posted by VJ on May 22

SitsThinks2I’ve been doing some research lately, and read yet another brilliant article by Dr. John Beebe that was type related. In it, he decries the amount of mis-typing that goes on in the Jungian analyst field, and describes how discouraged many therapists are about using type because it’s so difficult to get it right.

Beebe gives an example in the very first paragraph of someone who was mis-diagnosed. Beebe writes, “For example a patient diagnosed by his therapist as an introverted intuitive (because he did not seem to do much and vividly reported dreams that were full of imagery), is discovered to be an introverted sensation type…”

So okay, mis-typing happens all the time. It’s practically the order of the day. What’s the big deal?

Well, just between you and me, I waded through the entire rest of the article with bated breath, waiting for Beebe to dispute this negative characterization of introverted intuitives…. and he never did.

Never mentioned it again.

Yes, I realize the point of that article was not about defining what an introverted intuitive looks like, but still… shouldn’t the record be corrected about that? Beebe should defend our honor here. After all, we don’t want to give the wrong impression, do we?

Or… wait.  IS it the wrong impression?

I’ve been contemplating that question for the past several days. Maybe there’s something to such a characterization after all.

Does that idea stick in my craw? You bet it does! It hits me hard — punches me right in the inferior function.
Hey, I *want* to be an action-oriented, doing, happening kinda gal. I want to motivate, inspire, change the world.  Set it on fire!

And — I confess. I can barely seem to keep up with my blog sometimes. Left to my own devices, I’d rather curl up with a book and read more than anything.

In fact, that’s one of the big “sticking points” between my husband and me. I wish he’d clean up the garage, or take care of the trash, or DO a bunch of chores that need to be handled. On his part, he’d probably like me to clean up the house, hang up clothes, sew on that missing button. I suspect we both want the other to be what we ourselves are NOT.

How did that go again? …”he did not seem to do much and vividly reported dreams that were full of imagery.”

Maybe Beebe doesn’t dispute that characterization because it actually fits. Hmm…

Now you may call me crazy, but as it happens, I’ve never understood the idea of prison as a punishment. Some of it sounds pretty good to me. Think about it: you get a roof over your head, three squares, a few chores you have to do, and it seems like inmates get to read a lot and earn college degrees. Many of them “find Jesus.”

That sounds like a pretty good deal to me! I don’t understand why people get so wrapped around the axle about how awful losing their “freedom” would be. That would *give* me the freedoms I need.

Sure, it would be hard on a marriage, but my most vital freedom is: having “dreams that [are] full of imagery.” As long as I’m able to generate those on a regular basis, I’m more likely to flourish.

My freedom feels restricted when I don’t have the space to engage my dreaming. When I can’t get enough sleep, or when I’m so stressed that I can’t occasionally sit and re-connect with myself — that drives me crazy. I need my self-connection time! It’s non-negotiable. I’ve needed that my whole life.

Come to think of it, I’ve always been a little anxious around other people because I’m not all industrious and hard-working. It’s not that I can’t work hard — far from it. But I’m not the kind of person who’ll bustle around and vacuum the house, dust the furniture, file the papers, straighten the bookshelves. I’m not perpetually on the lookout for things to DO in order to “keep busy.” I’m just not industrious that way. The very idea of chores is a total turnoff. I’m always looking for electronic gadgets to handle my housework for me — be they dishwasher, robot vacuum, or self-cleaning oven. Anything to get out of *that*.

“He did not seem to do much…”

Is that a reflection of me…?

I wonder.

At minimum, I have resistance to considering that possibility. Which might mean there’s more truth to the portrayal than I’m comfortable accepting.

All the time I encounter people who are interested in type, and I have recently noticed that one glaring signal that I’m probably not speaking to a correctly typed INFJ is when I hear about a lot of activity — lots of socializing, lots of go-getting, doing. When they don’t display what I might describe as a “contemplative” demeanor, it flags me that something doesn’t add up right.

I remember a retreat I went to where the first night all the extraverts got by on very little sleep, and seemed to crawl all over the campus before I even woke up in the morning. They already had a strong sense of the entire landscape before I ever rolled out of bed. They knew where the roads went, what buildings were nearby, where all the animals were, what kind of plant life was plentiful, and even how beautiful the sunrise had been!

I’m not that adventurous. I’m more inclined to lie in bed and enjoy my dreams.

I’m brought to mind of an old saying — you’ve probably seen it. It says,
Sometimes I sits and thinks. And sometimes I just sits.

Does that describe me?

Maybe it does, more than I want to admit. How about you?

