I Am The Protector

protectionI wanted to find out what happened to Lisbeth Salander – really, I did.  I made it to page 532, out of 600 pages.  I almost got there.  In the middle of the book, where she’s attacked by the bad guy, I almost quit reading.  I told myself, “Oh come on, you wimp, certainly there will be justice in the end.  Keep reading.”  But at about page 489, I’d walk by my nightstand and I’d swear the book was growling and baring its teeth at me.  I felt the need to cross my arms in front of my chest to protect myself.

I returned the book – unfinished – to my girlfriend.  She’d also loaned me the second in the series.  “I’m sorry,” I muttered, “I can’t do it.  It hurts to read it.”  She knows me.  She just smiled.  I looked at her coffee table and saw another book that looked intriguing, and started to say, “How’s that one?”  She politely stopped me and said, “You won’t like that one, either.”

*sigh*

I wanted to watch Javier Bardem in “Biutiful“.   Last night I tucked the kids in and sat down for a rare treat – a grown-up movie.  I made it through 50 minutes before my stomach started to tighten and I noticed my fists were clenched.  It was raw and edgy and artsy and he was biutiful.  I had to stop watching to protect myself from the anxiety I feel whenever I’m exposed to turmoil.

*sigh*

I want to be the camp-director type of mom who doles out popsicles to every kid in the neighborhood, hosts the air-gun wars and puts on the Barbie Fests in the backyard.  I can make it 20 minutes before I retreat to my bedroom, pull the shades and lay in a fetal position on the bed.

*sigh*

__________

I couldn’t sit through Reservoir Dogs.

I tear up at Hallmark commercials.

I cried at the end of Toy Story 3.

I had to stay in the theater through the credits and the popcorn-pick-up and the entrance of new viewers for the next showing of Platoon, in order to collect myself enough to walk to the car.

I can’t watch if it looks like someone is going to get hurt on America’s Funniest Videos.

I want to watch and read the raw, edgy, crazy popular fictional stuff.   But the raw, edgy, crazy stuff in real life is almost more than I can handle.

 

 

If it’s loud, I turn it down.

If it’s violent, I quit watching.

If it’s too crazy, I quit reading.

Loud, violent and crazy sap my energy.  I have to protect my energy.

__________

Last week, when I was up to my ears in water balloon fights, fudge pop drips, screaming matches and all things related to cousins who jam-pack a whole summer’s worth of fun into one week, the Universe reminded me that I am an INFJ.

After re-reading all the stuff about INFJ’s, I remembered that I’m not a wimp.  I’m sensitive.  I feel everything and get overloaded quickly.  That’s not a bad thing.

I repeat…  That’s not a bad thing.

It serves me well to know what my default setting is. I must build time-outs into my day.  I must retreat to a quiet spot regularly to re-energize.

__________

I had forgotten that out of the 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs assessment, the INFJ is the Protector.

That explains my need to protect my energies and, more importantly, my kids.

When someone tries to tell me that I can’t protect my kids from their narcissist dad, my gut says, “Oh yeah?  Watch me!”  My logical brain overrides and says, “Of course I can’t protect them from their father, but I can teach them about narcissism and help them develop the tools they need for dealing with their dad.”

 

*Want to understand why your lens has you viewing the world the way you do?  Take the test and get your assessment.  It makes a lot of sense, and explains why we approach things the way we do.

 

 

 

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58 comments

  1. Guess who is an INFJ Counselor?

  2. I have always floated between INFJ and INFP. Today, I am INFJ and now that I am a bit more set in my ways, that is probably where I will stay or maybe truly who I was all along.

    I think a person’s sign has a lot to do with their temperament and sensitivity too. I am currently reading The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb. It taps my sensitive side. I am only about in the middle so I hope it doesn’t disappoint my expectation of a lovely ending, even if it makes me cry.

    Your line, “I must retreat to a quite spot regularly to re-energize” really hit it on the head for me. Throughout my work day, I have to ‘get-away’ even though I don’t get up from my desk. 5 minutes just to distract my thinking in between projects is all I need to re-focus.

