Not being respected for my choices, my tempo, the processing of my thoughts, even if they prove to have a meaning behind them and a quite sensible outcome in the end.
Well, everyone wants respect. In that sense, it’s not so much a ‘pet peeve’ but a basic mutual demand in life among your fellow human beings. But there’s a certain aspect of this that can also seem petulant, I guess: The fact that I don’t like to be hurried into making up my mind on larger matters that affect my life (does anybody?).
But how do you even begin explaining the natural thought process of the INTP mind? I cannot make head or tail of it myself. I’ve tried explaining it in a previous post; how it’s all mixed up in a very fragmented, complex system where everything runs simultaneously but not necessarily in a conventional structure. To explain plainly, it is not a systematic system in the same decided way as in the INJT mind (in my understanding). INTPs hardly know the system of our thinking beforehand, only that it is there and that somehow everything is connected in complex, changeable ways that we love to discover. We understand it as we go along.
Sure, it’s possible to tighten the reins and distill these thought processes into something specific and concrete at times, when necessary, but overall, it’s neither durable nor natural to conform and constantly keep a tight rein on the INTP mind (unless you’re suffering from a mental illness as well, I guess. Mental health always comes first).
I do not abhor the concept of making compromises and I do make them more often than I think. It’s impossible not to make any at all. But still I cannot help think that life is too short to abide by anybody’s else’s rules (unintentionally, that sounds either like a ‘sneering teenager’ or an ‘anarchist’), even if you might see their logic. Still, it’s their logic. What they think you should choose to do. Some might suggest so because they love you and care about you and that’s fine; as long as they know when to take a step back and let you breath and decide for yourself. Even if that takes weeks, months, years. An entire goddamn life. It is still your decisions to make.
Often I think there’s nothing more important than being able to listen and respect when people say “I acknowledge that this is an interesting choice, and I appreciate your opinion, but I just don’t think it’s the right choice for me right now”. You don’t even have to explain why, by principle. If that’s what your gut feeling is telling you, you can’t even explain it to yourself sometimes. You don’t owe people anything in that regard unless your decision directly affect others, in my belief (after all, it’s never too late to change your mind). It may sound arrogant (and, I acknowledge, a bit passive-aggressive) but I guess it’s because it’s one of my core values which I cling to. Perhaps I’ve become more pigheaded as I’ve gotten older but the pigheadedness is not exactly a new thing.
To illustrate with a small anecdote: When I was younger it took me ages to choose an ice lolly from the ice cream kiosk whenever my parents gave me the option (which was quite often so it should not have been such a hard decision every. single. time.) 🤷♀️🤦♀️ It became rather symbolic for the rest of my life; the hesitation and careful consideration to make a decision when given a choice. Whenever I was told to hurry up, it only took me longer to decide, as if the push, in my mind, became a challenge to consider harder or even do the exact opposite.
This trickled into my formative years: All through school, I was constantly but politely reminded of my lack of oral contribution in class; a great frustration to my teachers who otherwise applauded my scholarly accomplishments. I was the ultimate bookish nerd, after all. At the time, I didn’t know or was able to formulate precisely why I couldn’t readily express my thoughts out loud (only on paper). The problem wasn’t my lack of intelligence or answers, but the fact that I was thinking. I was processing the question(s) posed by the teacher, subconsciously having an immediate answer but also an inner debate with myself; jumping ahead, thinking it over (self-)critically, outweighing its many possibilities and varied contexts which might influence the final answer. Theoretically, I had the answer but couldn’t quite phrase it to clearly explain what I was actually thinking. Before I knew it, somebody else had put their hand in the air and been chosen by the teacher and the conversation had moved on. I’m not trying to put the blame on any of my teachers here. They could hardly put everything on hold and wait for me to formulate my answer; that would have been some long school days.
No matter how hard the teachers tried alternative teachings, they rarely upset the inevitable system: Formative education will likely always remain an assembly line where one learns to think and adapt to the norm, to society; a sort of box where you process all those wild, abstract thoughts and ideas into something tangible and categorized. One would believe this would have helped me formulate the answers I had roaming in my head but, ironically, I believe it was the system’s failure to adapt to the complexity of the human mind.
Streamlining every individual thought process have its heels, especially for the artistic and/or non-academic minds who ‘refuse’ to adapt; who cannot naturally fall in line. I may have been academic but with streaks of an artistic soul as well and even my academic mind was spinning out of control, so to speak. Its theoretical modus operandi always seemed too wild for the level of our curriculum, so I reined it in, became more adaptive and even more introspective. It was simply my way of thinking; something I could never fully mold to suit society, something that I needed to take my own time to do, so to speak. I didn’t rightly understand why I couldn’t think outside the box as I did; which is paradoxical because as I became older, it was all everybody wanted me to do. I learned to unlearn what I had learned. Huh.
So, yeah. That’s how the cookie crumbles.