The Weiler Psi

Parapsychology Journalism: The People, The Theory, The Science, The Skeptics

Where Are the Role Models for Sensitive People?

Archetypes at their best are road maps for people to live by.  They tell us what our strengths and weaknesses are, help us form our identities and through stories, give us examples of how to improve our strengths while minimizing our weaknesses.  But what happens to those people for whom no archetype exists?  What happens when society provides no road map of who to be and no existing identity fits?  The answer is that you get some confused and depressed people who are in conflict with who they really are.

This was certainly a problem for me growing up and I knew it at the time.  The INFJ/Schizotypal straight male is the rarest personality type of them all at roughly .003 percent of the population according to the Myer Briggs Type Index (MBTI).  To say that I feel misunderstood is an understatement.  Among the INFJ community, this is something of a joke:

Win Championship, Feel Misunderstood

As a kid, I struggled to find adults that I could look up to.  The main problem was that my highly intuitive nature did not allow me to overlook the parts of their personalities that were not up to my standards.  That is to say, these adults had to be open emotionally and be able to see me as a person.  They couldn’t have blank spots in their character where fear had settled in.  They had to be awake and aware of their own life because that’s how I was.  In all the years that I was growing up, I never found anyone who both met the criteria and were around in my life long enough to make a difference.  There were a few people, here and there, but our paths quickly diverged.

It isn’t just in my personal life where this problem occurred; TV and film also provided no role models and archetypes that were suitable for me.  There were tough guys, and sensitive guys, but the tough guys buried their feelings and the sensitive guys were portrayed as weak and effeminate.  So if you were a guy like me and you wanted an archetype, you had a choice of this:

or this:

A man openly expressing his feelings has always been seen as a weakness associated with weak character and a man suppressing his feelings has been seen as associated with strong character.  Now, naturally no one wants to have weak character, so the road map here is to suppress your feelings so that you will have strong character.  Because these are archetypes, they are not only personal road maps but social ones as well.  They teach society to view males in this fashion, making it harder for any individual to break out of that mold.

If you are going to live your life outside of these archetypes, then you are going it alone and you will not be particularly well accepted within society because you don’t fit in to one of the prescribed roles.  The thing that tripped up me and trips up people like me, is that in order to be healthy, we have to both be strong and expressive in our feelings.  I have personally struggled with this, because, like the rest of my culture, I don’t know what this is supposed to look like.  There are no real role models for this.  The idea of a man getting highly emotional, then working through those emotions to come to a resolution?  Well, that’s just weird.  There are plenty of men who are portrayed as highly spiritual, which is an aspect of my personality type, but their journey to this place is rarely told.  I can think of only one show that did anything like this.  Kung Fu, with David Carradine:

It’s close.  The character is on a spiritual journey, but here again, toughness is associated with repressed emotion.  And I can’t do that.  My emotions are my strength and to suppress them is to deny myself the power that I need for my own happiness and personal satisfaction.  I am not tougher by suppressing my emotions, but rather just the opposite.  I can’t stress this enough: there is no socially ready made path for this.  There are no archetypes that fit this properly and no role models to mimic.  Anyone going down this path is going it alone.

What this has done to me over the years is left me conflicted.  No surprise there.  I have a constant clash between who I really am and who I think I am supposed to be.  I do not pretend to be enlightened beyond the limits of my own culture.  That is a kind of mythology that can be traced in a straight line from the beatniks of the sixties to the hipsters of today.  Not being part of the mainstream implies that the mainstream is your focus point.  There really is no escape from our culture.

I want to identify with the hero, like everyone else, but the hero is so different from me that this is quite a challenge.  Both my strengths and weaknesses are different.  I’m a loner, but I’m not Wolverine because I’m not angry and repressed.  I’m spiritual, but I’m not like Caine from Kung Fu because I’m not quiet and still inside; I’m not like any other conventional types as well.  So the question is, who am I if I’m not like anyone else I’ve seen?  I confess, I’m at a bit of a loss to fit into my own culture.  Even people with the Asperger personality have a famous role model in Sherlock Holmes and couple of movies that featured them as main characters.  Ben X and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.  But a schizotypal personality?  No one even knows what that is.  The closest was probably Mozart in Amadeus and Beethoven in any number of films about him.  None of these films really explored the complicated personalities of these men and how that related to their music.  They were for the most part . . . . . . . . (wait for it) . .  . . . . . misunderstood.  They were both misanthropes lost in their creative masterpieces headed down a path of self destruction.  Not exactly role model material.

I don’t have any answers here, but I think that asking the question is useful?  Where are the role models and archetypes for people who are really and truly different?

27 comments on “Where Are the Role Models for Sensitive People?