  3. I have a book for you that you could even stand reading. I could see you and the kids reading it together. It’s Willa Cather’s “My Antonia.” I’m reading it now and it’s excellent!

    I’ve known for years that I’m an INTJ – sometimes I flip to an ISTJ. Whichever it is, I over think things – over analyze. And I’m known as the Ice Queen.

  4. Annie,

    Your knack for sensing things gave you away. ;)

  5. Zaira,

    Too funny! In college – first time I took the test – I was an INFP. A few years ago, I retook it and was an INFJ. I believe that life lessons turn us into the J.

    Going to check out the book you are reading when I get a minute. I have no problem crying over loveliness or tenderness or those kinds of things. For me, that’s therapeutic – to cry over beauty. ( I don’t know why I’m assuming that pertains to the book you are reading.)

    The getaway thing is my typical survival mode. Can’t function without it.

  6. Pat,

    Oh goodie. I’m optimistically thinking that we have passed through the crazy phase of summer, and we are heading into the sit-for-a-spell-in-the-backyard-and-read-out-loud phase of summer. Will have to check out that book at the library.

    I’m an over-analyzer.

    I’m here to say that you are definitely not an Ice Queen.

    love you

  7. Me: INFP- the Healer. I make no apologies for avoiding violence of all types. I find it bewildering that people enjoy watching it or reading about it as entertainment. I’ve come to learn that I take in so much more information through all of my senses at one time than other people do, and I have to process it all or I get overwhelmed. Taking in violent images ( whether visual or written) happens to me in such a way that I feel it has all happened to me. The emotions of all involved course through my body. The horror is real to me. And I don’t want to feel it.

    Reading more about the Myers-Briggs types in David Keirsey’s Please Understand Me II helped me understand how other people were wired so differently than I am. And that helped me see the world from another point of view without thinking it was wrong. The hardest thing still is to remember that about myself–that my point of view is valid and doesn’t need to be changed or fixed.

  8. Alyson,

    That’s exactly how I felt when reading

      The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

    It was far too real. There is no enjoyment in that for me.

    I have the Keirsey book. Read it a million years ago. Might be time to read it again.

    My default position is always to think that I’m the one that needs fixing.

  9. Jesse,

    I tried watching the dragon tattoo film…………and failed.

    I can’t watch movies starring animals……in case they’re hurt.

    I can’t watch movies with babies……..in case they’re not enjoying themselves.

    I can’t flush a spider down the drain…..in case it’s frightened.

    I can’t feel anger at an elderly person’s slowness………in case they’re lonely.

    Am I over-sensitive.? No. I once believed I was. Now I know that I’m simply sensitive. Nothing ‘wrong’ with that. It’s part of what makes me………me.

    Oscar Wilde said it better – “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

    Tina x

  10. Oh Tina!

    Let’s go to the movies together!

  11. Jesse,

    That would be lovely. Which one of us should travel the thousands of miles :)

  12. Tina,

    How about we meet half way between. There must be a wonderful island with a theater, a library, a coffee shop, a bar, and a couple hammocks.

  13. I love that you are an INFJ… You “get” so many things that lie just under the surface.. When people try to tell you that you should be something that you are not, remember that there are those of us who love you just the way you are (and are thankful that you love us just the way we are).

    The INFJ in you is what helps you maintain all of those relationships anyway. If you didn’t retreat, protect yourself, and re-group, we would never be able to fully enjoy the greatness that is you… when you can come out and play… :)

  14. Dee,

    Thank you for liking me just the way I am. There is no greater gift.

    love you

    ;)

  15. for all of the sensitive people, i offer this post:

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/beyondblue/2011/07/the-highly-sensitive-person-and-10-survival-tips.html#more-5687

    it was really an eye-opener for me… hope it helps you jesse and some of your readers as well. vicki :)

  16. Vicki,

    Thanks so much for sharing that link. I’m heading there next.

