How You Respond To Grief, Based On Your Myers Briggs Personality Type
Understanding the complex process of grief is not a simple task. Everyone experiences and copes with loss differently, which can often be attributed to our unique personality types. This blog post explores how each of the 16 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality types handle grief, shedding light on our diverse responses to loss and facilitating better mutual understanding and empathy.
The Universality and Uniqueness of Grief
Grief is an emotional response to loss that every human being experiences at some point in their lives. While the emotions and stages of grief are universal, the way each individual processes it is significantly influenced by their unique personality traits. Our MBTI personality type provides a practical framework to explore these unique responses to grief.
Understanding Grief Through the MBTI Lens
The MBTI personality framework, developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, categorizes individuals into 16 personality types based on four distinct pairs of traits: Introversion/Extroversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. Understanding how each type grieves can empower us to better support ourselves and others during times of loss.
Grieving as Introverts and Extroverts
How we relate to the world—whether we’re energized by our inner world (introverts) or the external world (extroverts)—significantly impacts our grieving process.
Introverts and Grief
Introverts, who draw their energy from their internal world, often find solace in solitude during their grieving process. They may spend a long time reflecting on what happened, analyzing their emotions, and internally processing their loss. Moving on and trying new things may be challenging for them after a negative experience as they could be more focused on their internal healing process.
Extroverts and Grief
On the other hand, extroverts gain energy from the external world. They may find healing in staying busy and actively engaging with others during their grieving process. Extroverts might avoid dwelling on negative thoughts, choosing instead to focus their energy outwardly on tasks, activities, or social interactions to cope with their loss.
Grieving as Sensing and Intuitive Types
The Sensing/Intuition dimension of the MBTI focuses on how we process information and make sense of our experiences, playing a key role in how we navigate grief.
Sensing Types and Grief
Sensing types are practical and detail-oriented. In the face of loss, they might focus on tangible actions they can take to manage their grief. This might involve keeping busy with work, creating routines, or developing strategies to prevent a similar loss in the future. These individuals may find comfort in the predictability of routines and physical activities during a time when emotions are unpredictable and overwhelming.
Intuitive Types and Grief
Intuitive types, however, lean towards a big-picture perspective. They might try to find meaning or patterns in their loss, looking for signs, symbols, and reasons for why it happened. This exploration may serve as a coping strategy, offering them a sense of understanding and control over an otherwise inexplicable situation.
Grieving as Thinking and Feeling Types
The Thinking/Feeling dimension reveals how we make decisions and evaluate situations, influencing how we react and adapt to grief.
Thinking Types and Grief
Thinking types tend to approach grief logically. They might dissect the experience, analyzing the series of events and the roles of everyone involved. They may also criticize themselves or others for perceived shortcomings, using logical assessment as a coping mechanism. Understanding the logic behind the situation might offer them a sense of control, easing their grieving process.
Feeling Types and Grief
Feeling types, conversely, tend to focus more on the emotional aspects of grief. They may spend a significant amount of time reflecting on their feelings, the pain of the loss, and the value clashes that the situation might have caused. Their healing process may involve fully experiencing and processing these emotions before they can begin to move forward.
Grieving as Judging and Perceiving Types
The Judging/Perceiving dichotomy helps explain whether we prefer a structured or flexible approach to the world, impacting how we manage grief.
Judging Types and Grief
Judging types might approach grief with a need for structure and control. They may focus on goals or projects as a means of coping with their loss, providing a sense of predictability and order during a chaotic emotional time.
Perceiving Types and Grief
Perceiving types, by contrast, are more adaptable and might need to explore various possibilities before settling on a coping strategy. They may debate back and forth or need to discuss why the loss happened and what they can do next, seeking understanding and a sense of direction in their healing process.
As we’ve seen, each of the 16 MBTI personality types grieves in its unique way. Understanding these differences is not only important for self-awareness but also fosters empathy and compassion for others during their times of loss. Whether you are a thinking type trying to dissect your grief or a feeling type processing intense emotions, know that your grieving process is unique to you and is a testament to your individuality. So, let’s give ourselves and each other the patience and empathy we all deserve in our healing journeys.
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