INFJ Kingdom: Suffering Alone

Monday, October 22, 2012 10 Comments A+ a-



Morning, folks (yawn, stretch). It's Monday again, the start of another busy week. Somehow my calendar today and tomorrow ended up filled with appointments for my kids. Before the day gets too crazy, I wanted to empty some of my weird INFJ thoughts.

I spent the better part of the weekend writing wherever I could find an empty spot. Coffee shops, bookstores, my unmade bed. Finished about 18 pages and feeling pretty darn good about that. My main character is going through a transitionary period, and I feel as if I've reached inside her brain to experience her anxiety and frustration. She's left her past behind (unwillingly) and has been thrust into a new world of culture, excitement, corruption and danger. Though I know she can handle it, I'm still nervous for her :-)

You know what's odd? The entire concept for this book came to me as a 'whole'. No sitting down to write out a plot. No research or anything formal. This is yet another facet of the INFJ personality. Big-picture thinking. Kind of cool and scary at the same time.

Speaking of cool and scary--I've had more than one reader contact me lately about our intuitive abilities. There seems to be a strong connection between our intuition and our isolation, primarily because we walk around with knowledge that we find difficult (or even impossible) to share with others. I wrote about this otherworldly issue back in July, in a post called Mystic Frodo, and that particular post currently clocks in at over 2,000 views. Way more than any of the others.

Why is that? What is it about mysticism/intuition and the INFJ that sparks such interest?

A reader named Molly, bless her little heart, gave me permission to share some of her concerns. Her biggest was feeling very alone at times--as if she was the only person who could "see" in an intuitive sense. She wondered if I ever felt like this. I responded that my intuition guides me constantly. While others around me are driven by things, moods, trends, schedules, etc., I'm thinking in terms of big picture and anticipating future events. My gut often tells me to look beyond the surface data. I also told her that I get impressions:


Also, I tend to get "impressions" that strike me deeply. I can be moved by a tender exchange I see at a coffee shop, or be hit with a strong thought when two people are arguing next to me (I can instantly see an issue from multiple perspectives and come to a solution before they're even finished speaking). This sort of thing makes me feel out of place - like I possess a certain knowledge that can be felt but not always shared. By no means do I mean this in an arrogant way - it is what is is, you know?

Does this ever happen to you? Do you find yourself hit with a revelation, an image, or a solution when you're with other people? But you're uncomfortable sharing it because a) the situation is inappropriate due to societal norms or physical distance, b) the person is a stranger and might tell you to butt out (or worse, kick your butt instead), c) you don't know the right words to relay your thoughts, or d) you're afraid the person will run away screaming at your shocking insight into his/her personal life?

I remember sitting in a restaurant a few years ago eating brunch, and one waitress in particular caught my eye. She was very busy, but I got the distinct impression God want me to tell her that she was doing a good job and that he "saw" her. Feeling like an idiot, I pulled her aside and gave her the message. Immediately she burst into tears, thanked me over and over again for talking to her because she really needed to hear it, and ran to the bathroom to compose herself. I walked out of the restaurant in a surreal state of mind. I haven't done that since, mostly because the experience weirded me out.

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How is it that the INFJ just seems to "know" things? Does it have something to do with the balance of our functional stack? Is it the rare, powerful combination of Ni/Fe supported by a hypersensitive Se and introspective Ti? Is this happening to all personality types...but we're the only ones sensitive enough to pick up on it? Are we truly communing with God and/or otherworldly spirits?

I struggle with these questions. Or, more accurately, I struggle with the perspectives inside that debate these questions. My inner child of faith tells me I'm hearing the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. My mystic calls it sixth sense or ESP. My scientist says its a subconscious physical process being translated into information. My practical woman reminds me it's a gut feeling and that I should shut up, follow my instincts and stop worrying about it. :-)

In her response to my e-mail, Molly hit on a sensitive topic that I've been reluctant to bring up myself:


Also, I sometimes feel that people who are driven by shallow (I often describe it as "human") thinking are below me, and I should mention that I'm not proud of this. I constantly remind myself that this is very unchristian-like behavior and that everyone's mind works in different ways. These are mainly on my bad days, but it ties into the feeling of aloneness. And I don't feel that aloneness and loneliness are the same thing.
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I found her honesty incredibly refreshing. Though I hate to admit it, I'm often guilty of this same approach. I get soooo tired of the people around me not understanding my deep, intuitive discernments. Sometimes I walk around quoting Sigourney Weaver from the Disney movie Holes muttering "I am surrounded by cow turds!" My friend Wendy once suggested I have that put on a t-shirt (lol)!

Seriously, though, it's not very nice, and I don't know how to deal with people when this feeling hits, except to remind myself that not everyone shares my perspective on things. I can't blame others for their personality types, and being deep does not necessarily mean being right.

But it's a valid issue. Our intuition and depth set us apart. We can alarm or repel other people simply because we appear--as Molly put it--radical, prophetic, or wise. Even narcissistic. People don't always appreciate our intense need for alone time, or having their souls examined and their secrets brought into the light. So we often keep things to ourselves, suffering alone in our internal INFJ kingdoms.