  17. I love this. :) I am an INFJ too! I had no clue it was such a rare personality type. I feel the EXACT same way, I just can’t read or watch anything too sad or violent, it can mess me up for days if not weeks! This has always been such a great test, I’ve taken it 4 times at different points in my life, and it always turns out the same. Plus I’ve heard others refer to themselves as their 4 letter code, which is always interesting to try and figure them out from that perspective.

    And, on your book, I am with your aunt! Your writing has such a warm, approachable quality, GO GO and don’t turn back! Those demons in your head might just sound like those in your past who said “you can’t” prove them wrong! :)

  18. NM,

    I have to think that it’s the INFJ in you that fostered the situation where you put up with the narcissistic friend for so long. Am I right? That’s also why you have a difficult time parting with her.

    Speaking as an INFJ, that’s a very endearing quality in you. ;)

  19. Yes, it’s definitely my ability to over-analyze the situation/person & be extremely empathetic that kept me forgiving her and continuing the relationship for decades. It’s hard to cut someone loose when you can see any redeeming qualities (at least, as an INFJ!). I only wish I would have seen sooner that she was not a “safe” person to let in. However, after receiving a letter from her a few weeks ago, I realized that she used my sensitivities to get herself forgiven again and again. The letter was sick that way, attempting to play me in a way that had clearly worked for her in the past. So, while I don’t want to lose that quality in myself (as Jewel said…. “I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that way.”) I will definitely be more cautious of who I am letting into my heart & what their motives are. Is the person looking for someone that they can easily hurt with their words & reel back in again and again? I have realized that my ex- “BFF,” with all her attempts to get this relationship back, really just wants her victim back. It really has nothing (and HAD nothing) to do with me personally, more that I had been a willing participant in the drama and the games. NO more! :)

    On the plus side, I have to say, that though ending this has been extremely hard, I have learned so much and gained so much confidence by doing just that. The relationship was very sick and I can see that now & it’s much easier to see who has my best interests at heart. It’s great to finally realize you are far more than all the negative labels that your overly-involved narcissistic friend told you that you were. (I can’t say I miss being called pathetic, a doormat, fat, etc.) I’m so much stronger and happier, even with her repeated attempts to contact me, attack me and try to make me look bad. Only a narcissist would so boldly overstep the boundaries that I’ve set to protect myself. I blocked her from my facebook, email, blog, and cell phone, only to have her create 3 new blog accounts, 2 new text accounts and 2 new email accounts, just so she can contact me whenever she wants and say whatever she wants to me. It’s exhausting, but far less exhausting than the actual relationship was. I just keep hoping that doing nothing and not responding will (sooner or later) bore her and she will move on to another “enemy.”

    ok, longest comment in the history of blogging! LOL ;)

    I gotta wonder how many INFJ’s are involved with narcissists? Now THAT would be an interesting study! Now, back to my light-hearted book! :)

  20. NM,

    ‘They’ are quite skilled in ferreting out those who are sensitive and accommodating. Then they can play against our sensitivities to reel us back in.

    I swear I suffered from whiplash from all the times I was yanked back in – willingly – because I wanted to believe he had a decent core.

    When you step back from the situation, are you just astounded that you let yourself be treated like that for so long?

    I’m continually amazed that I put up with it for as long as I did. And I’m a smart person. I should have known better. That’s a real testament to their charming, cunning nature.

    I know! I’ve been thinking there has to be a parallel between INFJs and narcissists – where you find an INFJ, you will find a preying narcissist chipping away at the INFJ’s identity.

  21. Same EXACT story, Jesse, I just kept thinking there was something wrong with the way I was handling the relationship. That we had very different personalities. I wanted to believe her when she said her criticisms were “only being honest” with me, and it was only because she “cared about me so much.”

    Perspective has shown me that I was being used like a yo-yo. My empathetic nature caused me to be thrown out and then pulled back in over and over again for years. Also, that there was so much she DID NOT tell me, in spite of her “honest and forthright nature.” I found out after I walked away that she’d been having a long-term affair with one of her husband’s friends. I was totally blown away since we had “no secrets.” The truth was I had no secrets and she had tons of them. She just didn’t share the ones she knew I would never support. She even lies online about where she graduated from college and what her job is. It’s all about image with Ns.

