Podcast – Episode 0290 – Important Childhood Lessons For ExxPs and IxxJs

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia use the “FIRM Model” to talk about the important childhood lessons for ExxPs and IxxJs.

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In this episode Joel and Antonia use the "FIRM Model" to talk about the important childhood lessons for ExxPs and IxxJs. #ENTP #ENFP #INTJ #INFJ

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Showing 8 comments
  • Dan McCaffrey

    This was the first time I had really heard a description of the FIRM model (haven’t gotten to that podcast yet, and confession…I haven’t bought 11 copies of the book b/c I don’t ever read), but it was simple and amazing. I was literally agreeing with you out loud and laughing out loud at certain points. I’m an INFP, so this episode didn’t directly apply to me, but I could definitely identify with the ENFP fixation of freedom.

    Similar, but somewhat different, I also was realizing this morning that as part of maintaining my freedom, I don’t like to be “needed” or depended on for anything. At least I try to limit that as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I have 4 kids and a wife and I am certainly needed in my family, but I’m constantly trying to get everyone else to become independent. When someone is sick and I need to step up my game, I find myself getting resentful because of not having as much freedom. This is weird to me b/c I actually love taking care of people and having them feel loved, but maybe I just want to do it on my own terms…. Still in this mode of discovery, but this episode opened up another thing to churn around in my “real” introverted world.

  • Cristina Micsa

    Such an eye-opening podcast! Thank you! Both, my daughter and I are IJs and we struggle to articulate our boundaries. It seems mean to us to go tell other people that they overstepped our boundaries. Are we supposed to ask them to step back and until they do we don’t have contact with them? Or just tell them they did and give them another chance? Help!

  • Trisha

    This episode was incredibly accurate for me as an ISTJ and my spouse, a ISFJ. What particularly resonated was the comment about IJs often obsessing over something that they said or that happened that they feel awful about, only to find out that the other parties involved don’t even remember it, or if they do, it hardly affected them. It’s one of the most valuable growing points that I’ve gained from learning about my personality type and types in general. I’ve gone through so much self-inflicted anxiety from ruminating on past events, even if they were YEARS ago, and worrying about how they were perceived by others. This episode was a great gentle reminder that not everyone perceives things the same way and usually what I obsess over is barely noticed by others, which helps in letting go.

    I understand and generally speaking agree with the importance of bravery for IJs, but I disagreed with some of the specifics called out in the podcast. Forcing yourself to do things you’re uncomfortable with is important in order to prepare for challenges in life, and perhaps especially for IJs, but certain preferences that were called out as somewhat sad or unfortunate on the podcast I don’t think should be viewed that way. My husband and I are around 30, and 9 times out of 10 we prefer a quiet night in together to broader socializing. We don’t really know our neighbors. Why is that bad if it makes us happier and how we most enjoy spending our time? Why is our culture’s extroverted ideal better? When I was younger, I was forced to go on playdates and socialize or do something as seemingly simple as pick up the phone, being told “you’ll have to do it when you’re older”. While I see the value of encouraging bravery, I was often miserable and felt like I was wrong for preferring to be by myself. I recognize that my parents were doing what they thought was best, but I resented them for it at the time and it often added to my sense of feeling different or ashamed. I’m not a complete hermit, but when I was old enough to make the choice I cut WAY back on social activities, relieved that I could spend my time how I wanted. Encouraging bravery is good, but the degree to which it’s pushed on a child could do more harm than good.

    • Erik Bland

      I am an INTJ, and I have certainly also experienced, at times, prolonged internal analysis of some interaction with another person, while the other person didn’t seem to be bothered by it. I can relate to Joel and Antonia’s idea that, as IJ’s, getting out of our comfort zone can benefit us in the long run. I can also definitely agree with your idea that it shouldn’t have to be excessively ‘forced’. I think society seems to prefer extroverts (as you mention), so it could be easy to accidentally try to force an introvert to be someone they’re not with, justifying it as being for their own good.

