What I Wished I Had Learned 20 Years Ago

I am an INFJ and I wanted to share what I wish someone had told me 20 years ago.
1. An INFJ is only 1 to 2% of the population consequently stop wasting energy on trying to get 98% of the people to understand you.  Its a waste of your energy. The energy is better spent making sure you understand yourself.
2. IF you are one of those INFJ's that is highly empathic as I am you are going to be pulled to those people that are seriously damaged.  You tend to be highly protective of your inner-self and the only ones that can get through generally are those in a great deal of psychic pain and you are going to want to fix them so that you don't have to feel their pain. Go with your spirit on that as you will make the world a better place however you must make sure you actively ASK God and the Universe for people who will bring Balance into your life or the damaged people can ruin  you.
This also goes for people who are physical healers like doctors and nurses(Reiki healers, shamans laying of hands ect).  You need balance. Ask for it.
3.  You are going to be hurt by people you love the most.  That being said don't be a victim about it and don't castigate yourself because you may continue to love that person long after they have violated you.  Trust that love has a reason that you may not see YET. Don't be bitter and don't hold on to the hurt.  Love sees further then you do.  It sees beyond the bounds of physical life and INFJ's definately know how to love but we sometimes don't know what to do when it appears to have backfired and hurt us.  When that happens trust your spirit and not your mind and don't waste the energy to analyze what went wrong.  Trust nothing went wrong except where you know it was wrong on your part.  Learn from what you did and move on. 

Recently I had the experience of having a stroke.  People who I loved but with whom I had a falling out with , some years ago: Perhaps because I dragged them some places psychically that they weren't able to deal with at the time but the message I brought was one they needed to hear. 
I was shocked out of my head when some of them walked into my hospital or made contact with me over the distance of time.  I saw I wasn't wrong to have loved them. Only that being human I doubted myself when things appeared to go wrong.  But truly loving someone even if it appears to backfire on you is never wrong . It is a blessing you send out into the world and sometimes you get to see it come back to you when you least expect it.
Also when you love pay attention to the details, be in the moment because there is no guarantee that the object of that love will be there with you always.  You can grieve when they pass or you can know that you relished every moment with them and have enough to get you through.
Addendum added  Dec 3, 2010
4.  You have the right to be happy so aspire to it.   Be very careful around people who tell you- you are too sensitive.  The people most likely to tell you that are likely family members.  Its probable that they are NOT sensitive enough.  These same people will offer advice on what you should do   in your life.  Quickly do a fact check.  Are they happy in their lives?  If they are unhappy then they probably can't tell you a whole lot about being happy.   That doesn't mean though that you can't learn from their unhappiness.  Also it will be really easy for people to guilt you into making decisions that will make life easier for them.  You have a strong sense of responsibility and it will be super easy for you to fall into this trap.   Ask yourself if the person thats asking you to do this has shown by their own behavior that they care about whether you are happy.  If your happiness doesn't seem to matter to them, if your pursuit of joy seems impeded by them no matter how much they try to guilt you into something, don't do it.  It will be much harder to walk away later and you will be further away from your own happiness.  Helping people is your nature but some people are psychic vampires and they need to leech on to a willing victim and suck them dry.   They may actually genuinely need help and as stated above go with your spirit but do not do so in exchange of your own well being.   Maya Angelou says if someone tells you who they are listen!!!!!  If someone has told you , you are too sensitive then understand what they are really saying is they are insensitive to you and your joy/pain.   DO NOT LET THESE PEOPLE into your head.  They will send you into a detour of your own spiritual journey.     You can't really help them, their karma and life choices have consequences for them and your getting in the way will end up getting you bashed. Love them from a distance.

Here is my addendum for 2014:
Learn to forgive: This is a big one and hard sometimes to do.
Forgiveness isn't something that means you forget..... It means accepting the past and then choosing to walk away from it. It means not letting your past control your future. It means not letting people continue to work your strings. Forgiveness is something you do for yourselves because not forgiving means you have a wound that won't heal. Usually the other person will have reduced the circumstance to something trivial in their lives but we will be the ones constantly bleeding from the blow they dealt us. Not forgiving is like carrying around a ball and chain shackled to us. Sometimes you may need some space between the person who dealt the blow and you. If not you will always feel in defensive mode and you will not be able to forgive even if you know its for you. Get away if you have to and find the space to heal yourself.

