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I know it's common for INFJs to feel out of place and misunderstood, but for the past few months I've had an extremely low self-esteem (I've never been 100% happy with myself anyway). Around two months ago I started cutting my thighs but then realised what I was doing was wrong and I only hated myself more for it.

Now, I know almost every other fifteen year old girl has self-esteem issues, but I feel that they can at least accept it and move on - I've stayed in my bedroom like a hermit for days on end!

I suppose what I'm wondering is if it's a trait of INFJs to intensely dislike themselves and not be able to move on or if anyone else has felt similar?
 

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Oh, dear. Does anyone in your family know that you were engaging in self-mutilation? From what I understand, the behavior has many implications, including (but not limited to) an inability to experience feelings (a sort of self-test, to ensure that sensation can still be felt at all), as well as an expression of self-loathing, self-punishment, and even ironically, it is a means of dissociative self-soothing. Apparently, this behavior is more common among people your age, but it is nevertheless a serious symptom of emotional and/ or psychological distress, or imbalance. It is also common for individuals with a history of trauma and abuse.

Because INFJs are just as susceptible to extreme sadness and depression, as much as any of the other 16 personality types---and probably just as vulnerable to other categories of mental illnesses---I will say that you are just as likely to find people who can relate to your situation here, as you are in the general population.

That being said, I have suffered from serious depression/ depressive breakdowns, including prolonged abject states. Abjection is difficult to define, when it applies to the "self". But here is the best description I found, from a paper on the subject:

If it be true that the abject simultaneously beseeches and pulverizes the subject, one can understand that it is experienced at the peak of its strength when that subject, weary of fruitless attempts to identify with something on the outside, finds the impossible within; when [she] finds that the impossible constitutes [her] very being, that [she] is none other than abject. The abjection of self would be the culminating form of that experience of the subject to which [she] is revealed that all [her] objects are based merely on the inaugural loss that laid the foundations of [her] own being.
This psychological state is marked by a desperate search for the self ("self-esteem"). But if the person has never felt as though he/she existed (usually due to a woefully degraded relationship with the mother---who serves as the primary "object", upon which all human infants and children primarily rely). The mother should naturally reflect the baby's state, and reflect it back to her. Here is an example: a baby smiles up at her mother, with the expectation that the mother will, in turn, smile back her. When the expected reaction fails to take place (either because the mother is literally not present, or if the reaction is unexpected---perhaps the mother frowns), the infant's existential distress ensues. Depending on how often such events occur, and to what extent throughout the child's development, an overall state of abjection may grip the individual throughout her lifetime.

The upshot can emerge precariously, for the abject individual. It might sound unbelievable, but certain questions eventually arose for me, after I came to terms with my own derelict relationship with my mentally ill mother: Am I here? Do I really exist? Is my love flawed, ineffective, or impotent? How will I ever truly connect with another human being, if I could not connect with my own mother? At first, these questions yielded the following self-assessments, and conclusions: Intrinsically, I must have no value. I am literally nothing. I do not exist. I am empty. I am without substance.

I'm merely sharing my most deeply personal experience of emotional/psychic pain. Sometimes it helps to know that you are not alone, even though we might not exactly relate. I'm twice as old as you, and my journey through abject states have been long, and arduous. But well-worth it. Therefore, you must tell somebody how sad you are. How (presumably) lonely you feel. The earlier you begin confronting your most awful states of mind, the sooner you might resolve them, and begin to lead the life of a happy-go-lucky teenager. It's what you---and what we all---deserve, at the very least.

Merry Christmas, young one. May you find the peace in your heart that some of us take for granted. And try to love yourself. Be compassionate toward yourself, the way you would be towards others in pain (you are INFJ, so I'm sure you are perfectly capable of this feat). You are worth it, and you are lovable. I promise.
 

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Oh how my heart aches for all of you. You INFJs are so gifted and caring. You're smart, kind, fun and compassionate. I need at least 1 INFJ in my life and I'm happy I have a couple. Please remember that there is so much to you. People don't realize how valuable you really are. You are needed in this world :) We need you..... I need you :)
 

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I know it's common for INFJs to feel out of place and misunderstood, but for the past few months I've had an extremely low self-esteem (I've never been 100% happy with myself anyway). Around two months ago I started cutting my thighs but then realised what I was doing was wrong and I only hated myself more for it.

