I’m very fond and grateful for my close INFP friend whom I’ve previously mentioned, yet I cannot help feeling somewhat left out in some essential aspects, because I often find myself in the position of (once again) being the listener and the helper, rarely the other way around. She does ask how I’m doing from time to time but rarely probes any further, and I know I’m no good at talking about my feelings, opting for the dismissive, self-deprecating way of dealing with such matters – though, in truth, it covers a desperate cry for help or just a listening, committed ear. However, despite all our years of friendship where I’ve tried to listen, help and learn about her, she has not detected this essential aspect of me (just like my parents and family … ain’t life funny, huh?), much less detected a certain other significant happening in my life, despite it was around the beginning of our friendship where we practically lived together. But it’s not just her. Of course it’s not just her; really, I cannot blame her.
And it leaves me wondering if I’ll remain the puzzle INTPs are so famous of being, despite showing myself, listening and opening myself up; never doubting my own worth or originality? Or if I’m really just so uninteresting? Forever the wallflower? Or that I’m somehow too confusing? I feel like screaming like Jane Eyre. Do they all honestly know me so little? Do they think I’m confident enough to deal with things my own way, so they don’t have to care? Do they think that I’m am unemotional cardboard character who can deflect worries with a witty intellect and a smile, never getting truly struck or depressed by anything? That I don’t have real, profound, lasting feelings and worries of my own?!
My parents haven’t given my feelings much trust and credit through the years, that’s for sure. But the formers are hardly experts or idols to inspire to in that department either. Yet, it does something significant to one’s self-perspective. That’s maybe partly why I have tried to detach myself from my parents. I was never shown the overall sympathetic acknowledgement and respect for my feelings (basically because my parents never really understood feelings or how to handle them properly; they just pretended to and smiled awkwardly), thus, now, in my adulthood I have a hard time showing them the amount of acknowledgement and respect for their feelings that they probably expect or should be given. I just can’t. I see and know of their internal ‘suffering’, but after all these years of dealing only with their inner, self-involved, projected bitterness to each other and all and sundry I’m too exhausted, too selfish to help, empathize or worry on behalf of them anymore. On the other hand, being their child and loving them, I can never not worry about what their feelings do to them, exhausting me as well, but I honestly wonder whether they have ever cared or wondered about my feelings for more than a couple of minutes or hours. After all, do they even know me? I’m not sure. Then what can they worry about (besides the usual superficialities about my getting a job or a house or enough money etc.), making whatever it is they come up with about them and their own guilt? Jeez. Can you see why I cannot deal with them?
And all of this just hurts all the more, because I feel I invest myself the best I can in people, despite all my shortcomings in dealing with emotions and that I do it in, perhaps, rather unconventional ways. I guess I am a misunderstood creature, after all. But I refuse to be blinded by my own flaws and only wallow in self-absorbed pity parties. I want to understand what and why, thus this post. I know I could do more for the people around me – hell, you can always do more! – but at least I am not spiteful against the human race; I am open and constructive-critical at the same time, I do not seek to judge or dismiss the feelings of others before I’ve heard the reasons behind them and even then I will try to take them into account. I can see and I know people feel and suffer and worry, no matter what they say otherwise, and I acknowledge all this, worry about what it will do to them personally and interpersonally, always feeling on behalf of them and wanting to help. Yet, it never reflects on me more than couple of brief moments that I can count on one hand. I’m not greedy or ungrateful, I only ask for such simple, basic, human things that I’ve never received for myself, only given. Am I still making this about me? Probably, but all I want is to understand the two-way street of interaction and various relationships and why I always feel left out in some way.
I do not understand that no matter what I do I can never seem to reach the goal so many others have reached at some point in their lives; finding a sense of prolonged belonging and understanding with someone else beyond oneself, family and friends. Especially, since I do it my way and, lately, I’ve opened myself more up to those around me, gaining confidence (or just jaded nonchalance aka ‘so far nothing has happened, so why not just let it go?’), balancing my life between my antics and introversion and meeting the world the best I can, yet I seem to fall right back into the patterns of old. I’ve done everything one should or can in terms of one’s self-image; I am myself, staying true to myself and open to the world, no matter how depressed, cynic or romantic I become. I cannot help that I’m no good with interpersonal and social superficialities – which I try to accept and overcome in my own way – because I simply and silently care about them: The people themselves and their inner beings; what effects their thoughts, feelings and actions have on themselves and others. How to show them this without putting on a show of stilted theatrics or compromising my own integrity? I do my best to inquire and learn and listen in order to show my interest and care for them without going about it the usual way. Again; picking up the phone, remembering birthdays, gossipping, giving gifts, go clubbing and getting drunk, talking about boys and clothes, platitudes and trivial matters in order to show that I care and am a good friend is not really my thing. I am simply here. In the literal and non-literal sense, if you like; always here to lend an open, but critical ear, give thoughts about the world, advice and guide without necessarily leading or expecting anything in return. However, I do hope for the latter. Not credit or even gratitude, just a reflection of genuine care and interest beyond the bonds of blood or returned pleasanties. Someone to react on impulse. Again, I am human; a three-dimensional person with my own life, needs, thoughts and feelings. I demand only so little, yet oh so significant sentiments in return.