 KEEP A POSITIVE MINDSET.  Make it a discipline and expect that as soon as you decide to practice controlling your own mind, the universe is going to challenge you.  A lot of negative stuff is going to challenge you to see if you really mean to control your thoughts and stay positive.  Even if you are in negative circumstances learn to look for the positive.  This doesn't mean that only positive things will come your way but it does mean that you will be steering your course instead of being cast adrift in uncertainty and despair. It is a discipline that you must practice day and night and hour by hour but you will have better health for it and it will be much more difficult to keep you down for long. God bless you all.
Peregrin Peregrin
51-55, M
65 Responses Oct 21, 2007

Number 2 really struck home to me. I recently found myself becoming friends with someone who is dealing with serious issues. Its funny, but recently I've been noticing patterns in my life which have helped me recognize what was going on. I care deeply for her, and because I care so intensely, I am being careful to not confuse it for love. It wouldn't work out anyways. At the same time though, I've been dealing with this whole INFJ thing that I discovered a month ago which seems like it has turned my life upside-down. Because I care for her so much, I feel quite comfortable sharing everything with her and I found myself getting a little too obsessive about talking to her. Hopefully I caught myself in time before I did any damage (being so intense and all). I have learned from my past though and realize that even though she is the one person I feel I can talk to about anything and that she says she cares for me a lot and worries about me, I can't just dump all my thoughts on her and expect her to do the same. It is too easy to forget that very few others are going to care for me just as intensly and take the initiative to get to know my just as well. I love what you said here: "IF you are one of those INFJ's that is highly empathic as I am you are going to be pulled to those people that are seriously damaged. You tend to be highly protective of your inner-self and the only ones that can get through generally are those in a great deal of psychic pain and you are going to want to fix them so that you don't have to feel their pain."

I have been recommending the INFJ group on facebook but I want to amend that. It has gotten so large and unweildly that I don't feel it represents INFJs anymore. Instead I recommend the facebook group INFJ-the Councelors

Thank you so much for posting this. I've read it and re-read it countless times. It's almost like you've helped me cultivate a mantra.
Everyone faces their own set of challenges in life- and being an INFJ comes with its own unique collection. Being a male INFJ adds a whole other layer- Ni+Fe can be a beast, pushing you to fit in all the while knowing you really don't. It can often feel like you've been marooned in a foreign place where you don't know the native language.
Everyone has the ability to learn from their life experience and allow the good and bad to foster growth. I learn a little better each day to show the same kindness, acceptance, and appreciation to myself that I always try to show others- and you speak to the sentiment so beautifully.
Your advice is wise, the sort which comes from living. I, for one, hear it. I just wanted to share my gratitude.

Thank you Moonshineandmolly!

Your story helped me a lot. I've been looking for people who can understand me and so far haven't seen one. So it was because we are only few. Thank you for sharing this ^.^

Yes INFJs are very rare. Ironically on facebook we are the largest group. INFJs prefer writing as their favorite form of communication so maybe thats why. Join us on facebook. I should warn you that the facebook group is open to other types and sometimes they can be disruptive. But there are over 5000 of us who are INFJ in the facebook group. And there are smaller groups of INFJs which are much less turmoil filled which are off shoots of the main INFJ group.

From a young infj: THANK YOU SO MUCH. Your directions + a spiritual practice is all an infj needs! Namaste.

Also struck by the coincidence that I read this on the day of Maya Angelou's passing.

I'm so sad about loosing Maya in this life. But her works will live on after her. Thanks for the kind thoughts and words.

Me too. Finding out who I am helps me understand a lot I wish I had known 40 years ago! Lol

I hear ya spencerpete.

I am impressed by how many people this post seems to have touched. My question is: What if you married a person who is very insensitive to your own sensitivities? We have two young children, and I feel very much like the little girl with the little curl right in the middle of her forehead. And right now, it is very horrid...

Pepperpiepie my comments were directed toward INFJs. Yours sounds like a question of a different sort. My answer to you may sound a bit rough. 1) Why would you marry such a person?
2) Go back to who this person was when you married him. What was it about him that you thought was worth marrying?
As I stated in my post its hard to blame blind people for not seeing your distress. Perhaps talking to someone who you trust an expressing your frustration will help. Then for yourself write down 5 things you need. Be very thoughtful about those things and make sure that they are things you absolutely need. Then show your husband those 5 things. If he is not a feeler then you will have to tell him what to do to satisfy those needs.
You also have to ask yourself if you gave up your power when you married him. If you did then you need to figure out why you felt you needed to be taken care of more then you needed to grow into you. This may mean that eventually you two may have to split but don't put all the blame on him.
You need to be really clear why you made the choices you did to yourself or you will be destined to repeat the same mistakes. If you have daughters realize that you are their model for how male and female relationships should go. Don't present them with a bad model. Bon Chance

Thank you so much. I have been in my shadow for years and struggling with some issues you've given advice on in this post. I really appreciate your insight.

Wow, great post. I have just recently discovered I am an INFJ, and I wish someone/I had found out earlier then I wouldn't have been so confused for so long.
However I guess I can count myself lucky I haven't found out that late.
The points you have shared here are so valuable, thanks.

@A11TheWorldsAstage Wow,I had to smile as I read your response and ponderings. Have you ever read "Stranger in a strange land" by Robert Heinlein? I think you would enjoy it.
I wish I had your joie de vie. You seem full of life and not cowed by being different.

I think Peregrine applies to all INFJ's actually. Its alternate meaning means stranger or foreigner and you were right the reference was not to Peregrine Took.
I also find the meaning of names fascinating. I was curious after reading your missive what your name was.

I actually like words period. Most INFJ's are better at writing then they are at speaking because when we speak we are almost always guarded.unless its for a cause we champion.

