Drawing Parallels

I typically shrink away from physical contact, but hugs from children are different, I’ve come to find.   It’s borne out of such innocence, which makes it trustworthy.

Some time ago, I told a pretty, little ENFP child that she’s smart.  “I’m not smart,” she responded softly.  In that moment, it was as though my ceramic heart cracked.  “You are smart,” I emphasised, but she shook her head.  She told me that I’m friendly.  « Je ne suis pas gentille.  Tu es gentille, plus gentille. »  I said to her, and placed a hand lightly on her shoulder.  She held my arm, and I knew it was a moment so I held onto hers as well, and she said, “You are good at your work, you are a good person, and you are a good friend.”  I looked at this sweet, little ENFP, thinking about how she’ll learn to intuitively tell what truly matters to others as she grows, and gave a smile and nod.

There was this other time when another bright, little child stopped slurping her spaghetti, looked up at me and said, “You have something here,” while tapping the side of her lips.  I looked at her, saw her chin and cheeks covered in a beard of pasta sauce, and burst out laughing.

When talking to two adult INFJs on separate occasions about my experiences with children, they each said, “You’re a good person, you know?”  Ah, the NFs and being a good person.  “You’re just like Katniss,” one of them commented, which is amazing — that they see the resemblance, that they understand.

As I retreat further into myself, my world becomes smaller and I feel more alone. As I retreat further into myself, I then truly become more alone. The connections I make through work fuels me, yet the sadness persists. I’m caught in the land in-between, sinking further down into the soil. Some have come to me with their problems, some while crying. I feel sad for them, but I also wonder why they feel comfortable enough with me. Shouldn’t I, a stone-cold INTJ, be the last person others would want to approach with emotional issues? Perhaps it’s the environment we’re in — the conducive atmosphere. From an outsider’s perspective, it must seem like such a bizarre setting. I feel like a fraud helping them. I am in no way qualified to do so, and I’m much more troubled and unhealthy than they are. It’s strange, isn’t it?



Writing on this blog provides some comfort. Some faux socialisation. Who exactly am I talking to? I don’t know. Who am I reaching out to? I’m not sure. It’s when I stop permanently that I’ll know it’s the end. This is all I have.

It’s funny how others perceive me as being overly secretive about myself when I would open up everything about myself, provided there’s trust in the relationship. I am selective, not secretive. I once discussed this with an ENFP, who said that they would never open up entirely to someone else, that it’d be too vulnerable. We talked about how strange that was, about how it’s the exact opposite that others would perceive us to be.

When I talk about relationships, people automatically associate it with the romantic sort. What exactly it means, I do not know. The physical nature of things scares me. I’m averse to it. I prefer staying in the cerebral realm.

I’m unlikeable and unloveable. It’s awkward admitting it out loud since it’s a somewhat taboo thing to say and it can come across as though it’s fishing for compliments. I’ve always said, since I was little, that if I were someone else, I wouldn’t want to be friends with myself. And I understand. I am obnoxious and annoying. It just hurts to be on this end of the pole sometimes.

Like a can that’s been left on an empty shelf, the longer it remains on the shelf, the more people would pass over it. Who would want an old, dusty can that’s near its expiration date? I wouldn’t want that. I see other solo cans on faraway shelves as well. Like damaged goods. Forgotten, left behind, and passed by. I wish I could reach out to them. I wish I could help them. But I’m not strong enough. I’m dented and rusting, just like they are. And together, we continue rusting, until we rust no longer.

Hospital Roommates

I must have been 13 or 14 when I was first admitted to hospital.  In juxtaposition with my rather traumatic second hospitalisation, it was quite a pleasant experience overall.

I was first roomed with a girl about my age, just a few years older.  It was odd sharing a room with someone else.  I’d always had a room of my own.  She described me as “cheerful”, “always smiling”, and “happy-go-lucky”.  Upon her discharge, she invited me to hang out with her and her group of friends sometime, but I knew that what she saw and liked was only my mask.  I must have declined when she texted me some time after that.

