The Bubble Phenomena

The Bubble Phenomena

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This is a discussion on The Bubble Phenomena within the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers forums, part of the Keirsey Temperament Forums category; I was having a fascinating conversation with my ISFJ mother this evening... sometimes Si and intuition can intersect in a ...

  1. #1

    The Bubble Phenomena

    I was having a fascinating conversation with my ISFJ mother this evening... sometimes Si and intuition can intersect in a really interesting way.
    We were talking about my lifelong expanding bubble, and what causes people in general to either shrink or expand their boundaries?
    For instance, my mother was taught as a child to shrink herself down out of the way to avoid "being a nuisance"... so even though she's pretty introverted, she doesn't react when people encroach on her space.
    Note: This goes beyond physical space and into mental space as well, including the sharing of thoughts and feelings.

    On the other hand, I was originally given a lot of personal space and freedom as a child, followed by a traumatic few years where there simply wasn't such a thing as privacy or non-participation. Where nothing was mine and others had the right to interfere.
    One particular incident occurred when I was 15, reading a book in a rare moment of solitude... and a lady came over to bug me. "What are you reading?" she asked, and I, being super engrossed and therefore annoyed, uttered one of the few sarcastic comments of my entire teenager-hood, saying "A book".
    Cue the dramatics! I later received a dressing down from the boss lady, who also yelled at my mom, for making the lady cry from my "meanness". LOL

    Once this oppressive phase of my life was over, around the age of 17, my requirements for personal space just exploded. Suddenly I wanted maximum distance in public places, and to have more & more time alone (above normal introversion), just so I could keep the things and experiences that were mine, my own.

    It's odd to compare this to my mom who remained more accepting throughout her whole life, despite the emotional abuse she had suffered.

    So this left us wondering... what factors influence the way a person responds to personal bubble invasions, as well as other boundaries, besides E/I?
    Is there perhaps an age range where certain experiences are more impactful?
    Do you think people ever grow out of needing... I want to call it "therapy space"?

    What circumstances have affected you and the way you monitor / control / accept others in your "space", and what do you consider your space to be? Does it go beyond the physical?
    Llyralen and AnneM thanked this post.



  2. #2

    Interesting! Especially since I was using bubbles in a completely different analogy last night. The plot thickens!

    I was told in my 20s that I don’t give people enough personal space (physically). I was more careful after that, but it’s funny what just “feels natural” and how strange it feels to take a distance that doesn’t feel comfortable to yourself. Intellectually I feel like I can gage what people want to tell me and what they don’t, luckily. What I want to tell them or don’t.... I think that was more of an issue a few months ago.

    I saw a video on personal space and actually body language the other day... let’s see if I can find it.... I can’t. It was basically a study where they paired people in rooms to observe their interactions. I saw 2 women who seemed to be hitting it off. Then the “scientist” said “Wait. Would you two stand where you most feel comfortable? The women, who had seemed to be enjoying their time talking when closer then consciously decided where they wanted to stand. One moving 1 step closer and the other retreating to a distance of about 6 feet (about 2 feet prior to “intervention”. The scientist then pointed out to the camera how uncomfortable the two then seemed, both unable to feel comfortable. Their feet moving back and forth too much in agitation. Lol. I don’t know! It was interesting! I wish I could find it to discuss the point, but basically they were studying body language and what awkwardness and uncomfortableness (word?) looked like. Lol.

  3. #3

    Most of the time I don’t have much in the way of requirements for myself although I’m not comfortable with physical contact much. Most of the time I mirror people to hopefully make them more comfortable. My own personal needs for space are generally met by getting lost in my own thoughts, although I do go into hiding when my emotions get the better of me. I have more issues meeting my socialisation needs.
    Aridela, AnneM and secondpassing thanked this post.

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  5. #4

    Quote Originally Posted by Sour Roses View Post
    One particular incident occurred when I was 15, reading a book in a rare moment of solitude... and a lady came over to bug me. "What are you reading?" she asked, and I, being super engrossed and therefore annoyed, uttered one of the few sarcastic comments of my entire teenager-hood, saying "A book".
    Cue the dramatics! I later received a dressing down from the boss lady, who also yelled at my mom, for making the lady cry from my "meanness". LOL
    Wow!! It's like she's never talked to a teenager before.

