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Discussion Starter #1
I recently had a situation where I was feeling quite insecure and vulnerable, the type of feeling that eats at you inside. I asked myself, what the hell is this feeling and an answered returned quite casually, "oh that's a constant need for reassurance". Quite an epiphany.

A problem that has plagued me my whole life suddenly became obvious. I don't have social anxiety (which I thought I had crippling my life for decades), I never did, I had a constant need for reassurance, which fed into my paranoid Ni. This is what I believe the mechanism to my anxiety. What do others think of social anxiety in ISTP's being something other than "social anxiety" and perhaps more what I have described above?

The most overlooked yet most obvious problem with the ISTP, or me at least, is lack the ability to give reassurance and therefore lack the confidence to give it to myself.

Social Anxiety, it seems to me, as the experience of an ISTP, is a symptom of a lack of self confidence, lacking the ability for self assurance.
 

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Can relate. The root in my view is it became crystal clear to us at some point in our early life that people can flip on a moment's notice, which was reinforced by our own experience constantly wandering around / hanging over our unreachable self like a fog. This realization let us to believe everyone deep down is like us.

The anxiety comes from the wrong assumption that others are like us and basically we externalize our problem with ourselves onto others. We treat our relationship with others as identical to our relationship with our inner self.

Don't know about others, but that's my view about my own situation. The spell was lifted by chance when I took my first job which was not suitable at all, one that should be done by Fe dominant people. The hellish experience really made me grow as a person.
 

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I learned a big cause for me hating first 12 years of school was the wrong type of encouragement and reassurance.
- pwowq, you have the ability to do better!
There I am, already doing my best and they say it's not good enough. What were they thinking...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've spoken to the Mrs on a few occasions how I make the mistaken assumption that we are all on the same page. I sort of credit people with knowing what I know and then get disappointed/frustrated when we don't connect. I had this unconscious compulsion to help/mentor people with their problems and their growth and got disappointed when people didn't appreciate both the value of the knowledge I provided and the effort I made to help them. I have realized though recently that this was an unconscious jumping the stack, from Ti into Fe. It's much better to simply be the best ISTP I can be and lead by example, rather than confront people head on, which might be overwhelming for them and potentially turn them off.

I had a compulsive need to engage on a deeply meaningful level and couldn't understand why hardly anybody else would oblige. It made me feel quite lonely and unfulfilled. I understand now though that this was an unrealistic expectation and that not everybody has the same needs I do, nor can they engage on such deeply complex levels of consciousness or the existentialities of human existence. I didn't know there were 16 personality types, I thought we were all fundamentally the same and just needed to become aware of simple truths about reality and the human condition.

We live and learn ideally.
 

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TL;DR: I can't relate. And I think the mechanism for ISTPs, the way they get their self confidence, is different.


Do you truly care what others think? When was the last time you acted in a way to impress Random Person On The Street? Everything else being equal, we care a lot less than the average person. We are self-contained, and keep our own counsel. But this directly means that the way to self-confidence can't lead through anyone and anything external, because the very mechanism that would link the two is missing. "Reassurance", as usually understand, can't work. A "constant need for reassurance" is basically the opposite of what I would expect for an average ISTP. If that's happening, something is profoundly off.

I see this in practice: I like compliments just fine, indeed I go fishing for them, but only in cases where I think it's appropriate. You can't derive reassurance from that, it's tautological: If you already know it's good, someone telling you it's good because you basically asked him to tell you so is not new information. The real questions becomes how you know it's good in the first place.

Therefore, self-confidence, for me, equates to knowing myself. In extreme detail. My flaws, my strengths, my moods, my behaviour, everything I am, the good and the bad. Based on this, I can forecast how I will react in any given situation. The lack of uncertainty provides reassurance, and the knowledge of what you can and can't do provides confidence. As this is entirely self-contained -- the source of strength and confidence is within yourself -- it can work. And the way to get there is, of course, to turn your thinking inwards. Analyse yourself. Early 20s, that's when it happened for me, and from what I read, that's fairly typical.


Conversely, feelings of insecurity and vulnerability I would link to a lack of this self-knowledge. It's so fundamental to me that I can't imagine not having it. I suppose I'd be completely adrift and helpless without it, and certainly might feel insecure. So the first thing I'd suggest for any ISTP in that situation is to focus on the self; ignore all the noise from outside, and develop a clear perspective for you about you.
 

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Do you truly care what others think?
Unfortunately, in most situations in life you can't do what you want and are subject to the scrutiny of everyone or family or society or systems around you. You can't 'lax to focus on you because you need to perform in stuff you know you're crap at, uncomfortable in, don't need to do and don't want to do.

Those that shun the scrutiny and succeed in doing so are rare, due survivorship bias.
 

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Unfortunately, in most situations in life you can't do what you want and are subject to the scrutiny of everyone or family or society or systems around you. You can't 'lax to focus on you because you need to perform in stuff you know you're crap at, uncomfortable in, don't need to do and don't want to do.

Those that shun the scrutiny and succeed in doing so are rare, due survivorship bias.
But we don't need to discuss semantics, right? It's obvious that you can do anything you want, there's no constraints on that. The only thing there is is consequences that makes you discard an option as not viable. The point, at least for me, is that it's a conscious decision. I'm not boxed in, I actively picked whatever option is the one you supposedly "can" do. It's not a foregone conclusion.

So ... nah. I don't agree with "can't do what you want". You can. I do. Can't recall when the last time was I did something I didn't want -- already because (see above) that concept is nonsensical. Because, say, if you act in a way as to not offend someone whose goodwill you may need later, that, too, is doing something you want. You always do what you want. Just sometimes, that includes conforming to the world around you, in order to get something you need from it.


I mean, it makes you selfish in a way, sure. But it's a variant of the power-responsibility concept: If you have that kind of mental state where there are no external constraints to keep you, it's your responsibility to use that state in a reasonable way.

And in any case, it certainly beats constantly feeling pushed around by circumstances beyond your control -- be it "things that need to be done" (they don't) or people whose approval you need (you don't).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A "constant need for reassurance" is basically the opposite of what I would expect for an average ISTP. If that's happening, something is profoundly off.
Yes indeed, I would definitely suggest so too. And this was really the focus of my thread, that one of the major dysfunctions of the ISTP is this potential constant need for reassurance, granted however, mostly only in social engagements with strangers, which is why I linked it to a cause for social anxiety. Social anxiety then being a symptom of a constant need for reassurance.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My ISFP Mrs brought to my attention that maybe a constant need for reassurance is not ISTP at all, but something else.

A "constant need for reassurance" is basically the opposite of what I would expect for an average ISTP. If that's happening, something is profoundly off.
Something profoundly off indeed. Something that requires a great deal of contemplation.
 
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