I'm 20 years old and am definitely an INFJ type. Many fancies have run away with my mind in these years. //// But sometimes, when I was young, I would imagine I was a Peregrine Falcon soaring and soaring---and DIVING at 200 mph. For recreation. I never struck any prey at the end of those dives. Free and fast. Free at last. I love that bird in particular, I think, because it is aggressive, elite, uninhibited, free; It's everything that is not me. As a child, the Peregrine Falcon was my mental animagus. //// I think the INFJs life is a path of exquisitely purposeful timing and events. //// I find myself constantly, almost obsessively looking forward to where my life will go...which is exactly why I came to read your post about where your life has been. I also believe names are powerful and that it is no mistake Peregrin was here to illuminate my way as I start exploring this site. INFJ is my one and only stop here. (Of course, if you're "Peregrin" as in the Took from Lord of the Rings, then I hope you at least enjoyed reading my little anecdote about the bird and even still---great movies. I digress.) //// As I read through you touched on two of the BIGGEST, most POWERFUL words floating daily through my recent thought processes: love and happiness. What they are, what they mean, how they affect you, me, everybody, and how they are attained (or, for that matter, are they attainable?). But I don't mean to be negative, I mean only to get to the point. The idea of seeking physical balance is wonderful. I feel a deep satisfaction when I imagine that course of action...like I know it will help me. You're absolutely right, there must surely be a toll taken on our bodies from the damaged energy we process in our minds. The fruitful pleasures of our mind's work decomposing into damaging physical manifestations. Oh this life we live, huh. It is a strange and fickle pickle, indeed. ///// I inherently trust people because I believe true faith yields true faithfulness, but you're right about the vampiric leeches on the psyche. Since I was 3 years old I have felt attuned to a strong sense of intent/motivations within people's actions or words. This gift has ENABLED me to guard myself from the negative. With strong convictions and proper motivation our abilities are useful and strong. I feel like we INFJs, though few in number, can protect our extraordinary minds from the pressure of 98% no problem. ///////// One last thing I would say is in regards to this quote: "It is a blessing you send out into the world and sometimes you get to see it come back to you when you least expect it." ----I love it. Paying it forward. Blasting a blessing into the world for our fellow brother to cling to in a world with nothing real enough to grab anywhere else. With the rest of our lives becoming a series of intangible, impersonal technological outlets of expression...the mystic's weight of the word "LOVE" hammers home with the only outlet real enough to hold on to.

What great advice! Thank you!

Thanks for the advice, I will keep them in mind.

What is INFJ?

INFJ is a short hand way of writing about a specific personality type based on Miers-Briggs Test or the Kiersey Temprament Test. Each of the four letters represents a quadrant of your personality. Infj is short hand for introverted, intuition, feeling and judging. It is one of 16 distinct personality types.

The first quadrant specifies whether one is an introvert or an extrovert. Introverts comprise 25% of the population. Extroverts comprise the majority and most things are set up around the way extroverts do things. An obvious example is education. Until very recently most education was geared toward extroverts. Now with computer based education introverts can learn in a way that can be more beneficial to the way they best process things.
the second quadrant depicts intuition vs sensing. or N vs S(I was already taken for Introvert). The thing you will immediately notice about an S person is that they don't trust anything they can't ***** with out their five senses. They also seem to learn best through there senses. You know people who maybe weren't the smartest in school but give them an engine or a bike and they just seemed to be able to figure it out. They learn though their hands is the best way I can put it. This is opposed to an N person who can learn things out side of their five senses. Book learning is much easier for them then an S person. This by the way doesn't mean that a person can't use both. Most people have a preference which earns them the designation of either N or S but within their preference people can and do use the other method of doing things, particularly with training.
The Third Quadrant is T-F. T people more likely to be cool headed and not motivated as much by their feelings and F people making decisions from their heart rather than cold-hearted logic. The last quadrant is Perceiving vs Judgment. Frankly the letters don't make a lot of sense to me but P people are forever questioning their decision or a better way of putting it would be revisiting their decisions. They don't like being nailed down because something better might come a long. They might be fun today but don't count on them for tomorrow. You can find out more about these combos either by researching them on line or by reading the book "Please understand me" by Kiersey. if you want to know what you are you can either take the Kiersey Temperament Test or the Myers-Briggs test.

I don't know why the experience project****** out the word sense. I meant that they only believe in what they can experience through their five senses.

your writing made me smile and inspired..
feels really good knowing that I'm not alone here..
thank you very much, Peregrin. God bless you abundantly.. :)

15 min left in the year 2012. I wanted to take the time to say thank you to all the people who read what I had to say and if I didn't reply personally to you after you made a comments about my post please know that I read everyone. I wish you all the best in the coming new year. I had a lot of challenges in 2012 and I hope that 2013 is better for many reasons, not just for myself but for all of you who have had challenges as well. God bless and a happy new years.

I know there is a price for being an empathetic person, but, I am glad there are sensitive people in the world and that can bring there energies to help those who are struggling. I am an enfp and I struggle with some of the same issues. I gravitate toward the wounded and have a hard time with setting limits with people. I wouldn't want to be anyone else, though. Thank you for the insightful article.

