Personality Type: I have none

As in I have no personality – or I have no personality type, I am still undecided. 😉

Still tossing around the question “what do I want?” and drawing so many blanks, more than blanks, it is like the black hole in there with a solitary cricket just for fun and sound effects.

I recall taking personality tests in high school and then more recently recommending them to students to point them in career directions and learn about themselves. I’ve also used some of these assessments to help manage teams and people at work, so I thought I would revisit them myself despite my huge cringe and distaste for them.

Why the cringe? Well, a number of reasons:

  1. I’ve always been able to see right through these assessments and I’ve never been able to take them honestly without thinking about how my every response will skew my overall result (too many assessments and statistics classes)
  2. I think too much about it and debate each response like ‘well sometimes I prefer that but sometimes not, it depends…’
  3. I’m afraid of choosing the ‘wrong’ answer
  4. I don’t think people fit neatly into little boxes
  5. Sometimes I truly have no idea what it is asking – the question has no relevance to my life experience. If you’re doing blank would you rather blank . . . well, I would actually never blank in the first place, so none of these choices fit.
  6. I don’t know if I should answer for how I am NOW or how I WANT to be, like based on what I’ve been told is unhealthy isolation or my goal of being healthier and more connected to others
  7. I don’t know if I should base it on my actions, my thoughts, or my feelings – because those are never in agreement
  8. I don’t know if how I am now is my true personality, or should I base my answers on other experiences, like before depression hit me, before I attempted suicide, before I knew how messed up my world was. Would my true personality be more of what I was like as a child? or does it change as you grow up naturally? and how much was mine influenced under the brain-washing control of AF and my dysfunctional family environment?

This applies especially to Myers-Briggs, where it fits you into 16 personality types. To me everyone falls on a spectrum and should receive a percentage for each area to show preference of where we most naturally fit, not an all or nothing as it suggests for each of the 4 categories.

But I need a starting point, and I thought it would be interesting to compare my thoughts to a test I know so well already. I guess what trips me up is I can’t seem to choose from what would seem to be even the most basic ideas about myself, still, after all of these years past high school I guess I was hoping for some more solid ground, something to jump up and bite and say, yes that sounds like me.

Extrovert or Introvert: I’ve written on here many times about how I am an introvert. I am pretty sure this is correct, even though I have always loved performing, the bigger the crowd the better, and public speaking and giving presentations. I hate any type of party, and tend to avoid social gathering that are people getting together to just ‘hang out’.  I like when groups get together to get stuff done, planning and discussing, committees, and things with a focus and an agenda. I typically listen more than I talk, and often have no idea what to say to just fill the air with talking. Unless I have a great idea, or someone has a bad idea, I have no problem speaking up. Or if someone needs help. I do have huge anxiety related to chit-chatting with neighbors, the parents of my kids’ friends, or people I’ve just met. But I have no anxiety to teach or lead the group. I find my mind wanders when the stories and laughter that everyone else enjoys are being told, especially the same stories they like to retell, can’t hold my interest, and I’m off looking at how the light fixture made a cool shadow or petting the dog. Not always though, I can tune in as well, I laugh with them, I get goofy, but still usually in a quieter way. I have a few friends that have seen my rougher, foul mouthed side, but I tend to keep that hidden with most people as it doesn’t fit with my perfect mother/teacher persona. I find great satisfaction in a few well placed cuss words. My kids have heard them on occasion recently, because sometimes I do forget to be perfect these days.

Intuitive or Sensing: OK this one confuses the bejeezes out of me as I don’t understand this as being the flip side of anything. These are not opposites in my mind, and not something I use one or the other but rather both at all times. I simply can’t choose between these two traits. I don’t know how many people feel like this, or if being an abuse survivor has fused these two skills, since survival meant relying on immediate senses in ourselves and our abusers, and then using intuition to interpret the next move. I’ve always escaped into my imagination, no matter where I am, I can be somewhere else, fully experiencing it. And while I’m in this escape zone, I can sense my environment, feel the sun and breeze, hear the birds, or switch into creative thought and planning mode. It’s all the same to me.

