Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Brief Introduction to MBTI Functional Theory

I've spent a year now studying MBTI and functional theory, and found it extremely difficult to explain. It all works like a puzzle, but if you don't know the correct terminology, or what all of the terms mean, it can get really confusing. So, this is really just a starter, but I have attempted to provide a brief overview of how this all works. I went into as little of detail as I possibly could.

Different Types of Functions
I vs E
Introversion - orients a function inwardly
Extroversion - orients a function outwardly

N vs S
Intuition - makes connections to form abstract ideas
Sensing - orients the physical world to the mind
F vs T
Feeling - deals with interpretation of morals
Thinking - deals with interpretation of efficiency

J vs P
Judging - thinking and feeling orientation
Perceiving - sensing and intuition orientation

What are the Functions,  Then?

Extroverted Intuition - makes connections to form abstract ideas and puts them forth externally

Introverted Intuition - makes connections to form abstract ideas and processes them inwardly

Extroverted Sensing - orients the physical world to the mind and reacts externally

Introverted Sensing - orients the physical world to the mind and processes it internally

Extroverted Feeling - deals with interpretation of morals, and orients them toward benefiting the common good

Introverted Feeling - deals with interpretation of morals, and orients them toward benefiting an individual's wellbeing.

Extroverted Thinking - deals with interpretation of logic, and orients it toward benefiting the common good

Introverted Thinking - deals with interpretation of logic, and orients it toward benefiting the an individual's wellbeing.

How Functions Apply to Personality Theory and Your MBTI Type

The four letters you get are a code for your function preferences. Here's basically how it works
1. The first letter (I vs E) determines if the dominant function is Introverted or Extroverted.
2. The second letter (N vs S) determines which perceiving function a person prefers - iNtuition or Sensing.
3. The third letter (T vs F) determines which judging function a person prefers - Thinking or Feeling.
4. The fourth letter (P vs J) determines whether the person prefers their judging function or their perceiving function.

So, for example, lets look at an INTP for example, since that is mine.
1. According to the first letter, the INTP is an introverted type and will lead with an introverted function.
2. According to the second letter, the INTP prefers intuition over sensing.
3. According to the third letter, the INTP prefers thinking over feeling.
4. The last letter is extremely important however: it determines whether I "prefer" judging or perceiving; in this case, intuition or thinking. This is trickier for introverts however, because in MBTI theory, the J/P preference is more about outward appearance, and therefore it refers to the auxiliary function on introverts, rather than the dominant. So the auxiliary function is the secondary one. Therefore, the INTP leads with Introverted Thinking (a judging function), and secondarily refers to it's extroverted function, Extroverted iNtuition (a perceiving function).

The Functional Stack
Lastly, you need to get the functional stack.

Dominant Function - this is the function a type leads with. This function is the one that is used so much that it annoys everyone else.
Auxiliary Function - this is a person's secondary function. It is usually utilized to people's tolerance, but may be a little excessive as well.
Tertiary Function - this function develops later and its good use is dependent upon its development (like all functions), but is usually used fairly frequently.
Inferior Function - this function is a type's achilles heel, and its lack of use/misuse will probably wreak havoc in a person's life.

An INTP looks like this:
Introverted Thinking
Extroverted iNtuition
Introverted Sensing
Extroverted Feeling

Notice that the tertiary function is the complete opposite of the auxiliary, and that the inferior function is the complete opposite of the dominant. That is how those work. But I'll leave that there because it's a lot to take in.

In short, though, what that order of functions means is this:

The INTP spends much time contemplating and solving philosophical questions and theorizing abstract ideas. INTPs do not share their opinions quickly (though they typically create them immediately), but will brainstorm possibilities with others. INTPs always seek to find the truth, but might not care to utilize their discoveries. To a lesser degree, INTPs internalize their environments before physically interacting with the world around them. They struggle to regard the values of others when it conflicts with their current definition of the truth, yet are also very conscious of and affected by how they are perceived by others.

Where did I get that from?