12 Comments to ““did not seem to do much””

  1. Sue Says:

    Ah, yes. It describes me. I don’t deny it. I love my kitchen gadgets, and I actually quite like cooking for family and friends. I like the house being tidy too, so I do my half-hour routine thing but I certainly don’t actively look for things to do. The local women here mop and polish and clean all day, or so it seems. I read, and I write (but not as often as I intend to) and I network, and my time simply vanishes. The only problem is when people say, cheerfully, ‘So, what are you doing with yourself these days?’ and ‘You must have a lot more time on your hands… how do you occupy yourself?’ And suddenly I find myself inflating the things I do that seem ‘constructive’ (like the writing, even if I haven’t actually done any writing in a couple of weeks) and the websites I maintain (even if I haven’t actually done anything with them for a month or more) because I don’t like to be thought of as lazy, or someone who doesn’t really do much. But that doesn’t quite feel authentic, so I determine I WILL write more and make more web pages and check for broken links so that when people ask me I can be totally accurate… but, alas, the resolution never seems to last.

  2. RadiantRecluse Says:

    I have often thought that solitary confinement would be heaven on earth, so should I ever end up in prison, I would purposely engage in ‘troublesome’ behavior to earn that ‘horrible’ punishment.

    Your words speak to my heart and soul. I am undone if I do not have that self-connection time to revel in my dreams; sometimes full of intense imagery, sometimes adding to a deeply complex, ever-evolving story begun in my teens. (nearing 50, it has been rewritten in my imagination too many times to count!)

    Yes, sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits. Life is good.

  3. Kaz Says:

    Apologies for the length of this comment -
    This made me smile -I am so familiar with the “prison fantasy” and have learned to interpret its appearance as a sign that I am comming close to overwhelm. I have (fairly successfully) replaced it with a more positive “monk in a monastery/ retreat” type fantasy. lol!
    This piece has given me an opportunity to think on something that has been in my mind for a long time. How come I seem to come across as doing little or nothing? – I know factually I do plenty. In my childhood I had to live with my mothers constant accusation that I was lazy. In college recently one of my tutors said it. People think I’m lazy and do little or nothing.
    I’m a wife and mother and a full time fine art mature student, who works very hard to try to do well in college. My house is always a mess because I am putting this huge effort in to get my degree. I feel a lot of shame about that mess especially because I don’t want my kids to live in clutter kingdom. Yet there are only 24 hours in a day, and I have to sleep for at least 6 of them. One fellow mature student (she’s enneagram 9 not sure what MB type but she can be insightful) said to me one day ” But all this is so easy for you Kaz”. It felt like a slap in the face! I was only barely able to respond eventually “but I work hard” She laughed right at me! She seemed to think when I am doing stuff that it is easy as falling off a log for me and appeared unaware of how hurtful I found her comment. One day I read a note one of the tutors wrote about me (for her own records). It said “excellent attendance, not getting much done”. (!!!) I had more done than at least 50% of my class had done at the time, but somehow this wasn’t being taken into account.
    Even people who know me well, like my hubby (one of life’s busy do-ers )who has known me longer than anyone else and loves me admits that I look to him like I never “do” anything. He can’t specifically articulate what exactly gives this impression. It is variously a source of humour and annoyance for us both.
    I suspect that one of the reasons I don’t “look” as “busy” as other people would apparently wish me to look has something to do with how much time I spend in my head. For example I use my dreams and visualise and daydream my college work and when I have the right “feel” developed I will just work on it until I physically can’t do any more. My physical body always runs out of steam before I do but at the end of the year I always have a substantial amount of work produced. I know this because it is always difficult to figure how to store so much art work and research ( But I love working out solutions for that too :) ) However I know that despite how much I do how many piles of sketches paintings prints essays photo images videos I turn out for assessments, I still come across to people in general as though I don’t “do” much. I do as much of my work as I can when the tutors won’t interrupt me and break my focus , I love that focus zone so much! I’m not one of those constantly calling over the tutors asking for help. Its better faster and more authentic when I do it myself. Just getting on with the work and not talking about getting on with it, not bragging in the canteen about doing stuff seems to count too.

    Multitasking is something I am really really good at and take great pleasure in. I keep my laptop with me for research and essays at all times. I use time at the school gate for reading and highlighting texts. I use timers when I’m cooking so I can continue reading or writing without burning the food. I double cook and freeze one dish for the times that I have a deadline to meet. I always put on a laundry wash when I’m cooking. I also have every kitchen gadget to try to save/manage time so my timer, my bread machine, my slow cooker and my steamer will sometimes all be going at once. The only waking hour during which I genuinely am not doing something is during my lunch time when I spend 30 mins (on a timer – lol) alone in my car meditating. During the academic I seldom get the opportunity to really switch off. When the year ends I have no choice but to switch off (collapse) for at least one week when I just about get the basics of life done. So much for lazy LOL!

  4. VJ Says:

    Wow Kaz, I can’t multi-task to save my life! I don’t know how you do it.