      That said, I wanted to discuss my own experiences as being an IJ when it comes to protecting my own vulnerability versus going out into the world. I’ve identified three stages I’ve gone through so far:

      1) Going out into the world does help. This wasn’t forced on me by my parents, but it happened naturally as I moved away from home and went to college, and was required to do things on my own and interact significantly with the outside world. This did not turn me into an extrovert, but it did greatly increase my comfort in interacting with others, when it is necessary to do so. This supports Joel’s and Antonia’s idea.

      2) That was a great first step, but it only got me so far. Focusing on personal growth, for me, means spending a lot of time going inwards. I focused on learning how I make decisions, how I decide upon my values, and how my emotions work. This has been tremendous for me in allowing me to reduce my vulnerability and go out into the world. I metaphorically think of it this way – when I was younger, I had the classic INTJ ‘armor’, or exterior impenetrable attitude to protect myself, which I think of as a mirror to deflect painful things. As I’ve developed, I’ve turned that mirror into a transparent glass. Now much more can come in, but I haven’t become more vulnerable. Instead, as I’ve developed myself, I’ve become more inert, or unreactive. Things from the outside world can come in, but they are much more likely to pass right through me without doing harm. I don’t need to hide as much to protect myself, because I am much more confident in knowing who I am and why I do what I do.

      3) Finally, I learned to accept that I don’t need to change who I am unless I want to. While I have worked on interacting with the world in some ways, I haven’t done so in every way. And I’ve decided that it’s okay. I’ve consciously weighed the benefits and costs of ‘learning’ a new way of interacting with others, and some simply aren’t worth it to me. I’ve tried to give myself the freedom to be okay with that (even if the world tells me otherwise), and not force myself into situations where the end result is something that will satisfy the world at the expense of myself. *Disclaimer – I do sometimes still focus on satisfying the world at the expense of myself, just because I don’t want to be a complete jerk, and I would prefer to leave the world better off after me than before me. Deciding when to submit to the world and when not to is easier in theory than in practice, and I’m not always successful, but sometimes I am, and it helps a lot.

  • Kmarie

    This is an informative podcast, however, the “neighbour situation” seemed a bit of a judgement. Speaking as an INFJ married to an ENFP…all my neighbours know my husband’s name and they mostly chat with him, but they don’t know much about us, and honestly, I don’t know most of their names or if they know me (and it’s been more than 8 years:) I know they think I’m witchy and a little scary. They all hang out occasionally, we do not. It’s not because we are “protecting” ourselves but simply because we enjoy our privacy after years of being in a religious community where privacy was not an option. Others were constantly speaking into our lives, and as we are aging in our mid thirties we are finally free of that. Our world may be shrinking but in a good way- in a way that our home base is secure and involves soulful integration. Our home is literally named Anam Cara- our soul friend…and I don’t think it is a bad thing not to be overly friendly with our neighbours, because in the past, our previous neighbours felt that they could speak into our lives or watch our movements and give feedback, and we don’t want to invite that input into our sacred space. We are good to our neighbours as in we make sure we look out for their places when they are gone and ensure we respect their privacy like we would like ours respected. We are kind but we don’t need to be friends if it is not natural to be so. I don’t think that we are “insulting” ourselves from our world but maybe our neighbours would think that of us possibly? We have a wonderful time in our home reading, talking, listening to music, chatting with invited friends, on media…but our neighbours have no idea of what fun we have and whom I am. And frankly I have learned not to give it much thought. The ability to not connect to neighbours is a judgement… it does not equate to limiting life. We are not lonely or sad. We enjoy our sleep too but we also have fun. That example seemed like a juxtaposition to being brave and not caring what others think. I understand what you are trying to say about your neighbours, but maybe they have an enriching existence? Maybe they are very thankful for their neighbours who leave them alone? I know I am thankful even if my neighbours talk about me I am so thankful they are safe, good people who don’t require me to say a cheery hello to every time I walk into my home. That would be exhausting. But sometimes I try to say a cheery hello ( which shocks them) to speak their language too, but I am thankful they have let me speak mine and give me lots of space. Different is not less.:) It’s ok to have a private home base.

