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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I wanted to share some thoughts with you and I wonder if there might be any INFJ-common denominator here. If INFJs are more vulnerable than other types in the emotional realm do we then have more challenges to overcome from our childhood?

The more I'm getting to understand about the inner wounded child the more aware I've become about how my past interferes with my present. As a young adult I knew I had issues to wrestle through -- both big and small. Still, apart from reading self-help books and listening to good sermons, I had no clue where to begin, so I often settled for avoiding my inner world. I struggled with compulsive behaviors (most that society applauds) like rescuing others from their problems, excessive gift-giving and "falling in love" too fast. My locus of motivation focused externally, seeking to get my supply of approval through people pleasing. A wake up call came when I read John Bradshaw's book, "Home Coming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child"

Bradshaw writes some penetrating descriptions that pertain to the inner wounded child that are worth considering. Here is a summary of his thoughts (sprinkled with some of my own comments) for your viewing. Those of us who have had an emotionally chaotic childhood with many traumas may find ourselves struggling with some of these issues:

We may have difficulty trusting ourselves to meet our needs and therefore think we need someone else to meet them.
We may have difficulty trusting others so that we feel we have to be in control of our surrounding all the time.
We may fail to detect body signals such as not being aware how tired we are.
We may neglect going to the doctor or dentist.
We may have deep fears of abandonment.
We may feel we don’t belong anywhere or to anyone.
In social situations we may be invisible so no one notices us, yet not even be aware why we do this.
We may attempt to make ourselves indispensable to others to make sure they will not leave us.
We may have a great need to be touched or hugged that could make us vulnerable to bonding too soon, too deep with someone we don’t even know and who could even be harmful to us…
We may have an obsessive need to be valued and may have difficulty establishing boundaries for fear that others may not like those boundaries.
We may isolate ourselves out of fear that people might end up rejecting us or we might end up rejecting them.
Some of us are gullible and don’t see other people’s hidden agenda. Our sifter or filter has huge holes in it.

I'd like your feedback on this topic. Are there any INFJs who have had a decent childhood and thus have less of these issues? Which on the list do you still struggle with?
 

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-We may have difficulty trusting others so that we feel we have to be in control of our surrounding all the time.
-In social situations we may be invisible so no one notices us. (I'm usually aware I'm doing this).
-We may have a great need to be touched or hugged that could make us vulnerable to bonding too soon, too deep with someone we don’t even know and who could even be harmful to us…
- "falling in love" too fast

These are the four issues I fall under. I'm getting better at controlling my emotions so the last two aren't as problematic anymore, but I've also come to realize that I don't confide with anyone anymore due to personal reasons (Notices how I did not elaborate on past problems due to trust issues.( Yes, I am aware of my problems)). The first problem I stated is the most harmful one. I believe that I can handle everything on my own and don't need any help.
 

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100% me:

We may have difficulty trusting others so that we feel we have to be in control of our surrounding all the time.
We may have deep fears of abandonment.
We may feel we don’t belong anywhere or anyone.
We may have an obsessive need to be valued and may have difficulty establishing boundaries for fear that others may not like those boundaries.
Some of us are gullible and don’t see other people’s hidden agenda. Our sifter or filter has huge holes in it.

Five major things I struggle with, but I'm getting better on the last one now. My intuition is sharpening. i struggle right now with One and Four mainly.
 

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The more I'm getting to understand about the inner wounded child the more aware I've become about how my past interferes with my present. As a young adult I knew I had issues to wrestle through -- both big and small. Still, apart from reading self-help books and listening to good sermons, I had no clue where to begin, so I often settled for avoiding my inner world. I struggled with compulsive behaviors (most that society applauds) like rescuing others from their problems, excessive gift-giving and "falling in love" too fast. My locus of motivation focused externally, seeking to get my supply of approval through people pleasing. A wake up call came when I read John Bradshaw's book, "Home Coming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child"

I find what you write about young adulthood to be very interesting. I'm 27, and I have started to get in tune with my inner (or outer) extrovert. Trying to rescue others from their problems is definately true. This "compulsion", however, has lead me to want to become a psychologist. I had no sense of self-worth when I was a child, so I have wanted to put my insight to use ever since I have become aware that I have it. Seeking approval from others is also true, and that's the part I don't like about it, but the "rescuing" itself still feels like the right thing to do.

