathy to others. It's not always taken well. And while I think many INFJs pride ourselves on being able to be the lone voice standing up for what is right . . . if you get a bunch of INFJs together who all believe one thing is right against one person who doesn't, I'm not surprised it gets ugly. (The incident that caused this community to move from infj springs to mind!).

Edited at 2014-06-03 04:41 am (UTC)
howeverbrief From: howeverbrief Date: June 5th, 2014 04:04 am (UTC) (Link)
I think you're right. I don't really like facebook for this purpose. The group was really large, and it had a lot of people who would post just to see how much they could piss people off. Also the debates that weren't really debates. (How could you think that?! A true INFJ would never think that! Let me argue with you until you agree with me. Ugh.) What tipped me out of there finally the other day was this thread where people were actively trying to make other members mad in order to "get the butthurt people out of the group." I got a little tired of the judgmental (haha, too much J in the INFJ group) nature of everyone there.

I do think INFJs can come off self-centered especially since we are so introspective and naval-gazy, and we like to talk about ourselves and our feelings both to share for its own sake and order to provide empathy to others.
For sure. I'm trying to get where I recognize where my stories are going to be well-received and understood before I go into them more now, though I can't say this is always the case. I do still talk about myself and try to relate through personal stories a lot if I feel comfortable in the situation, but I think it's still a crapshoot if the other person is going to get what I'm doing or not. If I know for sure someone won't receive it well, I try not to add anything to the conversation, which doesn't really feel natural to me.

And while I think many INFJs pride ourselves on being able to be the lone voice standing up for what is right . . . if you get a bunch of INFJs together who all believe one thing is right against one person who doesn't, I'm not surprised it gets ugly. (The incident that caused this community to move from infj springs to mind!).
You know, I completely forgot about that incident even though I was one of the members who got ousted. Wow. You are very correct in your assessment, I think. I found a lot of opinions masquerading as facts in these "debates", and I wanted to yell, "Someone can be presented with the same facts and come up with a different conclusion, you twits!" Ugh, we're not right about everything. ;)
glass5ky From: glass5ky Date: June 3rd, 2014 08:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow I am so happy that someone actually posted in this group. I joined this group a while back but have not seen any activity. I love MBTI and wish I could read more from users here.

Yeah I feel like when there starts to be name calling and insults then it has become a bad environment. Ugh. Why can't people just stick to the facts and be considerate with how they express themselves? Anyway.

I guess I feel like I am in some ways positive and I have a problem with worrying more about the other person than caring about my own needs. I guess in some ways I can be negative in that I am a worrier. I will easily think "what's the worst that can happen" and worry about it. Yet, I have a positive view towards life in general, humanity, hope, etc.

I did have an ex tell me I was selfish after I broke up with him. I did not blame him at all during the breakup: I said it was my fault because I needed to move on and I was not happy. He didn't say it immediately, but he said it after the fact in an email some months later: That I was selfish and manipulative, even though I don't "mean to be." But to be honest he was the selfish one in the relationship. I gave in to his wishes and he fought mine. I stayed as honest as I could be without hurting him. I felt so horrible about that breakup though and I felt really bad for him. I still get upset about how I hurt him years later, and I still can cry when I think about how he carried on during the breakup as I was traumatized by witnessing him in pain and felt so horrible for him. Yet he had zero compassion for me, even though I was really hurting too, and it was extremely difficult for me to end the relationship because I did not want to hurt him and blamed myself as a failure for having to leave and for not loving him. I was actually convinced there was something wrong with me because I wasn't in love with him. I guess I can't blame him, but the name calling was not warranted, especially since I put him over me for most of our relationship and that was part of the reason we broke it off. In retrospect, I realize I didn't want to be controlled any more and that's why I was miserable. Further, when I broke up with him, he said noone would ever love me as much as he did. Yet I told him I was sure he would find someone else who was better for him and who would be happy with him. Tbh he was the manipulative selfish one who did not really care about the other person being happy. Again I can't blame him for being hurt and getting angry at me. Yet I never blamed him or put him down, and when he did it to me, I can't help but see the hypocrisy. Sorry for ranting on about that! But urgh!

Anyway, I do think in some ways I could be seen as selfish but that is because I am very independent. I don't like people controlling me, and I am very skeptical and don't take people's words for things most of the time. However, I do consider others' needs almost to an excess when I am in the situation, and always try to do the right thing and make sure they are happy. So I do not think I am selfish when you consider the actual definition of the word. It's actually been a goal of mine to become more assertive when I do not like things that other people say or do. I have only become more assertive lately. I feel like I have the opposite problem of selfishness which is letting people take advantage of me.

I have also heard though the sentiment that INFJ's are manipulative and selfish on forums. Then again, I read that they are very caring and selfless in official type descriptions. Are we to believe the type description that results from research or users? Honestly, it makes zero sense to me because these are contradicting messages about the type. I at times feel that people resent/are jealous of the INFJ because they are made out to be good people, and they start twisting things, saying that they are manipulative because they try to make people happy. I think it's stupid.

