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Type at the Family Conference Table: Introverted Intuition

Type at the Family Conference Table: Introverted Intuition

Written by Mathew David Pauley, JD, MA, MDR

INTJs and INFJs, Introverted Intuitive types, tend to be big-picture, well-organized individuals who can bring both qualities to bear as they work toward their goals. They are often known for their uncanny insight and ability to anticipate things before they happen. However, unlike individuals with a preference for Perceiving, who typically are ready to respond to the unexpected and flex to meet new challenges, INTJs and INFJs would rather diminish the pool of likely unexpected possibilities. Unexpected events such as medical emergencies can stress out anyone, but especially for the normally in-control Introverted Intuitive types, who find themselves suddenly required to both express their less used Extraverted side (engaging the medical team as well as family and friends) and respond to an array of minutiae associated with the emergency.

INTJs or INFJs in the grip of their least favorite mental process, Extraverted Sensing, may be trying very hard to control the current circumstances. Normally, their dominant preferences allow these individuals to engage a situation supported by the safety associated with being prepared for it (whereas Extraverted Sensing types would tend to be more comfortable being “in the moment”). So, for example, INTJs or INFJs who arrive at the hospital after their loved one has been rushed into surgery after a car accident, and are left sitting in the waiting room—without understanding exactly what happened, what is currently going on, or what is going to happen—would try to reestablish their normal sense of control amid the chaos.

Using their least favorite process, Extraverted Sensing, to regain that control requires them to focus their energies oniStock_Family at Hospital_Small dealing with the here and now, which they were unable to anticipate, and can seem to others as focusing obsessively on external details. Often the most helpful thing a care provider can do for people is to help them regain balance, or give them the space to get there on their own. Introverted Intuitive types indeed tend to want to get there on their own, and to be allowed time alone to recharge.

Recall, the overriding theme of this series of posts is that people in times of stress can be showing you the worst side of their personality type. The person obsessively trying to control every little detail happening around him may be a “big picture” person trying to regain perspective, and the person experiencing a crisis over frightening possibilities may be reluctantly being forced to face the difficult nitty-gritty details. In sum, what people show us and what they would actually prefer to do can be divergent, and responding to their needs may sometimes seem counterintuitive.

Want to read more? Check out my previous blogs in this series:

One Comment

  1. so, what if you’re an INTP? I’m not finding anything here.

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