W o w. Thank. You.

Knone I studied biochemistry and molecular biology in college. I wanted to be a veterinarian every since I was very little but my dad told me he would not pay for me to be a veterinarian. I ended up leaving school and joining the army where I did technical type stuff. I went back to school after the army on the va bill. During my junior year I started working at an investment firm and got my series 6 and series 7. Somewhere along the way I saw the movie about Hal (2001 A space odyssey) and became really interested and intriqued about computers and taught myself programming while I was still working at the investment firm. I've been programming every since, mostly web programming. If you are struggling with deciding what to do because you have so many interest, realize you don't have to choose just one. You might end up having serial careers. I plan to write in my next career:) .

I love this, I plan on doing loads of stuff, whatever I want really :) I told my healer that I was not just my job, he said I wasn't my job, period, which was a good point.

Wow, I feel like crying. I needed to read this post! Thank-you! Can I ask you a personal question (mostly because I'm a little lost at the moment)? What did or do you do for a living?

THANK YOU SO MUCH ! I needed this !

Thank you for posting this! I have noticed that I am drawn to emotionally wounded or damaged people. I just get an overpowering longing to understand them. These relationships always end in a wonderful and deep friendship, or a destructive and emotionally tiring friendship in which I find incredibly difficult to abandon. I am happy to know that I am not alone.

wow... this has actually helped me understand so many things that i even hated myself for.. thank you so much for this post!

THANK YOU. THANK YOU, THANK YOU. When I read this I thought you were reaching into my soul and telling me exactly what I needed to hear. I felt like you wrote this about me. WOW, truly thank you!

I feel honoured to have read this. Thank you.

Lunarpisces my moon is in Pisces as well! Hows that for coincidence! I have no idea what that means just was the first thing that popped into my mind.

Thank you, this is something I needed to see. I feel like I'm beginning to realize all of these things on my own but it feels good to know that there are others who understand.

This explains so much to me. So glad you wrote it.

Joangelgurl I'm so happy for you that your health is better. I learned something this week from Oprah and Ilyanla(yes I am a huge fan). Take responsibility for the energy you bring into a room. Its a powerful statement. As an INFJ we are like barometers when we come into a room we notice the energy whether its positive or negative. Too often we pick up negative energy from one contact and then it trails us the rest of the day. Sometimes if you want to stay positive you have to consciously limit your contact with the people who are negative and consciously make the decision to change the energy in ourselves after a negative contact. Recognizing that truth and implementing it however are the difference between the student and the master... in this I am definitely a beginning student:(<br />
Limiting contact doesn't mean you can't pray for them and love them from a safe distance.

wow, you have written the kind of person i'm to T. This describes me completely & i have had way too many leeches in my life. I finally did this a few weeks ago where i just Said NO & WALKED AWAY. <br />
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The odd thing is that I felt in my heart soul i was wrong & should of done this a long time ago but for some reason just kepted on getting hurt. WHY??? WHY DO WE DO THIS??? I even knew in my soul these person kept bringing really bad things into my life but i would dismiss it. stupid me - finally i have gotten away from this person & feel alive again. i'm even doing great health wise!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hey if any of you are on Facebook come find us. The INFJ group there is at 8000 strong and counting. Its very active. The world should be very afraid:)

Wow.. Thanks for this piece. It's helping alot.

I love this post. I only recently learned the term INFJ after I was diagnosed as such when I had to take a Meyers Briggs test for a job (which I didn't get). Reading the desc<x>ription was liberating. It said INFJs lead "from the inside"--as in, they are leaders, but not obvious. People have told me I'm a leader for years and I always disputed it because I had never thought of leading another way--from the inside of a group, subtly.<br />
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I have written a new book about being an INFJ, dealing with the issues. I was searching for INFJ groups who might be interested in it, which is how I landed here. The book is called "Conversations with Mom: An Aging Baby Boomer, in Need of an Elder, Writes to Her Dead Mother" (http://www.betsyrobinson-writer.com/conversations_with_mom_108329.htm). <br />
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I too wish I'd known about INFJ stuff a long time ago, but I still don't think I could have written about it until now.

Thank you so much for posting this, it will forever change my life for the better! Thank you so so so much, Laura

Thank you so, much for these comments. I've been struggling lately with a few of the points you've made. I feel very misunderstood and live with a manic step daughter that totally drains me of all of my energy and patience. My husband is always saying" just don't let her bother you" and doesn't get that this is impossible for me. In fact, I often feel like somehow I need to turn into a stepford wife because my emotions and the way others affect me is totally llost on him. Don't get me wrongs he's a great guy and I love him dearly, he just doesn't get the whole empath thing (but is kinda into the whole comparison to Counselor Troi; he's a geek). II also just had a huge argument/falling out of sorts with my mother who told me that I don't give her enough of my attention and that I have no right to be angry with her over multiple things she's said and demands shes made. II decided to stop being a doormat and had it out with her. On the one hand, not having to deal with the constant drama and histrionics is incredibly freeing, but on the other hand she's my depressed mom. Thank you for giving me permission to cut the badness out and live for me and understand myself. Like all IInfos I am a big isolator and am trying to find a way out of this. I am lonely but find the actual work of finginf friendships mentally exhausting. Any help with this would me cry appreciated and I think I'll start a thread about this exact topic!

