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Let me start by really describing myself as a person. Growing up, I was always the kid getting picked on. I was always terrible at sports, chunky and out of shape. I was always picked because I was a bit weird and different. I was always getting called a wimp, wuss, p*ssy, along those lines. It was something I really hated, and I found myself jealous of the all star jocks and really hating the way I look. My senior year I really had enough, and I really wanted to change myself and prove that I was alot tougher mentally than people thought. I joined the school's wrestling team and 6 months later, I dropped 90 pounds and earned a varsity spot on the team. I started lifting weights and exercising,and I kind of shifted my lifestyle towards a more athletic one. Ever since then I feel like my identity has really changed. From growing up always being picked on, to a 200+ pound athlete, sometimes I really find myself hiding myself behind my appearance for fear of looking weak. That softness is still there, but when I still have some deep seated aggression towards the type of people I grew up with. I can honestly say right now that if I were to be treated now as I was then, I'd have no problem beating the crap out of the person, and the same can be said if I were to witness someone being picked on like that. I've been told more than a few times by people that before they get to know me, I seem like the typical macho guy stereotype. Then they tell me I'm completely different than what they would have ever imagined. That my appearance contradicts my personality. My question is this; are there many infps like this? Is it a common thing to be very guarded and intimidating to onlookers for fear of being hurt?
 

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I think all INFPs develop some type of defensive mechanism to protect themselves against the world. I think the most common trait is giving off an air of aloofness and arrogance. Whatever defense mechanism the INFP builds up eventually becomes a source of loneliness because it keeps us from connecting with other people.
 

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I thought I read somewhere that there are many infps that show their estj shadow outside of the people they are really close to, and that many fall back on that side of themselves to fit in with the people they work with on a day to day basis. Is this true? Because sometimes I really see this in myself. I feel like sometimes if I showed my sensitive side to the people I'm in college with I would get eaten alive.
 

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imagine you grow up being the outcast

you grow up thinking there is nothing special about you and that you'll never fit in with any social group

then imagine that one day you realize you've been wearing a bracelet all your life and you haven't noticed it till now

and the bracelet gives you superpowers

and suddenly everyone loves you because you have superpowers


This is what it's like when an INFP realizes his/her true self and abilities and also that they are not in fact alone.

but as long as we think we don't belong anywhere, we don't.
 

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I have been told that my quietness is intimidating :confused:

I had a period of time when I was almost the complete opposite to myself. Of course, I was mixing with some bad people and doing lots of drugs, which changes you.

I don't think you changed who you were as such..I think you simply proved them all wrong. And there is nothing wrong with that, I love to prove people wrong :laughing:
 

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My whole life I was given the race card. Growing up in an environment where I was different from everybody was hard. People seemed to just use my differences as a way to hurt me and exclude me. God, middle school was harsh. People really seem to find ways to break a person down and make them feel like shit. And every time I tried to fit in, I just ended up being tossed back aside and yeah, the whole experience sucked balls.

And so finally I just snapped and I developed a lot of hatred and resentment towards everyone in my school. Granted, today I'm a senior and learned to find my own style and looks enough to be deemed as "cool" in society (the whole concept of being cool is fucking retarded anyway. it's just a fake image), and no one seems to be racist towards me nor give me any sort of hatred, but I'm still really bitter. I don't really have any close friends unless they're Asian which I guess is some sort of defense mechanism I've developed. People always tell me that I look so pissed off all the time. One time, my teacher pulled me aside and asked me why I looked so 'sad' in class all the time.

Anyways, like it was said earlier, I think my peers would rip me apart in a second if I showed my sensitive side to them. So I feel depressed because I feel like I have to act like a different person all the time. I have to force myself to be more 'T-ish' or else I feel like people nitpick me and put me down.

I feel you OP, it's nice to know there's someone out there with similar views.
 

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i've got several masks that keep people from getting close, seeing what's deep inside me, or even approaching me in general. its not that there are deep dark secrets hiding inside its just that i don't see why people need to know my deepest thoughts, my emotions, etc. its either none of their business or i don't see the point in offering my burdens to someone who has plenty of their own. somedays i'm certain my family has no idea who i am. there are a handful of exceptions but only when i feel a strong connection with the person.
 

