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  1. #1
    Senior Member penelope's Avatar
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    Default INFJ Internal Struggles

    This has been driving me crazy lately. I actually got into MBTI to try to understand why I struggle so much internally, finding that the J is responsible for so much of it.

    I was writing in my journal last night over something that has been causing me to lose sleep for the past two weeks, and I quoted this:

    INFJ is a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential. INFJs are rarely at complete peace with themselves - there's always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them. They believe in constant growth, and don't often take time to revel in their accomplishments. They have strong value systems, and need to live their lives in accordance with what they feel is right. In deference to the Feeling aspect of their personalities, INFJs are in some ways gentle and easy going. Conversely, they have very high expectations of themselves, and frequently of their families. They don't believe in compromising their ideals.
    I find that to be incredibly true of me. I find that I'm constantly anxious, stressed, or losing sleep over struggling to answer the self-imposed questions I leave myself, trying to better understand my actions, feelings, and motives.

    It's been tormenting me so much lately, especially since I can't pinpoint the reason for my latest internal struggle. It makes me wish I weren't an introvert, so I wouldn't feel so at home in my head and the rubix cube I feel so impelled to solve. It makes me wish I weren't a feeler, so I wouldn't be so strongly affected and tormented by my emotions. It makes me wish I were more of a perceiver instead of a judger so I could let things go. But I would never give up the strength of my intuition. Without it, I think I would be perpetually lost.

    Not sure what I'm trying to get across. Do other INFJs suffer so much as well? Have you learned any tricks to make it easier?

  2. #2
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    I'm an ENFJ who has taken on a bit of an I personality occasionally (though still predominantly and positively ENFJ), and I have this struggle very often. There is a constant desire to know if I did something, why I did something, how I did something, and if I'll do it again in the future. I am pretty relentless in my desire for self-discovery, though I don't experience severe depression over it.

    Tossing aside your I would only help you so much; I think ENF's experience this too. NP's do, as well. I think it's bound to happen as long as you are an N, which is the thing you value.

  3. #3
    Senior Member StoryOfMyLife's Avatar
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    If a day went by that I didn't worry about one thing or another, I'd think I was sick. I have the same problem. I don't live up to what I could potentially be, but I have NO IDEA what that potential actually is. I have a difficult time pinpointing down the reasons behind my anxieties, and when I finally do, something new has already surfaced. There is very little time between one worry and another. However, I have found that sitting back and closing my eyes, trying to restructure everything to make sense sometimes will work. In other words, using that 'J' can come in handy...organizing and making connections, one thing leading to another- sometimes it will help put things in a clearer perspective and some of the anxiety will fade away.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by penelope View Post
    Do other INFJs suffer so much as well? Have you learned any tricks to make it easier?
    Yes I suffer from this all the time. Just remember that nobody is perfect, and everybody has personal struggles and anxieties of some sort. Anybody who claims otherwise is full of shit.

    There are several ways of dealing with it. First, get rid of the notion of trying to make these things "easier". To do so is to cheat yourself out of life. Life at its heart is a struggle, and in this case a struggle with yourself. Out of this struggle comes greater understanding of oneself and even self-acceptance.

    As another INFJ, Abraham J. Heschel summarised:
    "The most valuable insights into the human situation have been gained not through patient introspection or systematic scrunity, but rather through suprise and shock of dramatic failures. Indeed, it is usually in the wake of frustration, in moments of crisis and self-disillusionment, and rarely out of astonishment at man's glorious achievements, that radical reflections comes to pass."
    --Who is Man?, pg.14
    A wonderful book I'd highly recommend.

    A more comical way of putting it: Embrace your personality flaws, for without it you would have no personality.

  5. #5
    Senior Member penelope's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Yes I suffer from this all the time. Just remember that nobody is perfect, and everybody has personal struggles and anxieties of some sort. Anybody who claims otherwise is full of shit.

    There are several ways of dealing with it. First, get rid of the notion of trying to make these things "easier". To do so is to cheat yourself out of life. Life at its heart is a struggle, and in this case a struggle with yourself. Out of this struggle comes greater understanding of oneself and even self-acceptance.

    As another INFJ, Abraham J. Heschel summarised:


    A wonderful book I'd highly recommend.

    A more comical way of putting it: Embrace your personality flaws, for without it you would have no personality.
    That's an excellent quote... I'll have to look into that.

    On a similarly related note, INFJs: raise your hand if you have Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Panic Disorder.

    *raises hand*

  6. #6
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    *raises hand*
    The key to that is medication...

  7. #7
    violaine
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    Quote Originally Posted by penelope View Post
    This has been driving me crazy lately. I actually got into MBTI to try to understand why I struggle so much internally, finding that the J is responsible for so much of it.

