My girlfriend,Jungian Personality Theory and the Rabbit Hole (Dealing with Relationships)

Caractacus

New Member
I feel that this may need some context. I spent a decade of extreme illness after my Doctors completely failed to spot that I was diabetic, and then when they spotted it, decided it was type 2 and refused to send me to hospital to check that my diabetes wasn't type 1. It was type 1 and I am unbelievably lucky not to be dead. During the last year of that, I met a girl who basically gave me the strength to stay alive, and at the same time I was able to help her deal with a major event in her life. So the bond between us is extremely close.

Which is a good thing, because there are times when we basically want to [end the relationship with] each other, especially when it comes to '9/11 truth'.

I wanted to figure out why we were arguing so much, and dimly recalling something about Myers-Briggs that I had been aware of before I became ill, I went looking for info and came across a Youtuber named CS Joseph.

A primer: The Myers-Briggs test, which you may have taken online, is a commercial test designed around Carl Jung's theory of personality. Sometimes I've tried to explain it to people and they dismiss it as 'just another online personality test' like Which Harry Potter character are you? but that is nowhere near the case. The theory simplified, states that every personality has the same aspects with a few binary possibilities and that these are organised in 'stacks', each personality has their stacks in a different order and the aspect at the top of the stack is where they operate best, while the aspect at the bottom of the stack is what causes fear/anxiety and can lead to personality problems and mental health issues. There are lots of websites out there that try and explain this, many of them don't do it very well, but it only takes a minute of CS Joseph, who understands the theory very well, explaining every aspect of your personality to you and why, to realise that this is an extremely accurate model of personality. He has a tonne of videos now, but start with the 'Who are the ....'s' series.

It turns out that I am an INTP, and my friend is an INFP. That's Introvert, iNtuitive, Thinking/Feeling, Perceptive. The other possible main binaries are Extroverted, Sensing and Judging, although it's a little bit more complicated than that as Myers-Briggs simplified things a little bit to make it commercial. The combination of these four major binaries leads to 16 possible personalities. Literally, of the seven billion people on the planet, we are dealing with only 16 personalities. I as an INTP and she as an INFP are fascinating to observe, as INP's we often think in exactly the same way, and then in other ways we are complete opposites. INTP and INFP are actually regarded as almost completely incompatible despite having an insane initial attraction to each other, and understanding the theory behind why we fight has helped a lot in being able to be forgiving to each other and not [end the relationship with] each other.

Some of those personalities are more prone to the rabbit hole than others. INFP is one of them. As an INTP I am logical and rational to extremes, I can spot logical flaws a mile off, to the point that it is actively painful to me when I hear an obvious conspiracy theory based on inexact science and circumstantial evidence. INFP is capable of logic and reasoning and research, but has a bias towards things they 'feel' to be true, to the point where they will dismiss anything that goes against that theory as almost a direct assault on their soul. My friend will put on a David Icke video about 9/11, as she did yesterday and take everything he says as gospel truth, and in fairness, nothing Icke said, as far as I know, was a lie, it just didn't actually prove anything, it took a lot of co-incidences around NORAD and built them up into a grand conspiracy. When I attempted to point that out to her, I was accused of opposing her for the sake of opposing her, for not giving the theory any credence to begin with, for nailing down the magic of the world and various other things. Also, how could I immediately claim that Jeffrey Epstein was murdered on the basis of 'coincidence', while ignoring the 'coincidences' around 9/11 and when I try to explain the differences in circumstantial evidence compared to massive anomalies in normal prison procedure around Epstein, that just starts her head throbbing and will I please shut up and go away.

Another problem with the INFP is that they will always believe that they are always right and good and true and this is actively tied up into their sense of self worth so that they will almost always rationalise their decisions and actions as the correct one until and unless they themselves realise they are wrong; because of this, trying to penetrate their errors by telling them they are wrong in any way is basically cause for game over in relationship terms which makes arguments incredibly tough as I am the one who ends up having to give way all the time if I want our relationship to continue. This doesn't make her or other INFPs bad people. My friend is a truly incredible and amazing person and also mature enough to work things out once the argument is over - basically we avoid these subjects if we can because we both know they have the potential to actually destroy our relationship. This also doesn't mean that I as an INTP do not have flaws, I do, in other areas. All 16 personalities can be 'triggered' in some way. For me, it is being accused of something I didn't do, I am also prone to computer game addiction, staying up all night (which is why I started doing this at 4am), being 'unfeeling', being overly detailed, debating others to the point I am now a pariah on facebook and being extremely apathetic about things. It actually causes me mental anguish when I hear a non logical or backed up statement and I am now learning to restrain myself from instantly jumping in with a correction because it probably does not do wonders for my social life.

