It’s true, we INFJs crave and need alone time. A lot of it. More than any “normal” person. That being said, deployment is… insanely hard, even for social hermits. Despite that need to be alone, we also crave deep connection and, let’s face it, this doesn’t happen very often or with many people. Usually with military spouses, we are in an unfamiliar city/state, miles and miles away from our closest friends and family, and, to top it off, we are alone for half of our marriage. Needless to say, I’ve had more than my share of alone time. So I’ve written an impromptu short story to sort of paraphrase things that happen during deployments for the INFJ. Military marriages often get romanticized and I’m told by so many women that I’m brave and that the reunions must be so beautiful. They don’t see the sacrifices that both of us have to make, they don’t see the pain, the disconnect, the overall stress that it puts on our relationship. So here it is, a peek into deployment for an INFJ military spouse:
You haven’t talked to your husband in days. You knew you probably wouldn’t, but you always cling to the hope that you might get a surprise text or a quick phone call. You pretend he’s just away on a harmless, boring business trip, because you can’t even think about the danger he is in on a daily basis. It would eat you up on the inside and you have to be strong. But who are you kidding? It’s at the back of your mind all the time anyway.
You get a text and your heart jumps in your throat. It’s him. He’s okay. But all that joy quickly dissipates.
Hey babe. Just landed. Service is spotty, I’m exhausted, and have to get up early tomorrow. I’ll wake up ten minutes early to give you a call, it’ll be about noon your time. I love you and I miss you. Goodnight sweetheart.
So no phone call tonight. No big deal, you tell yourself. But you tuck your blanket under your chin and try to hold back your tears. You reach a hand to his side of bed and feel cold.
Then, when the stars finally align, the wifi connection is good, and you both have some free time AT THE SAME TIME: you get to FaceTime! Time for some deep conversation, connection, laughing, flirting… right? Wrong. He’s exhausted. He can’t tell you half of the things that transpired since you last spoke because it’s top secret information. You feel silly for recounting the pointless activities of your day, they seem trivial compared to everything he’s doing. He’s saving the world, you’re binge-watching The Walking Dead and eating your feelings, AKA: a tub of ice cream. Crickets chirp on both ends of the phone line. How is it that you both haven’t talked in days, yet neither of you can think of ONE thing to say or to talk about?
You ask the few probing questions that eventually pop into your brain, and he uses two to three word answers, leaving the trail of conversation cold and dead.
What. Is. HAPPENING?! Your mind begins to panic. Are we drifting apart? Am I boring him? Come on, come on! Think of an interesting thing to say! Think of a good topic!
What comes out of your mouth next is nothing short of anti-climatic and it shows. He answers again with only a few words and you can tell he doesn’t want to take it any further. In your head, you know it must just be because he’s tired and stressed, but it’s difficult not to feel disconnected and disheartened. You’d been looking forward to this phone call for days, and it feels awkward and forced. You worry that it will be this way the whole deployment and you’re not sure if you can even handle that.
Be strong, be strong, be strong, you chant in your head like a prayer, a plea.
The following conversations are a lot like the last. You even argue some, letting some of your frustration slip and causing a fight. You don’t tell any of your friends or family for a multitude of reasons: A) nobody likes a complainer or hearing about other people’s problems, B) you’re afraid of what will be unleashed if you let go of your strength even for a moment and the last thing you want is to be pitied, C) you don’t want anyone to think poorly about your husband or you, and D) nobody can fix this problem or even understand, this is just a part of deployment. So what’s the point in complaining?
The months pass by and you begin to get anxious for his return home. Arguments become less and less and you both find common ground in your excitement. You discuss the first restaurant you two will visit when he gets back, the vacations you will take, and the relaxing days you will have together. Things seem to be going back to normal. You’re the happiest you’ve been in months and you just get happier as the days come closer to THE day.
Well, THE day finally comes and it is sheer bliss. Joyous tears fill your eyes as you hug him and kiss him for the first time in a long time. You hold his hand the whole way home, not daring to let go, like he may suddenly disappear if you break contact. You keep stealing glances at him, trying to memorize his face and to soak up all the lost time. His eyes never looked so beautiful and you cherish the way that he looks at you.
He still looks tired and distant. You can tell, but you push it to the back of your mind.
You get home and soak up all the romance and affection you possibly can and in that moment, yes, it is exactly as everyone romanticizes homecomings to be. You think everything is back to the way it should be, maybe even better.
