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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Kk, so this is my first post, but I just have a semi-burning question to ask relating to personality/type/personality type. Earlier today I clicked on some article which had something to do with personality and it noted that personality supposedly remains stable throughout life and never changes. BUT based on my own personal experience this seems like complete bullshit. When I was a little kid I was like the stereotype of an ENFP, super sweet and moral and playful and optimistic and imaginative and full of energy, like I'm talking they wanted to diagnose me with ADHD. And then later into my angsty adolescence I became the stereotype of the Holden Caulfield-esque teenage male INFP, a semi-loner obsessed with novels and social justice and John Lennon and Bob Dylan and all that jazz. (Also: Actual jazz music, but that's another story.) And at other times throughout my life I've been closer to some kind of SP (especially ISTP) and then later presented as more of an xNTJ. And nowadays I'm like the stereotype of the "debater"/"lawyer" ENTP personality, a side of me which has always existed but has since emerged as my apparently most prominent and fully developed personality.

Now, I know some of you will go off about functions and how everyone apparently has a set of four of these abstract concepts wired into their heads in one of sixteen specific orders at birth, and this remains rigid throughout life and absolutely everything everyone ever does, thinks or says can be attributed to them, which to me is just slightly less crazy than Scientology and doesn't seem to me at all how Jung intended his ideas to be used. But instead of getting into all that noise about the validity of function theory, I just wanna ask: Does it at least seem to anyone else like their personality has shifted throughout their lives? Are you too skeptical of this idea that personality remains constant and stable throughout life, be it because of Jungian function theory or other aspects of psychology? Or am I just cray cray? (Note: Answers are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I.E. I could easily be cray cray but still be right that personality shifts.)
 

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Personality can absolutely change throughout life. You are not born with four main cognitive functions. Maybe I'm strange but I can feel every function in me. You can't be missing any unless you're missing one of your five senses or a chunk of your brain honestly. For example, everybody has Se. An INTP or ESTJ's still gonna lurch back when they touch a piece of wet food while doing the dishes.

I was the same as you were when I was little. I was playful and spontaneous and full of ideas like any healthy kid, then in primary school I was falsely diagnosed with some mental disorders and treated quite horribly by adults because of it, so I closed up and became an introvert, finding people exhausting and hurtful. I got into an unhealthy Ti-Fi loop, wanting to do nothing but be alone with my thoughts and contemplate my moral compass, how the world works, etc. As for high school I have no idea what the hell I was or what went through my head. And now I'm somehow a strange INFJ, at least I think so.

You were probably never an INFP though. Fi manifests itself a TON in adolescence. The functions that are at the forefront of your brain change as you grow up. So I agree with you about personality shifts, but you are still crazy. You are an ENTP, after all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
@I Hate Therapists (Love the name btw, haha), interesting... So I noticed in your signature though it says that you consider yourself more "Fi" than "Fe." Does that mean you don't really consider yourself a traditional INFJ according to traditional MBTI function theory? The interesting thing about that is that Jung himself probably would have considered you to be an INFp if you were Ni-Fi, because he didn't agree that the auxillary function was the opposite orientation of the dominant and thought of himself as Ti-Ni and yadda yadda yadda...

But regardless, I get what you mean about everyone having all the functions, if you approach it from the perspective that each function represents a specific "ability" or something like some kind of video game. I mean, if you think every time you engage in a basic reflex or instinct that's "Se" at work then yeah, of course everyone would have to have all functions and use them at different times, some just better at it than others. The problem with that thinking is that the very concept of having "types" starts to make no sense. Now we've gone beyond personality and are talking about ability, which really isn't what Jung was doing exactly. He was more trying to peg down different styles of thinking preferences really as far as I can tell from skimming Psychological Types.