  1. Chris
    June 3, 2016

    Robert California on season 8 of The Office is the closest archetype to an INFJ that I have ever seen.

  2. Braink37
    October 10, 2014

    Act like Kramer on Seinfeld. Just be rigid and standing over things with amused excitement. And Einstein. Was too

  3. Alex
    July 3, 2014

    what about some of these people?

  4. Alex
    July 3, 2014

    what about some of these people?

  5. Gerard Scott
    March 12, 2014

    I confess. I too am a straight, albeit twisted, INFJ schizotypy. I’ve known I was a weirdo of some type all my life. The twist comes with my hyper awareness of the subtle, at time subconsciously projected, signs of deception. Sometimes I get pleasure out of encouraging others to “dig themselves in deeper,” before letting them see the writing on the wall. It serves a useful purpose in my work but that is not the reason for my pleasure. My pleasure, no doubt, is unresolved resentment.

    At 4.5 years of age I even suckered my own mother to confirm my suspicions regarding the nonexistence of Santa Claus with my claim that “Aunt Mary told me Santa is not real.” Of course mom did not believe me and thereafter openly confirm my suspicions. She still can’t get how I was watching to gauge her reaction.

    Some quotes from our spiritual leader come to mind:

    “As a child I felt myself to be alone, and I am still, because I know things and must hint at things which others apparently know nothing of, and for the most part do not want to know.”

    “Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible.”

    I’ve been hiding in the closet, playing the pretender. Funny, it was my favorite song for years and years. Now I have come out swinging at the stigma. Wish me luck because I am going to need it.

    • craigweiler
      March 12, 2014

      I wish you the best of luck!

    • Peter Beacham
      March 13, 2014

      Comment removed by admin. for being overly critical.

  6. Kelli
    March 24, 2013

    I’m an ISFJ. It’s not easy in a domination-based, male-energy world culture.

    I wanted to go to your lecture tonight on the Secret Lives of Plants, but I have to drive 2 hours and worked the night shift. Will you ever be giving that lecture anywhere again or do you have a blog entry on that topic?

    • craigweiler
      March 24, 2013

      Hi Kelli,
      I do have a couple of blog posts on plants, but I reviewed them recently and the links don’t work anymore. They’re old and they don’t cover the topic very well. This is a good link for some up to date info:

      I don’t currently have plans to do this lecture again, but I also haven’t been making any plans beyond a couple of months. So I don’t know.

    • Kelli
      March 24, 2013

      Whoops. Scratch “world.” I am sleep-deprived.

  7. Lydia
    March 5, 2013

    How about Jesus. He is very deep and truly life changing. I have always found good role models in the Christian church because for the most part people are authentic and there is emphasis on personal and spirtual growth. Remember, no one is perfect!

    • craigweiler
      March 5, 2013

      I think that quite a few people go this route. Some people look up to saints as well, but there is a lot of baggage that comes with these people. I was really more interested in someone contemporary that people could relate to. These historical figures come from a time with completely different challenges and we don’t know that much about them.

  8. Thalia
    March 28, 2012

    “The main problem was that my highly intuitive nature did not allow me to overlook the parts of their personalities that were not up to my standards.” That is exactly the reason why I have never found any person I can even pretend is a role model. I can look at anyone and say to myself, They’re only human.
    I have only found one male INFJ character I can truly admire (in a way). He’s not a role model in any shape or form. He knows he’s a coward, a liar, weak, reckless, stupid, careless, and not someone to be trusted. And that’s exactly why all those things are false.
    It’s not so much that he’s a role model. It’s more that he’s myself in a different situation, doing exactly what I would do. He is my cited reason for locking myself in my room to hide from the world. (Eugenides, from the Queen’s Thief series)

    • Anonymous
      August 22, 2012

      After reading your website thoroughly and doing alot of other research previously, I believe I am of this type, especially the part about not having faith in adults as a child. I have a role model and I believe he may be one of us, to look into this fully you would have to watch his signature movies: his name is Kelly Slater.

  9. psifiwireless
    March 19, 2012

    Your question is so important. And your answer is extremely familiar to me. Nope! Our “types” simply aren’t listed in the who’s who of the Collective. We’re doomed to original experience and bang head here! 🙂

    • neilmiller2011
      March 22, 2012

      Craig’s profound question is the thought we all have lurking in the back of our minds
      yet never know how to ask. Is their someone I can look up to? Give Craig a box of cigars and nominate him to the Who’s who of the collective.

      What do we do with Craig’s insight? What we have been doing and keep at it. Keep sharing ideas. Overtime I envision a great sense of peace coming to me knowing this group has helped me to find a role model, in a way a spirit helper. Plus, the longer we keep sharing these ideas, hopefully for years, we have a spiritual chance at leaving a legacy for those who come after us, our Karmic grandchildren.