    Last week I was on the phone with my ENFP girlfriend, who mixed, baked, and served chocolate chip cookies to her four-year-old niece while we were on the phone together. I can barely even load the dishwasher while we’re talking because my focus gets thrown so much. (Sometimes I don’t like driving people places for the same reason — I’m afraid I’ll get so caught up in the conversation that I’ll run off the road or miss my turnoff.)

    I don’t know how you do it.

  5. Kaz Says:

    The ENFJ’s I know are both guys and they always seem to just have endless energy for everything and a cherry on top. No matter how much they get done they seem to be able to just keep on pulling another energy pack out of their hip pocket and keep going long long after I have stopped. I love them but I don’t like how I feel like I’m self indulgent and self absorbed when they really kick in to this mode and I have to get away to regroup. They don’t seem to give a hoot and still like me anyway lol!
    I agree with you on the driving thing too – although oftentimes I end up driving because I don’t feel safe when some others take the wheel. But there is nothing like being a passenger with someone I trust driving to bring on a major Fe session lol!
    VJ you are promting my self reflection big time lol!
    I’m not at all a natural multi tasker I learned it out of necessity (I had 4 kids +not enough time for anything personal) its pragmatism rather than love :D.and I only do it during the academic year. Children must eat and have wearable clothes and hygiene. Years ago I found out all about time management, drew up a major plan with cards timetables and schedules, bought lots of “stuff”. Didn’t stick to it after I spent some time trying it out even though it worked really well. The whole thing took longer to put together than that :) . I kept the timer part. One significant part of this is that I can only “perform” that way when I’m not being observed. If there are any other adults around then I just won’t be able to do it. My kids have to be fully engaged with something like schoolwork or a video game while I do it too. I have to try to “park” as much unrelated stuff as possible. Also if anything emotional is going on I just cant do anything- everything just stops till I get time to get myself right again.
    Typically I just drift off tasks that don’t engage me. I would read and dinner would burn. :) . The timer pulls me back to the essential task, and it helps me gather up some of the stray minutes and bunch them together so I can have it easier later.

  6. VJ Says:

    Wow, Kaz. I’m feeling exhausted just reading all that you do. :-P

    …how did you come by your type pattern?

  7. Kaz Says:

    VJ Thats why I am tucked away on the computer alone and, and hope to be this way for the whole summer so I can recover. I find it very difficult to return to college each Autumn because I know I have this mountain to climb.
    Initially I was told I was an INFJ on a couple of weekend retreats about typing run by an accredited psychologist in a spiritual development context. My follow up discussion seemed to interest him more than the other participants did. That was the first time INFJ was mentioned but I didn’t really take it in and it wasn’t explained in any depth. Later I took a theology diploma during which time my intuition had this strange effect on people. To cut a long story short – I did so well in one verbal exercise, because of a flash of intuition, that a huge argument broke out with students shouting at the lecturer about how I could possibly have gotten my conclusion so instantly.(They all knew I had dropped out of school at 16 while many of them were college graduates). I didn’t intend ever giving my answers out loud but had been manipulated into blurting out an emotional response by a very skilled lecturer. (doh!)
    He responded to the protesters that I had exceptional intuition (the penny dropped “oh is that what it is I thought it was lucky guessing!) and got me to descirbe the process by which I reached my conclusions in class. I kinda couldn’t and he asked me many questions. . The psychology module of the theology course brought me back to typing and the more I read about it the more it made sense to me personally. The moment I properly read a type description I was shocked and delighted by how uncanny it was. Over years I took many many online tests, good bad and indifferent but they all say the same.

  8. VJ Says:


    So here’s what I’m noticing. My blog post and the other two commenters talk about how we just don’t DO that much, but wish we did, and try to fool others that we do. :-P

    Your case seems diametrically opposite — you’re leaping tall buildings in a single bound, and people somehow think you “aren’t doing anything.” That seems 180 degrees the other way around. :-/

    In your description above, you write, >>I did so well in one verbal exercise, because of a flash of intuition, that a huge argument broke out with students shouting at the lecturer about how I could possibly have gotten my conclusion so instantly.< < It reminds me of a story Dr. John Beebe told at a workshop once. Apparently when he was a teenager he subbed as a regular on a television game show for a while. He tells about how they would give clues, and they would guess the answers. At one point, they asked a question about a famous person with some “metal object.” John hit the buzzer and said “Lizzie Borden.” People were stunned that he got the answer so fast! How could this be? John chalks it up to his *extraverted iNtuiting.” He describes extraverted iNtuiting as “anticipating,” and gives lots of examples for this. In a nutshell, he uses it to “read people’s minds” and to anticipate “what’s coming.” He also uses it to “read the room” when he’s presenting. He compares the difference between his dominant Ne and others’ dominant Ni as to that between “hunting” and “trapping.” He says he uses Ne to “hunt bear.” He “goes out” to meet his iNtuition, compared to my Ni, that patiently waits for my intuition to come to me (and it’s rarely on time, either, sigh). Certainly my iNtuition is worthless when I’m in a roomful of people staring at me — which happened to me last year in Indianapolis when John asked me a question and I simply shut down and couldn’t think. (I got the answer after I went to my room and sat alone for a minute.) Kaz, my point is that you might want to consider EN_P as a pattern. Have you ever considered that as a possibility? It might explain a lot. :-)