    Recently my neighbour was shocked because she began working at the bank and saw that when I walked in everyone wants to talk to me. Many businesses love me because we have established a relationship due to the fact that I have to integrate them into my life. The look on her face when she realized I was loved, valued and friendly was one of shock…but I don’t think that is bad…I am not isolated or unloved nor am I not good to people or very friendly and validating when it is called for. But I don’t need to be that way with strangers or neighbours. It would take too much out of my very introverted self. Perhaps your neighbours feel the same way?

    I was constantly taught to be brave and vulnerable as a child. I was friends with everyone and had to host strangers constantly. I was never alone because I had private school, then friends, then youth group, then bible study then church…it was a constant requirement to put myself out there…so I had the childhood advice you give, and yes it served me well in many ways, because I am very good at taking pain. Pain is easy for me. Enthusiasm is tougher. I honestly think the best thing to give an INFJ child is alone time. Freedom to be alone. Freedom to just BE. I was constantly pushed to get out of my comfort zone. My dad was an ENTP. I had to get pushed in the boat when I hated water because it was supposed to be a fun experience…it never was. So yea, I do honour that more in my children while still pushing them to imbue their souls with self knowledge and calm.

    I do however agree with your IJ horror story analogy…in the fact that INFJs ARE worried about malevolent forces, but I would argue that IJ’s are extremely resilient, as well as used to darkness, thus we see darkness more …My parents were NOT nurturing in many ways. I was constantly pushed out of my comfort zone and not able to be at home much, now in my adulthood I find it beautiful that I can create a private, nurturing environment that does not involve tons of stranger input like my childhood. And I don’t think that is avoidance but a willingness to look at the discomfort of my life before and choose the hardships with the good but a beautiful, secure home base to do this from.

    I do agree that boundaries are my life long lesson and will always be…I have to constantly hone in that skill and re balance it. Walls may not work but teaching an INFJ child to have a secure, home base is integral…also their soul base. THEN to add the elements of truths inside boundaries is definitely important (which was what you encouraged.) I think IJ’s truly need to learn how to create a safe place to go in and out of the world from. Then they can learn how to interact. I am never lonely. I love my alone time. And I adore the people in my life but don’t feel I need a lot more. I appreciated what you said about showing up strong…that is what I do for my neighbours to leave me alone. Not because I can’t connect but because I savour the freedom to be me, to be a safe and kind person WITHOUT having to be friends.:)

    Thank you for your insight and time that you give. This is a lovely use of space in the world and giving your energy in this regard, is such a life giving beauty. Thank you.

    • Kmarie

      Ha ha I meant insulating not insulting:)

  • Michael

    Wow. For nine months, I have never left a comment, but the quote Joel mentioned really struck a chord in a deeply positive way; “It’s none of my business what other people think about me.” I really appreciate this incredible reframe for dealing with the perceptions of others and the image I cast.

    This podcast really resonated with me because not only am I an ISTJ, but I have an ISTJ mother (as well as an ESTJ father). While I am not sure how an ExxJ would factor into the dynamic, it seemed like my ESTJ father balanced my ISTJ mother’s proclivity for protection. I can recall several situations where my father pushed me to be brave and take action while my mother would handle unfamiliar (and, thus, intimidating) situations. Regardless of whether they create a balance, I think they both helped me develop a healthy relationship with bravery (and, possibly, boundaries).

    I really like the advice given to IxxJs in this episodes, and I agree that the FIRM model is fascinating. In my experience, every fixation has been absolutely spot on. Thank you so much for your insight, and I look forward to Part 2! 🙂

  • Luke

    I have to confess … this podcast hit home. I don’t think I’ve ever had a podcast resonate so deeply on an emotional level 😭, and it was amazing the feeling I got from the INFJ Type Advice podcast. The FIRM model fascinates me! I felt vulnerable listening to the entire second half of the podcast as I reminisced my childhood. My family never understood why I feared new situations so much. I really wish I had this information given to me in my own language as a small child. How amazing would that have been!? It wasn’t until I hit adulthood that I learned about how to put myself out there more. I think y’all are spot on about IJs needing to do things that scare them. I feel like I constantly face that challenge every day, and it is helpful to have a resource help me visualize my development. Thank you so much PH from the bottom of my heart! ❤️

    P.S As a therapist, I frequently give PH as a resource for my clients’ own development. I’ve seen how impactful this material can be!

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