The Benevolent Princess Archetype


“You always need help, it seems.”

“I feel like rescuing you even though you’re not asking me to.”

Sound familiar? I’ve heard these things all my life. Apparently, I have “damsel in distress” or “helpless” written across my forehead. In this post, I wanted to delve into an INFP subtype which I don’t think is terribly common (or it is and these people are mistyped). I could be wrong but this INFP trope is generally a female INFP or in the very least, embodies an unmistakable feminine energy as to not preclude biological male INFPs.

This subtype sometimes doesn’t present as an INFP because of the notable lack of quirkiness which is present in almost all INFP subtypes, especially enneagram type 4s. Even then, (I’m a type 4) the quirks are not presented outwardly, making the INFP look as basic vanilla/cookie cutter, Disney On Ice as any ISFJ female would.

This subtype, which I dubbed “The Benevolent Princess Archetype” is surprisingly mainstream and often idealized as a standard by which young girls aspire to be. These quintessential little girls grow up to be quintessential women (think Lana Del Rey). They couldn’t hide the abundance of yin energy through any amount of masking or borrowing of other people’s quirks and personalities. I know this because I’ve tried. It’s no wonder then that so many styles and methods of being look contrived, clumsy, and unnatural on me. Trying to “fit in” doesn’t exactly work for someone who is born to sit at a separate table from everyone else. Being a princess is lonely business, even if everyone tries to get close to you; even if everyone tries to rescue you.

Ultra Femme Lana Del Rey

Not Necessarily A Narcissist

There’s a negative stigma to being a Princess thanks to the Uggs wearing basic bitches of today’s society with their pumpkin spice lattes, their leggings as pants, and their fucking nose rings. They like to try to own the title of Princess but what they really mean is “I take a lot of selfies for Instagram and expect other people to take care of me despite my histrionics”. You can tell who I mean because they idolize Marilyn Monroe even though Marilyn Monroe had more issues than the Middle East.

Fuck you, basic bitch


I digress. If you claim to be a Princess and you’re a self-absorbed, entitled, spoiled brat…then you’re doing it wrong. That’s not what being a princess is about, as any INFP would tell you. Being a princess is actually a great deal of responsibility. A Princess is an Ambassador of good will. She is morally obligated to maintain humility (easy for an INFP), dedicate herself to good works, serve her people, and lead by example. A Princess is “on” 24/7. People are always watching her so she is not permitted to be selfish, hostile, immature, sleazy, or in any way, a bad role model. As a Princess, your job is to be perfect. If you are not perfect, then you’re without identity and therefore non-existent and that is the worst fate known in the universe.

Princess Di – the ultimate INFP Princess (and literally a princess)


A Never Ending Identity Crisis

The threat of non-existence looms over this type of INFP for the entire duration of her life. This is true for all Princesses, though their reasons vary. Moral perfectionism is the most stated reason for feeling threatened followed very closely by innate co-dependency in varying levels of severity. INFPs of this type are prone to Borderline Personality Disorder and co-dependency with the textbook co-dependent tendency to form attachments to Narcissistic personalities and Sociopathic personalities. Not always but often enough to be worth noting. 

The reason can be explained by an over dependence on the Fi-Si loop, similar to the Ni-Ti loop of INFJs. Fi assigns feeling values to everything that it takes in while Si remembers what has happened in the past and wants to stick with what is known, familiar, and comfortable while avoiding things unknown that could potentially hurt. A Fi-Si loop skips right over Aux Ne, which would normally be open to new possibilities and taking risks. Without the balance of Ne possibilities, an INFP could find herself perpetually infantilized by parents and partners alike. There’s very little risk and energy expenditure in not doing your own thinking or coming up with your own ideas. 

INFPs of this variety “borrow” other people’s personalities in lieu of developing their own. Everything from careers, hobbies, quirks, and even style can be temporarily borrowed from the people whom the INFP has a close relationship with. The result is an underdeveloped Id function, making the Princess a hollow vessel for transient qualities and ideas to temporarily take up residence. For this reason, the Princess is constantly threatened by representations of her identity (such as a job) from being taken away and being left with nothing to identify with (non-existence). She mistakes ego attachments to material possessions, jobs, and hobbies which are supposed to be a ‘part of’ her as representations of the true self, which are innate. Losing a job, for example, threatens her very existence because she can’t fathom what she is without the job title. Using Ne would help her understand that being transient and experimental is an innate quality in and of itself.
Everyone Wants To Be A Hero

It is a given that Princesses attract knights in shining armor. Though knights are usually lovers and spouses, they also come in the form of parents, friends, bosses, and colleagues. The princess has an endearing “lost” quality about her which makes those around her want to help her and relieve her of her eternal suffering.  Sometimes the princess sees qualities she likes and encourages this, though the attention will come whether she actively encourages it or not. 

there’s my guy

Knights are everywhere and they all have their own ideas about how to save someone, which may not align with what a Princess thinks is good for her, creating inadvertent tension between herself and others. “I didn’t ask for your help” is a line I’ve delivered to so many unsolicited, well intentioned heroes of all kinds over the years. One of the biggest problems with being a Princess entails all the resentment and misunderstandings from unsolicited help and advice, which comes off as condescension and control. Princesses tend to foster a magnanimous spirit from decent, good hearted people and also become targets for those looking to exploit her for ego purposes.

But Why Is It a Benevolent Archetype?

In interviews, Princess Di used to talk about what her position in life meant to her. She saw her existence as a kind of duty (Si) of service to mankind. Rather than being served or rescued herself, Diana sought to serve others and rescue others. It didn’t happen overnight. Her evolution took years of being a quiet victim to her circumstances. She was disillusioned by the romanticism of being courted by and married to a prince when his affair was discovered and further humiliated when it became public. The press hounded her non-stop as she struggled with hard pregnancies, migraines, depression, and an eating disorder. Diana recalled in detail hating herself during that time. She found solace in gaining her independence, giving up her title, and devoting her life to humanitarian causes, even at the risk of her own safety and well being. In other words, she became a princess in the true sense that she ruled in the hearts of the people.

Diana risking her life to test the newly cleared minefield

In many fairy tales, storybooks and legends, the Princess is a passive protagonist with a tragic motif. Her tragedy is that she is beautiful and kind and her kindness and beauty serve no other purpose other than to make her destruction all the more tragic and the villains all the more villainous and the story all the more compelling. But there is another side to the Princess archetype; one that portrays her as an Ambassador who conducts acts of political diplomacy and reassures the people that benevolence is a royal decree and that the kingdom will enjoy times of peace and prosperity. Though she is a member of the elite, her compassion transcends even the most deeply ingrained disparity between peasants and their lords. She bridges the gap between the rich and the poor, the fortunate from the disgruntled, the loved from the unwanted. She’s not afraid to mingle among commoners. She feels at home with them.


The Making of a Princess

As I explain how I developed into such a creature, I think it’s important to remember that people aren’t inherently good or bad. It’s more complicated than that. The archetype of Princess could be taken to either extremes depending on your view of what it means to be a Princess (or how big of a Disney fan you are). This post is particularly interesting to me because for once, I get to speak from personal experience. I don’t want to sugar coat it or distort the reality of my personality type and I will be honest, even if it doesn’t put me in the best light. 

There was a time when I literally believed myself to be a princess. In my defense, I was five years old. I lived with two older brothers, eight and ten years my senior, making me the baby of the family by quite a few years. My mother worked seasonally at a costume shop in upstate New York so I was able to indulge in period costumes and princess dresses nearly every day of the week. Everyone more or less doted on me and why not? It seemed safe to do so since I had always been painfully shy, conscientious, and nearly unwaveringly sweet. Nevertheless, our household was chaotic, hostile, and generally not a safe place to be from what I’m told. My brothers, in their adolescent state of mind and with good intentions, went above and beyond to protect me from it all. They even shielded me from normal, every day disappointments and failures. For example, my brother Randy often relented and did my math homework for me and my brother Jared was so popular in school that I rode his coattails for some time.

