[INTJ] INTJs and parenthood

INTJs and parenthood

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This is a discussion on INTJs and parenthood within the INTJ Forum - The Scientists forums, part of the NT's Temperament Forum- The Intellects category; The thought of having kids is probably the most unclear, confusing, and biggest fear that I can think of. I ...

  1. #1

    INTJs and parenthood

    The thought of having kids is probably the most unclear, confusing, and biggest fear that I can think of. I don't feel like I have many fears or anxieties. Usually if I start to feel anxious about something, I'll usually research the shit out of it until I can figure out a definite answer. For children, I still have no answer. Even though I'm an INTJ female, I still consider myself on the more feminine side. I do enjoy many "girly" activities. I love cooking, doing makeup, shopping, dressing up, doing my nails, watching ridiculous rom-coms... you know those type of things. Yet, I am definitely not emotionally available and expressive like other women. I don't know how to relate when it comes to certain emotionally sensitive topics and I have a 'just get over it' type of attitude, which seems very conflicting to a motherly figure. The number one thing that I absolutely can't relate to with other women is when a girlfriend tells me how much they can't wait to be a mom - that they have this unreal maternal instinct within them and they can't wait to have a million kids. Even when I see other kids in public, everyone is asking the parents: "oh my god, he/she is so cute! How old are they? *inserts a million of other questions of interest towards the child," I am almost repulsed/uninterested.

    Right now... I feel stuck. I don't know what I want. I fear the unknown. Everyone says once I have kids, it'll be different... That I'll feel this undying love towards my child and want to sacrifice my time and everything for that child. Will I? How do I know? I know who I am right now. I know I love my alone time, I know I want my freedom and independence, and I know I like to be selfish and think about ME, a lot. How am I so sure it will be different once I have kids? The problem is, I do envision the happiness it'll bring. I love the idea of a family. I love the idea of spreading the love and knowledge I have to offer to my future kids and watching them grow. However, I also had two parents who made me feel extremely misunderstood growing up .. I always felt like there was something wrong with me. They were ESFJ and INFP btw, and it was borderline impossible to relate to them. Growing up now, I just learned to understand their mannerisms and who they are, but growing up and not feeling like I could openly communicate and be ME to my parents as a child/teen was sheer torture. What happens if I have an extremely emotional kid where I need to provide emotional support/empathy but I literally cannot?? I feel like everyone grows up saying that they'll be different from their parents, but then they end up repeating their mistakes. I feel so conflicted. Do I give it a chance to experience true happiness of having my own family and risk regret or do I follow through with my decision to not have kids and risk regretting it years down the road when I'm 60?

    Just hoping somebody could share some insight.
    1. If they shared similar fears as me but then parenthood proved to be extremely amazing and rewarding.
    2. How it's like as a logical parent to deal with an extremely different/emotional child.
    3. If it's not as bad as I'm making it out to me and it's just some childhood trauma that doesn't make me want to put my future kids through what I went through.
    4. Or simply anyone who's empathizing with my fears.

    Thanks.
    Dan E, Gr8ful, Di.Lo and 3 others thanked this post.



  2. #2

    Quote Originally Posted by LA REINE View Post
    The thought of having kids is probably the most unclear, confusing, and biggest fear that I can think of. I don't feel like I have many fears or anxieties. Usually if I start to feel anxious about something, I'll usually research the shit out of it until I can figure out a definite answer. For children, I still have no answer. Even though I'm an INTJ female, I still consider myself on the more feminine side. I do enjoy many "girly" activities. I love cooking, doing makeup, shopping, dressing up, doing my nails, watching ridiculous rom-coms... you know those type of things. Yet, I am definitely not emotionally available and expressive like other women. I don't know how to relate when it comes to certain emotionally sensitive topics and I have a 'just get over it' type of attitude, which seems very conflicting to a motherly figure. The number one thing that I absolutely can't relate to with other women is when a girlfriend tells me how much they can't wait to be a mom - that they have this unreal maternal instinct within them and they can't wait to have a million kids. Even when I see other kids in public, everyone is asking the parents: "oh my god, he/she is so cute! How old are they? *inserts a million of other questions of interest towards the child," I am almost repulsed/uninterested.

