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Discussion Starter #1
How would INFP's grow up if they were to live in their own personal "ideal world"?

I read an interesting thread previous to making this one about the three stages of INFP development; the first being complete childlike wonder and an ultimate infatuation with the make believe, the second an acknowledgement that the world around them does not favour them- leading them into depression and a docile acceptance of a meaningless life, and the third an acceptance of blame and responsibility.
Sooo, I wondered do you think this is simply a coming of age ritual that would happen regardless? Or do you think the reason that our stereotypes are often so far from the common garden variety INFP because we have simply had to adapt to a practical and somewhat unforgiving society.

Thoughts?
 

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I've wondered this for quite a while, what I and other INFPs would have been had we grown up in environments actually suited to us.

In that hypothetical scenario, I'm not so sure all of us would've have been INFPs. I'm pretty sure my idealism, empathy and desire to understand others was formed around a catalyst of an empty and depressing childhood and adolescence. Having a fucked-up life developed my values and functions important to them. Did it accelerate what would have happened anyway? I'm not sure. But that's the point, I'm Not Sure. I know others have related to my experience, that the stereotypical 'INFP' values were formed and/or discovered in the midst of an abusive/empty/neglectful/otherwise shit environment, often in childhood and adolescence. I think to an extent the standard stereotype of an INFP fits someone who grew up in that sort of environment, because of all the INFP's morose tendencies.

I think I discussed this with someone here before, I was considering starting my own thread on it. The vague conclusion I reached is that since I believe personality is subject to circumstance, that many INFPs are INFPs because they had their personalities fire-formed, in a way. I think this question is strongly related to how much is personality subject to environment rather than genetics, which is still up for debate.
 

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In my ideal society people compliment me all the time. And every girl wants me.

I think most people just want pleasure and as you get older it shifts from freedom/imagination/playing to achieving/loving/partying/learning. I don't really think it's INFP only though I don't know what it's like to be any other personality type.
 
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@ATLeow

if you'd been a different type you would have dealt with it in a different way.
What makes you so sure?
As a child I'm pretty sure I was an IXTP. My Fi was poorly developed until my early teens. And yet my depression developed before the full development of my personality, indicating that I found myself incompatible with the world from that age. However, arguably I would have been better-equipped to deal with it had I retained a strictly linear and logical structured approach to the world, and focused on what was directly tangible, as I had, rather than becoming all ideal-y, feely and cry-y.
The way I dealt with it changed, probably to my detriment. My personality changed. I can remember how I 'dealt with it' differently and thought differently. I can see now I came to use entirely different approaches and functions removed from the normal maturation into adolescence. My personality changed, in some ways to its opposite, in a tangible way. It's not as simple as you suggest. Nothing about personality is.
 

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@ATLeow- So you're suggesting your values are INFP because of external circumstance? Interesting cause/effect theory. However, what about the thousands of INFP's brought up in objectively good environments? How would you explain their desire to understand others? I like your sentiment, but I'm not sure how much I agree.
 

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What makes you so sure?
As a child I'm pretty sure I was an IXTP. My Fi was poorly developed until my early teens. And yet my depression developed before the full development of my personality, indicating that I found myself incompatible with the world from that age. However, arguably I would have been better-equipped to deal with it had I retained a strictly linear and logical structured approach to the world, and focused on what was directly tangible, as I had, rather than becoming all ideal-y, feely and cry-y.
The way I dealt with it changed, probably to my detriment. My personality changed. I can remember how I 'dealt with it' differently and thought differently. I can see now I came to use entirely different approaches and functions removed from the normal maturation into adolescence. My personality changed, in some ways to its opposite, in a tangible way. It's not as simple as you suggest. Nothing about personality is.
omg don't even get me started on the fact that you can't change mbti types.

there are a variety of possibilities as to what really went on during that experience for you, but you did not change type.
 