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Let me start by really describing myself as a person. Growing up, I was always the kid getting picked on. I was always terrible at sports, chunky and out of shape. I was always picked because I was a bit weird and different. I was always getting called a wimp, wuss, p*ssy, along those lines. It was something I really hated, and I found myself jealous of the all star jocks and really hating the way I look. My senior year I really had enough, and I really wanted to change myself and prove that I was alot tougher mentally than people thought. I joined the school's wrestling team and 6 months later, I dropped 90 pounds and earned a varsity spot on the team. I started lifting weights and exercising,and I kind of shifted my lifestyle towards a more athletic one. Ever since then I feel like my identity has really changed. From growing up always being picked on, to a 200+ pound athlete, sometimes I really find myself hiding myself behind my appearance for fear of looking weak. That softness is still there, but when I still have some deep seated aggression towards the type of people I grew up with. I can honestly say right now that if I were to be treated now as I was then, I'd have no problem beating the crap out of the person, and the same can be said if I were to witness someone being picked on like that. I've been told more than a few times by people that before they get to know me, I seem like the typical macho guy stereotype. Then they tell me I'm completely different than what they would have ever imagined. That my appearance contradicts my personality. My question is this; are there many infps like this? Is it a common thing to be very guarded and intimidating to onlookers for fear of being hurt?
I too lifted weights to pack on some more muscle because i felt like a very scrawny weak dude. I stayed in this phase of my life for a couple years adn realized that being jacked and all muscular isn't everything. I'm still sticking to a weight lifting (+healthy diet) routine, but it's nowhere near as strict and hardcore as what i used to do.

I know EXACTLY how you feel about the "hiding behind your appearance" thing and i SERIOUSLY thought to myself at that point 'man I gotta lose some of this muscle, i don't want to come across as the total gym meathead dude'.

People probably thought i was a total meathead at first glance back then, but similar to you at my core I was a pretty easy going guy and would always side with the guy that's getting picked on.

During that whole 'lift weights get big' phase I also sorta adopted an 'asshole' mentality partly because of insecurity but also partly because that's what guys soemtimes do that attracts women. Now I'm much more balanced...ive experienced both sides of teh spectrum - being a really really nice guy and being a really really big asshole :)
 

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I think all INFPs develop some type of defensive mechanism to protect themselves against the world. I think the most common trait is giving off an air of aloofness and arrogance. Whatever defense mechanism the INFP builds up eventually becomes a source of loneliness because it keeps us from connecting with other people.
This is so true for me. I got picked on growing up. alot. I just grew a thick shell and held on. Now, years later the shell is still there in many ways and it is hard to get rid of it. Coming out of the shell was hard, everything I'd been hiding from for years suddenly hit me.
That being said a some friends of mine have developed deep set hatred towards the bullies which i dont have. Those same friends dont have that shell so they missed out on its benefits but dont have to suffer with its long lasting effects like i do. Now i have a hard time just being myself which gets me down sometimes. I used to hide my sensitive side but i just wanna be me so im letting it show

Usually I dont talk about emotional stuff like this, its easy though with total strangers
 

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imagine you grow up being the outcast

you grow up thinking there is nothing special about you and that you'll never fit in with any social group

then imagine that one day you realize you've been wearing a bracelet all your life and you haven't noticed it till now

and the bracelet gives you superpowers

and suddenly everyone loves you because you have superpowers


This is what it's like when an INFP realizes his/her true self and abilities and also that they are not in fact alone.

but as long as we think we don't belong anywhere, we don't.
amen.

It's like night and day from what I used to be like and what I am like now.
 

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This is so true for me. I got picked on growing up. alot. I just grew a thick shell and held on. Now, years later the shell is still there in many ways and it is hard to get rid of it. Coming out of the shell was hard, everything I'd been hiding from for years suddenly hit me.
That being said a some friends of mine have developed deep set hatred towards the bullies which i dont have. Those same friends dont have that shell so they missed out on its benefits but dont have to suffer with its long lasting effects like i do. Now i have a hard time just being myself which gets me down sometimes. I used to hide my sensitive side but i just wanna be me so im letting it show

Usually I dont talk about emotional stuff like this, its easy though with total strangers
Indeed. I think I ended up creating a shell that was a little too strong but, to be fair, when I needed it I really needed a stronger one than I had. I think it's taking two or three times longer to break the shell away than it ever did to build it up in the first place, though. It starts to actually become a part of your unconscious after a while, and you have to slowly work away at it and find out who you were before you built up all these lies to protect yourself. As lonely as it's been to have spent so much of my time at home by myself in the past few years, I think it may have been what I needed to start to break some of it away and get in touch with my inner self.

