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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

First of all I'd like to say thank you all for some of your remarkable posts on this forum. It has meant so much to me to hear from people that I can relate to. Its made a huge difference to how I feel about who I am. I feel like less of a misfit and encouraged that I am not alone in certain things.

I'm curious to hear from you about the emotional walls you may have built around yourself. To give you an example, I can be really guarded and its hard for me to take certain things in. I battle to take compliments about anything concerning me. Its like it doesn't sink in because on some level I refuse to and I side step it. When someone is interested in me, I feel a part of myself actively trying to deny that its possible. I've started to realise that it is fear based. But I cannot figure out what I'm afraid of.

I'd like to hear about your experiences and thoughts about the barriers we put up around ourselves.
 

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I guess with me my thoughts go under the surface sometimes: I know when I give compliments, it comes from me seeing something in someone else that I respect, like, or admire, even if I don't have the vocabulary. Whenever someone else gives them to me, because I don't see them in myself I find them hard to accept. It wasn't until somebody gave me their perspective of my refusal to accept compliments that I started reconsidering it and acknowledging that somebody seeing something good in me is because it often exists. Under the surface I used to think that anyone who loves me must just not realise yet who I am. So they must be deluded or just wrong, but I had the feeling they'd discover it in the end and then they'd leave. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy in my life.

I've had comments about being difficult to read for years, learning about all this has really helped me communicate more and understand why I give off the impression that I do. To break down walls though first you have to know what they are made of and where they are and that takes introspection and feedback from people who care about you.
 

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Thank you for sharing that.

When we've experienced invalidation or misunderstanding, we learn that being open/fully expressive in who we are is risky.

I'm a pretty sensitive guy on the inside and I happen to think that most people are as well, whether they display that or not. We are not robots. I often try and project an image of myself (mask) where I appear unphased/stoic. That's a wall. Others might channel an image of aggression/dominance. In any case, walls serve to decrease the risk of others harming us in some way. As we go through life, unfortunately, those walls are often reinforced to the extent that we are afraid of breaking them down for any reason because we have become skeptical of intentions. This is where even compliments or displays of interest from others are rejected. This is very evident if someone has experienced trauma by those who are supposed to be close to them, such as family, friends, or lovers.

We fear being taken advantage of, manipulated, or shamed. Trust is hard to come by.

The thing is.. if you want to find those that will accept you, you must be willing to at least create a space in the wall for a door. This means opening it (yourself) at times, even at the risk of harm. Find the right people. That's where I'm at in my life. It's even my job to open up to others.

When you allow yourself to be you might find that others may follow suit.
 

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It took me a long time to realize it but when I take care of people that is my wall to prevent myself from getting close to people.

--
There was once a very renowned clockmaker who was known to be able to fix any clock in the world. Any time he walked past a clock, if there was something wrong with it, he would immediately detect it and fix the problem, right then and there. These were not ikea wall clocks - they were old sophisticated handiworks, pieces of art, the masterpieces of clockmakers in bygone eras. He would fix them all. Pretty soon, he became quite famous - people started giving him the clocks that he would fix as a gift, so he grew a very large collections of clocks in his home. People would visit from all over the world and admire all the great clocks he had collected.

One day his house burned down, and people from all over came to mourn the loss of so many wonderful clocks. The clockmaker didn't seem sad. When asked how he was suffering from the loss, he just replied, "I didn't care about the clocks; I just cared about fixing them."
--

That's me when I am caring for people. I realized this rather late in life; it sucks. Didn't know something was wrong until I was loved by all but loved nobody. :(

Eh, learning to love again... PTX, go!

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for sharing that.
As we go through life, unfortunately, those walls are often reinforced to the extent that we are afraid of breaking them down for any reason because we have become skeptical of intentions. This is where even compliments or displays of interest from others are rejected. This is very evident if someone has experienced trauma by those who are supposed to be close to them, such as family, friends, or lovers.

We fear being taken advantage of, manipulated, or shamed. Trust is hard to come by.

The thing is.. if you want to find those that will accept you, you must be willing to at least create a space in the wall for a door. This means opening it (yourself) at times, even at the risk of harm. Find the right people. That's where I'm at in my life. It's even my job to open up to others.