    Right now... I feel stuck. I don't know what I want. I fear the unknown. Everyone says once I have kids, it'll be different... That I'll feel this undying love towards my child and want to sacrifice my time and everything for that child. Will I? How do I know? I know who I am right now. I know I love my alone time, I know I want my freedom and independence, and I know I like to be selfish and think about ME, a lot. How am I so sure it will be different once I have kids? The problem is, I do envision the happiness it'll bring. I love the idea of a family. I love the idea of spreading the love and knowledge I have to offer to my future kids and watching them grow. However, I also had two parents who made me feel extremely misunderstood growing up .. I always felt like there was something wrong with me. They were ESFJ and INFP btw, and it was borderline impossible to relate to them. Growing up now, I just learned to understand their mannerisms and who they are, but growing up and not feeling like I could openly communicate and be ME to my parents as a child/teen was sheer torture. What happens if I have an extremely emotional kid where I need to provide emotional support/empathy but I literally cannot?? I feel like everyone grows up saying that they'll be different from their parents, but then they end up repeating their mistakes. I feel so conflicted. Do I give it a chance to experience true happiness of having my own family and risk regret or do I follow through with my decision to not have kids and risk regretting it years down the road when I'm 60?

    Just hoping somebody could share some insight.
    1. If they shared similar fears as me but then parenthood proved to be extremely amazing and rewarding.
    2. How it's like as a logical parent to deal with an extremely different/emotional child.
    3. If it's not as bad as I'm making it out to me and it's just some childhood trauma that doesn't make me want to put my future kids through what I went through.
    4. Or simply anyone who's empathizing with my fears.

    Thanks.
    Let me preface this with the fact that I am a man and while I cannot speak to your female concerns regarding motherhood I am a father of 2 boys and as an INTJ I can provide some insight to some of your concerns for parenthood.

    As cliche as this will sound I think its important to remind you not to allow societal norms and pressures to dictate how you live your life. If you honestly don't want children it's your life. I think you know this. Furthermore, in the same vein, i'd say that "motherhood" is a loosely defined concept. I had a very rigid mother and a more emotional father, I learned a lot from both of them. It's more important that children are raised to be good people and that can come from either parent in varied ways. Simply because you're emotionally reserved doesn't mean that you can't teach them about emotion in other ways, say for example, how to control them, and it certainly doesn't mean you'll be a bad mother. Speaking from experience, i'd argue the contrary.

    Regarding the timing of it all. I can assure you that as an INTJ you will never ever feel ready so don't count on that. Its a cold pool just jump in and figure the shit out the best you can.

    It would be impossible for me to predict how you'll feel emotionally after you have kids. I will say this though, I am a very emotionally reserved person. I am very protective of what i devote emotional availability to. Prior to my first son being born my wife was the person i cared about most in the world. i loved her and still do in the most profound and indescribable way. I devote everything to her. She brings meaning and purpose to my life. I'd do anything for her but if it meant the health and prosperity of my children, I swear to God i'd throw her in front of a bus without a moments hesitation or regret. It's hard not to love your own child even for an INTJ. You may not be able to describe it perfectly or even understand it within yourself fully but it will be there.

    Parenthood is challenging for me without a doubt. It takes every single ounce of mental focus and energy I have some days but there is no one else in the world I'd rather struggle for. I am selfish the same as you but I find outlets for it so that I can be selfless for my sons. Some days I hate it. Some days I wish it all never happened and I lived alone in the woods but then, like today for example, my son will ask whats wrong and I'll respond with a very adult and honest answer knowing full well he doesn't understand and he'll look at me. Hug my leg and say,"its okay daddy. I'll take care of you." He's 3 and he didn't learn that from me or my wife.

    If you really want them don't let your fear of how well you'll perform as a mother or a parent hold you back.

  3. #3

    There are quite a few parents (new and not so new) here, so I hope they will chime in. I don't have children but I've been thinking about these things lately as well so maybe I have something to contribute.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ssaunier View Post
    Parenthood is challenging for me without a doubt. It takes every single ounce of mental focus and energy I have some days but there is no one else in the world I'd rather struggle for. I am selfish the same as you but I find outlets for it so that I can be selfless for my sons. Some days I hate it. Some days I wish it all never happened and I lived alone in the woods but then, like today for example, my son will ask whats wrong and I'll respond with a very adult and honest answer knowing full well he doesn't understand and he'll look at me. Hug my leg and say,"its okay daddy. I'll take care of you." He's 3 and he didn't learn that from me or my wife.
    I believe spending time with young children can significantly influence someone's view on parenthood. Moments like you describe can melt the heart of even the most hardened cynic (I hope). When you know a child personally, suddenly they become much more interesting. I sometimes blabber on about my relative's toddler since I've been living with her for several months. Watching her grow is fascinating and creates a new appreciation for what it means to be a person.