I have used enough introversion to last me a lifetime. It's not so much that I want to conform to society as I am just sick of spending so much time pondering life and not experiencing it. At this time, I only forsee myself becoming more of an extrovert, as I grow older. I've noticed that Fe is not all about sadness or hugs and kisses for me. It can also turn me into a good-humored person and a friend that people feel they can trust. This cannot be said of most of the other types of introverts. People used to tease me about fitting their serial killer stereotype, but nowadays, I outwardly express my emotions more, and nobody fears me.
 

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I'd agree with most of this... Except that I definitely don't feel my filter has holes in it... I feel like I can tell exactly what another person is feeling and that's what gets me down a lot of the time and leaves me under influence to manipulation because I let others walk all over me because I know they're hurting inside... Other than that this pretty much sums me up.
 

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We may have difficulty trusting ourselves to meet our needs and therefore think we need someone else to meet them.
We may fail to detect body signals such as not being aware how tired we are.
In social situations we may be invisible so no one notices us, yet not even be aware why we do this.
We may isolate ourselves out of fear that people might end up rejecting us or we might end up rejecting them.


I had a pretty good childhood, but I guess you can't go through life without getting a few bruises. Failing to detect body signals and being invisible are the two I struggle with most. My friends get frustrated with because when we're together in a small group they say I'm lots of fun, but as soon as more people show up, I'm invisible. Sometimes this happens even in groups or three or four people. I don't know why I do it, but it just happens naturally. I don't even realize I'm doing it at times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'd agree with most of this... Except that I definitely don't feel my filter has holes in it... I feel like I can tell exactly what another person is feeling and that's what gets me down a lot of the time and leaves me under influence to manipulation because I let others walk all over me because I know they're hurting inside... Other than that this pretty much sums me up.
Yes, I think you have something here worth thinking about -- another piece of the puzzle perhaps... An INFJ may have the filter working correctly, but he or she rarely ever benefits from it, so it's as if the filter did have a hole in it at the end... Very perceptive and insightful comment Catherine.
 

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...We may have difficulty trusting others so that we feel we have to be in control of our surrounding all the time. ...We may have deep fears of abandonment. We may feel we don’t belong anywhere or anyone. ...We may attempt to make ourselves indispensable to others to make sure they will not leave us. ...We may have a great need to be touched or hugged that could make us vulnerable to bonding too soon, too deep with someone we don’t even know and who could even be harmful to us… We may have an obsessive need to be valued and may have difficulty establishing boundaries for fear that others may not like those boundaries. We may isolate ourselves out of fear that people might end up rejecting us or we might end up rejecting them. ...
I struggle deeply with all of these specific issues which, not surprisingly, stem from a traumatic childhood. But there is hope, and I'm surprised at myself for, first, being aware of these specifics and, second, challenging them day after day.
 

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We may have difficulty trusting others so that we feel we have to be in control of our surrounding all the time.
We may fail to detect body signals such as not being aware how tired we are.
We may neglect going to the doctor or dentist.
We may have deep fears of abandonment.
We may feel we don’t belong anywhere or to anyone.
In social situations we may be invisible so no one notices us, yet not even be aware why we do this.
We may isolate ourselves out of fear that people might end up rejecting us or we might end up rejecting them.

Guilty as charged :wink:
Had a relatively happy childhood, but has always felt like an alien. I acknowledge the above as tendencies and/or preferences, but I'm trying to not be ruled by them. I guess independence is so important to me that I even try to be independent of myself (*sigh*).
 
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I had a really good childhood. Very happy and I fitted in well with all social groups. Even though I was thought to be a bit "different" it wasn't in a bad way, and i was included rather than excluded because of it. Yet, still, I have nearly all the same problems as listed here. Specifically:

- We may have difficulty trusting ourselves to meet our needs and therefore think we need someone else to meet them.
- We may fail to detect body signals such as not being aware how tired we are.
- We may neglect going to the doctor or dentist.
- We may have deep fears of abandonment.
- In social situations we may be invisible so no one notices us, yet not even be aware why we do this.
- We may have a great need to be touched or hugged that could make us vulnerable to bonding too soon, too deep with someone we don’t even know and who could even be harmful to us…
- We may have an obsessive need to be valued and may have difficulty establishing boundaries for fear that others may not like those boundaries.

As far as I am aware, I didn't have anything traumatic to deal iwth in childhood aside from the odd death of grandparent, pet or family friend and the boy across the street using me for kissing and fumbling practice (which I didn't mind terribly, he was fairly attractive at the time). My insecurities all started magically when I hit puberty. I just don't get it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for your responses. It surprises me to learn that even those INFJs with happy childhoods still struggle with some of the same issues that INFJs with traumatic backgrounds. This tells me that our personality traits may perhaps influence who we are more than our environment. What are your thoughts on this?
 

