“Do you ever feel you’ve become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora’s box of all the secret, hateful parts – your arrogance, your spite, your condescension – has sprung open? Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and moving on, you zing them.” -Joe Fox, You’ve Got Mail
Most of the time, I appreciate that Bryan challenges me. But sometimes he takes things too far. He likes playing devil’s advocate just to get me thinking and, often, to better hear and understand my thought process. He finds it interesting when I process externally. I’m pretty sure he has no malicious intent, but sometimes he seems just plain contentious, and I end up feeling like nothing more than a debate partner or, worse, a science experiment.
I’m reading through the bible chronologically again this year. Right now, I’m finishing up the story of Joseph – how he was sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of sexual assault by Potiphar’s wife, ended up in prison, was forgotten by Pharaoh’s cupbearer after helping him, but eventually became Egypt’s second in command by God’s provision in God’s perfect timing. I was telling Bryan this afternoon about how much I love Joseph. He is one of my favorite bible characters, and I relate a lot to his story.
“Oh, you realized that about yourself, did you?” I heard Bryan’s smile over the phone.
“You think I’m like Joseph, too?”
Bryan’s answer – indirect as always – was, “Joseph got himself into a lot of bad situations.”
Zing! So you think I get myself into a lot of bad situations? I defended Joseph, “He couldn’t control all of the things that happened to him.”
Bryan interrupted me, as he does sometimes, “He bragged to his brothers about his prophetic dreams that someday they would all bow to him. He went into the house alone where Potiphar’s wife was, knowing full well that she was an aggressive woman who wanted him for herself — ”
My turn to interrupt. “Joseph’s brothers already hated him before he even told them about his dreams. Jacob was a fool to be so obvious about Joseph being his favorite son. And Joseph was just going into the house to do his work when Potiphar’s wife grabbed his cloak. He had no way of knowing she would be alone in there. It was bound to happen eventually. And anyway, God had a hand in everything that happened, because His plan all along was to use Joseph to save Egypt from the coming famine.”
Bryan’s counter: “But Joseph could have gotten to that same end by a far less messy path if he had exercised more wisdom and discretion.”
…I won’t continue to belabor the conversation. Suffice it to say that we didn’t end the phone call on a good note. It was our first full-blown fight. And it was awful.
I cried for a couple of hours before cleaning myself up for evening church. I tend to go to the 5:00pm service at my old church – the one I attended before my broken engagement. As a result, I don’t like socializing with many of the congregants. Most of them don’t know that part of my story, and I don’t really want to talk about it. Those that DO know about it tend to pry. “How’s your heart?” they ask me. You haven’t spoken to me in six months, while I was deep in the pit of depression. What makes you think I would want to share the most intimate concerns of my heart with you when you have proven yourself to be a fair-weather friend?
I arrived ten minutes early, so I sat in my car until the church service started, thinking it was safe to walk in unnoticed at that point. Nope. About thirty seconds after I found a spot alone in the back, one of my old acquaintances, Tiffany, came over with her boyfriend – a new addition since we last spoke. “Oh my gosh! How ARE you?! It’s so great to see you! How’s work? How’s life? What’s new?”
So. Many. Questions.
And none that I really felt up to answering. “Work’s okay,” I said simply.
“You like it?!” she asked enthusiastically.
“It pays the bills,” I answered noncommittally, hoping she caught my tone of voice that was obviously not welcoming of further conversation.
“So what’s new? Anything exciting?”
I shrugged. “Not really.”
She tilted her head to the side and put her hand on my shoulder. “How’s your heart?”
Ah, there it is. I couldn’t wait for that question. Let’s see. I’ve been absolutely destroyed emotionally in the last year, first by the man I loved who decided he didn’t want to marry me after all; then by countless so-called friends who either unintentionally said hurtful things or abandoned me altogether. I have walls up higher than you can climb; thicker than you can break through. Do you really think I’ll make myself vulnerable to you after not speaking for so long? Do you really think I’m foolish enough to believe you actually want to hear the answer to your question? No one really wants to know the answer when they ask how you’re doing. They just want you to hurry up and say “fine” so they can get back to talking about themselves and how awesome their life is.
