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INTP Defense Strategems

Wittgenstein

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We know that INTPs are extremely vulnerable in the social sphere. ESTPs, in particular, seem to take great joy in toying with INTPs, who are unable to counter due to their glaring emotional deficiencies. The most obvious solution to this is for INTPs to practice their Fe functions in order to pick up on attacks before they start, analyze said attacks, and produce a counter. For most INTPs, especially the younger ones, this goal is a long way off. In the mean time, it may be fruitful to recall our life experience and see what, if any, defense strategems are available to the INTP.

  1. The cold shoulder. Human social interaction, outside of workplaces and other goal-oriented activities, depends on a near-constant exchange of emotional cues that function a bit like currency; someone elicits an emotional response from you, you reciprocate, etc. The cold shoulder consists of denying your interlocutor this fundamental exchange. INTJs, in my experience, are also fond of this strategy. Implementing it is easy: just objectify the attacker and withdraw back into yourself. On a phenomenological level, you can do this by looking at them and thinking, "primate," rather than "human." The change in attitude will be reflected by a change in your actions - it translates to a transformation in subconscious bodily cues that extroverts pick up on very well. Respond to insults and queries with short grunts and pat answers ("Mmm," "uh-huh," "is that so?") in a distracted tone of voice. 90% of the time, the attacker will withdraw. This serves the dual function of protecting you and acting as a counterattack; it takes many people (especially ESxx types) by surprise, and may cause them to become bewildered and indignant because they feel that you do not value them or their opinions.
  2. The sad puppy defense, or, "y u so mean?". Just act as though you are inwardly very upset, but are cover it up fairly well. It's important to be subtle, as it's easy to end up looking like a little bitch if you get it wrong, and can backfire if the opponent is vicious, but it works in the right context. For example, if one of your friends has simply become far too fond of poking you, the sad puppy defense is highly effective. It has the benefit of not only making your attacker feel guilty, but, in a group setting, it will also make him look like an asshole. The outwardly warm-and-fuzzy appearance of INTPs comes into play here; of course, the derision may not cease immediately, but the group's attitude will slowly shift from "We are having fun insulting one another" to "Why are you kicking that poor defenseless puppy?"
  3. Pure contempt, or, "You insolent child." It's one of the INTP's few offensive weapons, and requires a certain amount of dexterity with Fe to pull off. It is also only useful in very limited contexts. That being said, when it does work, it's devastating. Contempt works because, when people are trading barbs, their maturity levels tend to drop by a few years; they may play childish pranks, for example. In such a situation, the drop in maturity level actually creates a vulnerability, which is the INTP's opportunity to counter. At this point, all you need to do is show some sign of contempt (eye rolling, inclining the head backward slightly, etc.), say something to the effect of "Are we in middle school?", and then apply the cold shoulder. The kind of people who enjoy trading barbs are not accustomed to being made to feel small, especially not by 'socially retarded' INTPs, so this kind of defeat is highly ignominious.


My experience is very limited, and I cannot think of any more strategies right now. I ask that anyone else with experience in this area would contribute. Criticism is welcome, but please try to base it on experience more than concepts (although logical analysis can be applied once evidence is introduced), as the tendency to abstract too far from the concrete is what makes the INTP so socially vulnerable to begin with.
 

Roran

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  1. Withdrawing completely- Works, but not worth the cost.
 

Wittgenstein

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  1. Withdrawing completely- Works, but not worth the cost.
I notice this pattern with INxPs. They become fed-up with everyone else and withdraw, then eventually return when the social starvation becomes too much, then get burned, then withdraw again. Vicious cycle.

The defense strategems in this thread are meant to prevent that from happening, by providing INTPs with tools for navigating social settings.
 

GYX_Kid

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It really depends who you're dealing with

ESTP isn't the only or worst variety of 'enemy' you'll encounter

and it really isn't so complicated

If someone is genuinely bothering you, consider them a mosquito that you can squash. If they really get out of line, actually physically smash them. If you get some reputation for it, it's because the douchebag was really pushing it and asking for it. Only do this against people who seem to be truly "bad people", that way you'll be "awesome". Throat punches tend to limit their speech ability, and a well-aimed blow to the temple can knock someone unconscious. But if it gets that intense, you might want to be in a safe location, away from too many viewers. And actually it's sometimes best to turn up to maximum suddenly without escalating, if you're dealing with the self-preserving cowardly type who needs to "win"