Anyway, I haven't studied MBTI in depth, so I don't have the best insight here. It's just my take from my limited experience.

TL;DR - I do not think INFJ's are selfish or negative and I don't think I am either. Sometimes people might call them "selfish or negative" for the wrong reasons.

Edited at 2014-06-03 08:21 am (UTC)
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: June 3rd, 2014 01:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Welcome! We are pretty quiet these days, but we're still here, as you can see!

howeverbrief From: howeverbrief Date: June 5th, 2014 03:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, glad you're part of the group, even if it hasn't been active lately. I know one of my big problems with the other group was the constant negativity. I found myself thinking about it all the time, and even though I didn't think I was being negative myself (I even toned down what I wanted to say a few times because I really disagreed with an opinion but could see how other people could come to a different conclusion), it was a pretty bad place. I wasn't even part of it for very long, but I'm glad to have gotten away from it.

Your ex sounds like one of mine. He accused me of "making him feel things" and trying to explain myself out of being wrong. I never saw it that way. I thought I was trying to show my point of view and why I did things. However, it wasn't a good relationship, and the end of it was especially difficult because he knew all the buttons to push. It's interesting when someone knows so much about you that they can hurl all their actions at you like you're the one who's done everything wrong. People are funny when placing blame.

I am also very independent, to the point where I really hate asking for help even when I really need it. This means there's a bit of a breakdown when I actually need help because I like to believe I'm invincible until the very last moment when I can't do it anymore, which is frustrating. I try to take into account what other people are experiencing and act accordingly, but I'm not always perfect at it, especially if my other needs aren't being met or my reserves are low. It is a good that you're becoming more assertive about things you dislike because it's very easy for INFJs to be taken advantage of because of our desire to help people rather than take care of ourselves.

I've been reading way too many negative descriptions of types lately because the internet likes to do "jerk" versions of MTBI for some reason. It always makes INFJs out to be selfish jerks who insinuate themselves into other people's problems to make the situation about themselves, in turn eviscerating the other person in the process. Harsh. I don't think this is entirely true all the time, but I can see it when other types are misunderstanding INFJs or when INFJs aren't very healthy.
calzephyr77 From: calzephyr77 Date: June 3rd, 2014 12:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
I didn't find out what type I was until I was in my 20s. My parents wouldn't have known what MBTI is a all, but I would say that Mom was the lone extrovert, and three introverts kind of drove her crazy. I think I must have had the selfish part beaten out of me ;) I was raised to put others needs before my own and it was onlylast I realized this. Ten years of LJ has helped though.

Congrats on coming back to LJ btw! There are still a lot of active communities.
howeverbrief From: howeverbrief Date: June 5th, 2014 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I would say that Mom was the lone extrovert, and three introverts kind of drove her crazy.

Oh, I bet! Wow. I think my whole family is full of introverts, so I grew up surrounded by them. I was also raised to put others' needs before my own, sometimes to my detriment, and it's interesting to try to come back out of that because I'm not very good at taking care of my own physical needs.

Oh yeah? I haven't searched for new communities in quite some time. Do you have any suggestions?
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: June 3rd, 2014 01:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Facebook isn't really a very good format for groups...it does lend itself to quick thoughts, which are rarely deeply considered ones, and then trouble happens. LJ is more conducive to thoughtful replies, although, yeah, drama shows up everywhere because people kind of have a thing for drama. *sigh*

I am actually considered by most people who know me to be very positive, and I am, in the long view, although I can be quite negative in the short view, largely because I suffer from anxiety and depression. I try to be realistic, but it's a struggle! I agree with tabular_rasa that we can be perceived as self-centered when, from our point of view, it's simply that we can only truly know ourselves, so how can we not start with that as our base of reference? We also can have a lot to say (once we feel safe enough to get started) and have trouble cutting ourselves off and making sure other people get a word in edgewise...something I've been working on for years! (This is why the internet is nice, because I can type out everything I have to say and no one will interrupt me and I don't have to feel like I'm talking over anyone!)

We are, if anything, overly mature, so I don't know where that comes from. We DO tend to be very sensitive people...for good and for ill. My feelings are easily hurt. I've learned to look at it as objectively as I can to enable me to let go of small hurts that are only because I'm so sensitive, but, yeah, it's a thing. I don't think studies have been done, but I wouldn't be surprised if INFJs had a disproportionately high number of people who struggle with anxiety and depression...we are SO fricking sensitive. Like most things, it's both a strength and a weakness.