Now, I know almost every other fifteen year old girl has self-esteem issues, but I feel that they can at least accept it and move on - I've stayed in my bedroom like a hermit for days on end!

I suppose what I'm wondering is if it's a trait of INFJs to intensely dislike themselves and not be able to move on or if anyone else has felt similar?
Hmmm. Can't say whether it's a trait of INFJs. But apparently it is very INFJ to have a lot of expectations of themselves and to find it hard to let go of their negative feelings about being flawed.

I had a hard time for a long while. It's not like life has been agonising but I always thought that melacholy was my natural setpoint and while I don't know if I would describe what I felt as "intensely disliking myself", I can say that I found it hard to love myself. It's a weird, insecure position to be in - to feel such boundless love for other people but then to look inside, at your incredibly vulnerable own self begging for understanding and love, and to then treat that vulnerable person as scum. I could see how hard I was on myself, and I couldn't understand why, when it would hurt me to sanction such cruelty and harshness towards another person. But I still was.

But, I think I am moving on from that. With time I've been able to see how overwhelmingly ridiculous my expectations were. I actually now love myself. It's an amazing way to live and I think was made possible by looking at my flaws straight in the face and acknowledging that they were me. Not trying to change them or hide them or fervently correct them.

A counselor I was talking to for a while once questioned me about the idea of "self-esteem". She saw it as just another construct, one that western society holds up as yet another measure of a person's success and that ironically ends up being an idea that people use against themselves. Her thinking was that how we feel about ourselves is different according to the situation, what skill or behaviour we're demonstrating at the time, the company we're in. She didn't see self-esteem as a set feature of a person, she just thought that how we feel about ourselves is something that fluxes. I think she was opposed to the idea that high self-esteem is some achievable static state that we must all force ourselves to aspire to.

I can see where she's coming from, and I agree with it to an extent. However, I definitely had a lot of difficulty loving myself and not considering myself a worthless addition to existence.

You might not be correct in your assumption that the other 15 year old girls have accepted it and moved on. Their not moving on just might not manifest itself as being a hermit in their room. (On that note - I can stay in my bedroom for days like a grade A hermit even being totally happy and optimistic. Maybe your hermit behaviour is a manifestation of how you feel about yourself, but I do think the tendency to hermit oneself from time to time does come more naturally to some people.) Some people's harsh feelings towards themselves manifest in quite showy ways.

One thing I can say for sure. Never assume that you are alone in what you're feeling. Most people don't reveal the crap they're experiencing. But feeling misunderstood, like, fundamentally, deeply misunderstood, is much more common than one might think. (It's really not just INFJs who feel that way.) ...... It's hard for most people to find their place. (And by that I mean... honestly. For example I see that a lot of people think that Sensors have it easy in the world, apparently being the majority and all. But... my observation has been that while maybe they find it easier to act appropriately and appear to fit in neatly, that doesn't mean that they feel that who they are deep down fits in neatly and will be accepted.) And I think most people really long to be heard as themselves, speaking completely honestly from their own voice, and feel that hardly anyone is interested in letting them do that. That people always want to jump in, or fit them into a convenient box, or would rather have a quick superficial version of the person to work from.

... Hmmm. I have gotten to know quite a few people who felt very alone and unvalued, but you wouldn't know it from their everyday, surface-level persona. They look 'normal', 'successful'... are extraverted..... have friends, a social life... But somehow don't quite accept who they think they really are inside, and don't think others are interested in that person either.

Sorry, I think I've rambled. Um... Post Out? :)

Just out of curiosity, do you have any awesome people in your life?
 

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I have been there and please... feel free to send me a message any time. The best way to overcome a behavior such as this is to replace it with a healthy behavior.

I had a lot of mental pain at the time. Inside, was full of holes and bruised. I needed to match internally and externally. I believe this is called disassociating.

I have overcome this and a lot more. Please feel free to ask me for help at any time.
 
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