Infj emotional overload

Have you ever heard of INFJ grip stress? This article gets wayyy more personal than any of my other articles ever have. They describe being provoked by such things as crowds; people overload; noisy, busy environments; feeling that their personal space is being invaded; and frequent interruptions.

When faced with such provocations, they retreat inside themselves and become intolerant of intrusions by others. Not sure what your personality type is? When INFJs are experiencing chronic stress or sudden, extreme stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function; Extraverted Sensing.

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You can see more details about this in the handy infographic I made below you may need to click on it to see it well :. We lose our long-range focus, our typical empathetic nature and become focused on indulgence and sensory pleasure. For some of us this means overeating, for others it means bungee jumping. Okay, this is where it gets personal and a little scary for me. I was sexually abused as a child which resulted in me having nightmares and PTSD for most of my childhood. At the end of every week, this person would take me away from my home and put me through some of the most dehumanizing experiences I could imagine.

From rape to emotional abuse to scare tactics, he knew everything he could do to terrify me into giving him what he wanted.

This chronic, extreme stress caused me to become completely overtaken by my inferior function. I could not live as a healthy INFJ anymore. I became impulsive and only focused on the moment at hand.

infj emotional overload

I wanted to escape but I could see no way out. The future was bleak and hazy and my normal focus was absent. I needed to feel something physically, intensely, to make me feel like I was still alive. But when that was over, I just wanted to feel. I needed to bombard my senses with stimuli. I cut myself, got body piercings, and I relied on profanity-laced industrial music to get through the day. But all these things put together are kind of unusual INFJ behaviors. To be clear, Extraverted Sensing is an amazing cognitive function to have and people who are dominant in Se are exceptionally gifted at taking advantage of the moment, being aware of their surroundings, enjoying the sights, sounds, and textures of the world around them.

This means that instead of enjoying the sights and sounds around them in moderation, they may go into overdrive. They may binge eat, starve themselves, drink too much, or make impulsive risky decisions without consideration for the future. Some may listen to really loud music, partake in risky physical behaviors, or they may become obsessed with cleaning, organizing, or exercising. Their responses all have one thing in common, though: they all focus on physical sensation, impulsive activity, or changing the external environment in some way by cleaning or lashing out at people in the outer environment.

The most common side-effect is that INFJs lose their signature long-term focus and can only think about the moment at hand.

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What the introverted intuitive represses most of all is the sensation of the object, and this colours his whole unconscious. It gives rise to a compensatory extraverted sensation function of an archaic character. The unconscious personality can best be described as an extraverted sensation type of a rather low and primitive order.An intense wave of panic shot up my spine. It was hard to breathe. I felt paralyzed as I sat in my vehicle surrounded by traffic and pedestrians.

He is used to dealing with me in panic mode. His words felt like a fresh injection of instant relief. We were on our way to see a movie.

I offered to drive. However, this repression often means anxiety comes out at inopportune times around those who care about me the most, like my boyfriend. Many INFJ personality types are highly sensitive. Highly sensitive people HSP feel emotions more strongly and are more impacted by their external environments than people who are not highly sensitive.

Highly sensitive INFJs experience stress and anxiety more intensely than the average person. Getting lost in traffic is something that is stressful for many people. However, the highly sensitive person feels this stress 10x more deeply. For the highly sensitive INFJ, sensory overload heightens negative emotions. Managing stress as a highly sensitive INFJ means learning to recognize what contributes to our stress and anxiety and what helps us deal with these emotions.

Below are five ways to deal with stress and anxiety as a highly sensitive INFJ. Want more information about your personality type? Take the TypeFinder Personality Test. Introverts, especially those of us who are also highly sensitive, need less stimulation than extroverts. This is because we naturally have stronger reactions to sensory stimulation. Many of us rely on stimulants like caffeine and cigarettes nicotine to deal with stress and exhaustion. While stimulants and depressants, such as alcohol, have short-term stress relief effects, they contribute to stress and anxiety for highly sensitive people.

Avoiding or limiting stimulants and alcohol will help improve how often you experience and how you handle stress and anxiety. Too much spontaneity can be extremely stressful for a highly sensitive INFJ.

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It may sound like a contradiction, but structure and habits actually make us better equipped to deal with the unexpected. This is because habits give us a sense of control over our environment. If you feel like things are out of control, start small. Start with something like going to bed at the same time each night. Achieving small habits will gradually make it easier to achieve bigger ones. As an INFJ, you are probably used to people talking to you about how they feel.

Talking about feelings is a huge stress relief for INFJs. Holding in negative emotions contributes to our stress and anxiety levels. As Extraverted Feelerswe need to talk about things to feel like they are completely resolved.Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists -- INFJs gravitate toward such a role -- are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power.

INFJs are champions of the oppressed and downtrodden. They often are found in the wake of an emergency, rescuing those who are in acute distress. INFJs may fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimize the defenseless. The concept of 'poetic justice' is appealing to the INFJ. These are the people that you can rarely fool any of the time. Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends.

Such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words. INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately. Writing, counseling, public service and even politics are areas where INFJs frequently find their niche.

