Insights into Autism

Meristem

I am fortunate enough to work for a transitional program for young adults with Autism.  Our school uses hands-on classes and movement therapy to increase vocational skills and improve executive functioning to help these young adults transition into the workplace or college; whatever their end goal is, we help them get there.  Working for such a life-changing institution and being around these amazing people has definitely altered my perspective on life.

While we (everyone who is considered “normal”) complain about our jobs, our spouses, our friends, etc., we forget about the people like the kids at our program: the people who struggle to even find a job because of their Autism, the people who might not ever get married due to no choice of their own because it is so difficult for them to relate to others and for others to relate to them, and those who have no friends because no one takes the time to understand them or tolerate their differences.  Those of us who are lucky enough to be within a spectrum that is considered to be “normal”,  we are so spoiled and we don’t even know it.

My heart aches for these young adults that come up to me with sad eyes and recount stories of bullies, loneliness, and battered confidence.  Yes, our students may experience hardship on a level that most of us do not and will not ever experience ourselves.  On the other hand, I have seen the joy on their faces when they ride a bike by themselves for the first time, make it through a whole day of classes without having a meltdown, make a new friend, or when they finish a project and tell me that they never knew they could make something that beautiful.  They find joy in the smallest victories, in things that we take for granted on a daily basis.

As Christmas season rolls around, our minds are honed in on buying gifts, the money we have to spend on those gifts, what we’re going to be receiving from someone else, or the stresses of travel or hosting family.  It’s easy to forget people like our students, whose minds and hearts are on simpler things.  All they seem to want for the holidays is to fit in somewhere, to be understood, to make just one friend, to even be interviewed for ONE job, or to gain a level of independence that allows them to simply take care of themselves.  I am thankful to work at a place like this and to be involved in these kids’ lives because it’s keeping my mind and heart in check.  I spend so much time disappointed in myself for not achieving more in life or not having enough that I forget to be thankful and grateful for what I do have.

Be thoughtful. Be thankful.

Thank you for reading!

What INFJ/ENTP Marriage Looks Like

Let me first preface this by saying: I cannot speak for my husband and my perceptions about him may be slightly off (regardless of just how perceptive I can be).  ENTPs are nearly impossible to pin down, even for the hawk eyes and senses of an INFJ.  I simply want to write this post to share our strengths and our struggles.

Keep in mind that my husband and I have been married for less than 2 years, so we are still ‘figuring each other out’.  He is also an only child and in the military, and I believe these two factors have altered his personality a little and he can often act a lot like in INTP.

Okay, ready?  Let’s do this.

ENTP:INFJ

Good lord, there has never been a truer meme.  Quite obviously, I am the INFJ in this picture and my husband is the ENTP.  There are so many times when I stare at him and just admire the green of his eyes or the way his brow furrows when he’s thinking. And then I’ll wonder if he ever thinks anything like that about me.  That being said, I am 97% sure he RARELY thinks things like that because he is thinking about so many other random but brilliant things.  That’s not to say he doesn’t love me, he is just not wired the same.

How the ENTP and INFJ are VASTLY different:

  • My husband is has a quick wit and humor that could crack a smile on even the hardest of hearts (think Robert Downy Junior in Iron Man).  I can be witty at times, but for the most part, I think of something I SHOULD have said thirty minutes after the conversation is already over.
  • He LOVES to argue (he claims it’s ‘debating’, not arguing but to me it’s all the same).  I don’t like being at odds with someone.  I like peace, harmony, and agreeing.  It gives me anxiety to disagree and I’ll only do so if I feel it’s really important.  There are times when he argues with me, not because he actually disagrees with me, but simply for the sake of arguing.
  • I am an eternal optimist.  I am best and happiest when I’m thinking about the way that things COULD or SHOULD be.  My ENTP husband… let’s just say he has a plan for every possible scenario that could go horribly wrong (even a zombie apocalypse).
  • He is an extrovert with introverted tendencies.  I am an introvert with extroverted tendencies.

How the ENTP and INFJ are somewhat similar:

  • We both need quite a bit of alone time.  There are evenings when he spends hours out in his workshop tinkering around with different home improvement projects while I hole up in our room with a good book or Netflix.  And that’s okay with BOTH of us.
  • Though we are extremely different, we both desire to understand and be understood.
  • We are both walking contradictions, but in different ways.  ENTPs are described as the nice asshole, rational unrealistic, impulsive longterm planner, etc.  INFJs want to be noticed and appreciated yet hate attention, we like to be alone yet we desire companionship, we are logical yet we can disregard logic if our intuition tells us something different, etc.
  • We are the biggest nerds imaginable.  We love Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, self-improvement books, and of course MBTI.
  • We are very passionate individuals.  We have a fiery connection that extends beyond anything physical.

 

Our Strengths as a Couple:

  • Where I am lacking, he is strong and vice versa.  It also helps that he has eidetic memory (photographic memory), because I have had three concussions and can be quite forgetful.  He helps me to see the logical side of things when my emotions get in the way and I help to soften his outlook on certain things.
  • We both understand our needs for alone time and we don’t take it personally.  That is invaluable.  In a lot of my past relationships, I would force myself to push past my desire for alone time because I knew their feelings would get hurt if I chose alone time over time with them and would get to the point where I would shut people out for days and ruin relationships because I refused to listen to my own needs.  That never happens in our marriage.
  • We are both so strange and nerdy that we are unfazed by the other.
  • Because we are polar opposites, I think we both respect each other for those different qualities.  He respects my patience and selfless nature, I respect his unabashed honesty and his beautiful thought process.