Any other non-annoying, non-important people are just flies


Personally (if I'm one of those hermits that Nietzsche was talking about) I have a certain mix of cold/nihilistic but also perfectionistic tendencies-
Defensive strength being that someone throwing rocks at me probably won't get any emotional response anyway... weakness being that later on I'll look back and regret not "beating" them harder than I did



In general, just be an apathetic smart-ass without a blatant ego and you'll win 100%. Though this does require at least par social skills, which might not be present during earlier youth like you mentioned. Is there some ESTP in particular that you're thinking of, who does something particular that elicits formulating blueprints for war?
 

alrai

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; they may play childish pranks, for example. In such a situation, the drop in maturity level actually creates a vulnerability, which is the INTP's opportunity to counter.
I would have to agree, we are very complex, but can act very shallow
and childish sometimes, especially in a settin where we have an obvious advantage.


It really depends who you're dealing with

ESTP isn't the only or worst variety of 'enemy' you'll encounter

and it really isn't so complicated
I would also agree here. They ones I knew were easy to manage, and require minimal effort, if I'm actually bothered. They love preforming "acts" which leaves me in my comfortable seat as an observer.

The sad puppy defense, or, "y u so mean?". Just act as though you are inwardly very upset, but are cover it up fairly well.
That is a "big" assumption to make. Hold on, did I just use that strategy.

I think Roran summarized the OP's post in 1 sentences.
The cost of losing a friend is often cheap, because most of us here are not "social retards", I can actually socialize better than most people i know, but as an introvert it is tiring to be constantly social.
 

Reluctantly

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[*]The cold shoulder. Human social interaction, outside of workplaces and other goal-oriented activities, depends on a near-constant exchange of emotional cues that function a bit like currency; someone elicits an emotional response from you, you reciprocate, etc. The cold shoulder consists of denying your interlocutor this fundamental exchange. INTJs, in my experience, are also fond of this strategy. Implementing it is easy: just objectify the attacker and withdraw back into yourself. On a phenomenological level, you can do this by looking at them and thinking, "primate," rather than "human." The change in attitude will be reflected by a change in your actions - it translates to a transformation in subconscious bodily cues that extroverts pick up on very well. Respond to insults and queries with short grunts and pat answers ("Mmm," "uh-huh," "is that so?") in a distracted tone of voice. 90% of the time, the attacker will withdraw. This serves the dual function of protecting you and acting as a counterattack; it takes many people (especially ESxx types) by surprise, and may cause them to become bewildered and indignant because they feel that you do not value them or their opinions.
That does sound very INTJish. I don't think it would because ESTPs are Se initiating and will keep trying and might even make them think of you in contempt for being so absent-minded or a dick without a recognizable reason. That will make things worse when you do have to interact with them on something later.

[*]The sad puppy defense, or, "y u so mean?". Just act as though you are inwardly very upset, but are cover it up fairly well. It's important to be subtle, as it's easy to end up looking like a little bitch if you get it wrong, and can backfire if the opponent is vicious, but it works in the right context. For example, if one of your friends has simply become far too fond of poking you, the sad puppy defense is highly effective. It has the benefit of not only making your attacker feel guilty, but, in a group setting, it will also make him look like an asshole. The outwardly warm-and-fuzzy appearance of INTPs comes into play here; of course, the derision may not cease immediately, but the group's attitude will slowly shift from "We are having fun insulting one another" to "Why are you kicking that poor defenseless puppy?"
This only works if they feel pitty for you instead of contempt. And maybe it's just me, but intentionally looking weak or as a crybaby is kind of pathetic for an adult...lol. I guess if it works and you can look yourself in the mirror without feeling like a sissy. I'm pretty sure I couldn't though.

[*]Pure contempt, or, "You insolent child." It's one of the INTP's few offensive weapons, and requires a certain amount of dexterity with Fe to pull off. It is also only useful in very limited contexts. That being said, when it does work, it's devastating. Contempt works because, when people are trading barbs, their maturity levels tend to drop by a few years; they may play childish pranks, for example. In such a situation, the drop in maturity level actually creates a vulnerability, which is the INTP's opportunity to counter. At this point, all you need to do is show some sign of contempt (eye rolling, inclining the head backward slightly, etc.), say something to the effect of "Are we in middle school?", and then apply the cold shoulder. The kind of people who enjoy trading barbs are not accustomed to being made to feel small, especially not by 'socially retarded' INTPs, so this kind of defeat is highly ignominious.
Huh, that's interesting. I've had someone use that on me before. It was weird though and just made me confused because it comes off somewhat over-the-top and extreme for the type of situation you seem to be describing.

btw, have you ever considered that you might be more of an INTJ? Not that I think that's bad or anything or that it's my intention to bug you about it, but all of this strikes me as very INTJ. I guess you could consider it, if you think so as well.
 

