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Thread: Can you change personality type?

  1. #1
    Space-Faring Barnacle Array TPol's Avatar
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    Default Can you change personality type?

    I looked for a thread on this and couldn't find one, so I hope I'm not repeating something that was already discussed before I came to this forum.

    As I lurk on this forum and a little over on Intuitive Central, I see people are working to change their personality type or have already changed. What's up with that? Can one voluntarily change and it be for real and permanent?

    If so, why would one want to change something so basic to who they are?

    How does one go about changing it?

    It's not like I want to. I'm perfectly content here in my Imaginative Nifty and Tiny Purple shell. Just curious if people think this is a real change and what the motives might be for changing. For those of you who are equally stumped about this, you may go back to your regularly scheduled program.
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    Tiger Beat cover boy Array Lee's Avatar
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    I think I am an ENTP who has been behaving in a very Introverted manner for large parts of my life due to circumstance. I do not feel comfortable in my INTP skin, it is not what I want to be, I just feel like I need to explode out of it.

    Most people change thier type because they go through life, situations change and so do thier behaviours. Others are too young to make reliable judgements, especially teens with all thier FP hormones swimming around in overdrive. There are also those who simply mistyped themselves, they are not changing, thier self-image is simply coming into line with reality.

    I think peoples types can change to a degree, the brain is not a static machine, it learns, changes and adapts to it's enviroment, over time this may lead to a significant shift in a persons personality.
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    plain, simple garak Array garak's Avatar
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    Theory-wise the answer seems to consistently be no. As far as real world experience, it always seem like those who are confused about their type are also somewhat confused about MBTI. I've never seen an MBTI nut who claimed to have changed types, or to be "in between" types, nor believed that it's possible. Hard to know what the truth is, but I lean towards no.
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    ... Array MasterMerk's Avatar
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    Putting it in to MBTI terms complicates things...

    Physically, in the way the brain works, a whole lot can change through just a little electrical rearrangement. Head injuries, trauma and strokes will affect you in some way, and they can very much alter your entire personality, if serious enough. It's neither common nor uncommon.

    Mental illness can appear unexpectedly and change a personality. Oftentimes psychosis lies dormant in an individual until something such as trauma, or use/abuse of substances exorcises it from them. People change everyday like this.

    But as for changing by your own will? I believe so, but not just anybody. Sure, some people stay the same, some people are caught in a loop they'd rather not break, but on the other hand, some people are naturally drawn to constant development and shaping themselves. Maybe because of the simple fact that positive (i.e. what we individually perceive as positive) behavior reinforces itself. I have a feeling the most adaptive personalities appear flighty in contrast to the rest of our society, because they'd be willing to step out of their comfort zone and shut off those dismaying thoughts in that open minded way. Most people canít.
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  5. #5
    IIMACCAII
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    Impossible!! for instance: Can you imagine that you Intuiton(Ie) and thinking(Ti)-functions just exchanged places... you cannot change the place where your functions are... I guess...
    But you can of course develop your functions, but to change their position seems impssible to me. I think you can only change function up until you are 12(+/- a few years I think). You have from age 2-6 only two functions, and from age 7-12 three functions. For instance: ITP can from age 7-12 only turn out to be either ISTP or INTP. ISTP is the closest personality to the INTP function-wise.
    http://personalitypage.com/kid_portraits.html

    This is also a new thing from personality page where you can test kids:

    The Personality Questionnaire for Kids is being offered free of charge for the first month that it is introduced on the internet. This tool is appropriate for children aged 7 - 12 years.
    http://www.personalitypage.com/cgi-local/build_pqk.cgi

  6. #6
    IIMACCAII
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterMerk
    Putting it in to MBTI terms complicates things...

    Physically, in the way the brain works, a whole lot can change through just a little electrical rearrangement. Head injuries, trauma and strokes will affect you in some way, and they can very much alter your entire personality, if serious enough. It's neither common nor uncommon.

    Mental illness can appear unexpectedly and change a personality. Oftentimes psychosis lies dormant in an individual until something such as trauma, or use/abuse of substances exorcises it from them. People change everyday like this.
    I agree.... that is probably the only way you can change personality...I even think its possible that you only have 3 letters if you get a serious head-injuries.

