Monday, 4 December 2017

Myers-Brigg couldn't diagnose my Mr Hyde

Just a couple of week ago, I asked my boyfriend who majors in Psychology if he thinks I might have a split personality. "You? Of course not," was his prompt reply.

I read the classic, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, last year and I remember making a mental note that the moral of the story, to me, is that everyone has both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde living inside them. I particularly enjoyed the novel because by embodying our inner thoughts in the actions of Mr Hyde, Stevenson sheds light on the vulnerability of our human nature.

Like most enlightening novels, which give you a better glimpse of the world (and of yourself), I read it with great pleasure, made a mental bookmark of my favourite quotes, and shelved it as soon as I flipped to the last page. Never did I expect the story to strike a chord within me a year later.

I've always prided myself on being a confident individual. My Myers-Briggs personality profile screams 'Confident Individualism'. I don't speak up a lot in big groups but that is not because I lack the confidence; on the contrary, it is because I don't feel the need to air my views unless I feel strongly about something that is being said. I let the negative things that people say about me get to my head, but not my heart; and I'll do whatever it takes to prove them wrong. I am almost never in a state of panic because I know, deep down, that things are under control. At least, that's what I thought.

In the past few months, I have caught myself occasionally tearing up at trivial comments made by someone dear. I have found myself wide awake at three in the morning feeling just too edgy for slumber, apprehensive about what tomorrow will hold. I have gotten way too emotionally affected by (repetitive) dreams that make absolutely no sense in reality. And I have, countless of times, felt slightly utterly disappointed when I see someone performing better in an area that I pride myself in.

This is a side of me - let's call it (pardon me for plagiarism) Mr Hyde - that I've never seen (or maybe acknowledged) before. I mean, I've been emotional and insecure about certain things but they are usually things that warrant a huge reaction - an anomaly and not the norm. I've always got Mr Hyde under control. I was the dominant person in this body that we cohabit; and I could always command Mr Hyde to take a back seat just before he started getting out of control. But these days, he seems to be the driver while I, the passenger.

Mr Hyde is not someone whom I like; no, he's someone whom I absolutely abhor. He is the part of me that seems to be a tremendously ugly stain on that almost perfect piece of painting. A side of me that I wish to brutally murder, to permanently remove from existence.

But to kill Mr Hyde is to kill myself. For he is I, and I am him. As I called to mind the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, I realised that I had misunderstood the main message of the story. Truly, everyone has both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde within them but it was because Dr Jekyll had tried to bury Mr Hyde deep within the recesses of his mind that it resulted in the brutal actions of Mr Hyde. In the same way, my Mr Hyde has been deprived of self-expression for far too long, as I tried with all my might to be the person that I have always been known to be. And this caused him to create a thundering scene each time he surfaced - at first, once in a blue moon, and then, almost every other day.

It was only when I acknowledged his presence, when I stopped shoving him to the backseat, and when I started learning to co-exist with him that I realised he wasn't so bad after all. When I gave him the freedom to express himself, he was able to do so in a beautiful albeit raw and sometimes startling way.

Myers-Brigg couldn't diagnose my Mr Hyde. Indeed, I am confident, independent and full of faith. But I am also insecure, sensitive and full of doubts.

My boyfriend was right. I did not have a split personality. What I was experiencing was the backlash of trying to force myself into my personality type. Yes, I am dominantly INFP-A, with emphasis on the (extremely high) A. But more than that, I am human. I am a volatile, unpredictable, and indefinable human being.

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