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I did have trauma in my childhood but the only things I share of your list is needing to be touched and to touch, falling in love too fast and being invisible. I like invisibility though. I have a hard time with more than a few people at a time. Some of the qualities you list come from emotional abandonment at an early age and, fortunately, I didn't have to deal wth that. A lot of what we have is hard wired but our experiences shape us too. It's like we have predispositions but they may be triggered only by certain expertences. I wish you well.
 

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I fit 100% with this list, I'm doomed haha...
 
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Yeah I would agree with many of those.... I think we do tend to have such "wounds" do to our personality being so rare so to other kids it make look "weird".


Best thing that I've found to help heal that? Help other kids.... teach them.... tell them what you wish people told you at that age.... do what you wish people did for you at that age...... even if you don't necessary "reach" them at least you are healing that inner child.
 

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If INFJs are more vulnerable than other types in the emotional realm do we then have more challenges to overcome from our childhood?
No. Every type has sucky characteristics that they suffer through in childhood that other types are lucky not to suffer through. Also, it depends on the situation of which type it can be better to be.
 

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Yeah most of those I could apply to myself if I wanted to be some depressed lunatic who thought there was something wrong with me.

The only thing I don't like about that list is how bias it is. It tells everything from a negative point of view, but when you're doing those things you usually have a damn good reason for it. This isn't about anxiety, or being a lonely depressed seclude who can't get close to anyone. That's just how you are, that shitty list is only one way of describing it. I've gotten over all those points about myself and now it's just become 'so what'. I can be comfortable around other people because I'm comfortable about myself, that's all it comes down to. People who have trouble accepting themselves probably either haven't figured themselves out completely, or haven't figured themselves out correctly. This could be because of how they grew up, or due to some elementary psychology they read on the internet.

People who never got out of their own depression market books to other people:
1. Because they think they solved their own problem but some of these books are complete garbage and a cry for help.
2. People naturally feel like there's something wrong with themselves, so by describing their personality in a negative way it reaches out to those people.
^People eat this up because everyone LOVES reading about themselves.

Notice how that list only had 1 thing about taking care of yourself, going to the doctor/dentist. Half the people who read list won't go there, and therefore the stupid people think this applies to them. In reality it's complete bullshit.

"We may have difficulty trusting ourselves to meet our needs and therefore think we need someone else to meet them."
^negative marketing to the lonely feeler
how about "Half of the people on the planet most likely want to be with someone because we're human"

"We may have difficulty trusting others so that we feel we have to be in control of our surrounding all the time."
No you just like your damn alone time. Some other things in life might try to convince you that having too much of it makes you different or inferior but those opinions are from different kinds of people. So how would it apply to you? Be happy with yourself because you ARE normal. Weird is an opinion given by other people. No one can completely understand other people so it's obviously not legitimate for anyone to believe those opinions.

I'd love to go down this list completely and rip on it but I have work, toodles.
 

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Yeah most of those I could apply to myself if I wanted to be some depressed lunatic who thought there was something wrong with me.

The only thing I don't like about that list is how bias it is. It tells everything from a negative point of view, but when you're doing those things you usually have a damn good reason for it....I've gotten over all those points about myself and now it's just become 'so what'. I can be comfortable around other people because I'm comfortable about myself, that's all it comes down to. People who have trouble accepting themselves probably either haven't figured themselves out completely, or haven't figured themselves out correctly. This could be because of how they grew up, or due to some elementary psychology they read on the internet.

Notice how that list only had 1 thing about taking care of yourself, going to the doctor/dentist. Half the people who read list won't go there, and therefore the stupid people think this applies to them. In reality it's complete bullshit.
Wow, are you having a bad day are you always this negative? You may think it is a load of bull when applied to yourself, but that doesn't mean it is bull for everyone else.

I know myself (as well as I can) and accept myself, I'm comfortable being me around other people, but it doesn't stop me from trying to understand why I have certain insecurities and not others. I would love to get down to the root of some of these problems I have, for as far as I can see there is no reason for it and that bugs me. Maybe if I could figure out the reason, I could disassoicate the emotion from the action, and I wouldn't have the problem anymore.

