The Strange INFJ: Fitting in, Mensa & Giftedness

The Strange INFJ: Fitting in, Mensa & Giftedness mensa_logo-294x300 Ramblings This blog post is way overdue, been busy again for a period with work, life and everything else in-between. I wasn’t sure what this post would be about, but in the end I just decided I need to vent some thoughts I’ve been having and about what’s been going on in my life. After all, that’s why I started this blog to begin with, to get to put down some of the stuff that’s flooding my mind on a daily basis.

Ever since becoming old enough to understand my surroundings I’ve known I’m different somehow. As a kid growing up I never really felt I fitted in anywhere, and not now as an adult either. However, now I’m old enough to fake it. I did not have many friends when I was a kid and I don’t think  connected to anyone at that age either. I had it rough at home and never liked school so I spent most of my time alone by myself doing things I enjoyed. Of course the older I became the more I wanted to belong somewhere. When you start to reach your teens it is also important since high school can be a pretty horrible place to be alone in, with bullying and pressures to confine to an social ladder. I got my fair share of bullying which leaves a mark for life when you grow up. You learn how people work the hard way. Bullying and pressures from my family to act differently made me think there was something wrong with me. That I was stupid, did not matter or my thoughts and ideas where wrong or not worth hearing. It made me afraid to stand up for myself or believe in myself. I became careless of my own health and lacked any self confidence to believe I could ever be happy. I’ve been through many rough patches in my life and I’ve caused myself a lot of pain because I’ve always thought that I was the problem.

Discovering MBTI and finding out about my type, INFJ and being an HSP was the push I needed to realize that the way I was feeling is not wrong and not my fault. A couple of weeks ago I did a Mensa (mensa.com) IQ test. Mensa is a foundation that supports gifted people and the tests they use is one of the only three scientifically validated tests for IQ and are not based on any previous knowledge. I was incredibly nervous attending the test and almost in a bit of a panic at the start, my pulse shooting through the roof. I’ve not done any test in years and I tend to perform bad under pressure when tasks have to be done within a set amount of time. I don’t like being rushed like most introverts. This test was 50 questions that had to be done in 10min max. The reason why I choose to do this test is that I was hoping it would prove something different about myself and help me build on improving my self confidence.

I scored 128 on the test and the maximum score is 131. Which places my score higher then 97% of the rest of the population. I’m convinced that me being a INFJ also contributes to my high test score. I’m still coming to terms with this since I spent most of my childhood being called stupid from my peers. I’m a person that never bragged or tried to act better then anyone else in my whole life, always treated everyone equal. It’s ironic how being gifted and empathic can also cause you so much suffering in life. Drawing from all this self discovery I’ve done in the last year, I have decided that I’m done spending my life trying to be somebody I’m not. Trying to conform to a society and way of living which I do not belong to in the first place. I started therapy half a year ago in hope of being able to get help undoing all the damage done in my childhood and growing up. So far I’m diagnosed GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) and selective social phobia. Yet some days I wonder if these are not just labels that other people give us to explain why we are different from them. More and more I start to think that my personality and traits are more healthy then most people, there just isn’t the proper space for someone like me in todays messed up society.

All I know is I’m done with it. Done trying to blend in with superficial people that will never understand me anyway. It’s no wonder I feel so alienated when half of the people my age only care about how long it’s left until the weekend so they can drink their braincells away. I spent years of my life putting myself in situations which I don’t even enjoy just in order to fit in somewhere. Well maybe I just don’t fit and never will, maybe that is the real deal. Just embrace it because I know there is some greater purpose out there for all of us.

Enough with the ranting, here are some interesting links I suggest you all take a look at. It’s research on giftedness among different MBTI types and more:

Cheers to belonging in the minority, to being awake in a world that is sleeping.