Functional Analysis:. Just as SP types commune with the object and "live in the here and now" of the physical world, INFJs readily grasp the hidden psychological stimuli behind the more observable dynamics of behavior and affect. Their amazing ability to deduce the inner workings of the mind, will and emotions of others gives INFJs their reputation as prophets and seers.

Unlike the confining, routinizing nature of introverted sensing, introverted intuition frees this type to act insightfully and spontaneously as unique solutions arise on an event by event basis. Extraverted feeling, the auxiliary deciding function, expresses a range of emotion and opinions of, for and about people.

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INFJs, like many other FJ types, find themselves caught between the desire to express their wealth of feelings and moral conclusions about the actions and attitudes of others, and the awareness of the consequences of unbridled candor.

Some vent the attending emotions in private, to trusted allies. Such confidants are chosen with care, for INFJs are well aware of the treachery that can reside in the hearts of mortals. This particular combination of introverted intuition and extraverted feeling provides INFJs with the raw material from which perceptive counselors are shaped.

The INFJ's thinking is introverted, turned toward the subject. Perhaps it is when the INFJ's thinking function is operative that he is most aloof. A comrade might surmise that such detachment signals a disillusionment, that she has also been found lacking by the sardonic eye of this one who plumbs the depths of the human spirit.

Experience suggests that such distancing is merely an indication that the seer is hard at work and focusing energy into this less efficient tertiary function. INFJs are twice blessed with clarity of vision, both internal and external. Just as they possess inner vision which is drawn to the forms of the unconscious, they also have external sensing perception which readily takes hold of worldly objects.

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Sensing, however, is the weakest of the INFJ's arsenal and the most vulnerable. INFJs, like their fellow intuitives, may be so absorbed in intuitive perceiving that they become oblivious to physical reality.

The INFJ under stress may fall prey to various forms of immediate gratification. INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents.I came up with the term just now, but it was inspired by an unforgettable experience I had a few years ago involving a giant jar of seafood antipasto. My Italian friend got me hooked on the oily appetizer, which consisted of baby squid, shrimp, peppers, and oil. It looked gross, but it tasted delicious.

One day, a nearly full jar slipped out of my hands and shattered onto my dark hardwood floors. A mess of unruly shrimp and squid jiggled atop a massive puddle of oily brine. The tentacles. The oil. The overwhelming scent of seafood —. I managed to clean up the mess, but the floors stayed slick with oil residue for weeks. The fishy stench lingered for nearly as long. There have been many times when I felt shattered by my own emotions, and frustrated by their unruly ways.

This kind of emotional residue is the reason many highly sensitive HSP introverts unknowingly leak energy every single day.

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Of course, we still try. We hide, we numb, we deny — all in an effort to side-step the discomfort of feeling our emotions. After all, highly sensitive introverts feel things deeply. It is part of why we process everything very deeply—we are more motivated to think about things by our stronger feelings of curiosity, fear, joy, anger, or whatever. But this intensity can be overwhelming, especially when we have negative feelings. As painful as it might be to truly feel our emotions. The alternative is worse.

Unacknowledged emotions cannot be released. Just like the oily residue my antipasto fiasco left behind, our unfelt emotions stick with us and find other ways of getting our attention. They can raise quite a stink. Sadness leads to sickness. Stress attacks our heart. For better or worse, our emotions impact our physiology. The good news is that we can use this knowledge to our advantage. Notice your emotions.The INFJ will work patiently long and hard behind the scenes to maintain harmony but they are also intensely independent of thought and spirit.


Cooperative and helpful, ESFJs are pragmatists, disliking anything woolly, preferring practical solutions to people issues and they will work hard to make this happen. Incredibly organised and great planners the ESFJ can become overly controlling in their desire to help sometimes believing their way is best. INFJ Although introverted, the INFJ has very strong opinions, honed over much private reflection and will voice these strongly, less concerned with self and ego than with the cause.

They are painstaking, orderly, duty-driven, conscientious and fretful to get it right. ESFJ As the ESFJ has the twin focus of getting things done and taking care of the people they will make sure that everything is planned and that the team are equipped and ready to drive for closure. They may get bogged down in detail and have to lift their heads to see the wider context.

Great at follow-through they may struggle with anything woolly, or not clearly getting the intended result.

How to Deal with Your Emotions in a Healthy Way as an INFJ

They will be super organisers and excel at getting people to stick to the plan and making things happen. Yet they have such deeply held beliefs that others may be surprised how forthright they can become to defend values or those they feel need support.

This will be done with a no-nonsense, factual common sense approach. INFJ Although the INFJ prefers and will create harmony, they have such strong and deeply held values, these honed over a long time and they will defend those values vigorously if they are transgressed.

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ESFJ Down to earth and practical the ESFJ feels that social obligations and responsibilities come before personal fun or relaxation and they will work hard to ensure that harmony is creative and maintained. INFJ Because the INFJ is basically private, they will fight only on issues that really mean something to them and thus they can switch from being quiet to incredibly crusading, assertive and stubborn. INFJ All interactions, given the nature of the INFJ as champion and supporter, will eventually deplete their energies and they will need to recharge on their own, thinking deeply about issues and connecting the dots.

