For so long – all my life, really – I’ve thought that there was something wrong with me (or the world) since I always felt so different from everybody else. Not in a ‘I’m superior to all of you’-kinda way (though I behaved as a self-obsessed, little diva as a kid and certainly tricked myself into believing it at times in order to test the waters around me), but the other, contradictory part of being an INTP – at least in my case – has always been the feeling of personal insignificance and humility; the natural, but constant down-playing of yourself. I continue to do so, mostly when trying to function in the outside world, which is problematic when we are being taught that being ambitious, competitive, self-praising and putting yourself first is a given in order to get a job and career nowadays. How are you supposed to rebel against that and never give in?? It is not a way of life I want. Like so many else, I’ve always tried to find someone or something to identify with; someone like me and though I found people who shared the same interests as me (mostly online), in general it was hard finding a sense of community that resonated my own mind and reasoning. Yeah, elementary school and high school are pretty much going up stream but I still missed that significant voice that said it was OK to feel and think how I felt and thought. That I wasn’t the only girl who felt tomboyish, bookish, more or less out of place socially (I was pretty much a lone wolf), wasn’t into clothes, boys and battling for power like the other girls, and was independent and confident in my academic abilities. Though, I was always handicapped when it came to mental arithmetic, and the teachers complained in general that I didn’t say enough in class despite they knew I knew the answers. There’s a perfectly reasonably explanation for that, however, as another INTP explained:
“People think you’re slow at thinking because there’s quite some time before you reply to what they’re saying. In reality, though, you’re lightning fast; it’s just that you’re having a mental shootout over a lot of things, like the possibilities and implications of what’s been said, whether they’ll think you’re slow at thinking because you haven’t replied yet, or whether you should say anything at all, and then finally decide to reply, but then forget what you were going to say.”*
… Or you were simply too late to answer and somebody already beat you to it. That was the daily fare in my case, anyhow. I wish I had this explanation as a kid.
In school, when I was about 16 years old, we had about narcissism as a theme in literature, which appeared once again in psychology class in high school, and for a long time I thought this was my ‘diagnosis’ for my conflicted self: The megalomania with the contraditory mix of inferiority. I still have it, these tendencies, but I don’t know whether it is as extreme as once predicted. It’s not such an outrageous term anymore. Everyone is more or less a narcissist nowadays.
Then for a while I thought I basically suffered from schizoid personality disorder after reading about Kafka having been suspected of suffering the same, and as I began to read about the disorder I found frighteningly many similarities to my own life. Crazy, right? I remember discovering this during class at university not so long ago and I literally felt ill by the thought of having this disorder! Of course, I didn’t – or rather, it seemed pointless to even try to self-diagnose myself since I’m in no way qualified to do so! It’s always stupid to panic. But it left me rather stupefied and shocked that I had come so close to identifying with the traits of a personality disorder than anything else!
Then, by sheer luck and some panicked research, I discovered MBTI. That I am – without a doubt – an INTP. It came as both a surprise and a given when I first read about it. It all makes sense when I think about. My entire life has basically been caught in this maelstrom and finally the waters have calmed somewhat. I have found my ship. My crew. To set me on a straighter path. Other people who have experienced a life much like my own, almost scaringly similar in detail. That the reason I haven’t met anyone like me, especially not any girls, is because we are so few. But we are there. Not to mention, actual scientific terms for a personality like mine. Not just my being weird, an anomaly; the geek girl in the stereotypical bunch of high school/college students. I let out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding. This was what I had been searching for all this time! And though my identity crisis never had reached the levels of extreme as I had seen around me among my peers, inside some essential cogwheels had been missing and now they were in place. I didn’t have to hide and excuse myself anymore, like some circus freak. At least, not as much. The clock still needs some work, though. Hell, it will probably not be finished before my deathbed, but that’s alright. I’ve got some time.
INTPs are often thoroughly engaged in their own thoughts, and usually appear to others to be offbeat and unconventional. The INTP’s mind is a most active place, and their inward orientation can mean that they neglect superficial things like home décor or appropriate clothing. They don’t tend to bother with small talk but can become downright passionate when talking about the larger theoretical problems of the universe. Reality is often of only passing interest to an INTP, as they are more interested in the theory behind it all. INTPs are typically precise in their speech, and communicate complex ideas with carefully chosen words. They insist on intellectual rigor in even the most casual of conversations, and will readily point out inconsistencies of thought or reasoning. Social niceties may fall by the wayside for an INTP who is more interested in analyzing logic, and they may offend others by submitting their dearly held values and beliefs to logical scrutiny. (via fictionalcharactermbti)