After having the room to myself for a couple of days, a new roommate was admitted.  She was an adult, probably in her 20s or 30s, though at my age then, the adults were just adults and I didn’t/couldn’t really discern the differences.  She spoke different languages so we couldn’t really communicate fluidly, but even so, we somehow managed to bond with each other.  Some of the other adults commented that she shared the same name with John Lennon’s wife, which wasn’t something I understood at that time as I didn’t know much about and wasn’t fond of The Beatles yet.  She chuckled and said that I was too young to know this and that it was before my time (and probably hers, in retrospect).

One day, she was wheeled back to our room unconscious from her procedure (a procedure that she was nervous about), then strapped in with restraints on her waist and wrists, and left to recuperate on her own.  A while later, I heard her panic and struggle, and I rushed to her bedside.  She looked freaked out and confused, and was straining to break loose from her restraints.  I tried to comfort and soothe her, and explained that she was in a hospital.  I tried to tell her the things I knew about her to help her remember.  She remembered my name partially, which calmed her down slightly as she felt that she could trust me, that I was a pillar she could grasp onto.  I glanced at her bedside table, remembered what was in her drawer, and took out a photo of her baby.  I showed it to her and talked to her about her son.  Slowly, her memories started trickling in.  During that whole time, I felt out of place and at a total loss of what to do.  (In hindsight, I was just a child back then.)  Since I didn’t know what else I could do, I proceeded to take my leave after she had calmed down sufficiently, but she grabbed onto me in a panic and asked if I could stay with her for a while longer.  So I agreed and stayed by her side.

After that ordeal, she had frequent fainting spells and nausea.  One day, when her husband was visiting her with their baby, she ran into the bathroom while her husband stood by the doorway watching, with the baby in his arms.  I went in to check on her and found her kneeling on the bathroom floor retching into the toilet bowl.  Again, at a loss of what to do, I knelt down beside her, saw that her hair was getting in the way, so I held her hair back.  I don’t remember what I said in an effort to comfort her, but she stiffened all at once and then fell across my lap.  My reaction hadn’t been quick enough to catch her, so when she roused later with the nurses’ help, I felt bad when, touching the swollen lump on her temple, she asked me if she had bumped her head on something when she blacked out.

When the time came for me to be discharged, she held on to me and asked if I could stay with her longer.  So we came up with a plan to ask the doctor if I could extend my stay for a little while when he made his rounds.  The response we got was that my funds were running low and that it was better that I leave.  Disappointed, we exchanged phone numbers and promised to keep in contact.  I gave her a burger plushie as a parting gift and told her that I had a larger version at home.  Hearing that made her happy and she said that we could always remember each other when we looked at them.

Time passed and we lost contact after a while.  I still think of her from time to time over the years and wonder how she’s doing.  I have no way of finding her as all I have is her first name, aside from the shared memories and connection.  I hope she’s well.

“Is it because you’re a woman?”

My phone buzzed.  It was a text from a colleague (this colleague) sent hours before, asking if he could give me a call.  It sounded like there was an urgent matter at work.  I glanced at the clock — it was 10 at night.  I texted him back, apologising that I had only just seen his text, and asked if it was alright to call him then, knowing that he would have just ended work about that time and would have been making his way home.  He replied saying that he was currently on his commute and would get off at the next stop to give me a call.

“It’s that urgent?” I thought.

I told him I didn’t mind waiting for him to get home first, that he needn’t disrupt his commute.  But it was too late.

My phone rang.

When I picked up his call, I was hit at once with an accusatory question.  He asked if something had happened with the group of corporate clients I’d recently taken (who happened to all be men).  I thought back to the laughs the clients and I had, and responded with a “No”.  He didn’t seem to take my word for it so I stressed that “Nothing happened”.  He explained that their corporation had sent an email requesting for a change in representatives (i.e. me), and questioned again if I had done something wrong.  Insulted, I explained that it was news to me as well since everything had been going well.  He didn’t go into much detail about the email but instead asked,

Is it because you’re a woman?

