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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My INFP wife told me that her practice of deliberately not perceiving/seeing/acknowledging when something subtly bad is going on is an INFP information processing thing.

She says we discussed it at some point when discussing Fi-Ne-Si-Te, but for the life of me I can't remember the specifics or why it would be an INFP thing to do and she wasn't able to explain further. Do other INFPs here do this? And/or, does anyone have ideas on which cognitive functions are involved (and how) if this is in fact an INFP thing?
 

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Depends on what you mean? I don't consciously try to deny the bad, but I do try to correct it if I'm in a group of people. So I suppose it can seem to others that I'm ignoring the tension. I've come across terrible things and wish it wasn't so, but again, I don't think I tried to deny them. Maybe shut off is a better word. Close myself down and just try to tune my over active mind out. So in a sense, I guess that can be a form of denial.
 

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I'm not sure how this is entirely a infp thing but it may have to do with how we tend to avoid conflict. I can see how this fits the enneagram type nine description. They don't like to acknowledge bad stuff because they don't want anyone to disturb their inner peace or disturb others' peace. Maybe your wife is a nine.

Type 9: In an attempt to achieve inner peace and stability, they may disengage from and deny real problems in their lives and the world. Ultimately, they may become so dissociated from reality that their stability dissolves away, bringing on their greatest fear, disappearance and separation.

They go with the flow and are reluctant to assert their preferences outside of their comfort zone. They like feeling invited and feeding off others' energy but not to the point of no longer being able to slip in and out seamlessly. They lack strong personal boundaries in that they rarely tell people to go away so they don't want to risk a level of involvement that could lead to unwanted obligations. When they don't take the initiative to make themselves heard it often leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of others ignoring them. They hold back their frustrations although they may not realize how much they do this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
First of all - I love your screen name @Wanderlust94! My wife identifies as a wanderer and has been all over the world.

And thank you for replying! To your comment:

Depends on what you mean? I don't consciously try to deny the bad, but I do try to correct it if I'm in a group of people. So I suppose it can seem to others that I'm ignoring the tension. I've come across terrible things and wish it wasn't so, but again, I don't think I tried to deny them. Maybe shut off is a better word. Close myself down and just try to tune my over active mind out. So in a sense, I guess that can be a form of denial.
Trying to correct the bad doesn't seem to me like deliberately not perceiving it or acknowledging it. But I could be misunderstanding, so ... what do you mean by "correct it" in the situation you describe?

The second part of your comment seems more obviously (to me) like what my wife does and was talking about. But she does this even when she could take an active role in stopping the bad stuff, while your description sounds like it's a response to things you have no say over. Would you close down/tune out something that you could stop with your own actions if you chose to do so?

What do you see as the value/benefit of closing yourself down to terrible things?
 

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I hate tackling bad things, so have a bad habit of avoiding it and hoping it goes away...(makes my INTJ sister frustrated XD)
I'm INFP and enneagram 9w8, so that could be it, a combination of the two.
 

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Well I can identify with what Wanderlust94 says. But it depends. On the one hand, if I am not subject of the conflict and I don't see any 'injustice' I will tune out, on the other hand, if I am treated badly (mostly by teachers...) I will fight back.

I also try to not watch/read the news because they only show bad news (and football/soccer results...) here in Germany. I also have a really good memory, so bad news last endlessly on my mind. I also believe that I know enough about injustice and more information don't change a thing about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you, @zen0202. Testwise she didn't come up as an enneagram 9 when we tried the test.

However, the quoted comment about inner peace and stability (bolded in the quote below) does for SURE resonate with a central stated priority in her life. And the "go with the flow" comment seems somewhat like her, in that she does use that language, the language of flow and being carried by it, quite a bit.

The difficulty I have is that in my view, ignoring problems doesn't make them go away, and that waiting until a subtle badness becomes overt makes it much harder to solve. I've seen a number of problems go from initially subtle signs to full-blown crisis (that in the end can't be ignored) after she has put them aside and pushed on me not to speak of them.

But - she says that she needs to ignore/not-see/not-acknowledge bad stuff so that she can be okay, and that the stress of acknowledging the bad stuff makes things worse for her. And she feels this as a core part of her self and her basic information processing make-up, linked to INFP-ness.

I'm not sure how this is entirely a infp thing but it may have to do with how we tend to avoid conflict. I can see how this fits the enneagram type nine description. They don't like to acknowledge bad stuff because they don't want anyone to disturb their inner peace or disturb others' peace. Maybe your wife is a nine.

