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Occupation: Girl

Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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Okay, I want to run an experiment here. But first, a semi-unrelated explanation:

Several months ago, I stumbled across a Tumblr entry about being an empath, and went, holy shit, that would explain so many of my stress and health problems. I hit every single point on all of these lists. So: I am totally an empath. A really, really crappy kind of empath. I mean, it sounds like a Dungeons & Dragons character class, but my point is, I soak up everyone else's negative feelings. I don't know how to shield myself, and I don't know how to dump my mental browser cache. I have no firewall, people.

In a similar blog post, we are told that empaths can... heal. I don't know about the laying on of hands and what-not, but I'd be willing to go with "make people feel better, in a non-Jesus kind of way."

So I'm fooling around instead of working last night, and for some reason, the Myers-Briggs personality test came up. I had saved my result somewhere, and I'm an INFP. Apparently this is statistically somewhat rare--1-5% of the population. And the Keirsey temperament of INFP is... the Healer.

After I had a couple of conversations on Twitter, I am starting to think that that's what "empaths" are--the INFP personality type. So, what I want to know is, how many of you are whichever personality type, and is there a correlation between the INFP type and empath-y?

So: here is your free personality test link.

Here is the chart matching up Myers-Briggs types to Keirsey temperaments. I mean, just to elaborate on the subject.

Depending on how much of this sounds like you, you may be an empath. Keep in mind: it's the unpleasantness that I recognized, not the special-snowflake psychic-healing business. 


Poll #1728808 Personality types

The first eight types (you may choose more than one if you're borderline)

Teacher (ENFJ)
Counselor (INFJ)
Champion (ENFP)
Healer (INFP)
Fieldmarshal (ENTJ)
Mastermind (INTJ)
Inventor (ENTP)
Architect (INTP)

The second eight types (you may choose more than one if you're borderline)

Supervisor (ESTJ)
Inspector (ISTJ)
Provider (ESFJ)
Protector (ISFJ)
Promoter (ESTP)
Crafter (ISTP)
Performer (ESFP)
Composer (ISFP)

Correlation of INFP type with empath

I am an INFP, but not an empath
I am an empath, but not an INFP
I am both
I am neither

Now all I have to figure out is what to do about the lack of firewall.

ETA: "Hey, you know those Myers-Briggs tests?"


"Wow, okay. So I took one again, I'd forgotten what I was, and I'm an INFP."


"See? I'm saying."

MY MOTHER: "I AM AN ENTJ! I am like the epitome of an ENTJ. And that's why I work in HR."

"Oh, well. Okay then."

Site Meter

Hi, you're me. Or me in the way that i'm an empath with no way to block, with the same personality quirks.

Ain't life grand? >.<

on the plus side, at least you can now identify what's up?

Have you tried any blue (actual) rocks? Like lapis lazuli or iolite. I suck at blocking so badly I overflow and blue real stones help me out a bit when my piddling attempts at shielding fail.

I'm not always the best at shielding, and I don't always notice that I'm getting other people's emotions unless they are negative and overwhelming (or I'm going "...why am I so upset? I DON'T GET IT"), but when I do get into a positive feedback loop, it's AWESOME.

This takes practice, and it's hard especially when you're just starting, but try this:

When you're alone, visualize a shield around you- a wall, petals closing around you, a forcefield, or whatever makes sense, you know? visualize it around you, shutting things out. Every so often, still while alone, just pull it up. Then try to put it up while there's one or two other people around.

It's a lot like retraining your posture so you don't slouch while sitting- you have to remember to do it and there's no muscle tone or memory at first. But it can be done. hope this helps!

I'm a total INTJ - always have been, always will, unless I've been overly social, in which case I turn into ENFP - but on the other hand, every single thing on that list of empathic behaviour is something I do, and always have done.

Also, I am amused to find out that INTJ is the Mastermind. I'm going to have to tell my boss, who is also INTJ. *g*

INTJ - rare except on the internet! Seriously, about two-thirds of my flist is INTJ or INFJ.

One might say there is a personality bias in INTJs towards blogging!

I didn't answer the last one, because, erm, I was nitpicking.

Basically: I'm INFP (well, more XNXP, but usually more INFP than not), and I do think healing is possible (though primarily emotional healing and not physical), but I don't claim to be an empath because I don't fully buy into the paradigm this person is coming from.

But shielding is durn useful, when I can.

Okay, you SO need to read "Boundaries." (Seriously, it's really helpful!)

I'm strongly IT, but I tend to vary on the N/S and J/P things. Though I've tended to be more S lately.

Yeah, I know a lot of people are borderline on some of the qualities, so I decided to make it check boxes instead of "choose one," just in case. I used to waver between I and E when I was in college, and now I've gone back to being an I like I was before that.