Still, I’m left bereft. So strange never to have been touched just for me, held my hand – anything. How significant such a little thing can be. I sometimes fear nothing and no one (perhaps beyond myself and my sister) grounds me to this world and I will one day lift from the ground and fly upwards, vanishing into the thin air, leaving no significant trace behind. Not forgotten, but never that memorable either. Never to have played a vital role in anybody’s life. Never made an emotional impact beyond having been a friend, daughter, sister and niece. Not that those aren’t important or worth living for, but I cannot help myself thinking there must be more to life, especially since my sense of belonging is so limited in those above roles, in the first place. I have heard people with depression and suicidal thoughts mirror this sentiment, and though I may have a tendency to depression and self-pity, I could never off myself since I only have myself. I’m simply baffled by life – no more than any of you – but cannot help stating the facts and feeling left perplexed by them. In my logical INTP mind they do not make sense, but my mind also persists in rationalizing the world and making it into a chess game where everything must be balanced through causality. Yet, reality is rarely so. I cannot expect to receive or meet interest and understanding on the same level as I feel like giving.
I give in the amounts I am able and hope to one day receive in kind, and I imagine the rest. Yes, adventure and great love would be grand, but honestly, (and yeah, it may sound weird) because of my vivid imagination and the world of fiction, I have no greater need to explore the world (more than I already have) like so many of my peers who have interrailed and trekked foreign countries on their own in order to find themselves. I don’t necessarily believe one can find what one seeks by going out and about. One could easily find what one seeks by seeing what’s right in front of one’s nose. Besides, one does not necessarily have to find oneself outside oneself; you have to bring it as well, I believe. Or maybe you already have it, you just don’t know? The argument is at least 50/50. Some gain and develop by outwardly exploring the world, others don’t. The former may find grand adventure and meet many people, but at some point they’ll have to return home (unless they don’t return and likely are running away from something), often to discover their problems remain the same and within. Others seek inwards first of all, and say all you like about that, but seeking outwards isn’t per definition a better solution. Just like being social and partying doesn’t necessarily mean you are or feel less alone. I believe parties are often loneliness (if not happiness) exploded; an entropy of loneliness in the most basic, human form.
However, I also know I cannot get to know people if I do not meet them. My loneliness cannot surprise me that much, after all, but to rectify it I must do so in my own tempo, step by step; take what comes (and never settle). It just never seems to be my day. I wonder if it’s something intrinsic – rather than mere lazy cowardice – within the INTP (or maybe it’s just me) to not actively seek out human affection but to stay and wait for it to come to me? Maybe because we/I feel – or I rationalize it into the notion – that I don’t have the right to force my selfish need upon others? Also, given the fact that none so far has responded when I have opened up and been myself, my rationalizing has taken a step further and concluded that ‘why should anyone respond any differently in the future?’. Yes, I’ve grown partly cynic, but on the other hand, I can never quench my incessantly, persisting, sappy hope of a potential soulmate(s) out there. My self-pity takes root in this as well as my carelessness. There’s never just one side. It’s always two-faced. I have accepted that this inner battle is a significant part of adulthood.
Perhaps it’s my darn ‘chessplayer brain’ again; with lightning speed, it has taken almost every situation in life into account beforehand, inserting me in every possibility and mercilessly ruled me out of those in which I logically would not happen to come across or fit. Thus, unconsciously, I’ve already reconciled myself with the possibility that there are aspects of life that I’ll likely never have or experience (just like I know which ones I can achieve on my own), but then I ask myself if I have even tried to prove my brain wrong? Yes, somewhat, I’ve just not been very lucky in achieving evidence to the contrary. Once again: Brain, 1-0. Yes, I know, it’s sounds pretty daft to be in contest with your own brain/rationale, right? Maybe only you INTPs out there will understand this. If not, then I’m certified bat-shit crazy. But you see, very little has happened in my life and with a analyzing, rationalizing brain like mine – and I believe, that of an INTP – you remember every little, seemingly insignificant incident in your life that was less than favourable and/or confusing. It’s unavoidable not to take them into account to try and analyze past deeds and interactions in order to conclude something of your life and coming future. Whatever I fancy myself to imagine, my harsh inner realist tells me it’s still only imagination and not real.