What resulted was a general inability to make decisions and a lack of personal accountability. I was never arrogant since Fi-Ne authenticity would never allow it. I was, however, spineless and heavily impressionable. Uncomfortable thinking for myself, I always managed to jump from person to person; borrowing their preferences, stealing their ideas, and placing someone, often undeservingly, up on a pedestal. When there was nothing of value around me to borrow, I escaped into fantasy and borrowed from there. I tried on so many personas and experimented with so many things that it’s fair to say that anyone who knew me between 1995 and 2010 really didn’t know me at all. What they saw when they looked at me was merely their own reflection. I inspired a lot of obsessive love and a lot of abiding hatred from people who hated weakness in me because they hated weakness in themselves. I was often a hollow character, like Bella from Twilight, who didn’t take an active role even in her own life. Like Bella, my life seemed to happen to me rather than me making things happen in life…or in the very least, demonstrating cognitive dissonance about how my choices led to the circumstances that seemed to lead me by the nose.

My boyfriend was originally going to eat me but he changed his mind


Becoming Someone Worth Being

Ironically, the only way to defeat weakness is by embracing it. Fi Doms always find strength in introspection. Shakespeare (an INFP) said it best: “Know thyself”. When you stop comparing yourself to others, everything that seems so comparably superior about them is all relative and doesn’t even necessarily apply to you. Before MBTI, I envied everyone across the board for their wide range of skills and their natural state of being. Understanding that there’s different types of people relieved the pressure off me to be like them and instead, just appreciate them for being so different. There is more of a sense of boundaries (This is me and that is you. We’re separate.) which helps me distinguish the ideas and the traits which are mine and those that belong to other people.

Instead of borrowing personalities now, I merely study them. It gives me more of a scholarly presence, increases my capacity for empathy, and makes me a better friend and partner. People can come to me and I can give them insight into themselves if that’s what they’re looking for. Helping them gives my true self a boost of confidence where I am the source of knowledge and wisdom rather than the child in need of help. 

I’ve been criticized in the past for not really having any hobbies. In fairness, I do but they’re just not very exciting hobbies. They’re mostly kinesthetic, repetitive, detail oriented things like cross stitch embroidery and paper craft (cutting patterns out with a razor blade and gluing them into 3D figurines and structures). Of course, I also write for a living and for fun. When someone criticized me for not having any hobbies (not having a life, really) they meant that I’m imbalanced because I have an overwhelmingly introverted lifestyle where the fun primarily takes place in my head. By contrast, other people have more exciting hobbies like sports, boating, camping/hiking/fishing, music, photography, dance, skiing, etc. In other words, it would be hard for me to show someone what I do and take them into my world as a introduction of who I am and be immersed into it as a visitor. That’s easy for other people to do because they can take you hiking or to a hockey game or invite you to see their concert. If you want to experience my world, you’re going to have to read one of my novels.

But if you want to be truly balanced (and not alone with your 26 cats forever), it is important to have a Se hobby that you can share. Once upon a time I was a cheerleader so dance isn’t a terribly big stretch for me though it doesn’t seem like something I would do. I try not to have hobbies, material possessions, or jobs that are meant to be a true reflection of who I am because if there’s some reason I can’t do them anymore or have them, then I don’t want to end up losing a part of me. Writing is the only thing that is a true reflection of who I am and even if I ended up in a wheelchair, unable to speak or even swallow food without the assistance of a tube, I could still manage to express myself through writing…and study other people like bugs. ❤

Advertisements

INFP – The Authenticator

I have yet to do a good piece on INFPs. Mostly, I’ve just mocked them in some kind of Freudian display of self-loathing (in my ‘Types of INFPs’ article). In all seriousness, INFPs are great and get a pretty bad rap for various reasons, notwithstanding, the general perception that INFPs are tender, ineffectual crybabies who have little grasp on reality. This isn’t necessarily true, though and I’ll get into why it isn’t true later. First, let’s talk about how INFPs function. I want to do this in a unique way which draws attention to the unexpected features of one of MBTI’s most mysterious types. The truth may surprise you.