But what has really helped me in understanding this personality theory, is that not everyone works the same way as me and, I imagine, many people on this forum. For most of my life, as a supremely logical person, I assumed that all other people were also basically rational and logical and would eventually accept the logic and rationality if it was explained well enough. However that is simply not the case. My friend's sense of feeling is so strong that she can pick up on social atmosphere and energy that I am completely oblivious to and she has many other wonderful qualities. She actively needs to believe in magic, not David Copperfield magic, but the magic of simply being alive and the sense of wonder at the universe and the more magical something sounds, no matter how outlandish, the more she may actually be attracted to it. It makes her vulnerable to snake oil salesmen and all I can do right now perhaps is protect her from them as best I can without actually undermining her sense of self worth or destroying our relationship.

My point in saying all this is that, having discovered this site a couple of hours ago, and loving looking going through a lot of things and arming myself with information, I am also looking at the threads where other people have lost friends or family members to the rabbit hole and been unable to bring them round with arguments or rationality. I want to say that maybe we are going about this all wrong. The people drawn to this site are, I imagine, going to be rational and logical people who assume that they are arguing with rational and logical people and that failure to be logical or rational may indicate a mental health problem of some kind, but I want to say that there are an awful lot of people out there who are drawn to the rabbit hole, and actively want the rabbit hole to be true, by virtue of how their personality works, which may not involve logic, rationality or the application of rigorous evidence, and that trying to use those things against them, as I have been finding out through trial and error in my own experience, can even cause them actual pain and that these people, especially if they are loved ones and you want to conserve a relationship, may need to be approached in an entirely different manner. Every relationship will be different of course, depending on your type and their type, but by detailing how me and my friend are coping with our differences, maybe that can help others. But each type has strengths and weaknesses, and in some cases entire senses and sensory experiences, that others do not and may not even be aware of and even if they are not the rational type, there may be other ways to appreciate or connect with them and maintain that relationship because I am coming to the conclusion that long term relationships may work better than short term battles no matter how hard it may be not to engage on everything immediately, maybe see people who are taken in by snake oil, as people who need help to spot snake oil, not people who need to be fought, maybe you might need to find the magic in the logic of the real world and make it more attractive than the magic of snake oil peddlers. I'm not saying this isn't frustrating. It is, sometimes it drives me up the damn wall when my best friend is someone who basically finds any confrontation almost impossible to deal with on some of her beliefs. This little essay isn't necessarily about making things easier, but at least helping to understand the other person.

I've only really gone hugely in depth to the INTP and INFP types in my own research, but clearly this likely expands to many of the types, half of whom are Thinking, logic types and half of whom are Feeling types of various strengths.
 
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NoBeardMarch

New Member
I made an account specifically to respond to this topic. There are concerns that people "fall" for the MBTI-model in similar ways that they believe in the horoscope.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnum_effect

Barnum statements are general statements that anyone can identify with. The response from an MBTI-advocate would be that the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator in it's groupings is so specific and it applies specifically so well to them, or that a person they know close to them fits into a category so well with barnum statements that do not apply to themselves in return such that this must mean the MBTI-representation of personality is therefore correct.

Now I could rattle off what I know about it, but the Wikipedia-page summarizes the criticisms fairly well;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers–Briggs_Type_Indicator#Criticism

In summary you seem to put a tremendous amount of weight on your own logical superiority, which might be straining to a relationship. You are susceptible to the same lapses of logic as anyone else, same as me, and I believe your religious acceptance of the MBTI-scale is kind of a proof of that. If you want to improve your relationship with your girlfriend, I think lightening up on the logic-stuff would help your relationship far more than some kind of introspection in the light of your "types".

Dealing with a conspiratorially minded girlfriend sound tough though, so I wish you good luck there. The most important part is probably just acceptance and not convincing, because you will never be satisfied with the result if the latter is the case. I personally would ask her to never bring conspiracies up to me, and just try to leave it at that. I've had a religious gf before and it worked simply because we never made a big deal out of it, even though I am very much a very firm atheist.
 
