Sanity as An INFP Highly Sensitive Person

Submitted by on Friday, April 4, 20142 Comments

Keeping SanityThe INFP & Highly Sensitive Person Problem

Being an INFP & Highly Sensitive Person is a unique and problematic way to be in this world, at least for me it was. Today, I still have challenges due to my ‘traits of personality’ but I don’t seem to have problems anymore. My Mind, on the other hand, still has its weirdo HSP and INFP thoughts, but at least I’ve knocked them down to silliness rather than problems.

With that said, I’m still noticing that external Egos, or interchangeably, ‘people’ or ‘other Minds,’ are still doing what they do. Without awareness of their “First Cause” they seek to change yours. Let’s explore how to stay sane despite this…

“I’ve noticed some people seem to have plenty ideas on how others should live.”~ Codependent Recovery

I wrote a lot of the following at the end of 2013 on my Codie Recovery page with the following image that I’ve now altered to reflect as a Highly Sensitive Person problem. In case I am not making it clear, my experience as a Highly Sensitive Person and INFP made me inordinately prone to a natural sort of codependency.

HSP Keeping Sanity

The Problem

I used to think that if people did or situations turned out as I wanted, I would finally be complete and happy.

If I had a house with a yard, check. Still discontent. If I had so much money in the bank, check. Still discontent. If I had my animals neutered/spayed, check. Still discontent. Maybe it’s my drinking, check. Still discontent. If my boyfriend could be more responsible, check.  Maybe I should finally marry him, check. WAY discontent. If my friends or family could just accept me for who I was, check. Still discontent.

You see how this was going. No matter what I did or had, I thought I would finally – at the next point – enjoy permanently satisfied felicity. But nothing. NOTHING. There was always an overturning. Ever felt like you were running a race, kept winning, but never got the satisfaction for longer than a second? This was my life.

This is such an infested world sickness of thought –  despite terms like “self-absorbed” and “egocentric” in order to keep (others’) grosser manifestations at bay – that it never occurs to these same people, their OWN lack; their own overturning.

  • I’ll call you selfish because you do what you want and I want you to do what I want.
  • I’ll point out your wrongness because it’s definitely ‘wrongier’ than mine.
  • I feel lonely because he does what he wants and doesn’t do what I want.
  • I don’t like how you act so you need to change.

But in truth, who doesn’t want to get what it is they desire?

It may be under the guise of love or caring. It may be displayed as manipulation or strong-arming. It may take the form of arguing a point. It may be honestly expressed or displayed. It may express itself or obfuscate under many forms and yet, there is Truth beneath it always.

The INFP HSP PersonalitySome expressed desires are more honest than others. I don’t mind the honest innocence; I do mind the manipulation. And even in MY disliking the manipulation, what is it am *I* desiring? Is it wrongier or rightier than your desires? :)

In my Mind, the justification is “It’s more honest than manipulation, is why!” but yet, in truth, it’s probably also pretty honest of YOUR Mind that if you could just give me the silent treatment, I would learn my lesson and quit being so pugnacious.

I Am the First Cause

The beauty of this Truth, I have discovered, is that I am the first cause.

We Want What We Desire

It is human innocence that I want what I want; That I desire. This desire, at a most fundamental level, is what gets me to feed myself, to keep hygiene, to perform any action. I have, alas, determined some desires are good for me while others, not so much.

But if my thoughts did not exist, you would not be what I am blaming for my discontent in this moment.

But seeing as how my thoughts/beliefs/opinions do exist, what is the solution to my discontent in a situation that provokes it?

Because (as an INFP  Highly Sensitive Person), I am quite easily provoked by manipulation, strong-arming, illusions, lies, and bullshit. And it hurts. It hurts like mad.

The Solution to the Problem

The solution is getting to the Truth of it.

The Truth of it is the ‘I’ thought.

Before the external focus of ‘thoughts of you’ or ‘thoughts of this situation’ there is the first thought of ‘I’ and – as codependent recovery and sanity would suggest – “What is it (underneath) that I am needing, wanting or feeling?”

  • Maybe I am wanting to feel loved.
  • Maybe I feel lonely because I do not feel loved.
  • Maybe I am desiring to be understood.
  • Maybe I am desiring to feel important.
  • Maybe I fear I am not important.
  • Maybe I am fearing for my future.
  • Maybe I am wanting my ego expressed. (Sure. Why not?)

Please do not judge them into condemnation, as that is hardly helpful to the solution.

And this doesn’t mean the SuperEgo won’t try.

Be Mindful of The Voice

If you’re like me, you may deny (or try to) the truth of the thought or feeling for fear of SuperEgo reprisal;  That voice in your head that I have some fun terms for like The Mother Voice, the Itty Bitty Shitty Committee, or plainly, Mind. Also called “The Voice of Knowledge” by Don Miguel Ruiz or simply called “The Mind” by other philosophers, psychologists or teachers of eastern philosophy.

Unfortunately for sanity, this voice has a foothold in western culture and let’s not pretend the Puritans or Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter does not come to mind.

  • You’re Bad.
  • You feel ____? That is ridiculous.
  • Don’t do that. People will think you are ______.

Other people, who still obey and abide this Mind Voice,  may lend SUPPORT to these Thoughts and call you _______ or think you’re _______ (fill it in with your worst fears). And then YOUR SuperEgo Mind rises up and says, “See? I told you so. Don’t do that. You’re bad.”

So you’re struggling even more to keep your Internal Disquietude shutted up.

If Shame and Blame worked we’d all be healed by now. If this Voice of Knowledge was not inherently dysfunctional this world would already know peace and sanity.

