When An INFP Turns Dark

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At some point in time, and if enough negative events occur, an INFP (Introverted, Intuition, Feeling and Perceiving personality type—see the Myer-Briggs test for more information) becomes tougher, and hardened. No longer are we gentle and delicate flowers, billowing in the wind; instead, we become battle-hardened soldiers, raging against the war and the deceit and the corruption that occur in our lives and the lives of our loved ones on a daily basis.

Eventually, if enough bad things happen to a creature of light, it becomes stronger and even brighter, even more ferocious and terrible in its own beauty and strength. That is the truth of the matter. After being churned and burned in the crucible of suffering, what surfaces from the clay pot is something not entirely human, something strong and blindingly brave and powerful. That is what happens when you push an INFP too far, bully them too much, when you heap hatred and pain and disgust and self-loathing on an INFP, the most delicate of all the Myer-Briggs types, until he or she crumples, nearly dies, but re-surfaces, stronger than ever.

I feel as though this transformation has started ever since I entered my twenties. I am twenty-one, and suddenly, one day, it was as if a light bulb switched on inside my brain, and I realised, with the kind of blinding flash reserved only for epiphanies, that all my life, I had been the doormat, the sidekick, the person trying to appease other people, to make amends, to shrink and grovel and kneel and bend. This was because, as a child, I was abused and frightened by my father. As I grew older, I was sexually harassed, bullied, put down and overall heaped with piles and piles of stinking negativity. All of this grew into a morass, a cesspit, of hatred and self-loathing, until one day, I couldn’t bear it anymore, and “cut off my hair”, so to speak, in the way Mulan transformed from an ordinary woman into warrior in the famous Chinese tale, and became the shining beacon of strength I am today.

I am an INFP who takes no amount of ridicule, hatred, bullying or sycophantic grovelling from anyone. I might have a pure heart, as all INFPs do, but my heart has been scorched and fired in the ovens of life, and become hardened as steel, as titanium. If anyone dares to cross my path and try to push me underneath their thumb, squash me like a bug, I fight back, biting them with as much strength as I can possibly muster, because I know I am worth fighting for. I am the princess whose prince never came, who realised, in the end, that she would have to find a way to be happy on her own, surrounded by books and stories and daydreams. While I do not have the courage to fight dragons myself—no INFP is brave enough to do that—I am clever and intuitive enough to understand the dragon, and begin devising a plan to outsmart it. For INFPs, once we turn a little to the dark side, never return—we become forever shadowed angels, lurking in the lines in between dark and light.

Perhaps if I grew up in a different world, with different people, perhaps if I hadn’t been subject to so much jealousy, hatred, and bullying in my childhood and teenage years, I wouldn’t have turned out the way I did, tough and merciless to those who dare to try and put me down. But it didn’t happen that way. I did grow up in a world where people think they can treat other people like trash, if they want to. I grew up in a world where murder, rape and other countless terrible crimes exist. I grew up in a world where people around me were unkind, self-serving and selfish, and while that hasn’t made me more of a selfish person, it has made me more careful of who I help, because those that I help won’t necessarily help me in return, if our positions were reversed.

I am a girl whose father left and abandoned her. Because I grew up on shaky ground, I had to become my own foundation. Unfortunately, this meant I had to shed my idealism and naivety a little, and realise that, in this world, most people’s hearts are quite selfish and dark, and that most people, when given the choice between what is right and what is wrong, can be persuaded to shift to the dark side with an extra bribery of cash or the promise of fulfilled dreams. I am in no way in a state of idealism regarding the nature of some people’s hearts and personalities: the truth is, there are people out there who have no idea who they are, and because of that, they hurt others; there are those out there who do not appreciate art, or music, or dancing; there are those that trample on the bodies of others to get to the top of the pile, where the pickings are the greatest; and there are those who torture animals and people, just for the sheer pleasure of it.

Here is the truth: when something or someone as delicate and intrinsically good as an INFP encounters evil, there are two ways we can deal with it: one, we cower in fear, and die, perishing because we were too weak to fight back; or two, we must transform into something ferocious, and sometimes a little strange and ugly, in order to defeat and be stronger than the evil we are fighting against in the first place. In the end, my strength comes not from myself, necessarily, but my love for life, for all things created in this world, and for God, who leads me and guides me each and everyday, bestowing the kind of unconditional love nearly no person on the planet, except for maybe mothers, are able to give.