The INTP spends much time contemplating and solving puzzles and philosophical questions and theorizing abstract ideas. INTPs do not share their opinions quickly (though they typically create them immediately), but will brainstorm possibilities with others. INTPs are most concerned with and will always seek the truth, but might not care to utilize their discoveries. To a lesser degree of prominance, INTPs internalize their environments before physically interacting with the world around them. They can come to greatly enjoy physical means of connecting with one's body, such as yoga or meditation, though keeping up with such tasks is not in their nature. They struggle to regard the values of others when it conflicts with their current definition of the truth, yet are also very conscious of and affected by how they are perceived by others.

The second one is much harder to read, so be thankful I posted it without all of the colors first. I apologize about that, seriously. But I find color-coding helps to make sense of stuff. I will post up a chart here eventually so that you can see the functional stack for any type you are curious about and stuff like that. But yes, the blue there is everything that comes from auxiliary Extroverted INtuition, the green everything from dominant Introverted Thinking, the red from tertiary Introverted Sensing and the violet from inferior Extroverted Feeling.

Friday, April 17, 2015

HSP on an INTP

Before I go grocery shopping, I needed to post something here about Highly Sensitive People (HSP). I don't like the term because I'm a thinker and it makes me feel... weak. But it is a real term, nonetheless, coined by Dr. Aron to describe someone who experiences the external world to a higher degree than others. We are thin-skinned, you may say. Literally, I'm pretty sure (like, we blush more easily and everything).

I've tried several times to express how this works on an INTP, because its weird, and doesn't flow with our mental orientation quite as well as it does on a feeler or a sensor. So here's for trying.

Sensory Stimulation: Like every HSP, this is about the same. I get really exhausted when I am in unfamiliar environments for very long. I can't stand loud noises or bright lights. The textures of certain things can drive me insane, and I pick at all the seams of my clothes because they irritate me. I hate bras. Just putting that out there. Underwires are the devil. I don't have a good sense of smell, but it can still make me throw up in my mouth. I had trouble cleaning up after my mom's dogs when I lived there, because I couldn't look at most of the messes without gagging. Can't stand the scent or taste of turkey, either. I know that one is weird. But yeah. I am very sensitive to things like that.

Can't Stand a Full Schedule: Yes. This is partly due to just being an INP though. But yeah, I have trouble with full schedules because I can't hurry myself. When I do, I panic and mess up. Having a lot to do, I know full well, means that I won't have any time to process things. I can't stand it. If I can't withdraw, I will implode. Or explode. And I mean total withdrawal: I need to be completely alone, and have control over my environment. I really hate being that needy, but I start getting stiff and involuntarily grumpy if I don't have this. I get distracted by every little external sound and can't hone in on anything if there is other stuff going on around me.

Violence: Okay, so this one is interesting. Most HSPs can't stand violence in movies or books or whatever (especially movies) because it just affects them too strongly. We can seriously feel the pain. For some reason, I like feeling the pain. Maybe I'm a little messed up in that way. But I want to truly feel the pain the characters are in. So... I'm okay with violence, though I have been known to look away at times. I can't handle guts though. I really don't like looking at things that have come out of a person's body. That really IS too much. But blood... nah. I want to get as real with everything as possible. Overdone blood and guts though, I can do without. Like I said, I want the reality. I don't like horror movies.

Delicate Taste: I guess? I like softer music, and I don't like things with strong tastes (particularly sugary stuff, unless I've gotten myself addicted). I actually do like some loud music including dubstep (lolz), but I can't listen to it very much because it gives me headaches. I like gentle, softer things. I don't like harsh or bright colors, and over the years, this all gets softer and softer. It's kind of weird, and frustrating. I'm afraid one day I will be that cranky lady telling the kids to turn the music off.

Inner Life: I never really understood what this meant. I'm pretty sure most people think they have a "rich and complex inner life". But whatever. It would be impossible to argue that I don't have a rich and complex inner life. I spend all my day working on puzzles in my head (stories). Or writing. Basically, using my imagination. And organizing it from time to time.

Told I was Sensitive and Shy as Child: Yes. So many times. It's ridiculous how often I was told this, and I didn't like it. It was always said in a way that made me not want to be like that, and like I should fix myself, but I never did. I just found ways to hide it. I grew out of being shy eventually, but I'm definitely still getting more and more sensitive as time goes on. Simultaneously, I become more awkward, but that's mainly because I don't get out much anymore. I'm okay with that. But yes, my mom especially noted how sensitive I was as a kid. I was also pretty serious.