Things We Could Definitely Work on:

  • I am highly sensitive to criticism and brazen honesty, whereas he places a high value on unfiltered honesty above sparing feelings.  We’re both getting better, but we need to find a place somewhere in the middle.
  • I despise any type of confrontation while he almost welcomes it.  To him, it’s boring to never argue or disagree.  Therefore, our “debates” usually end in tears on my end and frustration on his end.
  • We can both become entirely too comfortable with spending our evenings and weekends at home.  We tend to spend long stretches of time as hermits without reaching out to our friends (our family lives too far away), content to spend time with just each other and our puppy binge-watching Walking Dead.  We need to be more social while we are young and don’t have children.  It’s not healthy to only hang out with each other.

And there you have it, the basics of an INFJ/ENTP marriage.  We are vastly different people, but we work well together as a team and we are crazy in love (like Beyonce).

Thanks for reading!  Happy Hump Day Eve!

High Res Reception-24

Intro to the Advocate

WashingtonHello everyone and welcome to Insights of an INFJ!

I am starting this blog to document the inner thoughts and struggles of a tried-and-true, tested (multiple times on multiple testing websites) INFJ woman.  For those of you who know absolutely nothing about INFJs and this is your starting place, I despise describing our personality type because it feels weird and unnatural.  So if you don’t know the basics of the INFJ, click here to get an overview.  Now, for the rest of you who are MBTI-obsessed (like me) and are well aware of the ‘mysterious’ nature of the rare INFJ personality type, I’m writing this blog to lift the veil for other personality types, and to offer up some thoughts and feelings for my fellow INFJs so we don’t feel so alone in the world.  I know I always find it so fascinating to read other INFJs’ writing and spot the similarities in choice of words, feelings in particular situations, and sometimes even morals and ideals.

When I was attempting to conjure up a topic to begin my blog from my whirlwind of a brain, I decided to start with what intrigues me the most. One of the things that really resonates with me as an INFJ is the fact that I am a walking contradiction and I feel like I’m constantly having to explain myself to people so I don’t feel so strange.  There is only one person in this whole world that I feel understands me completely (sometimes even better than I understand myself), and that is my father whom I’m pretty positive is an ENFJ.  However, when it comes to everyone else, I feel like I’m always apologizing for who I am, whether it’s because I am outgoing/talkative one day and quiet/introspective the next or because I don’t text them for several days because I’m in my mega-introvert state.  People seem to think I’m inconsistent, cold and disconnected, or just a crappy friend.  If I find a friend who understands or doesn’t seem bothered by my lapses in communication, I hold on to them forever.

As a walking contradiction, I sometimes don’t even understand myself or why I act the way that I do.  It wasn’t until I was introduced to MBTI that the lightbulb came on for me.  I never understood why there were some people I could be loud and outgoing with and others that I just couldn’t.  As I’ve come to realize through my MBTI research, it’s not that I can’t be myself around some people, it’s that I’m a social chameleon; that is to say, I reflect or mirror the energy of others.  The loud, goofy, spontaneous ‘me’ is just as much a part of me as the quiet, analytical, careful ‘me’.  I adapt myself to my friend’s, family’s, husband’s needs and energy.

It’s also difficult for me to understand myself because of the way that we strange INFJs think.  1) I don’t think in words, I think in pictures or mini-movies or sometimes I simply think in emotions or feelings 2) I may have subconsciously picked up on some small detail that doesn’t come to my conscious mind, and, therefore, have no idea why I feel the way that I do.  We have heightened subconscious senses that allow us to pick up on the smallest alteration in mood, tone of voice, or body language without even realizing we’ve picked up on it.  For example, if my husband has closed off body language and a slightly irritated tone of voice, instead of my brain registering the body language and tone of voice, it jumps straight to ‘my husband is in a bad mood’.  I don’t know why I think he’s in a bad mood, but I know he is.  I have been wondering, all my other INFJs, do you think that way as well?  It’s like my brain, instead of focusing on ‘1+1=?’, it just says ‘2’ and I’m not sure where I got that answer.  It can make me seem less credible because I can’t ‘show my work’, so to speak, or explain why, I can only give my answer.

And full disclosure: I don’t have premonitions and I can’t read your future or your mind.  I do have feelings about situations or people and don’t understand why, but I think that’s mostly because of the small perceptions my subconscious makes without letting my conscious mind know.  I am extremely empathetic and will even feel ill if someone I care about is ill. I am empathetic to the point where extreme emotions make me immensely uncomfortable.  That’s probably where I differ from most INFJs: I make a horrid counselor because I can’t seem to tolerate the emotions of others.  If someone is crying, I focus too much on the empathy and I will cry too.  So I do the opposite and emotionally detach so I won’t be overwhelmed.  At that point, I can still feel sympathy toward the person, but I think I come off as a little cold.  Emotions are also extremely intimate to me, so I can really only share those emotions with people I am the closest to.

MBTI was like a beacon of light and hope to me (as it is for a lot of INFJs). I feel like I have a better understanding of myself and others because of this test. I hope that, despite my scattered thought processes, this first post helped to shed some light on the inner thought processes and mechanics of INFJs and it helped my fellow INFJs feel at least a small sense of connectedness. Or maybe I’m just a different breed altogether :).

Thanks for reading!  Happy Holidays!