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@ATLeow- So you're suggesting your values are INFP because of external circumstance? Interesting cause/effect theory. However, what about the thousands of INFP's brought up in objectively good environments? How would you explain their desire to understand others? I like your sentiment, but I'm not sure how much I agree.
I'm not necessarily saying caused by, I was using myself as a more extreme example. Personality is demonstrably, to varying extents, genetic. However, I do not subscribe to the school of thought which says it is fixed and unchangeable. I see no evidence to support that view.
Like I said, I'm Not Sure. Had I grown up in my ideal world, I'm not sure whether I'd have been an INFP. Maybe I'd never have shifted from a more thinking, sensing type, or maybe I'd have been free to explore my INFPness even further. That's what I'm also saying: who knows?

However, I'm suggesting circumstance as a contributing factor, which potentially could shift someone over the boundaries of MBTI types, accelerate and/or exaggerate the development of their functions (this idea particularly interests me), cause shadow functions to develop further, or reveal to them things which they did not know about themselves, enabling them to act upon those things.

omg don't even get me started on the fact that you can't change mbti types.

there are a variety of possibilities as to what really went on during that experience for you, but you did not change type.
Don't present as fact that which is hotly debated, and which you are furthermore putting down without making any attempt to understand. Jung himself was pretty conflicted on the subject, and I understand he suggested preference is inborn (which logically can only be properly realised in adulthood, take note) but also said that personality is changeable throughout one's life, and driven.
Anyway, if you're just going to shout 'omg no' at me debating this with you is a waste of my time.
 

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People I know in person have often compared me to 2 fictional INFPs, especially while I was a teen: Anne of Green Gables, and Luna Lovegood. I think both of them were obviously INFPs as kids/teens, too. They both went through difficult things as children: Anne was orphaned and later adopted, and Luna saw her mom die when she was a kid. I went through some bad things growing up, but nothing that extreme.

It does make one wonder. Yet I also grew up with some ESTJs, our proverbial opposites, who have had difficult childhoods, too.
 

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Don't present as fact that which is hotly debated, and which you are furthermore putting down without making any attempt to understand. Jung himself was pretty conflicted on the subject, and I understand he suggested preference is inborn (which logically can only be properly realised in adulthood, take note) but also said that personality is changeable.
well said. except that there are always explanations for alterations in type- moreover a person can act the total opposite of their real type under stress, at which point they act very immature because of course they don't naturally develop those functions they're now using in the correct way. that's mbti fact, and something that is consistent in my daily life from observing people and myself. in the case of infants/children, they take time to work their way down their order of functions, which explains their ability to explore different functions which they are less able to do later in life.

for example, early in life i remember being the child who was a bit of a know it all- i delighted in the leaps in understanding i could take over other kids. i also had a stressful time later on where i became quite shy, and because of being introversive, pushed into an Fi state all to often and therefore being very sensitive. both those things make sense, even though they are nothing like how i am now- but definitively explainable by mbti theory.

if you were to ask for my opinion, INFP children never fail to be sensitive- it's their leading function and what comes to them first and most inevitably. from what you've written about yourself, how you express yourself, and from addressing this same issue over 3.5 years over and over and over again.. i'd say you're an ENFP who's experienced much stress for a lot of his life- just from your first post alone it seems like you lead with Ne; read posts by ENFP males on our forum and you'll see them overwhelmingly more similar to how you express yourself than males on the INFP forum. you say you haven't tried to quantify it by mbti, well i have, over and over again.
 

