This is going to be one of those self-absorbed, manic rant that I occasionally indulge in. This is the original reason why I have a blog. I sort out my feelings by writing about it. Writing, I believe, is the healthier form of catharsis.
If I ever get depressed, I know I should never prescribe myself any type of anti-depressant. Taking it will cause me to swing into full blown mania. Or maybe it is not about mania, per se.
Maybe it’s just me being an INTP.
According to the analysis of INTP personality type, we are prone to occasional burst of anger. This is something I don’t like to admit about myself. But it is the truth, nonetheless.
I do get irritated often. When people are late! When people are slow (driving or walking). When people hesitate without a good reason just when I am in a rush! When people don’t get basic concepts that I then have to explain before I can get to the actual point of what I want to say. I got irritated, but I could calm that irritation by reminding myself that “sabar itu sebahagian daripada iman,”
But I don’t get angry and full blown furious that often. There is not much occasion to do so. Because most of the time, our day to day life only deals with trivial matters. I am not going to care where we go to eat…you get to decide because I am just hungry and where we eat does not matter. I will enjoy the food just as much. I don’t care where you want to go to hang out….because most of the time, I just want to be left alone with my books. But since you are my friend and I feel somewhat obligated to keep in touch, so I make myself available to you (for a limited time). But I could be happy just as well in my bed reading the next book, so where we end up going is more for your sake than for mine. I don’t get worked up if we get lost while we are travelling. Chances are good that we will get to the destination eventually (it’s just a matter of when). I won’t say “I told you we should have taken the left turn!” in an annoying manner. I won’t interfere with your driving by saying “bawa slow sikit….awat tak bagi signal. blah blah blah”. I leave you to your own slow driving and I prefer that you leave my driving to myself when you are in the passenger seat.
So really, I don’t have that much occasion to be bursting in anger. I am very easy going. In everyday matters, I let you have your way (without even feeling like I am compromising).
But,when I do get angry, it is always because you have crossed my boundaries and have violated my principles. It is always the case. Do NOT ever ask me to do something I am not willing to do because it will most certainly trigger my manic episode…and I wouldn’t care whose butt (or feelings) I hurt.
When it comes to sticking to my principles, I am very severe. You can be my boss, the law enforcers or the authorities…..I won’t curb my tongue when I am seriously provoked. I can stand losing my job for going against my employer, I can bear to not speak with my family members for days if I feel like they fail to appreciate my point of views and insist I do things their way. Sometimes I even convince myself that I can stand going into prison for violating a rule that I think is unjust (hopefully it will never come to that), but I am NOT going to back down when it is a matter of values and principles.
Being an INTP is tough, you see. We are sometimes misunderstood by the general population because we made up of only 3% of the world population. And the majority of INTPs are men rather than women.
So, as a woman INTP, that makes me very rare (I am quite pleased about that, actually. Haha).
INTPs need a lot of space and time by themselves. Any intrusion into their routine should be accompanied by a few days notice (at least). When I was in Australia, I created a specific time frame for my sister in the UK regarding when she could call me (mostly because the time difference made it so difficult). I didn’t like being called when I was not ready (mentally and emotionally) to take the call. Of course I enjoy talking to my sister. But I wanted to create a specific slot for her to call me, so that I could talk to her without rushing and we could both enjoy the conversation stress-free. If I was not ready to take a call, I could get really moody. When I was in Australia, I called my parents every two weeks on the same day at around the same time each time. I was quite predictable in my socializing habits.
You see, I love my routine. Routine is efficient. It saves you the time of having to think because you already know what you are going to do. So, you have more time to do and think about the other interesting routine that you actually enjoy (reading, writing, blogging and reading and reading, and reading, yup….you got the idea).
When I am not travelling, routine is a source of immense relief and comfort that I cannot do without. I am in love with it!
Of course, if an emergency crops up, I adapt accordingly as we all do. But the point is, please don’t try to surprise me. I don’t like it!
INTPs love efficiency (hence the well-established routine). We are passionate about it. And this is one of the reason we don’t work well with slow group members. Whatever I say I want, I want it yesterday!
And if you are my subordinate and you are slow, you are bound to slightly irritate me (but at this point, I am not yet bursting with fury). But if you are my fellow colleagues or superiors and you are slow and give me last minute notice, you are bound to annoy me even more than the slow subordinates….because with my superiors and senior colleagues, it was hard for me to show my irritation as freely as I can with a subordinate (even though I have been told that it shows in my face). And this makes me angry with myself. It makes me feel like I have compromised my ideal principle of being equal and fair in my treatment towards everybody based on their conduct, regardless of their position. I believe that I have just as much reasons to be irritated with a slow and inefficient superiors just like I get irritated with a slow and inefficient subordinates. So when I had to treat them differently (to preserve the harmony) just because they have different position in an organization, I become very angry with my own injustice. With any cognitive dissonance that present itself in my daily life, I want to resolve it straightaway. Either I become equally irritated with both superiors and subordinates, or equally kind and patient with both of them. And knowing me, I am not very patient. (But maybe this is Allah’s way of teaching me patience. Since I find it hard to be equally irritable towards both my subordinates and my seniors, I might as well decide to be more patient with both, instead. That way, I can still stick to my ideal principle of being fair).