Do not be afraid of what you transform into in order to adapt to and fit in with this world, or to protect or save yourself. Transformations, when it comes to INFPs, is a good thing: we need to change, and grow, in order to keep up with everyone else, who were born with hard shells already. Let me give you an example, of an INFP turning to the dark side: it’s of a young woman, who sees her entire family killed before her very eyes, only to escape unscathed herself. For the rest of her life, she makes it her mission to hunt down those who killed her family and others like her, and once she gets them in her grasp, she manages to mercifully kill them, without shedding a tear, because she knows, deep in her heart, that that is what they deserve. Of course, that is an extreme example, but bear in mind, there is nothing as frightening as INFP turned to the dark side. With our acumen, our laser-like ability to read situations and people, it is easy for us to have the upper-hand in social situations, and once we discover our power, we can wield it for the greater good, to help punish those who dare to hurt the weak and vulnerable.

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Striving For Purity

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Ever since I entered my adult years, I have striven for purity, but when I talk about purity, I’m not referring to anything sexual, such as maintaining one’s virginity. Instead, it’s more of the moral, deep-in-your-gut kind, where every decision and choice you make is carefully considered to see whether or not it is something someone with a pure heart would do or choose.

There’s a lot of facets to purity, a lot of different ways you can be pure. When it comes to relationships, that’s where I try to be the most pure—sometimes, people fall into the trap of forming relationships based on need, demand or other reasons, rather than true affection and love for a person. This is impure, and this is wrong. For instance, you might make friends with someone because they have high social status, and help you elevate your status and feel better about yourself as a consequence. Such a friendship is nothing but rot and cobwebs, because there is no true affection or love, only one person trying to take advantage of another person, falling in love with the idea of “social status”, which, in itself, in a sin of pride.

Another idea is the idea of forming relationships with someone because they give you money. Sucking up to family members because they’re wealthy, or treating someone well only because you’re financially dependant on them, is another example of what I consider to be a lack of purity. Such relationships are poison. Take my word for it. Anything other than what is true and genuine, when expressed, will never live to see the light of day.

Dating someone simply because they’re rich or good-looking is yet another example of lack of purity in relationships, and something I strive for, deep, deep down, never to do, no matter how “tempting” it might seem. Any relationship not based on a genuine liking of and desire to interact with that person is doomed to fail. I’m no exception to the rule that women are often attracted to handsome, tall, and wealthy men, but some part of me realises that, while these things are all well and good, to get into a relationship just for these things, and only these things, is impure. It’s a betrayal of one’s self, of one’s genuineness. No relationship that comes out of such a match would be prosperous.

In regards to my goals in life, I have actually carefully calculated whether they are pure or not, and the answer I always come back to, is, well, pretty much. While selling a book and having it turn into a bestseller isn’t something I’d object to, and would be good for my life, money, for me, isn’t the reason why I write books. If I could sell a million copies of my book, and have it read by a million people, yet not gain a cent from it except the joy of knowing other people marvelled and dove into the worlds I created, I would be incredibly happy, in fact, die happy. As for the attention that might come with fame (and this is all hypothetical; you’re talking to someone who has already received two literary rejections so far), this is something I admit, as someone who basks in attention and the opportunity to speak my thoughts, is a slight impurity of my personality, because I certainly would enjoy having masses of people appreciate me for my work and listen to what I have to say. Who wouldn’t? Honestly, fame is wonderful because you are suddenly so incredibly worthy in the eyes of so many. It’s a lure, a trap, a temptation. If it ever happens, I swear to never let it get to my head, to the point where I imagine myself to be this perfect, graceful, pious being, instead of the flawed, and sometimes ugly, person I can be.

I hope you can be pure. It’s not about being a perfect person, but about living according to an inner set of rules and morals, about what you can do, can’t do, can think, can desire, and can’t desire or can’t think. If killing someone would ensure I would get my book published, I would give up my publishing dreams forever—heck, if killing an animal was necessary to get my book published, I wouldn’t be able to do it. That’s purity. It’s a lack of corruption, of not being swayed by what the world considers right and wrong, but what you, and deep down, God, considers right and wrong. It’s knowing that the pure and genuine life is the only path to happiness—anyone who chases after sex, or money, or fame, or other fleeting and tempting things, will find themselves empty and ugly at the end of the day (and by ugly, I mean their soul is ugly, not their face or body). It’s about listening to your heart. Purity is something that can be learned, it doesn’t always just intrinsically exist within you, and you also have to be careful of the danger of falling in love with your own purity, because that is a form of arrogance, and you are, oftentimes, never as good of a person and perfect as you think.