  9. Kaz Says:

    Interesting stuff! VJ.
    I have read descriptions the other types – again as I have many times before – and the only one that even comes close is infj. I can see how my attempt at editing myself (because I know I can be verbose when writing) misled you. I have struggled with this reply for the last day or so mainly around things I don’t want to state publicly. Rather than me giving you an even longer (!sorry!) reply, can you take it from me (for the moment anyway) that I am indeed sure I’m INFJ.
    Not able to think with a room full of people looking at you? story of my life. Its why when I go to conferences and it comes to questions I can never take the mic. and ask them, I have never even tried when there is a microphone, and on the rare occasions when I tried it “from the floor” I either blanked or got muddled and sound ed like a blithering fool (to add to my embarassment there was a tape made!). I can ask individually after everyone else has gone and if the topic has sufficiently grabbed me.
    I occasionally have those flashes but if you understand that I was manipulated , bullied even, into it and was mortified and humiliated by the whole thing it may make more sense. While the row raged I sat silently in a kind of stunned shock. The only reason I mentioned it is because it was the occasion that the word “intuition” was said which in turn led me to revisit my notes from the retreat and subsequently further read up on type.
    I have reserve about this paragraph, because I have had a lot of rejection around this stuff. It is much more usual for me to have intuitions that are like this: One occasion I saw a young girl ( a complete stranger to me) standing on the street. Something upset me very much but I couldn’t explain it or put words to it but told my s/o who was with me . Long story short – she was murdered shortly after that and I recognised her picture in the paper, confirmed by my s/o that it was the same girl. Another occasion more typical was one night when driving the family on country roads I became conscious of an very uncomfortable “impending” feeling that I couldn’t quite locate or explain. My s/o was driving so I told him what I was feeling and please would he mind slowing down for a minute. He did and a couple of miles down we drove round a sharp bend to find a pile up of cars blocking both sides of the road. We were the first car to round the bend and not join the pile. If these “feelings” are strong enough I have learned to heed them, but I wish I didn’t get them sometimes. These are dramatic examples. Usually its not so huge. I wouldn’t be able to say it would be a “hunting and trapping” although they sound so good, like a kind of genie he can summon up :)

    I believe that self knowledge (especially through typing) and the self development that it possible through all that is the reason that I can do so much.

    I think my working so hard might be seen in a more “infj” light if you look at your own extensive work on – looks to me like you have found a way to work on something you have passion for too? (for which I am so glad you did!) Introverted intuitives cannot be doing nothing – the world would surely cease to rotate if no introverted intuitives worked for their degrees, or worked to hold down jobs or sat and did nothing while “Rome burns”.

    I still need to take the four month summer break doing nothing to get over the doing so much during the college term.
    I know this will sound like I’m trying to be humourous but it is both funny and true -while I was writing this I forgot to set my timer and burned a pot of potatoes. There is this extraordinary thing about timers, apparently they only work when you set them lol!

  10. VJ Says:

    I’ll be honest and say something’s not adding up right for me. My iNtuition is yelling loudly…. AND it’s none of my business, and I’m not your coach, you haven’t gone through my self-discovery programs, and you haven’t asked my opinion, so I’m just gonna leave it alone. :-)

  11. Kaz Says:

    Thank you for your honesty and consideration, and for taking the time on this. As I have learned so much from your own work online, I will bear strongly in mind that which you have said and let it be a consideration in future.

  12. VJ Says:

    Thank you, Kaz. And please do bear it in mind — my last two clients came to me claiming INFJ preferences, and both turned out to have ENFP preferences instead. Of course the very question is wildly confronting to ENFPs because of introverted Feeling — they assume they know their identity, and it can be disorienting to consider something other than what they currently believe about themselves. It sent one client into a disorienting spiral for a couple of weeks, so it takes courage. (The good news is that she’s really embracing her true self on the other side of the challenge.)

    In your case, I daresay you’ve never gone through a formal self-discovery process, so you haven’t had the opportunity to consider and sort matters out with a proper expert’s help.

    The bottomline is, I acknowledge and appreciate your willingness to take another look. :-)

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