But I read an article about it today that inspired me to write, so here it goes…
Yeah. I’m an INFJ. I know not much stock is put into the Myers-Briggs typing system when it comes to the scholarly study of psychology or sociology. And maybe it means about as much to some people as your Zodiac sign. But Zodiac signs are important to some people…just like religion is important to some people and not others. I’m a natural optimist about life, but I’m also a natural skeptic (that’s actually a trait of INFJ people), so I don’t put a WHOLE lot of faith into any sort of human construct, like a personality typing system, or a religious or political or economic dogma. Things are what they are. But I do realize the human need to categorize things, to order things, to understand things, and to belong. And when I took the Myers-Briggs test for the first time about seven years ago (I took it several times because I thought my first set of INFJ results were a fluke), a lot of my own life and the social struggles I’d always had began making sense, and I felt this great weight lift from me. A huge relief in a wave of self awareness. So those letters have been helpful to me, even if they don’t mean much to other people.
Now onto the specific stuff in the article.
I’ve written about how hard it is for me to open up to people and to trust many times here on the blog. And that article does a great job explaining why it’s still so hard for me to do those things, even KNOWING it’s a huge problem. But I wanted to expand on the part about not flinching.
See…I don’t really ‘test’ too many people in my life very often. That’s NOT something I do on the regular like the article says. But I have decided to trust people with personal narrative before and had them have this reaction…
Or be totally indifferent, which is just as hurtful. Or be benignly unreactive the way I wanted them to be, only to log what I shared to use against me later in some warped power play. Most of the people I did trust, even a little, with some of my inner world, I ended up regretting it. But I wasn’t ‘testing’ THEM. I feel like that was a test I failed. I observed and studied them for a long time (read that article…that’s accurate…I have to know people for a looooooooong time to trust them), and decided they were trustworthy, and I was wrong. Which only makes the next time harder; it only makes it harder for the next person who wants me to trust them to gain it.
But the main thing I wanted to talk about here is that I don’t test people…I observe how they treat people who aren’t me. And that’s why there are few people I trust. I watch to see them flinch at other people’s reveals. I watch to see how cruel they speak and behave about someone else in their absence. I watch to see how readily they dehumanize people who aren’t like them…who they don’t personally know. And I figure…
Well…he victim blames every sexual harassment and assault victim that is publicly discussed…he can’t be trusted.
Well…she criticizes and ridicules every single OTHER person she knows to me, so she is probably criticizing and ridiculing me to THEM…she can’t be trusted.
Well…they don’t believe a person should have life’s bare necessities unless they are working two jobs or have a job that can cover water, food, shelter, and medicine, even with overwhelming evidence that most available jobs don’t pay well, and in the United States at least, most healthcare coverage is inadequate. So a minimum wage job isn’t enough (heck, a job making DOUBLE the minimum wage barely is enough to survive on…if you stay healthy and never have a personal emergency crop up…and we all know that’s super likely)…they can’t be trusted.
Well…he doesn’t think police officers are ever wrong when they use excessive or lethal force…he can’t be trusted.
Well…she openly supports candidates and organizations who want to take away rights from the LGBT+ community…she can’t be trusted.
With me, personally, it’s usually not that I’m testing you to see if you flinch…about ME. I’m actually pretty square and dull and safe. People HAVE flinched about my personal shares before, but it’s usually not that. It’s usually how they flinch about other people. How they show they don’t have integrity about other people. It alerts me that all that flinching and lack of integrity with other people isn’t going to magically disappear with me.
So yeah. I admit that I give up trusting people who repeatedly let me down when I ask things of them (I try not to ask much of other people at all). And it’s still a problem for me to trust people. But I don’t do a lot of testing…to see how they react to knowledge about me. I do a lot of observing to see how they react to knowledge about other people.