I'd like to write more on this topic, but the morning is getting away from me. Not to mention this post is borderline novella. I'll wrap up by asking you guys if any of this sounds familiar? Can you relate to these issues? How do you deal with the superpower instincts that lift you above the clamor of the world and enable you to see clearly?

More to come this week...if time and schedule allow it...

Love y'all,
M.

10 comments

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Colin Machan
AUTHOR
October 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM delete

Okay Meridian, explain this if you can. I'm in a job that is expanding; there's something new every day. However, today I received a phone call that started off an alarm bell in my head. It's not right and it won't stop. A definite spiritual experience. Is this my INFJ instinct sounding off? Danger! It has never been so distinct, so jarring, that it is today. Or is it just that (with my new knowledge of myself) I'm noticing it more now?

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Meridian
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October 24, 2012 at 7:40 AM delete

Hi, Colin - it's hard to say what's setting off the alarm bells. Could be God giving you a nudge or just your instincts picking up on something subtle that you can't define. I wouldn't worry too much about whether you're overreacting to your own awareness of self. I'd just go with your instincts (IMHO, of course).

I was in a state of half-sleep this morning and out of the blue I heard a distinct voice call out a name in my head. It startled me, bringing me fully awake. I don't know what it was about, but I said a prayer of protection for the only person I happen to know with that name. It wasn't a dream (I know the difference). It may have been just a weird mind trick, but I went with my instincts. Better safe than sorry, lol!


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Colin Machan
AUTHOR
October 24, 2012 at 9:42 AM delete

Prayer is always a good place to start, I find.

The trouble is, I don't know what to think about yesterday's 'bells'. It was a new experience on me. And the problem is - I find my mind is foggy, I'm just not thinking at the moment, just reacting to this. Have had a quieter day at home today but it's taken my mind a long time to 'stop those darn bells from ringing'. Guess I'll find out tomorrow when I get back to work if something sets it off again.

I smiled at your last comment and your latest blog entry "it wasn't a dream - I know the difference". Hmmm - understand that experience only too well. I got a similar feeling and ended up sending a FB message to someone I know a month or so ago, assured them of prayers. A 'holy nudge'. Turns out they were going a tough time and really appreciated the prayers.

I know that sort of 'nudge' quite well. The other experience, with the 'bells', is totally new.

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December 7, 2012 at 6:53 PM delete

I love hearing that other INFJs feel that other personality types are below them sometimes. I do feel this often, though certainly not proudly. I always feel horrible when I think it and wonder why I feel that way. I feel I can't talk to anyone about it because it sounds conceited when stated out loud and I don't think I can convey how humbly I mean it. I would love to read more on that topic since it is so rarely touched on by others and I am sure many of us feel very alone in that regard. I am really enjoying your blog, by the way! Thank you for writing it!

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Meridian
AUTHOR
December 10, 2012 at 9:03 AM delete

Hey there! Yes, I believe the INFJ can sometimes get really frustrated with other personality types because they don't "swim through the deep" like we do. We don't flaunt our superpowers - but we know we have them and put high value on them. And it can make other people seem "small" because they don't understand/comprehend our thought processes. I really think this is one of the reasons we feel so isolated and alone.

I will try to blog more about this in the future. It's not a pretty topic, but it does need to be addressed. Otherwise we can't properly deal with it.

So glad you're enjoying the blog. I've run across several of your own blog posts in my research and have loved them. Let's stay in touch :-)

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Anonymous
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April 10, 2013 at 10:45 PM delete

I often just know when someone is having a bad day or is sick. When this happens I have an overwhelming need to help them or protect them. Sometimes I have to phisically stop myself from doing it. It's like torture.

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Yakarin
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July 15, 2013 at 7:09 PM delete This comment has been removed by the author.
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Anonymous
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July 2, 2014 at 10:08 AM delete

Bad things about the INFJ (and I have tested repeatedly. Strongly in this type). I offend people, often unintentionally and don't even know why they get offended. It is a mystery me to also, that they can't or won't forgive and move on. I apologize a lot. I am insightful, and this is not something people want to hear either. If you are dumb enough to state that you can see with a certainty what is ahead, then you are conceited. I suppose I sound like a pessimistic prophet of doom. Yet, I am right. Often, painfully right. It can be like watching a train come to hit a child playing on the railroad tracks, and not being able to get him to move out of the way. And then being hated for the effort. And I don't see anyone talking about the temper. It has taken years to tame that beast. Anyone else become explosive? Nothing irritates me like a bureaucrat who can't or won't think outside the box and has no interest in helping. I want to be alone, but I also want friends who I can TALK to and not seem crazy or paranoid. Can't get that across to many people. Hard to find someone who wants to talk about deep things and so I feel isolated. So there's the bad. Always planning. Always searching, always reading and studying...that's me. Always offending. That's me too, and I work hard not to be that way. I suppose this sounds haughty, so there's that famous "superior mindset" we have too. Sigh!

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Anonymous
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July 2, 2014 at 10:11 AM delete

I think a blog would be a good idea for me. After reading this, I see the commonalities. Do you somehow feel inferior to others? I often think I am missing some key that would let me be better accepted. But for the INFJ, I think, it is something that has to be learned. We are what we are. I do love. I just seem to botch up communicating that while on one of my crusades. :-(

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