His "introverted thinking" type for instance wasn't exactly the same as what is commonly considered to be an IxTP type today. It seems like Myers and Briggs kinda bastardized and simplified his ideas (which were already a little out there) and squeezed them together to conveniently fit into a nice neat system that just doesn't really hold up in reality. Like, why should I necessarily have a greater N preference than a T preference? I mean I do most of the time, but if we follow that every ENTP is supposed to go N-T-F-S, we should have to assume that every ENTP should be a distinct N type with repressed S and closer on the T/F line. But we know this just isn't the case. And likewise, why should being an ENTP mean my thinking necessarily has to be "introverted" as opposed to extroverted even though I'm an extroverted type? (And I'm not really even an extrovert so much as an ambivert.) And why should my "tertiary" feeling have to be extroverted even though I generally relate more to Fi than Fe? It just doesn't fit. Hell, I think Ne-Ti-Fi-Se might sum me up best if forced to choose a function order.

Sure, everyone can probably find which box fits them best, but it doesn't really define them exactly. Everyone's got a unique personality. It always amuses me when I see people try to change themselves to fit their "type" rather than find the type that fits them. All those supposed INTJs for instance who act like vulcans and robots and fancy themselves masterminds... It's pretty amusing. Like hello? You're a teenage nerd with a My Little Pony avatar on an internet forum, welcome to reality! But I'm starting to go off on a tangent here...

Anyway, back to the original point about personality shifting over time... I'm glad you agree. I think MBTI categories just very broadly and crudely describe the basic place our personality resides at a certain time, but it's only a starting point that means little by itself. I've in some ways got more in common with an ISFJ who scores close on the line of all letters than to another ENTP who is 100% on all letters. We all got our nuances and I like what you said about how the "functions that are at the forefront of your brain change as you grow up." It does seem to me as though teenagers for instance do place greater emphasis on certain values associated with "Fi" in general, regardless of type. I think it's important that we all remember that age is relevant to how we behave and also not to limit ourselves based on a combination of letters.
 

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@ENTPness, thank you :3. I agree with what you said on INTJs, haha. The cognitive functions in my signature are test results and I think I was feeling a wee bitter the day I took it, so I didn't really relate to "the world is a place full of people who deserve help and compassion," an indicator of Fe. INFJ is simply what fits me best and INFP sounds weird to say lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@I Hate Therapists, bingo. It's the "best fit" for you, which is ultimately all that matters. ENTP is the best fit for me, at least these days, so that's what it makes the most sense to call myself. Even if some days I might test as an ISTP or ENTJ or INFP or whatever, and even if the "cognitive function" order might not always be a perfect fit.
 

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You were probably very Ne in your childhood and more Fi/Ti in adolescence and develop other functions or balance with age.

For some reason I must have been very in touch with Se in childhood, because I liked fun flashy things (I was very interested in pop culture as early as age five or six, but it may be just that my father was a musician so I naturally took to anything involving singing and dancing)...I liked dance and related activities, being outdoors with my dog, I have vivid memories of childhood too, suggesting a strong sensing function.

But a lot of other things seem IFP, my school behavior was more goody goody except for occasionally talking or passing notes, but I was never as brave at tricks or gymnastics as my sister who I think is Se dom. I also read a lot, when I wasn't playing outside or doing something related to dance or music.

I entered late childhood with what appears to be a resurgence of Se, interested in things like horror movies and food, reading comic books and riding bikes with boys.

But I was never particularly interested strongly in anything abstract or supernatural until my teens, when I took an interest in mystery and occult, which apparently is typical in Ni tertiary adolescents...I also become tougher and more confrontational with age, I was kind of a nice girl as a child, and was more rebellious and mouthy in my teens. I found my spine.

I definitely see Se as an adult and consider myself ambiverted, but I like to be alone and thinking too much to be an Se dom, though I do rot without adventure or experience.

I had some trauma, maybe early trauma makes you develop lesser functions earlier, I don't know.

I definitely see more real Thinking in my thirties though, and a greater capacity for rational detachment. This suggests with other clues that Te is likely my fourth function.

So maybe you can think in terms of functions shining more at different ages. I think you "choose" your dom unconsciously at some point in mid to late childhood. This explains my early experience of Se. Like your top two vie for the top spot and one wins.