When you allow yourself to be you might find that others may follow suit.
This knocked the wind out of me (in a good way). It just made so much sense to my situation. Thank you
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
There was once a very renowned clockmaker who was known to be able to fix any clock in the world. Any time he walked past a clock, if there was something wrong with it, he would immediately detect it and fix the problem, right then and there. These were not ikea wall clocks - they were old sophisticated handiworks, pieces of art, the masterpieces of clockmakers in bygone eras. He would fix them all. Pretty soon, he became quite famous - people started giving him the clocks that he would fix as a gift, so he grew a very large collections of clocks in his home. People would visit from all over the world and admire all the great clocks he had collected.

One day his house burned down, and people from all over came to mourn the loss of so many wonderful clocks. The clockmaker didn't seem sad. When asked how he was suffering from the loss, he just replied, "I didn't care about the clocks; I just cared about fixing them."
I love this analogy, thank you!

It took me a long time to realize it but when I take care of people that is my wall to prevent myself from getting close to people.
I do the same thing. My reason is because I find it difficult to receive, so I'd rather give give give
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Must...try....harder

Until next time:th_sur:
 
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There is a real and present dichotomous tension within me regarding exhibiting and concealing, between sharing and hiding. There are thoughts, desires, and values that I have that I believe may be inappropriate to share or if shared would serve to further ostracize me or needlessly stir up conflict within a setting that would be severely disrupted from said conflict to no good end. There are thoughts and desires that I have that would cause people close to me distress and that would over time become (I speculate) so repellant as to leave me separated from them, further isolated.

Yet there is a part of me that longs to share and reveal. In college I was brought into the Dean of Men for having shared too much with friends, roommates, and suitemates that disturbed and disrupted their academic endeavors. Since that time I have kept most negative things to myself despite a certain level of wanting to share.

When it comes to accepting compliments and considering that another person has genuine concern for me, that’s mixed, too. If a compliment is about something that I have done that I believe I did well and consider to be a strength, then I accept the compliment in a low-key manner and thank the person and often smile. If I disagree with the assessment, I might even somewhat angrily speak against it, or at least share the standard against which I am comparing (and failing). If I get the sense that the person is simply trying to butter me up for some reason, then I tend to acknowledge only with a penetrating eye contact for a few seconds but utter no words.

When people express interest and concern for me, I tend to downplay the first such utterance/instance. If there is real interest and concern, then it will become endorsed over time by repetition and habit. I don’t think of ongoing patterns toward that end as being manipulative or deceptive because, quite frankly, there’s nothing to be gained by such an inauthentic display on me. If I were important or meaningfully significant and socially advantageous to be known, that would be one thing. I am rather unimportant and insignificant. I can’t really imagine people would waste time and energy on me in that fashion if the interest and concern weren’t genuine…at least to some degree.

Regardless I am usually perplexed to some extent when non-marginal people express an interest in me.
 

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Not so long ago my walls looked like this


No way that someone could enter, unless they somehow blew a hole in my walls, which wasn't very easy.

Now my walls look like this


There are multiple doors in my wall. Usually they are unlocked, which allows someone to enter into my castle. However I have the key, so I can also choose to lock the door and keep someone out.
 

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There is a real and present dichotomous tension within me regarding exhibiting and concealing, between sharing and hiding. There are thoughts, desires, and values that I have that I believe may be inappropriate to share or if shared would serve to further ostracize me or needlessly stir up conflict within a setting that would be severely disrupted from said conflict to no good end. There are thoughts and desires that I have that would cause people close to me distress and that would over time become (I speculate) so repellant as to leave me separated from them, further isolated.

Yet there is a part of me that longs to share and reveal. In college I was brought into the Dean of Men for having shared too much with friends, roommates, and suitemates that disturbed and disrupted their academic endeavors. Since that time I have kept most negative things to myself despite a certain level of wanting to share.

