Cult of Personality

Whenever I take the Myers-Briggs personality test, I often wonder if I’m answering the questions correctly or not. I know that statement is absurd, given that it is a purely subjective test, but I still feel as though I’m doing something wrong. Interestingly enough, the material concerning my personality type actually addresses this kind of problem in individuals like me.

I’ve always considered myself an INFP, but most tests score me as either an INFP or INFJ.

The “official” Myers-Briggs site explains the Myers-Briggs test more succinctly than I ever could:  “The purpose of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality inventory is to make the theory of psychological types described by C. G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives. The essence of the theory is that much seemingly random variation in the behavior is actually quite orderly and consistent, being due to basic differences in the ways individuals prefer to use their perception and judgment.”

In other words, the point of the test is to identify your basic preferences of each of the four dichotomies specified by Carl Jung, on whose theory of personality this inventory is based. The result is sixteen distinct personality types that come about from interactions among the choices.

Naturally, here is where I’d explain the four scales, but it’s better to take the tests before knowing what each of the scales are and what they mean. I’m going to be taking each of these tests as I list them and will give my result for each. At the end of this project, we can see which tests are alike, which (if any) are anomalies, and what my overall “average” type is.

Test #1
The first test is from the site My-Personality-Test. It’s a 10-minute test where you either agree or disagree in part or in whole with the statements listed. That is, it’s a sliding scale of disagreeing to agreeing.  You’re given five choices on each side of the sliding scale. There are 64 questions.
I took this damn thing twice and then is what I get at the end both times: screwthistestMoving on to another test that will hopefully work out better than the last one and not waste my time *sneers…*

The ACTUAL first test is from the HumanMetrics website and is titled the “Jung Typology Test,” which claims it is based on Carl Jung’s and Isabelle Briggs Myers’ “personality type theory.” There are 64 questions. You can answer either YES (very yes), yes (sorta yes), uncertain, no (sorta no), or NO (very no).
Here we go…
And the results are in! I am an INFJ, which breaks down into Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging:

I didn’t score strongly in any of the categories, hence the “moderate preference” talk. This is a theme for me.

Test #2
The 16 Personalities test kept popping up any time I searched for Myers-Briggs tests, although it is a NERIS Type explorer test, as opposed to a strict MBIT. For the difference, read the lengthy explanation here. Or you can just know that, in addition to scoring your personality based on the Myers-Brigg’s types, it also adds a fifth personality aspect, Identity, which can be either Assertive or Turbulent, where Assertive means you are self-assured and stress-resistant, while Turbulent means you are self-conscious and sensitive to stress. I don’t have to take the test to know that I fall into the latter category!

My result is an INFP-T or “the Mediator:” Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving, and Turbulent.

infptApparently, the mediator means I’m sort of hippie, free spirit who likes butterflies, flowers, and going barefoot. Not me at all. Well, I don’t have anything against flowers except they make horrible gifts because they die and then you are left with dead flowers and awful smelling water that you have to throw out, which you may feel bad about (I would). No, but here is really what it says about Mediators, which I think is kind of neat.

I can’t say I’m proud of these results. Seeing that Turbulent identity kind of stings. However, it is congruent with what my past experiences have been: I score somewhere in the middle between Judging and Perceiving, so I’m always either an INFJ or an INFP.

Test #3
The third test is courtesy of It is free (as are all these tests) and claims to take 15 minutes. It asks you to score which of two words or phrases describe you best.
The results… well, they are pretty spot on. I am an Introverted Intuitive Feeler (INF)… who may be a Judger or Perceiver – which is something I vary on in almost all of my tests, so that wasn’t much of a surprise (well, what WAS surprising was that the test pointed it out).
Test #4
This test is thanks to the folks at Am I getting tired of taking these tests yet? Yes… some of the questions are seeming repetitive. Actually, I’m catching how the tests ask you the same questions, just reversed. Anyway, the gist of the test is to agree or disagree with the statements they present. 63 questions.

Well the results of this test are different, but not really surprising if you look at how it boils down. According to this, I’m an ISTJ (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging), but I scored right down the middle in everything but Introversion.
istjTest #5
The next test I came across was offered on metarasa’s personality site, a UK-based website. I have a feeling this is one of those tests you take and they give you introductory results and you have to pay for the full results, but let’s reserve judgment.
Ugh, I just started taking this test and I hate it already… it’s like the two statements aren’t contradictory in any way and so I am having to arbitrarily choose between them! *marches on*
I refuse to continue subjugating myself to material that is indecipherable, let alone expect you to take that test. That was awful. Which is sad, because, upon first glance, the rest of the website looks like it could be kind of neat.