Perhaps something similar happened with you. Also Ne doms and Se aux tend to feel more "ambiverted". Ambiversion is real.
 

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a side of me which has always existed but has since emerged as my apparently most prominent and fully developed personality.
Gonna highlight this part, and guess that this is what the article you read was talking about in reference to personality never changing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Gonna highlight this part, and guess that this is what the article you read was talking about in reference to personality never changing.
Yeah, I figured some smartass would point that out when I wrote it. What I really meant was that I've always been kind of argumentative and lawyerly, but it was not always the defining part of my personality, which as I explained has shifted greatly throughout my life. The article by the way was referring to how Big Five (actual scientific personality traits which correlate somewhat to MBTI) supposedly remains relatively stable, not a fixed MBTI type according to Jung functions - though I hesitate to use Jung's name cause Jung never set up a type system like Myers and Briggs did or even supported the idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I just find it kind of amusing how everyone seems to be jumping to explain how what I'm talking about fits the function theory, instead of conceding that maybe the theory might not be perfect and that it is quite possible that it doesn't universally fit everyone or necessarily even anyone. (Even though it may be useful as long as its limitations are recognized.) That's called confirmation bias, when you try to make the facts fit your pet theory like that. Religions (including Scientology) are based on it.
 

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I believe our type does not change. If you're an ENTP adult, you were an ENTP kid. But maybe you were pure Ne until the other functions made their essence known.

If the entire ENTP personaligy develops over the lifetime, then maybe an ENTP kid starts out as pure Ne.

People are recognizing that they were differnt as a child and exclaiming that they must not have been their type.
But maybe they are correct that they were different as a child, but that's because of the way their type develops. Their primary expresses itself first and the other functions are buried inside them and don't express themselves yet. Not until later as they age. Because I keep seeing that the theory says just that, the 2, 3, and 4 functions don't mature, don't expose themselves until adolescence, and the 4th not even until midlife.
 

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In other words what would a pure Ne look like? Maybe look at an ENTP young child and see exactly what pure Ne looks like.

If you want to see pure Ti expression, look at an INTP young child.
 

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I had some trauma, maybe early trauma makes you develop lesser functions earlier, I don't know.

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You could be exactly right. I recently read that some native american culture stated "suffering is necessary for the growth of the soul." Interesting when people from 2 different cultures, in 2 different time periods point out the same thing.
 

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It would depend upon what exactly is meant by the notion of personality change to begin with. I would guess that 'most everyone can relate to the idea that they've changed over time, sometimes quite substantially but more often only slightly, so if that's what's meant then of course you could say that personality shifts throughout life, and a theory that tried to deny it would be difficult to accept (to the extent that the theory was tainted by that assumption, at least). But whether all of those instances each count as personality shifts or not... well, should they? I'm not sure. What counts as personality, and what is merely behaviour or something else? Pinning any of these down satisfactorily is a difficult enough task on its own, let alone evaluating them beyond that...

But regardless, I get what you mean about everyone having all the functions, if you approach it from the perspective that each function represents a specific "ability" or something like some kind of video game. I mean, if you think every time you engage in a basic reflex or instinct that's "Se" at work then yeah, of course everyone would have to have all functions and use them at different times, some just better at it than others. The problem with that thinking is that the very concept of having "types" starts to make no sense. Now we've gone beyond personality and are talking about ability, which really isn't what Jung was doing exactly. He was more trying to peg down different styles of thinking preferences really as far as I can tell from skimming Psychological Types.

His "introverted thinking" type for instance wasn't exactly the same as what is commonly considered to be an IxTP type today. It seems like Myers and Briggs kinda bastardized and simplified his ideas (which were already a little out there) and squeezed them together to conveniently fit into a nice neat system that just doesn't really hold up in reality. Like, why should I necessarily have a greater N preference than a T preference? I mean I do most of the time, but if we follow that every ENTP is supposed to go N-T-F-S, we should have to assume that every ENTP should be a distinct N type with repressed S and closer on the T/F line. But we know this just isn't the case. And likewise, why should being an ENTP mean my thinking necessarily has to be "introverted" as opposed to extroverted even though I'm an extroverted type? (And I'm not really even an extrovert so much as an ambivert.) And why should my "tertiary" feeling have to be extroverted even though I generally relate more to Fi than Fe? It just doesn't fit. Hell, I think Ne-Ti-Fi-Se might sum me up best if forced to choose a function order.