Come find the INFJ group on Facebook. Within the group I am sure you will find some kindred spirits!

Heh...I wanted to say thanks. In all honesty I'm not that old, so I assume that's why I never met another infj. Felt like I was the only guy in the world who acted this way and said I though too much. Lol... Kinda nice to see I'm not just some mis-fit. Thanks again! :D

@INFJguytwin1 and @Peregrin: Thank you both for responding to my comment. <br />
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I doubt that I'm an INTJ, since a friend of mine is an INTJ and she and I have our similarities and our differences, and I think it's relatively easy to distinguish that she is an INTJ/INTP (she thinks both rings about as true, and doesn't have one that rings as true to her as INFJ does to me). The ironic thing here, with what Peregrin said about my ability to detach myself, is that she thinks I'm too emotionless sometimes, so I think it's more of a personality thing that I possess. Also, it doesn't always work. For example, I never want to hurt people (especially not on in any mental way). But that doesn't necessarily mean I'm deeply emotional about not hurting them mentally. I just can't, and won't.<br />
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In regards to your post, INFJguytwin1, I'm truly glad that you've found someone who you can talk to and who'll understand. And I agree entirely about what you've said about friends. And as for me being an INFJ, I think you're right ^^ Thank you for taking the time to comment my post with a reply as long as my own post. It's so easy to get caught up in writing =P

Whow Peregrin,<br />
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U express my thoughts, the words could be mine. It felt familiar when i read them, in fact you use the same terminology when I try to explain people who I am, waht I am thinking, what I hate and what I expect. Unfortunaltely I found out to be INFJ about half year ago. If I would have done this test before I would have known earlier what is "wrong" with me. Thanks for this eyeopener!

Havoc, I felt like I could relate to your post quite a bit, especially when I consider the way you explain real life friends and "damaged people." When you wrote, "The important real-life friends that hurt me are important for a reason," it struck a chord in me, because I believe it's part of the reason INFJ's have difficulty parting with people they have become friends with, regardless of the pain they inflict (which is usually not intentional, but perhaps manipulative, or a simple lack of sensitivity towards a growing INFJ). Part of it might also be how much of an effort you made to become friends with them in the first place, that when it finally comes to saying "I'm sorry, Goodbye." It's very hard to put a real end to it.<br />
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I have had serious trouble detaching from friends in the past but I have way more trouble cutting them out, it's easier to detach emotionally when I've reached a limit... Otherwise I've astounded people with my ability to forgive,forget, and move on when I've reached that certain limit. I feel like this part of me is the part of me that learned my lesson though, so maybe you have been through a lot, or perhaps you just know what you need to do and have less of a problem executing it.<br />
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On another note, I've made many friends that enjoy being around and keeping myself busy with, but when it comes to really finding someone that I truly relate to there's only been 1 person, and she's been in my life as my best friend since 8th grade. She's an INFP... We have a ton in common but we never used to link our similarities or our ability to connect- with our personality types... But truth is I feel a depth to her that allows me to open up my entire life, all my secrets, all the time. It's a really rare thing that I constantly look for in people but I too, have trouble finding it.<br />
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Anyway... I think you are probably an INFJ, but not all people of a type will be the same. Our worldly preferences, and our past experiences, our goals and dreams, (as well as our personality traits) form what makes us truly unique.

I've reread this a couple of times and I've come up with an analogy which might have meaning. Have you ever taught someone to ride a bike? Or do you remember learning to ride a bike? If you are teaching someone you run along side the bike and you hold them up for a while but you know that at some point you are going to have to let them go. You stay close but you let them go. Its like that with some needy people. They are afraid to have you let go because they know they can fall. But you know they will never learn unless you let go. You stay somewhere close to reassure them and you offer to smooth over their various scrapes along the way. But you encourage them to get back on that bike because you know that eventually everyone learns to ride a bike. But their are a lot of little girls and some little boys that will totally panic without Dad or Mom holding on to their bike. Sometimes you assuage that panic by touching the back seat of the bike while they ride. They are doing the work but they feel safer with you there. In some respects most of us are like kids learning to ride bikes. We all need help sometimes and understanding that makes us practice mercy; We know little Susy is a drama queen but we also know falling hurts.. So out of mercy we may delay letting go of the bike before we other wise might. But at some point... you have to let go... It doesn't mean you don't care but it does mean that you know for them to master what it is you were trying to teach they have to ride on their own....
I have a friend who suffers from MPD(its been renamed) but the old name is more familair. He has been split for more than 30 years now. I am friends with most of his alters, not all. Till the day I die I will be there for him because he needs someone there in his corner who really knows what he is dealing with. But I've had people tell me that my friendship with him was a drag to them and took a "toll" on them. Honestly I seriously wonder if they are worth my time.

@Havoc :), you might also want to checkout the INTJ group as well. Your ability to detach is something most INFJ's have to work hard at. Regardless I'm glad you are finding a place you feel comfortable with.

