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Posts relating to Personality:

5 years ago

Thinking and Feeling

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: Myers-Briggs Personality
I think that I've probably said most of this stuff in various places before, but I feel the need to explain some things because I don't want to annoy, hurt or offend people, but realise that I no doubt do by using 'Thinker' almost as if it's some kind of hateful slur, or by suggesting to individuals that I think they're T rather than F types.

The first thing to realise is that each person certainly does have aspects of thinking and feeling inside them. It's just that one of them is the 'captain' while the other is the 'first officer', so to speak... The first officer is always there providing input, but it's ultimately up to the captain to make most of the decisions or to speak for the whole ship.
In certain individuals, the 'weaker' function is a mere ensign or something instead, rarely called up for duty. (I've been watching quite a bit of Star Trek recently!1)

Both thinking and feeling come in 'introverted' and 'extraverted' forms, too, with the introverted ones relating to the inner world of contemplation, and the extraverted ones relating to gathering data from and making assessments about the real physical world, as well as knee-jerk reactions and general spur-of-the-moment expression.

INFJ for example has extraverted feeling as a primary function, which means that they gather data from the world and make decisions, form opinions, interact with others, etc, all on an emotional wavelength, using empathy, worrying about whether what they say will be hurtful, making decisions based on how things make them feel, and so on, and when they have these emotions, they generally tend to express them openly.
However, they have introverted thinking as a secondary function, so in the privacy of their mind, when pondering or going over the data that they've taken in or reacted to emotionally, they can use their thinking function to assess and analyse it.

INTJs on the other hand have extraverted thinking as a primary function. This means that they tend to analyse and react to real life situations with facts, logic, and objective analysis; this is what leads to them being blunt or giving advice or things like that, or being excellent at solving technical problems and puzzles and so on, or forming strategies and tactics.
They have introverted feeling as a secondary function, so when they go over their actions later on in their mind, they may feel deeply emotional about them. They are unlikely to express this emotion though. They certain will sometimes, but it's not the usual state of affairs; like the first officer taking the captain's chair sometimes but not usually.

All of this is an oversimplification, and different types have these functions in different configurations, but I just want to make clear that everyone has aspects of both thinking and feeling, so if you feel 'balanced', then this is why.

I mention it also to show that yes, I'm aware that people who are 'Thinkers' have feelings... and I probably hurt them, too, by lumping people together in some group I don't like and openly expressing my emotions about it, or suggesting that they're unfeeling robots. I'm really sorry about that... I don't want to hurt anyone.

The difficulty arises though in that 'Thinking' types generally tend not to care about how their words will make others feel... I don't mean to make them sound heartless, because there's no malice behind this; it just doesn't seem to factor into their decision making process, and they feel that it's more important to state the bare facts because that's the way that progress happens... or something. And that anyone who does react with emotional sensitivity to what they said is in the wrong, rather than their words being wrong for being too harsh. Emotional reaction is weakness and immaturity.. or something? I'm speaking about an alien mentality here, so I'm sorry if it's not entirely accurate...

However, feely-oriented people - particularly those with extraverted feeling, like myself - are emotionally sensitive, and easily upset by bluntness and insensitivity... as you've no doubt seen from my own emotional blog posts which must seem 'immature' to many people, particularly thinkers who regard emotional responses negatively.

We operate on such different wavelengths, and there's frustration on both sides. Thinkers give me bare-facts blunt objective analyses or advice, and I find it insensitive and hurtful and express that, leading to them probably feeling offended and irritated because they meant no harm at all and are being portrayed as villains unjustly. I see them as inconsiderate, they see me as immature.

I understand this... but it's just so difficult at times to keep my own emotions 'under control' because they're very much the captain of the ship that is my mind, and when I'm bombarded by these insensitive, objective comments, I collapse emotionally and express it with my extraverted feeling. My outward emotional reactions - like writing blog posts like the last one - are instinctive, quick responses to things, but then my introverted thinking kicks in later and I end up writing things like this, after thinking about what my emotions made me do.

I react emotionally and then later think about it and realise I've not been quite fair...
I suppose thinkers would often be quite hard, blunt, even aggressive, but when going over it internally later, they might feel they'd 'been too hard on him' or something like that. Maybe.