INFPs are the true ‘Judging’ Types

joan-of-arc

More so than any other type, INFPs know how they feel, what they value, and what they find useful, absurd, joyful, joyless, moral, evil, destructive, constructive, beautiful, ugly, you name the adjective. INFPs are opinionated, especially initially, about virtually everything under the sun (like the religious fervor of the most famous INFP, Joan of Arc). The opinionated nature of the INFP is sufficient to give any INTJ a run for their money, though INFPs are opinionated for entirely different reasons than INTJs are.

Introverted Feeling (Fi) is the Dominant mainstay of the INFP psyche. It is never confused about how it feels. In fact, Fi, despite how strongly opinionated it is, gets taken for granted by the INFP who genuinely doesn’t know that there are other ways to be. INFPs immediately come to a Feeling based judgment or a conclusion about the value of something (or lack thereof) as naturally as breathing. You name it, INFPs have some kind of strong feeling about it. INFPs appear laid back, soft, insecure, confused, and passive on the outside but don’t let that fool you. There is ALWAYS an opinion there; he/she is just not expressing it to you.

In fact, INFPs are the true Judging type in their thinking process, which makes things very confusing when trying to type one. Fi in actuality, is a JUDGING function and since INFPs lead with a judging function, that makes the proverbial “children of the MBTI world”, in reality, some of the most decisive people and dedicated martyrs on the planet. While INFJs get credit for being Judging types, its really only because they’re likely to follow through on a plan while deciding how they feel is, in actuality, very open. INFPs, on the other hand, know immediately how they feel and only struggle to know what to do about it, resulting in being officially categorized by Isabella Meyer as a Perceiving type. Confused yet? I know I was.

Paradoxically, INFPs don’t believe in Judging

577ef647cc162178d8f87fc3ed9d9ba4

Talk about Co-Pilot functions being a contradictory bitch, nothing takes the cake quite like a Fi/Ne (Extroverted Intuition) mix. While Fi infuses an INFP’s soul with immediate decision about how one feels, Ne demands that one must be open to multiple possibilities. After all, despite all the opining courtesy of Fi, INFPs are also paradoxically the second most self-conscious and insecure type, next to ISFPs.

Why? Because as a general rule, INFPs are fucking smart. They’re so smart, that they can easily go through an entire list of possibilities, both realistic and fantastical, in just a moment of rumination. Thanks to the magical power of Intuition, INFPs get to live through the incessant torture of being intuitively right..but always doubting and second guessing themselves. That alone makes the true Judging type a rather indecisive type who is not willing to express judgment, confront, lead, or make decisions. INFPs are the very epitome of having a razor sharp intuition, but rarely listening to it. After all, how can you when all the voices in your head are equally loud and saying different, often contradictory things? INFPs frequently struggle with the idiosyncrasies of both having a strong value system..and wanting to be understanding and respectful of the individual choices of others. After all, if an INFP thinks about it, almost anything is understandable on a personal experience level.

INFPs are virtually incorruptible

symbiote_heart_by_blacksignature-d4qmntn

Art credit goes to blacksignature from Deviantart

You’d be hard pressed to find an INFP whose values you can buy off with material goods, money, fame, glory, or even the most seductive of all, power. INFPs simply aren’t motivated by any of these things, making them the most virtuous type, even if by accident, and even if in a misguided way. Even INFJs, who have the highest moral standards in the land, cannot compare to the monk-like nature of an INFP, who quite naturally doesn’t need earthly ‘things’. INFPs are genuinely unimpressed and unsatisfied with the temptations of mere mortals. In fact, giving INFPs money, power, status, etc has quite the opposite effect that you would think it would have, making the INFP feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. I’ve heard the notion that famous INFPs are “embarrassed by success” and will often seek the comfort of solitude and modest living. This is perhaps the biggest reason why you can’t buy an INFP using standard means of bribery, extortion, quid pro quos, or promises of power. The second biggest reason being that every INFP seems to instinctively understand from birth that none of these things equals true happiness.