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well said. except that there are always explanations for alterations in type- moreover a person can act the total opposite of their real type under stress, at which point they act very immature because of course they don't naturally develop those functions they're now using in the correct way. that's mbti fact, and something that is consistent in my daily life from observing people and myself. in the case of infants/children, they take time to work their way down their order of functions, which explains their ability to explore different functions which they are less able to do later in life.

for example, early in life i remember being the child who was a bit of a know it all- i delighted in the leaps in understanding i could take over other kids. i also had a stressful time later on where i became quite shy, and because of being introversive, pushed into an Fi state all to often and therefore being very sensitive. both those things make sense, even though they are nothing like how i am now- but definitively explainable by mbti theory.

if you were to ask for my opinion, INFP children never fail to be sensitive- it's their leading function and what comes to them first and most inevitably. from what you've written about yourself, how you express yourself, and from addressing this same issue over 3.5 years over and over and over again.. i'd say you're an ENFP who's experienced much stress for a lot of his life- just from your first post alone it seems like you lead with Ne; read posts by ENFP males on our forum and you'll see them overwhelmingly more similar to how you express yourself than males on the INFP forum. you say you haven't tried to quantify it by mbti, well i have, over and over again.
In your experience, have Ni dominant types (especially INFJs) shown a similar sensitivity to INFPs? I am curious if what you have seen matches up with how my INFJ sister and I are alike and how we are different.
 

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In your experience, have Ni dominant types (especially INFJs) shown a similar sensitivity to INFPs? I am curious if what you have seen matches up with how my INFJ sister and I are alike and how we are different.
that's a pretty complicated question to answer if you're expecting the answer to match up to all your experiences with an INFJ.

i find that i relate to INFJs more in that they lead with intuition, and are more conflicted between values and reasoning. i relate to INFPs more because of our shared functions, obviously.

INFJs are a little less sensitive than the average INFP, their primary characteristic lies in their intuitive surety of things, which is not very evident to the outsider who does not know them well, because INFJs hide this side of themselves so well- i.e. they have probably 4x the intuitive understanding of things that you actually realise they do. an INFP is more concerned with their personal values. an INFJ obtains their values in a different way to INFPs, due to their Fe. an INFJ, as a simplified explanation, will be more focused on those values that benefit the group as they see it, (i've written about 100 detailed posts on this, sorry but i can't muster the motivation to do it again just right now), whereas of course INFPs are more obstinate in pursuing values that they create for themselves, even if against the general consensus.

in this way, on the subject of sensitivity, INFJs are more sensitive to established opinions in groups and care more about what people think, although again this is secondary. an INFP is sensitive in that they are more frightened of their own judgements of themselves- others' judgements are important merely because their own conscience chooses to use them as an excuse to judge themselves.
 

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that's a pretty complicated question to answer if you're expecting the answer to match up to all your experiences with an INFJ.

i find that i relate to INFJs more in that they lead with intuition, and are more conflicted between values and reasoning. i relate to INFPs more because of our shared functions, obviously.

INFJs are a little less sensitive than the average INFP, their primary characteristic lies in their intuitive surety of things, which is not very evident to the outsider who does not know them well, because INFJs hide this side of themselves so well- i.e. they have probably 4x the intuitive understanding of things that you actually realise they do. an INFP is more concerned with their personal values. an INFJ obtains their values in a different way to INFPs, due to their Fe. an INFJ, as a simplified explanation, will be more focused on those values that benefit the group as they see it, (i've written about 100 detailed posts on this, sorry but i can't muster the motivation to do it again just right now), whereas of course INFPs are more obstinate in pursuing values that they create for themselves, even if against the general consensus.

in this way, on the subject of sensitivity, INFJs are more sensitive to established opinions in groups and care more about what people think, although again this is secondary. an INFP is sensitive in that they are more frightened of their own judgements of themselves- others' judgements are important merely because their own conscience chooses to use them as an excuse to judge themselves.
The parts I bolded especially resonate here! And the Fi/Fe descriptions you wrote above seem to correlate at least somewhat with why my sister is usually perceived as rather "alpha female" in groups. She is not a very strong introvert, she is usually very good at reading people and figuring things out about social situations (except for when she and her now husband first met and were playing the "does he/she like me?" game, ha ha ha, but that is another story!), and she enjoys leadership roles.