  7. #7
    Tiger Beat cover boy Array Lee's Avatar
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    Most people who change thier types do so because they were initially mistyped. Or through circumstance appeared to behaving like another type... it depends really on how this question is meant.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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    I don't know, because I know I've definitely been able to "train" my Fi. It's now relatively strong, though I'm still fundamentally INTP. It's just that I can now see things from an Fi perspective too. Introversion is a huge problem for me.. I'm definitely most comfortable being alone. Though I could probably gain some extraversion skills or something, I doubt I could ever be as comfortable as being alone. Isn't the definition of personality type just a description of your strongest skills/traits? If that is so, then i think it's very possible to change personality type.
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    hiply tragic Array waxwing's Avatar
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    I think that personality covers those patterns of behavior and cognition we see emerging over time, and over a wide range of circumstances. Due to this, I would say that personality does not change, although temperament probably does. As has already been suggested, we must also consider the sheer power of the brain to defend itself, even as it seems to turn against itself (i.e. certain mental disorders). It seems that the very capacity for change is a hallmark of a few personality types, but I guess the question must be asked: Am I adapting, wearing the masks and shells my mind has made for me? Or am I emerging from my shell, and thus, appearing to be a different type (when it may actually be my true type)? It's nearly impossible to make the distinction at times, I believe, especially where mental illness is involved, and certainly in the midst of forced change due to trauma or something of that nature. It seems perfectly human, though, to frequently wear masks, even when ones intent is not to be an imposter or willfully change personality. In my opinion, a willful effort to stengthen weaker functions would fall into the category of trying on different masks, and climbing to new vantage points, regardless of whether extreme life circumstances have necessitated such a thing.
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  10. #10
    Space-Faring Barnacle Array TPol's Avatar
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    So many interesting insights. Thank you.

    Lee, your view intrigues me because I think it was during the "raging hormone" stage in life when my personality "changed." This is part of the reason why I started this thread. From my reading and analyzing, I'm fairly sure I was once an ISTP (even into my early 20s). Then, circumstances or something must have made me slide pretty solidly into INTP mode. It wasn't a conscious decision to change personality type, though -- which is what is fascinating to me about some of the posts to which I was referring. Perhaps it is a matter of semantics, and they were thinking more along the lines of working on strengthening functions rather than changing personality type altogether.

    MBTI nut....that's been kind of me for the past year. garak, my natural tendency is to agree with you. Yet, there's the idea that I think my personality type DID change. I'm solidly enough an INTP now that I doubt it will revert back to ISTP, no matter how hard I try (if I should want to). The posters who felt their personality changed recently are a curiosity to me because of it. Perhaps the population on these forums is generally young enough that hormones or traumatic circumstances are still playing a metamorphic role in their lives..... Hmmmm.

    MasterMerk: excellent points on mental illness, brain injury, and stroke changing one's personality. I'd forgotten that aspect.

    Quote Originally Posted by IIMACCAII
    But you can of course develop your functions, but to change their position seems impossible to me. I think you can only change function up until you are 12(+/- a few years I think). You have from age 2-6 only two functions, and from age 7-12 three functions. For instance: ITP can from age 7-12 only turn out to be either ISTP or INTP. ISTP is the closest personality to the INTP function-wise.
    This is what I was getting at with my questions, I think. Although I tend to think nothing is impossible, I find it highly improbable that one could voluntarily change their basic personality type (INTP to INFJ, for instance). One could develop their functions, as you and nonsequitur mentioned. Thank you for the link. It is interesting to take the quiz as you remember what you were like as a kid. ITP for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsequitur
    Isn't the definition of personality type just a description of your strongest skills/traits? If that is so, then i think it's very possible to change personality type.
    I hadn't thought of it quite like that. I'd been thinking of a personality type as a hard-wired part of the brain, almost genetic in nature. This brings up the obvious question then: Just what IS "personality type?" If it is just one's strongest skills or tendencies, then it is highly possible to change one's personality type. This brings me back to what MasterMerk was saying in the last paragraph of the post: one would have to be motivated to make those changes. And, perhaps only certain types have that motivation. That thought, of course, brings me back to asking: if there's a type more inclined to develop or change their traits, then what's that personality type in terms of MBTI? And, in that idea, are we coming back to something that is hard-wired in the individual? In other words, if Billy-Bob is the type to normally mess around with type changes and trait development, is his basic type ISFJ, for instance? He can "become" an INTP next year and an INTJ 10 years from now, but his hard-wired personality to which he returns in times of trouble will always be ISFJ? Hmmmm....I think this was a more complicated issue than I, at first, had perceived.


    Quote Originally Posted by waxwing
    Due to this, I would say that personality does not change, although temperament probably does...In my opinion, a willful effort to stengthen weaker functions would fall into the category of trying on different masks, and climbing to new vantage points, regardless of whether extreme life circumstances have necessitated such a thing.
    Perhaps that is it. Your entire post, waxwing....it is particularly poignant for me.

    I'm starting to form the opinion that those who are saying they are "changing personality" (or have done so) are probably not changing their basic personality type but merely working (at different degrees of success) on developing various aspects of their temperaments.

    So many feel their childhood personality was different than their adult personality (me included). I wonder which personality type, then, is the "true" one.
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