Type 9: In an attempt to achieve inner peace and stability, they may disengage from and deny real problems in their lives and the world. Ultimately, they may become so dissociated from reality that their stability dissolves away, bringing on their greatest fear, disappearance and separation.

They go with the flow and are reluctant to assert their preferences outside of their comfort zone. They like feeling invited and feeding off others' energy but not to the point of no longer being able to slip in and out seamlessly. They lack strong personal boundaries in that they rarely tell people to go away so they don't want to risk a level of involvement that could lead to unwanted obligations. When they don't take the initiative to make themselves heard it often leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy of others ignoring them. They hold back their frustrations although they may not realize how much they do this.
 

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Well thank you. I'll try to answer without futher confusing hopefully.

1. The first situation, I mean if I'm with a group of people and there's tension, whether obvious or subtle, I do try to ease it somewhat. I wouldn't be denying the tension, because I'm responding to it, but the way I respond may seem like I'm just completely ignoring the problem to others. If that makes sense.

2. As for the second situation, I've seen my fair share of horrors over the internet. I know that may sound silly, but I've really seen some stuff that I regret or hate, or has downright disturbed me. I of course have no say if I come across such material other than to ignore it and move on. I have very little options otherwise. So I do have to shut out such things. It doesn't happen often, but I despise it all the more. Now if I see something in real life, and I have the power to do something, I don't ignore it at all.

I think the reason we fight these things is because we don't accept them. So shutting down may not be the best thing to do, but it gives me a little bit of time to heal and move on as I'm sure it does to some others.. I never stayed shut down so to speak. The time it takes to get over myself can vary though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
enneagram type 9 - wow, hmmm

@zen0202 and @tine brought up enneagram type 9 and even though my wife didn't test as that when we tried (she tested as a 4 or 5, I think?) - anyway, I'm reading this description and while some of it doesn't quite apply, other parts are really accurate.

So I don't know now, is this some intersection between INFP and enneagram or more of an enneagram-9-alone thing? I have a bias against the enneagram because it seems to focus so hard on areas of dysfunction, and that bugs me.

These parts, in particular, resonate:

Ironically, for a type so oriented to the spiritual world, Nine is the center of the Instinctive Center, and is the type that is potentially most grounded in the physical world and in their own bodies. The contradiction is resolved when we realize that Nines are either in touch with their instinctive qualities and have tremendous elemental power and personal magnetism, or they are cut off from their instinctual strengths and can be disengaged and remote, even lightweight.


To compensate for being out of touch with their instinctual energies, Nines also retreat into their minds and their emotional fantasies. (This is why Nines can sometimes misidentify themselves as Fives and Sevens, “head types,” or as Twos and Fours, “feeling types.”) Furthermore, when their instinctive energies are out of balance, Nines use these very energies against themselves, damming up their own power so that everything in their psyches becomes static and inert. When their energy is not used, it stagnates like a spring-fed lake that becomes so full that its own weight dams up the springs that feed it. When Nines are in balance with their Instinctive Center and its energy, however, they are like a great river, carrying everything along with it effortlessly.

I have seen this, oh have I seen this in my wife. Those instinctive energies out of balance is her norm at this point, but she says she's trying to change that and oh the beauty and power she would have if she succeeds.

And then, to the focus of this discussion - this resonates with the comments and with her approach, in my eyes:

Nines demonstrate the universal temptation to ignore the disturbing aspects of life and to seek some degree of peace and comfort by “numbing out.” They respond to pain and suffering by attempting to live in a state of premature peacefulness, whether it is in a state of false spiritual attainment, or in more gross denial. More than any other type, Nines demonstrate the tendency to run away from the paradoxes and tensions of life by attempting to transcend them or be seeking find simple and painless solutions to their problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I sometimes ignore or don't look further into horrible information because it can make me depressed(well not clinically) and depression is like a swamp. Hard to get out, easy to slide in further.
Hmm! I've really wondered about this with my wife given some of the things she's said - wondered if she chooses not to see certain things about her own choices and life because she's afraid that seeing them will pull her into a depressed abyss from which she feels she could not emerge.

@Tincan, the ennwagram has come up in the discussion - are you a 9 also, do you know?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well thank you. I'll try to answer without futher confusing hopefully.

1. The first situation, I mean if I'm with a group of people and there's tension, whether obvious or subtle, I do try to ease it somewhat. I wouldn't be denying the tension, because I'm responding to it, but the way I respond may seem like I'm just completely ignoring the problem to others. If that makes sense.
That makes sense to me. My wife does the same thing. I'll think more about this in general.