    So, yes, I am shocked sometimes that I did this for so long. I just really WANTED it to be better than it was, since we had been friends for so many years, etc. In the end, I only wish I would have walked away sooner. Perspective can be like cleaning a dirty mirror, the more distance you get, the more layers of grime you wash away and the clearer you can see.

    Perhaps the correlation between INFJs and narcissists stems from the fact that INFJs are pretty skilled with getting along with many different personality types? Generally, I can get along with most anyone, no matter what their background. So, if you can get along with most people and then along comes this person where you are unable to get that real intuitive connection, and that approval and love, then maybe INFJ’s just keep trying, ultimately looking for the deeper root to the relationship?

    Also, I think there must be a connection between children of narcissists and those who forge significant relationships with them in our adult lives. One of the most important things I’ve taken from this is learning that my Dad is also narcissistic. Which in many ways has been helpful and has relieved much of that angst of why.

    How is your book coming? I am excited to read it. I recently finished a book about narcissism & it frustrated me because all it talked about were relationships that ultimately ended with the narcissist discarding their “supply” because they found a better one. I have to say that I am VERY PROUD of myself for being the one to pull the plug on this relationship. :)

    Who knows why really, but I feel like this is a lesson that’s been a long time coming. That, with this new understanding, my journey is just beginning. I’ll be ok, I am an INFJ after all! ;)

  22. Since research is my life, maybe we could get to the bottom of that!

    As I read the last 2 comments, I kept thinking about the word “co-dependency”. I want to be clear that no way am I saying any of you are co-dependent! I bring it up because I hate that label. Just because someone is more sensitive than others and looks for the good in people does not make them co-dependent. That is my point of bringing it up. I think that the fact that you have removed the narcissist from your life removes that label. I would be interested to hear how others feel.

  23. NM,

    I cringed when I read in your comment that she was “only being honest” – way too reminiscent! Like picking us apart is doing us any favors? What? Making us better people? What’s so wrong with us the way we are?

    There is so much truth in the sticking with a relationship because you’ve invested so much time in it. And it’s also hard to believe that you/me could be duped by such a person.

    One of the key facets of an INFJ is the amount they will invest in relationships. We make relationships a top priority. That’s why we stick with them for so long.

    There is a connection with having a narcissistic parent and finding ourselves in relationships with Ns as adults. When we were young, we thought that dysfunctional relationship was where we were supposed to get love, so, we seek out the same as adults. That’s what we know. That’s normal to us. That’s the groove in our lizard brain that says, “Go here. This is where you find love.” Even if we never successfully found it there before.

    I like your attitude. I’m proud of you for ending that relationship, too. I know it wasn’t easy.

    I’m late in posting your comment because I’ve been devoting so much time to the book. Oh, and feeding my kids!

    Soon… very soon.

    Thanks for writing! ;)

  24. Zaira,

    UGH! I hate it when that expression, co-dependency, rears its ugly head. Mostly because I’ve wrested with wondering if I am, my whole life.

    I prefer sensitive, compassionate, caring, relationship-centered, even accommodating.

    I’ve got more to add to this thing about co-dependency, but I have to do some digging first.

    It would be perfect to include here.

    More later…

  25. Co-dependent is exactly what the narcissist wants to hear! They want to validate that it is YOUR problem, not theirs. They are perfectly happy sacrificing you for their needs. There is nothing wrong with them, but you are unhappy because you have a problem. You are “co-dependent”. You need to fix yourself to make the relationship work. AARGH!

    I love your description and I completely agree. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive, compassionate, caring, relationship-centered, or even accommodating. There is nothing wrong with who we are.

  26. Hi Zaira & Jesse, I guess I don’t have such a big problem with the term. But, I think we all know how overused and almost passe that term has become in our society….