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OmarM

New Member
Hope it's not poor form to jump in on an older thread. I think both the OP and responder make useful points. I very much sympathize with the OP, as I have a girlfriend who seems quite like theirs. Many of the qualities that make them delightful people are the same ones that perhaps make them vulnerable to conspiracy theories. I agree that Meyers-Briggs can be not much better than a horoscope, but I think the OP was just trying to find a framework for explaining their differences in thinking and feeling from their girlfriend. NoBeardMarch is right that no matter how logical we think we are, our reasoning is still influenced by our emotions--but I think it is clear that some people who are strongly influenced by their feelings can believe that they are in fact completely logical. OP's girlfriend may well be one of those people, and the advice to ease up on the logical arguments is probably sound. Good luck.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
but I think it is clear that some people who are strongly influenced by their feelings can believe that they are in fact completely logical.
i'm sure i don't speak for all women (although i've never met one who doesn't feel this way), but paying attention to your feelings IS logical. For ex: a perfectly nice guy, but you have a "feeling" there is something very wrong about him. This can save your life if you heed it.

Granted it is more likely microexpressions etc that we are picking up on, but most women will say "i just had a feeling". I once just had a feeling about a guy, (and logically had no evidence to back me up) and he ended up stabbing his wife and infant to death. so ...
 

OmarM

New Member
i'm sure i don't speak for all women (although i've never met one who doesn't feel this way), but paying attention to your feelings IS logical. For ex: a perfectly nice guy, but you have a "feeling" there is something very wrong about him. This can save your life if you heed it.

Granted it is more likely microexpressions etc that we are picking up on, but most women will say "i just had a feeling". I once just had a feeling about a guy, (and logically had no evidence to back me up) and he ended up stabbing his wife and infant to death. so ...
Feelings are HUGELY important, don't get me wrong, and the examples you cite are ones where they should playing a leading role. I'm talking about someone whose feelings drive their thinking about factual matters while they maintain their conclusions are based entirely on logical reasoning.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
while they maintain their conclusions are based entirely on logical reasoning.
yea you aren't really giving specific examples, so i reiterate "heeding your feelings IS logical".

That is why MB looks at specific claims of evidence vs the whole conspiracy theory.
 

OmarM

New Member
yea you aren't really giving specific examples, so i reiterate "heeding your feelings IS logical".

That is why MB looks at specific claims of evidence vs the whole conspiracy theory.
I think we may be experiencing a disconnect with what we mean by "logic" or "logical." I am using logical to refer to a fact-based approach to reasoning. I'm a newbie, so I apologize if I don't get the linking correct. Merriam-Webster defines logical as follows https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/logical:
Merriam-Webster defines logic as follows https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/logic:

Based on these definitions, I do not think it can be said that basing a conclusion on feeling or intuition is "logical." That does not mean that the conclusion is necessarily wrong or invalid. Your example demonstrates the value of heeding feelings:

deirdre said:
i'm sure i don't speak for all women (although i've never met one who doesn't feel this way), but paying attention to your feelings IS logical. For ex: a perfectly nice guy, but you have a "feeling" there is something very wrong about him. This can save your life if you heed it.

Granted it is more likely microexpressions etc that we are picking up on, but most women will say "i just had a feeling". I once just had a feeling about a guy, (and logically had no evidence to back me up) and he ended up stabbing his wife and infant to death. so ...

Based on your description (and setting aside the possibility that feelings arise from subconscious logical reasoning), you did not apply logical reasoning to conclude that there was something off about the murderer, but rather had a feeling. There is nothing wrong with that. It was correct (perhaps life-saving) to heed your feeling, even though it was not based on logic or logical reasoning. Logic and feeling (perhaps intuition?) are different approaches, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Your example demonstrates that feelings can be more valuable than logic in some (indeed, many) situations.

A recent experience in my life: My friend says he votes Republican because they create better conditions for business, which increases GDP, which in turn leads to lower unemployment and higher wages when they are in office. I present him with several studies from reputable, apolitical sources that demonstrate that he is mistaken on all counts, even after accounting for a wide variety of potentially confounding factors. He responds, "I don't buy that. It's only logical that Republican policies, like reducing regulations, are better for business and the economy." He is unable to provide any factual evidence supporting his position. He nevertheless maintains that his argument is logical, while it really seems to be based on his feelings. He is welcome to believe that he is correct (and who knows, maybe he is and someday a better study will come along that refutes the prior studies), but he is not reasoning logically in light of the available evidence.