But then you wake up in the middle of the night and smile, reaching to his side of the bed.. only to feel nothing but cold, unused sheets. Your smile fades and your mind begins to race and worry. Is he okay? Is he sick? Wrapping a blanket around your shoulders, you tip toe across the room and check the bathroom for a light.
So both you and your heart pick up the pace out of your bedroom only to find him stretched out on the couch, fast asleep. Your heart sinks as you contemplate the possible reasons why, each solution more depressing than the next. Whether it is because he prefers sleeping alone or the fact that he’s just used to it, you thought things were back to normal. But the truth is that the military deprives couples like you from normalcy. There is no “routine”, no “home”, no “usual”. You can only take ANYTHING one day at a time. You pause to glance back at the sleeping form of the man you love, hurt and loneliness in your heart, and you can’t help but push those feelings aside and allow yourself to be thankful for a moment that he is safe, home, and healthy, regardless of your emotional distance. That is, after all, all that truly matters. He is still here. The rest, well, you will work them out with time.
With that you pad quietly back to bed with hope in your heart that tomorrow will be a little better and pushing aside your hurt feelings. After all, you knew what you were signing up for, right?
I am fortunate enough to work for a transitional program for young adults with Autism. Our school uses hands-on classes and movement therapy to increase vocational skills and improve executive functioning to help these young adults transition into the workplace or college; whatever their end goal is, we help them get there. Working for such a life-changing institution and being around these amazing people has definitely altered my perspective on life.
While we (everyone who is considered “normal”) complain about our jobs, our spouses, our friends, etc., we forget about the people like the kids at our program: the people who struggle to even find a job because of their Autism, the people who might not ever get married due to no choice of their own because it is so difficult for them to relate to others and for others to relate to them, and those who have no friends because no one takes the time to understand them or tolerate their differences. Those of us who are lucky enough to be within a spectrum that is considered to be “normal”, we are so spoiled and we don’t even know it.
My heart aches for these young adults that come up to me with sad eyes and recount stories of bullies, loneliness, and battered confidence. Yes, our students may experience hardship on a level that most of us do not and will not ever experience ourselves. On the other hand, I have seen the joy on their faces when they ride a bike by themselves for the first time, make it through a whole day of classes without having a meltdown, make a new friend, or when they finish a project and tell me that they never knew they could make something that beautiful. They find joy in the smallest victories, in things that we take for granted on a daily basis.
As Christmas season rolls around, our minds are honed in on buying gifts, the money we have to spend on those gifts, what we’re going to be receiving from someone else, or the stresses of travel or hosting family. It’s easy to forget people like our students, whose minds and hearts are on simpler things. All they seem to want for the holidays is to fit in somewhere, to be understood, to make just one friend, to even be interviewed for ONE job, or to gain a level of independence that allows them to simply take care of themselves. I am thankful to work at a place like this and to be involved in these kids’ lives because it’s keeping my mind and heart in check. I spend so much time disappointed in myself for not achieving more in life or not having enough that I forget to be thankful and grateful for what I do have.
Be thoughtful. Be thankful.
Thank you for reading!
Let me first preface this by saying: I cannot speak for my husband and my perceptions about him may be slightly off (regardless of just how perceptive I can be). ENTPs are nearly impossible to pin down, even for the hawk eyes and senses of an INFJ. I simply want to write this post to share our strengths and our struggles.
Keep in mind that my husband and I have been married for less than 2 years, so we are still ‘figuring each other out’. He is also an only child and in the military, and I believe these two factors have altered his personality a little and he can often act a lot like in INTP.
Okay, ready? Let’s do this.
Good lord, there has never been a truer meme. Quite obviously, I am the INFJ in this picture and my husband is the ENTP. There are so many times when I stare at him and just admire the green of his eyes or the way his brow furrows when he’s thinking. And then I’ll wonder if he ever thinks anything like that about me. That being said, I am 97% sure he RARELY thinks things like that because he is thinking about so many other random but brilliant things. That’s not to say he doesn’t love me, he is just not wired the same.
How the ENTP and INFJ are VASTLY different:
How the ENTP and INFJ are somewhat similar:
Our Strengths as a Couple:
Things We Could Definitely Work on:
And there you have it, the basics of an INFJ/ENTP marriage. We are vastly different people, but we work well together as a team and we are crazy in love (like Beyonce).