Anyway... I don't hate Thinking people or think that there's anything inherently wrong with them, so I want to be clear about that. However, I do describe certain comments as 'Thinky' because they didn't take my emotions into account, and as such, they often hurt. I have great difficulty dealing with comments like that.
It's also hard being a minority in such things... Most of the people on the site are Thinkers, so I feel sometimes like 'everyone's against me' even though I know it's not exactly like that.
Being able to group insensitive comments as 'thinky' helps to keep me sane... though I know that it's not a very nice thing to openly talk about.

Hopefully this explains some things at least rather than making people MORE annoyed...
5 years ago

The Trees and the Forest

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: EnneagramPersonality
I am interested in personality models. Had you noticed?!?

Anyway, apparently I am so interested in them that I'm always eager to share what I know and understand with others... but it's difficult, especially when I write a long post like the one about the 9 Enneagram types, and barely anyone shows signs of having read it, instead leaving comments that say "a test said I was X but I think I might be Y anyway because I have [specific trait of Y]! But I also have [trait of Z], so the system is too limited to contain my wondrous versatility!"

I've tried to reply to a lot of these comments to explain the concepts to the best of my ability, to guide people in the right direction towards finding their types and so on... but I find myself repeating the same things over and over, so I felt that I should include them in a blog post so then I don't have to keep repeating myself.

The main, most important concept behind using any personality system is that you need to learn how to think 'generally'. It's almost an art form in itself, perhaps, and my practised ability to think in this way leads to me getting consistent results on personality tests, and being able to understand concepts like the Enneagram on an intuitive level very quickly.

A good metaphor that I think explains this concept is how many people, when looking at the descriptions of personality types, see the trees and not the forest.

What I mean by that is that they focus on specific traits... which is missing the point, because personality types aren't about traits. They're about patterns, a deep 'essence' of sorts that exists at the core of any type and which merely manifests as traits.
The traits are emergent in this way, and as such they're not mutually exclusive; any type could produce any trait, I'd say, but for different underlying reasons.

It's like how birds and bats and insects all fly, but their mechanics are very different. The result is the same - they can move in any direction through the air in order to travel from one place to another - but they all evolved separately and the wings of one aren't like the wings of the others.
If you were to see an animal, and to try to explain it to someone by saying that it was 'flying', would they be right to come to the conclusion that it MUST be a bat, because it flies? Of course not; it could be any number of things, and you'd need to look at the whole rather than this specific trait to find out what it is.

It's like how type 2 from the Enneagram 'helps people'. This one seemed to come up a few times; people thought they were 2s because they enjoy helping people.
2s do naturally help people, but to say that by itself is useless oversimplification, and you can't say that someone is a 2 simply because they like helping in the same way that you can't say that a creature is a bird because it flies.
The manner in which 2s 'help' is assertive and coloured by entitlement and the fear of being worthless - particularly in 'unhealthy' individuals (a concept I'll get to in a minute) - whereas other types - ANY type - could be helpful either out of duty, loyalty, empathy, expectation, morals, upbringing, or any number of varied factors.
The result is the same - the trait 'helps people' - but the fundamental base and motivation - the part that actually matters when determining type - is different in each case.

The point I'm trying to make is that when you read about a personality type, what you should do is see each trait as a 'dot', yes... but then connect the dots in your mind and see the overall image that they form. It's like connecting jigsaw pieces to form one whole that represents that type. A jigsaw of the ocean and one of the sky will both have blue pieces, and many of them, but it's only really when they're assembled into the whole that it's clear what they are. Looking at the pieces in isolation is misleading and generally useless.

Is this making any sense...?!?

Another thing I want to say about the Enneagram in particular is that each type seems to have various levels of 'health' that alters their manifestation significantly... Some people are a lot more mentally 'healthy' than others.
For example, a very unhealthy 2 might become manipulative and downright abusive, while a very healthy 2 would be truly selfless and an expert at making others happy. Entirely different traits that manifest from the same core at different levels of health.
(An abusive boyfriend who threatens to commit suicide because his suffering girlfriend doesn't tell him she loves him often enough could be an extremely unhealthy 2, while a little old woman who opens her house for feeding beggars off the street and devotes all her time to that while asking nothing in return might be a very healthy 2. But only maybe; both of these things could arise from entirely different types as well!)

