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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi. This will both be a description of myself since I am new to the forums, or at least new to posting (I've been actively reading posts for a while). I considered splitting it into two different posts but felt that fitting the message within my personal context would benefit both causes. It hopefully makes it obvious that what I am trying to communicate is not a "universal truth", just my personal analysis, experience and opinion, and can perhaps also make it easier for other INTP's to relate who have had similar experiences.


When I was born I was 100% introvert, almost pathologically so, and a classic INTP. I couldn't tolerate other children in kindergarten since I found them noisy and irrational, and would either act out by attacking them or simply walk away from the kindergarten altogether. I was only interested in figuring out how things work and saw most other beings mainly as disturbances. In the end the end my mother convinced the city to pay for one of her friends, a very patient, nurturing and soft spoken woman to care for me during daytime.


When I was 2 years old my mother suddenly noticed that I had learned to count when I started reading and adding numbers on house signs as she was pushing the stroller. At age 4 she discovered that I had acquired basic reading skills and when I was old enough to start school I was already both literate, able to calculate and had learned basic English (from watching Transformers cartoons). Obviously, school was not a good fit for me.


Looking back I see this anti-social behaviour is as a process of building a mental/intellectual "immune-system" or infrastructure. Things or ideas that could not be rationally explained or were not logically consistent were harshly criticized and discarded, I simply didn't let them into my brain. To me this is the basic urge of the "Architect" type for everything to be logically consistent and fit together with the overall system. The in-built hyper-sensitivity to cognitive dissonance and flawed logic ensures a smooth running brain and the ability to construct more and more complex system without inbuilt flaws.


That is why I think the INTP personality is the greatest starting point. We create the strongest internal structures and value-systems that are both extremely well adapted to absorbing and understanding new information, but also incredibly resilient to "perverting" outside ideas. If you're fortunate enough to be born as an INTP you can have a strong internal moral compass as well as the optimal conditions for personal development and learning.


Since the rest of my family (mother, brother and sister) are ESTJ's there was some obvious problems at home. They value neatness, rules and material things. They have a strong urge to have others conform to their ideals, control their surrounding and classify things as normal or abnormal. I on the other hand react with extreme aggression against attempts to control me, unwittingly create chaos and was only interested in ideas, the acquiring of higher knowledge and the abstract.


Since the educational institutions rarely are adapted to this sort of children, there were all kinds of problems even there. My grades up until 7:th grade had been straight A's, but my attendance was at about 20%. At age 14 I simply quit school and moved away from home to live in a tiny apartment in the city that I had basically conned my way into by lying about my age and income (I didn't have any). This is where my real education started.


I was aware that I completely lacked an understanding of how other 'normal' people worked, and although I was eloquent and precocious, I was in fact extremely socially incompetent. I also had very little respect for peoples feelings since I had a hard time identifying with them, and mainly viewed them as irrational weaknesses. My upbringing didn't really allow for feelings other than anger or happiness, especially sadness was frowned upon as a sign of weakness.


The benefit to this borderline sociopathy and being used to feeling ostracized was that I could use other people as social "test subject" to test different strategies of communication on, as well as observe what results other people got from their interactions. I also joined an amateur theater group which helped overcome the built-in aversion to "open up" by doing so in an artificial manner in a setting designed for exactly that purpose. In a way I was "acting" whether I was playing theater or not, since social interaction did not come naturally to me.


The built in fear of social interaction is a lot easier to overcome when you treat it either as an experiment (which we INTP's love) or do it in a setting where "pretending to interact" is the whole point. There is no risk involved and a rich amount of feedback and sources to learn from. After this people who met me thought of me as extrovert, even though I wasn't, I was just pretending. Many probably viewed me as a bit of a jerk too, since I was constantly pushing boundaries and trying to make the conversations more interesting and controversial. An unexpected benefit to this however was that I suddenly got attention from the ladies, something that had been a scarce commodity before. It turns out that being extrovert, assertive and controversial (usually with humor) is very attractive to a part of the female population. Unfortunately I was not emotionally able to have a meaningful relationship at the time, since the "Feeling" part of my personality was horribly under developed.


The next big step in my progress was when I took on the job as a telemarketer. Imagine that. An introvert calling up strangers and talking to them for a living. Since I had a very systematic approach I was actually extremely successful. I would record and analyze my conversations and use every opportunity to get coaching or education from professionals in the field. Sales is probably the area where communication skill is most relentlessly developed, since the feedback is merciless. Other schools of communication may have a better theoretical foundation, but communication skills in sales are developed and sharpened by the same process as evolution: natural selection. If it works, it is implemented, if it doesn't work, it is discarded, without regard to who or what the source is.


