Are you familiar with the M.yers-B.riggs Type Indicator?  It’s a personality profile that measures you on four different dimensions, and is pretty popular in the corporate world.  We went through the profiling process for a class I’m taking this semester, and I got the results back back two weeks ago.  It was the night before we decided to stop, and it actually played a part in me being able to accept that decision.  And since I want to try to chronicle the things that helped me accept that decision, I wanted to talk a little about it.

My personality type is the ISTJ, which stands for introvert-sensing-thinking-judging.  Now, listen to some of the things that come from my personality “portrait”:

  • The ISTJ is the “duty-fulfiller”.
  • Interested in security and peaceful living.
  • Strongly-felt internal sense of duty.
  • Generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humor.
  • Not comfortable in breaking laws or going against the rules.
  • Tend to believe things should be done according to procedures and plans.
  • Extremely dependable on following through with things which she has promised.
  • Will work for long periods of time and put tremendous amounts of energy into doing any task which they see as important to fulfilling a goal.  However, they will resist putting energy into things which don’t make sense to them, or for which they can’t see a practical application.
  • If they are shown the importance or relevance of the idea to someone who they respect or care about, the idea becomes a fact which the ISTJ will internalize and support.
  • Not naturally in tune with their own feelings and the feelings of others.
  • Once the ISTJ realizes the emotional needs of those who are close to them, they put forth effort to meet those needs.
  • Will put forth great amounts of effort at making their homes and families run smoothly.
  • Excellent ability to take any task and define it, organize it, plan it, and implement it through to completion.  They are very hard workers who do not allow obstacles to get in the way of performing their duties.
  • Under stress, ISTJs may fall into “catastrophe mode,” where they see nothing but all of the possibilities of what could go wrong.

So now take all that and roll it into the perspective of my approach to infertility:

  1. I saw giving Manly a family as my duty, which I could not fulfill.
  2. I approached my treatment as a task to be performed, and was not going to stop until I had suceeded.
  3. When I couldn’t suceed, I freaked out and went into catastrophe mode.
  4. The only thing I could consider was moving forward, not stopping because otherwise, OMG, the world will end, y’all!
  5. I could not (and still cannot) easily see or understand Manly’s feelings unless he tells me explicitly.
  6. He told me explicitly that he did not want to continue treatment, and therefore gave me “permission” to stop.
  7. Now that I’m not under as much perceived external stress to fulfill that obligation to him, I am able to move out of catastrophe mode and see the larger picture.  Although I’m not usually comfortable with ambiguity, I’ve gone through all of the facts and scenarios relating to my treatment so many times that I can deal with not making a decision at this point.

If I hadn’t been going through this class and taking this indicator at this particular time, I would not really be able to understand why stopping hasn’t bothered me as much as I thought it would.  In fact, I have surprised myself with my own ability to accept the situation and start moving on.  However, much of that acceptance is based on my underlying personality type and the way I relate with the world at large.  I never could have made the decision to stop on my own — it was something that Manly had to decide for me.  Because of that, I don’t see myself as particularly “strong” in making this decision; it’s more just what had to be done, so I did it. 

Does that help y’all understand a little more where I’m coming from? 


5 thoughts on “ISTJ and IF

  1. I think you are underestimating your strength. Manly may have given you permission to stop, but you are drawing on your own internal strength to be at peace with it.

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