[INFJ] INFJ Doorslams - Commitment to Personal Growth and NOT Hurting Other People

INFJ Doorslams - Commitment to Personal Growth and NOT Hurting Other People

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This is a discussion on INFJ Doorslams - Commitment to Personal Growth and NOT Hurting Other People within the INFJ Forum - The Protectors forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; Hi INFJs - In the past few months I've noticed a theme. That theme is: we often are horrible people ...

  1. #1
    INFJ - The Protectors

    INFJ Doorslams - Commitment to Personal Growth and NOT Hurting Other People

    Hi INFJs -

    In the past few months I've noticed a theme. That theme is: we often are horrible people to get into relationships with. And I think we do it unintentionally, but there's a recurring story on this forum. So many people have posted about this one issue - both INFJs and non-INFJs (and I've experienced it myself with other INFJs, often, and been guilty of this behavior myself), so I think it's time to (1) discuss it openly; and (2) commit to a little more maturity, less selfishness, and personal growth.

    Here's the story, and it goes almost the same, every time:

    Boy/Girl likes INFJ. INFJ is mercurial, hot and cold, difficult, internally confused, complicated. Boy/Girl is unsure of how INFJ feels. Boy/Girl is on tenterhooks, feeling insecure. Boy/Girl feels wonderful connection with INFJ, but INFJ is wary, slightly distant, unsure of emotions...

    Boy/Girl finally gets brave, tells INFJ that they have feelings. That they like the INFJ. They may not be asking for a commitment or a relationship, but they're brave enough and strong enough to share that they have developed real emotions, real caring.

    What does INFJ do? INFJ SHUTS DOWN COMPLETELY. INFJ withdraws completely. Withholds all communication. Goes radio silent. Absent. AWOL.

    Boy/Girl is crushed, confused, brokenhearted, because they have strong emotions, and now they can't even talk about it with the object of their affection. Even getting an honest response from the INFJ is out of reach, so there is no closure, no way to resolve the issue. Just this ringing silence, and ... waiting. And maybe hope. And then that hope diminishes over time, but so slowly, so painfully...

    [Caveat: I'm not saying that this is every INFJ. Far, far, far from it. And enneatype probably has a lot to do with this (I'm looking at you, 4s). But I've noticed this story so much here that it's a theme. And maybe it's not associated with being INFJ, maybe it's just a maturity thing.]

    I will say, in full disclosure, that I have been this INFJ. I totally do this and have done this. If I'm on the fence about anything, I disappear, withdraw, vanish. But as I've matured, I've learned not to do this. But now I've also had the "joy" of being involved with INFJs who have done this to me. And it is NOT cool. And it hurts.


    (1) Why do INFJs have a tendency to do this? What's so difficult for us that we turn avoidant, instead of communicating openly, honestly, with compassion? One would think our Fe would prompt us to reach out and communicate, but sometimes we don't. Is it our fear of conflict? Our desire to not have the difficult conversations?

    (2) What can we do to stop doing this? What affirmative steps can we take to act more maturely and more gracefully around the people who love us, even if we are scared, confused, unsure or even indifferent toward them. I'm sure we all want to be better people, so let's DO this!

    With love,
    Ntuitive, Dissonance, Intricate Mystic and 9 others thanked this post.

  2. #2
    INFJ - The Protectors

    This tendency reminds me of this:
    The Silent Treatment - What You Are Saying By Not Saying Anything At All - Romance - Nairaland
    The Silent Treatment - Is It Emotional Abuse?

    INFJs have strong emotions, and they often find it very hard to first dissect, understand and then to express them. When someone lets be known something as weighty as being in love with us, our emotions go off like fireworks. And just like when you're angry--when you're very excited, you can say some things you don't mean and might regret later, or be so overcome you have no idea WHAT to say in the first place. This made even worse if there's insecurity or a dislike of conflict present, too.

    In the same way you deal with heated moments, I think a good solution would be to train yourself to say something like:" I got your message/I hear you. I'm not sure how I feel about this, and would like a moment to process my thoughts/feelings about this." Honesty and letting them know they're not being ignored is key, I think, as well as giving yourself that breathing room. (Just so long as it doesn't turn into an excuse to never come back to it at all!)

    I have this tendency and have used it before...after experiencing it from the butt end, I'm not proud of it. There's a difference between needing to take a moment to organize your thoughts and using it as a "GTFO" signal, but both are better communicated by just saying "Give me a moment" or "Leave me alone" instead of silence and hoping the other person gets what you mean.

