Why do I mimic my brother’s “F” function? Well, quite simply, there comes a point in the maturation process of the INTJ when it dawns on us that we are emotionally stunted and that is why we are lonely. Ever contradictory, we love being alone, but we don’t like being lonely. It is hard to meet people and make a friend when you come across as an aloof, know-it-all that is as warm as a block of ice. We therefore adopt methods of coping while we process our stunted emotions (which will take awhile). For me that is wearing a “social mask” and I have tried a lot of them on and mostly to my detriment.
For years that social mask was a combination of my sister and my mother. The problem is. They are both extroverts. Not a good fit for me. The other problem is my mother is the love child (figuratively speaking) of a southern belle and a drag queen, she is serving sweet T and Shade, hunty child. She is the queen of back handed compliments served with a smile (and possibly a mint julep) and people love her; but who doesn’t love a good drag show.
My sister is a bipolar train wreck (not that I can point fingers). You are going to have one heck of a ride but careful that you don’t end up collateral damage; with both of them there is a bunch of drama and gossip and quite frankly I can’t stomach either (take that however you want). It was stressful and exhausting and I literally felt mean…which I appear to be but never felt I was. After the diagnosis I let that social mask go…or at least most of it.
I, unfortunately, still do this bounce-clap of my sisters to let people know I am excited about some plan, project, etc. and when faced with an emotional situation that causes me to be uncomfortable you will hear me say, “Bless your heart, that’s gotta be rough for you, prayers and hugs sweetie,” if I am really uncomfortable, you simply get, “Bless your heart.” My brother does this too…although for different reasons…I think. Regardless, we know it smacks of our mother and if we are together it evokes a mutual cringe followed by a “That was sooooo mom!” and completed with a unified shudder and an uncomfortable giggle. Habits are hard to break and I for one lack a replacement response so…it stays…for now. (Apologies if I have given you this generic response, my intention was good).
As my brother and I have grown closer and my journey to become a better “me” evolves, I have realized that my brother and I have a lot in common. He is sort of a reflection of myself. We are alike except for that one thing…and it makes all the difference…he is innately in touch with his feelings and mine are a constant source of discomfort. It isn’t that I am trying to be him…I am not even really mimicking him. I just try to be aware of my traits that appear harsh and give them his softer side. He easily emotes what I am thinking. What does that mean?
In short, it means that not every problem can be solved with a rational response. Lets take grief. This is an area where an INTJ is going to be so stressed out that we will seem like a monster. There will be people crying, sadness, hugging…ugh, it is our worse nightmare. We will literally shut down. If it is someone close to us that has died we, too, are hurting we just need to process it, alone, where we can cry in private and go through all our little boxes of already processed emotional functions and see if any of them fit the current situation. Once we figure out which emotion we are experiencing and how to apply it to the situation we will try to help others logically come to the same conclusion about their grief and we will come across as an unmitigated ass. It is unfortunately one of the many ways we show others we care.
An INFJ will openly cry with you but in a calm almost serene manner. They will know the right thing to say and do (and often that means saying nothing at all) but with a silently soft compassion. They will let you hold them because that will bring you comfort (even though they, like an INTJ, aren’t comfortable being touched). We both want to make it better for the person grieving but let’s face it that “F” trumps my “T.”
Photo by Pamela, Sunset in Pushkar, Rajasthan, India taken with camera on Samsung phone.