For many years my Myers Briggs personality type was ENFG. In a nutshell this says I’m four main traits:
- E: Extroverted
- I’m more energized with a group of people than being alone
- N: Intuitive
- Individuals who have an “N” instead of an “S” are more intuitive than observant. This means intuitive people focus more on hidden meanings and future opportunities because they are imaginative
- F: Feeling
- If your “F” is greater than your “T” (thinking) then you’re more sensitive and emotionally expressive with higher levels of empathy. Thinkers tend to put logic before emotions
- J: Judging
- Decisive and highly organized. If you’re a “J”, you prefer structure of spontaneity. If you have a dominate “P” then you’re more flexible and prefer keeping your options open
After my life changed about 8 months ago, I noticed a drastic shift in my personality. For years and years, my mood use to change quickly and I’d be prone to getting in arguments and fights with people I cared about. I use to raise my voice and let my emotions take the lead. Today I’m sitting here writing this and I don’t remember the last time I cared enough to get in an argument or fight with anyone.
My emotions use to control me more than I controlled them. Now I control 99% of what I feel. I choose how I react and most of the time it’s no reaction because that’s what is safe.
In high school and college I would get in fights with my parents, my roommates, my friends. I’d cry over things that seemed like a big deal. I’d raise my voice frequently. Today, I don’t feel enough to get into a fight. I guess that’s what trauma does to you. Changes you in ways you never thought you’d change. I thought I’d always be so “firey”, loud, highly extroverted, and wanting to be around large groups of people. Today, I need alone time and I absolutely hate going out with a large groups of friends. I can’t 100% pinpoint why this is yet. But for now, I think it’s because I can’t relate to most of the people and friends I use to hang out with anymore.
I use to let my mind wander, now I try to make sure it never does.
I do this because there are two spots in time and that’s it: When my brother was here and when he wasn’t. One of my friends constantly texts me old pictures from a year ago, three years ago, etc. Each picture I’m forced to look at I immediately go to one place: the Before. One of the reasons I don’t have social media is to guard myself from anything that would make me feel something.
My career use to be #1, now I don’t know what #1 is.
That “J” I wrote about partially explains why I was very driven, decisive, and career-oriented. I’m still very driven, but I lack decisiveness when it comes to what I want to do in the long-term. This is not just because of trauma, this is because of personal growth and maturity. Understanding that makes me feel less confused, but hell, I’m still confused and often times can’t think linearly. I’ll explain why.
Trauma effects 3 parts of the brain:
1. The prefrontal cortex (PFC), known as the “Thinking Center”. The PFC effects planning, empathy, awareness of ourselves and others
2. The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), known as the “Emotion RegulationCenter”
3. The amygdala, known as the “Fear Center”. When this small area is activated we feel fear, reactive, and vigilant. I rarely feel any of the three, which shows that my amygdala is highly under activated.
When trauma occurs, all three of the areas are under activated. Everyone experiences trauma differently. Which makes all of this more confusing because there’s no one explanation for a feeling (or lack there of) and there’s no one solution.
So I decided to retake my Myers Briggs test in hopes of seeing an ounce of clarity. I took the 60 question test and got ESTP-A, “The Entrepreneur”. I went from ENFJ to ESTP. That’s a three letter change. I wouldn’t say I completely understand the switch, because I don’t really understand a lot of things anymore. However, I do think it helped take a little pressure of me as to why my emotions/ reactions are different than they were 8 months ago.
Before, I had strong feelings and emotions. Today, I have little feeling and emotion. My goal for the future: Be somewhere in the middle. Like Eleanor Roosevelt said, “With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts”.
Healing takes time. And even when I’m healing, I’ll never be full again.