In grammar school, Marta was described as quiet and gentle. A good student, she was drawn to literature and writing. Early on, her writing reflected a deep sense of emotion, and when given the opportunity to select a topic, it often focused on relationships and feelings. Her childhood friendships were a source of both happiness and great hurt. She often idealized a best friend and developed deep attachments. As a result, she was mystified and hurt when friendships changed or faded. At times, she preferred to go it alone, finding comfort in her favorite books.
Marta’s interest in writing and her abilities to express herself in this arena only grew as she did, so that by the time she reached college, she was sure that writing was her calling. She held strong personal views about life and was extremely idealistic. Her ESTJ boyfriend, who later became her husband, used to tease her that she needed a more practical approach to life and work. But for her, nothing seemed more important than understanding and expressing human values and emotions.
It wasn’t until after her children were born that Marta became absolutely sure about the kind of writing that she was meant to do. She began to write children’s books. Unlike the authors of the famous Berenstein Bears books, whose focus was on behavior, her books focused on friendships and love, and her talent for expressing human emotion was finally put into purposeful action.
She tremendously enjoyed the writing process. Writing was a private and personal time for reflection and expression, and Marta was energized and excited by the experience. She was hard-working and focused, and immediately set up a daily schedule for completing her work, often having daily and weekly goals set in advance. She found that being organized enabled her to work more efficiently and productively. It was not always easy balancing the needs of her family with her work when the unexpected occurred, such as a sick child. Shifting gears and changing daily goals was stressful to her, but for the most part, she enjoyed her work.
Dealing with the publishers was a whole different ball game. Before writing her first book, Marta had this idealistic image of all of the quiet hours she would spend in creating a book. She was horrified by the amount of time she would need to spend with her publisher. Where she had envisioned sending a final copy of her book to the publisher to print, they envisioned hours of discussion, debate, changes, lunches, publicity events, etc. She never felt at her best or in control at any of these events/meetings and found them to be exhausting and stressful. From her perspective, she had worked extremely hard not only to write well, but also to plan and organize the completion of the book. All of the unanticipated changes were frustrating, especially since she felt that she had little control.
Her husband could not entirely understand her dislike of the publishing side of writing. As an Extravert, he often thought that the exchange of ideas improved efforts and products, and enjoyed working with others. He also was concerned with Marta’s ability to make decisions, which at times seemed to lack logic and good sense. She was much more concerned with how she felt than with getting the book published. In her most stressful times, she would become uncharacteristically critical, resentful, and insistent about her views, logical or not. This was always a surprise to her husband, since it would be more typical of her to express disagreement gently and maintain harmony in relationships.
Marta could never have endured the life of the ENFJ politician we described earlier (See Jonathan’s story). The constant activity and personal interactions would be terrifically distressing. As a writer, working at home, she was in a very comfortable situation, in spite of her small miseries in dealing with the publisher. INFJs are likely to spend a great deal of time in quiet reflection and discovery of identity and meaning. It is a very personal journey, one in which they share their deepest thoughts with only a special few. Like the ENFJ, INFJs will want to be purposeful in this journey and will search for meaningful ways to take action with what they have learned. They will focus on people and the experience and meaning of life, but will express their insights in more private ways, often one on one. INFJs are drawn to work in a variety of areas, such as writing, therapy, and art, but all share a common theme: the one-on-one individual expression of personal emotions, feelings, and the human experience.
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