For themselves on occasion the ESFJ can feel that other people do not appreciate them. INFJ Although quite gentle, and preferring to be out of the limelight, the INFJ will work long and hard behind the scenes to maintain harmony but they are also intensely independent - both of thought and spirit.

ESFJ ESFJs are cooperative, sympathetic pragmatists who dislike anything ethereal or woolly as they prefer practical solutions to people issues and they'll work hard at planning to making this happen. However the ESFJ may not like anything they perceive as criticism. At times INFJs will withdraw into themselves, shutting out even their close friends.INFJs are distinguished by both their complexity of character and the unusual range and depth of their talents.


Strongly humanitarian in outlook, INFJs tend to be idealists, and because of their J preference for closure and completion, they are generally "doers" as well as dreamers. This rare combination of vision and practicality often results in INFJs taking a disproportionate amount of responsibility in the various causes to which so many of them seem to be drawn. INFJs are deeply concerned about their relations with individuals as well as the state of humanity at large.

They are, in fact, sometimes mistaken for extroverts because they appear so outgoing and are so genuinely interested in people -- a product of the Feeling function they most readily show to the world. On the contrary, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate and fulfilled with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or obvious "soul mates. This apparent paradox is a necessary escape valve for them, providing both time to rebuild their depleted resources and a filter to prevent the emotional overload to which they are so susceptible as inherent "givers.

Due in part to the unique perspective produced by this alternation between detachment and involvement in the lives of the people around them, INFJs may well have the clearest insights of all the types into the motivations of others, for good and for evil.

The most important contributing factor to this uncanny gift, however, are the empathic abilities often found in Fs, which seem to be especially heightened in the INFJ type possibly by the dominance of the introverted N function. This empathy can serve as a classic example of the two-edged nature of certain INFJ talents, as it can be strong enough to cause discomfort or pain in negative or stressful situations. More explicit inner conflicts are also not uncommon in INFJs; it is possible to speculate that the causes for some of these may lie in the specific combinations of preferences which define this complex type.

For instance, there can sometimes be a "tug-of-war" between NF vision and idealism and the J practicality that urges compromise for the sake of achieving the highest priority goals. And the I and J combination, while perhaps enhancing self-awareness, may make it difficult for INFJs to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings. Usually self-expression comes more easily to INFJs on paper, as they tend to have strong writing skills.

Since in addition they often possess a strong personal charisma, INFJs are generally well-suited to the "inspirational" professions such as teaching especially in higher education and religious leadership.

Psychology and counseling are other obvious choices, but overall, INFJs can be exceptionally difficult to pigeonhole by their career paths. Perhaps the best example of this occurs in the technical fields. Many INFJs perceive themselves at a disadvantage when dealing with the mystique and formality of "hard logic", and in academic terms this may cause a tendency to gravitate towards the liberal arts rather than the sciences.

Their systems may for these reasons be conceptually "blurrier" than analogous NT ones, harder to measure in strict numerical terms, and easier to take for granted -- yet it is these same underlying reasons which make the resulting contributions to society so vital and profound. Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life.They work hard for the common good, commit, and follow through.

infj emotional overload

And they are perhaps more likely than any other personality type to experience anxiety. The relationship between these traits is fairly solid. One recent study published in an Israeli academic journal suggests that anxiety can be positively correlated with elevated empathy. People whose personality test results indicate that they care deeply for others tend to be much more anxious than those who are less empathetic - although the science is less clear about causality.

Does empathy make people more prone to anxiety, or are anxious people better at understanding others? An equally significant aspect of stress is that it can actually make a person less generous and caring toward others. When stress rises, empathy suffers. No matter how empathetic you are to begin with, under stress, you're more likely to interpret neutral events as hostile ones and displace frustration onto those around you.

As this fascinating study shows, it also makes you less likely to feel someone else's pain. For INFJs, these studies make interesting reading. They hint at something you may have noticed in yourself - specifically, that you experience higher stress levels compared to other personality types and that, under stress, your ability to stand in another's shoes is severely compromised.

INFJs have a reputation for becoming sarcastic, narrow-minded and critical under pressure, often lashing out at others in ways you can barely comprehend.

INFJs as Emotional Sponges

Too many details or other sensory stimuli can provoke a stress reaction in INFJs, especially when you feel uncertain about a situation. Unexpected environments, events or interruptions unsettle you greatly since you are forced to focus on immediate, sensory details rather than relying on your intuition. Examples range from filing your taxes to navigating your way through a foreign city.

As you start to lose your global perspective, you may make frustrating and stressful mistakes. For example, you may misplace or drop things. You may obsess about the minute details and become fixated on finding the "right" or "missing" piece of data that will solve your problem.

Or you may attempt to control everything around you, compulsively alphabetizing your DVD collection or putting things permanently and immediately in order. Interestingly, the focus of your obsession may have nothing to do with the situation that caused the stress reaction in the first place.

infj emotional overload

And since your labor is misdirected, it is unlikely to produce any meaningful results - causing even greater stress. How to beat it: Removing the sensory stimulation is essential if you are to restore a feeling of balance.