Noticing Subtleties: Ummmm... more than the average INP, I think. Like, for example, many INPs (especially INTPs) don't seem to notice when someone got a new haircut. I'll notice it, but I won't say anything. I also tend to notice small things bothering me (the lights are too bright/too dim, this water tastes like it's been sitting out, that noise in the other room is bothersome, I need this to stop blinking etc). I don't notice many visuals unless they disturb my peace, or are dramatic. And sometimes I'll notice something is different but I can't tell what, so I don't say anything.

Other People's Moods: This is the worst. I like, absorb other people's moods. So if you're angry, I'm angry. If you're sad, I'm sad. But this is a really weird one for an INTP, because it has to do with feels. If my feels are turned off, I can decide I don't care. That usually happens when I was calm beforehand and I decide you are being ridiculous. If I was already somewhat emotional beforehand, I'll probably feel however you do. Be careful if you're angry. That doesn't mean I absorb your opinion. I absorb the mood. So I'll probably be angry at you for being angry in the first place.

Pain Sensitivity: It stands to reason that if I'm sensitive to other sensations, I'm also sensitive to pain. I have been called wimpy on many an occasion. Well, you know what? I can't help it. You know, when I was a kid, my brother used to hit me (not because he was abusive - just sibling stuff), and I could tell when it was hard enough to give me a bruise. Now, I get hit and feel the same level of pain, but there's no bruise. It sucks. And I'm aware of like, everything my body does. I used to be a little bit of a hypochondriac because of it. Now I know it's because I am HSP, but I still behave like I'm sick kinda, because the pain isn't gone just because I know why it's so bad.

Caffeine Sensitivity: HSPs are supposed to be sensitive to caffeine. I actually feel less affected by caffeine than most people. I don't know. I haven't ever been able to tell. Probably because I don't drink very much of it. Most things with caffeine also have a lot of sugar or acid, and so they give me acid reflux and I can't have much anyway.

Easily Moved: Yeah. Normally. This last year, I've explained in previous posts, I have been kind of numb to emotion, but normally, it is really really easy to move me. I never understood why people wouldn't be affected by the complexity of a simple song, or a beautiful sunset. I didn't get why people weren't just washed over with joy when they drove through empty, country hills. And I cry soooooooooooo easily. Normally. That's always been problematic. In first grade, I was called the creative nickname of "crybaby" by one bully. Now I'm curious what her story is and why she was a bully. But yes, I cry a lot.

Conscientious: To a point. INTPs are considered to have "inferior feelings". This means that out of thinking, intuition, sensing and feelings, I just wrote the order of our functions. Feelings come last. Because I feel them, I would argue that I come off almost as nice as an ENTP (whose preferences are: intuition, thinking, feeling, sensing). I usually break this fa├žade with one misplaced comment somewhere. That or I stuff my feels away into a story, so that the person can find out what I REALLY think of them on the day they read the story, if that ever happens. Basically, because I feel the feels of others, I just avoid expressing my reaction if I think they are being overdramatic. Unless I think they can handle or benefit from knowing that I think they need to chill out. My main defense though, is actually to just fully explain myself - over-explain, really - because somehow I developed the notion that if I can just explain everything about the universe and my whole life story and perspective, that the other party will understand. It actually works more often than you'd think, if they don't get bored first. And if they got bored, they probably didn't care all that much, so I'm good. I just feel a little stupid for talking too much.

Easily Startled: Depends. Sometimes I'm so absorbed in what I am doing (INTP) that no one can pull me away, and I'll slowly turn around from what I'm doing and look at you like you're an idiot. If I'm not that absorbed, then yeah, I freak out. I can't do alarms in the mornings either, because I'll get like, a heart attack. Seriously, it'll leave me winded and give me a headache. I'm pretty sure my heart really does skip a beat or something. I hate alarms. I try my best to just go to bed on time. I'm becoming easier and easier to startle.

Notice Discomforts of Others: Yes.... but don't expect me to do anything about it. I kind of expect people to take care of themselves and ask me if they need something I haven't already provided. I'm a bad hostess. If it didn't drain me of energy, sure I'd love to take care of you. But it does drain me of energy because I am an INTP. So you'll need to pipe up.