    I think all abusive relationships are “co-dependent” in a way. There is an alcoholic in my family, and how “co-dependent” he & his wife’s relationship is astounds me. When he’s drinking she kicks him out & threatens to file (or actually files) divorce papers. When he’s clean she forgives him and allows him to move back home. I’m not trying to criticize her by saying this because I can see how the same patterns were between me and my narcissistic friend for years. She’d attack me, ignore me, or get jealous of my other relationships & try to make me feel guilty. I’d get upset & (sometimes) confront her. She’d apologize and I would forgive her. I believe being in any relationship (particularly a primary relationship) with a narcissist means you tolerate some abuse. So, my opinion would be that it would be hard to be in relationship with a narcissist and not be “co-dependent,” though I’m all for a better word! ;)

    If you are a “protector” or a “saver” (like many INFJs) then your “payment” from the relationship is that you are being a good friend/spouse/family member/Christian, etc. to the narcissist. The only thing you GET from the relationship is what you give. For me, it was the realization that what I got from the relationship was inherently false and that I would NEVER be able to be truly lifted up or fulfilled in any way by her. Yes, I think that’s what breaks the cycle of dysfunction and (dare I say it again?) co-dependency in the relationship. To UNDERSTAND that there is only give with them & that they will take whatever they can get. I think the term is “narcissistic supply?” Sadly, now I know I was just being used to create a false sense of self for this person.

    INFJs are also notoriously afraid of conflict, and I know that was a major sticking point in the relationship for me, Jesse! I hate fighting, I hate it, if I’m having a conflict with someone it’s almost impossible for me to do or think about anything else. So, often, if I wasn’t trying to “save” this friend, I was avoiding the latest fight, and she seemed to thrive on conflict and drama. Is THAT a narcissistic thing? The interest in creating drama? Because I know my former friend was a master at that. There was constantly a problem or a conflict with someone who had “crossed” her. **shudder** Regardless of the harassment I’ve been getting, I’m so happy I am out of this! :)

    But, I do get what you’re saying. The term “co-dependent” implies that you were in some way, duped. Not that you had pure intentions, but that you were stupid. What I hate more than the word co-dependent is the word “victim.” Getting to the bottom of WHY I allowed this treatment is really what’s healing for me. I want to know I’ve learned enough to (hopefully?) not allow this to happen again. But, at the same time, I do not want to lose my ability to love openly and give freely of myself. It’s a fine line, and some days I’m on the side where I’m guarding my heart so carefully, and other days I’m on the side where I embrace the world with open arms. It’s all about the journey, though. There’s a good thing about being INFJ, loving that LIFE is all about the journey.

    Sorry, I am so long-winded! I am still dealing with and working through all this, as well as getting a better grasp on understanding narcissism. No worries, Jesse, on the publishing thing! I bet your kids are still on summer vacation. :) My 3 went back on Monday, so I’ve had a little bit more time than I’ve had all summer. Sure it’s just a momentary lull, though!

    Hope everyone has a great weekend. :)

    NM

  27. Zaira,

    I heard those exact words!

    “fix yourself” / “your problem” / “nothing wrong with me”

    I was told that frequently.

    I’d swear that each time he said one of those phrases, he was hoping that by squashing me, he was raising himself.

  28. NM, Zaira, and any others interested in co-dependency,

    Kids are gone and I found time to do some digging…

    An incredibly wise woman who I was blessed to meet through an online forum (who’s privacy I respect) wrote fascinatingly about co-dependency. It touched a nerve with me.

    I’m poorly paraphrasing a portion of what she wrote here:

    Co-dependency is putting aside our life for immersion in another person’s life. When we put aside our life, we are excluding ourselves from the relationship. That isn’t love. Quite frankly – and this is the part that literally makes me sick and keeps me awake at night – co-dependency is another form of self-centeredness. We’ve made a false assumption that the other cannot go on without us. They need us. The can’t do anything without our being their to facilitate them.

    There are no boundaries with co-dependency.

    That being said, I do believe it is very possible to be in a relationship with a narcissist and not be co-dependent. The world needs empathetic hearts and relationship-oriented souls to keep us together.