I'd like to talk about each of these levels for each type in detail at some point... but this thing is long enough as it is at the moment.
I have a tendency to focus on the negative, neurotic, unhealthy aspects of each type in my descriptions, I'm afraid; this is surely partly due to being far from mentally healthy myself, but also because as a 4, I am drawn to dwelling in melancholy, to focusing on the negatives, and to being very 'honest' with feelings and weaknesses. I relate to others through weakness, so I suppose I write in a way that would be convincing and relatable to myself... which is regrettably not as useful for everyone. A shame!

Anyway, I just wanted to make this point since I seem to be trying to make it over and over in comments to individuals, and thought it'd be useful to have one thing to link to rather than spending loads of time repeating myself.

If you have read this all the way through and you want to leave a comment, please tell me that you've read it, otherwise I'll assume that you haven't and will be rather cross at you!!1!1

I do wonder whether people write replies without actually reading the thing they're commenting on. Hmm.
5 years ago

Enneagram 2 (Edit)

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: EnneagramPersonality
Since I only found out about this concept yesterday and hastily added it as a feature to the site, I have more to say already; more that I've learned. Well, mainly two really brief things at the moment.

Firstly, apparently 'Enneagram' is a singular that refers to the system, meaning nine-pointed... thing; similar in construction to 'pentagram'. So it's not right to call the types 'enneagrams', which is something I've been doing! Which is WRONG!1

Secondly, I've found another list of type descriptions which may help you understand each one better and as such you'd be able to decide on your own more easily (hopefully); it is here! ∞ LINK ∞
(Again, the 4 description resonates very, very strongly with me; those of you that have been reading these blog posts for ages may already know how different I feel I am, how lonely that makes me feel, how I focus on what sets me apart from others due to a longing not being satisfied, and how I'm very open and honest about my thoughts, feelings, and weaknesses with no desire to be more impressive than I am.)

I never seem to have any problem with these personality type things for some reason. When I was introduced to the temperaments years ago, Melancholic (or 'Melancholy' as it was in what I read) shone out like a beacon and really 'spoke to me' in ways that the others didn't. I was also easily able to relate to phlegmatic, and not at all to choleric or sanguine.
When I found MBTI, I did three tests... all of which gave me INFJ, and after understanding what the letters mean, I've no doubt that anything other than these four fit me.
With this Enneagram thing, I've done three tests now, and got type 4 on them all; 4w5 on the two that included wings.
And when I read the descriptions for each type, I know how to interpret them in a 'big picture' sort of way to determine whether or not I fit them as a whole, to remove ambiguity, so I've only known about this system for less than a day and I'm not struggling to type myself at all. Instead, it, like the other systems, makes me feel happy and 'understood' because of its accuracy; as a 4, I've always had this fear of being too 'different' and 'broken' and each one of these descriptions that fits me reminds me that I'm NOT entirely weird and, well, it's very comforting!

Since I know how to read the descriptions of each type - and I do think there is a method, and outlook, a state of mind behind it, which I suppose I've practised from interest in this kind of thing - what I'd like to do is write a blog post where I go through each of the 9 types and describe how I read it, how it fits to me, and why I reject or accept it. Perhaps seeing how I do this would be of some small help to the indecisive, or failing that, you'd at least learn more about me, which I assume at least some of you would be curious about!
Five of them did 'fit' me when I first read them, and I'd be describing what led me to reject three of those.

I'll do that later; for now, that page of descriptions may be useful to you!

I've also found another test that may be of some use: ∞ LINK ∞
My results were as follows: ∞ Fig Hunter ∞

Again, 4 is on top, followed by 5, and this further increases my understanding that I'm not a 1 or 6. 9 has a high score, but that's because it and 4 have sensitively retreating from conflict rather than asserting themselves as traits.

I do find it so strange how people get different results on different tests, since I never do!

This introductory page may help too: ∞ LINK ∞