Quick Tips #12: Am I INFP or INFJ?

January 25, 2017

 Question: I've been going round in circles about whether I'm INFP or INFJ, and I would like some help working out what's going on. I realize this a bit of an old chestnut, but I have not found a way out of this on my own. Because this group seems to be reliably supportive, and because this loop won't go away, I am taking the risk today.

 

"I generally test as INFP, but I had a session with a trained MBTI person who said 99% sure I'm INFJ. When I did INFx unveiled I decided that I would not fret about it as the work was the same. The course was, in fact, highly effective for me, and I am about to start a new job which is more gentle on me but still lets me use my people skills to help a mental health organisation be more effective. For some reason it has become very important to resolve the question about which type I am, just at the moment when I am changing my life. 

 

I identify with the ethics emphasis of Fi, but I tend to be tactful rather than honest. I would rather erase myself than impose myself. Having said that I have a reputation among my (very few) friends for saying what I really think against social pressure. I tend to be almost silent in conversation, or ask questions to encourage further disclosure. 

 

My thinking is visual - I have to translate it into words to express it. I tend to prefer simple words, as it is important to me that others understand and are not put off by unnecessary jargon.

 

I can only express my own feelings when I trust the person I am talking to not to think they understand before they do, and that takes a long time. I am fundamentally afraid that if other people give me feedback, then I will not be able to resist being pulled along by their certainty into an inauthentic path for me. I believe that this has happened multiple times in my life. I do not tend to stand up for political or moral issues, but prefer to try to embody what I think is the best way to be in the world. I know inside what that is, and have a strong drive to be that way, but I find it difficult to express it in terms that my thinker family members would understand. 

 

I express myself most honestly in my hobby of textile art, i.e. metaphorically. I am currently making a series of coats called 'so you think you know me" which shows how different people are on the inside. There's a great deal of trouble that would not happen if we really understood that about other people.

 

Colleagues describe me as calm, sensitive & diplomatic. I have always known that I can see patterns about people and human interactions that others cannot see, and have been sought out from school age for my advice about relationships. I so very much wish to avoid conflict that I work in the open plan office (rather than my own office) to fend off disagreements or stressful circumstances before they start. I can see who is discontented before they speak, and can often guess what it is about. I'm one of those people who think they can understand where paedophiles and addicts are coming from, while of course despising their actions. I have much higher standards for myself than for other people.

 

When I am stressed I overindulge in chocolate, exercise, sleep and sex. And sometimes, when overwhelmed by my responsibilities, I get irritable and picky. 

 

So, I identify more strongly with INFJ functions, but the very fact of this uncertainty about myself suggests I am a seeker/ INFP, and so many of the behaviours are similar. Or could this be some kind of loop? Or perhaps this is all a red herring covering up my fear of starting a new career at my age (52). Can you help?”

 

That’s a long question but it’s a very good question. I’m going to be very short with my answer because I am 99% sure that you are an INFJ based on these two points:

 

#1 Inner Child

 

When we get triggered we go down into our tertiary and inferior processes.

 

The inferior process is all about senses. So when you are in your 3 year old space, you indulge yourself in a behaviour which is all about senses i.e. chocolate, exercise, sleep and sex.

 

INFJ's tertiary process is your 10 year old accuracy and when overwhelmed with responsibilities, you become irritable and picky.

 

What I see happening here is that your 10 year old inner child is trying to understand how everything works so that she can make a decision. Because your harmony process isn’t very strong at the moment to make the grown up decisions that you need to make, your 10 year old is making your predominant decisions in your life.

 

You might be trying to divert your attention away from actually taking steps in the outside world by having conversations about it and trying to figure things out first. So I would like to encourage you to take the steps and be there for your inner children to support them through the change.

 

I strongly recommend that you start to work on your harmony process, which is an extroverted process. This will take you into the new career and so much further than your 10 year old can.

 

#2 Chameleon Effect

 

Many INFJs struggle with the chameleon effect and can get lost in the influence of the people surrounding us.

 

The reason you are having so many INFP kind of flashes might be because you are or have been surrounded by INFPs in your life. You have learnt behaviour patterns that mirror what the INFP’s are doing. You have felt their feelings like they were your own.

 

 

You are about to step into something that’s more authentic to you compared to what you have done before. It’s scary because you are doing this for yourself.

 

I’m glad you have done the INFx Unveiled course introducing you to the concept of the inner child and hope my answer helps you go forward.

 

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