Dark Side: Facing the Facts

Monday, November 16, 2015 11 Comments A+ a-


Brrr! The first cold, rainy day of November is here, guys, and I'm warding off the dreariness with a cozy fire. It's so nice to sit here and listen to the wood as it pops and crackles. I love the smell, too. There's something magical about dancing flames, something that speaks to that deep, primitive part of my gypsy soul. In another life, I probably would have sat beside a fire every night, clothed in colorful silks and silver bracelets, sipping tea and spinning tales for the wide-eyed children in my tribe.

Oh, and speaking of tea, I have the mugs for the giveaway! They're quite lovely, done in rich colors and coated with a smooth, shiny glaze. Each has a medallion carved into the front, and there are shallow indentations on either side for gripping the mug with your fingers (or you can use the handle). I think they're pretty unique, just like us! Check them out:


Cool, right? And I'd like to thank everyone for helping the giveaway get off to such a great start. The response has been amazing! Big hugs to Jennifer Soldner, who told her INFJ audience about it and spread the word. You guys are just awesome! :)

Okay, so we're still in our Dark Side series, and it's time to knuckle down and face some facts. I mean that literally, as "facts" are Elaine's next issue, and it looks like they can be awkward stumbling points along the INFJ path:

As dominant Ni/Fe types, INFJs can be rather impervious to “facts” – particularly facts of an Si/Te nature. Interestingly, they actually seem to elude the INFJ more than they do the INFP thanks to the more “practical” tertiary/inferior combo of Si/Te of the INFP. INFJs typically pay little attention to previously established rules or laws, many of which can seem arbitrary and “non-intuitive” to the INFJ (e.g., “How was I to know that parking on this particular street is for 1 hour only?”). Established “customs” of the Te variety are unlikely to be known in the first place – let alone remembered! This obliviousness causes INFJs to feel like constant victims of Si/Te procedural and bureaucratic oversights (typically the oversight is theirs of course!): penalty fees for missing a deadline, returned forms for forgetting to include an ID number, etc.

Did she peg this or what? I squirmed a little while reading it, and I felt especially sheepish about the parking reference. The alley beside my favorite coffee house has metered parking, and it took three tickets (for three completely different violations) before I finally figured out that not all meters operate by the same rules. The system wasn't anywhere near intuitive for me, forcing me to learn by trial and error. And yes, I felt like a victim. I was certain the city just wanted my money and had therefore deliberately put vague instructions on the meters. Lol, my husband took pity on me, called the parking district, and talked them into dropping a couple of the tickets. He had to explain to them that I didn't know what I was doing.

And that was the truth. INFJs walk around with so much inside their heads--daydreams, connections, introspection, ideas, feelings--that there's little room for the rigid structure of the outside world. Trying to remember and abide by the details of an Si/Te system when we're busy grappling with bigger, more important concepts, is incredibly frustrating.



Are facts, rules, and customs necessary to maintain order in society? Sure they are. I understand that completely. They're just not always intuitive to my Ni/Fe, so I often misunderstand them. After a while, the consequences of these misunderstandings wears on my self-esteem.

So yeah, I'll admit that I'm not good at paying attention to facts, and our rule-based society does end up scolding me for that. Frequently. I try hard not to play the victim card, but I must confess...there's a big part of me that gets irritated when my dreamy, creative side is smacked in the face by some pay-attention-you-ninny bureaucratic notice. It would probably be different if I felt like my INFJ qualities were appreciated and rewarded by society. But I feel rather out of place most of the time, and harsh reminders that I don't fit in make it tempting to react more like Anakin than Yoda.
What do you mean, I can't park here
for more than two hours?!?

How about you? Do you find yourself paying the price for overlooking facts and details? Does it tempt you over to the Dark Side, or do you deal with it Yoda style?

Interested, I am, in hearing your thoughts. Let me know! :)

Image Credit: Keyless Dumbledore, Dark Side Anakin

11 comments

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November 17, 2015 at 8:11 AM delete

Oh yes , also my friend , another INFJ calls herself stupid for forgetting car keys. then she bought a cute little Gund key ring fur baby . Not only is it easier to find her keys but now she refers to her mistakes/ oversights as Dummlings represented by a cute furry something or other :O)

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Meridian
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November 17, 2015 at 8:31 AM delete

Lol, that's awesome. Think I can get out of my next parking ticket by calling it a Dummling? :)

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Christy Haupt
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November 17, 2015 at 9:19 AM delete

The "smaller" items on the list, yes, the big ones, no, and I'm left to ponder how much of that "correction" was due to an NPD parent. "Pay attention!!!" And its many variations constantly being drilled in. My considerable bag of tricks include several sets of emergency keys everywhere and auto-bill pay....pondering on... Maybe I have to chuck it to the "blessings" pile?

