I don't think of it as 'secretive,' which to me implies some kind of wrong-doing, but rather 'private' and 'very introverted.' and yes, protective of oneself.I think I'm pretty secretive in my real life. I really don't share much of myself with others to the point where basically every single relationship I have (except my husband) is one-sided. No one really knows me.
I think some part of this is okay, but some of it is to my detriment. I'm not sure. I struggle with knowing how much to share with others - obviously, there are some truly bad people out there and I'd avoid sharing with them - but, sometimes I feel like maybe I should be going just a tiny bit further than I do.
Sometimes I feel like I'm going through a tough time, and I'm not being fully honest when people ask me how I am. I am pretty good at handling my own crap. I guess I don't know when it is fair to ask for help. Maybe because I feel like I need a lot of it, and it won't just go away with one conversation. Hmm.
What I do know is that it is stressful always hiding my true self, darting about, trying to keep myself secure (E6). I want to be able to be more trusting, and I think I must be doing something wrong. I want to be more of my true self without revealing so much that it is damaging to me.
Any thoughts? Is it good for us to share more than we do? Obviously, we want to be protective of our inner worlds, but maybe we could benefit from opening up a little more. I do know when I share myself creatively that others do benefit and that is when I am most alive - so, I guess I am wondering if that can somehow apply to vulnerable conversation too.
In a world where it seems that most people carry around phones with cameras and impulsively go onto places like Facebook and Twitter to demean each other when they feel wronged--not caring that the words are out there now, in a sense permanently, I don't think that being careful about who to trust is a bad thing.
What stood out to me, however, was what you wrote about sharing creatively--that is the way to share, and it isn't so prone to someone picking it up and passing it on as gossip or misconstruing it in a harmful way, so keep that up. I say this as someone who wrote and published for over 30 years, under pen names of course. ✍(◔◡◔
The other thing? If you feel you're being a bit too reticent, try sharing something trivial in the sense that if someone misunderstood or misrepresented it and passed it about and it got back to you, 1) It wouldn't hurt much, 2) You'd have a good read on the person, i.e. don't trust him or her further, with something more valuable about yourself.
If you do both of those: Share creatively, and inch your way out into relationships, you'll be going at a pace you can handle and moving toward intimacy--not vulnerability in an unhealthy sense.
I have made the mistake in the past where I would bring someone into my life and share my beliefs and opinions, habits and vulnerability, e.g. about being disabled; my politically views and so on (this is a really small, conservative town I am living in now where it seems everyone is connected in some way, i.e. related by blood, see the same doctor, shop at the same stores, bump into each other and gossip...) only to find out the hard way that I was being discussed, my life taken apart, my views disrespected and shared with people I hardly knew who would approach me talk about what they had been told by my alleged confidants.
So, I learned: Here, in this modern fish bowl of a world, don't be naive or quick to trust, but don't bottle up everything inside only to either implode or explode, i.e. get ill from stress or go off about seemingly nothing.
That said, INFPs by our description, and true of INTPs as well (I am on the line for each as well as test INFJ on keys2cognition) don't let many get close. It's how we're made--I know I'm made that way. I'm also open about a lot that others won't share, but the stuff I share I've worked out and will--in modern terminology, 'own.'
Still, I don't like showing up to buy some almond milk at, say, the local Walmart, only to run into an acquaintance who knows details about me I didn't personally share, so I am learning to be as quiet as I was growing up: Observing... and sharing with the one person I trust 'almost' completely:
My husband with whom I've spent the past 29 years, 24 married to him. He knows most of my private stuff, and yes, a whole lot of secrets from childhood through my 20s, 30s, 40s... too.