    It is revealing when you have those moments of "where did they learn that?" Kids don't learn only what anyone explicitly teaches them, but synthesize many influences into their own experience and expression. You can see how they will be their own individual as they get older. INTJ respects and admires independence and individuality in themselves and others, and it seems like watching a child develop into that would be rewarding. In addition, INTJ tendencies to always want to learn new things, to optimize and strategize can be well employed in trying to figure out how to care for and teach offspring.

    I share the fears LA REINE describes, I mean I couldn't even take care of a puppy when I was a teenager because I was so terrified of being responsible for another creature - but I've felt differently about it since many of my peers have transitioned into parenthood and I've had more of an opportunity to be around kids. I haven't stopped being afraid (the idea of pregnancy is still off the charts freaky to me), but the potential happiness and participating in life in this new way has began to overtake it.
    LA REINE and Ssaunier thanked this post.

  4. #4

    Quote Originally Posted by Squirt View Post
    There are quite a few parents (new and not so new) here, so I hope they will chime in. I don't have children but I've been thinking about these things lately as well so maybe I have something to contribute.



    I believe spending time with young children can significantly influence someone's view on parenthood. Moments like you describe can melt the heart of even the most hardened cynic (I hope). When you know a child personally, suddenly they become much more interesting. I sometimes blabber on about my relative's toddler since I've been living with her for several months. Watching her grow is fascinating and creates a new appreciation for what it means to be a person.

    It is revealing when you have those moments of "where did they learn that?" Kids don't learn only what anyone explicitly teaches them, but synthesize many influences into their own experience and expression. You can see how they will be their own individual as they get older. INTJ respects and admires independence and individuality in themselves and others, and it seems like watching a child develop into that would be rewarding. In addition, INTJ tendencies to always want to learn new things, to optimize and strategize can be well employed in trying to figure out how to care for and teach offspring.

    I share the fears LA REINE describes, I mean I couldn't even take care of a puppy when I was a teenager because I was so terrified of being responsible for another creature - but I've felt differently about it since many of my peers have transitioned into parenthood and I've had more of an opportunity to be around kids. I haven't stopped being afraid (the idea of pregnancy is still off the charts freaky to me), but the potential happiness and participating in life in this new way has began to overtake it.
    This is so accurate! Parenthood is truly one of the paradigm shifting occurrences one can experience. And just like anything I find myself diving into, researching, and trying to solve or simplify parenthood is an ongoing marvel. It is utterly fascinating to watch my sons grow and learn and see them begin to shape the world. I'm never bored with it.
    LA REINE, Kenkao and Squirt thanked this post.

  5. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by Ssaunier View Post
    This is so accurate! Parenthood is truly one of the paradigm shifting occurrences one can experience. And just like anything I find myself diving into, researching, and trying to solve or simplify parenthood is an ongoing marvel. It is utterly fascinating to watch my sons grow and learn and see them begin to shape the world. I'm never bored with it.
    Yes. Just get it over with, @LA REINE . You'll change, your body, your mind, your chemical coctails, your neurons, all will suddenly 'rewired' into being a parent. Trust your Ni, it will solve all the puzzle for you when the time came. Cheers! Because it will be rewarding.

    Sent using Tapatalk
    LA REINE thanked this post.

  6. #6

    Quote Originally Posted by LA REINE View Post
    Just hoping somebody could share some insight.
    1. If they shared similar fears as me but then parenthood proved to be extremely amazing and rewarding.
    2. How it's like as a logical parent to deal with an extremely different/emotional child.
    3. If it's not as bad as I'm making it out to me and it's just some childhood trauma that doesn't make me want to put my future kids through what I went through.
    4. Or simply anyone who's empathizing with my fears.

    Thanks.
    Many similar points to what I have been thinking have already been mentioned but here I go anyway.

    "I think its important to remind you not to allow societal norms and pressures to dictate how you live your life."


    Its not the 1800s, women aren't (shouldn't be) expected to subject their bodies to having kids anymore. So don't feel as though you have to. Also hey, adoption is a thing.


    "You'll change, your body, your mind, your chemical cocktails, your neurons, all will suddenly 'rewired' into being a parent."


    When you have a child you will change, you essentially become a dog guarding her litter. You wont care about anything apart from that squalling ball of meat.

    I personally hope to never have children. Maybe one day I may consider adoption but slim chance of that. Often having children is something I see as hugely irresponsible and selfish. There aren't any good reasons for having kids now days. Why would people even want to consider bringing another human into this world to suffer.
    contradictionary and HBMe thanked this post.

