The Battle Within

Wednesday, March 02, 2016 6 Comments A+ a-


Hey, guys. Am sitting here by the fire, thinking that my nose needs a vacation. It can't survive this weather. Cold to warm, then two days of snow, then a weekend of seventy degrees, only to turn around and sleet all morning.

My sinuses are sooo confused. :(
(sigh)

Yes, Winter and Spring are duking it out, and--as usual--my nose is not at all pleased about being caught in the middle. It feels much better when Spring takes a casual approach, sidling up like an old friend, working its way in gradually. Anything else catches my nose off guard. And when it's caught off guard, it doesn't work properly.

I'm a lot like my nose. I don't work properly when I'm caught off guard. Under normal circumstances, I'm quiet and reflective. My responses are well thought out and coherent. My inner Phoenix is curled up in her cage, sleeping peacefully. Catch me off guard with something, though, and all that quiet peaceful stuff gets tossed out the window. Rest assured I can--and will--act out of character.

Why?

You know, I'm not really sure. It could be because I'm easily embarrassed, or because I don't handle conflict well. It could also be because I'm so used to living inside my head that being abruptly pulled out of it puts me in fight-or-flight mode. Whatever the reason, my Phoenix doesn't care. She only knows that she feels threatened, and she goes from nap-to-nasty in the blink of an eye.



This isn't INFJ rage I'm talking about. Our rage takes a long time to rouse, and we've usually given several warnings to the source before we go nuclear. I'm talking about a quick, intense anger--the kind you get when you poke a sleeping bear with a stick. The kind that shoots first and asks questions later. It's not typically who we are.

But it's who we can be.

I've worked hard over the years to curb my Phoenix. When she rises up, I react physically. My face gets hot and my pulse spikes. Sometimes tears come to my eyes. It's a very odd thing to experience. What helped me most in learning to deal with her was raising a special-needs child. Oh, I love that boy to pieces. But he had trouble communicating, which often resulted in unpredictable and aggressive behavior. If you've never been hit without warning by your own child, let me tell you that it's extremely unpleasant. My Phoenix was sorely tested. Over time, though, I learned to shut her down as quickly as she appeared.

Was it easy? Nope. It still isn't. And I can still act very much out of character when I feel attacked. It can be something small, like a snide remark sent my way, or something really difficult, like being criticized in public. The worst part is that even after I shut my Phoenix down, she sits there in her cage. Smoking. Fuming. Ready to ignite at the least provocation. The point is, I'm still dealing with her. Outwardly, I may seem calm or perhaps a tad bit ruffled...while inside, I'm fighting a battle no one else can see.



There's an old story about two wolves that live inside each of us. One is good, the other evil, and the winner is the one we feed the most. But I don't feel that way. I have one beast inside. She's neither good nor evil. She's simply a defense mechanism, designed to protect me. Whether I let her out or keep her locked away is my choice. Whether I shut her down or not is my choice.

Right now? She fuels my ambition. Her passion helps me write, and her instincts drive my stories. I'm harnessing her energy for something greater than myself. That's my choice.

How about you?

Image Credit: Snowy Owl, Fiery Phoenix, The Battle Within

6 comments

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A Olsen
AUTHOR
March 2, 2016 at 11:58 PM delete

I can definitely relate to this!
I've been thinking about how this relates to our cognitive functions as INFJs. Being primarily guided by Ni certainly accounts for the need to be prepared, to not be caught off guard. I imagine that that Ni behavior pairs or groups up with our other functions in the situations you mentioned [Criticism in public (Ni+Fe), being pulled out of our heads (Ni+Se)].

It's difficult sometimes to not get incensed by small things. We're very much all-or-nothing sorts of people, sometimes prone to unintentional black-and-white thinking, and it's good to know that.

However, I love what you said about harnessing that energy. Especially when dealing with our inner worlds, that energy can take us a long way! Until we burn out and realize for the hundredth time that we probably should've paced ourselves.

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Meridian
AUTHOR
March 3, 2016 at 8:44 AM delete

Thank you for this...I sometimes get confused trying to figure out which function(s) are responsible for our behaviors. And being incensed by small things is at the top of the list of things I'd change about myself. Life would be so much more comfortable. :)

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Christy Haupt
AUTHOR
March 3, 2016 at 9:13 AM delete

I hadnt considered it to be "design" and will ruminate on the closing 2 paragraphs. Having spent a handful of years in special education, our responses to outbursts from the kids is trained to be non-reactive. Thought provoking insight, thank you. Very likely fueling my rebuild from the effects of a narcissist.Love the graphics you find! :D

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Meridian
AUTHOR
March 3, 2016 at 10:33 AM delete

I've heard from a lot of INFJs who don't understand their intense reactions. It must be common with us, though it probably manifests in varying degrees. If you worked in Special Ed, then you know how tough it is to keep your game face on. Especially with aggressive behavior. Before hiring respite workers, I always made sure they knew how to keep their cool.

Glad you enjoy the graphics! Did you like the owl? I know how that poor bird feels...

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Diana Long
AUTHOR
March 22, 2016 at 11:51 AM delete

I am so happy to find this blog. I am a 53 year old INFJ who wants, strike that, NEEDS to find others like me. I already see myself, in this first post. Thank you.

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Meridian
AUTHOR
March 22, 2016 at 12:54 PM delete

You're welcome! Glad you're out here and hope you enjoy the posts and community. :)

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