"We may have difficulty trusting ourselves to meet our needs and therefore think we need someone else to meet them."
^negative marketing to the lonely feeler
how about "Half of the people on the planet most likely want to be with someone because we're human"

"We may have difficulty trusting others so that we feel we have to be in control of our surrounding all the time."
No you just like your damn alone time. Some other things in life might try to convince you that having too much of it makes you different or inferior but those opinions are from different kinds of people. So how would it apply to you? Be happy with yourself because you ARE normal. Weird is an opinion given by other people. No one can completely understand other people so it's obviously not legitimate for anyone to believe those opinions.
OK, so you know your reasons for these particular insecurities of yours. Good for you. Neither of your answers here are relevant to me. Half the people on the planet wanting to be with someone because we're human is NOT the same as thinking and trusting that someone else will meet our needs better than yourself. The latter creates a very unhealthy dependency on specific people. I am quite an independent person in thought and action, on the whole, but I always need one specific person in my life to fulfill my needs. Needs that I could probably fill myself but fail to do so, handing the responsibility over to someone else and thus giving them a position of power over me. Why would I do that? Do I want to be independant or dependant?

And "feeling like we have to be in control of our surroundings all the time" - this isn't on my list but I don't think that for the majority of people who suffer this it is as simple as just needing some alone time. We're talkng about people not being comfortable until all the randomness around them is fully under their control (at least in their own minds) thus leading to being a control freak, and being totally insecure on most occasions because the external world can never be under anyone's personal control. People who try and make it so tend to become dictators, no?

As for the others
- We may fail to detect body signals such as not being aware how tired we are
For me, this is usually straight up being so absorbed in what is going on in my head that I forget to notice how the rest of me is feeling. It is normal for me. But it is unhealthy because both mind and body are equally important and need to be nourished. The fact that I know this, yet still continue to ignore my body signals, points to the fact that it is something that I really need to work on.

- We may neglect going to the doctor or dentist.
I'm not scared. I have the time and the means. Yet I still left it 10 years between dental visits - causing myself unnecessary discomfort when I inevitably had to get a lot of work done. I don't care what you think, procrastinating this long is not normal, especially since I actually used to LOVE going to the dentist when I was younger, nor is it acceptable behavior in a mature adult who cares about her health.

- We may have deep fears of abandonment.
Everyone fears abandonment to some extent. My fear is so deep that I worry when my husband is half an hour late from work, or when he goes off on a hike on his own I have images of being a widow until he comes back. Again, not normal, not understandable (I've never been abandoned, hell, I've never even been dumped by a boyfriend) and something I would love to understand so I can fix it.

- In social situations we may be invisible so no one notices us, yet not even be aware why we do this.
I want to be admired but I don't want any personal attention given to me. Can't have one without the other, something's got to give...I'd like to understand where my wanting to be invisible came from, so I can get over it and accept praise gracefully and actually do the things that I want to do that I know will draw attention to myself.

I could write more too, but I have some lunch to go and eat.

All I'm sayin' is:
You're simplifying things way too much in your attempt to pour scorn on self-help books.
 

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To answer the OP - My childhood was very traumatic. And all everything you listed applies very much to me.

I really find it interesting to see the posts who had a decent childhood, and still identify to the list. I'm very interested in why that may be.

And yes, I'm sure many could say they feel some or all of these things from time to time. BUT - it's to what degree a person feels it or is affected by it. (Am I using the correct affect/effect?) I might see a statement and think, "oh, sure I feel that way sometimes." or see the statement and see a flash in my mind to what depth and width that it has played or is playing in my life and think, "Oh wow, yeah. I really, really identify with that." Then I want to understand the mechanism of it better, so I can continue to improve in regards to it.

It would be difficult for me to say I ever got over something that affected me so deeply. I continue to have a better understanding of it and it becomes less and less of a hurdle in my life to the point that I can live harmoniously with it. It's a continual spiral upward (hopefully :happy:) of growth, not a closed circle of "done".

When and if I ever share anything, it's only on the chance that someone hearing it may be given the strength to continue going even when they don't want to anymore. Because during my darkest hours, those rare moments were given to me by another, and it was just what I needed at that moment. And most of the time it was some stranger who never knew what impact their words had, and it wasn't someone whining or complaining about their problems. It was a genuine sharing from the heart.
 
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We may have difficulty trusting others so that we feel we have to be in control of our surrounding all the time.
We may have deep fears of abandonment.
We may feel we don’t belong anywhere or to anyone.
We may isolate ourselves out of fear that people might end up rejecting us or we might end up rejecting them.


These are the worst ones for me.
 
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