Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ISFJ and INFP . . . or a study on Sharon Raydor and Rusty Beck


For those of you unfamiliar with Sharon and Rusty, they are the lead characters in Major Crimes, a sequel crime drama to the hit program, The Closer. Sharon Raydor is captain of the Major Crimes division of the LAPD. Rusty is a witness to a crime, and since he's under-age and his parents are not in the picture, Sharon is his guardian. The two shows intersect because the crime Rusty witnessed happened at the end of The Closer, a crime committed by the ultra-villain Phillip Stroh (who I literally hate with each and every breath). Rusty was . . . hustling at the time. Because his mother abandoned him when he was 15, and he didn't know what to do, he turned to selling himself to men so he could survive. I'm not condoning or excusing his behavior, but that's what he did because he felt he couldn't trust anyone to help him.

A lot of the personal focus in Major Crimes is helping Rusty heal from his experience on the streets and prepare to appear in court for Phillip Stroh's trial. He builds relationships, slowly and through much mistrust, with all the members of the division, all of them familiar characters from The Closer. Sharon was under no obligation to keep Rusty. They could have placed him in witness protection or sent him to foster care, or any number of things, but she decided to keep him instead. The question is why.



Sharon Raydor

Sharon Raydor is an ISFJ (as am I). We are what is known as The Guardian of the MBTI personality types. Her personality is comprised of Si-Fe-Ti-Ne.
  • The Si is what keeps her traditional in her approach to life, and explains her almost uncompromising unwillingness to break the rules. Sharon is strictly by the book 95% of the time, which is why the other 5% always stuns and impresses the men in her division. It also explains why her Christmas tree is decorated in 100s of angels. She could probably name where she got each and every one because she associates objects with memories.
  • The Fe, well, the Fe explains why she adopts this homeless hustler brat who gives her nothing but lip for the majority of the first season of the show. Fe means Sharon is empathetic to the emotions of others. In this case, she hurts for this child who grew up far, far ahead of his time, grieving for his lost childhood.
    • The Si and Fe work together in this respect. Sharon has a long memory because of her Si, memories of her children and her desire to protect them. She associates Rusty with her past, and her Fe, her empathy and compassion for other people, makes her act on that association by becoming his guardian.
  • The Ti is what makes Sharon so good at her job. Like me, she is prone to asking questions when faced with a problem in a case, a ton of questions. A problem is presented and she doesn't just take it at face value, she evaluates it from every angle, constantly questioning whether the facts fit together cohesively or if they've missed something. She's a terrific problem solver.
  • Finally, her Ne is put to good use by intuiting the emotions and behavior of other people. She knows almost immediately if something is troubling a member of her team. For example, Andy Flynn needed a date to The Nutcracker as a family event, and he was nervous as all get-out to ask Sharon. Even though he was trying to act normal, she knew something was up, probably sooner than either Flynn or Provenza expected. She gauges people and her instincts are usually right.
    • Sharon associates her Ne with her Ti, meaning if she notices something out of the ordinary in the scope of her job, or something doesn't quite jive, she will ask questions until she arrives at a solution.