Expectations and Competition: I hate them both, like a true HSP. As an INTP, I particularly despise social expectations. Competition bothers me because I don't do as well under pressure. And I take a long time to complete things. Timed things are as much the devil as underwire bras. One time on a standardized test, I answered every single science question correctly. But I only got through a third of the section, so I failed. That is retarded. Just saying. Absolutely retarded. So I take a while. I'm thorough, and I am not an idiot. I do not require a win to boost my ego (though it will). I just need to feel like I have skillz. I do best when I convince myself I'm going to lose and that I don't care. It's really hard to get into that mindset, but if I do, then I have a tolerable performance, generally speaking. Expectations are about the same as competition. Let me do mah thang. I'm fine.

Avoid Mistakes and Forgetting stuff: Yeah... I'm more forgiving of myself than I used to be. I'm also more forgetful though. I can't help it anymore. I used to remember everything. Now I actually forget stuff. Ever since I had a bad year (11th Grade) I started to feel permanently fuzzy-brained and I started to lose track of things. It has been better since I have been able to avoid busy settings.

Hunger is Evil: I can't stand being hungry. It disrupts everything. I don't feel like I'm going to die or anything. I just can't do anything but think about how badly I want to eat. Sometimes I get so affected by it, that I can't really even make food. Of course when my blood sugar is low, then I get shaky, but before shaking I get very tired, and it is hard for me to think straight enough to actually cook. I have to eat something before I can cook. I can't imagine how HSPs survived before microwaves and prepackaged food.

Change is Hard: I don't mind change as much as I used to, but changes can really throw me off. I need to get used to a method and an environment before I'm able to relax in it. And of course if I can't relax, I go crazy. Change means a loss of control to some degree. Now I kind of like having some change here and there, but I still have to watch it.

Fast-Paced Environments or Media: I can't always watch fast-paced movies. I will say no to loud, fast-paced movies more often than just for violence, because the noise and stuff gets to me. I don't remember stuff that occurs in fast-paced environments or movies very well because I wasn't given time to process it, and thus, it doesn't affect me all that much and is kind of mind-numbing. Brain overload. I don't like it. I like using brain.

Cartoons: This isn't listed as an HSP thing, but it makes a lot of sense for an HSP as well as an INTP. As an HSP, cartoons are easier to watch because there's usually less detail in them, so less to process. I like cartoons with softer or darker colors, and the more serious, gentle variety like Beauty and the Beast, or certain shoujo animes (like Fruits Basket or Kimi ni Todoke), though as an INTP I also can't help but love stuff like Avatar: The Last Airbender for it's quirkiness.

Phone Calls: This is definitely an introvert hate, but as an HSP too, I hate phones because they make so much noise. The sound of phones bothers me. I also don't want to hear your voice. Texting can be annoying but I've grown more fond of it over the years. I used to think I hated texting too, and that I just would rather see a person in person, but no. I like written communication. I just didn't like pushing buttons on my phone because it wore my fingers out. Phones are loud. Your voice is loud. And fuzzy. I don't like to answer the phone. Do not call me in the morning unless you are dying or something. And make me your last choice because I probably won't answer. Leave me a voicemail. I will listen to it eventually. It is noise, but at least I can prepare first. Phones are the devil too.

Quick Update: So... same "discoverer" of the HSP thing also has been researching HSS - High Sensation Seeking. I appear to resonate with a lot of that as well. So that could account for the appreciating a certain level of realistic violence and stuff. I like going to new, novel places. I just like them to be quiet, and I don't like being in a hurry to get there. I don't really get stir-crazy, but I love exploring, and seeing things from great heights. Roller coasters are my friends. So that throws an interesting aspect into the loop.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

You'd Follow Us to Light the Dark

So the original song always kind of bothered me, just because of the way I saw God being portrayed - distant, cold, harsh. So, I reworked a version that I liked better. Same tune.

Here's the original, and it is a cute song if you ignore the way it talks about God:

And here are my lyrics:

God of mine, some day I will die,
But you’ll be close nearby.
You’ll bring me out of the dark.
The blinding light, of you standing robed in white,
You’ll hold my hand so tight;
Old pain won’t leave a mark.