Humility also plays a big factor into why you can’t corrupt an INFP. For reasons not quite known (at least not by me), INFPs have an internal ego-checker, which serves to cap the ego-meter at a low maximum level, preventing the INFP from ever getting too confident or too big for her britches. That’s not to say that INFPs don’t ever get cocky..but it is rare and when it does happen, the INFP, horrified with him/herself, will find him/herself backpedaling, self depreciating, apologizing awkwardly, and reminding him/herself to be more humble in the future. INFPs don’t want to be caught dead claiming to be something they are not or seeming too egotistical/full of oneself. All of this culminates into what I consider the INFP’s greatest superpower, which is a natural impervious defense against corruption.

38505483

Not even the same species as Kanye

 

INFPs aren’t just the best writers, they’re also natural risk takers

874b5c78e6094c40b8750fad1e17bde0

Unlike the careful deliberation of INFJs, INFPs tend to live (like ENFPs) quite by accident. In their younger years, this can be a really bad thing, leading the INFP into bad decisions and consequently to the dark precipices of depression and anxiety. Later on in life, if accepted and channeled in a healthy way, INFPs are much healthier leading a life of relative risk and adventure as opposed to stability and predictability. INFPs more or less insist on living on the edge. Whether that means traveling the globe without a plan for months or years on end, delving into a competitive ‘starving artist’ type of career, fighting to get published, running a business, dedicating oneself to overseas humanitarian works, is really dependent on the INFP but all of these pursuits are multiple sides of the same…hexagonal coin.

I had a conversation while shopping with a visiting INFJ friend and we were talking about different forms of birth control. She uses an IUD, which is an interesting choice. I said “but that means an accident will never happen” and she said “exactly” which perplexed me, considering my friend is married and stable there’s no immediately recognizable need to prevent babies from happening. Personally, I never chose the IUD or really any form of birth control for that matter because family planning for me meant no planning at all..a hallmark move for the risk taking nature of the INFP. I didn’t want to think about it because thinking about it would only muddle the issue and force me into a decision. Better to risk it. Better to run a business rather than have a ‘stable’ job. Better to not know precisely what’s going to happen in the future. The INFP’s cross to bear is that he/she will never know what the right choice to make is before he/she has made it. Indecision can paralyze an INFP and a paralyzed INFP is a depressed INFP. This is why it paramount for INFPs to take a leap of faith into their heart’s desires. It is the only way for the Authenticator to truly be authentic to oneself. 🙂

 

 

 

Types of INFPs

Shut up and listen to my meaningful noises

Shut up and listen to my meaningful noises

INFPs are generally described in key buzz words which are supposed to somehow encapsulate the broad spectrum of idiosyncrocies. Words like “Dreamer” and “Idealist” come to mind. If you googled INFP, the first thing Personalitypage.com will tell you is that INFPs have a rich inner world and care more about people than the average folk. It also says that we have trouble dealing with reality and logic. While all these things are true in the abstract, I just want to make it clear that our stack of cognitive functions operate so paradoxically that what churns up tends to manifest in different people differently, making for a bunch of interesting types of INFPs who are a product of their environment and their particular habits. Here are the different types of INFPs (as I see them). Yes, they are somewhat caricaturized but that’s generally how all my posts about people play out so just take it all in stride. If you are an INFP, you may find yourself fitting neatly into one of these categories or you may find pieces of yourself, all sides of the same coin (if the coin is basically a hexagon).

The Fish Out of Water INFP

Maybe I should leave the house on occassion...meh, nah.

Maybe I should leave the house on occassion…meh, nah.

We all know this guy (or girl). He’s the INFP friend who has no idea that he is an INFP or that he’s not supposed to be like other people. He’s always super awkward and out of place, as though he were an alien transplanted into a world of gregarious, every day humans and is trying desperately to emulate those around him and fit in. What ensues is absolute hilarity, since INFPs, when uncomfortable in social situations, tend to act inappropriately or comically. INFPs are so full of depth and hidden meaning that they just don’t know how to cope with their own feelings about the world around them.

INFPs that face failure in the real world tend to get down on themselves, living in a state of paralysis and self-concious inadequacy. Annie from Bridesmaids seems to be one of these INFPs who has failed so hardcore in her life that she accepts less than nice treatment from partners and roommates, feels insecure in her friendships, and absolutely HATES her job. She can’t even get the tail light in her car fixed. A failed Idealist is ultimately a failed human in every aspect. Luckily for Annie, she’s also a pretty nice and accepting person and the people in her life who care about her end up pulling through for her. In a way, the story of Annie is the story of all INFPs; a story about finding meaning in one’s own life and being able to reach out to those around you for help in finding that meaning.