So I told her, “I’d rather not talk about it.” When non-verbals don’t work, I resort to verbals. So much less elegant, but sadly more effective.
After the service, some people invited me to go out for frozen yogurt. I don’t know why; I’m sure I didn’t look very welcoming. I declined as politely as I could and escaped back home to my dark apartment where I made myself hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream to sip on while binge watching Netflix.
Yes, this is my life. I have officially become the worst version of myself.
I know the least thing you want to do is talk to someone about it and especially not someone that you don’t know (that much) but as a fellow INTJ and Christian I feel obligated to talk to you. Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” So please bear me with me. It honestly feels like I really know you because of your stories and we’ve both been through a lot. I know exactly how you feel being rejected and not liked, My parents have said to me, “You need to fix yourself. Be better!” Stuff like that and not because of things that I’ve done but because of how I think. It has made me extremely mad and hurt that even my parents would say that. They say they love me but in many cases, I don’t see it. Honestly, I haven’t forgiven them and others who have extremely hurt me and that scares me out of my whits because of this verse. Matthew 6:14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” I can’t honestly tell them that I’ve forgiven them without lying. So I just pray to God every night, “Please forgive me for not forgiving others.” Of course, I’m just lying to myself hoping to myself that he’ll forgive me but I hope and have faith that he will do forgive me and forget my sins.
Before I was a Christian and trying to figure things out and dealing with my depression, I just kind of mocked God by asking Him, “Show me something that I haven’t figured out. If you do, I will be open-minded. Show me something extra that makes the bible and you so special. What makes you better than all of the religions that only ignorant people follow.” I read through the Bible again without my family putting in their thoughts and I noticed something that I hadn’t before. I noticed that the whole Bible was connected with stories. One story and bad decision or evil intention led to something great. Someone found themselves or was able to conquer evil in some way. I found this amazing and I realized that people are so short-sighted. “You have to look at the big picture” I felt like God was telling me.
So I ask myself, why did a lot of people have to die in my life that I loved. Why did those things happen. I started thinking about it and I realized that God was using those people’s lives who were already Christians to change my life. I’ve also realized that my hardest times have made me stronger. I’ve been able to help other people through their experience and who knows, maybe I’m going to slightly help you or you help me!
Does that really help…probably not I’m guessing! Every person especially someone with an INTJ personality has to come to a certain decision. I know sometimes that the least thing that I want to hear is, “Do that or believe something!” Also, I hate hearing people say that they are sorry for their actions because I know that they don’t.
Again, please don’t take this as advice but take this as encouragement. You’ve persevered this far and I’m sure God will help you persevere through life! The greatest thing that Jesus has done in my life is being my comforter when others don’t care or want to.
I desperately want people to succeed in life and realize the potential they can be. That honestly drove me to write this. I’ve been nicknamed by some of my best friends, “The encourager.” I somehow bear a lot of people’s burdens in life! When I said that I was praying for you, I was definitely not lying!
Your fellow brother in Jesus Christ
Hey Steve – Thanks for the encouragement. I’m actually really okay; just being melodramatic. Sometimes as a way of processing my thoughts/feelings, I just pour everything out, and then I’m okay. 😉
See here: https://authenticallyaurora.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/why-i-write/
You’re welcome! Although, I do have to ask. Do you have any suggestions for my problem! I can’t shake the feeling like you say you can! What advice do you have for me? Because I feel like I will have this problem my whole life.
Lol! Yes, I do that sometimes in my post. I read that post and one thing that kind of caught my eye was that people claim that you are, “Narcissistic.” You don’t see that very often for a lot of people with INTJ personality.
Anyway, have you told Bryan not to push you too far because it kind of seems like he was part of the problem if I must say so. I tell my friends if they are bothering me too much to just stop and I give them a stern look, and that usually makes them quiet. When I’m back to my normal feeling, then I go back and say that I’m all better. “Please go back to your rambling about your troubles with boyfriends,” which is the normal conversations.