    For me, my mental landscape is the personal bubble, and no one can ever penetrate it. (I guess they could if I was tortured, but I don't see that happening.) I provide things from inside me, and it is from my own willingness to do so. The act of someone invading my space is just because I chose the wrong place and time to let myself out.

    Physical proximity to others affects my willingness to externalize what is inside. I assume that people are curious and nosy, and I don't want them to be interested in what I'm up to. If I'm sitting directly beside someone and their arm is touching mine, it isn't a good time for me to draw pictures or write reflections of the day. If anyone can look over my shoulder, I will be looking at normal websites on the computer or acceptable conversation starters if they have the inclination to ask "what are you doing".

    Eyes are a window, and I avoid looking at random people. I recall a recent ride on a shuttle bus with my boyfriend, and I don't think I actually looked at anyone. I didn't even look at my boyfriend the way I usually do because he is a more welcoming personality, therefore I would be seen as more open to chitchat. I wasn't interested in having a conversation or connection with strangers. Sometimes I am, when I have control of the situation. I hope a crime never happens in my midst because I would be the most unhelpful witness. I do try to notice people who others might perceive as unfriendly or scary based on their looks. I try to be friendly if I get the chance.

    I feel like throughout all my ages I've needed lots of personal space to explore my own ideas. As a kid, I destroyed lots of drawings and writing that I didn't want anyone to find. I tried to hide the fact that I was writing and drawing for personal use. I felt very stifled at times.
    Shrodingers drink and Sour Roses thanked this post.

  6. #5

    I've spent my life wanting to invite people to my world. It's a cool place up there. Boundaries? What are those? I'm cool with anything as long as it doesn't have to do with violence, pain, blood, or crap. Talk about and ask whatever you want. Be as close or as far away as you want.

    Basically, not enough people have come close enough. I'll define boundaries when I have 10 different people vying for my daily attention.
    Sour Roses, secondpassing, AnneM and 1 others thanked this post.

  7. #6

    I alternate between the two extremes.

    I grew up in a very small apartment with two siblings, so my need for privacy was never really met until I was in my 20s and living on my own. Even then I lived with a partner in a house he owned so I never really felt like I had a place just for myself.

    My ex at the time was very big on inviting people over, so I always felt like my space was invaded. At the same time I felt like I had no right to claim the place as my 'own' to begin with, so I felt very conflicted - as if my need for space/privacy was somehow selfish, childish.

    My sister is coming to study in my city next year and she's going to move in with me, and even though we have an amazing relationship and I look forward to it, I find myself wishing I didn't have to share my space again. Logically, it makes no sense, because I live in a huge house by myself, so it won't be an issue really. It's just that I will have to adjust to another person's whims and quirks again and I find myself reluctant to.
    Sour Roses and AnneM thanked this post.

  8. #7
    INFP - The Idealists

    I guess for me it is more mental space rather than physical space. I have a hard time setting mental boundaries.

    Physical space wise, growing up my whole family were introverts. My husband is an introvert so most of my life has been spent with introverts who are able to respect space.

    Physical boundaries
    I think that maybe one of the biggest physical space problems for me is noise. I don't know if most would classify noise as physical but I do. I find noise very intrusive. My mother yelled a great deal and also played music very loud and was very controlling about listening to music that she liked. I had a room mate in collage who was extremely extroverted and had a huge presence. We had separate rooms on different sides of the apartment. He had a snoring issue that would rattle the whole apartment. His presence was even there when he was sleeping. It was way more that just the snoring but that was kind of the last straw.

    I have had neighbors that played music very loudly that I felt violated my boundaries. I get mad when cars go by playing music way too loud. I think that for me music is so mood altering that I want to be in control of what I hear. I don't want someone else altering my mood via music without my consent. I have not figured out a way to set noise boundaries and I don't see how it is possible. If I had my choice, my noise bubble would be really small. I am very open to hearing new music and learning about music but I want to do it on my terms.

    Mental boundaries
    I have way more problems setting self care boundaries and putting my needs first.