Comments

  1. Grant Molyneux says

    Brother you are not alone. I always thought l had a learning disability at school and was even strapped (a leather belt) for nor understanding algebra. It didn’t help that my mum was forever frustrated with me and took to punching me from time to time, which the older and younger siblings avoided some how. I can empathise with your feelings of worthlessness and lack of selfesteem and confidence. This is exactly how l felt up until a few years ago, and l am now sixty. To say that l have felt like l have lived a worthless life with no purpose is an understatement, and periodic episodes of having a crisis of confidence and ticking off all the criteria for imposter syndrome has not helped. The only saving grace for me was that at thirty five years of age l had a psychological evaluation, which included an IQ test also. I had planned to go back to university, but didn’t want to waste my time if l had a learning disability. These guys were expersts in detecting ADD which l thought l could have as my daughter had been diagnosed with it. Turns out then before beginning study l had an IQ of between 130 and 140. I was pleasantly surprised. Finished my degree with honors, but stuill suffered crap self esteem right up to a few years ago. Then l realised that all of the many problems of the world that l was all to aware of were not mine to solve, and my attitude went from over caring for the future and welfare of others to deciding their lives was in their hands and mine was in my hands. Since that first IQ test at 35 years of age, l have done another IQ test and l am now at 143. Apparently we can expect it to increase as we get older. Some people ask do INFJ people have an average IQ. Well even if we are predisposed to being highly intelligent, we often start out with a lower IQ score in our youth than what we end up with as an adult.

  2. Bridget says

    I feel different and v often misunderstood by others but not that lonely. I try not to b soppy about it. I’ve long inured myself to the fact that most people will understand me on a very limited, cliched, one-dimensional level.
    It used to affect my confidence because I felt at times like my character was such a network of contradictions that I didn’t have a coherent identity. I’ve lived my life being told by others who I am. It’s invasive and intrusive to tell someone who they are – it’s also arrogant. I’ve learnt to stop letting people’s opinions on my character have any bearing on my self-perception.
    When I was younger I used to take simple personality tests and hey always used to frustrate me by telling me I was “whimsical” or “artistic” and “sensitive”. It used to drive me round the bend bc I knew they’d only grasped the tail-end of who I was and that acc I was much more dynamo and contrary.

    I’ve never met a fellow INFJ but I’m dying to meet one.

  3. fluffy unicorn says

    This resonated with me so much! I spent the last two years really struggling with myself. I feel like a weird, boring, lonely and stupid 20 year old. But learning about my functions I have come to appreciate and embrace them. We are more capable than what we think. We can be so full of knowledge and understanding, we should take pride in that and let it help us and others through life. Use it to self improve.

    Some things that have helped me socialise better:

    1. Its ok to be “Shallow”. Not everyone has the cognitive ability to me intentional all the time. This way you seem more likeable to people. Everyone is special and worthy of attention even if your values don’t match up.

    2. Its ok to think what you think. Realise that most of the time you know more than other people and its ok to give them the benefit of the doubt. Just don’t be prideful of your knowledge. Verify everything that you know.

    3. Practice your extroverted intuition. You have the cognitive ability to “shape-shift”. You might find that you actually have more fun. Just remember, don’t do it to prove your worth to others and take time alone to recharge.

  4. says

    Wow.. It’s like you are describing my life. I’m also a INFJ and last year I realised I was gifted after reading some books on the subject. One is from VANN FJERNTHAV, so interesting! Such a shame I can’t find the English version. It says that complete giftedness is not only about IQ (we know there are many kinds of intelligence) but it’s about having practically all of them at a very high level! I think many INFJ belong to this kind of giftedness; and although it implies a lot of suffering (in some cultural ways we might suffer even more in Mexico than in US), in the end, we are the most capable human beings to cure our wounds and be happy. I wouldn’t change my wide awake consciousness for ‘fitting in’, ever. I got one question though, does anybody feel like they are spinning while meditating? I’m pretty sure it has to do with my brain so someone here might as well have experimented it LOL

  5. Sophia says

    I am a 64-year-old INFJ. Sometimes the pain of not being able to belong and remain true to myself is almost overwhelming. Lately, this feeling has been particularly intense. Thank you for this article, which helped.

  6. aisha Khan says

    I find this uncanny as i have always made myself miserable trying to fit in, now i just dont bother rather be alone then around fake people.

    • Tiffany says

      Being an INFJ can be incredibly difficult at times, especially early on when “fitting in” is what our society tells us is “normal”. But how can we ever fit in when our standards are set so high? Or when we can see through the fake people, the users, and the less than admirable intentions? For all you other INFJ’s out there…we are not normal. We are a gifted lot with the ability to read others quite easily and to feel the emotions of others. This is overwhelming, sure, but add to this to the fact we are already not comfortable in large groups, etc and we are basically just on sensory overload most of the time (yay HSP). It took me a long time to say “no” to people as I’m a natural people pleaser. I say no to social gatherings and other invites that I feel aren’t worth the mental stress and two day emotional recovery it takes to decompress. We have so many gifts to bring to the world and to help others if we just learn to be who we are without all the feelings of guilt and inadequacy. We are freaking awesome! Just own it!!