Reverse Transcriptase

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We might look to the 36 Stratagems for ideas:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-Six_Stratagems
================

I did the cold-shoulder a lot in the past. I try not to do it as much. I usually regretted the cold-shoulder, because I felt like I was the one giving in to them. And that I was the person demonstrating self-control, in exchange for what? To end a fight? My opponent was the beneficiary, because I was holding back.

I've recently been keeping up with arguments & fights. Not giving in, being ruthless when I have to. The people who know me understand that I am still loyal but if someone is acting unacceptable I will happily pull out my daggers. (My INFP ex-gf & I often referred to our attacks as "daggers"... and now it's just habit.)

===============
I had an argument with a coworker today about his sleeping problems. I said that anyone can adapt to any sleep schedule with enough effort. He has sleeping problems, and is 6 years older than me, and used those points to say that no, it is impossible for him to get into work consistently before 10am. After our argument bottomed out from be a he-said / I-said; he sent me this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_sleep_phase_syndrome which was actually the documentation that I needed to be convinced. But of course, we had already said some mean things by then and were pretty frustrated.

We both sent apology emails within a minute of eachother (funny how that worked out). He gave a simple apology. I gave a deeper apology, but only after ripping into his character about how he always places negative limitations on himself.
I believe that you have tried to fall asleep, and that you've tried many ways. But at your core, there is still a resistance-- and it's not just with sleep, it's with a lot of things about you. You have given yourself a lot of negative limitations, and you aren't able to objectively pass them off and ask: "okay, what if I am mistaken? How would an outside observer look at this?" I see limitations in myself too, but I phrase them as "I haven't tried or tried hard enough to change this yet" rather than "I can't".
 

Wittgenstein

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In general, just be an apathetic smart-ass without a blatant ego and you'll win 100%. Though this does require at least par social skills, which might not be present during earlier youth like you mentioned. Is there some ESTP in particular that you're thinking of, who does something particular that elicits formulating blueprints for war?
I used to hang out with an ESTP who liked to verbally poke me, but he had good taste and knew when to stop. However, I was painfully conscious of the fact that he could have really ruined my day had he wanted to. So yes, there was a specific person behind this post, but I'm not scheming to get revenge on him. To my mind, there is no reason to ignore this vulnerability when it could be fixed ahead of time.

That does sound very INTJish. I don't think it would because ESTPs are Se initiating and will keep trying and might even make them think of you in contempt for being so absent-minded or a dick without a recognizable reason. That will make things worse when you do have to interact with them on something later.

This only works if they feel pitty for you instead of contempt. And maybe it's just me, but intentionally looking weak or as a crybaby is kind of pathetic for an adult...lol. I guess if it works and you can look yourself in the mirror without feeling like a sissy. I'm pretty sure I couldn't though.
Many people on this forum probably have a high-minded and self-flagellating streak that would normally prevent them from doing this kind of thing. I know I do. I've thought long and hard about it, and I came to the conclusion that compromise is unavoidable here. I don't like the constant jockeying for dominance that comes with socializing, but I have to deal with it to get what I want out of life. That involves behaving in ways that seem silly or petulant, but the end justifies the means.

Huh, that's interesting. I've had someone use that on me before. It was weird though and just made me confused because it comes off somewhat over-the-top and extreme for the type of situation you seem to be describing.
Yes, many of these responses are disproportionate to the situation, but they need to be. Like I said, subtle posturing and dominance displays go with the territory in social life; this means that people are constantly encroaching on one another and testing boundaries. The idea is that when someone pushes you, you push back hard, and nip the problem at the bud. Then you can go back to being indifferent to the social power game.

Please note that "pushing you" means "transgressing boundaries in a way that is obviously meant to lower your status in the group dynamic." I am not advocating that you declare war on someone for a little good-natured ribbing, or that you become a hypersensitive jerk. But when people start to get a little too handy with their verbal hand-buzzer (or the hand-buzzer starts to feel like a stun gun), that's a sign that it's become a dominance game and you need to shut them down.

btw, have you ever considered that you might be more of an INTJ? Not that I think that's bad or anything or that it's my intention to bug you about it, but all of this strikes me as very INTJ. I guess you could consider it, if you think so as well.
Heh, you're not entirely mistaken. I am only a moderately expressed P (in contrast to very strongly expressed INT). But I think that INTPs can benefit from developing some INTJ tendencies, so it's also something I try to develop consciously; my best friends are an INTJ and an INFP, so I try to emulate their personal strengths in my own life.
We might look to the 36 Stratagems for ideas:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirty-Six_Stratagems
Excellent idea. Eastern discourse on warfare is usually not limited to warfare alone; it's about abstract principles of conflict that can be applied anywhere, hence the popularity of Sun Tzu and the Bhagavad Ghita in the business world.