    I pray those souls give it their all but make sure they aren’t lost in the process.

    It just occurred to me, when we wonder if there is a correlation between INFJs and narcissism, is there also a correlation between INFJs and co-dependency! After all, INFJs will go to the ends of the earth to facilitate in relationships.

    I’m not the nursemaid, the sweeper of all floors, the doormat or the patsy.

    Bottom line for me: Does the relationship in question enrich my life? Is the energy generally positive? How does being with that person make my stomach feel?

    Back to the book…

  29. I LOVE this:) You both are very wise. Excellent points, Zaira, that they really want to be able to blame us for our “shortcomings” as the PROBLEM! How dare we actually care about the relationships! ;) as well as Jesse’s friend’s definition of co-dependency. And I am SURE there is a correlation with INFJs and co-dependency, being as we are so invested in our relationships and so uncomfortable with conflict.

    I guess I should clarify that I was meaning it would be tough to have a PRIMARY relationship with a Narcissist and not be engaging in some co-dependent behaviors. At least, I know I definitely was with my friend, someone who I spoke to daily and saw 3-4 times a month. At the time, what she thought meant a huge HUGE deal to me and I cared about her, so I wanted things to be better. Not all relationships are so primarily important in our lives.

    I believe my dad is a narcissist & your’e right, I don’t engage in co-dependent behavior with him, because I learned a long time ago that he isn’t capable of being the kind of Dad I would like him to be. So, he is who he is, and I am who I am. On most levels, I am ok with that. But because once he and my Mom divorced, he essentially disappeared, it’s been a long time since that relationship was a big part of my life. He’s not really interested in me, and I’ve learned that’s probably for the best. But I don’t think you could be an N’s “supply” without some co-dependent behaviors going on, I just don’t see how that could work for the narcissist?

    Yes, I think instinct IS a good indicator. I am able to give and give to those I know would have the ability to do the same for me. I have 2 friends who had cancer and I had no problem being there as much as possible for them, because I knew they would do the same for me. One of the reasons I ended the relationship with my friend, was that I could see I had tried EVERYTHING to “make it right.” Ultimately, I realized that wasn’t my job to begin with, and I didn’t want to be a “fixer” anymore. I wanted to be with people I felt I didn’t HAVE to try so hard with and people who were satisfied with who I was already. Amazing how the relationships with those who are not narcissistic are so much simpler. There’s no script you are supposed to be following that you didn’t know existed! ;) At least, as an INFJ that is how I always felt with my friend.

    Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend. :)

    NM

  30. Thanks, girls, for your input. I agree that the correlations between INFJ and co-dependency, narcissism and INFJ, and narcissism and co-dependency are there. I too have family members that are completely co-dependent and yes, they believe the other will die without them. As these were some of my role models growing up, I cannot deny that I have had co-dependent traits at some point in my life. I kept my Beattie books around for a long time. I revisited them to check myself now and again after a bad relationship (not my narcissistic ex).

    The narcissist in my life knew of these books and that previously I had been labeled co-dependent. Of course, a therapist gave me this label, but after reading all I could and working through the exercises, I concluded that in past situations, I had co-dependency traits, but am not co-dependent. In describing my situation to the therapist, I also heard “victim”. Funny thing though, I never felt like a victim. I thought I was just telling the story. Yes, bad things happened, but I don’t remember asking why me. I chose to be in the relationship, but I also chose to leave. I wish my therapist would have instead given me the important questions to ask myself in every relationship that I have figured out for myself and some that Jesse has posted here. It could have saved me many years trying to figure it all out myself. I think now that perhaps this consciousness/label I had been given and my feeling that I had to constantly work on me interfered with my lenses. Maybe I ignored the narcissistic signs because I was busy checking myself.

