didn't know INFJs had a stress "style," did you? You probably
figured that INFJs just suffer stress the same as anybody else in our crazy,
modern world, but there wasn't any
kind of "style" to relate it to -- surely there is no model
per se that describes INFJ stress.
I love this
there is a stress component to all three of the models we have been discussing.
at each of them in turn. But before we do, it's important to note that not
all stress is bad (distress). Some stress is good, and even downright
important to recognize that not ALL stress is related to personality.
Stress is lurking all around us in the environment, or there may be underlying
issues we are unconscious of. It's a very insidious element. So be
careful not to make any broad, sweeping assumptions about personality and
stress. (A mistaken stereotype is that Ps feel less stress than Js!)
other hand, it has been said, "Type IS stress." And that is not
a facetious or lighthearted remark. As stated previously, Type is not
something you "have" while you're sitting around watching TV or
reading a book. It expresses itself through interaction. And when
you add stress to an interaction, people tend to become more limited in the
choices they make with their behavior. Any time you add tension to an
interaction, Type manifests itself more vividly and the likelihood of a
"personality conflict" occurring will increase enormously. It's
easy to get along with others when there are no stakes. But we tend to
"dig in our heels" and firmly express our Type preferences whenever
Function (Type) Stress
is a problem, we attempt to solve it with our introverted iNtuition or
extraverted Feeling, as one might expect. But when that doesn't work,
rather than turning to an altogether different process, we tend to "try
harder" and crank up the volume on our two favored processes.
If that is
ineffective, we resort to introverted Thinking. When that doesn't work, we
may fall "in the grip" of our extraverted Sensing.
possible that we may dip into other processes -- and we can come under "the
grip" of any process.
experience Type stress, it's important to recognize that we have created a
"meaning" using one of our processes. It can be useful to
question our assumptions, and discover what is making us
if we are locked in the grip of a less-preferred process, one solution is to try
a different kind of process. If stuck in a judging process, switch to a
perceiving process, and vice-versa.
stress inevitably occurs when our core values are not being met. For the
Catalyst, having energy and the strength to go on is fueled by our innermost
core values for meaning and unique identity. We further have a deep
psychological need to experience empathic rapport. If we are deprived of
meeting any of these primary needs, we will experience and express distress in
manifesting via temperament also occurs when our favorite talents and skills go
unused. For example, if we Catalysts find ourselves in situations
where we are unable to form relationships and utilize our skills for Diplomacy,
that will cause us stress. And if we find ourselves in situations where
integrity and ethics are compromised, we will be extremely
stressed. We need a sense of purpose, and a feeling that we are working
toward "the greater good." We feel best about ourselves when we
can advocate or be a catalyst.
Catalyst stress will probably be experienced as Shame. (The other Temperaments tend
to experience guilt, doubt, and fear -- but we specialize in feeling Shame.)
stress tends to manifest in the form of survival
games. These may take the form of "Shut Down" and
"Paralysis." The way out for INFJs is to begin a new Quest, and
to find a way to get nurturing from our Self and others.
style model taught me a great deal about myself, and learning my stress
style was one of the most rock-my-world valuable insights.
I'm sure by
now you've heard of the coping strategies called fight-or-flight...? Well,
there are actually four reactions to "danger" ("danger"
being a synonym for "stress"). These four responses to stress
correspond to the four interaction styles and include fight, flight, freeze, and
confront a stressful
situation, their initial reaction is "flight." How they do
this is by distancing themselves from the situation, usually
separating from the problem while buying time. They experience a need to step back
and consider what's going on. Dr. Keirsey's phrase for this behavior is "mute withdrawal." Our impulse is to move away from what
isn't liked, and to stay away from it. When we become stressed, we get extremely tense,
and we may feel afraid. This is best relieved by having time and space away to think
through and plan our next move, or chart a new course of action. We disengage from the immediate situation,
but still focus on the problem. Separation allows us to devise a plan, which
we can then stick by without getting disturbed or distracted by the aggravating
situation. If we can "foresee" a solution, we will return and
"face" the problem (another "f" word!). Of course, if we can't effectively work through the problem, we
may just *stay* away altogether.
downside of our coping style is that people may misinterpret our withdrawal as
fear or incompetence. It may look
as if they are detached or are fleeing from the problem. We may also miss some information by withdrawing, so
our ultimate solution may not be on target. We also miss the good that
comes with the bad.
* * *
If you are
interested in general INFJ stress relief, that is discussed in detail here.
* * *