I just recently took a Jung topology test and figured out that I was an INFJ (probably, rings true but who knows) and I can identify with most of what you have said, (especially the first point) however I don't really attempt to help people I don't know even if I feel they need it. <br />
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I do want to make people happy, but I am very focused on those individuals close to me rather than strangers. I have a tendency that if faced with a stranger in trouble I might try and help, but I will remain very detached. =/ This seems somewhat of an odd characteristic of mine when compared to the numerous people who above me have commented on wanting to help to such a serious degree. For me, if I didn't think I could help then I wouldn't involve myself, and so I normally don't. It's the people who see me for who I am and don't judge me ba<x>sed on who I might be, but aren't, that are the ones I want to help no matter what. And if a person manages to hurt me due to that person being "damaged" then we couldn't help each other, and I would try and terminate the relationship (sometimes harder to do than to just say. Especially in regards to real-life "friends" and the ilk. The people important to me might sometimes hurt me, but they are important to me for a reason. Unfortunately I've had a period in my life where I was surrounded by people who didn't understand me at all, and I'm still trying to escape the insecurity that left me with ('twas two years ago)) <br />
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Another thing I would like to mention is that it feels as though I'm always looking for someone like me, or rather who could understand me. And knowing I might be a part of a distinguished type that is indeed rare is a comfort to me. I have tried to find some kind of niche in terms of personalities and also mental states (not just from being an INFJ, I'm quite adept at making up my own reality while also being aware and participating in the reality everyone else is making up). So my final note is this, thank you for existing.

@INFJguytwin1 when I wrote zachary back I confess I was channeling. The words came through me and not consciously from me because as soon as I read them I realized they were true and telling me something I had not been consciously hearing. I instantly recognized a pattern that I was regurgitating:( and I was annoyed with myself. In any case you are very welcome about me writing, I'm glad you found something of value in something I had to say.<br />
<br />
The thing I realized about writing stuff down was that I have learned that <br />
God talks to us all the time but sometimes we don't realize we are listening until we read back something that we've written months or years ago and we go wow that was really wise, where did that come from(grin). I don't write every night and sometimes months or almost a year will go by when I don't write anything. And sometimes what I write down isn't wise at all because it comes from a place of fear or less often I rant from anger. I usually don't write when I'm angry... its better for me to sleep on it. Tomorrow if God gives it to me will be a different day and a new perspective perhaps. Thank YOU for taking the time to write.

Haha, sorry... I guess I meant that with a little bit of dark humor. I do like charging in with a lot of dedication once I've made my mind up- It's also weird that you say that bit about the Diary, because I've kept a Journal (or several well kept diaries and an online journal) for about 7 years now, and I'm 21.. I do believe it helps, but I find sometimes it's a matter of how much I can learn from an experience, or how much of a difference I think I can make. Sometimes when I know it's going to be a difficult psychological journey I still will dive in. Although, the number of decisions like that has certainly decreased a bit, and I've definitely learned how to say no when I want to, or need to- say no.<br />
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And you're right, sometimes we do it because we love someone, or I think I can teach someone unconditional love. But I also know there's a limit for some.<br />
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*By the way, Thank you for taking the time to write. :).

@Peterzachary if its any consolation to you we don't like learning the hard way , it is just that we feel it our duty to plow ahead once we've started something. But the good news is that once you start recognizing the patterns in your life--(Write stuff down in a diary) you will say hmmm been there done that do I want to do that for fun? That would be a no. ... So you go right instead of left:) The key is to recognize when patterns repeat in your life. The pla<x>yers may change and the circumstances may be slightly different but you find yourself making the same kinds of decisions. <br />
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You can either stay "in your life" and just play the same part over again or you can be the director of your life ( to some degree) and step out of the movie fr<x>ame, walk around the "set" realize that you actually have some choices and decisions to make and you step back in and play your life..<br />
The daunting thing is once you've learned the lessons of your past cycles. You realize that you have only graduated to a new set of lessons. Hopefully you now have caught on so you pay attention and learn the lessons faster.<br />
Whats weird is when you can't get the other pla<x>yers in your life to wake up.......because some times you go through the motions not for you but for someone you care about.

Thank you for taking the time to write this, It's crazy how in the real world you can't find people to relate to, but then browsing online you find out there are other people with your personality writing stories or advice such as this, and it feels like I'm reading out of my own journal or something.<br />
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I wish I had found this when I was having trouble a year ago... maybe I could have let a couple people go back then... but maybe learning it the hard way is what we do best.