    Being co-dependent is not just putting up with bad behavior. It is being manipulative and a method of controlling the other person. It is a belief that they cannot breathe without you and you love them because they deserve to be loved, but there is no one else in this world that will do that, only you. You have to be there to pick up the pieces or ‘fix’ the mess your partner leaves behind even though you contributed to it. And so much more…

    Melodie Beattie and her work on co-dependency did impact my life. I am glad that I was introduced to her books and worked through them as much as I could. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have had the tools to reflect and work through my feelings. I wouldn’t have discovered that I wasn’t co-dependent. When I was with my narcissist, her work did not help me. I didn’t identify with any of it so I turned to Dr. Phil. (I am not joking) His philosophy was to fix yourself and your relationship would turn around. Well, I knew at this point that there was no way he would work on himself, he was perfect after all! So I gave it a try. I don’t have to tell you this was a miserable fail. Narcissists want you to give them your all! They will suck you dry of it. When I stopped feeding him and pointed out his wrongful actions, he turned it around on me. It’s my problem. I need to fix it, our relationship, by fixing myself. Internalizing the problem was more detrimental than assigning him responsibility for his actions in this case. However, my lenses were cleared through his reaction and I realized that I wasn’t the problem.

    I don’t regret internalizing the problem and working on myself first. That is how I process. That is just ME! I make slow sure decisions. I analyze and over-analyze to be 100% positive that I am doing the right thing. I didn’t stay with him because I didn’t see a problem. I just tried my best to see if it could be overcome. The other thing that is an absolute with me is that when I have had enough, that is it. No going back, no amount of sorries will make me return. After all, through my slow and calculated processing, I am 100% sure that the relationship is no longer good for me.

    When I threw the Beattie books in the trash, I also threw that line of questioning away for good. It certainly was not because her work was invaluable. It was that absolutely that I would not need to personally reflect on it again. I knew who I was and how I worked. She may actually be happy about that.

  31. NM and Zaira,

    I’m posting your phenomenal comments without a reply because I promised my kids I’d get this book done before tomorrow evening.

    As it is, Will is concerned I won’t have time to give him a hug when he returns.

    Yeah. Like that’d ever happen.

    I’ll come back to reply soon.

  32. Go hug your boy, Jesse! :) What an insightful comment, Zaira. I see your point on co-dependency being about control. I like this definition better than the way I was seeing it!

    I’d been changing to be more mentally healthy when I ended my N relationship, too. My FAVORITE part of what you’ve written here is “I chose to be in this relationship, but I also chose to leave.” SO true! I agree on your earlier comment that LEAVING was what removed all of us from “co-dependency.” That is, if we were co-dependent in the first place. I think we all saw clearly, and what we saw wasn’t pretty. In fact, what we saw inspired us to be the ones to change.

    I’m finding my real personal power lies in doing NOTHING! I’m learning this….In walking away, in not responding, in choosing to NOT engage in the unhealthy behavior? I say this, because my narcissist just left yet ANOTHER comment on my blog. It’s “nice,” but I honestly feel like she’s just trying to trap me, to see where it is she lies with me, to gauge my reaction. We haven’t spoken in over 6 months. And guess what I’ll be doing with that? Absolutely nothing :) and that’s how I am going from being CO-dependent to being INdependent;)

    I need to go cook dinner for my family.

    hugs to you both, NM

  33. Thanks, NM.

    You know, it’s using all your willpower to not respond and not engage that shows really how strong you are. It also infuriates the narcissist so maybe it is a little payback too. :)

  34. Jesse,

    holy crap we’re the same type! I used to be more of P, but since having the kids, being in the military, & entering grad school I’ve become a J. I need to read up some more on the INFJ type, but I love the Myers Briggs so that won’t be too hard a chore :)

  35. Jenn,

    I know, right? I’m not surprised we are the same. I often feel like I know you. ;)

    And I was an INFP in college. Maybe life turns the P to a J?

    I got Will to take it. It helps me understand him – a lot.

    Jenny’s next – she may need to be a bit older.