    I had (and still have) a narcissistic mother growing up. I ended up emotionally taking care of her but it was never enough. I always thought that I could change our relationship by taking care of her but it was way too much for me. I think one of the healthiest things I did was to realize this and step away mentally and emotionally. It took me like 30 years to do this.

    In my work life, after I left home, I gravitated towards caring professions. I worked with disabled medically fragile people and with elderly people in memory care units. I was really good with both populations but once again, I was not able to set boundaries and care for myself. I ended up crashing and burning out and I felt like I had lost all sense of myself. I guess looking back I was in some way recreating the dynamic I had with my mother.

    Right now, I work for a company that I have to fight for pretty basic things but in a way I am doing better because I will set boundaries and challenge them on things. Some of the situations are just so ridiculous that I just have to bring them up. This is maybe the first time I have been able to put myself first and advocate for myself. I think I am able to challenge things at work because I recognize how dysfunctional it is and that I need to say something or nothing will happen. I know in some ways, it is a really terrible company but here, I have been able to advocate for myself so it has been a place of tremendous growth.
    AnneM, Aridela and Sour Roses thanked this post.

  9. #8
    INFJ

    I hope you don't mind me posting on your thread. It's a good one!

    I am a strange ambivert, and I oscillate pretty wildly from one extreme to the other. Whatever mode I'm in, I'M IN IT. I'm not even sure what brings the shift on. It just takes me with it.

    I've found that the key for me is to have an escape plan. I can be at a party or other event, but I have to know that I can leave, how I can leave, or I am not able to relax into the situation. When people are at my house, in my space, however, I have no way of letting them know I need them to go. My mom has told me, "You send all the wrong cues!" It's true: I go into "hostess with the mostest" mode and am still offering them snacks and coffee two hours after I began to despair about their presence!

    I pretty much fixed this by deciding not to have people, even close friends, over to my house. I either go to them, or meet in a public space. That relieved a lot of anxiety.
    Last edited by AnneM; 07-13-2019 at 12:14 PM.
    Sour Roses, Aridela, Shrodingers drink and 1 others thanked this post.

  10. #9
    INFJ

    Quote Originally Posted by Sour Roses View Post
    One particular incident occurred when I was 15, reading a book in a rare moment of solitude... and a lady came over to bug me. "What are you reading?" she asked, and I, being super engrossed and therefore annoyed, uttered one of the few sarcastic comments of my entire teenager-hood, saying "A book".
    Cue the dramatics! I later received a dressing down from the boss lady, who also yelled at my mom, for making the lady cry from my "meanness".
    This has to be the most annoying thing ever for a reader. It would be one thing if the querent were GENUINELY interested. But they never are! People ask what you're reading as a way of inserting their small talk. They don't realize we're not even on earth at that moment?

    I also feel this way about my tattoos. You wouldn't believe how many people ask about them, and then, while I'm in the middle of answering the question and saying something about TS Eliot or something, their attention has already obviously moved elsewhere.

    Now I just say, "It's private."

    But once in a blue moon, somebody will recognize something in my tattoos. Like, one time a guy in Austin just caught a glimpse of a verse on my arm from Gerard Manley Hopkins' "God's Grandeur," and he proceeded to recite the ENTIRE poem! Definitely one of the most astonishing moments of my life.
    Sour Roses thanked this post.

  11. #10
    ENFP

    Funny, I don't really have this bubble. I don't experience any difference of my management of outside exposure, since I see myself as always exposed, or better yet, I don't see myself, unless it's from another person's perspective. I do manage my inner self and what I take from the outside, that takes quite an effort to do though. Spotting and reacting to changes in the outside is easy, changing my core is much harder yet more rewarding to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sour Roses View Post
    One particular incident occurred when I was 15, reading a book in a rare moment of solitude... and a lady came over to bug me. "What are you reading?" she asked, and I, being super engrossed and therefore annoyed, uttered one of the few sarcastic comments of my entire teenager-hood, saying "A book".
    Cue the dramatics! I later received a dressing down from the boss lady, who also yelled at my mom, for making the lady cry from my "meanness". LOL
    I'm honestly waiting for these moments to happen.
    Lady of Clockwork and AnneM thanked this post.


     
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