Hey Steve – which problem are you talking about? Your tendency toward depressive thoughts? It would really depend on the root cause behind it – severe loss, rejection, idealism turned to disillusionment, core personality/body chemistry, etc. Talk therapy (i.e. coffee dates with solid friends) and creative outlets are key for me!
I’m surprised you don’t think INTJs tend toward narcissism. Either we really are narcissistic (hey, we’re the “Mastermind” personality!) or people tend to perceive us that way because we can be so quiet and stuck in our own heads, coming off as aloof.
I’ve told Bryan that his incessant questions exhaust and frustrate me. We’re working on it. 😉
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You have no idea how many times I’ve had a hard day and I don’t want to talk about anything and that is what people do. They don’t get the fact that I just don’t want to talk and me saying good is a signal that I’m done. Sorry Aurora. Hopefully, like usually happens to me, you just need some time to process things (as introverts always do) and you will then be able to come to terms with things. Extro’s will never understand that! ARRRGGGH
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You were right, Bitter Ben. I’m a bazillion times better today. My introverted self just needed some time (and blog ranting) to process things. Silly Extros… ARRRGGGGH
Gotta process and sometimes that involves video games, Netflix, chocolate or anything that is mindless so we can think about it.
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That’s weird? I can’t seem to reply to your comment???
I’m talking about this, “. I know exactly how you feel being rejected and not liked, My parents have said to me, “You need to fix yourself. Be better!” Stuff like that and not because of things that I’ve done but because of how I think. It has made me extremely mad and hurt that even my parents would say that. They say they love me but in many cases, I don’t see it. Honestly, I haven’t forgiven them and others who have extremely hurt me and that scares me out of my whits because of this verse. Matthew 6:14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.” I can’t honestly tell them that I’ve forgiven them without lying. So I just pray to God every night, “Please forgive me for not forgiving others.” Of course, I’m just lying to myself hoping to myself that he’ll forgive me but I hope and have faith that he will do forgive me and forget my sins.”
I can’t seem to forgive people sometimes what they’ve done. I’ve fixed many of my problems, addictions, and other descriptancies (had to use that great word :P) but this is the one that I’ve working on for such a long time and I can’t figure it out. Ugh… Forgiveness is also a big thing for Christians and I was hoping your advice. What do you when someone breaks your heart if you don’t mind sharing with me?
True! Let me restate what I said. We tend to only think about ourselves and observe ourselves to improve us. I was thinking of narcissistic in the “culture’s” way. Like the show, Selfie. You see that. I just watched the first episode just to get a fun laugh. It’s all this girl and her constant obsessions about looking the best…not being the best.
Hmm…not to pry anymore but are you sure that both of you are working. I have no doubt that in your mind that you’re trying to improve yourself and keep the relationship going no matter how much brain-power it takes but is he? It takes two people to make a relationship work or a friendship as I’ve learned.
In any case, when I’m in a depression, comedy always helps me. Watching comedians or watching The Tonight Show always gets me laughing. Also, looking through my journal when I was younger. I was THE funniest kid.
https://whatiliketodobysteve.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/favorite-quotes-from-the-bachelor-episode-2/ I thought this was funny what I wrote. The girls are getting crazier! Are you still watching? I have no choice since I made a stupid bet! Ugh…
Thanks for the question – Forgiveness is a tough one. I think a key for me is remembering that forgiveness isn’t saying that what the other person did is right or even okay. I know women who have been sexually abused and had to learn to forgive their attackers. We are called to forgive others not because they deserve it, but because holding onto bitterness and unforgiveness is ungodly and only damages us, not the people we hold grudges against.
I think it’s also helpful to put yourself in the other person’s position. A manager at work stabs me in the back all the time… because she feels threatened by me and is unhappy in her marriage. It’s displaced anger. My ex-fiance broke things off with me because he was still dealing with issues about his idea of marriage… stemming from the fact that his dad cheated on his mom when my ex was a teenager.