The problem is, I know myself. I know, I am more likely to show irritation with slow inefficient subordinates and I deal with them by simply being strict and pushy (without bursting in fury, unless they challenge my clear instruction without a good reason). But with my superiors, how pushy can I be? So because I have had to suppress my irritation towards my superiors (in respect to their position), I have an unfortunate tendency to one day burst in fury all of a sudden, when I feel like I have been patient enough. That’s my catharsis! Isn’t it ironic? Most people displace their anger towards a less threatening object. INTPs don’t do that. We displace our anger at the one most deserving of it, even when they hold a much higher position than us.
(I guess, it is better for my subordinates, isn’t it? They usually only experience my irritation which I am usually still careful to rein in. But my colleagues and my seniors, with whom I am not as free to be irritated stat, have sometimes experienced my sudden outburst and they would be shock to silence. And I am left feeling embarrassed for having those uncontrolled emotion.)
I hate that situation! Some people deal with trouble by wanting to get away from work (AWOL / MIA / holiday). But not me. This is when I need my routine the most. And that means, I need to go on working as usual, being extra careful to keep my emotion in check (but end up looking blunted instead, hahah). It’s not a good idea to ask me to talk about it at this acute stage (unless you are my very close confidante) I just want to hide behind my routine. Thank God for routine! It keeps me sane.
INTPs take some time to arrive to a conclusion when coming across a new concept. We ponder and ruminate on a matter from every angle and then we derive a simple way for us to understand the gist of it for future application. We may have read hundreds of sentences about a matter but then condense the whole thing to one or two general sentence that will describe the matter in the future (for the sake of efficiency and to be adapted into our general principle).
Some rules and some principles are carved in stones and should never be violated. When an INTP has decided that this is her principle, she can cut relationship and ties at a snap of her finger if she feels her principle is violated.
This is so true for me. I can cut relationship without looking back and with very minimal regrets (Fortunately, it is a rare occasion, but when it happens it can be quite dramatic. It is rare because in the first place, we do not have that many friends to cut relationship with. Haha. We are very careful who we allow to get close to us….those who make it into our circle of friends are already extraordinarily trustworthy in the first place and usually would not deliberately betray us. For those who are not that close to us, what they do would not even matter, and so we do not even notice them. Hahah. Unless they are being extra annoying, in which case we will simply perform a ‘cut direct’. Again, it is a rare occasion. But I admit, it has happened once or twice in my life). I can never be the sort who gives her cheating husband multiple second chances. Because my loyalty is tied to my trust. And my trust is tied to my principle. You violate one, you violate ALL of them. (In this matter, I can be quite dichotomous and black and white. Because we are efficient, we cut unworthy relationship from our lives to save our resources from being wasted. It might sound cold-blooded but I truly believe that this is the most intelligent thing a person could do.)
This is why freedom is so important to an INTP. We need financial freedom. So that we can feel secure at fighting back the unjust authority. “I am not going to do what you ask me to do because it is against my values. You can sack me now. But I am not going to do what you ask.” An INTP wish to say those words without worrying about her financial status, should she need to resign. And therefore, we are careful to make sure that our lifestyle is affordable and sustainable to us. We are generally not materialistic. If we are materialistic, we usually can afford it without depending on anyone else.
Being dependent on someone is one of the worst thing that can ever happen to an INTP. What if the person we are dependent to (either physically or emotionally) is the one who violates our principles and cross our boundaries? Being in a state of dependency to an unjust entity is like being in the earth version of hell, to INTPs. It is degrading, humiliating and painful.
Not only do INTPs abhor being dependent on anyone, we also feel deuced uncomfortable when we know someone is dependent on us. (does that sound selfish?) INTPs need freedom from having too much commitment, because we couldn’t do what is right when we have (too many) people who are dependent on us. How can INTPs stick to our principles (even at the threat of losing our job) if we have children for whom we need be a breadwinner to? So that’s why we prefer a successful partner who do not depend on us so much, financial wise. Just as we don’t depend on them so much, too. So that if one of us lost our livelihood for the sake of a principle, we know that the family unit can still survive financially from the income of the other partner. And this is also why we need a partner who shares the same values as us (the same ‘fikrah’), so that they can understand why we do what we do. It will be tough for an INTP to resign from work as a matter of principle, and then only to find out that her partner blames her for it and cannot understand why she HAS to do it. When it comes to fighting for our rights, INTPs expect their partners’ understanding and support. Because if the shoe is on the other foot, INTPs will give the same amount of understanding and support too.