    In some ways, I see indirect communication as wanting to have your cake and eat it...getting your message across but escaping the responsibility for giving that message in the first place. Remember it's not wrong to say no, to tell people they're crossing a line with you, and sometimes you have to break something before you can really fix it. Conflicts happen and when they are resolved they have a way of bringing people even closer, so worry more about how to actually resolve them rather than avoid them entirely.

  3. #3

    Speaking only for myself, I'd say I agree with your observation and I've concluded that I'm still pretty immature when it comes to relationships that's why I behave the way you've described in your OP(which is a pretty accurate portrayal of my current situation). The only responsible thing I can do is to stop being an asshole and grow up which translates in knowing why I behave the way I do(figuring out why I fear commitment, why I distance myself from people that care about me etc) and fix it before I hurt more people.
    Dissonance and goldrule2 thanked this post.

  4. #4

    I've done it with all my relationships, which is why I'm not having any more until I stop being that way.
    I had minor PTSD from an abusive relationship and suffered with depression etc, but really that means I shouldn't have dated anyone because I wasn't in the right mind space. Sadly I ignored that, said okay to avoid any problems, regretted it and avoided them to end it (this was when I was younger, with my last relationship I bit the bullet and broke it off, but still didn't do it properly and regret that).
    It's a bad thing to do because people get so upset by it and it's more honest and more respectful to say it to their face straight.

    I'm dealing with it by getting myself to grow and heal as a person before I have a relationship. I don't want to hurt anyone or myself by doing this sort of thing again.
    OrangeSoda and Dissonance thanked this post.

  5. #5
    INFJ - The Protectors

    I am sorry but I cannot relate to what you describe.

    This sounds like 'fearful-avoidant attachment style' which I believe could occur just as equally in any personality type. I have never read in any of the most popular INFJ descriptions that this is a feature of INFJs.

    Sorry if I am coming across a little blunt here. I think it is great to be able to come on the INFJ forum and find people who understand the sort of things you are going through so that you can support others and be supported.

    However, I really have to disagree when you claim that avoidant relationship styles are more common amongst INFJs than in other types.
    Bear987, Vivid Melody, showstogoya and 6 others thanked this post.

  6. #6
    INFJ - The Protectors

    great thread, @Theosophie!! :)

    1. be open about how private we are, and give people a chance if they make a mistake in this regard.

    this might be just me, not sure how true it is of other INFJs...but i do know that we tend to be private people, so it's possible others are this way also ~ although enneatype will play a role here. i have a really hard time with people who ask me a lot of personal or probing questions before we have known each other for a long time and i have developed trust in them. i may like them a TON as a person, i may adore their personality; but when their initial communication with me is like that, i sometimes in the past have shut them out just because it feels so violating to have my privacy invaded like that. i literally feel like a perfect stranger has walked in through my front door without knocking, or broken into my house ~ that's how invasive it feels, and it leaves me feeling shaken and endangered and more likely to install alarms and extra safeguards.

    my heart is like a castle. to get inside the stone castle first i have to let down the drawbridge and volunteer the information. if you come out of the blue asking for entrance, and you're not already a good friend, my mind will wonder why you want to enter this castle and why you insist on immediate entrance to the most shielded inner rooms...and my guard will go up and i'll feel threatened and be less likely ever to let you enter. i'm really bad with that, i have to learn to just say, "look, i like you a lot as a person but i'm a private individual, can we stick to more impersonal, vague questions until i know you better? personal stuff just really makes me uneasy when i haven't known someone for a long time." i have a hard time saying that because i am not sure people will understand; often people misinterpret what i do, and i don't want them to think i have something big to hide; i just am really private by nature.

    i am more open in posts on this forum because other INFJs often already share the same information about themselves, so around here that information is already public, and it's often interpreted in the light it is meant by other INFJs here...and there is a degree of anonymity to it. but i wouldn't tell people i know in real life this stuff, unless they are already really close to me, or i trust them and they are really familiar with personality theory and would be likely to understand me more if i did, rather than completely misinterpret or use it against me.

    2. be direct with guys about your friendship/flirtation tendencies...preventively.

    this is one thing i have already learned - when interacting with guys in real life, i often have to tell them, while we are friends, that i am very friendly to everyone and people often misconstrue this as flirting, and that if i'm actually interested i act in the reverse and get all shy around the person (totally the opposite of what people would typically view as interest) and go on to semi-"vent" to them about it, simply in order to get the point across that if i seem interested, it's likely i'm not. i do that because sometimes guys will approach me thinking i'm interested (when really it was just Fe establishing rapport or being friendly or caring about their feelings) and i hate to have to hurt anyone by turning them down - so i'm trying to prevent it. life forced this on me when i got stuck in situations where i couldn't just do that "disappearing act" when i wasn't interested but was afraid to tell the guy "no" because i feared having to hurt him, especially if he already had feelings. :(

    3. shut the door only if a relationship is actually toxic to your psyche or has no chance of survival (due to complete loss of trust).

    when i was a teenager and in college, i did sometimes doorslam people for petty reasons. i'm not proud of that but it is the horrible truth. it seems that we INFJs often do grow out of that over time, because we realize how cruel it really is, whereas somehow we were blind to it before :(.

    now i only will cut someone out of my life permanently if it is a toxic relationship (that is, it's literally destroying my psyche to continue interacting with them), if they have broken my trust irrevocably (complete betrayal or living a total lie about everything about who they pretend to be), or if they are always slandering/gossiping negatively about other people to me (which amounts to breaking my trust). if we are good friends (since you can't exactly close the door on someone who hasn't already gained real entrance into your life), and if they aren't a controlling individual who won't let things go and refuses to take no for an answer, i'll directly address them about it and tell them it's serious enough to threaten our relationship ~ give a sort of ultimatum. if there is no response and they refuse to even attempt to change, it's over. so it's not like it would come "out of the blue" with no warning or chance to change and reconcile. i view this as enforcing what are really rather narrow (not wide, therefore difficult to cross unless you get abusive with me or my trust) personal boundaries, which is necessary, not cruel.

    i tend to tell people i know in real life, and i've posted it openly on the forum in a very familiar thread around here, that i DETEST negative gossip, so it shouldn't be any surprise to people to know that this is a personal boundary of mine, that i don't want to hear all the negative stuff they have to tell me about others, and i take that very seriously. (if they're seeking my help for a situation with another person, that's okay, or need someone to listen to them because they're struggling over what's happening to them in a relationship with another person, that's okay, but there's a clear difference between sharing negative information out of the need for comfort or counsel, and trying to tear down others behind their back, as a habit of life.) if - despite that - they keep gossiping to me negatively about others - and even more so, if they are spewing out all kinds of negative stuff to me about my own friends, and can't take the hint that i don't want to hear it when i defend my friends to them when they cut them down, and they habitually do this, and even more so if there is clear evidence that many of their conversations with others have that sort of content, they have broken my trust - because if someone gossips to you, they'll gossip about you, and you can't trust them to keep your personal information in confidence. privacy matters a great deal to me, as does guarding the reputation of others behind their back, and keeping people's personal confidences.

    so in those cases i often eventually decide to withdraw communication and let them go on their way. i don't think this is unhealthy. if you have a solid personal boundary and you make it clear to someone, and then they keep overstepping it or totally disrespect it, it's not going to be a healthy relationship. healthy relationships require mutual respect. i'm not going to be controlled by anyone else - and controlling people often test out who they can control by repeatedly overstepping your personal boundaries without permission - and i'm not going to become close to someone who can't show me the base level of respect. when i was younger, there were times when - due to psychological struggles of my own - i let people walk all over my personal boundaries - and that led to some very traumatic experiences that have affected me the entire rest of my life. so i learned the hard way that you can't look easy to bully and you can't give people the impression that you'll allow them to walk all over you - and you have to have the respect for yourself that says, i deserve respectful treatment, not degradation, and won't settle for less.

    i'll try to emotionally or psychologically help or be there for anyone who i think needs it, regardless of how toxic or whatever they are, because people like that need help and love and i don't want anyone to feel desperate or distressed and not have anywhere to turn or anyone to care for them; but i'm talking about friendship - not interaction - in the above paragraphs...i am selective about who i get close to, or who stays close to me.

  7. #7
    INFJ - The Protectors

    As an INFJ maybe I'm a little off here, but I've always been the one wearing my heart on my sleeve, trusting, opening up, and sometimes getting dissed. For some dumb reason, I continue to open my heart rather easily. It's risky but - Oh, heck, I guess I can take it. However, only met a few people in my life who stayed the course of friendship and those peeps I'll Treasure forever!

    I'm also really quite direct, but kind. Funny, but I'd also say I'm reserved, yet it is with strangers. Anyway, my contribution to discussion.
    Exit, Bat, Christie42476 and 2 others thanked this post.

  8. #8

    I don't relate to this, but then again, I'm a 9, not a 4. *shrug* The only time I've doorslammed someone is when they've been toxic to be around for awhile, had multiple chances to change, didn't, and I couldn't be around them anymore. It was a last resort measure.

    When it comes to someone admitting they like me, I've always found it flattering and endearing, even if those feelings aren't shared by me and I have to let them down. I have a great admiration for anyone willing to go out on that limb, because that isn't easy to do, at all. Love is scary, sure, but I don't find it paralyzing or something.
    Exit, Christie42476 and Vivid Melody thanked this post.

  9. #9
    INFJ - The Protectors

    I can honestly say I've only ever done this when someone's betrayed me in some serious way, out of sheer self-preservation. I've felt the urge to do it for other situations (like someone expressing romantic feelings that I don't reciprocate), but I've always overridden it because my extreme emotional discomfort (can you say AWKWARD? -- I loathe "awkward") is trumped by my stronger aversion to hurting someone who's done me no wrong.

    That being said, to answer the question of why, I'd speculate that it has much to do with how overwhelming our feelings -- our uncomfortable ones, especially -- can be sometimes, when we're processing our own and someone else's at the same time. The anxiety is unreal, and though I'm relieved I can say I pushed through it when someone deserved better from me, it has never been -- and probably never will be -- easy. It has, however, always been worth it.

    As for how to change the behavior in someone who habitually resorts to it, that's difficult to say. The best input I can offer is that you have to truly realize how painful it is for the other person to be treated that way, and also consider what you stand to lose -- maybe those considerations can serve as the spur needed to overcome the fear of emotional overload.

    Twenty years ago, when my (INTP, I think) friend confessed to me that he had romantic feelings for me that I didn't reciprocate, my first internal reaction was panic. I felt physically ill with the horrible realization that I was about to hurt him, and I just wanted to escape the situation. But I told him the truth of my feelings, letting him down as easily as I could, fighting an anxiety attack the whole time. Once it was done, I didn't want to have to face him again, didn't want to see the hurt and know I caused it, didn't want to endure the freaking horrible "awkward" of it all, but I treasured his friendship and cared too much about him to hurt him any more than I already had -- he deserved better from me, and I knew it, so I sucked it up and worked hard to preserve the friendship.

    Ultimately, he ended up doorslamming me later on when I started dating someone else, and, yes, it really hurt, but I understood and didn't hold it against him. A couple of years later, we ran into each other by chance and resumed our friendship. To my horror, he confessed that his feelings hadn't changed, but unfortunately mine hadn't, either. A few months later, he doorslammed me again. But it was brief, after which, he came to me and apologized, and our friendship survived. There have been other ups and downs, falling outs and falling back ins, but somehow the friendship managed to survive them all.

    It survives to this day. And I don't think that would be true had I doorslammed him, given the dynamics involved, which means I not only would have truly wronged him, which is horrible to contemplate in and of itself, but he and I both would have missed out on what's proven to be a very special friendship that's now spanned just over two decades.
    Theosophie, hal0hal0, Exit and 1 others thanked this post.

  10. #10
    INFJ - The Protectors

    "So... when's the big date?"

    I haven't called him back yet.

    "What? He called you THREE DAYS ago"

    yeah I know.

    "What happened? I thought you really liked him."

    I do that's the problem.

    "You're just scared. Give me your phone."

    NO! Not yet. Please.

    "Why not?"

    Just a lot of things on my mind.

    "Like what?"


    "Then call him."


    "You have feelings for the guy, right?"

    .... yeah....

    "Okaaay... soooo....

    he has allergies.


    I have a dog.


    I don't know if I could give up my dog

    "You're getting ahead of yourself.

    Yeah but say it works out. He could always say "you KNEW from day one I can't do furry animals - if it was that important to you, you shouldn't have gotten with me." And he'd be right you know."

    " Oh my god you're hopeless. Tell me you have a better reason that that."

    Well also... his big dream is to study abroad. That means he'll be leaving the country in two years. I don't know if I can do long distance relationships. Maybe 45mins away. But 18hrs?! I can't ask him to give up his dream.

    That's in two years. This is today.

    ... Yeah...

    I'm not leaving until you promise you'll call him today.

    I don't mind if you stay

    Not the point

    I have been both the blue & the purple person.

    1) Why do INFJs have a tendency to do this?
    A mental delay (s/he likes me too? Oh!) + fear & planning.

    2) How can you change?
    You can't. It's just one of those things.
    Last edited by lemondropG; 11-15-2012 at 03:37 PM.
    Theosophie, hal0hal0 and Dissonance thanked this post.

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