Thus, my conclusions come to an ambivalent end. I’ve have nothing to truly complain about that I cannot do something about myself and yet, I still feel something is missing. Something essential that I see others have or have experienced at some point. I try to tell myself that I have something they don’t and maybe I do, but will it ever compensate for what life’s really about? Perhaps not. And (self)pity will do me no good, I know. It’s one of the least attractive traits you can have, so I try and banish it with self-deprecation, knowing full well that it only screams louder of my inner conflict and everyone or no one might hear it. And it doesn’t exactly help that my brain keeps telling me that I’m far from the only one who longs for this, that I cannot even allow myself to complain about this, that I’m so damn lucky, spoilt and privileged compared to those in greater misfortune than I. And I know this, but I have no alternative to cling to once this obvious fact has been stated.
It seems I always end up right back where I started.
Maybe I haven’t tried enough? Taken enough chances? But I honestly don’t know what else I can do, when all I have ever done is being myself!? I do not believe I haven’t lived or tried or taken chances, though I know I could probably have taken more (but then again, you can always take more). I will not budge from staying true to myself – and though no one said you should, so far it hasn’t really proven masterfully rewarding. My stubborn independence will perhaps always be my vice, rendering me unlucky in certain aspects of life that others stumble more ‘easily’ upon. I sometimes wish for a fruitful collision of sorts, but real-life is not like a movie script and you mostly need luck and coincidence for such happenings which you cannot exactly buy at the supermarket. So what does my rationale conclude? That if I cannot ever control what happens in life, all I can do is just be, exist and wait for it to show itself in its usual, random ways. Not much to build ambitions and expectations around, you see? So, ironically, in spite of these lengthy, self-involved posts I write here, I mostly shrug and say ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I can’t say’ whenever someone ask me what I think my future will bring, what I want to be, where and with whom I see myself in 5 or 10 years, etc. etc.. Yes, the smalltalk quickly runs short on the subject of me and the awkward silence endures.
In continuation with my previous posts about realizing that I probably never had or ever will find understanding and true belonging within the family (besides my sister, of course) and friends of the family, this has already been emphasized about three times since last summer. I’ve parcipated in at least two large family and friends gatherings where I knew most of the people attending and I don’t think I’ve ever felt more alone and alienated in my life. If my sister hadn’t been there as well, I think I would have gone mad! Some instances have been better than others and I’m fortunately armoured with a robust patience, but it really wears thin when it’s confirmed again and again just how little in common I have with so many people that is of my blood and relation. Well, nobody said blood instantly equals a deeper sense of belonging and mutual understanding (rather than pity), but this is close to ridiculous, because I’ve rarely felt so estranged than from my own family! I’ve received more genuine interest from friends of family members than the members themselves! Well, one side of the family, in particular. I’ve tried to be patient and listen, even be so daring to voice my opinion and try to discuss things with them but been quietly rebuffed each time, like I was invisible (story of my life). I seriously consider ranting about one particular incident with this side of the family that left me so utterly miffed and indignant, but partly thanks to my stupid naivety I still keep telling myself that this was just a one-time thing, despite having been proved otherwise multiple times. And an emotional rant about a personal incident would be no good. I have too many feelings about this particular episode, I’m not sure it would be a good idea to even begin a summary.
So what do I want? Someone to wallow in my depressive self-pity with? No, I just want a companion. To be seen. Really seen. And understood, not pitied. It’s such a pathetic, slushy request – perhaps even mundane in all its universality – but the one thing I ache for in life more than anything else, I think. I try to think of instances, often fleeting moments, where I believe I’ve been seen (or seen someone else), but I come up short. If so, they were gone too quickly, never to be realized. So you see, I roam this earth alone; my attachment to it seems ethereal. And yet, it doesn’t make me anymore special than any of you or other lonely souls out there. It’s a human condition, I believe.
Only … those who have found a companion, have they/you not cut an edge off that encompassing loneliness, because it is now shared by two? Have you not been grounded to the world through understanding, touch and even love from another human being by your side? Even if it did or will not last, at least you were so lucky to have experienced it. I envy that. So far my life has persistently diverted from such happenings to the point where I begin to wonder whether it will ever truly happen or if it’s all only in fiction. So, (until then, if ever), I dive into fiction to get my fix. Sad but true. (Please tell me I’m not the only one). It may all just be a phase until ‘real-life’ hits me after this summer where I’m finished at uni and need to get a job and a life. I cannot honestly say what is going to happen or what I can or will do to make whatever it is happen – other than what one would normally and sensibly do. You follow? Hm, not sure I do either.
So that’s that.
PS. If you got absolutely nothing out of this post, it’s fine. I’m not sure I did either, apart from getting to vent a bit. Hope the next one will have a slightly more sunny prospect.