  7. #7

    No problem with personal life choice @NeonMidget , especially when it come from the deepest thought and reflection.

    Life is a suffering indeed...






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    NeonMidget thanked this post.

  8. #8

    Quote Originally Posted by NeonMidget View Post

    I personally hope to never have children. Maybe one day I may consider adoption but slim chance of that. Often having children is something I see as hugely irresponsible and selfish. There aren't any good reasons for having kids now days. Why would people even want to consider bringing another human into this world to suffer.
    I get tired of this argument. I have yet to meet anyone that gave me this type of statement that wasn't masquerading their personal choices/feelings as a moral pronouncement (that is, everyone who has told me this isn't someone that wanted children but couldn't because of "ethics", although I'd love to meet someone with such conviction. I plan to see First Reformed as it takes this idea to a logical extreme, where a father wants his wife to abort a baby due to fears about climate change).

    Nowadays, in many countries we have much more control over timing of births, meaning families can be in a better position to care for children before having them, and in addition to that we enjoy increased survivability that creates a lower incentive to have many children in poor conditions, compared to 100 - 200 years ago, even 50 years ago. These trends are starting to spread over the entire globe, meaning our population will stabilize eventually. Presuming that the best course of action for those living under these conditions is to avoid producing children is unfortunate.

    If I told a woman from an economically disadvantaged region, perhaps even in a war zone that experiences violence every day, that I'm not having children because it's selfish, that there is suffering in the world and my child might experience it (even though I live so well-insulated), and because of overpopulation, I imagine she'd call me an idiot. She'd ask if she could trade places with me so she can enjoy motherhood with safe and healthy children while I can validate my existential guilt through actual suffering.

    Instead, I take her children and feel absolved.

    So, I really don't want to hear morality plays on whether it is justified to have children at all.
    Last edited by Squirt; 08-02-2018 at 01:25 AM.
    BlackDog, lilysocks, ukulele and 3 others thanked this post.

  9. #9

    INTJ male with ENFP and eSFP kids.

    Obviously it's a highly personal thing, so just my 2c worth.

    On the logical side, none of the arguments around over population / suffering for not having kids make much sense to me personally. Never been a better time to be alive and I don't intend to make a meaninglessly trivial contribution to easing some perceived population issue.

    Relationships and serving others seem to bring most ultimate fulfillment to most people. I can support kids well and give them a great go at life. But I obviously this isnt everyone's view which is cool.

    Main decision making for me is from Fi though on kids. I love being a Dad. It is the best thing about my life, more so than I could have anticipated. The sense of fulfillment and purpose is massive. But I did know I wanted to be a father before, it was part of the plan. Career and other interests (not many) seemed important before. Now I push them hard but only around family.

    Pushing hard to be a good husband, Dad to extroverts and have a big career is exhausting. I needed to adjust and did. Sure there are hard moments. But the good times are so good. Big picture, no question is worth it for me.

    On not being 'feely' and being a bad parent as a result? My Fi was coming out before and has strengthened massively since being a parent. Suppose I probably still Te most, but I use Fi consciously (and increasingly well) heaps. No big T on F issues with the kids. I've got plenty of F and I know they feel it. They benefit from my T, I bring balance. Will admit, I do have great Fe support from my wife.

    It's a big decision. Best of luck.
    Last edited by OutlawTorn; 08-02-2018 at 06:30 AM.

  10. #10

    I share your thoughts, but most of my angst comes from

    1. fear of being like my mother
    2. dislike of children
    3. knowing that I prefer a free life and likely wouldn't make as many sacrifices I've seen other mothers make while growing up

    Spending time with kids killed #2. I was an assistant teacher and would help my good friend's mom with her at home daycare. #1 is about getting over oneself and moving on with life. If you don't want to repeat the mistakes from your childhood, then don't.

    So the fears no longer exist and now I'm left with my preference - the things I want and don't want. Becoming a parent is a choice (outside of extenuating circumstances). I couldn't imagine making a deliberate choice to fall pregnant and then neglect my duties because I don't 'feel' like being a parent. That's irresponsible and it has a major negative affect on the hypothetical life I brought into the world. Just by doing this, you've become what you wanted to avoid.

    So simply, don't be irresponsible or harmful to your kid. I could be simplifying the solution, but you could be over-complicating it on your end.

    btw, what's your friend-group like? You said that you like the idea of a family because yours wasn't so hot, but I don't think having a baby will fix most of that.
    Necrofantasia, LA REINE and Squirt thanked this post.


     
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