On Yearning

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In my teenage years, my cousin was jealous of the fact that I had a little writing talent and was able to follow my dreams when she couldn’t, and was stuck in a job she hated. She would bully me, putting me down, telling me I couldn’t “make it”, that I had no talent, her jealousy seeping from her every pore. Meanwhile, her husband gave me pornographic novels, kissed me, and tried everything to worm his way into my life. I have cut ties with the both of them, because they are yucky, toxic people, and I am all the better for it, but what they never realised, and which made their harassment of me all the more evil, was that they had something I had always yearned for, and believed, and still believe I will never have.

A family.

I have always wanted the picture-perfect family life. A white picket fence, a job, a husband, and children. A nuclear family, because I am straight (but same-sex couples are absolutely beautiful, just for the record). It’s this burning desire in me, to have a husband, to be a woman, looking after her children and her husband. In spite of all my ambitions, I have always yearned to be this kind of woman. And my cousin had it. She had a husband. She had a wonderful house. Children. On the outside, everything in her life was blessed. She had been loved, she had experienced love, she had gotten married, she had become pregnant, she had children. She had everything I had always wanted, and yet, she still harassed and bullied me, destroying the life of a young woman whose dreams had yet to be realised, whose life had yet to be truly lived. That was what made her cruel, and evil.

Perhaps you find me strange. I am an ambitious young woman, I’d be the first to admit that. I have my sights set on a publishing deal, which, in this literary climate, is almost as rare as seeing dogs and cats fall from the sky. But some part of me, deep down, has always wanted to be a wife and a mother. Perhaps it’s my idealism. Perhaps I’ve idealised what it’s like to be a wife, and a mother—but, somehow, I don’t think so. I think it’s a natural part of being human, of being born a girl, to want these sorts of things. To have someone by your side who radiates masculine strength and calmness, someone I can kiss and lean on, strong and sturdy. To have beautiful children, to smile into their cute little faces and kiss their hands and feet. Maybe it’s just natural.

Some part of me believes it will never happen to me. I don’t know why. I just know. I won’t find a husband, I won’t have children, I will never have the kind of happy life others have, that I’ll forever be on the other side of the glass, the orphan in the snow watching through the window as a beautiful family celebrates Christmas. I’m the girl who sees the man she loves fall in love with another person. I’m the moon, that shines in the night sky, never truly appreciated as much as the sun. I am always staring wistfully at other people’s lives, their beauty, their dreams, their achievements, their families—always wistful, always looking, never having.

A lot of my darkness comes from this. From not being noticed. From being another face in the crowd, who will live and die never experiencing the happiness other people take for granted. I don’t know what is wrong with me. Maybe I think too much. Maybe I’m a little too weird and imaginative, or just plain awkward. Maybe I hide too much of myself from others, because if they knew who I really was, in all its awkwardness, in its pain and hatred and love and joy, they would be frightened of me.

Sometimes, I wonder if what I want is the old fairytale, a beautiful man to come and whisk me off my feet, tell me I’m special, lead me into the fairytale life. But I don’t. It’s much too cliched. I hate everything cliched. I hate everything overdone, done before, unoriginal. In my heart, originality is what I strive for, above all else. I suppose that’s why I’m an Enneagram Type 4. I yearn for fairies and magic, for the moon to start talking to me and mice in the walls to whisper their secrets. Where I’m happiest, is in the realm of my own imagination. I’m a lonely person, and yet, also incredibly happy, in my own creative way. I’ve tried connecting with people in my everyday life, but apart from my online connections, it just doesn’t work, something always falls short. Where I’m truly myself, is in the world of my own writing.

One day, if it is ever published, and you read my book, you’ll know who I truly am. I am wonder and delight. I love colours. I love patterns. I love the idea of joining a band of people with special powers and proving myself against the world. I love the idea of fighting valiantly against evil. I love the idea of sacrifice, of sacrificing myself, like some noble, precious creature. I love the good, and hate the evil. My heart is true. So maybe I shouldn’t yearn for the ordinary life in this way, for the husband and the children, and the picture-perfect life. Maybe I should strive for a life in alignment with my heart and myself, because I am unique, one of a kind. There is only one of me, just like there is only one of you.