  7. L says

    I thought you were writing my biography! My siblings constantly told me that I was boring, growing up. And that I should ‘get a personality’. Of course now we’re all grown up and much kinder to each other, but since then I’ve been trying to ‘get a personality’..meaning being anything other than me. Taking a personality test was the best thing ever..for the first time in my life I felt like a human (not alien).
    My opinions were always called out as dumb, yet 5 min later after being dismissed, someone else would repeat the exact same thing I’d said to the same crowd, and be applauded! This made me feel the need to prove my intelligence and study an engineering course which I did not enjoy.
    Now I’m not sure who I am or what I enjoy, no idea what career I would like. Basically, I feel like a boring gray canvas because I’ve spent my life’s colors painting other people’s pictures.
    However, I’m happy with who I am now..whoever that is!

  8. S says

    Thanks for this post. I feel very much in the same boat. I too am an INFJ, as time went on and after many reflections, I am also in realization that I am going to live my life, just be me and not care about fitting into a mold. If I am rejected for being who am, I learned to quickly get over it and move on instead of trying to dissect every reasoning as to what I did or what it was about me. I’m glad you are at that point too. Life is too short to be feeling that way. I wish the best for you and hope you find yourself surrounded by wonderful people.

  9. Kim says

    I so relate to this… thank you for posting this. I hope you will find your tribe as much as I hold out hope that I one day will find my own tribe that I can belong to.
    Until then, I guess I will be sailing alone in cyberspace as I am not wasting anymore time with those who cannot respect differences and INFJ “aliens” ;)

  10. A says

    This was a great post, I can completely relate to this.

    I too was bullied at school and felt like I was different and that the way I think about things differently have always seemed to just make me feel alien to others. It’s a pretty lonely existence in the INFJ world and recently therapy has started to help me understand myself and people better.

    Nice to finally know and understand there are others out there like me. :)

    Keep fighting the good fight internally… ;)

  11. Daisy says

    Thank you. Ive just been crying. I’m too nice, too loving, too right all the time, too boring, too slim, too posh, intelligent & more. I have two friends. One calls when she decides she wants to be like how she sees me, stable & not a middle aged wino. I’m a single mum too. To a teen INFP, he’s wonderful. Your post, however, has stopped my crying today, thank you. You sharing stopped my feeling of loneliness & alien.

  12. Ruth says

    Thank you for this post. I have felt more or less this way my whole life. During my teenager years I thought something’s seriously wrong with me as I didn’t seem to find the “gang” to spend my time with, as opposite to the rest. My mum kept begging me to be normal. Being an adult has been a roller coaster. Trying to fit in, adjusting myself to the cruel corporate world – after finishing my studies – has made me realize there’s no point in keeping trying. Since I graduated and started working, my superiors are constantly mentioning how I should be more “open” to others, or more outgoing (as the corporate world is based on extroverted ideals). For some time I tried. That ended up in a burnout, and now I’m changing my job to something calmer, but more challenging for my mind. Getting to know myself has been the best thing that happened to me. Once more thank you! Glad to know I’m not alone.

  13. carolyn says

    more than once I have thought , when told I am too sensitive , “Perhap you are not sensitive enough?
    ” I love your quote below:
    Cheers to belonging in the minority, to being awake in a world that is sleeping.

    • Alex says

      Thanks and I often think the same. There is no right or wrong when it comes to being sensitive. It’s all a matter of diversity and we all exist for a reason. If everybody was insensitive there would be no society as we know it. It’s all a delicate balance, equally in mankind as a whole as in each and every one of us as individuals.

  14. says

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  15. Lucy says

    I cannot even begin to express how absolutely amazing it feels to read your articles. I’ve recently found out that I my personality type is one of the rarest although before that I already knew I was different in some way. Anyways I read a lot of articles and stuff about it and it felt so reassuring to know that there was a reason as to why I am the way I am. But reading your stuff … It’s just amazing – I agree with everything you say and it’s just so nice to know that there’s someone out there who’s like me! I could go on forever but I think you get the point – thanks a lot for writing for us the deep ones of the world :)

  16. Armand says

    It’s fantastic that you are getting ideas from this article as well
    as from our dialogue made here.

  17. Anonymous says

    I’m also an INFJ and I took the Mensa Qualifying test in our country about two years ago. I got 135 which has a percentile rank of 98. I also do think that our personality type has good correlation with high intelligence.

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