Strangers.

Everyone is a stranger… almost everyone. This is a fact of life, but for this INTJ stranger is the tittle of every person that hasn’t earned my trust. So regardless of how long I interact with someone, if they haven’t earned my trust they are strangers. This is really important because the predominant idea is that long-term exposure to someone in a “friendly” environment or manner automatically means that there is trust obtained. For this INTJ, I don’t know about the rest, 10 + years of social interaction is not conducive to trust most of the time.

This is visible when people try to initiate physical contact with me. Just because we interact, it doesn’t mean that physical contact is welcomed. That has to be sown under certain contexts to be welcomed.

There are people that I have known for 15+ years and I still consider them strangers because I don’t trust them. I would much rather try telling a secret for the first time to someone that I have only interacted for a year but has earned my trust than someone that I have interacted for a decade who hasn’t earned my trust.

To this last point I have to say that I’m biased. Most of the people that I have known for more than a decade have screwed up in one way or another and therefore the bit of trust that existed have been severed. I have also stopped identifying with my past, and that includes a detachment from the people of my past even if I still interact with them to this day. It doesn’t help that I never learned to make transitions to relationships properly, so it’s easier to cut someone off than to transition the dynamic itself.

So most people are strangers because we haven’t met personally. Some are strangers because nothing else have been obtained other than the awareness of each other’s existence. Some are strangers because the interactions either haven’t led to the formation of trust or the trust formed have been severed by human error. A few are not strangers because even though the interactions have not lasted long trust has been intentionally formed and maintained.

How to love an INTJ?

Is loving an INTJ different than loving anyone else? Biologically? No. The body’s reaction is the same, biologically speaking. The manifestation of love may be different because the other person is an INTJ. Based on personal preferences, I have a list of ways that INTJs feel loved by someone else.

  1. Value their ideas. This is a big deal. Someone that doesn’t value an INTJs ideas, they are idiots who aren’t deserving of our time. If you listen and value an INTJs ideas, the INTJ will feel that you are someone that is showing interest in their inner world of ideas and will feel that the risk of sharing ideas is worth taking with you.
  2. Leave the INTJ alone after a while trusting that we won’t do anything stupid. Other people are tiring after a while, even those deemed important by the INTJ. The way to replenish after spending time with other humans is to be alone, maybe sleep it off. Leave the INTJ be. This, if done right, can be interpreted by the INTJ as an indicator that you care enough about the INTJs well-being to not bother us for a while without questioning (at least without judgement) what we do in that time.
  3. Take the physical contact slow. Okay, so this may not apply to everyone… it does to me. Again, this is based on personal preference. I prefer taking it slow because physical contact is either uncomfortable or overwhelming. Most people do it wrong, but that is because most people are strangers who shouldn’t put their hands on me to begin with. That being said, in order to earn the privilege of putting your hands on this INTJ you hve to earn the privilege of not being in the status of stranger in the INTJs mind. You also have to ensure that the space is safe enough for INTJs to feel okay about taking the risk of receiving and giving physical affection with you. Don’t push it either. This is very much like the sowing and reaping parables of the New Testament. When the INTJ does initiate contact, don’t reject it. It actually takes a lot of biological energy to take the risk the first time and negative feedback from you is an indicator to the INTJ to retract once again. Done right, you will be able to give and receive physical affection that is good for both you and the INTJ and will be a manifestation of love.
  4. Don’t expose the INTJ to too much noise all the time. INTJs like calm. It allows them to concentrate. More importantly, it allows them to concentrate on you. Too much noise, too many annoying kids, too many conversations going on around you and the INTJ is distracting to the INTJ and quality time will not be achieved. Also, too many extroverted activities planned without mercy is a turnoff to the INTJ (and an indicator that the other person is a little selfish).
  5. Don’t push the INTJ for an answer when they don’t have one. We don’t know everything. There is going to come a time when we will be asked a question that we have no answer to. If we do try to give one we will soon find that it is wrong and feel like crap about answering the question in the first place. Fact is, not giving an answer has two motivations: we know what the answer is but we don’t feel safe sharing it yet, we don’t know the answer because we haven’t thought about it. Be patient. Let the INTJ figure it out on its own. He’ll give you an answer when he’s ready.
  6. Share stuff that you think it’s good for the INTJ to know voluntarily. For me, I am not a person to ask personal details. If it does happen, it’s usually out of concern for the other person’s well-being (if this does occur, it’s… special). I prefer to let the other person share on their own, to have the power that comes with information about themselves and the world around them. If they don’t share, I won’t ask out of respect for that power. If they share, I will take it as an indicator of achieving increased trust and openness. I will only know what you share, and I’m okay with that.
  7. Allow the INTJ to express themselves in writing. We don’t do as well at verbal communication as we do in written communication. If you want to show that you care for the INTJ, be accessible through multiple forms of communication, especially email.

Being surprised when people stay.

I am more aware of the progress of human dynamics since I became a spiritual adult. I tackle it as a strategic task filled with emotional episodes. As a minor, most human dynamics are based on academic situations and don’t last long. I learned that no human dynamic last long at a specific state and that they change, usually negatively, quickly. Once I serve no function to them, I am discarded. I learned to have no expectations of people as a defense mechanism.

So when one, two, three, four or more years pass and people stay and get closer to me I am genuinely surprised. I still don’t know what they see that motivates them to choose to be exposed to whatever I have to offer. I don’t know what motivates them to stay even though I purposely put them on probation and use that as a reason to throw whatever I think of at them.

