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I was going to simply write about this in my journal but since many of you who read my work have told me you share the INFJ personality with me & also have various types of brain damage, I figured putting this out there might help others too.
Being an INFJ isn’t easy. Naturally we feel things deeper than many other people. We also see red flags of toxic people many don’t even notice & think something is wrong with us for noticing. We’re often misjudged because we tend to be quiet around people we don’t know well & we’re naturally rather private people. We also are subjected to some pretty ridiculous expectations, like no matter what is happening in our lives, we should always be willing to listen when people have problems & be the one to do all the work in relationships. It also seems to me that people think we either don’t have problems or are able to handle anything, so we aren’t really allowed to have bad days or be in a bad mood.
Even more frustrating than this is being an INFJ with a malfunctioning brain either due to a traumatic brain injury or C-PTSD or even both. Being an INFJ with both C-PTSD & a traumatic brain injury, I can tell you that frankly, it really just sucks sometimes! Today has been one of those times.
I woke my husband & myself up at 4:30 this morning from a nightmare that made me wake up having a particularly nasty panic attack. It took quite some time to fall back asleep & by the time I did, it was time to get up. A few hours later, I had a flashback. One of these alone would be hard enough to deal with but having both in a short period of time was rough. Add in the brain injury making my cognitive skills not function as they should & that makes everything even harder. It’s been a really long day already & it’s not nearly over yet.
The natural inclination for INFJs in such positions is to go on as normal & not burden anyone with their problems. I’m no exception. I even hate writing about this when it’s not going in my journal where only I will see it. But, for some reason, I felt I should write this out today to let my fellow INFJs know you’re not alone!
Being the rarest of the MBTI personality types, it’s just a given we will be misunderstood. This can make you feel like a freak but just because you feel that way doesn’t mean it’s true. Unique isn’t a bad thing at all! Far from it! It sure beats blending in with the crowd. Besides, I’ve noticed INFJs tend to find other INFJs & become friends with them. We also get along well with INFPs who can understand us surprisingly well. These friendships are truly a treasure!
If you too have C-PTSD, I know it’s awful. Absolutely awful in every way. But, there is one good thing about it. C-PTSD is not a sign of weakness like many people foolishly think it is. Quite the opposite. It is proof that you survived something that was meant to destroy you. I’m not saying be grateful for C-PTSD of course. If it could be returned to a store like a bad birthday gift, I’d say return it today! What I’m saying is just remember C-PTSD is proof that you are an amazing person who is strong, courageous & has a great will to survive.
Lastly, if you have a brain injury too, I truly feel your pain, literally & figuratively. Brain injuries are incredibly frustrating at best. They cause some really obnoxious physical symptoms such as terrible headaches & seizures. They can steal your identity, your talents, your memories & leave you feeling incredibly stupid. They also can help you to recognize what is truly important in your life & give you the courage to focus on those things. They can help you to gain the courage to stop tolerating people in your life who don’t love & appreciate you. There are very few good parts of having a brain injury but the ones I just mentioned are extremely good!
I hope this post helped you to know you aren’t alone in your struggles. Don’t forget to take good care of yourself, mentally & physically, but especially during trying times. If other people don’t understand your natural need for self care, that isn’t your problem. Do what you need to do!
Being an introvert means being someone who recharges through solitude & who prefers it to the company of large groups of people. It’s really that simple, yet in spite of that, introverts are often a very misunderstood bunch.
Being an introvert myself, I have plenty of experience in this area. One example that comes to mind is how extroverts who haven’t bothered to get to know me have mistakenly thought I believe that I’m a snob who thinks I’m much better than them simply because I’m quiet & reserved when around most people. Another misconception is people assume all introverts are weird. The majority of people who assume this do so simply because we don’t divulge a lot of information about ourselves to those who aren’t very close to us, so they fill in the blanks with what they think.
Those misconceptions can be annoying, but after being subjected to them my whole life, I’ve come to accept people think that way. It no longer upsets me like it once did. There is one misconception that still bothers me to no avail & I can’t seem to change my feelings on it however. That is that introverts need to do the majority of the work in relationships, & when they fail to meet the other person’s expectations, they are criticized harshly for it. I don’t see this as a common misconception for all introverts, but I have noticed it happens mostly with those who have suffered narcissistic abuse.
Those of us who have suffered at the hands of a narcissist were made to feel responsible for that relationship. We were to please that person at all times, be there for them & basically be & do anything that person wanted. Even after the relationship has ended, sometimes long after, we tend to be people pleasers. People pleasers are naturally the ones who are given the task of maintaining relationships in their lives.
While this often happens naturally, that doesn’t mean the behavior is right. It isn’t.
Relationships should be full of love, care for & compassion for each other. It’s not fair to expect a person to treat you that way if you aren’t willing to treat them the same way. Being the one responsible for calling the other person, planning activities together & everything else in the relationship is exhausting. Those things should be shared among both people in a relationship, not only one person’s responsibility!
If you know an introvert who hasn’t contacted you in a while, it might be time to consider your behavior with that person. Are you expecting them to do most or all of the work in the relationship? If so, it’s time to apologize to this person & make some changes! If not, then rather than get angry with the introvert for pulling away, think about that person. There are a plethora of reasons an introvert may pull away in relationships, & the reasons aren’t always personal.
Sometimes, introverts get overwhelmed with life & need space from everyone. It doesn’t mean they’re angry or hurt. They just need some space to recharge.
Sometimes, introverts just don’t think about reaching out. Again, it’s not personal. It may mean they have a lot on their minds, are working extra hours, have someone else in their life in need of their attention more than you, they might simply be tired or sick or for some reason reaching out simply hasn’t crossed their mind. I am this way & got worse after a brain injury. I don’t think about calling friends all that often. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. Far from it! I do care, & think of them often. My brain just doesn’t seem to make the connection between good thoughts of them & picking up the phone for some reason.
If you’re an introvert & in the position of being treated as if you are responsible for the relationships in your life, know that you are NOT solely responsible for those relationships. You have every right to set boundaries & to expect people to treat you with respect, love & compassion. If they can’t, then you also have the right to remove such people from your life. It won’t make you a bad person. It’ll make you a person with healthy self respect!