The Intensity of Intensive Training

I spent the week at an intensive training program, and I learned so much — not about the course material and not about myself, but about how others perceive me. It’s so intense and startling that it hurts.

They found me insightful and intelligent. That the way I spoke was metaphorical and wise, that I had such a different and unique perspective and understanding, that my words conveyed such depth and meaning. They wowed when I spoke up, as though the measly thoughts of mine that I tried so hard to translate and push out were otherworldly.

The other INTJ there had the same impact on the room. It was amazing meeting another INTJ. The intensity; the depth; the mutual understanding. I learned so much about him and from him in that short span of time.

I made other connections too. Some sought me out and I also selected a few whom I liked and gravitated towards. With my knowledge, I helped them understand themselves better and eased their confusion. I seem to like the quiet ones. The little things we did for one another held so much more meaning and sincerity — those connections bore so much deeper. One said that consultancy work giving advice to others would suit me very well. Those words mean a lot.

An ENFP expressed his concern and asked me some cutting questions (in a good way). What are you going to do with all this insightful knowledge that you have? But I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary; I merely read the books, made the connections, and understood them. If others do the same, they’ll easily see it too. That’s where you’re wrong. It may seem obvious to you, but it isn’t so for others.

They questioned why I was so quiet and so private. I was the sole enigma in the room. In an effort to hide in the shadows, I somehow attracted their attention and piqued their interest.

At the end, the program drew to a close and so did the connections. I’m left questioning the oddity of the drastic differences in how I perceive myself and how others perceive me, as well as how I thought others perceive me. Why has it changed? What has changed? And most importantly, now what?

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The NFs (and the INTJ)

It’s perplexing how most of the INFJs and ENFPs I’ve met lack an understanding and acceptance of the many different ways people function. And yet, they remain popular, well-liked, and regarded as wise.

They live in their NF bubble and try to mould others to become more NF in their ways, like Pygmalion. When their efforts are for naught and the other person remains unreceptive to their sculpting attempts, they become passive-aggressive and make jabs behind the person’s back. Other times, they spurt lava aggressively on the other person in retaliation to attacks, real or perceived. If it gets really bad, the volcano in them erupts. I’ve not hung around long enough to experience a full-fledged eruption and I can only imagine the damage it’d cause. I still have a fondness and admiration for these two types though, at least theoretically.

As for the INFPs, it’s like walking on eggshells. They remain distant and hard to reach. I seem to offend them with my assertiveness and use of Te (extroverted thinking). And I’ve not knowingly met any ENFJs.

On a side note, I think I’ve finally met a fellow INTJ, and a female one at that! It’s kind of odd to see a mirror image of myself in someone else. She’s much more accomplished and well-adapted than I am, and significantly older, but we’ve gotten along pretty well thus far. I can see past her “cold” and logical exterior into her gooey insides easily, and perhaps she can see mine too. This is one opportunity I must seize and not let slip past.

Left Picking Up the Shattered Pieces

Have you ever shared something so precious with another,
only to have it be attacked?

There’s something precious that I keep within me and is a part of me. It’s a small fragile sphere made of glass that glows dimly.

glass-ball

I reached into my core, carefully took it out, and presented it to him. I choose who to show it to and I decided to share it with him. He grabbed it roughly and crushed it in his hands. Shards of glass fell onto the floor.

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I stood there stunned and motionless. His questions cut deeper than those shards. Accusations laced his words. Accusations that what I do is meaningless, that I find no meaning in what I do, that I’m merely doing it for superficialities, for material gains.

I picked up the shattered pieces and retreated deep into my shell.

The Fe-Fi Divide

Lately, two new INFJs have waltzed into my life whom I get along quite well with. I wonder what’s different about these two in comparison to the dozens of others I know presently and from the past, and I have a few guesses. I doubt, though, that our relationship will go deeper or last for long. But for now, I’m enjoying their company.

I think I come across to them as insightful, since they’re not familiar with the MBTI and I have much to say about it. I haven’t really found anything they said to me particularly insightful, so the relationships are a little one-sided.

One thing odd is that I give them relationship advice. How absurd. Aren’t INFJs the ones who are supposed to have exceptional interpersonal skills? I recently spent a couple of hours talking with one of them about their feelings and relationship troubles, and I was giving advice throughout — sound advice, if I might add. How ironic. I seem to understand so much so quickly. I even seem to understand their long-term partners more than they do, although I’ve never/barely met or interacted with them. How peculiar — not of me, but of them and how little they know about the inner-workings of their decade-long (or two) partners. Aren’t INFJs supposed to read others effortlessly? During the two-hour long conversation, the INFJ confided that they feel burdened when their partner talks about their own feelings for an extended period of time, and would stop the partner. My gosh, Fe. I later pointed out and juxtaposed the length and topic of our conversation, much to the INFJ’s astonishment.

They don’t seem aware of my overwhelming sadness. They’ve had glimpses of and expressed their sadness with a couple of things I’ve mentioned to them about myself, but I don’t think they’re aware of its omnipresence.

The way Fe consoles irks me. “괜찮아, everything will be alright” doesn’t work, at least not for me. It’s a dismissal of my feelings and makes me crawl back into my shell. As an enneagram type 5, I deal with problems by turning to knowledge and information. This hoarding of information doesn’t translate much into practical use for me, so I retreat to hoard more information. It is the way I function and deal with things, but it’s not helping, so 어떡해? I understand and read people pretty well, yet still lack the practical skills to communicate and interact with others. Isn’t it strange?

I am neither here nor there
Neither living nor dead
Neither present nor absent
Friend nor foe
Intelligent nor unintelligent

I live high up in the clouds
Peering at those down below
Wishing not to be here
Nor down below

Describing Introverted Feeling (Fi)

Imagine a jellyfish with its tentacles gliding through the waters, or the tree in Avatar with its tendrils gently swaying in the breeze. That is how introverted feeling (Fi) feels like to me.

I walk around with these tentacles — these tendrils — floating about me. One reaches out selectively to connect deeply with another, to feel what the other is feeling, to empathise and understand. It is my choice who I send a tendril out to touch and connect with, and only one entity at a time. It is intense as the emotions wash over. Sometimes, I meet others who have these vines floating around them too. They don’t always send a vine out (and neither do I), but when both vines connect, there is a deeply felt shared moment.

This connection through tendrils is not limited by time or space. It doesn’t have to happen at the same time, same place, or in-person. It travels through written words, through asynchronous communication, through others, through visuals, through music, through touch.

Emotions are immensely private and personal. Hurt cuts deep inside. Only trusted individuals are given access to a window buried deep within. Opening up is no small matter, and it’s incredibly difficult to translate into words.

I noticed a positive change in someone recently, and I exchanged some pleasantries about it. I could tell that she was very happy about it and that I had noticed. I then spent the next 20 minutes or so pondering how to clearly convey what I was feeling inside. At the end, I mustered the courage to start but then faltered midway. I frowned and looked down, trying to push out the words that I’ve rehearsed. She frowned too, perhaps mirroring my expression and/or out of confusion. I eventually managed to deliver my line and when I looked up, we both smiled at each other and there was that moment of connection and mutual understanding. These are special moments.

(Video that sparked inspiration;
Talk on Enneagram Type 5;
Documentary on ‘Finding Vivian Maier’)