A little while ago, I thought I recognized someone on Twitter. I hesitated to DM them, feeling like it would be awkward if they weren’t who I thought. Their name was different, but they were a writer, so I figured it could be a pen name. After about a week, I couldn’t resist anymore.
I messaged this person, asking in a very roundabout way whether or not they were who I thought. They weren’t. It was embarrassing at first, but we ended up having a pretty deep conversation and getting to know each other better than most of the people I’ve talked to. Surprise, surprise, this person turned out to be INFJ and we found out our lives have had a surprising number of parallels.
As is common to many INFJs, we had both experienced many misunderstandings, odd patterns of thought, social isolation, awkward childhoods, etc.. What struck me the most, though, was that we had both gone through feeling like we were crazy at multiple points in our lives. I’m not talking about the type of “crazy” that people joke about, but the true fear of being mentally insane.
Before my conversation with this person, I had honestly thought I was alone in this experience. There was a time where I felt split into multiple parts, my logic and emotion fighting for dominance. There was a dialogue in my mind from two or more extremely different viewpoints, and I literally felt like I was constantly fighting against myself. It was (and still is) exhausting. I was sometimes unable to come to a decision about how I felt about things and thought something was wrong with me. At one point, I seriously considered checking myself into a mental facility for fear that my sanity wasn’t quite intact.
One of the happiest moments of my life was when I found out I was INFJ. When I started researching MBTI and what it really meant to be INFJ, I cried. The person from Twitter had the exact same experience. When you feel like you’re the only person in the world who thinks a certain way, it’s extremely lonely and depressing. You question your every decision or thought, and when you’re measuring yourself against others completely unlike yourself, you can’t help feeling like you’re the messed up gene mutation that should have been filtered out.
Looking back at my life with a better frame of reference, I realize what was happening. INFJs are known for being able to put themselves in anyone’s POV, understanding/empathizing with where they’re coming from. We do the same with our life decisions, weighing all the possible pros and cons, as well as the potential outcomes and how other people will feel about us for each. If someone says something awful to me, I can go back and forth between being angry/hurt and making excuses/reasons to justify their actions. On the one hand, they were rude and should have had more self-control and courtesy, but on the other, they might have just been up for three days straight, had their childhood dog die, and been rear-ended that day. This pendulum of anger to empathy (or other emotions in other situations) can swing for days/months/years.
As a writer, I now see the merit in understanding basically any point of view, but it made growing up really confusing and frustrating sometimes. I was the most indecisive creature alive, which isn’t easy for people to deal with. Finding out there were others like me and that I simply think differently than most has been the biggest relief, invaluable to my state of mind. I’ve been able to accept the weirdness that is me and actually enjoy it.
I really wasn’t keen on the idea of social media, but finding like-minded people on Twitter has been one of the best things to happen to me. Not just INFJs and INFPs, but other writers as well. Of course, there is a lot of negativity and whatnot, but thanks to Lauren Sapala I know how to cut out the bad and cultivate a healthier online experience. I’m so happy it wasn’t what I thought it would be.
Comment below with your own experiences!