If Heaven and Earth were lost
To the demons and the frost,
And everlasting life had no bridge to be crossed,
If those of us beside you,
Could not embark,
You’d follow us to light the dark.

Humanity, unforgiving as it can be,
Always got Cs and Ds
Because my head was somewhere else.
Lived in fear, because I forgot to hear,
“Love always hopes; and love
always perseveres.”

If Heaven and Earth were lost
To the demons and the frost,
And everlasting life had no bridge to be crossed,
If those of us beside you,
Could not embark,
You’d follow us to light the dark.

We have seen all that there is to see,
In the words of a wise old king,
“There’s nothing new under the sun.”
If time came now for Christians to bow out,
It’d be nothing to cry about.
We’d be with you very soon,
(Where heaven would bloom.)

If Heaven and Earth were lost
To the demons and the frost,
And everlasting life had no bridge to be crossed,
If those of us beside you,
Could not embark,
You’d follow us to light the dark.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pajama Pants are Pants Too

I get very bothered with dress codes that eliminate pajama pants, but not sweatpants. What if I made a pair of pants exactly like my pajama pants and called them sweatpants? What would are you going to do now? What makes a pair of pajama pants, pajama pants? The fact that they're worn to bed. But you can't prove I slept in them.

It is important to look at the reasons why something should be wrong before blindly agreeing.

Does the dress code say, "professional only"? Then wear stuff that's professional. PJs aren't professional.

Business casual? Still not acceptable for PJs.

Sweatpants ok? How about short-shorts? Then so are pajamas pants.

Stop the pajama discrimination.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Existentialism versus New Horizons

I have started on several new ventures, which increased pace with the close of others. This month, I quit my job cleaning houses and am now pursuing a career as a fantasy author. I will give you a little teaser summary when I come closer to publishing time, but right now I am just writing another draft. But in the meantime, I want to give a little testimony of what's been going on in my life, and I apologize for the length. Take it as a memoir.

A couple weeks before I quit my job, I began to feel very depressed. In learning about MBTI theory, I've come to the conclusion that it is normal for an INTP to have difficulty interpreting their emotions, so although I recognized I was depressed, I couldn't tell why I was feeling so down, and I began to explore. I will spare you some of the details, but in my observation, the first and foremost reason for my emotional shutdown should be attributed to spiritual warfare. I am about to pursue a career that involves a close study and revelation of the God of the Bible, so it is only natural I would meet his enemy in the field.

It began as pure fear, but I slaughtered that, and things became weird. The weird started right before my original role-play partner went to bootcamp and we ran out of interesting interactions to play through with our current cast of characters. I had been playing my most Biblically-involved epic fantasy characters for the entire year, because she hadn't had the desire to connect with my other characters and I am a pushover.

Understand, normally and before role-play, I inserted new discoveries relating to God into this particular tale (and sometimes the others) as little scenes and scenarios, which blossomed into a full plot. On occasion, I even got new wisdom back out of it. But throughout my year, I had shifted my focus off of God and onto making the role-play interesting. Without God at its very core; at my very core, my story lost its meaning, and without the meaning the role-plays lost their intrigue for me. Still, when we stopped RP at any point, I got depressed and it was easy to pull me back as soon as I started feeling "better". It wasn't her fault, just so you know. It was entirely mine - I had plenty of opportunities to step away and I just didn't.

I spent several months struggling with disconnect from all stories, and without interest in my most self-defining story, I was struggling to connect with anything at all. I couldn't connect to my friends, because my life was role-play. I couldn't connect to my family because my life was role play. I couldn't connect to myself because I had been replaced with role-play. I couldn't connect to my usual interests because I no longer existed. I couldn't connect to my characters because they died without me there to give them life. I couldn't find interest in my faith a couple months after I started skipping church, and now it is hard to get me to go two weeks in a row. I survived okay until my friend was shipped off for the Navy.

And then it turned dark. I was grasping blindly for a purpose and direction, and coming up with nothing but a handful of logical explanations that I could no longer understand. Yet, I could still see hope when I turned my gaze toward heaven, where God was like a silver disc of sun in the sky breaking through dreary storm clouds, and occasionally I did glance.