The other charge that someone else mentioned is that we are manipulative. This one is interesting because I think it's a perception based on OTHER types' flaws; we aren't manipulative, we just understand people and emotions far, far better than most types. (That's where our "intuitive" and "near psychic" abilities come from, too.) We can't help but act based on these deep understandings, and other types feel manipulated because they simply don't see where we are getting this stuff and feel like we are somehow being "sneaky". I think this is the thing that most disappears when INFJs get with other INFJs...we all communicate in this way, we all see these things, so we are all comfortable around these deeper understandings and don't feel like we have to be INFJsplaining all the time. (Yes, I did just coin that term and I think it's awesome. *grin*)
howeverbrief From: howeverbrief Date: June 5th, 2014 03:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I think you're right. Facebook's format lends itself to knee-jerk reactions waaaaay too easily, and the fact that a person can keep tagging me in comments even when I want to get away from an argument is a bit maddening. I don't think it's very helpful to keep firing responses at a person, especially when you're already kind of upset, because it's mostly a recipe for degeneration into petty name-calling and hurt feelings over nothing.

I try to be positive. I've had a lot of trouble lately because I've had problems with my health, and I'm not used to dealing with physical issues so much as my own abstract ones. I will definitely agree that I'm much more likely to be negative when I'm depressed or anxious, which happens more than I'd like. I used to mask it by saying I was being "realistic", but I know now that real "realism" is much more difficult to master, like you said.

we can be perceived as self-centered when, from our point of view, it's simply that we can only truly know ourselves, so how can we not start with that as our base of reference? We also can have a lot to say (once we feel safe enough to get started) and have trouble cutting ourselves off and making sure other people get a word in edgewise

OH yes, I agree with this for sure. Sigh. I've had close friends and family call me out and say, "You always make everything about yourself," and I really didn't see it that way. I was trying to use stories and experiences as points of reference to empathize with the person I was talking to, but in recent years, I've been trying to tone that way down by considering who I'm talking to and if they'd appreciate what I'm trying to do. If they don't, I try just to listen and not add to the conversation. It's not a natural feeling for me.

Yeah, I've never understood the manipulative label. I always feel like I'm INFJsplaining everything and still being misunderstood. (Haha, good term.) It's not being sneaky if it's a natural trait!
cactus_rs From: cactus_rs Date: June 3rd, 2014 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
As awful as this is, I will say it: I am manipulative. At least, I have the capacity and the ability to be. Based on that, I don't think it's entirely off the mark to call INFJs manipulative. The question is about self-awareness and compassion: being aware that what you're doing is manipulation and caring enough to not be that person. Sometimes I win that battle, sometimes I don't.

But what I can internally recognize as me being manipulative and what outsiders observe to be are not always the same thing.

As for self-centered, tabular_rasa mentioned discussing personal stories/reactions/feelings etc. as a way to empathize and to entertain. I find myself doing that a lot. I try to minimize that or to branch out from that, however, because not everyone thinks I'm as interesting as I do. ;) I mean, I enjoy hearing people's personal experiences but sometimes it isn't the time or the place, y'know? And people don't always realize that we're not doing it to monopolize; that's just how we empathize.

I'm glad to see a fresh post here! Hopefully we'll see you around. Maybe I'll finally getting around to posting the one or two ideas I had myself recently. If I can remember them...
howeverbrief From: howeverbrief Date: June 5th, 2014 03:51 am (UTC) (Link)
As awful as this is, I will say it: I am manipulative.
Really? I'll go ahead and sound totally naive here because I don't really understand my own capacity to be manipulative, I guess. I have been called it before, but maybe I've justified my behavior to myself more than I realize. I'll have to think about that one.

I mean, I enjoy hearing people's personal experiences but sometimes it isn't the time or the place, y'know? And people don't always realize that we're not doing it to monopolize; that's just how we empathize.
Yes! Exactly. I've mentioned in another comment that I've realized the need to tone that down around certain people because they just don't understand what I'm trying to do. I'm not trying to make it about myself or make it seem that I've experienced everything. I'm only trying to say I relate in some way. I get that that doesn't always help and it is misunderstood sometimes though.

I should be around. I haven't really left livejournal, just really slowed down on posting because of health issues lately. Hopefully this perks the group up a little, though it's kind of a weird topic. Heh. You should totally post. I'd comment. :)
cactus_rs From: cactus_rs Date: June 5th, 2014 09:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Really? I'll go ahead and sound totally naive here because I don't really understand my own capacity to be manipulative, I guess.

Well, it's hard to compare myself to the average because who knows what the average is, but when it comes to my boyfriend, at least, I have an incredibly fine-tuned sense of which buttons there are to press, and in the heat of a fight I'm not above going for those buttons (sad to say). Same goes for my sense of what to say or do to make the situation right again.

This doesn't carry over into other relationships, quite, except with my parents. But to me that feels exactly like what manipulation is, and so I own up to it even while I try to be a better person.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: June 5th, 2014 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think MOST people go for the buttons when they are angry...it's human nature (and a human failing)...we just tend to be really good at it, so we get in trouble for it more.
cactus_rs From: cactus_rs Date: June 5th, 2014 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think most people try to, at least. My boyfriend never really does with me (or if he tries, he fails); between the two of us, I'm the better one at it. Nor do I ever get in trouble for it, except the guilt etc. I inflict on myself, since he never really seems to notice I've gone for the button.

Or maybe I'm missing his buttons completely and don't even know it and actually suck at manipulating him! =P
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