/rant

The problem now, of course, is that I finally understand that the reason I never had any interest or motivation toward what I was trying to do with my life (physics, then engineering) was that a lot of it was based on lies I was telling myself about what I was "supposed to do." I think I retreated into sciences since they were impartial and my intuition could wrap itself around them pretty easily, but I don't have any real passion for it. As I did more of it, I got praise for being good at it, then felt like that meant it was who I was and kept along with it. After all, if I did science, then I could use the fact that a lot of people in that field don't relate to people well at all to mask my own quirks and weirdness, and of course my fear of letting anyone ever even have a glimpse of what's underneath. After all, if I let them in then it'll be just like it was back in middle school when the topic of conversation whenever I was around was always people making fun of me, so it was best not to let anyone know anything they can use against me. And of course, showing emotions wasn't "manly" so I should just "buck up" and not ever cry in front of anyone (damn everyone who ever drilled that into me, especially my sister. When the reaction other people have to your emotions is to tell you to put on a happy face and deal with it rather than to help you express your feelings, it teaches you that other people really don't give a damn how you feel).

/end rant and start happier part :)

So, now it's time to start fixing everything. Turns out the person inside all along just wants everyone to care for one another, not be greedy and selfish, question everything they've ever been told, and wants to express his feelings. Oh, and I may end up sounding kind of like a teenage girl when I really let it out ;-) Actually have a really long profile on a dating site (where I should probably try to message people, but my shyness kicks in a bit then...) that I wrote a few months ago that, after reading over it a couple of days ago, I had to go back and edit a bit so I wouldn't quite so girly or flaky...but the problem is that removing some of that makes me feel like I'm not expressing who I really am and means that girls I might try to meet on there will expect someone completely different from who I really am (and then mysteriously never be available for a second date).

That ended up kinda long. Just been doing a lot of soul-searching recently and the only people I ever really talk to about very personal things are each over 100 miles away and usually pretty busy, so I guess it all just ends up coming out.
 

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I think yes it is common. I am an INFP myself and I used to get picked on too when I was younger so than I started to grow up and become a different person and try to hide my feelings and not seem so hurt. Now that I'm older I realize I don't have to be ashamed of my feelings. I'm not as defensive anymore but I am sensitive. And I won't apologize for that like I used to when I was younger.
 

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Let me start by really describing myself as a person. Growing up, I was always the kid getting picked on. I was always terrible at sports, chunky and out of shape. I was always picked because I was a bit weird and different. I was always getting called a wimp, wuss, p*ssy, along those lines. It was something I really hated, and I found myself jealous of the all star jocks and really hating the way I look. My senior year I really had enough, and I really wanted to change myself and prove that I was alot tougher mentally than people thought. I joined the school's wrestling team and 6 months later, I dropped 90 pounds and earned a varsity spot on the team. I started lifting weights and exercising,and I kind of shifted my lifestyle towards a more athletic one. Ever since then I feel like my identity has really changed. From growing up always being picked on, to a 200+ pound athlete, sometimes I really find myself hiding myself behind my appearance for fear of looking weak. That softness is still there, but when I still have some deep seated aggression towards the type of people I grew up with. I can honestly say right now that if I were to be treated now as I was then, I'd have no problem beating the crap out of the person, and the same can be said if I were to witness someone being picked on like that. I've been told more than a few times by people that before they get to know me, I seem like the typical macho guy stereotype. Then they tell me I'm completely different than what they would have ever imagined. That my appearance contradicts my personality. My question is this; are there many infps like this? Is it a common thing to be very guarded and intimidating to onlookers for fear of being hurt?
I wonder what would have happened if I were born a cis male, I think gender roles and expectations can change things a lot. I was picked on a lot too. But I hide my fear of weakness by remaining aloof. Not many people get to see how sensitive I am - though I still think I come across as pretty sensitive anyway. They just... don't know how deeply it runs...
 

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I was picked on a bit in some years of my life, but I think my greatest bully was probably myself. I always imagined everyone talked about me behind my back, and when people would snicker I would assume they were talking about me, but in hindsight, I think a lot of it was just me projecting my own insecurities and then assuming everyone else thought these same things of me. But in school I would get in trouble a lot for daydreaming, and it put me in some very embarrassing situations where the teacher would yell at me in front of the whole class. One teacher would even say I had something truly wrong with me, because my head was either in the clouds, or too focused on my art. So after that I started acting more logical and cold as a way of protecting my sensitive, scatter-brained self. Now, as a writer, I'm struggling to get back in touch with my imaginative, dreamy, rose-coloured mind, but I've kept that aspect of myself suppressed for so long that now when I want it, I'm having some trouble getting it back. Its such a shame, I swear the world I see is unrecognizable from the one I saw as a child. Its like the whimsy, and sentiment has disappeared. I really hope I can find it again.
 

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No, I shake my INFPenis every chance I get.
If you shake more than 3 times, it's playing with yourself :tongue:

In all honesty, to answer the question I do try to hide myself from most people all the time. I get really uncomfortable and feel sort of "naked" once people start to really learn about me. Unless I know them and I'm sure I can trust them (and this can be rather rare) I generally try to 'hide' myself, yes.
 