I received another literary rejection for my book, but I’m not too fussed, because I know, one day, I will get published. It will happen. I adore my book. I love reading it. It’s a beautiful book. I love it. And if I love it, surely someone out there will love it, too. One of the agents wrote, “I’m sure other agents will feel differently” and that “this industry is a subjective business”, and I believe her. I’m sure I’ll land a literary agent one day, a publishing deal. I know it. Because I’m a fairy, and I create magic.

On Loneliness and Writing

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Excuse me for my absence. I have been busy writing away, like some kind of maniac, and haven’t surfaced from the watery depths of my secret worlds for the last month or so. Maybe more.

Tonight was another one of those nights when I couldn’t sleep, and thoughts swirled through my brain like honey. While there is no doubt I am not completely a lonely person—I have friends, and family, and all of you—sometimes, at night, when all is quiet, I get unbearably lonely. For some reason, I found myself trawling through Instagram—which is absolutely the worst thing to do when you’re lonely—and really began to question whether I was entirely happy with my life. Look at all these people, with their beautiful, shining lives, publishing books, travelling to far-flung places, living out their lives with their families and friends, while I laboured alone in my bedroom, watching Chinese and Korean dramas whenever I felt sad, trying to eke out a living from my writing and failing miserably.

It all really came to a head. All my hopes, all my fears—next week Thursday, I will find out if a particular Australian publisher will have accepted my book or not. It’s a book I’m very proud of, but I have no idea if it will get accepted. In fact, my soul is screaming to me it will not, that I have no chance, while my heart years and pines and hopes.

I am so anxious it’s a wonder I haven’t chewed off all my fingernails. If my dreams are dashed, once again, next week, I don’t think I could bear it. Obviously, I’m not the type to really take my life or anything drastic like that, but I imagine I would be quite miserable. Give or take a few days—well, four, to be exact—and I will know whether I “made” it or not, and it’s terrifying.

Nevertheless, I do apologise for not being on this blog for so long. As for my career arrangements, I am thinking about becoming a librarian, either doing a course in librarianship or completing a traineeship. After all, I love books, I don’t much mind conversing with people (well, it’s hard for me, but I can force myself to do it), and who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by literature and computers all day long? Not me, that’s who. Because to be honest with you, I’ve never considered doing anything in this lifetime except for writing. It has always been my one dream and goal. Anything other than it—entertaining the thought of an alternative career—is impossible. I have my heart set on carving a name for myself in the literary sphere, and that is what I intend to do.

As for my loneliness, well, that can hardly be helped. I mean, in the end, nothing can assuage the loneliness deep within our souls, nothing except God, for we are, all of us, lost children, stumbling in the dark. No matter how many people we surround ourselves with, friends, lovers, family, children, spouses, in the end, when the lights are off, and we drift off to sleep, we are completely and utterly alone. When we die, we are alone. On the brink of death, there is nothing and no-one who can save us, who can go with us to wherever we go after our spirits leave the flesh. That’s a sad truth. So we better get used to this loneliness, and realise there is no cure for it, rather than pine and make ourselves more miserable in our lack of acceptance of it.

I wish you well. I hope your lives are flourishing and beautiful, like the Garden of Eden. I hope no poisonous apples come flying your way, and no pesky snakes whisper secrets in your ear. I hope your life is filled with joy, wonder and hope. I hope your life is the complete opposite of mine. Well, my life isn’t all bad. Currently, I’m working on another book, and it’s a marvellous one, if I do say so myself, such a joy to work with, to play with, spinning words and tales the way a seamstress might hem a dress, skilfully and quickly. I am blown away by the extent of my own imagination sometimes, which is a little bit arrogant of me to say, but is the truth, after all. Not that any publishers, so far, have recognised this brilliance. Mayhaps I am doomed to forever wander across the beautiful terrain of my imagination, with no-one ever to recognise its sparkle and glitter. Maybe I’m not cut out for writing, after all.

Or maybe I am. Perhaps next week Thursday, emblazoned across this blog will be the words I GOT PUBLISHED and all the angels will sing and heaven will rejoice and all the birds will come fluttering out of the trees in vibrant singsong, all because my dream finally came true. Maybe.

Or maybe not.