Part of my job at work is to understand other people - to watch for the things they don't say, to work with their personality types, to maximize, respond to, adjust. It's only a small part of my job, until it is the major part of my job (that is, most of the time, it is background because there aren't that many issues).
But part of that is understanding myself. You'd think by now I'd have a good grasp on that.
But maybe not.
Next week we have an MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) consultant coming in to work with our entire team (plus up one level). We'll be doing the 'instrument' (being typed), and doing some teamwork exercises. It should be very interesting, and fun.
And maybe illuminating. See, I was typed a very long time ago. ENFP, but so close to ENTP that there was only 1 point difference. (Extravert, iNtuitive, Feeler, Perceiver) VERY strong skillset for Thinking (making decisions using logic rather than values). And way off the end of the chart on Extravert (gaining energy by being with others).
With MBTI, there is the potential to influence your test outcomes based on what you were taught you should be. Part of the 'should be' teaching is skills-building, but part of it is how you read what is acceptable for you to do and be. So, if I think it is best for my child to be an Extravert (seeking out others, seeking to be with, etc.), then I may spend a lot of time nudging them toward playing with the other kids, taking them to activities, essentially coaching a huge amount of Extravert skills. Now, that might not be a bad skill set to have (especially in the US, where being able to at least pretend to be an Extravert is vaulable). But it also isn't necessarily what the child already is.
Family culture also influences this. Our family culture as far as I can tell was ENXJ. Appearances count (at least enough to care about presentation), being good hosts counted, intuition was valued, extraversion was essential (die otherwise!), and both values and logic were used in decision-making (you could always argue your case with logic, but you could also justify a decision based on values, both worked). Funny, my mom's personality type is ENXJ. Go figure.
So, I was taught early to go join in. Jump into the mix. Nudge nudge. There were plenty of times I was allowed to take my time about it (often, in fact), but I was expected to get there. Go play with the kids at the birthday party. Go have fun. Extravert!
There was also a lot of fabulous discussion about things we 'just knew', stuff we understood without needing to put together, all the intuitive stuff. I loved those conversations (match match match on the iNtuitive!).
I cannot figure out if I am naturally more F (feeler) or naturally more T (thinker) for how I make decisions - I think F. Or wait, maybe T. GAH!
I like working from principles, not rules. But is that more the influence of the N and P? See sixty million posts on how our house runs, Safe Respectful Kind, not 'thou shalt'. Values and how things affect the other people drive a lot of my choices. Not that I don't bring in a lot of logic, analysis, and rationality to that. It's one of the things I enjoy most, moving back and forth over that line, drawing on rationality and reason, applying that to values, cross-checking outcomes for logical function. F. But maybe T. I analyze and think through, before and after interactions with my kids. I analyze my own issues, thoughts, patterns, and behavior. I care about fair, and always have (my mom said I was the most concerned with Fair and Just of all the kids, with my sister H being right up there - and I'm pretty sure she's a T). I've been told I think too much. But... if there's a crisis, I tend to go straight to Thinking, and people often reverse their function when they are in a crisis. But maybe I haven't met a crisis that was that far off the scale... AHHHH! This is why they test. And why the testers have to be trained.
And the P. I'm naturally a P - go with the flow, roll with it, suck with deadlines, take up tasks because they're fun (despite the time available). My mom tried to teach some J stuff, but there was a lot of head-butt on that. I just could not do it. She didn't know how to teach it.
Now, as a parent, I'm looking through the Mother Styles book (thank you very much, you know who you are). :) And OHMYGOD I parent like an introvert! Though I have mad skillz on the Extravert stuff, so some of the pitfalls of Intravert parenting are non-existent. I have already over-compensated for that side. Still, holy shmoley. All this time, I thought I was an Extravert! Bizarre.
You'd think I would know who I was. But powerful coaching - both by my mom and by our culture - set me up to think otherwise. Maybe I'm wrong in the re-assessment, too. Certainly I used to seek out others for energy... but it was generally others I knew well. I tend to have more than just one good friend, but I don't spend all my time with them. I'm certainly not off-the-scale Introvert. But probably over the line enough to count.
It makes me wonder what our family 'type' is. Definitely N. Both T and F (I think). And er, probably very P (oh, we have so much trouble getting to bed on time!). And I. INXP. Hmm. I wonder how much I'm imposing that on our kids...
I have already recommended the book a few times to various people - Mother Styles is a reasonably effective way to look at yourself as a parent (mothers obviously in particular, but it works for dads, too). It is a way to understand why I don't like doing THAT, or the other thing, and why I never am going to enjoy such-and-such. It makes it clear that the things I admire in other parents are things I don't need to be, though I may want to try to learn how to do.
I'm never going to be orderly - too N, too P. But I can learn to be less disorganized, and still value my ability to take things as they come, respond in the moment, and grasp the pattern without having to assemble it from its various parts (which just seems like so much WORK! Granted, that's easy for an S).
Anyway, more understanding me means more understanding what I'm doing as a parent, and why it works, and what might not work, and how to adjust. Useful.
Still weird, though. Me, an Introvert? Hahahahahaha... er, yeah, I probably am.