Rusty Beck

This leads us to Rusty Beck. Ordinarily, I would have very little knowledge about personality types outside my own, except that Rusty and my sister are both INFPs. Just as Sharon doesn't always understand Rusty, I don't always understand my sister, but I do know how she reacts to situations even if I don't always understand the emotions behind it. Rusty's personality is comprised of Fi, Ne, Si, Te.
  • Rusty is a complicated character to handle emotionally because Fi is his primary function. Unlike Sharon who empathizes with others, Rusty doesn't. He puts his own emotions and his own well-being first. In a recent episode, Buzz chastises Rusty for never asking questions about the members of the division. They know everything about Rusty, but he's never shown an inkling of interest in their private lives. Rusty focuses on his own situation, his own emotions, and he holds other people to his very strong principles (as odd as that might sound). There are certain behaviors that Rusty has a hard time forgiving. If Sharon ever lied to him, their relationship would be severely damaged.
    • Rusty's Fi is not necessarily indicative of your ordinary INFP. He's a victim of sexual and physical abuse, meaning his Fi is a protective coat. My sister's Fi is also protective, but not to the same level as Rusty's.
  • Ne is Rusty's second function. Whereas Sharon uses Ne to discern the intentions of people, Rusty uses it in correlation with his Fi. He is always looking ahead, looking at the big picture, seeing the problem first and then finding his way backwards from there so he can find a solution. His Ne and Sharon's Ne are the same Ne, except in how it corresponds with the Fi and Fe. Rusty dislikes focusing on where he's been and what he's done in the past, choosing instead to look ahead to his future.
  • Regarding Si, Rusty has really bad memories from his past. A healthy, abuse-free INFP will enjoy looking to the past, having those good memories and relishing them. In Rusty's case, he doesn't have that luxury. His Si rears up when he's afraid, reminding him of what has happened in the past, and giving him fears about the past repeating itself.
    • His Si and his Fi work in tandem here. He's been abandoned, and so he fears abandonment. This results in an emotional shut-down where he's cynical about anyone and everyone around him. Abandonment is a result of trusting, and that results in hurt, and he'd rather not get hurt again so he chooses to not let people past his emotional barrier. It took Sharon months to break through Rusty's shell, hours of continuous work to get him to reach out to her, to trust her.
  • Rusty's Te is all about understanding how the decisions of others will affect him. He is the organizer, the definer of his own destiny, which is why he seriously resents having other people decide his future for him. His resentment is also a result of being on the street, looking out for himself for so long. The interference of others doesn't sit well with him.
    • Rusty's Te, obviously, is also connected to his Fi. He looks out for #1, doing for himself what he thinks is necessary.

Final Thoughts

Finally, how do these two characters work together? What about them feeds a need that each of them has? Rusty, as a Fi user, needs a Fe user to supply affection and understanding, especially after everything he's been through. And Sharon needs to feel needed. It's a basic instinct of every ISFJ to be needed by someone, to offer support and love during hard times. Rusty needs love and support, and Sharon needs someone to love and support. It's a perfect cohesiveness.

Troubles arise, too, though. Rusty, as a Fi user, is a bit of a drama queen. Whenever something goes wrong for an INFP, it becomes a major deal where they're affronted and angry. This can wear an ISFJ out really, really fast. INFPs, or at least Rusty, will hold a grudge. That Si attributes to a long memory of wrong-doing against him. ISFJs want to forgive people, are almost desperate to forgive people. Rusty, not so much, especially if that someone hasn't apologized.

Take Kris, Rusty's one and only friend, as an example. She told Emma about the letters threatening Rusty's life. She acted on fear for Rusty's life, and that overrode her loyalty to him. That turned out to be a very good thing, but she broke his trust (one of Rusty's personal rules for himself and other people). I think he'll be mad at Kris for quite some time. Sharon understood why Kris did what she did, but it will take Rusty a lot longer to arrive at the same understanding, if he ever does.

If you're already a fan of Major Crimes, I hope this little blog post gave you some insight into the motivations of these fantastic characters. And if you're not a fan, well, maybe you'll want to check it out now! It's one of my top favorite shows!

2 yorum:

  1. Seeing you write a post like this delights my heart. :)

    So many people hate on Rusty for things he can't help. He can't help his personality type -- but it's also what makes him so smart! He can't help that he was sexually abused! Thank God he found Sharon -- a woman who doesn't judge, who forgives every nasty thing he says to her, who accepts him for who he is, damaged as he may be, and loves him anyway. Without Sharon, Rusty would be lost.

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    1. It's absurd to hold Rusty accountable for things that he can't change. He can work on enhancing his other functions and not just rely on his Fi, but he can't help being who and what he is. Rusty and Sharon are why I watch MC. It's the people who watch the show, but whine about the heart of it that drive me nuts!

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Thank you for your kind comments, which I adore!