As far as texts go, Marcus Aurelius' Meditations is a favorite of mine. It helped me learn how to let stuff roll off my back, instead of analyzing it all to death, and how to know when to retaliate and when to just let it slide. Miyomoto Musashi's Book of Five Rings, as well as Schopenhauer's Wisdom of Life and his Councils and Maxims, are good texts for this as well.

I did the cold-shoulder a lot in the past. I try not to do it as much. I usually regretted the cold-shoulder, because I felt like I was the one giving in to them. And that I was the person demonstrating self-control, in exchange for what? To end a fight? My opponent was the beneficiary, because I was holding back.
It usually seems that way, doesn't it? Despite being unwieldy and having a tendency to make people dislike you if you use it too much, I think that the cold-shoulder comes naturally to INTPs. I also think that INTPs tend to underestimate its effectiveness, as they have far less need for affection and attention than most other types (probably even INTJs).

I've recently been keeping up with arguments & fights. Not giving in, being ruthless when I have to. The people who know me understand that I am still loyal but if someone is acting unacceptable I will happily pull out my daggers. (My INFP ex-gf & I often referred to our attacks as "daggers"... and now it's just habit.)
I think that most people know, on some level, that they could crush someone else's ego if they really wanted to. It comes naturally to the majority of humans, but not to the majority of INTPs. Is it weird to sit here and hatch strategies on how to manipulate people emotionally? Sure it is. But I also conceive strategies on how to make a move on a girl (trick her into "wrestling" with you - works every time), how to introduce myself to new people, and how to make a taco. It becomes less creepy when I consider that I do nearly everything by analysis.

I had an argument with a coworker today about his sleeping problems. I said that anyone can adapt to any sleep schedule with enough effort. He has sleeping problems, and is 6 years older than me, and used those points to say that no, it is impossible for him to get into work consistently before 10am. After our argument bottomed out from be a he-said / I-said; he sent me this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_sleep_phase_syndrome which was actually the documentation that I needed to be convinced. But of course, we had already said some mean things by then and were pretty frustrated.

We both sent apology emails within a minute of eachother (funny how that worked out). He gave a simple apology. I gave a deeper apology, but only after ripping into his character about how he always places negative limitations on himself.
It sounds like you "ripped into his character" because you thought it would help him. That's the key, I think, to avoid becoming a manipulative self-serving bastard. Always keep the other person's best interest in mind - try to help them grow, not just get revenge. If you can't help them grow at all, and it's just a revenge issue, then maybe it's best to just let it go (unless you have to spend a lot of time around them, of course)
 

Anthrocide

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If you do not mind the troubleshooting:

1. The cold shoulder.
Do NOT do this to professors and employers/supervisors. Also, mate-seeking is hindered. If you interested in relationships, you can never be too careful; you may potentially hurt someone's (someone sexy) feelings by way of habituating the aforementioned tactic. Also, cynicism hinders creativity and activity. Otherwise, this is pretty effective. It helps to appear apathetic, as less people bother you. In truth, less people confront you positively as a drawback.

2. The sad puppy defense
This is suicide for men within the US.

3. Pure contempt
Your best suggestion. This works well, as I have empirically demonstrated. When someone finally lashes out, employ the "cold shoulder" and "cool story bro" fronts. Alternatively, continue tearing the person into shreds. This is incredibly effective on Narcissists - a valid enemy, I assure you.
 

Wittgenstein

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If you do not mind the troubleshooting:
Do NOT do this to professors and employers/supervisors. Also, mate-seeking is hindered. If you interested in relationships, you can never be too careful; you may potentially hurt someone's (someone sexy) feelings by way of habituating the aforementioned tactic. Also, cynicism hinders creativity and activity. Otherwise, this is pretty effective. It helps to appear apathetic, as less people bother you.
Correct on all points. Your observations bear out well on my experience, particularly the warning against habituating to the cold shoulder. It's very tempting to do so, as the wall is nigh-impenetrable, but if nothing can get in, then nothing can get out, either. And one does need to come out, at least occasionally.