I'm a Protector, apparently, and I am so an empath. I've been saying it for years. I often close off if I spend too much time around people, even people I like. I don't even like being around people online that much, so though I like RPGs, I hate MMORPGs and the like.

Oh a side note, I hate when people explain their medical problems to me. I'm not sure if it's my empathy or some latent hypochondria, but I'll get pains in whatever part of the body their talking about - like, discomfort pains, not like sharp pains.

According to the little test, I got 3, so I'm part empath but not full out.

I dunno about the Myers Briggs thing. I mean, when I think about me in a work situation, Mastermind seems to fit. But the descriptions always make me sound like I have no emotional capacity at all, which certainly isn't the case when I'm around friends. I've tested as two different ones, probably just depending on how I felt that day or how a question was worded.

I'm there also - I hit strongly on a few of the characteristics but not on some of the others. Don't know what that means, exactly.

ISTJ holla! It's me and the Queen, apparently.

Edited at 2011-04-11 02:08 am (UTC)

(Deleted comment)
I'm an INTJ, but I'm also a little leery of these tests because they're supposedly for neurotypal people and I have Asperger's.

I mean, supposedly you can have more than one - some people are on the cusp, and you're supposed to change through your life, but I've always tested as an INTJ. I'm just going to hang out over here with Clarice Starling, Hannibal Lecter, Sherlock Holmes, Severus Snape and Light and L.

Edited at 2011-04-11 02:15 am (UTC)

Hm, that's true, about the NT part. I wonder if that's why so many people are testing as INTJ--not because everyone who does has Asperger's per se, but because that's the category that coincides with neuro...atypical...? qualities? Like, if the test can't read you, that's the box it puts you in? I don't know.

I'm an INFP and going into school for counselling psychology. Sooooo yeah.

I used to emotionally overload a lot when people brought me their issues. I think what's helped me deal with that quite a lot is studying gritty factual cognitive approaches to problems--reading cognitive behavioural books by people like David Burns and Aaron Beck, since cognitive behavioural therapy is basically the opposite of empathy--it's all about thoughts, and feelings are just this weird thing over there. Some CBT theorists seem to think emotions don't even exist! It means when I have to deal with a crisis, instead of being lost in a sea of emotion, I can intellectually figure out what's going on. This helps me sometimes make the necessary call, "This person is going to be upset and I can't help, so I will send them to bed and check in on them in three or four days".

Reading the articles on empathy, though... I used to think I knew EXACTLY what the other person was feeling, but it's never that simple. Sure, I can tell what emotion they're experiencing, even if they're trying to hide it, but the more I learn about how people work the less I know about any one person.

I can read people really well, but I have to remind myself not to rely on that, because I could easily be wrong, or not seeing the entire picture. I tend to file impressions like that away until it fits into place with some future development. It seems to work best when I'm trying to give someone the benefit of the doubt.

At the same time, I have become almost painfully logical over the last few years, and I think that's me trying to deal with the empathy thing. "This person is going to be upset and I can't help, so here's what I can and can't do about it," like you say. Or, when trying to make sense of emotional impressions, rather than run away with my imagination. Logically, this is what I know about this person; how does this "read" on them fit with what I know?

Or, like with the Wicked Pretty Things entries (and, back in the day, the Lexicon thing). I have to force myself to say only things I can back up pretty exhaustively and try to be as evenhanded as possible, because I could go on all kinds of ill-advised crusades and tangents if I didn't. I think that would be the "unless your ethics are violated" clause in the "empathizing with everyone" INFP personality.

I'm an ISFJ but I don't think the Protector really sounds like me. But hey that link about good career types has what I wanna do in it so yay.

I'm an ISFJ as well, and the personality type seems to fit me pretty well...but I'm also slightly bummed about by the whole, "You get taken advantage of and underappreciated! You'd be a good secretary because you're all about support!"

Er, not that it's not perfectly true. Although I'm not a secretary, I am in a position that does the hard work without getting much attention for it.

Whoa, introverts are way overrepresented so far. They're only supposed to be 25% of teh population. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more on LJ, though. More of an introvert-y sort of communication method. I'm borderline myself although I definitely fall slightly on the extrovert side.

I'm actually sort of surprised you're a P because I always think your summaries/recaps/reports of online stupidity are so well-organized. But I suppose that's short-sighted of me. Ps can be organized about stuff, if they want.

Well, like is drawn to like, so it makes sense that certain types of entertainment/communication, such as the internet, are found to be more efficient/palatable to introverts. I wonder if there's a further divide between those that prefer Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, LJ, etc. And then, if you take into account different forms of internet communication such as IMing v. iChat or something similar.

And now I'm just rambling.

I'm an inspector! I need a hat and a pipe.