Fringe of Society INFPs

Garbage fruit is so transcendent

Garbage fruit is so transcendent

There’s a lot of variations of this type depending on what specific books, comic books, movies, games, counterculture, art, music, and shows they’re into. One thing they all have in common is that they all live in a colorful fantasy world from which they refuse to emerge, even for practical reasons. A lot of these people don’t have jobs and if they do, they’re not normal jobs that will cover living expenses. As a result, most of these types tend to be teenagers who live with their parents or young adults living with several roommates. Some are college students without jobs that require their hair to be a normal color and others work as tattoo artists, hairstylists, and other such careers that allow them to look like a cartoon.

We're REAL vampires, Maury.

We’re REAL vampires, Maury.

The interesting thing about this type is their pure dedication to fantasy. You see these people on shows like Taboo, talking about what it means to be a real life human cat or live in the forest and eat fruit out of people’s garbages. Their disconnection from reality is rather extreme but admirable in a way. While some INFPs fret about savings accounts, careers, and other pragmatic things, these INFPs have learned to stop giving a fuck about what society wants and they just go for it. Of course, it doesn’t earn any brownie points from society when you go out in public with a purple tail and launch campaigns to save the unicorns but if it’s your thing, who cares what anyone else thinks?

The IT/Gamer INFP

Like my friend Ian

Like my friend Ian

Here’s a subtype that is commonly mistaken for their Rational friends, INTP and INTJ. This type is a unique type of INFP because they’re largely influenced by Thinkers and as such, have adapted a proclivity for all things IT, mechanical, electrical, and RPG. What’s more is that they tend to see themselves as “Intellectuals” rather than humanitarians or architects of fantasy. While this INFP walks, talks, and acts like a Rational duck, they’re still not a duck primarily because their motivations are still centered around personal values and people. What’s more is that these particular INFPs have more of a sense of aesthetics than an INTP or INTJ typically would, which generally manifests as some kind of high tech art. If INTPs and INTJs are the gaming programmers creating maps and aggro algorithims, INFPs are the conceptual designers and artists creating the characters and storylines. This type of INFP also has a sentimentality towards technology which Rationals generally don’t have. One described his soul as “being one with the computer”, citing that he feels most centered and at home in the server room. While Rationals love their machines, they don’t generally think in those terms. They are more about the puzzle and the challenge, not so much about the human..er..machine experience.

The Lazy Writer

4042546467_19g9_xlarge

Some of the smartest and most gifted INFPs, this is one that also can’t be bothered with ambition or consistency in anything. They are deep, well-intentioned, and can hold eternally interesting conversations about anything, impressing you with their expansive knowledge and wordy and pretentious vernacular. This is the type of INFP to go off about the particulars of integration of Asocism and Egalitarianism in the modern Atheist paradigm. They’re like intellectual hipsters, arguing why the mainstream interpretation of Austrian economics is so passe’ and they’ve evolved their stance to exclude many of  the writings of Milton Friedman in order to preserve its ideological integrity (don’t ask me how I know this). They’ve developed excellent debate skills, when they can manage to keep their emotions under control, partially because they’re obsessive INFPs and partially because they’re good at confusing ordinary people.

The problem with this type is that even though they have good ideas..no, they have great ideas..they’re still not really going anywhere with their lives. All they can do is write prose and get themselves worked up, without ever having published anything or done anything in any real sense. Somehow, they just float through life, living on caffeine, cigarettes, and xanax, waxing poetically and feeling intellectually and ideologically superior to everyone else. The few that manage to actually do something become legends (usually posthumously) and the rest…well, they have blogs. *pulls up scarf to obscure face*

Joan of Arc INFPs

Princess-Diana-2274244

The most noble of INFPs, these ones can be described as having something of a Joan of Arc complex. They are humanitarian minded and self-sacrificial. Some might even say that they’re martyrs in a sense. Joan of Arc INFPs (or JOAs for short) just care so much and so badly want to help others, to the point in which they’re willing to sacrifice their own comfort, material posessions, safety, and well being for their cause. They’re usually very idealistic about their goals, even if they don’t make sense “I want to feed every starving child on earth”. While that all sounds wonderful, this type rarely considers exentuating factors which might undermine their goals, you know, like logic, political and environmental influences or even..I don’t know…personal choices. But none of that matters because it’s not even the goal per se which matters but the efforts which are extended to meet those goals. Every little bit counts, right?