When it comes to accepting compliments and considering that another person has genuine concern for me, that’s mixed, too. If a compliment is about something that I have done that I believe I did well and consider to be a strength, then I accept the compliment in a low-key manner and thank the person and often smile. If I disagree with the assessment, I might even somewhat angrily speak against it, or at least share the standard against which I am comparing (and failing). If I get the sense that the person is simply trying to butter me up for some reason, then I tend to acknowledge only with a penetrating eye contact for a few seconds but utter no words.

When people express interest and concern for me, I tend to downplay the first such utterance/instance. If there is real interest and concern, then it will become endorsed over time by repetition and habit. I don’t think of ongoing patterns toward that end as being manipulative or deceptive because, quite frankly, there’s nothing to be gained by such an inauthentic display on me. If I were important or meaningfully significant and socially advantageous to be known, that would be one thing. I am rather unimportant and insignificant. I can’t really imagine people would waste time and energy on me in that fashion if the interest and concern weren’t genuine…at least to some degree.

Regardless I am usually perplexed to some extent when non-marginal people express an interest in me.
Is it me or is there like an extreme degree of ego wrapped up in this response?
 

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I put walls up too, but it's more for self-preservation than anything else. I used to be this naive trusting person, but these days it's hard to even get to know me. I do that on purpose because I'm afraid of being hurt. All my life, I've been treated like shit and walked all over...been bullied, been abused, been manipulated...my experience with people is they can be sooo two-faced. I'd rather spend my days in peaceful solitude than risk anything like that ever happening again because I'm a very sensitive person. When that happens to me, I get deeply depressed and hurt.
 

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The amount of walls that I have built up are so many in number due to where/how I grew up that in socionics *mainly* a little in MBTI, a lot of my Fi actually translates and appears superficially to the literal mind as Fe. But they just can't see the motivation behind the decisions or the disconnect and reconnect between making a decision that seems Fe based on Fi principles. I'm most certainly Fi base hardcore Ne across the board and just one example out of many many others that could be having the same issue in type discovery.

I don't agree in my heart of hearts with 90% of the people I'm surrounded by 100% the time, including immediate family. So I'm a bit callused, or well as callused as a Fi dom can probably appear in reflection to its ridiculous derogatory stereotypes. I'm by no means hard, jaded and neurotic however yes. Which took a while to admit/see.
 

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Is it me or is there like an extreme degree of ego wrapped up in this response?
Yes
But if you think about it, the whole thread is about EGO and whether to break out of it. Fi, unfortunately, is both the strongest and the weakest point in the chain - a sucker for ego-centric tendencies. For self-preservation... Theself being the EGO! The WALL! The GUARD!
 

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Is it me or is there like an extreme degree of ego wrapped up in this response?
I'm not sure how to take your statement regarding motivation and intent. Perhaps you are really trying to understand the old Freudian model of id, ego, and superego, are new to it, and are asking potential experts to verify what you think you are observing. It would be akin to an novice bird watcher asking a veteran bird watcher, "Is that a chickadee or a junco?"

If you were pointing out that I am defective, I have had a lifetime of experience echoing that appraisal. If you were trying to fit in with the mainstream assessment of me, then it seems you have achieved that. Actually I would be the first to support that view.

If your intention was to discourage other INFPs from sharing in this thread, then you may have accomplished that as well...if they have had a similar situation. So, too, if you want more people to keep the walls up, stout and strong, impenetrable, lest an interloper gain access for sabotage and havoc.

If you meant to bring counsel and advice that lovingly supports yet challenges, then your post stopped too short. This is microsurgery and not a field, emergency amputation. A fine, gentle, controlled touch is needed that is slow and deliberate. The challenge by itself made from a manner that is not vulnerable (made from behind your walls) appears at best judgmental and at worst trolling. If your intentions were indeed noble, keep trying. If they were ignoble, please, stop.
 

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I have walls miles thick from years of self-imposed isolation and repressing certain aspects of myself. It wasn't until recently that I and people I've let in have begun to slowly pick at those walls. When the walls begin to crumble, the burden from the weight of the walls begin to decrease, the air becomes less suffocating, and your view becomes less myopic. Vulnerability is a scary thing to expose, but oh so freeing when you expose it to the right person. It's a continual process. As for compliments, I'm genuinely flattered when others give me them, but I quickly forget about them since I over-identify with my defects. That's something I need to work on.
 