It was just the other night that I truly learned what was going on. I already knew I was being spiritually attacked, but I didn't know what with, so in the hopes of inspiration and an emotional connection that didn't happen, I purchased some music about Christian life, rather than worship (which is all I have bought in a long time). It may not have fixed things, but it did lead me somewhere. I bought an album called Carrie & Lowell by Sufran Stevens and listened to a song called "The Only Thing". If/when you listen, rest assured, I have never been as low as the author of the song, and I actually don't relate to most of it (but I enjoy it's pretty sounds). The whole album is inspired by the story of how his mother left when he was young, and he found her again but only right before she died. The point where I related was that I was asking myself, "Do I care if I survive this?"

In short, I could tell I was to the point of requiring medication. I was suffering from existentialism. That night it seemed like every time I tried to break through my disconnected state toward the Holy Spirit, I would actually reach something, so I would crumble and cry for a couple minutes, and then snap back behind my detached wall. Things were starting to seem hopeless (not that the idea made me feel anything), except on Monday night I had found a significant connection to something in me while reading some chapters in the book of Matthew. I have always loved Biblical stories, mind you, but never enjoyed reading them from the Bible. For the first time in my life, the only thing I wanted to read was the story of God and his beloved.

So on Tuesday, I knew that comfort was there and it cheered me the entire day, only for me to relapse that night/on Wednesday morning. But while the song on it's own didn't work to make me feel, I was connecting again. First on Monday night, I had connected with God, and then slowly, bits at a time until Wednesday morning, with a character - the one I thought I had been worn out of. Utilizing that connection, I could push off the existentialism into his imaginary psyche, and create something that would make me feel again. This made me a little happy, so I was able to go to sleep Wednesday morning.

New Horizons
Later on Wednesday, I didn't have enough time to be depressed until I got busy writing this, which took all night so I still didn't have time. I'd been wanting to get out this last week, and I'm banning myself from any more Netflix for a while (save one movie that looked uplifting) because I stayed in most of this last weekend to watch Reign and Arrow. Today I am on the road toward something different. 

But before I explain the good news, because I'm not out of the woods just yet, I want to make the effort to tell you why I am not on medication, because some of you may be worried about me.

1) I am not being driven to suicide, cutting, alcohol, or drugs. Just to Netflix, friends, God, my iTunes library, sleeping in too late, staying up too late, and my writing. If I can eliminate the Netflix distraction and control the sleeping pattern, I will be just fine. I do need to fix some things about my current lifestyle, and am making efforts toward it by providing myself with new responsibilities and engagements. This includes a Bible study on the book of Revelation, the notes for which I will be posting up here as I go.

2) This is the second true depression I have ever experienced. Both times had things to cause them. This time, unlike any other time, I have had moments of feeling truly pointless, and struggled to care about it; but my best friend was just shipped away, and with her she took the only thing I could focus on throughout the last year of my life. 

3) I need a full range of emotion - both the highs and the lows - to really get to the roots of my stories. I don't want to sacrifice any emotional movement, because that puts me where I am now: emotionally flatlined. It would be much better to feel, because when I feel I am connected. When I am connected it means that God is moving me beyond motivation and into inspiration. I don't mind being broken, sad or angry if the alternative is immobility. What else should inspire me? It's the broken, sad and angry I want to understand and communicate with in what I write.

But this is the most important thing that has come out of my experience.

You know that Buddhist concept of finding your "center"?
When I found my center, there was nothing in it's crosshairs.

So I am taking a new vantage point and adjusting my scope a little farther out,
in order to aim for something far better than what is within my empty shell.

*My aspirations to write*
*The characters I made up to interpret humanity*
*The stories I made up to interpret the world*
*Living in my extravagant dream house*
*Paying my bills without fear of debt*
*A clean and comfortable home*
*The knowledge that I seek*
*The places I'd like to go*
*A healthy body*
*My life*

I have come to intimately know this about those things that I used to think I wanted so badly:
 Their value is so little that they couldn't move me to want them at all on their own.
Lately, I would throw them all away if it would cause me to feel God moving in me again, and lately, I've been getting a spark.

I now can trudge through this with a little smile on my face because I know there is nothing I want more than to be the beloved character to the author of my soul.