Why INFJs Process Their Feelings Outwardly, Even Though They’re Introverts

INFJs find it difficult to control their feelings and emotions. Sometimes they overwhelm the mind so much that it becomes near impossible to lead a normal life.

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Getting overwhelmed by thoughts outside my control means I need to vent it out to a trusted source, and these conversations are long, drawn-out ones. All the jumbled thoughts pour out of my mind to a friend or family member, never mind if they do not make sense so that my mind is clear and relaxed.

Once the thoughts are out, I can heave a sigh of relief and begin to draft them in a way that means something. If you have ever had something similar, then you are also an INFJ like me and would do best to have a safe harbour to whom you can trust your thoughts and emotions. It’s hard because this is unlike other introverts who need to keep their thoughts to themselves.

Why do we need to talk our feelings out?

Marissa Baker has written The INFJ Handbook which talks about such cases. She says that one of the main reasons an external source is needed is because INFJs are usually people who study the thoughts and feelings of people about them, not their own.

An INFJ is a curious mix of intuition that is an introvert personality and emotions that are an extrovert personality. We allow our intuition to function internally as we study different ideas, understand patterns, gather comprehension and think of the possibilities for the future. When emotions enter the fray, however, our minds start to function in an extroverted way. These allow us to understand how society works and how it expects us to behave, and to be empathic to others’ feelings and needs.

It is this incredible combination of intuition and emotions that allows us to understand the thoughts and feelings of people about us, like an empath, without their saying anything. It becomes easy to decipher if the person you’re facing is true, or lying about being alright when they’re not.

This is the difference between INFPs who have emotions that are introverted. They are fully able to understand their own thoughts and emotions, whilst we are unable to distinguish between which feelings belong to us, and which to the people around us. Other people’s emotions tend to get into our minds without our doing anything, making a cocktail of different feelings float in our mind. Negative emotions seep in faster than positive ones. Being around someone who is sad or troubled makes you sad or troubled until the person feels better.

That is why we need an external source to separate our thoughts.

Our Extroverted emotional nature makes INFJs dependent on others…

People who are extrovert need an external support for their emotional states. This is especially common in ESFJs and ENFJ, who have the same sort of feeling state as us. But they are lucky because they are extroverted by nature. They have large groups of friends and people they can trust when they need to open up about their feelings. People they are close to who are more than willing to listen to them.

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The problem is that INFJs are not extroverts, even though we are extrovert emotionally. Like ISFJs, we are quieter and need a person whom we feel we can trust intimately to open up to them. Our minds are difficult to understand and we have fewer people in our friend circle who would be able to understand our thoughts and emotions. And so, we don’t talk to others as much. We also do not mix with people as much as extroverts and have fewer friends. To make things even more complicated, we are very sensitive when it comes to criticism, and that makes our natures be self-protective to keep safe from harsh words.

And yet, we need to open our minds to others and talk about our emotions and thoughts to them, or we will go crazy.

INFJs need to build strong relationships

So what do we do? We need to build a strong network of people we can trust and learn techniques that can guide us through our emotional high-times. The following four methods have been proven to be useful to fellow INFJs.

1.Build friendships with introverts – Being an introvert yourself, you would do well to make friends with other people who are also introverts. They are good at listening and do not talk just for the sake of it. An ISFJ would be an ideal partner to talk to as they also understand how and why we feel we have to share our thoughts out loud. ISTJs also make good friends for us, because they also hold values the same as us. They are good at confidences and can be trusted with personal details of our lives. They are more of quiet thinkers, but their emotional states match their thought processes, and they lend an understanding, mature ear.

2.Extrovert friends – Extroverts are also good friends for INFJs. Many extroverts simply get what you’re going through and are willing to be there for you. ESFJs and ENFJs are amazing listeners and good at building a trustworthy friendship with people around them. ENFPs are similar. Their thoughts run along the same lines as ours, and have extroverted emotions, making them the perfect partner to understand what we are feeling and thinking.

3.Write it out – When people are not around, your books are your best friend. Grab a pen and paper and write out your thoughts. There is nobody to judge you for the jumbled state of your mind, and nobody can leak your thoughts out. And yet, you can put down your emotional state out there and try to relax with its help.

4.Turn to the Professionals – If you cannot find someone to talk to, get some professional help to listen to you when you get overwhelmed. Psychiatrists and mental health counsellors are people you can trust and go to in times of need. Their inputs are well thought out too. When your emotions and thoughts threaten to drown you, there is no shame in trying to stay afloat by seeking professional help. That is far safer than dealing with anxiety and depression.

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