Another thing about having too much commitments is there will be times when you have to hurt one feeling to spare the feeling of another. And because you have to juggle all these commitments, your every day life becomes complicated and you can no longer focus on the most important aspect of your life (We know that INTPs do not care about mundane every day life. But if their mundane every day life consists of a lot of responsibilities, they have no choice but to start caring. Suddenly, easy routine becomes complicated. So, that leaves very little time for other exciting things they care about such as books, learning, writing, fighting for the truth, advocating for what is right etc etc).
Besides, INTPs take responsibilities rather seriously. (so we are not that selfish, you see? Once we are committed to something, you can depend on us to do it.) It hurt our own principles if we couldn’t do our responsibilities properly. And as I have mentioned before, hurting our own principles is the worst thing anyone can do. It will be very difficult for us to forgive ourselves if we have to violate our own principles. So, for our own protection, INTPs limit commitments and responsibilities until we can feel reasonably sure that we can handle it. (Not because we have commitment issues, okay! That’s what people always misunderstand about us.)
If we want financial freedom, it is because we want to be able to say ‘f**k off’ to anyone who tries to threaten us in any way, oppress us in any form, until our hands are tied and we cannot say or do what we feel is right. We want financial freedom because we want to be able to afford our principle. Principle can cost a lot! To some, it is just a luxury that they can forego and ignore if they are forced to. To INTPs, it is what our life is about! We don’t have a choice of ignoring it without seriously damaging our psyche.
In relationship, INTPs do not want to be a follower or a slave. But we also do not want to be a leader or a master (because that is unnecessary responsibility and commitment, and therefore it is a burden). We want a friend. A companion. A soul mate. A partner. An equal. If we feel the slightest threat to our autonomy, we will again cut the relationship before it gets to the point of no return. If we feel forced, we will resist. Sometimes, we will resist even when it is for our own benefit (because we resent the way you approach us). Because again, our principle of autonomy is violated. We believe you should convince us with facts. Not force (sometimes disguised as love). We would rather argue with you from dawn till dusk but we want to be able to tell you that we follow your decisions because you win our minds. Not because you force us, manipulate us (with emotional blackmails, tears and guilt) and threaten us. It is a matter of pride to us that we just CANNOT bend to such devious acts. We rather lose the relationship than the autonomy.
INTPs don’t love blindly. Being an INTP, we would have already researched everything there is to know about love in a matter-of-fact manner: what is it (an emotional attachment and dependency), what is its natural progression (the euphoria will fade with time; loyalty and appreciation hopefully will remain if you have a good kind partner), what is the possible outcomes (everlasting married life hopefully, but possible risks of divorce, possible dissatisfaction with partner for the rest of your life), what is the prognosis (nowadays, poor). So, loving blindly doesn’t make sense to us. When we decide on marriage, it was done with a careful risk-benefit assessment. We are more likely to understand loyalty than love. Falling in love does not seem like how it is shown on TV. We fall in trust. If we trust you, I think that is love. Our love (read: trust) is tied to our loyalty and our principles. You violate any of them, you violate all of them. And we will walk away. We will have nothing to do with you anymore beyond the basic politeness and human decency.
So, if INTPs burst out in anger and you listen and retract from continuing to force us, the relationship can be saved. But once INTPs don’t get angry but simply shrug our shoulders and stop talking, it means we are done with you (sometimes only for that moment, but sometimes it can be forever).
So INTPs bursting out in anger is a good thing. It is equivalent to a warning bell that signals you to wait and think for a minute. It gives you a clear indication that you are violating something precious that we want to protect.
We won’t force you to agree to our decision. But we also don’t want to be forced to abandon our principles. But as long as you keep on arguing, then we will keep on defending what we believe as right (No offense; nothing personal. We do it with everyone). When you shut up, then we will shut up too.
When push comes to shove, just let us do what we believe to be true. And your relationship with us will be restored. To you, we will be friendly and nice again….until the next time you try to violate our principles again. Because at the end of the day, our ultimate loyalty is to our principle. Our principle is our ultimate romance. Our life revolve around it, like an overvalued idea that colours our every action and thought. Beyond that is just further elaboration.
“The Prophet (pbuh) mentioned anger, saying: ‘Some are swift to anger and swift to cool down, the one characteristic making up for the other; some are slow to anger and slow to cool down, the one characteristic making up for the other; but the best of you are those who are slow to anger and swift to cool down, and the worst of you are those who are swift to anger and slow to cool down.’”
When it comes to anger, I am not the best and thank God, I am also not the worst. What I am is swift to anger and swift to cool down. At least, our beloved prophet did say that one characteristic makes up for the other. I am content, for now.
Just discovered this video.
It is so true that it’s scary. Enjoy!