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This is a fairly long post but I think it is incredibly important and useful for anyone with underlying anxieties or any desire to improve their mental health. I am an *NTP but most also applies to any NT.

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I’m 23 and I have been through ever-changing and unpredictable mental health issues the last 8 years or so. I was extremely depressed in my latter teenage years circa 16-19 but did not understand why since my home life on the surface appeared immensely loving and caring, although restrictive. This started to improve 4.5 years ago when I left home and simultaneously began a ton of research into psychology and self-help. Whilst a lot of my depression went and I could appear a confident and happy person, I had underlying anxieties which I was almost unaware of, or at least couldn’t identify the causes or solutions to them. I have learnt an immense amount from my experiences and want to offer some help to any younger (or any) *NTs to help them avoid the consequences of what took me years to understand.

My anxiety begun to got a lot better in the last 18 months since I began mindfulness training, and also worked out my personality type and understood my cognitive functions - then worked out my Mum is an ISFJ and dad an ESFJ raised in a very traditionally christian household. A lot of underlying anxieties for *NT's come from childhood and parental clashes as do any personality type, but *SFJ’s can be particularly conflicting as they are the complete opposite of the spectrum and are stubborn in their traditional norms and values.

This helped me to understand the root causes of underlying anxieties which were present for me even when I had left home. Parental clash’s for *NT’s can be a nightmare in teenage life. *SFJ’s think they are always right even though most of the time their outdated norms and values are illogical and even counter productive at times. They also care excessively about social status and how others perceive them. It’s a difficult situation because they’re often incredibly loving and caring, and support you in things immensely when they aligned with the values they expected of you (playing sport, going to university, etc). This can lead to a confusion between feeling that you should be appreciative and grateful, but having some underlying resentment from a lack of freedom and excessive critical judgement. This caused me underlying neurotic anxieties for many years before I realised the root cause was that my childhood had:

1. Stopped me becoming myself and establishing self-awareness with my own essential values

2. Made me excessively care about what others think - whereas my true self desired to act freely and without caring what others thought.

Neurotic anxiety is essentially anxiety disproportional to the real threat to yourself or values you hold as key to yourself. The way to deal with neurotic anxiety is to bring out the original real experiences of fear and anxiety, and then work it through and understand it as normal anxiety or fear in constructive ways that can be met. In dealing with any severe neurotic anxiety, the mature and wise step is to get professional psychotherapeutic help - which will be a lot more beneficial now you have begun to understand the root causes of the neurotic anxiety. I idiotically never went this route beyond one or two random sessions, partially because I didn’t want to openly admit at the time that I suffered from any mental health issues. I mostly regret this now as I expect it would have made it a faster and less painful process. (Although the process of inwardly self-helping myself involved researching/learning/writing a ton over years which I am looking forwards to sharing in a book soon).

What you have to be aware of and careful of, is that even when the situation between you and the parent improves with space - (for me this is when I went to university) (though we would still clash when I was home during breaks) - you need to be aware of underlying anxieties built up from suppressing your true thoughts and feelings under subjugation of their rule as parents. This is tough when you are younger especially because the ESFJ parent especially can be unintentionally very judgemental and critical of anything which doesn’t align with their opinions, which they put across as if almost they are facts. This can lead to an underlying neurotic anxiety from both not having the freedom to become yourself and gain self-awareness. When acting like your true self there can still be underlying and at times subconscious concerns for some of the values which were engrained in you which you now treat as fleeting and useless. Or even to be excessively concerned with whether others like or respect you. This is incredibly detrimental to the *NTP since they need freedom to explore their innovative thinking without such restriction.

Of course this does not mean disregard other people since we are social animals at heart that thrive on positive friendships and social interactions. A simple phrase to keep in mind that has helped me is ‘Always care for others welfare, but not their opinions’. The first step to doing this is recognising your underlying anxieties and working through the original causes of them whilst gaining a greater understanding of yourself as you naturally are. Mindfulness practice and meditation is incredibly important. The objective here is not to gain peace OF mind, but peace FROM mind. Framing it like this will help you realise the true concept of yourself as an entity beyond your thoughts. It is completely true that 95% of daily thoughts are not your own but a reaction to your environment and mental stimulus. Your self-awareness is therefore key to mental peace, and therefore happiness. It protects us from anxieties which itself is the cause of most other mental and psychosomatic problems.

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If you are in a similar situation with similar relationship dynamics and you still live at home, I would recommend to consider moving out when financially stable enough to do so. Or go solo travelling for a while and you’ll gain self-awareness and learn an incredible amount about your own true values/selves. I also spoke to my dad about all of this very recently but is a tough conversation to have, mine went reasonably okay because I put a ton of effort into researching and understanding the psychology of childhood and our relationship dynamic. But be prepared for an initial victim mentality which can guilt you into feeling ungrateful if you do not have a decent understanding of the causes of your anxiety and can offer examples to get through initial misunderstanding from the parent.

It is important though to understand that most parents and FJ’s parents especially are coming from a place of genuine love and care and wanting to see you succeed. Marriage and family are some of the most important things that they cherish. Often, the reason they reject some of your independence is because they are internally far more sensitive than they show and it hurts them to see you reject their values, especially SFJ's who lack the iNtuition to fully understand the reasoning behind your thoughts/feelings/actions/decisions, and can be manipulative in the ways they enforce you to suppress then and adhere to pre-decided norms. It is unfortunate for both sides that there just happens to be a big clash of personality and values recognised as important/meaningful, due to polar opposite cognitive functions.

I saw a comment on a similar thread by PhilosophicalENTP which made a lot of decent points, but said that the most important thing was not necessarily that your parents want the best for you. I would disagree with this overall and it is a shame that many kids with opposite personalities and cognitive functions to their parents often split and do not speak anymore (unless that parent was seriously abusive). As you get older and mature, when you look underneath the conflict, especially if you have SJ parents, you’ll probably see the origins coming from a tremendous (but overbearing) level of love and care.

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Final Note: There should be far more effort put into teaching parents and children their personality types so they understand themselves better and understand how to have a better relationship. It’s a shame. There also needs to be a bigger effort in teaching people to look internally to unroot underlying insecurities and anxieties rather than to numb the mind with distractions and stimulus, which is hard not to do in modern times. I am working on something now which hopefully will work to make these more mainstream. If anyone has any interest in that feel free to send a message but I can’t promise there will be many roles beyond the sharing and discussion of ideas.

Hope this is resourceful to many of you, trust me that once you work your way through it all that life becomes far more enjoyable! If you have any questions or experiences I'll try reply to comments when I have some spare time.
 
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