2. As for the second situation, I've seen my fair share of horrors over the internet. I know that may sound silly, but I've really seen some stuff that I regret or hate, or has downright disturbed me. I of course have no say if I come across such material other than to ignore it and move on. I have very little options otherwise. So I do have to shut out such things. It doesn't happen often, but I despise it all the more. Now if I see something in real life, and I have the power to do something, I don't ignore it at all.

I think the reason we fight these things is because we don't accept them. So shutting down may not be the best thing to do, but it gives me a little bit of time to heal and move on as I'm sure it does to some others.. I never stayed shut down so to speak. The time it takes to get over myself can vary though.
My wife did use the word "heal" in relation to her practice of shutting down, and I do know there's a time issue for her. But the stuff we were discussing is well within her control to actively prevent. Though she doesn't necessarily want to believe that. So maybe she is processing things as beyond her control even though they aren't.
 

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Hmm! I've really wondered about this with my wife given some of the things she's said - wondered if she chooses not to see certain things about her own choices and life because she's afraid that seeing them will pull her into a depressed abyss from which she feels she could not emerge.

@Tincan, the ennwagram has come up in the discussion - are you a 9 also, do you know?
I relate a little to 9, but I relate more to 5 and 4. I'm the type of person that looks into things despite it making me depressed because I value the truth highly. I just sometimes ignore it and put it off because when I get depressed I can be irresponsible, which isn't practical in life.
 

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@Aquarian, What particularly struck me is that your wife needs to ignore bad stuff in order to feel okay. I can relate. Dealing with anything negative feels so overwhelming in the moment, that I have to put it aside.

Heres what I found on infps: They have the ability to avoid situations that are imminently threatening to their inner peace by withdrawing from the "give-and-take" arena and escaping into an inner world of enjoyment, pleasure and insights. When Te is at an immature level of use in INFPs it will be a last resort. Once everything else fails then it will take them over until their problem is resolved. It could be compared to stopping a pipe from bursting. The more water that is in the pipe, the more water being pumped, the more strained the pipe gets. Eventually if the water pressure isn’t lowered the pipe will explode, letting everything out. In these Te outbursts the INFP will often justify everything they say and how they feel, trying to feel self assured. This can lead to Te actually being illogical due to the quest for wanting the self assurance for their Fi, they will find false logic in things just to make themselves feel good. INFPs may also avoid even touching Te, they will avoid any bit of logical reasoning that threatens their Fi in hopes of not getting negative feelings.

INFPs and INTPs also prefer to avoid direct conflict if at all possible. Direct conflict with another person person requires IPs to confront their own inferior function, including its attendant fears and insecurities. For IPs, fear of conflict with others and fear of their own self is often one and the same. This is why many IPs test as Enneagram Sixes (6), Nines (9), or even Threes (3), types which are notorious for avoiding genuine introspection because of the shame or anxiety that may emerge. Instead of authentically confronting others or taking an honest look at themselves, many IPs work hard to distract themselves from their inner fears while also striving to avoid conflict in the outer world. Avoidance/distraction may take the form of procrastination or neglecting certain responsibilities. Rather than meeting their obligations, IPs may burn time watching television, surfing the Internet, or playing video games as a means of distraction. Such behaviors serve to soothe or stave off feelings of anxiety associated with directly facing and participating in life.
 

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Since the Enneagram was brought up, I'm a type 4w5 so that could explain my habit of withdrawing. Yet at the same time, I can get very curious behind terrible facts and statistics that usually only law enforcement agencies would be interested in. It's a bad habit and cycle because I'll look up and/or discuss these depressing facts, yet then regret it. I'm working on it and getting better at reining in my curiosity, so I suppose that's a good thing.

@TheTwin- I really like that thought you had about Injustice. I can learn all the facts about crimes and cases I want, but that info won't change the fact that it happens or already happened. Trying to do something about it is what counts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I relate a little to 9, but I relate more to 5 and 4. I'm the type of person that looks into things despite it making me depressed because I value the truth highly. I just sometimes ignore it and put it off because when I get depressed I can be irresponsible, which isn't practical in life.
My wife values truth also, it's a core in her (as it is in me). This is part of why it's so difficult for me to understand why a truthteller, made to be unafraid of brutal truth, has developed such a strong pattern of not-seeing and why she names this not-seeing as necessary for her ability to cope in this toxic world.
 

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That makes sense to me. My wife does the same thing. I'll think more about this in general.



My wife did use the word "heal" in relation to her practice of shutting down, and I do know there's a time issue for her. But the stuff we were discussing is well within her control to actively prevent. Though she doesn't necessarily want to believe that. So maybe she is processing things as beyond her control even though they aren't.
That's completely possible. Some people, myself included, can feel overwhelmed by problems that we can actively solve instead. I don't know why though.
 