Here is an example of what they were asking:
Do you “enjoy getting things done” or “enjoy anticipating the future?”
Umm… both? How is that even a choice?

Test #6
This test at Owlcation is different. It comes in four sections, one for each of the four dichotomies that Jung outlines. So, you take the test for each of the four traits separately. I quite like the setup.

For the Extroverted/Introverted category… I got Introverted.
For the Intuitive/Sensing category… iNtuition
For the Thinking/Feeling category… Feeling
For the Perceiving/Judging category… Perceiving.

So, INFP. It seems like that’s the general theme of my results. Based on that, I’d say some of these tests are fairly accurate, or at least, in agreement with one another.

I can’t take any more tests… I’m exhausted. How many was that, just six? Dear lord, it felt like twenty.

Okay, okay… enough tests. Time to take the tried and true test, the one on the actual Myers-Briggs site.

OH, haha, just kidding. You think with all the research I did on that site I would have seen that the test costs $49.95 (plus tax) to take and get scored. So, no, I won’t be taking that.

Well, what was the good in any of this, you ask? I CAN tell you what test I think is the best, which is the test offered by 16 Personalities. I like that test the best because of how in-depth the results are. Also, the test itself is basic and taking it doesn’t feel like pulling teeth like some of these tests have.

If you aren’t into long-winded explanations and just want to find out your personality type, take the test at It is the most straightforward test of them all, as it tests you on each of the four categories separately.

Here’s that little bit of background info, in case you’re interested.

There are four scales on the Myers-Briggs test:

  • Your Favorite World: Extroverted (E) vs. Introverted (I) – “Where do you put your attention and direct your energy?”
  • The Information category: Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N) – “Do you prefer to focus on the basic information you take in or do you prefer to interpret and add meaning?”
  • When making Decisions: Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F) – “Do you prefer to first look at logic and consistency, or first look at people and special circumstances?”
  • How do you Structure things: “Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P) – “In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options?”

SO…what does all of this really mean?

I couldn’t take the official MBTI, so I can’t say for sure. But I would bet that I’m an INFP according to that test.

Can I stop answering questions now? *passes out*

And for those of you who have had this song stuck in your mind since you read the blog title…

Grief Therapy

This topic strikes a chord with me as my mother passed away December of 2016.

Here’s an article on how to cope with losing a loved one.

According to the counseling website Better Help, grief is considered a normal reaction to a loss. The loss can be either someone or something you loved and cared about deeply. For example, pet owners often suffer the same amount of grief over losing their pet as they would losing a loved one. Grief can impact a person in a variety of ways. Along with emotional problems, the patient can experience physical, social and behavioral complications.

Grief therapy recognizes that each person experiences a loss differently and therefore, there is no exact guideline for treatment. Therapists use their training and own judgment of the situation to decide what kind of treatment would be the most effective. Proper therapy occurs when the patient and the counselor come together to identify, reinforce and utilize the patient’s strengths to effectively learn to cope with the loss. The goal of grief therapy isn’t to help the person move on from a loss, but instead aims to get patients to the point where they can replace their negative emotions with positive memories.

Psychologist, Mark Tyrrell, states that, while it is widely accepted that there are five stages of grief (i.e., denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), different people deal with the grief in various ways and may not experience all five of the stages. In other words, there is nothing that says that a person has to feel a certain set of emotions, nor do they have to feel them in a certain order.

Moreover, he claims that there are several crucial techniques that comprise proper grief therapy, with each being equally important.. The first is allowing the patient to talk about the deceased. They may feel as though they can’t properly express themselves, lest they upset or burden those close to them. Therapists should encourage their patients to talk about their lost loved one and ask them to consider how the deceased would have wanted them to be living now.

Tyrrell considers the second step to be the most challenging in proper grief therapy, which is to help the patient distinguish grief from trauma. If the patient continues to experience flashbacks and horrific memories, such as finding their deceased loved one, the counselor should seek to help them by finding a method to detraumatize these memories and intrusive thoughts so that the patient can begin a healthy grieving process.

In addition to the first two techniques, the last deals with the guilt patients in grief therapy struggle with. They might feel like they aren’t grieving enough or may interpret the fact that their grief is abating means that they no longer care about their deceased loved one as much as they once did. The best remedy for this is to encourage the patient to rest, allowing them to take breaks from grieving. This will ultimately help the person function despite their loss, allowing him or her to move forward and focus on the happy memories.