Really, I'm just collecting minions

Really, I’m just collecting minions

You can tell a JOA because they’re shy and soft-spoken nurturer types like ISFJs, except globally minded as opposed to being purely family-oriented. They’re usually members of the Peace Corp. or the Red Cross and if they’re not building schools in Guatemala, feeding children in Calcutta, or serving as a Peace Ambassador in Benghazi, they’re doing something else humanitarian like counseling/therapy or saving animals or the environment. They’re the sweetest and most likable of INFPs, with an open mind and just a touch of quiet self-loathing and neurosis in order to be interesting. They’re loyal and supportive in their personal relationships and passionate, sometimes even subversive in their public persona. Because JOAs are so popular, this can introduce a dynamic to the INFP personality which most INFPs don’t ever have to deal with in their lifetimes. They have to thwart affection from others while at the same time, embrace it. JOAs are forced to establish boundaries between themselves and other people in order to restore balance and preserve their precious privacy without being cold and violating the humanitarian principle. Matters become ten times worse when the INFP is also physically attractive. This can make for a particularly stressed, frazzled INFP that ends up relying on the under-developed structure of Te and becoming internally conflicted as a result. Heavy hangs the head which wears the humanitarian crown.

Metaphysical INFPs

My chakras are not aligned,  so my esoteric energy can't flow

My chakras are not aligned, so my esoteric energy can’t flow

Metaphysical INFPs are the close cousin of JOAs in that they utterly ignore practical logic for idealistic reasons. These INFPs are into everything Rationals typically find ridiculous: religion, spirituality, astrology, numerology, chinese astrology, MBTI typeology, enneagram, fortune cards, palm readings, crystals, chi energy, law of attraction, yoga, meditation, you name it. This INFP is into it. Why are some INFPs into this stuff? Because they’re all compelling tools to use for a harmony and balance, something INFPs hold sacred. Think of this way, the Jedi of Star Wars relies on a duality of light and dark forces to guide their way through life and develop their powers. Such is the way for INFPs, who utilize symbols and belief systems to do the same.

While INFPs are rarely religious fundamentalists, I think its fair to say that most are instrinsically spiritual. In fact, they tend to prefer the metaphysical and humanitarian spiritualism over religious fundamentalism. Why? Because religious ferver in major religions like Islam and Christianity are more SJ territory in that they are clearly defined by a set of rules and principles, powered by unwavering obedience without question. This tends to offend INFP sensibilities because it doesn’t make case-by-case allowances for the rejected, the unsavory, or the disenfranchised. The black and white dichotomy which emphasizes one or the other, instead of the balance of yin and yang works contrary to the inner strive for balance which is present in virtually all INFPs. Religious fundamentalism is an open-shut case without room for other possibilities. Even when INFPs are religious, they still like to keep their options open.

Which brings me to crystals and palm readings all that other crap. While INFPs pick and choose what they want to believe in or reject, some are just more inclined to it than others. This is where you get the yogis and the variation of JOAs who travel to Buddhist temples and surrender their lives to the discipline of achieving Nirvana. Among the INFJs, I could see an INFP resigning themselves to long periods of fasting and meditation to achieve the ultimate spiritual enlightenment. It would be a very INFP thing to do, which is why I’ve included this subtype in this blog.

