On Being a Fake INFP
For 20 years I have consistently tested out as an INFP in the Myers Briggs test. I for Introvert, N for iNtuitive (vs. Sensate), F for Feeling (vs. Thinking) and P for Perceiver — one who likes to keep all options open (vs. Judger who wants closure.). People have always looked at this in disbelief. After all, I am the PowerPoint guy, the workaholic, the emotionally distant, get-things-done guy, NOT an INFP.
On the Enneagram nine-point system I am a solid THREE, the Achiever. Over the past ten years since first being introduced to the Enneagram I danced around other possible numbers (most recently thinking myself a SEVEN, before settling in to my THREEness). But THREE I am.
In looking at an Enneagram book that maps Enneagram types to Myers Briggs types, two facts came out. First a THREE being an INFP rarely if ever occurs. Since I am pretty sure of my THREEness, how could my INFP not be correct after such consistency in my Myers-Briggs scores over the years?
Secondly, the book said that often THREEs are so conscious of image and achievement and so out of touch with their true feelings, that they often fake feeling ways that are “appropriate” to the situation. This hit me as a dead on possibility. I judge Thinkers as morally inferior to Feelers. So I do not allow myself to appear to be a Thinker in questions in the Myers-Briggs test that are supposed to distinguish between feelers and thinkers. I have often thought of this possibility actually, but until I saw this in print as a characteristic of a THREE I had dismissed it.
And the same thing on J and P. I value open-mindedness more than decisive-mindedness, so I perhaps answered the Myers-Briggs questions on how I wanted to appear (open minded) rather than who I am (somewhat closed minded)!
In this moment I can even boldly and with confidence say that I am in fact an INTJ! I don’t like such mental closed-minded people, so I have done everything not to appear thus, even cheat on my Myers-Briggs tests down through the years. But my behavior, as others observe and as I observe myself, betrays my mask of INFP that overlays my INTJ.
So let me settle into this possible reality. If I can accept being an INTJ, it is like getting out of a prison where I was forcing myself to behave and to even feel in ways that were not me. Perfect example of my Idealized Self Image (INFP) masking my authentic self (INTJ). If I can admit that my feeling side is undeveloped, unlike that of a true INFP, then I can simply observe this reality and allow myself to grow emotionally. This insight excites me! Maybe I am coming home to who I am in my INTJ core. From here I can allow my feeling side to feel what is real for me, not what my THREEness thinks I ought to feel! I wonder how this will unfold! I feel some excitement in new possibilities to feel all my feelings, even, or especially, those I have not allowed to be in me!