@goddeskamini Thank you for your generous thougts

@emerald (smile) the fact that you even consider growing says a lot of positive things about you. Odds are that your son is not an INFJ but there is a 25% chance he may be one of the "sensitive types". One of the things you could do is teach him about your personailty type. Let him read and learn about where you are coming from and over time he will be able to separate his feeling of your not caring about who he is personally from realizing that you just see the world differently. He needs to know that sometime you are going to be blind to somethings hes going to see.<br />
You two may need to sit down and have to develop a key word. It can be anything but when he uses it , it says mom I really need you to listen to me. I'm trying to convey something important to you. I understand you may not get me but I do need you to hear me.<br />
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When he uses that word you pay attention. SHUT UP and listen. Don't dismiss his feelings. Don't tell him hes too sensitive. You don't really have to say anything. The big thing is that you 'hear your son" . If you need to, write down what he says and the date. It might be awhile before you receive confirmation of what hes trying to say from other sources and journaling is a good way to keep track and for you to learn to trust that just because he doesn't see the world the same way you do doesn't mean that his observations are invalid. <br />
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But he also needs to learn that other people process things differently. And learning how you process things will help him better to understand you. He can start to take things less personally. It will help him to gain self confidence and that will serve him well over the course of his life.<br />
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Thanks for taking the time to read my notes and even more thanks for taking the time to reply especially when it wasn't directed at you or your type. Your willingness to learn and to even think about change was a gift to me. Its what INFJ's in particular live for.

Very interresting story you have here. I'll be the first to admit I'm one of those UNINTENTIONAL incensitive types that could drive you crazy! LOL. Most of that is due to being blunt, up front, and in brain out-mouth kind of person. My daughter is the same. HOwever, many things you mention about your personality seems to fit my son at times, too. And he may not be INFJ, but one of the sensitive lots. Either way, your story has given me pause on being more sensitive to his needs, and hopefully to others that are more sensitive. However, old habits die hard, so don't expect an overnight miracle! I might accidentally offend on occation! ;)

Thanks Peregrin for the original post (original sin :)). Good to get advice from wiser people who understand what we go through! Thanks again :)

If you are interested in taking the test you can take it online here: http://www.keirsey.com/sorter/instruments2.aspx?partid=0<br />
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Literally though INFJ represents the letters in the four quandrants of personality<br />
I for Introversion<br />
N for iNtuition<br />
F for Feeling<br />
and J for Judging.<br />
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You can literally search for just those letters to read the profiles of the that particular type.<br />
But unless you are that particular type its only mildly interesting unless you are either searching for your match or working within a team of the different personality types and want to know how they see the world so you can more effectively communicate with them and vice versa.<br />
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Go here to learn more about the psychology of personality types:<br />
http://wilderdom.com/personality/personalityLinks.html<br />
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Hope that helps

i just now realized that i am an INFJ,maybe exactly speaking, just an confirmation.

Thank you for this post. As a young INFJ, this honestly explains a lot of situations I have been in..

@QueenJadis I'm so sorry to hear you have been in so much pain. I guess I would say try the following:<br />
1) Get a pet. Pets, especially dogs pretty much love you unconditionally and will give you back what you give them<br />
2) If you can't afford a pet or can't have one because of a no pets allowed clause, surround yourself with living plants.<br />
You dont' have to necessasarily be tough just recognize that other people are not like you. What sometimes seems like a direct hit to you is not or sometimes people are unsettled that you see so directly in to them and most people have had the experience of someone playing head trips on them and they will assume that the reason you are getting into their head is to mind **** them so they will attack you first. If you know they are attacking you out of fear does that take some of the sting out of the affront?<br />
To be honest there are some people in my life that I can't seem to not let them jerk my strings but they are very few now. ( My parents) <br />
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If it makes it easier you dont' have to share everything that you know unless the person comes to you and ask for help and even then its still your choice.<br />
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I dont' know what your religious or spiritual background is but its been said that Jesus was an INFJ as well.<br />
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There was at least one thing he said that seemed to me was totally directed toward INFJs:<br />
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Ye are the salt of the earth, but if the salt looses its savor wherewith shall it be salted:<br />
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It doesn't take much salt to season a whole dish. It doesn't take many INFJ's to keep the world. But if we get discouraged from being who we are? Whats the world going to do then?<br />
Know that you were sent here with your gifts to make the world a better place. Don't be tougher be wiser and be blessed as you bless other people. Don't expect them to necessarily bless you back but you can expect the blessings to come into your life sometimes when you least expect it if you are diligent.<br />
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And as I said in my original post, make sure that you seek balance in your life. Make sure that you take the time to do the things that nurture you. Don't expect anyone else to do that for you.<br />
Don't ever think that your life is out of your control in the sense that you do not have choices. Every day look for your choices and be deliberate and conscious about making your choices. <br />
Don't let the sum of your life be the choices everyone else has made for you.<br />
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The last thing that I wanted to share was that I didnt' choose the name Peregrin by chance. Most people know of the peregrine falcon. Most people do not know that there is an alternative meaning for Peregrine. It means stranger, or traveler from somewhere else. I think it really fits INFJ's in general:)

Thank you SO much, Peregrin! What you wrote is all so true... It made me cry - which is good, because I haven't been able to cry for a very long time, my pain is so deep and heavy. People seem to be cruel to an INFJ here where I live. They take advantage of me. The only way to cope with that is to be tough (which I'm not). Maybe some day that will change, I hope.. Thank you once again for opening my eyes!