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If you shake more than 3 times, it's playing with yourself :tongue:

In all honesty, to answer the question I do try to hide myself from most people all the time. I get really uncomfortable and feel sort of "naked" once people start to really learn about me. Unless I know them and I'm sure I can trust them (and this can be rather rare) I generally try to 'hide' myself, yes.
Does it still count if you shake it on somebodies face, though?
 

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Had a real tough time in elementary and middle school. Last two years of high school I became pretty good at becoming invisible despite my slick wardrobe and my being a standout rockstar in both Information Technology and English classes. My habit of daydreaming and interest in the humanities did not serve me well working restaurants, call centres or factories. I developed a keen work ethic that always kept me at the job, but that didn't help me climb the ladder any. Everyone saw me as an anomaly that worked well exactly where I was... Nobody saw me as upper echelon material in any of these jobs.

After getting laid off in a manufacturing gig that I was incredibly good at I spent a year on unemployment hoping to find a unicorn job and pursue my hobbies. After landing nothing, I went to a temp agency and started doing demolition, ditch digging, landscaping, etc. Real lowest rung type of stuff. Because I stuck out like a sore thumb among the lifelong labourers, ex cons and transient workers, I toned down my personality and made my work persona all about the job. I learned to talk and act like a blue collar, started swearing like a pirate and worked like a dog without complaining. I went from being the hardworking new guy to the MVP at the agency. I was the strongest, the smartest, the most diplomatic and I commanded a great deal of respect despite the fact that I stand on 5'8 and am a slender guy. I made a lot of effort to hide who I was and only talked about my interests and outlook to a select few who I felt were cut from the same cloth.

Despite all that tho, they still treated me different. Maybe it was my long hair, but people treated me delicately. I had their respect but I was still apparently made of glass. I was an all-star who could blend in yet they treated me like I was soft. Not in a rude way either. It's like these gruff guys, some older, some younger looked out for me, were considerate in their words/actions and worked cooperatively, which can be rare in the trades. I felt like everyone's kid brother, and I didn't know how I felt about that. The respect was genuine, they knew what I could do yet there was a touch of fond headpatting going on. It was frustrating at times, but I felt gratitude.

I guess what I am trying to say is that as a construction worker I have to, by necessity, hide who I am. You can't be seen as soft on a construction site. It's a lot like prison. But as time went by, people got a sense for who I was and they accepted me. They knew I worked hard, took pride in my work and supported my team. I tried to hide, but they found me out; every job they find me out. I wish I didn't have to hide, but it keeps me working. I gotta be a little more coarse then I'd like, swagger a bit more and let others see how I work so they think favourably of me before the realization sets in that I'd probably make a better sweater vest than a blue collar. The attitude has served me well, tho. Since my three year stint at the temp agency I've been given a hand up and am now an apprentice electrician, tho momentarily unemployed and waiting for schooling. It's been circuitous, but hiding and inadvertently revealing myself slowly has served me well.

That's work tho. In my off hours I don't hide who I am. It doesn't help me get the attention of ladies but it works out better that way because I don't want to have to pretend with them. The girls who end up liking me are the ones who fall for the eccentric me, the real me. Outside of work I'm this crazy force of nature that forces the world to deal with it, and it always does. I don't give it a choice; I'm a likable guy.
 

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I used to try to hide my sensitivity when I was younger. It was exhausting. Now I've decided to live my life as myself, and accepted that not everyone has to like that. (I figure hey, I find something to like about everyone, so it's going to have to be up to the other person if they want to weed me out!) It helps that I work in a job where different personalities are useful and welcome. (School bus driver. Everyone just sort of picks a persona that works for them: Drill Sergeant, Ship's Captain, or Whole World's Mom, it's all good!)
 

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I am still trying to shed all the layers I developed to get by in public school. I was hopelessly naive and confused by the hostility from ages 5-12, and didn't know how to hide.I took a beating (psychologically and physically). Eventually I learned to invent a character for myself, that covers me in most environments I am forced to exist within. I got so good at playing the character, and people like him so much, I began to resent him. And so for the past 10 years, I have been slowly stripping myself down to the essential.

Just like that Bob Dylan song: Shedding off one more layer of skin/Keeping one step ahead of the persecutor within

It gets a bit easier as you get older--I feel more confident with who I am and don't let things bother me, and adults are generally more polite than children. Even so, I can't help but stick out like a sore thumb everywhere I go (I'm sure some of it is on my head, but I get enough feedback to say it's not a completely imagined problem). Even when I worked at a bookstore, where I assumed I would fit in perfectly, my coworkers used to tease me about my taste in books (I was reading classics and philosophical/spiritual stuff, and everyone else read mostly trashy fiction and teen books).
 
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