I think that I am just as sucky, if not more, as everybody else. I am not a good friend, adoptive child, partner. Yet people stay. Do they not see what I see? Or do they see something that I don’t see?

It could be that the process of selection of people to have close to oneself is based on the evaluation of a first impression, which tends to be based on the question of “what good things does this person have?” Later on, when weaknesses are revealed, what seems to happen is that the weaknesses are taken as a part of the person without invalidating the good already established. It just means that there is progress in a human dynamic because the revelation of weaknesses are a byproduct of intimacy. I don’t know whether there is a conscious decision to stay or leave; a conscious decision to love or to not love.

What has happened in the last 8 days?

  1. My Sister told my family that she is getting married. We are a dysfunctional family. This type of news usually gets negative feedback from Mom. My oldest Brother found out that my Sister is getting married… and he is not invited to the wedding.
  2. My Sister starts plans to sell the house. This is a big deal because I am going to have to move one more time and I don’t know when that will be.
  3. My Grandmother got really ill. She got really ill and I got threatened by my mother to not tell anyone at church. I respected that for 12 hours.

Adventures of moving houses 1.

Today my sister officially began the quest to sell her house. That was more emotional for both of us… but for different reasons. For her it is about letting go of her past to embrace her future. For me, it’s the idea that the place where I am going to move might not be ready by the time that I have to move out. It scares me to know that I could potentially become a car bum for a limited time, even thought this is an irrational fear. I still experience the body’s reaction to the thought. I have had to hide my emotions for my sister’s sake. But I know that this is a necessary step for everyone.

Someone comes to my house to visit and…

I know immediately that all of my routines will go down the toilet.

I know that I have to make sure that the house is clean… and then I freak out because my house is not clean enough.

I take out all of my cleaning supplies… and don’t bother to put them away once the visitor comes over.

I try to accommodate them as much as I can… and suffer the consequences silently.

Going to my adoptive parents’ ministry.

Yesterday, I went to a public housing complex in PR where my adoptive parents have their main ministry in the church. I was asked to go by dad because they wanted me to listen to what was going to be sang in the devotional of a service that they were going to have in the public housing complex later this month.

Before I arrived, I decided to figure out what type of mentality I wanted to have going in. I wanted to respect the fact that I was an outsider that went there to do a job (one that I had no idea what it really entailed nor how I was going to do it until I got there). I also tried to respect the fact that it was the kids time to be with my adoptive parents. To me, that meant keeping my distance and not looking at the attention that the kids were getting in a judgmental or jealous manner.

I went in there thinking that I was going to be able to observe the process. I was wrong. I found out that I had to work with timing and melodic issues that the kids have in singing songs. I had to sing during the devotional, something that I hadn’t done in years because of my role as a musician. I had to lead. I had milliseconds to figure out how to execute each part of my impromptu tasks, all revolving around teaching how to sing selected songs with the correct melody and rhythm.

Because I’m an INTJ, improvisation and extroverted actions are outside of my comfort zone. I had to put on this persona to handle it. The other thing that happened was that as an INTJ, my goal became something different than what the parents had. I wanted to give them the tools to figure out the rhythm of any song and to be able to maintain it. In typical INTJ fashion, I thought beyond what was asked of me and decided to teach them what they needed to be able to do the work as if they had been doing it for a long time.

I still haven’t gone through the transition between young person to an adult in church who can successfully carry out a ministry or a task, even though I am a veteran musician. Yesterday’s experience was one more… proof that God was giving me that the impression that my church has of me (and that they have instilled in me of myself in terms of self-efficacy in ministry) was no longer applicable.

 

What did you learn?

I am reading a book titled “52 things Sons need from their Dad”. Don’t worry, I am not going to have a child. I am just reading it for fun. Anyway, this is a good book and it’s easy to read.

On one part of the book, the author was discussing how Dad’s could handle situations where the son messes up to focus on how the son can handle similar situations in the future. He talks about one dad who would always ask his son “What did you learn?” when the father saw him mess up. That, to me, was genius.

In my family, when I screwed up I got two reactions: either a big lecture that was a waste of time or nothing at all (mainly because I was good enough to keep most things a secret). I never learned anything significant from screwing up as a minor.

Since I turned 21, God has taken a more parenting role with me. He has been more engaging with me when I do good and when I screw up. To be honest, God never asked me this question in a literal sense. What He did do was that He put in me the mentality where I ask this question myself whenever I screw up or whenever I am in a conflict situation. God allows me to see what He is teaching me with a situation and where He wants me to go from it.

Yesterday, when I read this chapter of the book, I saw God as my father being the disciplinarian that I always needed but never quite got from my biological parents. I bookmarked this thought in my mind because I knew that this finding was important. I have seen God as a planner, as a Health Educator, as a logical God. Until yesterday, I was never able to see God as that father. That was refreshing to me. That opened my eyes and widened my vision of who God has been and is to me.

What did I learn? God is more father like than I imagined, and He has done that for a while.

Random Thought 29

Whenever I have a phone conversation with someone and I’m not fully dressed, I feel that I’m somehow disrespecting the person that I’m talking to. This feeling, though, is not enough to make me wear clothes just to talk to the person. I just endure the awkwardness that only occurs in my mind and not tell the other person of what the scene is on my end of the line.