Logical reasoning is a very useful tool for science and purely fact-based problems. Logical is not a synonym for correct or better, however, although some people may use it that way. To say that something is not logical does not mean it is not valuable.
 

OmarM

New Member
You posted a personal anecdote as proof of your statement, then were superior and disrespectful in your subsequent posts. I nevertheless went out of my way to be respectful when replying to your dismissive post. You did not specify that you wanted an example regarding anyone's girlfriend, so I provided a polite, detailed explanation and again received a rude response. Thus concludes my journey down the rabbit hole of trying to conduct an adult discussion with you.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
then were superior and disrespectful in your subsequent posts
i was?

You did not specify that you wanted an example regarding anyone's girlfriend,
yes i did.

so I provided a polite, detailed explanation and again received a rude response
because i dont need you schooling me on the definition of logical. you were condescending and disrespectful first. so i bowed out and said "Good luck with your girlfriend. " and by that i meant "Good luck with your girlfriend".
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I agree that Meyers-Briggs can be not much better than a horoscope, but I think the OP was just trying to find a framework for explaining their differences in thinking and feeling from their girlfriend.
People have "16 personality types" because that's what the test classifies them as. If Meyers-Briggs had 3 categories or 5, we'd see 8 types or 32; and obviously there is a spectrum on all of these dimensions, they're NOT binary. And the test is not stable, some people's results change over time.

However.
Regardless of the validity of the test, people with different Briggs-Meyers types did answer a significant number of questions on the test differently! So a differing Briggs-Meyers score does indicate that people have different personalities. Maybe it'd be better to look at the test questions together (and talk about them) to gain an understanding what your differences actually are, and forget about the horoscope-like "diagnosis".

When you're encountering someone, you're dealing with a person, not a type.
And yes, it's important to understand why a person is saying something, and not simply ("logically") address what they're saying.
 

FatPhil

Active Member
i'm sure i don't speak for all women (although i've never met one who doesn't feel this way), but paying attention to your feelings IS logical. For ex: a perfectly nice guy, but you have a "feeling" there is something very wrong about him. This can save your life if you heed it.

Granted it is more likely microexpressions etc that we are picking up on, but most women will say "i just had a feeling". I once just had a feeling about a guy, (and logically had no evidence to back me up) and he ended up stabbing his wife and infant to death. so ...

Tells correlate to underlying personality traits. Underlying personality traits can be predictors of future behaviour. So yes, "feel" can be logically grounded if they were based on tells. It may be inductive reasoning rather than deductive reasoning, but sometimes that's all you have to work with, and it does still fall under the umbrella of "logic". However, conclusions therefrom should not be couched as having absolute certainty.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
However, conclusions therefrom should not be couched as having absolute certainty.

I imagine he already told his girlfriend that. I'm guessing she disagrees, as otherwise he wouldn't be here.
I was only trying to help him understand "why" his girlfriend might think her "conclusions are based entirely on logical reasoning".

(note: since ive already been accused of being disrespectful, i might as well BE disrespectful and point out that I do not believe his account that his girlfriend thinks her conclusions are based "entirely" on logical reasoning. Although it is possible he is perceiving her words that way.)

But no, conclusions shouldn't be couched as having absolute certainty (i've been battling against that myself in the political chats here.)
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I guess trying to define what we mean by certain words, and trying to understand what others mean by certain words is helpful in conversations like this. Omar's statement that he was:

"talking about someone whose feelings drive their thinking about factual matters while they maintain their conclusions are based entirely on logical reasoning"

doesn't seem unreasonable to me. I've definitely met people who went so far as to call themselves "scientists" and "skeptics", but who also believed things like the Zeitgeist movies "because they felt true". And that to come to that conclusions was "entirely logical."

I guess a large percentage of the world has agreed that being "logical" and "scientific" are positive things - and therefore the opposite of those - being "illogical" and "non/anti-scientific" are seen as negative. It's a rare person that would paint or see themselves in such a negative light, as far as the way they think and see the world goes. I think most of us want to see ourselves as reasonable and rational, and I suppose that's how we feel most of the time, even if we later realise - with the passing of time - that some of our decisions or behaviours or beliefs weren't actually that rational or logical, once we look back on them from a more mature position. Yet it probably made sense to us in the moment.

When it comes to a word like "feelings", I wonder what it is that we really mean. Deirdre gave a good example of how our "intuition" or "sensitivity" about others can prove true. These are a kind of feeling, and I suppose there are lots of other kinds too.