Tortured Artists

I'm just a Poe boy from a Poe family

I’m just a Poe boy from a Poe family

This is pretty much what everyone thinks of when they think of INFPs. They picture someone wearing black and feverishly writing dark poetry with a pistol in their other hand or musicians writing a soulful piece before slicing their wrists open. We tend to think of INFPs as being talented and deep but whiny and self-destructive. Not that there isn’t some truth to the stereotype but its a little more complicated than that. INFPs which dedicate themselves to the arts, be it music, art, or writing, tend to be self-indulgently dark, yes, this is true. But I’ve known some INFP artists and they’re actually quite optimistic but that optimism is notably tempered with conflict. What do I mean by that?

Let’s just take Kurt Cobain for instance. We all know he committed suicide. Well, some say Courtney Love conspired with assassins and anti-semites to get rid of Kurt and take his money but that’s another story. For the bulk of Kurt’s life, he wasn’t particularly known for being “dark”, at least not by the people who actually knew him. A more apt description for him would be sentimental and perfectionist. He was sentimental about life and other people and demanded of himself, complete authenticity and originality. INFPs commonly describe themselves as “perfectionists” due to their relationship with their inferior function, Te which demands perfection as Fi sees it.

Just because I'm a coke whore doesn't make me a murderer, man

Just because I’m a coke whore doesn’t make me a murderer, man

Contrary to popular myth, it wasn’t Kurt’s authenticity or his demand for perfection which killed him. It was drugs, plain and simple. An INFP can be conflicted and an artist with a mission without going balls to the wall self-destructive. Drugs usually do that job. They do that by destroying your body, your mind, and your spirit. They make you vulnerable, they exaggerate every personal demon you’ve ever had and they destroyed Kurt and Edgar Allen Poe and Jim Morrison despite their natural inclination to love art and a life lived for art. Don’t mistake an INFP for the drugs that ruined them. Also, don’t blame Courtney Love…or do…as long as you have irrefutable proof.

The Romantics

Romeo_and_juliet_01

A little known fact about William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is that it wasn’t just the greatest love story of all time. It was the love story because it was written by an INFP, about two INFPs, for INFPs. INFPs are by far the most romantic personality type on the spectrum and I don’t mean in a conventional dinner, wine and candles sort of way. I mean in a I will fucking die for you sort of way. In other words, they are intense. While some INFPs are content to write, make music, and live alone with their four cats, others are all about finding and keeping not just a partner but a soulmate, someone to connect with and “get this drift” as Alanis Morisette would say.

Also an INFP

Also an INFP

To a Romantic, all partners are not created equal. There is someone special out there for you and they were destined to fall into your arms and love you forever, unconditionally. But because INFPs are so reserved, you won’t necessarily know you’re dealing with a Romantic until suddenly, out pours a tidal wave of depth and emotion which is great if you feel the same way and really, really bad if you’re like most people and you approach love gradually, with cautious optimism. Though everyone loves the idea of a impassioned romance, few have the gall to be as impractical and inappropriate about it as an INFP. They can’t help it, they just have so much feeling inside them that it’s bursting to get out.

tumblr_mbosfkdRgT1qd3fvoo1_500

In truth, INFPs just really like to feel intensely because that means you’re alive and everyone wants to feel alive. They can derive that intensity of emotion from any source, be it a book, a song, a piece of art, a situation, or a romantic partner. It’s just that some INFPs are more inclined to be more romantic towards another person than other sources. While the INFP believes that he or she has found “the one” and is convinced that “the one” is the only option they can accept, the truth is that INFPs are far less discriminating than that. You know how many “The One”s there are out there? Probably millions, that’s how many and it can change from person to person throughout a lifetime. Still, you wouldn’t know it because an INFP will convince you that you are the most special human being on earth and the Gods themselves ordained you special.  I don’t think that really makes it any less true, it’s just that the reality of relationships and reconciling differences can dim the fires of the INFP passion in a hurry. What it breaks down to is that INFPs are the firestarters and initiators of romantic relationships, bringing passion and spontaneity to them while others tend to stabilize the relationship, making it more fit for long-term success. At least, that’s probably how it should be. Can you imagine if Romeo and Juliet actually lived and got married and had to live with each other? I don’t think they could sustain on passion alone, they’d have to dig into some other INFP resources to make that one last. And as long as you know how to be considerate, warm, supportive, respectful, and communicate well and yes, feed the flames of passion, that shouldn’t be a problem.