[...]

Anyway, back to the original point about personality shifting over time... I'm glad you agree. I think MBTI categories just very broadly and crudely describe the basic place our personality resides at a certain time, but it's only a starting point that means little by itself. I've in some ways got more in common with an ISFJ who scores close on the line of all letters than to another ENTP who is 100% on all letters. We all got our nuances and I like what you said about how the "functions that are at the forefront of your brain change as you grow up." It does seem to me as though teenagers for instance do place greater emphasis on certain values associated with "Fi" in general, regardless of type. I think it's important that we all remember that age is relevant to how we behave and also not to limit ourselves based on a combination of letters.
Largely, I'd agree with this (and particularly the criticism of the theoretical constructs that impose arbitrary limitations on which personality patterns are even said to be possible). Whether there's an underlying self that remains the same, despite surface changes, remains a possible explanation, but a hard one to substantiate. The point about being more similar to an ISFJ who's close on all four dimensions than to an ENTP with strong preferences for all four does show up the potential issues with working from a type-based model to begin with - i.e., that we focus greatly on differences between types, and neglect to focus anywhere near as heavily on the variations within each type - but on the broader question of whether personality shifts over time, it's hard to know how that fits in with the MBTI: what exactly is the personality that the MBTI seeks to capture, and what doesn't it? A lot of people seem wedded to the idea that it's about underlying cognitive processes, but that suggests a rigidity that doesn't seem to match well with the observation of personal change over time (again, it could be made to fit, but as you said, to do so automatically is very much an example of confirmation bias)... hard to say, really.
 

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My personality has changed too. As a child, I was the stereotypical ENFP. As I entered my teenage years, I seemed like a very unhealthy INTJ in an Ni Fi loop. I had moments of turning into impulsive Se. Now, I am INFP. I wonder if I have been an INFP all my life, though. I don't really know. I can never believe your type cannot change.
 

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Luckily, there's more to us than just our MBTI type so we're not always going to be walking stereotypes. Fitting the personality profile is less important that knowing the process that goes on in your mind.

I find that I, like most other people, have had shifts in personality as well. They were due to lessons or traumas which touched on deeply emotional things that had little to do with JCF/MBTI. Through it all, my brain maintained it's ability to, say, spin off ideas and get lost in fantasy (I'm Ne-dom), but that was, of course, the lesser part of my existence.

Point I'm trying to make is that your personality can shift, but the underlying process (i.e. personality "type") remains the same. Again, the type descriptions aren't your personality. They're a summary of what your brain generally "does" and not all of it is 100 percent true 100 percent of the time.

The others are right to point out we use all the functions--or at least I do. You can screw what the theory says about "not using" functions till midlife, if the theory even says that. They're all there, some are just less conscious than others and it takes work to make it a real strength. There seems to be a particular process I default to by nature. That's it.

I have issues with the way the theories are currently constructed myself. What I'm "supposed" to do isn't necessarily what I've self-observed. These theories are there to help us reach insights about ourselves and others, and if they don't serve that purpose, you can throw them away.
 
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Your personality evolves but doesn't truly change.
You are who you are and any kind of shift is only due to increased awareness, new perspectives and your own personal growth.

Cognitive functions develop slowly and with age and since no two people are identical, their degree of improvement might vary.

Ambiversion is not real, rather it's a label created on the misconception that all introverts are grumpy, shy hermits who haven't had human interaction in years and extroverts are constantly socializing, going to parties, attempting to cause earthquakes through yelling.

Even as an extreme introvert, this is laughable.

Cognitive extroversion has nothing to do with social extroversion.
Most teens are angsty, it's not the exclusive of INFPs (and Holden is an ISFP ).