Humanize the people you have trouble forgiving. It makes a world of difference!
First of all, thank you for answering. I ask a lot of people those tough questions and they just give me the very annoying, “Umm” answer.
Very true! I hate holding grudges, which is why I’m trying to get rid of this. I know it is a sin to do so and it is JUST hurting me! How you answered makes me think that I can do this. *pumps fist up in the air victorious* kind of feel! I probably could most definitely tell God that I forgive them and maybe feel all better. Who knows? Maybe I’ve already forgiven them really but I keep getting new hurtful things that they’ve said to me has made rethink of them. Who knows?
You lost me at putting myself in their shoes. In fact, if I did so. I would hold an incredibly strong grudge on them that would last for pretty much forever. Most of my family (70% I’m calculating) has the good but annoying personality of an ISTJ. Yes, you can probably see where this is going. What is said to be the most abundant personality has some great strengths like you and I but they have a very bad tendency to be stubborn and not very open. “The facts are the facts, and ISTJs tend to resist any new idea that isn’t supported by them. This factual decision-making process also makes it difficult for people with the ISTJ personality type to accept that they were wrong about something.” So even if I went up to them and brought the situation up and say that I forgive them, they would probably be like, “What? That’s in a sense why I haven’t bothered to bring anything up because I know that it wouldn’t go anywhere.
So I’m going to at least try to do my part if I haven’t really forgiven them in my heart but I’m not going to go up to them and talk to them because then I’ll have to tell them everything and feel vulnerable to my emotions in front of them for nothing. Basically squandering my energy.
On a slightly funny but sad note, because they hold grudges against people, I’m constantly hearing stories of even the smallest bad things that they’ve done or said to each other. None of my family has my personality although my cousin has an INTP personality. Very close to our personalities so we have a blast but I always like to say, “My family was never ready to have an INTJ son.” Since I’m adopted I’m just curious, do you believe that this personality could be genetic? I personally don’t that is entirely so. Although, I think part of my INTJ self has always been there but the “darker and more depressed” INTJ was dormant but enough events happened that it awakened. A couple of my friends have parents who have an INTJ dad or mom. Anybody in your family have your personality? Since I don’t know who my birth parents (don’t really care that much because of what I heard I made the deduction that I was abandoned) could’ve had the same personality. Although, I’ve forgiven my birth parents a long time ago because God had greater plans for me and I realize I wouldn’t have helped a lot of people in that country. Who knows, I might’ve never been a Christian either. So instead of wishing them to go to Hell like many other adopted kids out there, I hope they are somehow in Heaven so I can shake their hands and say, “Thank you for not being their for me.” 😛 Not being sarcastic either! 😉
Opps…the Grammar Nazi is going to catch me on the wrong “their.” I meant “there.” Excuses starting: I’m very tired from school, it’s night, and I don’t have the light on. 😛
Gah – I hate these days. It feels so hopeless. Of course, after processing and ranting and eating everything feels better, but it’s no piece of cake.
I had a few love interests over the years that liked to challenge me too. It’s gut-wrenching to hear your painfully accurate description of what that’s like.
I broke hearts, but I decided I couldn’t be with someone like that. I appreciate intelligence anf critical thinking, but not when the aim is to watch me squirm. I’m not interested in providing that kind of entertainment.
And they don’t stop.
Making these feelings known never made any difference. Eventually they decided they wanted to have some fun, pick a fight, piss me off, etc. It takes too much out of me.
The choice was rewarded. What I married is a KIND, secure, brilliant intelligence. He loves me more than his genius. I’d advise anyone never to settle for less. Marriage is a long haul.
It sounds like you and I have lived semi-parallel lives. I haven’t been with Bryan long enough to see if his brilliance or his kindness comes out as his top priority in our relationship, but I agree that it’s no fun to be with someone whose aim is to watch you squirm. I’ve communicated to Bryan how he can make me feel when he behaves certain ways, so we’ll see how he responds in the coming weeks…!
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