One of the first things the residential facility wanted us to do as parents was to take a free 16 personalities personality test. I got the same results as I always do. There was also an extra personality subtype designated as an A or a T. The A is for Assertive. These are the kind of people that know what they want. The other type was T for Turbulent. These people tend to be a lot more indecisive. I don’t know about you, but I think being labeled turbulent has a rather negative connotation. But anyway, since I am not a T what do I care?
It was no surprise to me that I am an ISTJ-A. Yes, a confident introvert. My husband was under the misconception that all introverts lack confidence because they don’t speak up. Then he bought a book about introverts and learned what all introverts already know which is that a lot of introverts are not introverts because they lack confidence. For the most part I don’t really care what people think so why would I waste my time talking.
What did surprise me is that I am now more introverted and less of a thinker since last time I took the test. I used to be a strong TJ and now I am strongly IJ which is a little scary. Why am I less of a thinker and more introverted? Has the pandemic changed me? Do I seek out thinking less because I don’t know what to think or believe anymore since free thinking appears to be frowned upon in our society as of late? With the pandemic I am spending gobs more time alone and guess what? I kind of like it.
One thing is consistent for sure. I am still a strong J. My life is comprised of rules, structure, order, tasks, and routine. I’ll have you know that when I say rules, I mean MY rules. I hate being told what to do. But I am super anal with my rules. For example, it really bugs me when people leave lights on in rooms they are not in. My husband will shoot holes in my beliefs because he asks me how much electricity do I think it takes to run my hot tub. If I really cared, I would care about that more than if he left a light on or not. But like always, I totally dismiss his criticism because it does not align with my anal set of rules.
But let’s talk about my husband. He is an ENTJ-A a.k.a. the confident commander. He is all structure, tasks, leadership, and efficiency. Yikes! Between the two of us, we are probably the least sensitive parents out there. We are all honesty and truth. Sometimes the truth hurts. But neither one of us gets hurt easily. Instead we get angry and upset with each other if we are not on the same page. Thankfully most of the time we are.
One other thing that is strongly engrained in my personality type is avoiding of all conflict. This causes pain for me because my honesty and truth creates incongruency within me with my strong desire to avoid conflict. Sometimes in order to avoid conflict I am not honest with other people. I feel this way a lot with my mom. I want to be honest with her about some things but she is very sensitive and I know it will hurt her and cause conflict between us. I could be as peace loving as a hippie but even they would kick me out of their group because I am much too anxious and anal which apparently is not as fun as I thought it was.
My daughter Arabella took the personality test in residential and it was no surprise to me that she is an ENFP-T. What does this mean?? It means that her personality is the exact opposite of mine. To go even further, her personality mirrors mine in the percentages of each trait. She is as extroverted as I am introverted. I am an extreme J (96%), and she is an extreme P (98%). She is a social butterfly, spontaneous, carefree, fun loving, hates rules and structure, and is ready to go anywhere the wind blows her. I mean, how is that even fair? I need to parent a child that does not respond well to my personality style. It’s not much better with Paul.
We are all order, tasks, and structure. In her mind things start when she gets there. There is no having to be up at a certain time in her world. We are not very sensitive to her whims of emotion. If you have to be there at a certain time, you have to be there. I share a lot of personality traits with my oldest two children, but Arabella is alien to me. I am hoping that this knowledge will help us somehow bridge the chasm between us. How do you parent a free spirit when we as parents are all tasks and structure even the military would be envious of? I am hoping to find out.
I wish I knew a lot of these things sooner. Both Paul and I lacked healthy parenting role models. We did the best with what we were working with and from where we came from. Since I am all rules and structure, I have learned that not a lot of people are as anal as I am or are anal in the same ways. I have this mindfulness. Even though I think I have the right way, I can understand that other people do not follow this right way. What a shame, really. LOL!!
As a rule, I tend to put people in boxes. My best friend is spontaneous and carefree which is a great balance. However, sometimes I get irritated with her because while I spend a lot of time planning events she is very last minute and changes everything. Instead of getting annoyed, I put her in the spontaneous box. If this is a pattern of behavior for her it makes it easier for me to understand and deal with it if I understand that.
I also put my mom in an anxious/irrational box. When she acts in ways that are counterintuitive to reason I can understand without getting worked up. For instance, I had a really hard time with her not wanting to leave my dad after he broke the law. Instead he became the love of her life. This is not rational or sane. Instead of letting it drive me absolutely crazy, I put her in the irrational box. It helped me to deal with her better within the constraints of my personality. It became her rule and routine.
Well, I am done thinking for today.