Killing the Voice

I used to fight against it and tell it to shut up. I used to ignore it and hoped it would go away, which further proved my First Cause Natural Me would engage in disingenuous acts of ‘people pleasing’ or contorting myself to not be ‘that.’ (Whatever ‘that’ happened to be.)

These two methods did not work and I fell prey to even more behaviors or thoughts in order to prove I did not have it.

  • I’ll be super nice to the person I know who dislikes me.
  • I’ll pretend to be interested in this conversation.
  • I’ll laugh with everyone else even though it’s not funny.
  • I’ll pretend I don’t have fear in this situation.
  • I’ll Lie because the Truth would have them hate me.
  • If I say nothing, they will have nothing to hate me with.

Only in getting to the truth of our ‘first cause’ thoughts can we go on to straighten the ones out that give us inner conflict or take action to align our behavior with the ones we understand to be of our higher good.

It was a process to give my ‘second cause’ SuperEgo thoughts their due place. I did not wake up one morning and they were murdered. It did not happen like that for me. What DID happen was – as is often my case of Living Samsara – the pendulum swung to extremes. I went from obeying it outright and manifesting bodily self-hatred to trying to get rid of the first-cause Mind Thoughts after adopting a version of Eastern Philosophy and understanding that my Thoughts were the trouble.

What finally did work for the good of my Sanity and Mind was more along the lines of the Eastern Philosophy of  Advaita Vedanta , by way of Gangaji, if one needs a label in order to discover more about it. And even in that, I still play with my Thoughts using Byron Katie.

But – again – be mindful that the SuperEgo can use even THIS to thwart your path SO, if more sensible toward your own personal dispensation, perhaps starting with Codependent Recovery Literature or even the “I Accept Myself Today” mantra – (“How to Accept Yourself Starting Now“) – may be more up your alley.

I DO feel genuinely disheartened that I can never seem to offer one answer or one solution. Such is the Awareness of Mind, that we are not all on the same path or at the same distance of the same path. BUT, rest assured, that once you DO find what works for you, all texts, teachings, and learnings that you gravitate toward, you will find the same solution, only in different language.

So yes, I think I wrote all this for me, the First Cause.

2 Comments »

  • Garth M. said:

    If I had a house with a yard, check. Still discontent. If I had so much money in the bank, check. Still discontent. If I had my animals neutered/spayed, check. Still discontent. Maybe it’s my drinking, check. Still discontent. If my boyfriend could be more responsible, check. Maybe I should finally marry him, check. WAY discontent. If my friends or family could just accept me for who I was, check. Still discontent.

    This brings the word “dissatisfactory” to mind (something about that word rolls around nicely in my head). The Buddhists say that everything in life is dissatisfactory, and that we’re never going to be happy until we find a way to get rid of our desires. Maybe serene is a better word than happy, because I think wanting to be happy is also a desire.

    I’m still noticing that external Egos, or interchangeably, ‘people’ or ‘other Minds,’ are still doing what they do. Without awareness of their “First Cause” they seek to change yours.

    Other people are the worst, right? Not matter how serene we think we are, people seem to have a knack for knocking us off center. And the further we let them in, the better they get at pushing our buttons. Unfortunately, its becoming clear to me that keeping them out isn’t the solution… :) (I smile because that concept is an epiphany for me, but it seems soooo obvious that I feel like a dunce for not realizing it sooner.)

    But other people are going to keep doing what other people do…and if keeping them out isn’t the solution then maybe I need to change something inside myself!?

    Trying to “Never take anything personally” helps. As does “What other people think about me is none of my business.” But, it seems like stinging remarks (and worse) still get through. So how do I put those concepts to use? I read a Brene Brown book recently and I really like her thoughts on “shame resiliance.” Her three part plan:

    1). Talk to yourself like you talk to someone you love. (Calling myself a dunce probably isn’t helpful, even if I said it with a smile).

    2). Reach out to someone you trust.

    3). Tell your story (to someone who’s earned the right to hear your story): “Shame cannot survive being spoken” says Ms. Brown

    Those concepts sound incredibly familiar to someone working on The 12 Steps.

    I DO feel genuinely disheartened that I can never seem to offer one answer or one solution.

    A lady was complaining the other day about not knowing exactly the right words to use in a situation, and her friend sweetly her “Well, if you knew exactly what the right words were, you’d be perfect, and the only one who’s perfect is Jesus.” I think the point was that we should just keep on doing our best…but hearing that story told to me my a sweet little lady touched me.

    I really like the concept of “progress not perfection” because I truly believe that we’re all imperfect, (maybe even Jesus), and that recognizing our imperfections (and the imperfections in others), keeps us both humble and compassionate. I’m not sure there is “one solution.” I think we’ve got to just keep chipping away at our problems, and as we wipe one problem away, it’s quite likely that we’ll find another problem underneath.

    When I was a kid, there was a pretty good sized hill behind the house and one day I decided I was going to climb it. As hills go, it wasn’t really that big, but it was the biggest hill I’d ever climbed at that point. After an hour or two I finally made it to the top. I remember being happy that I’d made it to the top, but once I got there I could then see another ridge-line that lead all the way out to an even taller mountain that would take days to get to! I wasn’t ready for the journey, so I turned around and went home.

    That’s how I feel about this spiritual journey I’m on, except usually I don’t turn around and go home. I just keep climbing.

    Thanks letting me share…love your blog.

  • Samsara (author) said:

    Sorry it took so long for me to acknowledge you {{Garth}}. I appreciate you. Thank you for taking your time to share your experience and your perspective. :)

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