Thanks for reading! Happy Hump Day Eve!
Hello everyone and welcome to Insights of an INFJ!
I am starting this blog to document the inner thoughts and struggles of a tried-and-true, tested (multiple times on multiple testing websites) INFJ woman. For those of you who know absolutely nothing about INFJs and this is your starting place, I despise describing our personality type because it feels weird and unnatural. So if you don’t know the basics of the INFJ, click here to get an overview. Now, for the rest of you who are MBTI-obsessed (like me) and are well aware of the ‘mysterious’ nature of the rare INFJ personality type, I’m writing this blog to lift the veil for other personality types, and to offer up some thoughts and feelings for my fellow INFJs so we don’t feel so alone in the world. I know I always find it so fascinating to read other INFJs’ writing and spot the similarities in choice of words, feelings in particular situations, and sometimes even morals and ideals.
When I was attempting to conjure up a topic to begin my blog from my whirlwind of a brain, I decided to start with what intrigues me the most. One of the things that really resonates with me as an INFJ is the fact that I am a walking contradiction and I feel like I’m constantly having to explain myself to people so I don’t feel so strange. There is only one person in this whole world that I feel understands me completely (sometimes even better than I understand myself), and that is my father whom I’m pretty positive is an ENFJ. However, when it comes to everyone else, I feel like I’m always apologizing for who I am, whether it’s because I am outgoing/talkative one day and quiet/introspective the next or because I don’t text them for several days because I’m in my mega-introvert state. People seem to think I’m inconsistent, cold and disconnected, or just a crappy friend. If I find a friend who understands or doesn’t seem bothered by my lapses in communication, I hold on to them forever.
As a walking contradiction, I sometimes don’t even understand myself or why I act the way that I do. It wasn’t until I was introduced to MBTI that the lightbulb came on for me. I never understood why there were some people I could be loud and outgoing with and others that I just couldn’t. As I’ve come to realize through my MBTI research, it’s not that I can’t be myself around some people, it’s that I’m a social chameleon; that is to say, I reflect or mirror the energy of others. The loud, goofy, spontaneous ‘me’ is just as much a part of me as the quiet, analytical, careful ‘me’. I adapt myself to my friend’s, family’s, husband’s needs and energy.
It’s also difficult for me to understand myself because of the way that we strange INFJs think. 1) I don’t think in words, I think in pictures or mini-movies or sometimes I simply think in emotions or feelings 2) I may have subconsciously picked up on some small detail that doesn’t come to my conscious mind, and, therefore, have no idea why I feel the way that I do. We have heightened subconscious senses that allow us to pick up on the smallest alteration in mood, tone of voice, or body language without even realizing we’ve picked up on it. For example, if my husband has closed off body language and a slightly irritated tone of voice, instead of my brain registering the body language and tone of voice, it jumps straight to ‘my husband is in a bad mood’. I don’t know why I think he’s in a bad mood, but I know he is. I have been wondering, all my other INFJs, do you think that way as well? It’s like my brain, instead of focusing on ‘1+1=?’, it just says ‘2’ and I’m not sure where I got that answer. It can make me seem less credible because I can’t ‘show my work’, so to speak, or explain why, I can only give my answer.
And full disclosure: I don’t have premonitions and I can’t read your future or your mind. I do have feelings about situations or people and don’t understand why, but I think that’s mostly because of the small perceptions my subconscious makes without letting my conscious mind know. I am extremely empathetic and will even feel ill if someone I care about is ill. I am empathetic to the point where extreme emotions make me immensely uncomfortable. That’s probably where I differ from most INFJs: I make a horrid counselor because I can’t seem to tolerate the emotions of others. If someone is crying, I focus too much on the empathy and I will cry too. So I do the opposite and emotionally detach so I won’t be overwhelmed. At that point, I can still feel sympathy toward the person, but I think I come off as a little cold. Emotions are also extremely intimate to me, so I can really only share those emotions with people I am the closest to.
MBTI was like a beacon of light and hope to me (as it is for a lot of INFJs). I feel like I have a better understanding of myself and others because of this test. I hope that, despite my scattered thought processes, this first post helped to shed some light on the inner thought processes and mechanics of INFJs and it helped my fellow INFJs feel at least a small sense of connectedness. Or maybe I’m just a different breed altogether :).
Thanks for reading! Happy Holidays!