It is important to remember that the grieving process is different for each person and that what works for one patient might not work for another. Should the severity of grief not lessen within a few months or if the person denies the possibility that he or she can lead a happy and fulfilling life without their loved one, grief therapy should definitely be sought out. If you are experiencing grief after the loss of a loved one, contact us so that we can help you deal with these difficult emotions.

Taphophobia: Saved By the Bell?

Whether it’s a full-blown phobia or something that just scares the bejeezus out of you, we all have that one thing that makes us weak in the knees. Maybe it’s ghosts, clowns, or even spiders. For me, my biggest fear is that of being buried alive. No, of course this is not rational. But in my defense, most people’s deepest, darkest fears are irrational. That’s part of why they scare us so much. My fear falls somewhere between a phobia and something that keeps me up on those dark, lonely nights. My fear even has a fancy name: Taphophobia.
Before the days of modern medicine, this wasn’t just an irrational fear; it was a real occurrence. The hysteria was especially rampant during the 18th and 19th centuries, when cholera was at its worst and people were dying everywhere. The number of cases of people being buried alive during that time is shocking.
What would it be like if one was buried alive? It would be complete darkness, with no room to move, limited air and no food. One would eventually starve to death, if you didn’t go crazy first.
The hysteria was only worsened by Edgar Allan Poe and his horrific works of literature. He thrived off the madness, s it inspired short stories such as his 1894 tale, “The Premature Burial.” His work perpetuated the public’s panic. Being buried alive was a common theme in Poe’s stories, as it’s highlighted in several of his books, such as: “Berenice,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and the short tale, “The Black Cat.”
As a result of society’s growing paranoia, measures were taken to ensure that those who were buried alive would survive. Unfortunately, this was only a luxury for the rich, such as Duke Ferdinand Brunswick-Luneberg, who commissioned an expensive, specialized casket in 1792, which became the first in a long line of what became known as Safety Coffins. These caskets came complete with a window, a tube through which one could breathe, a lock on the hatch and the keys for said lock in one’s pocket.
Variations of these coffins were made over the years. Most notably was Dr. Johann Gottfried Tarberger’s 1829 coffin, which came with a pulley system that caused an above ground bell to ring, alerting the cemetery night watchman. Once the bell rang, the watchman was to insert a tube into the coffin and fill it with air using bellows, until which time the coffin could be exhumed.
Interesting so far, right? Well, “folk etymology” (development of words and phrases) tells us that there are three well-known phrases still used today, which originated due to the development of Safety Coffins. The phrases, “Saved by the Bell,” “Dead Ringer,” and “Graveyard Shift,” are all said to have originated in the 1800’s, thanks to Taphophobia.
Unfortunately, as neat and gruesome as it would be, the phrase, “Saved by the Bell,” actually originated as a boxing term. It’s when a fighter who is nearly knocked-out perseveres until the bell rings, avoiding a loss in that round. Still, the etymology, or source, of the sayings, “Dead Ringer,” and “Graveyard Shift,” are still thought of as originating from the usage of Safety Coffins in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Now, what does any of this have to do with my fear of being buried alive? When I was little and found out about Safety Coffins and their bells, I couldn’t imagine being buried in any other coffin. What if I came back to life? Or if I wasn’t dead? How would anybody know? Thankfully, there have been tremendous medical advances since the 1800’s so most of us no longer have to suffer from Taphophobia.
So, why shouldn’t we be worried about being buried alive? Just ask any mortician. To put it bluntly, our corpses are pumped full of three gallons of embalming fluid, which seeps into the body cavity and arteries in order to preserve the body temporarily for wakes, funerals, and other religious traditions.
The ingredient in embalming fluid that we’re most familiar with is formaldehyde, which makes up 50 percent of the fluid’s contents. Little do most people know that we are exposed to formaldehyde every day. Scientists must use it to preserve tissues, but it has other uses, such as in pesticides and fertilizer. It can also be released into the air from common sources such as cigarettes and exhaust pipes. Trace amounts can also be found in our drinking water! So, exactly how dangerous is our exposure to formaldehyde?
Don’t worry; chances are, you’re okay. The real harm comes from ingesting the stuff. One ounce of formalin, a concoction that contains 37 percent formaldehyde, can cause a number of ailments, such as convulsions, respiratory failure, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea — if it doesn’t put you in a coma or kill you first. Needless to say, if you’re body is pumped full of three gallons of embalming fluid, you’re not going to be waking up. Now, let’s just hope you’re dead when you arrive at the morgue.