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I'm not sure how to take your statement regarding motivation and intent. Perhaps you are really trying to understand the old Freudian model of id, ego, and superego, are new to it, and are asking potential experts to verify what you think you are observing. It would be akin to an novice bird watcher asking a veteran bird watcher, "Is that a chickadee or a junco?"

If you were pointing out that I am defective, I have had a lifetime of experience echoing that appraisal. If you were trying to fit in with the mainstream assessment of me, then it seems you have achieved that. Actually I would be the first to support that view.

If your intention was to discourage other INFPs from sharing in this thread, then you may have accomplished that as well...if they have had a similar situation. So, too, if you want more people to keep the walls up, stout and strong, impenetrable, lest an interloper gain access for sabotage and havoc.

If you meant to bring counsel and advice that lovingly supports yet challenges, then your post stopped too short. This is microsurgery and not a field, emergency amputation. A fine, gentle, controlled touch is needed that is slow and deliberate. The challenge by itself made from a manner that is not vulnerable (made from behind your walls) appears at best judgmental and at worst trolling. If your intentions were indeed noble, keep trying. If they were ignoble, please, stop.
Vulnerability, eh? Well, I have been suicidal in the past, I write poetry, I'm interested in you--I don't know why exactly, but I don't feel I'm forced to know. All these categories of motivations aren't mutually exclusive, I feel. As for the ego being outmoded by advances in the psychological field, I'd like to hear what you've heard Narcissus calls himself now.
 

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One of the things I do is type people. It's like hiding behind a lens taking pictures. It puts space between myself and others. Even as I read this thread I was doing it. I also avoid others. It's easier to stay distanced from emotional entanglements. Unfortunatly, it's not good for my feelings of loneliness.
 

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I will just pass along something I've learned....

Taking a compliment from someone else can mean honoring their viewpoint, whereas not accepting it can degrade it. The same goes for accepting their love or friendship. It's like someone giving you a gift and you turn your nose up at it or question its authenticity - that is not humility. I'm not trying to make you feel bad, but when I framed it that way, then I saw how it is truly gracious to take a compliment and believe it, and it is not kind to dismiss it.

I'm at a point where I take the compliment, but in a way, I lessen its significance in relation to my defects. Sometimes my positives seem so frivolous that I can believe them and still feel bad.

Believing I am loved/liked is hard for me, although I don't feel fear over it and I am not a nurturing person who uses that as some wall. Rather, I simply think many people offer such things out of pity, principle or obligation, not a genuine liking of who I am. People have told me I seem guarded and have a wall up, but I don't have anything I am guarding so much as I feel like I would burden people with myself were I more open. I feel like I do people a favor by staying away, even if it's in spirit and not physical presence. I don't really feel like I have much to offer others, or I don't think they'd value it. I have some paranoia that I am very unpleasant to people and they merely tolerate me out of general kindness. To believe otherwise might challenge some twisted identity I've formed.

Even with offering help to others, I may feel like I am being presumptuous, as I'm concerned it would stem from my own ego and not a genuine feeling of generosity (giving to boost one's own ego is something that really annoys me in others :X ). I admit that I have a great distaste for people who try and "serve" others, because what I see is ego, ego, ego. They also make me feel like I am a high-maintenance or something, yet I am very self-sufficient and don't expect anything; but their fussing over you implies otherwise, and I often feel like they are unconsciously indebting you to them. I suppose needing everything to stem from some real, pure feeling is a problem at times, and I guess I set myself up as a judge as to what is real and pure for others too.

Perhaps you fear "needing", as dependency on someone else may give them a "power" over you?
Just an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks to all of you for your insightful replies!

As for compliments, I'm genuinely flattered when others give me them, but I quickly forget about them since I over-identify with my defects. That's something I need to work on.
I do this too. When complimented, I dismiss it or ignore it. It never really sinks in. However, if someone criticizes me or comments about my flaws, it touches me deeper than the compliment would. WTH?
But I am working on it, I've graduated to mumbling a polite "thank you" and slowly letting the walls come down. Or as @EnigmaticMan put it, at least building some doors in the walls :)
 
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