Due to the crutches and a steady stream of pain medication, I am on medical leave from work while we come to mutually agreeable terms regarding working from home. This has been a wonderful chance to be with my family, and an urgent reminder of why I chose to go to work in the first place. I am in total awe of people, like my partner John, who can deal with the hectic and crazy stress of a house full of two teenagers (sometimes three when he watches his youngest sister during the day) and all the mess they can generate. The truth is, it just makes me feel inadequate when I realize how quickly I'm biting my tongue and reaching for my hair. It's a personal failing, for sure.
The dichotomy of gratification/third-dimension-of-hell that home currently is has raised another of my family's ongoing obsessions: personality analysis. We found Sun Sign, Moon Sign by Charles Harvey to be a fascinating study of the various people in our lives, and the latest... the Kiersey personality test. Me, I'm an INFJ (or should I say, Ghandi? :D) and John's an INFP. According to Kiersey.com:
Counselors have an exceptionally strong desire to contribute to the welfare of others, and find great personal fulfillment interacting with people, nurturing their personal development, guiding them to realize their human potential. Although they are happy working at jobs (such as writing) that require solitude and close attention, Counselors do quite well with individuals or groups of people, provided that the personal interactions are not superficial, and that they find some quiet, private time every now and then to recharge their batteries. Counselors are both kind and positive in their handling of others; they are great listeners and seem naturally interested in helping people with their personal problems. Not usually visible leaders, Counselors prefer to work intensely with those close to them, especially on a one-to-one basis, quietly exerting their influence behind the scenes.
Counselors are scarce, little more than one percent of the population, and can be hard to get to know, since they tend not to share their innermost thoughts or their powerful emotional reactions except with their loved ones. They are highly private people, with an unusually rich, complicated inner life. Friends or colleagues who have known them for years may find sides emerging which come as a surprise. Not that Counselors are flighty or scattered; they value their integrity a great deal, but they have mysterious, intricately woven personalities which sometimes puzzle even them.
Blessed with vivid imaginations, Counselors are often seen as the most poetical of all the types, and in fact they use a lot of poetic imagery in their everyday language. Their great talent for language-both written and spoken-is usually directed toward communicating with people in a personalized way. Counselors are highly intuitive and can recognize another's emotions or intentions - good or evil - even before that person is aware of them. Counselors themselves can seldom tell how they came to read others' feelings so keenly. This extreme sensitivity to others could very well be the basis of the Counselor's remarkable ability to experience a whole array of psychic phenomena.
I've never wanted to be a counselor to anyone, of course, but I found a lot in the profile that resonated, sometimes with things I've been told by others, and some that I know for myself. Another description can be found on this site, which classifies INFJ's as "Protectors":
INFJs are concerned for people's feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. They are very sensitive to conflict, and cannot tolerate it very well. Situations which are charged with conflict may drive the normally peaceful INFJ into a state of agitation or charged anger. They may tend to internalize conflict into their bodies, and experience health problems when under a lot of stress.* Italics mine
Because the INFJ has such strong intuitive capabilities, they trust their own instincts above all else. This may result in an INFJ stubbornness and tendency to ignore other people's opinions. They believe that they're right. On the other hand, INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves - there's always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don't often take time to revel in their accomplishments. They have strong value systems, and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. In deference to the Feeling aspect of their personalities, INFJs are in some ways gentle and easy going. Conversely, they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families. They don't believe in compromising their ideals.
I like that John and I share the "INF"---Introvert (vs. Extrovert), Intuitive (vs. Sensory), Feeling (vs. Thinking)---which makes both of us Idealists... something I would have told you without taking a test!
Highly ethical in their actions, Idealists hold themselves to a strict standard of personal integrity. They must be true to themselves and to others, and they can be quite hard on themselves when they are dishonest, or when they are false or insincere. More often, however, Idealists are the very soul of kindness. Particularly in their personal relationships, Idealists are without question filled with love and good will. They believe in giving of themselves to help others; they cherish a few warm, sensitive friendships; they strive for a special rapport with their children; and in marriage they wish to find a "soulmate," someone with whom they can bond emotionally and spiritually, sharing their deepest feelings and their complex inner worlds.
Our primary difference---again something I could have told you!---is "Judging" (me) vs."Perception" (John). I tend to judge situations and people with a quick sweeping glance, but John holds back judgment on any and every thing. (Ok, that's a slight exaggeration, but it doesn't feel like it when we're at the grocery store and he refuses to make a decision on which bread to chose. Grrrr!)
The children are another story, and another dimension, altogether...