After a year of that I was bored and quit. My natural affinity for games and strategy meant that I could support myself by playing online poker a few hours a day, and do something more meaningful with my leisure time. Before this, I would usually put my leisure time into reading or playing different strategy games, but since I was no longer paying taxes I felt like I wasn't contributing to society. To me it seemed logical that the way to contribute to society most effectively was to join a political party and use both my newly acquired social skills and my intellect to facilitate structural political changes.


This worked out very well in two ways, one more important than the other. The less important was that I was eventually elected city councilor and managed to get through a lot of good reformations and projects. But more importantly I met an ENFP. This particular ENFP happened to share my core beliefs as well as most of my hobbies and interests. She liked science-fiction and strategy games, and was passionate about personal and organizational development, and as future oriented as I was. We became best friends almost immediately and would spend every free hour we had together. Since we also had a working relationship, we had a lot of time to discuss both organizations, policy and inter-relational problems as well as personal development. We would communicate incessantly and also discuss how we were communicating. She loved the traits in me that others found strange, and I loved her compassion, ability to live in the moment, her natural way of inspiring others, her curiousness, openness, her emotional maturity... well, everything about her.


As an ENFP she was incredibly competent in the areas that I lacked. She was passionate about people, lived in the moment, amazingly upbeat, optimistic and supportive. I had never met someone with such a natural gift for social interaction and bringing out the best in people. She excelled at her work and our mutual focus on each others development, and our constant discussions meant our understanding and competences kept developing and an incredible speed.


As I was single at the time I asked her for some recommendations for online dating services, after we had been friends for a bit over a year. The site we picked had a very comprehensive questionnaire that took almost an hour to do but which I filled out both dutifully and honestly with her overseeing me. Once I hit the “submit” button I was after a few seconds of the server going through the database presented with a very sympathetically worded text with the headline: “Sorry, we could find no matches”.


After laughing about the result for a while, she suggested that we become a couple. I hadn't previously considered it since she was very far from what I was used to thinking of as my “type” and had never thought about her in a romantic way. However, it made perfect sense, and I pride myself of nothing if not being rational. So I agreed. After a few hours of discussing our new situation I came up with another suggestion: Since I couldn't imagine ever meeting someone I would rather spend time with, why not make the full commitment and get married. She agreed and our 4 hours of boyfriend-girlfriend relationship turned into a very short and secret engagement before we finally got married in the fall of 2011. Easily and by far the best decision of my life.


We went into the relationship rationally and with a focus on a few core values: 100% openness and honesty, and focus on each others happiness and personal development. The following time was the greatest time in my life, even though the external strains from my work situation were horrendous, she made me happy in a way that I had never thought possible. For the first time in my life I was completely open about everything and she simply made me a better, happier and more complete person. My previously “artificial” extroversion became natural, and she made me connect with my emotions, opening up a capacity for true love and compassion to a degree I could never have imagined.


By taking the leap and completely trusting another person, devoting myself to her and being completely open, I finally became what I can now only describe as fully human. It realized my potential and made it possible for me to endure things I previously couldn't, as well as enjoy things immeasurably more. Our relationship was a continuous positive feedback loop where we both learned from each others strengths and helped each other with our weaknesses. In my wildest dreams I could never have imagined that I, who felt I had been born almost without a heart, could feel so much love and happiness, and amazingly, it only got better and better.


Unfortunately there is a very sad ending to this story. This summer while she was decorating our balcony on the fifth floor, she somehow lost her balance hanging up flowers and fell. She died immediately on impact. This was two and a half months ago and I am still in a process of intense grief, but also grateful beyond what words can express that I got the chance to spend two and a half years with the most wonderful woman in the world. And even though she is gone, the person she left behind is utterly transformed. Ironically, meeting the love of my life developed me to a point where I am capable to handle the immense emotional trauma of losing her.


I felt it would be dishonest to leave out the last part, even though my intention with this post is to inspire other INTP's to look at the INTP personality as the best possible starting point rather than as a fixed position. INTP's are fantastic and the beauty of it is that by developing our extroversion and feeling side we do not lose anything, we only gain more. Being able to comfortably interact in social situations as well as having a deeper, more connected and fulfilling emotional life. Being able to create strong and loving relationships as well as being able to handle the inevitable losses and disappointments in life. These are great strengths. Nowadays when I test myself I tend to be classified as an ENTP with only a very slight preference for T, rather than my previously extreme I and T. But I still regain all the fantastic benefits of having been born an INTP, I'm just able to draw upon the strengths of the other temperaments.


