Intensity

Monday, June 25, 2012 4 Comments A+ a-



Another Monday morning has come around. As I sit here with my coffee, relishing the peace, I'm listening to some Scottish-Gaelic music by Julie Fowlis that I downloaded from iTunes last night. All because of the movie 'Brave' that I saw twice over the weekend.

I found the movie enjoyable, entertaining and moving. Was in tears at the end both times. What is it about magic, mystery and wild country that touches me so deeply?  (sigh)

My dear friend Wendy went with me last night to see it. She's an ESTP - the exact opposite of me in terms of personality. We laughed and joked all the way to the theater and back. She told me after seeing the movie, she's convinced of my Scottish heritage and temperament. We parted with renewed vows to visit Scotland someday soon. I have a feeling once I go there, however, I won't want to come back :-)

For some reason, I tend to get wrapped up in movies. Are other INFJs like this? It could be that my Fe function reaches out and grabs hold of all the emotions playing out on the screen. Or it might be that the theme resonates with me deeply, touching my inner core and moving me to respond in an intense manner. Or a combination of both. Whatever the reasons, this ability to don the movie and wear it like a robe for awhile makes me cautious about what I put in front of my eyes. Movies with lots of pointless anger, violence, profanity and dark themes will almost make me physically ill. And they will stick inside my head for weeks, tormenting me. I'm still haunted by some of the disgusting plot twists in Splice. Ugh!

My propensity for intense emotions is, like my perfectionism, both a gift and a curse. And as I've done research on our personality type over the past several weeks, I've noticed that while many INFJs seem to struggle with their intensity, no one seems to know exactly why. There are a lot of theories. Many people agree that INFJs are intense. But what causes this and, more importantly, how do we deal with it?

Being an intense person has its advantages. It drives to me to accomplish big goals. It gives me focus. It enables me to pour out compassion like a river and solve problems in ways no one else around me would even dream of. And it takes me to deep, emotional places that deliver an incredible impact when I can accurately describe them in writing.

On the other hand, it can drive people away. When I'm intensely focused on something, others are shut out or ignored. Outside details are forgotten. I become "sufficient unto myself" and don't need anyone else for satisfaction. Other people, most of whom do not share or understand this ability, are hurt by it. They will say I'm cold or unfeeling, when the opposite is true - I'm feeling everything, it's just directed inwardly for a greater purpose.

But when I do finally direct my intensity at them, they can easily be freaked out by its all-consuming power. I've learned that most people can't handle the real me...which closely resembles the X-men character Jean Grey. On the surface I appear quiet and unassuming. But my inner Phoenix has the potential to be a seriously destructive force. It can ruin a relationship in a matter of minutes.

Of course, Jean had Professor X to help compartmentalize her brain and cage the beast within. But what are the rest of us supposed to do??

Before this post starts to resemble a novel, I think I'm going break it up into smaller pieces. There are a few steps I've taken to cage my own personal beast, and I want to do some additional research and collect my thoughts before presenting them out here.

Stay tuned, folks...


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Arisa Scott
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June 25, 2012 at 1:23 PM delete

"For some reason, I tend to get wrapped up in movies. Are other INFJs like this?"

It really depends on the movie for me. I've took a lot of film classes in college, so sometimes I get caught up in the art direction and don't notice the story as much. Pixar movies the emotions usually carry me around!


"But when I do finally direct my intensity at them, they can easily be freaked out by its all-consuming power. I've learned that most people can't handle the real me...which closely resembles the X-men character Jean Grey. On the surface I appear quiet and unassuming.  But my inner Phoenix has the potential to be a seriously destructive force. It can ruin a relationship in a matter of minutes."

'If you haven't seen me cry, you don't know me' is an accurate statement for me. I've gotten more willing to let weak friendships go and focus on ones that can be strong. People that can handle my emotions are the ones I want around me!

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Meridian
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June 26, 2012 at 9:52 AM delete

I can see how your artistic side would concentrate on those aspects of movies and distract you. What was your official major?

You know, the whole crying thing is a weird issue for me. I can't stand to cry in front of other people, and I rarely cry at all. Movies are the worst for turning on the waterworks, so I try and watch them alone if I can. I avoid tearjerkers and rom-coms at all costs :-)

I'm totally with you on the weak friendship issue - I want people who aren't thrown off by my intensity and can look past it to see my value. Anything less is pruned immediately. Perhaps I just haven't met the right people to cry in front of? In your doodles, you seem to have isolated the personality types that are best for us - so you must have a great understanding of how we interact with other types. Am looking forward to exploring this more in the future.

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Arisa Scott
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June 26, 2012 at 5:03 PM delete

BFA in production animation!

I used to never cry around people. Before I was 19 I can't think of any friends that saw me cry. I was very good at disappearing into the restroom. Then I dealt with some heavier stuff and couldn't hold it in any more. And now, I don't know of a close friend that hasn't seen me cry!

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Anonymous
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February 4, 2016 at 2:06 PM delete

"But my inner Phoenix has the potential to be a seriously destructive force. It can ruin a relationship in a matter of minutes."

Umm. Yes.

I find, while I get along with nearly everyone, I embody that feeling of belonging to no group at all. The addendum to that is, once people get to know me, they don't like me so much anymore. I believe this happens when my inner intensity leaks out. So I tend to isolate myself--I know what will happen. It always does.

I met someone special. While I have always felt my INFJness running just under the surface, this person intensifies it ten fold, at least. He is the first person in my 51 years of life that I have that complete empathic feel with. I get electric shock-like visions and feelings from him...and these started well before I really had gotten to know him at all. I feel all his emotions so intensely it astonishes me. And the emotions are both the good and the bad. The bad emotions or thoughts acquired by Ni, literally paralyze me, turn my stomach, send cold chills. I don't know how to handle these emotions, and I have vented in writing AND shared things that are so beyond what I would or should share. And yet...he hasn't been completely scared off yet. ......

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