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.