Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mama Bean is an INFJ, what are you?

Do you know your Myers-Briggs personality type? I was told my type during therapy during a depressive episode when I lived in Iowa, as it was one of the favourite therapeutic tools of my psychologist. In my case, it was exceedingly instrumental in helping me solidify my identity, find language for explaining my self and behaviours, and establish healthy boundaries in navigating my relationships. It helps me in these things, I'm not saying I'm, like, perfect at them ;)

A facebook friend recently posted her type, with an interesting site explaining the characteristics of all the types, which I'd not perused before. I love reading more about my type - I like recognizing myself in the description :) This one and this one were really fun, because I recognized a lot of myself! (Though it is necessary to look past the sort of frou-frou hippie-dippie lanuage that makes it read like a horoscope at times.) For example, I know that I get excited about organization systems and efficiency in organizations, which the first site described as:
Counselors...make every effort to help an organization run smoothly and pleasantly. They understand and use human systems creatively, and are good at consulting and cooperating with others. As employees or employers, Counselors are concerned with people's feelings and are able to act as a barometer of the feelings within the organization.
I read this, "The Counselor can become stressed when they are required to deal with too many unexpected events or required to be too extraverted for too long a time" and think about how annoyed I get when my work schedule suddenly changes (patient cancels, or empty space gets filled) and I didn't know about it. I like to know what's coming, especially because my job is All Extroversion, All The Time.

[Incidentally, the counselor who told me my type was, himself, an INFJ. Cute, right? We're a rare type, and we have exactly the type of personality to get a little ego kick out of that lol.]

The second site explains how my type is sort of obsessive about parsing out the inner motivations of others, how we like to understand the "hidden psychological stimuli behind the more observable dynamics of behavior and affect." Which is, like, Yes.

I also agreed with this bit, "They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people - a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world...While instinctively courting the personal and organizational demands continually made upon them by others, at intervals INFJs will suddenly withdraw into themselves, sometimes shutting out even their intimates...As a pattern of behavior, it is perhaps the most confusing aspect of the enigmatic INFJ character." Any IRL friends out there want to comment on this?

Papa Bean and I are pretty much type opposites; he's ISTP. We share Introversion, but I often joke that I'm an extroverted introvert, and we're at opposite ends of the introversion spectrum. He has very strong needs to be in the cave and decompress, and has struggled with social anxiety. I think my introversion is more obvious under stress, but in general the F makes me so relational, it outweighs the I, in a way.

Speaking of stress, there's this little nugget, "The INFJ under stress may fall prey to various forms of immediate gratification. Awareness of extraverted sensing is probably the source of the "SP wannabe" side of INFJs. Many yearn to live spontaneously." Teehee "immediate gratification" That explains the midnight ice cream binges, yes?! bahaha :P And I do often wish I could be more spontaneous - but I fail at it, spectacularly. Planning is my lifeblood. I used rainbow highlighters to colour code my daytimer at Palmer.
I suppose it fits my personality that I find personality typologies themselves so interesting - Myers-Briggs, enneagram, etc. I like these human systems that concisely categorize behaviour and help me explain why people do and are the way they do and be. I get so totally geeked about it, I will help you do your personality test (which is generally frowned upon, but c'mon! I gots talentz! This is my thing!) [In fact, I helped PB do a test while writing this post, because I know his answers to the questions better than he does. When he did it by himself, he got the wrong type! rofl]

I can get a little entrenched about it, though - I resist people acting "against type" because, frankly, it confuses me. And now I know what elements of my personality (N F) feed into that need to understand motivations and drivers, and how anything which derails my understanding makes me all... flustered. This is one of the best things my therapist showed me; when I identify a personality pattern that creates maladaptive feelings or behaviours, if I can name them, it's easier for me to overcome them. I can sort of calm my personality down, "Hey, self, little INFJ self, I see that you're upset about this situation, it's just your personality. Deep breath. Try on a little S or T or P for a bit and see if that helps. Act against type (horrors!) and things will be better in the morning." And most of the time, it works!

When I write it out like that, it sort of looks like one of those positive parenting scripts. "The next time your little Beast is doing [x] try talking it out like this..." That's right, I parent my personality :D That's awesome. If you enjoyed any part of this post half as much as I did, I encourage you to go find your type! (There are any number of sites with similar tests, but that link has a good explanation of all the letters. There's even a Harry Potter version! INFJ is Dumbledore!)



  1. Ohhh, you know I love this stuff as much as you do :) It truly has helped me understand some people in my life that are strong S J (in opposition to my strong N P) and hopefully understand how my approach to the world must infuriate them.
    i just recently learned that there are types B, C, and D to accompany the famous type A personality. I know I'm probably the last person in the world to realize this, but it's still been pretty interesting. I also really like Gardiner's multiple intelligences theory (usually used in pedagogy rather than psychology).

  2. Mama Bean? I like it :)

    I'm an INFP - I love, love, love these personality things too. (Why on earth wouldn't everyone, right?)


  3. @K, I didn't know there are types C and D, I thought just A vs B. Interesting, Ima go google it now :) I love the multiple intelligences theory, I think it would help if it were applied more in the elementary years, for those (many) kids who don't fit into the traditional schooling model.

  4. Im an EIFP.. is that right? I dunno about this test.. it's a bit weird. Does that sound right? lol.. I'm worried about the results of my test.. oye.

  5. ENFJ - but discovering more and more of an I as i need to recharge after living my E life / ministry!