Thanks for sharing your heightened awareness. You've helped me out greatly this morning. =)

Dear Maddie and Lucy I've also read that Jesus Christ was an INFJ. I dont' exactly know how they came up with that but talk about intimidating:) To get to my point(yes I actually have one (grin). If you know the story of Christ, he fed 5000 people on one occasion and healed numerous people and tried to comfort and solace others and yet when given the opportunity of releasing this man who had never harmed another person in his life the people cried give us Barabbas who was a common thief!<br />
He went to the cross for his convictions and for his compassion and as difficult as it seems sometimes what a priviledge it is to share even a fraction of what he felt so that we can approach an understanding of what it was he sacrificed.<br />
And Maddie this is the story I came up with with reference to your other son who is not empathic.<br />
Imagine if you will that you worked in an office with a blind person and that every time this person came to work with a new outfit or a new hair style you went out of your way to compliment the person and say something nice. <br />
Then one day after months of saving for an outfit you really liked but couldn't afford without saving for it, you finally proudly wore your new outfit to work and your coworker never says a word ... she/he can't because they can't see. Do you resent them for that? Are you less compassionate for that?<br />
You could be upset because they don't see or you could be thankful that you have your sight.<br />
You could even be creative and one day dress for them. How? By forgeting about colors for the moment and wearing all kinds of fascinating textures and weaves!<br />
I once had a subordinate who I was responsible for supervising. I almost gave up on this young man because he didn't like to read and our job required a lot of details that he just didn't seem that interested in. Our group in addition to our other duties was responsible for training other groups and I usually rotated who was responsible for training during a given period but I had been reluctant to use this young man because I wasn't at all convinced he understood the material. Everyone else in our group was an introvert and he was an extrovert and was generally sloppy about details. <br />
He turned out to be outstanding instructor. I learned a lot from him that day in clearly seeing that my criterion for judging him was by the way I approached things. All the little details that weren't important to him on a day to day basis he didn't bother with but when he had to teach them he quickly took them in and applied them for his class.<br />
Do that for your different child. Look and study his strengths and encourage them. And after you throughly know them yourself quietly when its time pick girls who you using your gifts know are good people and let him choose from the ones you have already previewed because otherwise he's gonna choose a girl for reasons that don't make for a long relationship ,or will be people you can't stand for daughter-in laws.<br />
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I appreciate all the comments from people who have commented about my post over the last three years even if I haven't responded to every one of them. I guess you can say that I am doing research for my sequal post.<br />
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I also want to comment to all the ladies who lament how rare they are. It seems just anecdotally(sp?) that INFJ women out number us guys 10 to 1!!!!

I hate being empathic. I hate being so different. I have a child like me, and he understands me, but his sibling doesn't. He isn't like us.

I so understand you. There are days I cannot stand being me because I am so different and 98% of the population seems to think I am 'different'. In my family I have an ISTJ for a DH, a ENTP for a DD, and a ESTJ for a DS. Talk about no one being alike...*sigh*

Wow, Peregrin. You're so right. It's a load off realizing that Martin Luther King Junior and Mother Theresa were INFJ's. It's a burden, and it's a little frightening -- because there is this draw to help and heal and not want/need any credit. It's a real burden. However, it's an honor as well. <br />
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The part I loved most about what you said, Peregrin, is that we should stop expecting anyone to understand us. That is REALLY hard for me. To me, it's like wake up world...this is the truth...and this is right...and I know you all know it....Just do the right thing. However, maybe they don't, and I should stop expecting so much from people. I should probably work on developing my survival instincts a LOT more too...since it is true that whether it's intentional or unintentional, people who sense our spiritual depth and love crave it. I've honestly felt stalked by people...even people I didn't think needed me at all. Life is weird. :) Well, anyway, it's nice to know that there are at least 2 percent of us out there....comforting! :) Love to the INFJ's in the world and everyone else who wants to make the world a better place in whatever way they go about it.

Someone recently posted on this list a type definition for INFJ's that I didn't like very much nor did I feel was particularly accurate. I like the one by David Kiersey in Please Understand me or this one below:<br />
http://typelogic.com/infj.html<br />
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The other description I felt definately was not written by an INFJ but rather someone who observed an INFJ and drew their own conclusions. Of course I have no idea that this one was not done the same way but it rings truer to me.

Thank you truly for writing this down. I am so happy that I stumbled upon it and had the chance to read it. I think I will make note cards of it to remind myself everyday!! Thank you!!

I am so glad you took the time to write this down and even more glad that I happened to read it. You have helped me solve a terrible struggle, thank you!

It's almost three years since this post has been made, but it's still true. Thank you for the advice. I am drawn to damaged people. I just want to protect them, make them better. It's not a question of whether it's possible, whether they can be changed. I go to stupid lengths. Sometimes their emotions become my emotions. It helps me to connect but it can get hard distinguishing between my own feelings and the feelings of someone else.

Nicley said from a fellow empath :D

Thank you so much for these little helpful messages--particularly the last one. Over the last several months, I've really struggled with that and just this week some of those old feelings have come back up. It's nice to have some guidance on what to do with all those feelings.

this is all very true. I feel like troubled people are drawn to me and that i cant help doing all that i can for them. But it is hard being around such unstable people all of the time.