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Meridian
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November 17, 2015 at 9:50 AM delete

Sounds like your extraverted Thinking (Te) function was trained early on. That can happen during childhood...our functions and traits are often shaped by influential adults. For example, I dealt with a lot of harsh criticism growing up and wasn't allowed to express any anger about it, so I internalized it all (therefore, my Fi function is stronger than it normally would be). I think developing our non-dominant functions can definitely be blessings...especially if they relieve the stress of missing car keys! :)

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Christy Haupt
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November 17, 2015 at 10:03 AM delete

Good answer! Really liking the FB content too! You're doing the best job, thanks

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Kristine
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November 19, 2015 at 6:05 AM delete

This post! Absolutely amazing, and I'm going to voice the ancient cliché of "I can relate". A short while back I had to give a presentation for oral assessment. While my groupmate and I were waiting outside the classroom, we saw another group looking at a procedure list on the door, and I remember remarking to her: "You know what I'd like to do when I see lists like that? Take them down and rip them to pieces." We got so caught up in agreeing that we promptly forgot to examine said list. We did the presentation and it went swimmingly well, but the first question we received was: "Did you even look at the procedure list on the door?" And we realised we did not. And we were scolded. And rather humiliated. And although I can understand why the teacher took points off our grade for it, I felt like a victim.
Later on in the same course, we were asked to write two opinion pieces on a choice topic that represented two completely opposite views with equal conviction. I seized the opportunity to ridicule these precious rules and the ridiculous grip of an almost deified law that hovers over us. Rules and laws only exist to impose a generalised judgement of right and wrong, yet it is authoritive and revered like gospels of a new religion. I realise now it may have been a bit low - but I needed my childish revenge.
Thank you so much for this post :)

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Meridian
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November 19, 2015 at 9:23 AM delete

I totally get you on this. Rules, especially in an educational setting, seem to have an inordinate amount of power. People define and judge themselves--and others--by how well they follow them. We're trained in this as children and it never stops.

But here's the thing: INFJs don't always need rules. A little direction now and then, maybe, but our intuition is pretty darn accurate. Which is why your presentation went beautifully without the procedural requirements. We reach people where they're at, using our instincts and abilities. This is a beautiful trait and one that is often undervalued.

Rules are put in place to keep order and provide standards. Most people need them, and so the world would fall into chaos without them. But when it comes to the INFJ, I'm inclined to agree with Cap'n Barbossa: they're more like guidelines. :)

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jonathanrenck
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November 19, 2015 at 9:55 PM delete

I'd have to say that much of my problems like this tended to be educational in nature too. My mother is very good at nagging (I feel a bit bad for her she's the only one in the family who is an S), so most times things like car keys and so on have all gone into a ritual sort of behavior. I always struggled with arbitrary rules like page lengths. I understand their functions, I also understand using quotes and so on. The problem is that intuitive understanding part of me. I know how this paper is supposed to go together. I've absorbed the knowledge from those quotes. I can see how they fit. Besides no one seems to word their quotes to flow well with my writing style. ;) Fortunately my studio art classes tended to let me balancing my creative streaks and expectations and rules. Of course I tended to bite off more than I accomplish in the time limit of the assignment, but what's life without self-imposed challenges?

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Meridian
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November 20, 2015 at 10:14 AM delete

I felt the same way about arbitrary rules. Growing up, I had the insane desire to challenge them all. Who said it has to be this way? What good is all this freaking red tape? Why can't I do it the way that makes sense to me? You can imagine how well that went over with teachers. The balancing act you mention is great, if you can find an area that allows it. With everything else, I like the quote that says: "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist."

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Applicious
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January 15, 2016 at 12:15 PM delete

I'm an INFJ, and in college I was the one who was always prepared. I read the syllabus, knew all the instructions for the assignment, made sure my citations was correct. During my last semester, I had to complete this annoying, horrible project that required me to write 30+ pages of commentary and pass eighteen different rubrics. So I studied all eighteen rubrics and planned everything out meticulously so I could pass. I wonder if the reason why I'm so detailed is because I know it's easy for me to miss something if I don't study it, or maybe because having an ESTJ mom encouraged me to develop my own thinking side. Not sure. But, I will admit that I can't see myself working for an office because sitting in front of a computer all day is not fun. I like being a teacher's aid and working with children. :) The job does require me to get out of my daydreams and be constantly aware of surroundings, but that's not a bad skill to learn.

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Another_INFJ
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January 23, 2016 at 9:30 PM delete

I'm an INFJ, but I've never misplaced my keys or my car. I think I'm able to keep on top of things like that through a learned habit. I establish a place that feels right for something (like car keys, or my wallet, or my favorite pen, or whatever) and always, purposely put those items back in their place. I then trust that I've stayed true to my habit and things are always waiting where I had left them. This way I never actually have to think about it.

I do not like lists and tend to avoid them at all costs. Of course the cost on one certain vacation to Cancun was that I had forgot to pack shorts. I had bathroom stuff, shirts, pants, socks, underwear, bathing suite, sandals and shoes but no shorts. It took a while to live that one down.

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