  36. Jesse, I SWEAR you should take a poll of this blog’s followers. How many are INFJs? Fascinating….

  37. There’s a child’s version of the Myer’s Briggs….I think it’s called the Murphy-Meisgeir indicator. I don’t know if there’s a shorter version available online, but here’s a link that may be helpful.
    http://www.becomewhoyouare.net/MMTIC-03.html

  38. NM,

    Kinda gives me chills. I’ve said before that I wonder if there’s a link between INFJs and narcissists.

  39. Jenn,

    Yay, you!

    Thanks for this!

  40. I was reading NM’s comment earlier about why her husband is not a narcissist and was reflecting trying to figure out WHY I was with one. My parents are not N’s and I couldn’t think of anything else. Maybe it is the INFJ!!!

  41. Oh, I am sure I would have probably “found” one sooner or later, regardless of parents. Have always been such a “people pleaser” but I definitely wonder about the INFJ thing… It just seems bizarre that we are less than 2% of the population, but yet there are so many of us on this blog! I’m sure we all have reasons we found one, regardless of upbringing. My Dad was COMPLETELY out of the picture from age 8 on. But the question is, why are we “pleasers?” Why not just say “f you, you idiot, I am GONE!” at the first, second, or third sign of something not being quite right? That’s the question that wakes me up in a cold sweat! Why did it take me SO LONG to “get it?”

  42. NM,

    That’s why @Pinterest… for those nights that we’re up wondering why.

    The other commonality, besides the INFJ thing is the incredible intelligence I’ve witnessed in all those who comment here. How can such incredibly intelligent people fall for such antics?

    I’m thinking we lead with our hearts?

  43. Umm, on Pinterest…. yeeesss, I admit to both an insomnia and “pinning” problem! ;) I know, it really is astounding how many similarities there are. It really would be so cool if some Psych professor somewhere wanted to study this idea in depth. not just NPD, but personality disorders in general, and what MB types are “attracted” to each.

  44. If we weren’t intelligent, there is no way we could pull off that charade to the outside world for so long!!!

  45. Led with our hearts, definitely yes. Also INFJs are over-analytical, right? Instead of stepping back to see the simple solution of leaving, we fix, we save, we patch up & cover the problem with aluminum foil for another day? We try and try to figure it out without ceasing. Relationships are so hugely important to us. For me there was also a fear element. I feared I was not strong enough to do this. I feared she would “win” again, and I’d never regain myself.

    I’m still working on my “overactive guilt chip” as well. Maybe INFJs just need to talk about it more & that’s why there are so many writing. Now, I’m overanalyzing myself because I can’t go back there.

  46. NM,

    I’d do it in a heartbeat if I had the right background.

  47. Z,

    Thank you for saying that. I like the positive spin you put on it. Always did think I could be an actress with the way I faked that whole marriage.

  48. NM,

    For myself, the INFJ quality makes me think that if I fail at relationships, that defines me as a failure. Career? Who cares? Money? Who cares? Status or position or title? I do not care, but relationships are, and always have been, everything to me.

    So, yes, that means I would keep working at the relationship until my health could no longer be ignored.

  49. Jenn,

    And any others who are interested in a Myers-Briggs test for children.

    I was able to find a free version of the test. Kids and I had a blast taking them this morning.

    Here’s the link: http://www.personalitypage.com/html/kid_info.html

  50. YES, me too. Relationships are #1.

    Did I mention that I have a college degree in THEATER? No seriously, I do! ;D life works in such mysterious ways.

  51. NM,

    Didn’t you say, too, that your relationship lasted 25 years? Wow, that theater background kept you at it a looooong time. ;)

    I only made it about 17 years.

  52. yes, 24 years, good acting experience! Shoulda gone onto Hollywood, but I have a feeling there are even MORE Ns there! ;) No, I was a directing major, and still teach Theater to kids sometimes. I love the arts! :)

    You know, Z, my Mom also married a Narcissist without having one for a parent. Who knows why people come into our lives, though I like to think it’s alllllll about learning and growth! ;)

  53. There are some days I feel like I really didn’t deserve that! But I know that I needed it to get where I am today. Thanks for all your support, everyone. This site is one of the highlights of my day. There is good conversation here…. :)

  54. I love you guys. ;)

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