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Maybe she could try taking the test again. A lot of the avoiding negative feelings/numbing out and maintaining inner peace is relative to being a nine. There is so much information out there about this. And if she isn't a primarily a nine, it may be in her tritype.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@Aquarian, What particularly struck me is that your wife needs to ignore bad stuff in order to feel okay. I can relate. Dealing with anything negative feels so overwhelming in the moment, that I have to put it aside.
Yes. Seems very similar.

Heres what I found on infps: They have the ability to avoid situations that are imminently threatening to their inner peace by withdrawing from the "give-and-take" arena and escaping into an inner world of enjoyment, pleasure and insights. When Te is at an immature level of use in INFPs it will be a last resort. Once everything else fails then it will take them over until their problem is resolved. It could be compared to stopping a pipe from bursting. The more water that is in the pipe, the more water being pumped, the more strained the pipe gets. Eventually if the water pressure isn’t lowered the pipe will explode, letting everything out. In these Te outbursts the INFP will often justify everything they say and how they feel, trying to feel self assured. This can lead to Te actually being illogical due to the quest for wanting the self assurance for their Fi, they will find false logic in things just to make themselves feel good. INFPs may also avoid even touching Te, they will avoid any bit of logical reasoning that threatens their Fi in hopes of not getting negative feelings.
Wow. I was watching my wife's logic moves last night when we were talking, and seeing real gaps and evasions in logical processes - places where her logic just did not add up, where she moved to blur rather than clarify, over and over. It was actually a big thing for me, to see this problem in logical processes in this discussion. I didn't say anything about it, but given the above, I would say that it was quite evident to me that the argument was serving Fi and had various points where it just wasn't making logical sense. But she was vehement and kept following the same off-logic (false logic) streams over and over.And I've seen this pattern with her before, and I know there's no point in me pointing out the logical problems, because that just makes her angry and more stubbornly attached to her argument.

INFPs and INTPs also prefer to avoid direct conflict if at all possible. Direct conflict with another person person requires IPs to confront their own inferior function, including its attendant fears and insecurities. For IPs, fear of conflict with others and fear of their own self is often one and the same. This is why many IPs test as Enneagram Sixes (6), Nines (9), or even Threes (3), types which are notorious for avoiding genuine introspection because of the shame or anxiety that may emerge. Instead of authentically confronting others or taking an honest look at themselves, many IPs work hard to distract themselves from their inner fears while also striving to avoid conflict in the outer world. Avoidance/distraction may take the form of procrastination or neglecting certain responsibilities. Rather than meeting their obligations, IPs may burn time watching television, surfing the Internet, or playing video games as a means of distraction. Such behaviors serve to soothe or stave off feelings of anxiety associated with directly facing and participating in life.
Very interesting! My type, INFJ, is also supposed to dislike conflict, and I haven't quite figured out if/how that works for me. But I do know it's not from fear of what I will find if I introspect. And I have been having the strong sense that there's a very particular truth about herself that my wife is working to avoid, and that she fears that acknowledging this truth will pull down into an abyss from which she won't be able to emerge.
 

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When I read the OP, I immediately identified this as an enneagram 9 issue as well. @Aquarian, lots of 9s don't test as 9s because of the identity issues that are inherent in the 9. They are notorious for mistyping themselves, oftentimes (though not always) as 2s or 5s. The INFP's cognitive functions can manifest in avoidance, however they do not avoid an issue in the same way. For many INFPs (including myself), we may be acutely aware of a conflict and have difficulty distancing ourselves from it mentally/emotionally. However, many INFPs don't enjoy confrontation so there can be the tendency to avoid the person or situation that is the source of the conflict, but avoidance is not the same as the suppression or denial of the 9s. 9s tend to have more of an out of sight out of mind mentality, wherein they will push a conflict away from the conscious mind entirely.


You said that she may be a 4 or a 5, but 5s such as myself tend to analyze a point of conflict to death, to completely pick apart a situation and put it under a lens. However, if we dismiss a situation as unimportant, it truly is unimportant in our eyes. From what I know of 4s, and maybe @kaleidoscope can confirm (or correct) this, if something is bothering them they tend to wallow in the accompanying emotions, to sometimes even intensify them far past reasonable levels, and even incorporate them into their emotional identity. I think it would be a good idea for you to look into the fears and motivations of each enneagram type, that's the best way to identify a type. My bet is on 9 though.
 
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