INFJ Sensitivity & Doorslams
“Why are you not offended?” people ask me sometimes. The question is not why, of course, if you have bad intentions, or if you’re being rude, I’m offended. I take aggression and attacks personally if they are personal, and it matters to me what other people think and what they want. I distance myself from people who seek drama and tension, and focus on those that I care about.
Still, I’m often willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they did not mean badly by what they said. Perhaps they’re struggling with something in their personal life. Yes, often, I see the stress, energy, or emotions behind what another person says. This experience can make it difficult to turn the other person down. What point is there getting angry or being offended? This experience is only intensified in INFJ-9s.
The other person was having a bad day, and I don’t want to make their day worse. If I can, I would rather invest energy into ensuring that they can feel better. Yes, as an INFJ, you are often addressing issues in unusual ways. Rather than directly engage or tell someone they’re rude or malicious, we focus on pinpointing people’s intentions, moods, and vibes, and correcting these. But as this happens, INFJs often have a bad habit of putting on this mask of being unaffected, cool, and more resilient. INFJs pretend to be strong and tough like ENTJs, and careless and dispassionate like INTPs.
The emotional intensity of an INFJ
When Carl Jung described introverted feeling types, he spoke that “Still waters run deep in these types” and often, the pushed down emotions would become more intense in them. This statement is equally accurate about the INFJ and ISFJ. Still, INFJs and ISFJs will channel this emotion in a positive and proactive pursuit. We might engage in diplomacy with the person. We may start talking them through their day and identifying their issues, and finding ways to resolve them, in an effort to avoid being hurt by them again. Thinking back, a lot of my past friends were people that had somehow insulted me the first time I met them. And I didn’t like them. And I don’t remember when I started liking them. But eventually I understood them, and from then on, we were friends.
Now, INFJs are horridly famous for engaging in “doorslams” in which we turn away from people we love completely. If hurt, and if our methods to heal the person, turn out to be unproductive, we turn away when the emotion and the hurt becomes too difficult to bear. Yes, often, the INFJ is the silently enduring healer. Counselling, listening, and giving advice, while feeling and carrying the difficulties and struggles of others. And the stress, but without telling anyone about this stress. We get overwhelmed, but others don’t know why. It makes sense then that INFJs doorslam. It makes sense that INFJs that are unable to voice their issues and set boundaries begin to carry resentment towards friends and family members who disrespect them. It’s not good, but it is what it is.
But other people are often caught off guard by the INFJ. Often, the INFJ won’t issue any direct statement letting other people know that we are not okay. We don’t share how the other person makes us feel. And then suddenly, we close our door on the person, and they go, “what happened?” Yes, where did this come from? INFJs are seemingly similar in how we issue love. We can appear cool and like we have no romantic intentions, only to suddenly swarm you with our 100% undivided affection. This overwhelming style of showing love and care is sometimes too much for our partners. Especially if they weren’t given a warning flag in advance. Now, here, you may go “Goddamn INFJs, why can’t they communicate themselves better?” A lesson for the INFJs here is: the more you push your emotions away, the more intense they become.
Well, first, we don’t give demands, we don’t issue ultimatums, and we don’t push our opinions directly. Our feelings are rather found in our arguments. INFJs are argumentative types, and we are always pushing and pulling in a direction, and often, this direction is completely dismissed. No, I don’t want to go there, no, I don’t want to do that, yes, the person around us might not be buying our arguments or they might not agree with them. We try to bring up your true intentions and we try to clarify meanings and we try to console. We see most conflicts as a result not of clashes in character, but clashes in interests. And we resolve and mediate between these interests.
Still, we rarely give a clear conclusion and we don’t necessarily show the resolve of our arguments: an argument must have an outcome, but this argument, the price of saying no, is not issued by the INFJ. Thinking of the statement “there is always a price in magic” – yes – the INFJ is almost magical in their ability to deliver loyalty, kindness, and aid to the people in our friendship circles. We grant wishes and we deliver in kind. We even deliver things most other types would call “impossible”. Now, we promise and we deliver promises where most people would say “I can’t do it.” We like this: often, it’s when other people ask us the impossible, that we are reminded of our strength and our power. And we may not think of using our abilities for our own gain, but when we have the chance to do it for someone else, we realise just how strong we are. And that power is a good thing. Get to know it and find out how you can use it wisely.
Healthy examples of INFJs
The INFJ-6s may relate especially to this: other people are just asking for more and more and a price is racking up on you. This energy and power must come from somewhere. This power is not bad, but it must be balanced and channeled in harmony with your needs. Still, there are some INFJs that have figured out the equation. Some INFJs don’t doorslam, and some INFJs are able to set the boundaries necessary to thrive around the people they love. Who are they, and what do they do?
We have the INFJ-2, who is able to pressure and make demands and expectations for other people. The INFJ-2, like the other INFJs, is argumentative and focused on healing and counselling others. But the INFJ-2 will channel more passion behind their words: and they will be more assertive about what they expect from their friends and family. They will let other people know when they are upset and disappointed. And they won’t just take no for an answer. I’m not saying the INFJ-2 is perfect, but we can learn from their ability to be honest and upfront with people about what they want and need.
The only important thing an INFJ-2 must remember is to be careful with their energy. To not overwhelm themselves as they put all their energy and influence on the people around them. To not spend time on convincing or persuading people who won’t see reason. Just because you could heal them, does not mean you should. Other people must ask you in, you can’t push yourself on helping someone. Even if it hurts to see them struggle.
Another type that has an answer to the equation is the INFJ-4. The INFJ-4 is sick of people’s shit and is aware of the futility of investing energy in people that give nothing back. The INFJ-4, unlike the 2, is focused on themselves and their own ambitions, and turned away from people “who won’t understand anyways.” Still, the answer might not feel satisfying, and even alienating. Perhaps it’s not that people won’t understand you, INFJ-4, but that you’re afraid of the influence of power hidden inside other people? Yes, perhaps you are afraid of being disappointed. But hope is important for an INFJ-4, so don’t lose it.
What is the answer?
Another answer of course, comes from the INFJ-8. The INFJ-8 is perhaps a bit slavish to other people, and is always trying to give the people what they want. But the INFJ-8 is assertive and passionate when speaking up for what they want, and will call you out when you’re not being responsible. However, as an INFJ-8, be careful not to speak out of turn, and to not hide your own insecurities by making other people responsible for how you feel. It can feel empowering to realise that not everything is your fault, and that you don’t need to do everything for everyone, but it can also lead to projecting and taking out your insecurities on other people. Immature INFJs sometimes live on the flip end: either everything is your own fault, or everything is someone else’s fault. But in themselves, both of those perspectives are wrong.
Yeah, often I find the notion of fault stupid to begin with. You’re not at fault. Other people are not at fault either. People are just people. They do their best, and they struggle where they struggle. It’s impossible not to share or express some of your feelings to others. And it’s impossible not to be affected by others. INFJs are sometimes said to absorb emotions, but everyone does, INFJs are just more aware of it than most. And don’t forget: you are not just absorbing people’s pain. You’re also absorbing their joy and their happiness and their positive feelings. And they are absorbing yours. And that’s a good thing. No matter if you’re sad, happy, or tired, emotions are better when they are shared. And the burdens you carry are easier and more fun to carry together with others. Yes, you might have realised, when others ask you for help, they give you power, and they speak to your passion. Why not return the favour to your friends? Imagine the passion you can give in them, if you give them a chance to understand you, and the complexity hiding inside?
How Minimalism Helps Highly Sensitive People
Read this article
Relationships for Highly Sensitive People
Read this article