Yes, in my case.
It started at school, when I was around 9 or 10 and one of the more astute teachers recognised that hidden behind my gentle, quiet persona was a sharp analytical mind that even I was unaware of. My internal experience at that time was based around my dominant Ni; I loved exploring the fantastic worlds conjured up by my incredible imagination and the vivid dreams I had while asleep seemed more real than the waking world. I was fortunate enough to have an INFP father, who not only encouraged and supported my developing intuition, but actively fed my imagination with his gift for creative story-telling.
I was happy enough when I started attending school, I’ve never had any problems making friends and there was plenty of active play and creative activities to enjoy. My teachers were pleased at how easily and quickly I learned the basics of reading, writing and maths, but little did they realise how much I loathed the tedious rote-learning methods of the day. Thanks to my heroic Ni, I soon learned how to preserve my sanity from the relentless onslaught of endless repetition by dividing my attention in multiple directions. So a small part of my mind recited the alphabet or times tables or whatever, while another mental subroutine animated my body just enough to smile and nod as appropriate. Meanwhile, the majority of my young mind was free to adventure across the endless mindscape of my inner world.
But eventually, the astute teacher realised that I was a bit different from the other kids. It still greatly concerns me about the paucity of our education system that, before Mrs Noel, not a single teacher had ever wondered how a slow-moving, dreamy, inattentive boy such as me still managed to get good marks in every subject being taught.
Mrs Noel was not like the other teacher-drones however, and simply refused to let me continue to drift through school on remote control by making me attend extra tuition with the other “gifted” kids. At first, I wondered what on earth I was doing there, since I certainly didn’t feel very intelligent, but in hindsight her methods were exactly what I needed. After less than a year of the extra tuition, my grades went from good to excellent, and I could literally feel my intellect sharpening as my Ti function grew stronger and stronger. At some point, I was given an IQ test and scored over 140 (I don’t remember the exact score because it doesn’t actually mean a great deal to me!) which is supposed to qualify me as some kind of super-genius and is certainly more than enough to join Mensa if I was so inclined.
For the rest of my academic career, I was a straight A student and even began to enjoy helping some of the other, less gifted kids with their studies. I won a scholarship to a famous independent boys school at the age of 14, which spared me from having to attend the awful, rough, monolithic state school to which most of the kids in my neighbourhood were condemned (I grew up in a very poor working class suburb in South London). At the boys school I excelled in both the arts and sciences, but had to choose which to focus on when it was clear that I would be going on to study at University (the first child in my brainy but poor family to achieve this honour).
Clearly, I went with the sciences (Chemistry) and still work in a government laboratory to this day. I am eternally grateful to the wise Mrs Noel for pulling me out of my shell and showing me what I was capable of academically. But I now understand that I have paid a heavy psychological and emotional price for being pressured to develop and call upon my tertiary Ti for most of my academic and working life, instead of my natural, dominant Ni and auxiliary Fe. Part of me always knew that my highly praised intelligence (Ti) was actually not my preferred mental process, and discovering my true MBTI type to be INFJ was enormously validating and enlightening. Over the years, I’ve found many ways of compensating for the Ti demands of my job, but recently these no longer seem to be enough to provide the balance I so desperately need as I approach my mid-fifties. I’m finally starting to see a bit of light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel, but I am still working out the fine details of how to transition into a more healthy lifestyle without having a complete breakdown under the intense strain I’ve been enduring for many years. This site has been a lifesaver, quite frankly, and I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Blake for his honest and invaluable advice to the INFJs of the modern world (and our fellow intuitive weirdos!)