If you made it this far in the text, I'd like to thank you and summarize by saying that taking the step is much easier than you think, and the rewards are much greater than you can imagine. You can take away whatever you feel most comfortable with from my text, but my recommendation would be this: Take the view that 'normal' social interactions are experiments, that will make them interesting and fun, rather than energy-drains. And try to find a person to open up completely with, and let then in. If you can find your ENFP and see him or her as the beautiful and fantastic person who will complete you, give it everything. My own personal story ended in the worst possible way, but although I feel an immense sorrow, loss and grief, I feel absolutely no regret. Opening up and completely trusting and devoting myself to her was still the best decision I have made in my life, and I only write this because I hope that my brother and sister INTP's will be able to have the same experience.
 

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Take the view that 'normal' social interactions are experiments, that will make them interesting and fun, rather than energy-drains. And try to find a person to open up completely with, and let then in. If you can find your ENFP and see him or her as the beautiful and fantastic person who will complete you, give it everything. My own personal story ended in the worst possible way, but although I feel an immense sorrow, loss and grief, I feel absolutely no regret. Opening up and completely trusting and devoting myself to her was still the best decision I have made in my life, and I only write this because I hope that my brother and sister INTP's will be able to have the same experience.[/QUOTE]

You have a commendable attitude and a strong outlook on the plight and prospects of being an INTP. Especially in the respect of what has happened in your life.

It is excellent advice you give. People are so keen on focusing on their bad points, while utterly ignoring their good ones. Look at the strengths, and build upon them. Because strengths are something that will inevitably be called on in our futures. so focusing on them, and increasing them, is a valuable pursuit.

I am sorry to hear of your wife's accident. Thank you for sharing your message.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You have a commendable attitude and a strong outlook on the plight and prospects of being an INTP. Especially in the respect of what has happened in your life.


It is excellent advice you give. People are so keen on focusing on their bad points, while utterly ignoring their good ones. Look at the strengths, and build upon them. Because strengths are something that will inevitably be called on in our futures. so focusing on them, and increasing them, is a valuable pursuit.


I am sorry to hear of your wife's accident. Thank you for sharing your message.

Thank you for your feedback. I always try to create non-zero-sum interactions, so I view both similarities and differences as positives. To me similarities bring security and a sense of community, while differences create dynamics and opportunities to learn. Both are positive.


I also find it more constructive to view "weaknesses" as areas where growth is easiest, and the potential for increase is highest.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@Stoneburg - Inspiring (even if sad) story. Don't let the trolls bother you :wink:
Thank you, and don't worry. I've had worse things happen to me than people posting funny pictures about not reading my post, I can handle it. ;)

And to be honest, the post is absolutely horribly lengthy and I should probably have put more effort into shortening it, I just felt dishonest every time I tried to cut a paragraph. On the other hand I figured that INTP's should be able to get through what is roughly only 4 pages of printed text. ;)
 

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hey, i just wanted to formally thank you for this post.
I really love what you have to say about one's struggle overcoming the trivialities of not being born extroverted. Those challenges we choose to overcome are what found the experiences that define us.

You should be proud, as this will inspire like minds that may be in need of a brighter perspective..!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
hey, i just wanted to formally thank you for this post.
I really love what you have to say about one's struggle overcoming the trivialities of not being born extroverted. Those challenges we choose to overcome are what found the experiences that define us.


You should be proud, as this will inspire like minds that may be in need of a brighter perspective..!
I really do hope that it will help, comfort, or inspire others. INTP's are beautiful creatures but unfortunately we're born into a world that is not built for us. That makes our challenges more difficult and too many of us succumb to isolation or despair.


Even though I'm no longer “classified” as an INTP (last time I tested myself I scored 79% on E) I still retain all the amazing positive qualities that comes being born one. And I feel a strong sense of solidarity and compassion with other INTP's as they are the ones I can most easily relate to.
 
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Hey man,I just came here to say that you're an amazing person.It's indeed extremely hard to live in this 'Extroverted world' and yet you managed to break through this barrier.I feel like I've never been able to create a bond with someone,which I thought was completely fine for me,but as a consequence I was developing a heavy depression.It's been a while that I've been trying to change and your post indeed inspired me to achieve this goal.
Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hey man,I just came here to say that you're an amazing person.It's indeed extremely hard to live in this 'Extroverted world' and yet you managed to break through this barrier.It's been a while since I've felt like I had a bond with someone,which I thought was completely fine for me,but as a consequence I was developing a heavy depression.It's been a while that I've been trying to change and your post indeed inspired me to achieve this goal.
Thank you.
It is I who should be thanking you. Knowing that I inspired you gives me a sense of well being and validates my effort in trying to communicate my experience the way I did. By taking something away from it, you were the one who gave it value. If you hadn't, it would just have been a bunch of worthless 1's and 0's floating around on the internet.
 

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I commend whoever read all of that. You're a better person than me.
 
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Fascinating.

I suspect I have had thoughts similar to yours in that I am grateful for being an INTP and think that I have had an interesting and beneficial way of viewing things, making choices, etc. than the ways of many of my peers. Also, I have had good models for social interactions along the way and have been able to follow their methods, thereby being somewhat confident in social situations when I need to participate in them.

I am sorry for your grief and thank you for sharing your story even so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Fascinating.

I suspect I have had thoughts similar to yours in that I am grateful for being an INTP and think that I have had an interesting and beneficial way of viewing things, making choices, etc. than the ways of many of my peers. Also, I have had good models for social interactions along the way and have been able to follow their methods, thereby being somewhat confident in social situations when I need to participate in them.

I am sorry for your grief and thank you for sharing your story even so.
Thank you for reading and for your sympathy. But when you think about it, it's not a sad story, it's a super happy story with an extremely sad event at the very end. The insane amount of happiness, love and growth we experienced together were still experienced.

Compare it to listening to the best band ever play the best music you've ever heard for 2 years. On the last day the music suddenly turns into the most horrible and painful noise you could ever imagine, and then stops. The total experience is still overwhelmingly positive when viewed as a whole. Wouldn't consider yourself grateful for having experienced it? I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I commend whoever read all of that. You're a better person than me.
If you want you can just read the last paragraph. If you want. I'm only offering people to read it, not trying to make anyone, and you won't hurt my feelings by turning down the offer. :)
 

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You've written enough for the both of us, so I'll keep this brief:

You're a very interesting person, Stoneburg. I hope you stay.

That, friend, is one of my highest compliments.
 

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Thank you for reading and for your sympathy. But when you think about it, it's not a sad story, it's a super happy story with an extremely sad event at the very end. The insane amount of happiness, love and growth we experienced together were still experienced.

Compare it to listening to the best band ever play the best music you've ever heard for 2 years. On the last day the music suddenly turns into the most horrible and painful noise you could ever imagine, and then stops. The total experience is still overwhelmingly positive when viewed as a whole. Wouldn't consider yourself grateful for having experienced it? I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Yes, I got that regarding the relationship. I just preferred to acknowledge it than not. :)
 

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Thank you for reading and for your sympathy. But when you think about it, it's not a sad story, it's a super happy story with an extremely sad event at the very end. The insane amount of happiness, love and growth we experienced together were still experienced.

Compare it to listening to the best band ever play the best music you've ever heard for 2 years. On the last day the music suddenly turns into the most horrible and painful noise you could ever imagine, and then stops. The total experience is still overwhelmingly positive when viewed as a whole. Wouldn't consider yourself grateful for having experienced it? I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.
Reminds me of this--a web comic you might like. But this page in particular. Your wording is nearly identical.

The Phoenix Requiem
 
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I wonder if you were ENTP from the start? The 'mixing with people is just a social experiment' theory seems like a typically ENTP game. And the fact that you reflect on experiences and how they made you grow. My girlfriend is thoroughly ENTP and she continually recounts stories in exactly the same way you have just done.

Being reclusive as a child is not necessarily a sure sign of introversion. It just shows that most people weren't to your intellectual taste. I grew up with a twin brother so I was boisterous and had someone to play with everyday, so I wasn't quiet and I didn't reject any sort of social interaction, I just played with other kids and was blissfully unaware of our differences. My girlfriend, however, says she was quite a black swan in her childhood. People liked her but she didn't care, she says she was quite sometimes horrible. To this day, I sort of enjoy certain levels of social interaction with the right people, whereas my girlfriend mostly hates it. Yet she is such an obvious ENTP with her outward mindset and optimistic view of the world, and I am such an obvious INTP with my hikikomori ways and my worryingly cynical viewpoint towards everything.

It was a really, really interesting story, but I'm just saying, for the sake of my own opinion, that you may have been an ENTP from the start?

At least I'm saying more than the 'too long; didn't read' wankers...

But yeah I do agree with the main jist of your point. Only difference being that I'd extended it to NT's in general. We have that curiosity and ability to understand a far greater amount from the start. We surpass all that selfish, emotionally-fuelled animalistic bullshit quite early. Bravo to us, NTs one and all!
 
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