In truth, less people confront you positively as a drawback.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. Can you explain?

Your best suggestion. This works well, as I have empirically demonstrated. When someone finally lashes out, employ the "cold shoulder" and "cool story bro" fronts. Alternatively, continue tearing the person into shreds. This is incredibly effective on Narcissists - a valid enemy, I assure you.
I've had the good fortune not to run into any narcissists (that I know/can think of). I assume that a narcissist would be troublesome if they thought you were ignoring them.

This may be obvious already, but keeping one's cool is important when using the contempt technique. Becoming too enthusiastic about ripping somebody a new one can activate the Fe and jam the Ti core, which almost inevitably means saying something stupid and/or taking it too far.

Remark: experience suggests that offenders become more docile, and for a longer period, when you anticipate what they're going to say and then counter before they begin speaking. I've done this purely out of a desire to get the confrontation settled and over with, but it appears to remove aggression instantaneously.
 

Anthrocide

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1) I've had the good fortune not to run into any narcissists (that I know/can think of). I assume that a narcissist would be troublesome if they thought you were ignoring them.

2) Remark: experience suggests that offenders become more docile, and for a longer period, when you anticipate what they're going to say and then counter before they begin speaking. I've done this purely out of a desire to get the confrontation settled and over with, but it appears to remove aggression instantaneously.
1) They are a truly fucked up bunch. Society underestimates them.

2) Interesting. Why do you think this is?
 

Wittgenstein

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2) Interesting. Why do you think this is?
In my experience, it happens when someone is trying to intellectually one-up you, and you clamp down on the attempt before it can get started. The best explanation is probably that this behavior is motivated by competitiveness or insecurity. An insecure person would, I think, feel embarrassed or down on themselves upon being shut down like this, while a competitive person would feel squashed.

1) They are a truly fucked up bunch. Society underestimates them.
I assume you have experience with them. How do you recognize them?
 

Anthrocide

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I assume you have experience with them. How do you recognize them?
They want to become your friend, and will lie about their political, social, etc. preferences in order to draw you closer. They will criticize you for the most rudimentary things, and they will ask you for favors (once again, for the most rudimentary things). They also form broad generalizations: most people are not religious enough and therefore burn, most girls are whores, etc. At first, you find their behavior slightly off, being careful not to construe their personality into anything dramatic (being a drama queen is not something we INTx's like to do).

Eventually, they betray you. Some theorize that the betrayal comes from their realization that their "friend" is of no more use. I have another opinion, but I do not wish to bore you. It's remarkable actually. The smallest thing can set them loose. They somehow rationalize you are the enemy by a single, independent action. If you admonish their immoral behavior, then they justify it with just about anything: victimization, justice, holier-than-thou antics, whining, passive-aggressive deflection, and a sudden change in morality.

Recognizing them is not easy, and I do not have too much experience. From what I have read and observed, their expectations of what constitutes a friendship (i.e., their gain comes foremost, stupid favors, illogical rationalizations for misconduct, etc.). They are hard to spot unless you get close to them. You have to remember that Narcissists (NPD) lack a lot of the normal authenticity needed for a stable identity, due to the deceitfulness. Consequently, Narcissists display a plethora of unrelated traits. Their true colors are independent of their cloaks.
 

alrai

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I thinks the root of the problem for why we haven't abandoned these stratagems would be CHANGE. So if we deal with this, then we would simultaneously reach a meaningful justification .

My thoughts are not straightfoward on this matter, but I'll try to elaborate on them the best I can, change is almost always an uncomfotable process and comes with dense anxiety, such emotions require attention as they will eat away at you if ignored. we dedicate more time to routine than change, the self instively prefers the familiar which also prevents change.
As an INTP, I'm driven to understand, and there no reason to assume I would have taken a different approach to changes, so I can justify the gravity of loyalty to my routine.

The reality is, change like any battle demands sacrifice, and conflict, and is never achieved by laws of attraction or hope, but by a solid fair fight internally, until you gain an abstract vision for the change; that's highly subjective which is why I may have oversimplified the
concept. To summarize, its can be a sensitive topic, so if we were to attain the readiness for change, it has to come from no where by the-self, for any party, of course debating it can also lead to some benefits if you feel its valid.

I would suggest you tackle the defense stratagems on your own and at your own pace, although if your satisfied with them, then it would probably benefit you more to maintain and advance them.
 
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