Astounded, “No” was my response again.  (When I related this conversation to an ENFP, “What?!  He’s sexist!” was their reaction.)  He proceeded to tell me that he would try to sort matters out and that my meetings with them were terminated with immediate effect.  The phone call ended with a pitiful apology from him,

Sorry, INTJargon.  Sorry that this happened to you.

I had to get him to repeat that a few times as I could not clearly hear nor comprehend what he was saying and insinuating.  When it finally dawned on me what he was indeed conveying, “Okay” was my response.

After the phone call, I tried to figure out what had just occurred and came to the realisation that I hadn’t met these clients for 3 weeks, so whatever matters they’d brought up in the email mustn’t have been that urgent or drastic after all.  This colleague wasn’t aware of that as the meetings had been conducted externally.

When I arrived at the headquarters some time after, I took the opportunity to ask an admin what exactly had transpired.  This was what I learned: She told me that the clients were actually happy with me, that they mentioned there were lots of laughter during our meetings, but that the weaker half of the group was holding everyone back as I couldn’t translate well enough (a fair point), so they decided to ask to switch to someone else who could translate more fluently (which was understandable).  She said that they even requested for another woman which, in this case, I was glad to hear as it was a direct denouncement of the colleague’s condemnation.  So it wasn’t a big deal after all, and before I could even finish trying to express my thoughts on how the colleague handled the matter, she interjected with, “He’s a drama queen,” which I agreed with enthusiastically.

I’ve since come to realise that this colleague is an ENFJ 2w3 (and not an ENFP as I’d previously thought).  And I’ve also mentioned quite some time ago how my correspondence with 2w3s usually goes.

A Group of Strangers

There once was a group of strangers whom I met with periodically.  It was comprised of:

  • an ENTP 7 leader
  • an INFJ 4 co-leader
  • an ISFP 9
  • two other IxTPs
  • and me, an INTJ 5

Apart from it being an Fe-heavy group, I was also the only female.  The group didn’t take well to my Te way of communicating and I was consistently misunderstood.  Rather than exiting prematurely, I made myself stay and tried to work on improving my communication and interpersonal skills — ‘tried’ being the operative word.

Things turned sour pretty quickly and rather early on.  The ENTP 7 felt as though I was constantly attacking him and he blew up at me in the end, making outrageous and ad hominem arguments that caused me to leave the party with finality.  To quote the accurate depiction of the compatibility issues between a 5 and a 7:

In the lower Levels, Fives can see Sevens as too escapist, superficial, intrusive, and coarse. The Seven wants the Five to be more fun so that their experience will be more positive. Sevens embarrass Fives by being too effusive and glib. On the other hand, Sevens think Fives are cold and unresponsive. Conflicts with each other’s style make both dig in their heels: Sevens become more demanding and pushy, whereas Fives become more withdrawn and uncooperative. Sevens may act out to get the Five’s attention, but they may go too far causing Fives to close the door. A lack of trust and difficulty in finding a safe common ground to work out differences makes things worse as both types tend to take extreme, well-defended positions.  (Reference)

Because I didn’t bother to stay and explain myself or defuse the situation, he held the power to influence the rest.  I merely muttered some pleasantries and then upped and left.

When I was still part of the group, I made attempts to connect with the ISFP 9 — he was my only Fi buddy in the troop.  But it was difficult; he had his own problems and was cut off from his own emotions.  I don’t think he liked me all that much, and so:

Unless there is an intense reason to see each other frequently, the stubbornness, inertia, and autonomy issues of the Nine will mix with the withdrawal, detachment, and indifference of the Five and the relationship will wither away.  (Reference)

The INFJ 4 tried to urge the others to be more J-like, which I was irked by even though I, too, was a J — the only other J there.  I was aware that the rest were Ps and that it wasn’t their natural way of functioning, that they wouldn’t appreciate it and that they would find it stifling.  When I first met him though, it was like my ears perked up in anticipation and excitement.  I knew almost instantaneously that he was an INFJ, and was filled with intrigue.  Within what seemed like mere minutes, he started to find me offensive.  Misunderstanding after misunderstanding on his part began piling up.  He asked if I was happy; I gave a direct and honest answer.  I tossed the question back at him; he beat around the bush, said that he was, and emphasised it for good measure, as though trying to convince himself of it as well.  But I knew that a happy NF wouldn’t be treating another this badly.  After many tries, I finally had to close the door on him.  It was only after this turning point that it seemed to dawn on him the mistakes and misjudgements he made.  This was how it transpired:

Each time upon leaving our meet-up, the group of us would always walk a distance in the same direction until the point where I split off from them and headed towards a different direction.  At the end of what was to become the last meeting before the big blow up, we all headed off together in the same direction, but when the rest of the group started to split off in the other direction, the INFJ 4 stayed by my side.  The ENTP 7 turned back and asked if the INFJ 4 was going with them, to which the INFJ 4 replied that he was going to hang back and take a cab instead.  I stiffened, knowing that it was his attempt to talk to me.  The ENTP 7 raised his brows, peered at me and then back at the INFJ 4, shook his head and walked off.  “Is this what it feels like to be an adult?  Is this what adulthood is like?” I thought.  Both the ENTP 7 and INFJ 4 had a wife, and this would have been the furthest thing that I’d have done; it’s so unlike me.  The INFJ 4 noticed the ENTP 7’s reaction but didn’t respond to it.

When it was just the two of us, I immediately started to think of how to escape.  I didn’t wish to talk to him.  It was too late; I’d already closed the door on him.  He started making small talk.  I responded but could tell that he wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying, that the mental gears were churning in his mind about how to broach whatever topic he intended to talk to me about.

Escape Attempt #1: Failed

I tried hinting that I was tired, asked if he was tired as well but didn’t wait for his response and continued by saying that I had an early day the next day too.  He knew what I was trying to do and smiled.

Escape Attempt #2: Saved by the bell!

I confirmed with him whether he was taking a cab and turned to see an available cab driving down the road towards us.  I grabbed his elbow (lightly) — his eyes widened in a stunned look — and walked him out onto the road to hail the cab for him.

That was the last I saw of him.  I sometimes wonder what he wanted to say, if he wanted to apologise, and how much he realised that he had been wrong about.

(The Four’s) emotional florid reactions confronting (the Five’s) emotional detachment and rational analysis quickly get to an impasse that may spiral into a breakup.  (Reference)

The Clock is Ticking

I’m barely doing anything.  Nothing substantial, really.  I have neither the internal nor the external resources left.  All I see is a life of monotony, of mediocrity, of stagnation.   That is not a life worth living.  I’m merely drifting.  But it isn’t about me.  It’s much bigger than that. 

The clock is ticking.

I often wonder why I post here, why I pour out my innermost thoughts here.  It’s a form of brain dumping, in an effort to keep me from bursting, to release some of the built-up pressure within me, to make it a little more bearable in the meantime.  Then comes the next question: Why do I make them public?  Attention is not what I seek; I prefer to slip into the shadows and morph into the background.  Help is not what I want; I’m past the point of no return.  What it is is that I’m still holding on to that sliver of hope, of longing, that someone will understand.

The clock is ticking.

I came across a post recently, about how:

She is eating their words on an empty stomach, glorifying the taste out of desperation, but she knows… that an empty stomach accepts anything edible.

That is an accurate depiction of how communication is to me.  Social interaction is a human need, yet to partake in or be starved of it—both are tormenting.  Redundancy is something I despise.  And still I keep repeating myself and walking round in circles.

The clock is ticking.


Circular Logic

Round the roundabout, we go.

If I’m the one unable to form a relationship, and others are capable of doing so, then it must really just be me, isn’t it?

If I’m the one who’s getting hurt at the littlest of things, and they have close relationships, then it must just be my hypersensitivity, isn’t it?

If I’m the one who’s not understood, while they have others who understand them, then it really is my fault, isn’t it?

If I’m always the common denominator, then I’m the only one to blame, isn’t it?

If I’m not doing anything about it, then it is my doing, isn’t it?