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Posts Tagged ‘INFJ’

Blindness and it’s Blessings

I have written before (not here)  that for many years I have thought that there as a problem with the old saw “in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king.”  I think we all know of many visionaries who were scoffed at or even assassinated. The history of the acceptance of germ theory is rife with stories of error. Millions of women died of puerperal fever-also called childbed fever–because the doctors of the time refused to believe in germs—or wash their hands before attending a childbirth. This even when they came from an autopsy and the smell of decay was on their hands. Those who could “see”—those who saw that there was contagion involved—were not “king”. They were reviled. This mess went on for 200 years.—even though many saw- or smelled-the problem, “From the 1600s through the mid to late 1800s, the majority of childbed fever cases were caused by the doctors themselves. With no knowledge of germs, doctors did not believe hand washing was needed. Statements like that of Dr. Charles Meigs, a leading obstetrician and teacher from Philadelphia, were the attitude of the time: “Doctors are gentlemen, and gentlemen’s hands are clean.”[

You can’t make this stuff up.

Of course the first hand washing effort involved essentially  bleach—chlorine bleach– and was not 100% ideal, so even those who “see” make mistakes, but I think that most of the time he who sees what other don’t is not a king—he is an outcast… or worse. “Semmelweis discovered that the incidence of puerperal fever could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection in obstetrical clinics.

Many more examples abound, and my current source of frustration is the way Family Law ignores the human dimension if the dilemmas posed by divorce and other intra family disruptions (like unwed parents, DNA testing revealing that which formerly remained secret,  and now same sex marriage and other similar confusions.)


So look out visionaries.. life ain’t so glorious if you can “see”. And that includes is INFJs…

The Truth I’ve Never Told…

OK now I have come out of the proverbial closet that I am “different.”
I am an HSP and an INFJ, and these have characteristics that are not the  ones you think when someone says “attorney.” Some of them I noticed decades ago—although I never knew why I had them. (Like the fact that I could see— simultaneously —both sides of an argument. I will never forget a fight going in  between my Mother and my new husband. Now I didn’t like my mother much—but I remember thinking, even as they argued… “I can see  both does of this.”)

So I knew this when I was a new attorney. It seemed to me this was a very great advantage to have as an attorney. I was baffled that my brethren seemed to neither have this ability nor to see any need for it. It is possible the reason I was offered a top job at the Hartford Insurance company firm I worked for (as a fairly new attorney) was that this ability did help me settle cases. (Insurance companies don’t want a protracted battle over liability—they want a solid analysis. They want a solid analysis of what happened, who messed up, and how– and settlement as soon as possible.)  This I  was—ahem—brilliant at.

I wasn’t so brilliant that I saw what this offer might mean for my future—I opted for a shorter commute and more money. Bad choice.

But I digress.  I could describe how bad a fit the new job was, and why—as I  now see.  given I now know my INFJ inclination—but that is not my point this time.

No. I want to confess that spooky occasions of knowing things I could not POSSIBLY know have been part of my life for a very long time. Yes, it is spooky. No, I have not told anyone. Ever. I can’t describe the inner feeling that accompanies these experiences—the knowing part— but trust me it is very distinct.

So. An example.

One  that sticks with me 50 years after the fact, is as follows:  It was  I think the summer before I graduated from Goddard College. (It has to have been, as my then boyfriend went back to Dartmouth before we graduated. I was with him.. ergo 1968 or 69.)

We were hanging around Greenwich Village. I remember going barefoot—as  odd as that  must sound. (Barefoot in New York City…?  But I was, at least part of the time. ) Hey, it was hippy heaven. it was the 60s.

For whatever reason he put a nickel in a gum machine. Lots of  red and yellow and green gumballs. They were much larger then, trust me. Like  the larger green  marble in this photo:

In any case there was a purple one. it was  not that close to the chute—but I just KNEW John was going to get that one. I just knew. So I bet him the contents of his wallet against the contents of mine.

He turned the handle thingamajig… and out came the purple gum ball.

He never paid, I never forget. As I say it is the FEELING that is… strange.  But I have never lost a bet. Same sense of knowing. If I don’t  know—I don’t bet. (And no, I can’t reproduce it at will.)

Another example. In an exercise, late in my long sojourn in the human potential movement.  we are working in pairs doing an exercise. We were each to ask the other person  what their  dreams were. (As in hopes and dreams.) My opposite number was a young guy with red hair with the fair skin that you’d expect. He went first, telling me some dream he had.  But I knew that was a blind. I said “you have a dream you’re not telling me.” He went beet red on the spot.