A lot of people say "trust your feelings" or "follow your heart". But what do they really mean by that?

People also talk a lot about "love", and see that as perhaps the most important feeling. But there are also many different definitions for that word, and I'm not sure anyone's really come to a concrete conclusion about it, despite the incredibly prevelant role it plays in human life.

For some, love is a feeling. For others, it's an action or a way of behaving. For others, it's a set of chemical activities in the brain. Or a mistaken interpretation of "lust". Or a magnetic attraction for someone who is screwed up in just the right way for our own screwed upness to want to be with them (the theory of "pain bodies", or two incomplete beings looking for a crutch or patch).

I think whatever way we live our lives - or combination of ways - it probably seems "based on entirely logical reasoning". But maybe that's where more definition is required: "logical" here may mean something like "it makes perfect sense to me given everything I've thought, everything I'm aware of, everything I can consider" rather than "based on emotion-free and rational scientific analysis." And "reasoning" may mean "I've thought about it" (to any sort of degree) rather than "I've undertaken a rigorous Socratic investigation of the issue".

I'm not sure if the OP is still around here at Metabunk, but it would be interesting to see how that particular relationship progressed. I personally couldn't imagine being in a relationship with a conspiracy theorist, but I suppose it could work for some.

One last thing: I feel like on my own journey, which once took me deep into self-help and New Age realms (including Myers-Briggs; though I never think about it anymore), I bought into the very common idea that "we need to get out of the intellect - even ignore it - and get in touch with our souls. The mind isn't where we'll find 'it', it's the heart." That for sure had a certain appeal - it's very happy-making, especially when young - and there's perhaps a truth in it (probably there are people who would do well to "get out of their heads a bit") but after experimenting with that for some time I guess I've come to believe there's more to life than that. That intellectual, rational, analytical thought has its own kind of satisfaction and reward.

It's interesting to me that one of the basic tenets of the Buddha's teachings - the New Agers love the Buddha, but tend to ignore this - is to develop "right thinking" or "right understanding": in essence, the see reality "as it is", clear of confusion, delusion, misunderstanding, "wrong thinking". So in this sense, the spiritual life - or any path of growth - should include the intellect, and harness it properly. To not be a slave to the mind, but to use it well.

That's a far cry from people like the very popular and influential Osho, who would encourage people to "get out of their intellects", telling them they have "nothing to lose but your minds."

So these days I like to say I don't trust my feelings - I've seen how incredibly wrong they've been in the past, even when it felt so right - but I do trust "myself". As in: "all the parts of me", which include my feelings, my thoughts, my experiences, my intuitions, my discernments, my gut, my instincts, my rationale, my logic, my wisdom, and, very occasionally, some other 'higher' part of me (when it seems in alignment with reason) - as well as external sources, and probably one or two other things besides.

In general we probably label all of those either "feeling" or "logic", when it seems much more nuanced and in need of definition. Which is why I think it's good to get a decent understanding of what's beneath the words, and what we really mean by them - the absence of which seems like the source of a lot of our misunderstandings.

TL;DR words mean different things for different people, and it's good to figure out what those meanings are before we start arguing about them.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
TL;DR words mean different things for different people, and it's good to figure out what those meanings are before we start arguing about them.
I often find it's best to simply use different words.

Unless your fate depends on a specific legal meaning of a word, then when you come to the stage of arguing about if something is or is not [a particular word] then you are probably going to waste time. Rephrase what you want to communicate using a different set of words. If you succeed in reaching a mutual understanding, then you can go back and say "that what I meant by ..."
 

debindespair

New Member
Interesting post. I've just ended an 8 year relationship with a kind, generous and honest person who is deep down the rabbit hole. He is highly intelligent but definitely a feeling type person whereas I am more of a thinker (also come out as INTP for what it's worth).Things haven't worked for us because I increasingly think his opinions are dangerous (anti-vaccine; defends Putin). He is very intelligent - with an excellent memory and an eye for detail, but is starting from what I believe are false premises - i.e. all authorities are always corrupt and always lying plus the world is micro-managed by a cabal of Satanists who flit between child sacrifice events and Bilderberg Conventions. These basic beliefs allow him to draw conclusions on matters over which he has no expertise at all e.g. microbiology, metallurgy, ballistics. It's sad to say goodbye to the relationship, but it's exhausted me and I want to spend my life having useful, interesting conversations not debating ludicrous assumptions and their sequelae.
 
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