  10. Rachel
    March 13, 2012


    You have inspired me to write my own website, where I can describe my whole history of precognition, breakdown/disintegration and invite people to comment, because on this website, where I have similar problems as Mr Weiler, I routinely get ignored. Are you all anti-British, anti-intellectual, anti-atheist? Which one of these is worst?

    How many of you think belief is important or a causal factor in spirituality? Spirituality happens by itself, if it relied on mere belief, it wouldn’t be real would it?

    • craigweiler
      March 13, 2012

      Hi Rachel,
      If you have any questions regarding blogging let me know. I recommend that you use WordPress. This is a very, very good platform. Feel free to email me: craig@ weiler. com (remove spaces)

  11. Peter
    March 12, 2012

    “The main problem was that my highly intuitive nature did not allow me to overlook the parts of their personalities that were not up to my standards…They couldn’t have blank spots in their character where fear had settled in…They had to be awake and aware of their own life because that’s how I was.”

    Wow. Your ego as a kid was indeed out of control. It is a good thing that you were to grow out of that egocentric, intolerant world view and now are a reasonable and open adult.

    But to address your quest for role models. The Lord of the Rings trilogy has several appropriate models. Then there is the lawyer/father figure, Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, so aptly played by Gregory Peck. Dag Hammarskold and U Thant, both Secretaries General of the UN come to mind. How about Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi?

  12. neilmiller2011
    March 3, 2012

    It seems that the direction of your post and the previous comments is that we don’t know what are archetype is but we are searching. Discussing Powder as an isolated event is one thing but, I present the vision to you Craig, and all who read this, that Internet chat about the movie can be part of a much, much larger mosaic, a mapl It’s for the best to accept that our heroes can’t be found in western culture. Psychic phenomena exists outside of the boundary of space and/or time. The culture we live in doesn’t get outside that box. For us to talk about archetypes means we are in uncharted territory. We can be a community of map makers, we can chart this territory.
    Has anyone ever tried to do this before?

  13. Anonymous
    February 27, 2012

    Being content to be sensitive and the right and the light is best just by blooming on your own way in your own time, they are out there the role models, maybe (and knowing todays hyper saturated corporate market, this is also an irony) today ‘s younger male crowd will find theirs. With The Peaceful Warrior even Karate Kid or others some will see….
    Here is one of my favorites..and remember in literature and art lies the men/women sensitives who lead the way too.

    • craigweiler
      March 3, 2012

      Powder, the movie. I remember that one. It is a very touching and true moment from an otherwise not very remarkable film.

      Powder, unfortunately, was not a role model. He provided no clues as to how highly sensitive people should go about their business in the world. What should we aspire to? Surely we can do better than to be struck by lightening and disappear forever without a trace?

  14. Mari Caplan
    February 26, 2012

    Sigh. I wish I knew the answer. I’m still looking. I think Lynn Digby is right however. INFJ role models are out there but they remain hidden and feel misunderstood and occasionally isolated as well.

    Its an ironical conundrum.

    Plus, by their very nature most INFJ’s do not want to be anyone’s role model because they are acutely aware of their own failings.

    Neilmiller is right too. We have to be our own role models. And be as accepting and forgiving of ourselves as we can be even as strive for more awareness and understanding. Always more.


  15. Lynn Digby
    February 26, 2012

    I agree with neilmiller. And I wonder if you’ve ever thought that there are folks like you who also feel isolated. Possibly, there are many potential role models, but they remain hidden for reasons not unlike your own.

    In a way, that’s tragic because what you have to offer is greatly needed in this world.

  16. neilmiller2011
    February 26, 2012

    Question; is any more than what follows really possible? Isn’t this the best we can hope for? Years ago, Van Morrison 1st came out with the album Astral Weeks. There was a poem on the back of the vinyl record sleeve. I haven’t seen that poem on the front or back cover of any reissues of the album. I don’t know where my original copy ended up. Here’s something from the poem-real close to accurate.

    “Let us go there darlin’, way from the river to here and now. And carry it with us, bumper to bumper, steppin’ litely, just like a ballerina.”

    Until the hero appears, be your own hero. And as we record, as we bear witness to our transcendence of here and now, and the transcendence of others, we can create an archetype of the hero. We can all contribute.


  17. Sandy
    February 26, 2012

    Hi Craig, I thought you might enjoy this page which has a list of people who are INFJ:

    Chaucer, Robert Burns, Tom Selleck and Billy Crystal are all on the list!

  18. Monica
    February 26, 2012

    This is the entire reason why all the guys in my book are going through deep journeys involving emotion. Guys really need role models that have them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: