Different Strokes

Saturday, May 05, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-


G'morning, all! It's Saturday, and once more I'm at the library. Stopped off at the local coffee shop for my usual latte first, though. Need that espresso to jump-start my brain. I'm a little off my game after taking my kids to the midnight showing of Avengers on May 4th. We had a fantastic time, but I'm finding that, at my age, it's a bit harder to bounce back when you're up until 4:00 AM.

But I made it, and the caffeine buzz is starting to kick in. Time to analyze Dr. Drenth's next paragraph:


INFJs grow up feeling “different” from their peers. The more pronounced their Introversion and Intuition, the more estranged they are likely to feel. Young INFJs also feel misunderstood by their elders, who can be quick to ignore or dismiss their precocious insights and observations. If given unsympathetic circumstances, INFJs may come to feel isolated or rejected rather early in life.

Does anyone else besides me relate to this like crazy? Holy cow, this guy is reading my mail!

Those of you reading my other blog already know that I felt completely out of place as a child. However, I attributed much of that to being adopted. Growing up, I was acutely aware of how different I was from my relatives, physically and intellectually. Every single one of them had brown or blue eyes, and mine were green. They were tall, tan and large-framed, I was short, thin and fair-skinned. They liked sports and big family get-togethers, I constantly had my nose in a book and preferred small groups. I grew up knowing that I was adopted, but had they kept it a secret, I'd have suspected something was up. I was different. I could feel it, and my intuition told me they could feel it as well. It created a sore spot in my heart that even today hasn't fully healed.

The idea of personality types was never discussed in my family or taught in school (I went to a tiny public school in a farming community...can anyone say redneck?), so I had no way of validating my perspective. Only a handful of adults around me recognized my academic potential - and I remember every single one of them. My second-grade teacher would give me extra assignments or books to read that were at a much higher level than my peers, then ask for my feedback. One of my high school language arts teachers was intrigued by my writing skills and encouraged me every day to keep at it. And so on. Their sympathy and understanding were a soothing balm on that sore spot!

Hmm. Precocious insights and observations. I don't remember if I had any of those or not. Precocious can be defined as 'showing mature qualities at an early age.' I honestly don't recall being more mature than the people around me. I did have a very high reading level, along with a vocabulary that blew my teachers away. And there were many times I would say something, only to have an adult look at me funny, utter a nervous laugh, and then pat my shoulder as they made a hasty retreat. I believe I learned at a very young age to "hide" my intuitive, insightful qualities because they made so many people uncomfortable. Instead, I journaled my feelings and expressed myself via stories, poems, and playing the piano.

So yes, I did feel very isolated and rejected for most of my childhood and young adulthood. Heck, I still feel that way today (though to a much lesser degree). It's a struggle to walk through life with so much inside you - and very few ways to express it without the rest of the world looking at you like a freak. It doesn't help that we INFJs can size people up in an instant, or that we prefer deep, intriguing topics to the dull surface chatter that seems to be the social norm. Or that we know things without knowing why.

How do we deal with this uniqueness that keeps others at arm's length? For starters, we need to understand who we are. It's therapeutic to know why we act the way we do. I remember taking the Myers-Briggs test for work, and the instructor telling me that INFJs are the rarest personality type. My reaction was "wow, that explains a lot." It was the first step on a long journey toward healing and acceptance.

Personally, I also find validation and healing in my relationship with Christ. The knowledge that He loves and completely understands me is what gets me through the day. I like knowing that He has a purpose for me. That He gave up his life just so I could be close to Him. That He thinks I'm special, beautiful, and have limitless value. Every INFJ needs a hero, and He is mine :-)

Next up - our strong powers of intuition. Yep, we are superheroes in our own right.  Stay tuned!


3 comments

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Anonymous
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July 4, 2015 at 4:26 PM delete

Being adopted and INFJ? Nice to meet you...!

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Anonymous
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July 6, 2015 at 1:19 PM delete

Adopted INFJ? Nice to meet you...:)

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Meridian
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July 6, 2015 at 1:26 PM delete

Hey there! Nice to meet you, too. Yes, adopted AND an INFJ. That's feeling-out-of-place times two, lol. You in the same boat?

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