Thinking or Feeling: I am further on the thinker side of this spectrum, preferring to rest in the impersonal analysis, use logic, pros, cons, be highly critical and see all flaws quickly. I like to fix things, refine processes, make improvements, make plans, work efficiently, reduce wasted time and energy, minimize errors. Although I am highly empathic, it doesn’t always mean I understand the feelings I feel coming off of others. And then I try to think my way out of them. And I think and think and think and think until I have an action to take. I’m confused by feelings that seem illogical or invalid, and I appreciate when others point out to me my errors, that I need to allow myself to have all those feelings, whenever I need to have them, and they don’t need to make sense. I am forever trying to make feelings make sense and they never cooperate.

Judging or Perceiving: This one is easy, I am a Judger all the way. I hate surprises. I have lists for my lists and alarms for my calendars, notes for my goals. I feel lost without a current set of daily, short-term, and long-term goals. I must achieve. I must make decisions, not knowing eats away and gives me terrible anxiety. Time is always running out. Sometimes for me, it is always like the end of the MacGyver episode, 3 seconds on the clock, everything is beeping and blinking and we must decide now which wire to cut or everything will blow up and it will be too late. I put huge pressure on myself to get things done. That’s why this healing business is not working for me. I need to know how much time to pencil in my calendar. How much rest do I need. What kind of rest. If I cram better rest into a month all at once can I get better more quickly? I’m always looking for the advanced studies route, and darn it if life doesn’t seem to offer this. My brain may learn quickly, but it heals at the same rate as any other neuron on the planet. I also can’t stand to think I’ll know if I am actually healed, since we all heal and grow throughout our entire lives. I understand this human viewpoint theoretically, but I REALLY want an end date, a graduation date, a diploma, a degree, a certificate, SOMETHING that says I am officially recovered from PTSD, with honors of course.

And of course I can’t get this, I know. So what do I do without this? I’m starting to figure it out, but I know without knowing the answers, from past experience, you just keep going.

I’ve made some interesting connections to the personality types and schema types during my reading that I hope to be able to put into words soon, a cool crossover for guidance counselor and clinical counselor and a kind of putting it all together moment for me when I started to look at strengths and talents and not just personality/behavior.

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4 thoughts on “Personality Type: I have none

  1. I think sometimes these tests simply help to give us a sense of ourselves. Help us to focus on our skills and our tendencies. You do have to be able to take them though without thinking about your answers, this is the hard part. It is like scratching an itch in a small way to trick yourself into answering without over thinking the answer.

    I am an introvert, though I speak in public often as part of my volunteer work after I need to recharge. My work requires me to be ‘on’ for hours, at the end of the day I need alone to recharge.

    I am in the middle of Sensing and Intuition, I suspect it is similar to you and for similar reasons. This is a trait that many of us do not have a strong affinity one way or the other.

    I am slightly stronger on the thinking side, however not strongly enough to make me out of balance. Again another one where I am nearly in the middle.

    I fall on the Perceiving side. This one I am fairly heavily skewed on.

    When I first took these tests I had to really think about the outcomes, but yeah that is pretty accurate.

    • Sounds like we have some similarities for falling in the middle of these tendencies. Question for you – do you think your abusive past shaped or skewed or results or is your personality more stable for you and less based on experience? Just a nature/nurture question I am curious on your perspective

      • I do believe it is nurture issue. I was always introverted, I believe my abuse brought that out in me, forced me further into my nature. I have had a far longer time to stabilize my personality.

  2. You have the same struggles I do with those tests. I remember taking one aptitude test, and it suggested I go into engineering. How did it miss my aversion to math?

    Johnny Carson, yes, the comedian, was an introvert back when they called it shy.

    Sounds like when you’re in front of a group you have established boundaries where as in one-on-one chitchat the boundaries are more blurry.

    I agree with your assessment of intuitive and sensing not being mutually exclusive but interwoven.

    Thinking and feeling is one I want to beat the testers for their stupidity. Abuse survivors were not allowed to have feelings, and we had to think through everything at lightspeed if we wanted to survive the confusing and totally illogical insanity of our abusers.

    I wonder if the lists and achieving are an abuse survivor’s way to set boundaries over which they have control?

    All my counselors verbally noted how I gave myself homework. My last counselor actually restricted my self-assigned homework. He stopped giving me homework altogether and simply guided my direction.

    Personally, I think you’re doing an amazing job. As many times as you’ve wanted to quit, you haven’t. Go you!

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