These are just the bizarre ones. I can ALWAYS tell when someone is lying or telling the truth—or hiding something.

I know. It’s weird. But it’s the truth.
As I mentioned in my last post the INFJ Myers Briggs has  the reputation of being a lie detector, so I (now) KNOW I am not crazy. I know some of what I “do” is somehow adding up two sets of data very fast—right brain and left brain. (Jill Bolte Taylor says left brain is a serial processor—right brain is a parallel processor.)

SOME of it. But not the damn gumball.

So I don’t know what on this earth is “in the ether”  that I access when I do—UTTERLY  without my own volition… but I  know it is real and accurate. I know this because so many people do it far better then I do.

I just never told anyone I have this history… and that yes, I am an empath. (” Deep Sense of Knowing… Empaths are highly sensitive. This is the term commonly used in describing one’s abilities (sensitivity) to another’s emotions and feelings. Empaths have a deep sense of knowing that accompanies empathy and are often compassionate, considerate, and understanding of others. “)

Is this a good thing????? I have no clue. But it makes me very very bad at putting up with BS. Very bad. And it has scared clients away. In fact, generally speaking people with something to hide seem keen to avoid me.
That I don’t mind. I hate anything hidden. Hate it. So you gotta get “empath” does not mean “warm and fuzzy.”  Many people find me quite cold and prickly. This may be because the hope their secret is safe,and with me, it is not.Thus, my avoiding them or calling them out is utterly inexplicable. And to them it is. But I can feel underlying agendas like a radar. That is not hit or miss—it always works. No, empath is not all angels and incense. No indeed.

Late last night I had an epiphany. That lady who defended her refusal to relinquish her struggle to prove her ex husband was/is evil–the lady who liked that I am am empath (and prompted my writing this post…) If she knew how I see this– which includes the clear knowledge that the ex hubby too is wounded and suffering, she would not like it much. (I refrained from saying so.) I also saw the role BPD plays with these embattled parents. A post for another day.

Now if I only had a single clue what to do with this mess. The saying is “in the land of  the blind the one eyed man is king.” I have known for YEARS now that is wrong.In the land if the bid the one eyed (wo)man is… dead meat.

Oh well. I yam what I yam as Popeye said…

I am also an INFJ… at Law.

May 19, 2013 4 comments

OK so I admit I never liked the Meyers Briggs stuff. I am not sure why. I do remember us doing some sort of metric in law school and I was in a quadrant all by myself—no one else in my (small) class was like me. But this law school class (SCALE) was not like the “traditional” law schools so, it was “all good.”

I know that more recently, when I joined a LinkedIn group on the MBTI, I still found it cumbersome. Maybe that is because I can—and always could—“read” people without a metric. (I now know that INFJs are famous for this. And for some GREAT comments and cartons on these qualities see the blog of INFJoe.)

Now I realize there is at least one upside to the MBTI. It has a following. If I talk about HSP it is dismissed. But many people “get” MBTI and anyone can look it up and see it is in wide use. It has also helped me realize my nature (that I could never get rid of all these years, despite my obsession with personal growth) is not a sickness, a disease, or a curse… it is just an inborn set of traits I may as well use, enjoy… and just plain live with.

So I am not just an HSP lawyer… I am an INFJ lawyer. I ask you—is this your picture of the archetypal lawyer???

“Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubbornness and tendency to ignore other people’s opinions. They believe [feel deeply] that they’re right. On the other hand, INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves – there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments. They have strong value systems, and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. In deference to the Feeling aspect of their personalities, INFJs are in some ways gentle and easy going. Conversely, they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families. They don’t believe in compromising their ideals.? (see here)

So I am not like your average lawyer. Even in law school I just “knew” when my legal research was done—most agonized over it. Earlier yet, I just knew I could take the LSAT with no formal prep —I scored 165. I also applied to only one law school—and that one was  a perfect fit. (I was called impulsive but it was really intuition.)

I have been put down by a whole lot of people… but in oh so many cases I was right in the end, and now I know why.

And I also know why I am always quite willing to change my opinions if the facts indicate it, and will always be a work in progress. And often dismissed and not infrequently envied—secretly.

A mixed blessing to have—an UNMIXED blessing to finally recognize.