INTJs seem similar with the intuitive surety and hiding that part of themselves... at least my brother-in-law is a lot like that, as is my INTJ close friend (who is a girl). "you think you know them, but you really have just scratched the surface...." ^_^
 

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I read an interesting thread previous to making this one about the three stages of INFP development; the first being complete childlike wonder and an ultimate infatuation with the make believe, the second an acknowledgement that the world around them does not favour them- leading them into depression and a docile acceptance of a meaningless life, and the third an acceptance of blame and responsibility.
Do you mean this thread?

http://personalitycafe.com/infp-forum-idealists/112114-3-phases-infp-adolescence.html

That was something I observed in myself, I wouldn't take it too seriously though because I am not educated on MBTI or psychology. Watch also that it doesn't lead to judging others and focusing on negatives, as well as abandoning 'childlike wonder' and idealism for a more realistic 'docile acceptance of a meaningless life'. Someone commented in that thread about it being intresting because there are diffrent types of INFP's on the forum including some who are 'sad and critical' well I was more like that at the time. Nihilism sucks! Idealism is powerfull though. It can change you and change the world in a positive way so long as one is optimistic about it and doesn't ultimately reject their childlike empathic self, because there certainly isn't anything wrong with that.

I think when I wrote that thread 'Phase one' was to be viewed as immature and lacking in character, but now I really don't like that view. It is an assumption about a person but it also hatefull and demeaning. Who am I to say a person 'lacks character' not to mention doing so I don't feel is the correct approach. I think 'character' is too associated with the right wing implying a person is weak as well as a need to be strong, tough and competative. I prefer 'bettering yourself' or 'realising potential' instead which seems more positive. A person in 'phase 1' hasn't found his direction yet to start doing that.

How would an INFP grow up if he always lived in his own ideal world?
He wouldn't grow up, he wouldn't grow, learn, reach his potential and develop as a person. I don't think he would be pretty happy either because 'phase 1' is insecure so I think naturally leads to 'phase 2'.

Or did you mean by that how would INFP's grow up if they grew up in an ideal environment and condition?

I'd say they would grow up better, they would be more confident about themselves and life because they may have recieved good nurture and guidance on the direction to realising themselves, realising potential, bettering themselves and being self confident.

Sooo, I wondered do you think this is simply a coming of age ritual that would happen regardless?
Regardless of being an INFP or regardless of the environment/condition you grow up in?

I wrote the thread from the point of view of growing up as an INFP, it is a 'coming of age ritual' but I don't know how other types would respond to it.

I'd say everyone does go through it at some point regardless, but it effects everyone diffrently depending on their own circumstances.

Someone in that thread also mentioned that it wasn't static, that it's a constant process and development of jumping backwards and forwards from 'phase 1, 2 and 3'.

Or do you think the reason that our stereotypes are often so far from the common garden variety INFP because we have simply had to adapt to a practical and somewhat unforgiving society.
I think everyone has to adapt to that.
 

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Now that I think about it, apparently my younger sister managed to bully me while she was still a toddler ._. That says a lot xD (All that stereotypical INFP softness thing).

Hm. If I'd grown up in a family where my sister wasn't favoured over me I'd probably have more self-confidence. Then again if my mother had never beaten me whenever I didn't study or do my homework I'd never have been hardworking and realized that school was fun.

If I'd never met that friend who had such a horrible influence on me, it would probably be easier for me to work hard now instead of having to drag myself cause I'd be used to it, and I might still think school was fun. Then again I wouldn't know how it's like to struggle so much and the joy when you've overcome something, even if it's a teeny weeny thing that may seem insignificant to others :D

So well, maybe my way-less-than-perfect childhood made me not as confident as some of my other peers, if it had been any different I wouldn't be as brave and would probably be unable to take hardships well :/ Thinking about it this way, I guess I'm glad :D After all, it's easier in my opinion to gain confidence than to be scared of life! And honestly it really doesn't matter cause we can't change how our childhood was like xD
 
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