It seems to me that you were always high on Ne and following the possibilities that made more sense to you. I can buy ENFP but not as a type shift, simply personalities and functions maturing over time.

Forget about the lawyer stereotype.
Read about cognitive functions and remember that you are a person not a stereotype.
 

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You do go through a change called development throughout the lifespan, from conception to the last breath taken. It's a concept found throughout psychology and biology. I have read typology related articles asserting that you don't change types, but then they also rarely go on to tell you that you grow more into yourself to explain the changes a person may go through. I've noticed that avoidance of this subject in posts on PerC, too.

I've also been going through quite a few changes at closer to 40 now. It used to be that it never crossed my mind to volunteer myself, time, and energy into serving others, or to even want to get married and have children.

And I know of at least two ENTJs irl who have volunteered their time to serve the less fortunate as well. It's not something that I see in articles about ENTJs and INTPs...
 

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Well, for a while I thought I was an INTP, and I acted like one from about 15-18. But it was just my Ti developing. I went through a very logical Nazi phase, and questioned everything in my life (my Catholic upbringing, school, etc.) My Fe which is decent now was totally nonexistent up until a few years ago. Like I was a complete idiot in terms of recognizing social cues and norms, which now I consider myself fairly adept at. It pisses me off because now that I think about it a lot of girls showed interest in me and I just never noticed until now. But I'm not gonna get into that.

I feel as if this probably happens pretty often though. I have an ENFP friend who also went through a very introverted stage for a while like me. It's as we mature that we really start to look like our personalities. Not in a textbook way as there is always variance naturally, but as the functions develop you see more complex people.
 

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Your personality evolves but doesn't truly change.
You are who you are and any kind of shift is only due to increased awareness, new perspectives and your own personal growth.

Cognitive functions develop slowly and with age and since no two people are identical, their degree of improvement might vary.

Ambiversion is not real, rather it's a label created on the misconception that all introverts are grumpy, shy hermits who haven't had human interaction in years and extroverts are constantly socializing, going to parties, attempting to cause earthquakes through yelling.

Even as an extreme introvert, this is laughable.

Cognitive extroversion has nothing to do with social extroversion.
Most teens are angsty, it's not the exclusive of INFPs (and Holden is an ISFP ).

It seems to me that you were always high on Ne and following the possibilities that made more sense to you. I can buy ENFP but not as a type shift, simply personalities and functions maturing over time.

Forget about the lawyer stereotype.
Read about cognitive functions and remember that you are a person not a stereotype.
Saying "my type must have changed, because I acted differently as a child" is equivalent to saying "I'm not FirstName LastName anymore, because I acted differently as a child."

Like you said, any change was from personal growth and changing awareness. Types do not change.

Notice how nobody says they were an INTP as a child. Because INTPs are steroetyped as intelligent. And children dont know everything since they haven't gone through school yet.
So according to the logic here, there's no such thing as INTP children.


"Ambiversion is not real."
Exactly. There is no middle plane of existence. There is subjective and objective. Your thoughts are one or the other. It doesn't matter what your word quota is. It's not like >2,000 words per day= extroverted functions, and <2,000 words per day = introverted functions.
 

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Notice how nobody says they were an INTP as a child. Because INTPs are steroetyped as intelligent. And children dont know everything since they haven't gone through school yet.
So according to the logic here, there's no such thing as INTP children.
The ironic thing is that INTP children are very recognizable.

Usually very distant, aloof and uninterested in people, preferring to explore the world and tear it apart and rearrange it in all possible ways, sorting them according to logic. It's not a matter of being smart rather than being completely driven by the first function and distant from the inferior one.

An INTP child would be serious, quiet, aloof, pragmatic, smartass-y and always intent on finding sense in everything through questions and theorizing while an INFP child will be particularly quiet, distant, sensitive, lost in a fantasy world, driven by feelings, creative and touchy about feeling misunderstood or rejected for who they are.

Making all of those "I'm an INFP with a strong T so I'm in between INFP and INTP" self-typings even more ridiculous.
 
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