    I was writing in my journal last night over something that has been causing me to lose sleep for the past two weeks, and I quoted this:



    I find that to be incredibly true of me. I find that I'm constantly anxious, stressed, or losing sleep over struggling to answer the self-imposed questions I leave myself, trying to better understand my actions, feelings, and motives.

    It's been tormenting me so much lately, especially since I can't pinpoint the reason for my latest internal struggle. It makes me wish I weren't an introvert, so I wouldn't feel so at home in my head and the rubix cube I feel so impelled to solve. It makes me wish I weren't a feeler, so I wouldn't be so strongly affected and tormented by my emotions. It makes me wish I were more of a perceiver instead of a judger so I could let things go. But I would never give up the strength of my intuition. Without it, I think I would be perpetually lost.

    Not sure what I'm trying to get across. Do other INFJs suffer so much as well? Have you learned any tricks to make it easier?
    This is an awful state of feeling. ime, it robs you of so much joy.

    Practical things that have helped me:

    - Reading and applying tips for growth from the Enneagram. Really helped me to grow out of having anxieties and perfectionism (which is terribly hard to let go of).

    - Going traveling. It forced me out of my comfort zone, out of routine, engaged me, challenged me. I feel like I was 'underdone' as a person before I went traveling and completely different after. Traveling on my own was particularly transforming.

    - Engaging in physical activity. Challenging physical exercise, (e.g. running). Draining myself of all of that nervous energy that INFJ can sometimes crackle with.

    - Not necessary but to a lesser degree finding fulfilling, creative work has been wonderful too.

    For me it's about ways to get out of my head so I can stop over-analyzing - pushing everything through the sieve of how I feel about it. Being balanced. As enjoyable as it is to retreat into my head (because it's a stronghold), there is a huge price to pay for it. I wanted to live instead of always thinking about or preparing for living. (<--- bleh I got so sick of that!)

    The wonderful thing about INFJ is 'we' are often so hell bent on self-improvement that many often naturally find the best way for them... (as long as a person doesn't fall into the trap of having to endlessly improve self before they could be happy with themselves.)
    Last edited by violaine; 01-08-2009 at 07:33 PM.

  8. #8
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    I suffer from this as an ENTJ.. most of this thread resonates with me, as does that snippet from the INFJ profile. Guess it's a product of the Enneagram 1 and the ENTJ need to always be productive.

    I'm always striving to improve myself, usually in connection with a thought process like this. I'm getting better about it, but my anxiety and need to be perfect has been my downfall in many instances.

    David D. Burns' Ten Days to Self-Esteem has a chapter on perfectionism which I've found very useful. The book overall helps you characterize and view your own thought processes, which is good for a greater understanding of yourself on the whole.

  9. #9
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by penelope View Post
    This has been driving me crazy lately. I actually got into MBTI to try to understand why I struggle so much internally, finding that the J is responsible for so much of it.

    I was writing in my journal last night over something that has been causing me to lose sleep for the past two weeks, and I quoted this:

    I find that to be incredibly true of me. I find that I'm constantly anxious, stressed, or losing sleep over struggling to answer the self-imposed questions I leave myself, trying to better understand my actions, feelings, and motives.

    It's been tormenting me so much lately, especially since I can't pinpoint the reason for my latest internal struggle. It makes me wish I weren't an introvert, so I wouldn't feel so at home in my head and the rubix cube I feel so impelled to solve. It makes me wish I weren't a feeler, so I wouldn't be so strongly affected and tormented by my emotions. It makes me wish I were more of a perceiver instead of a judger so I could let things go. But I would never give up the strength of my intuition. Without it, I think I would be perpetually lost.

    Not sure what I'm trying to get across. Do other INFJs suffer so much as well? Have you learned any tricks to make it easier?
    I can definitely relate to this, but the 'problem' is something that only flares up every now and then now - thank god. ;-)

    But when you write, 'I would never give up the strength of my intuition', I'm not sure I know what you mean, as I have spent so much of my life internally, just thinking and analyzing and contemplating things, that to be honest I'm kind of sick of it. I think it holds me back from a lot of other joys in life, which is why I'm all about Se-activities now (or, as much as as INxx CAN be ;-)), and really focusing on external, tangible things, rather than 'nurturing' my internal world -- because frankly I'm not sure my internal world really needs nurturing anymore...For at least 15-20 yrs of my life I was predominantly in an internal world. I'm afraid it's gotten a bit stale, but maybe I'm the only INFJ who says that?

    I have stopped thinking *as much* about stuff I used to dwell on. Maybe I'm not quite as hard on myself as I used to be. And maybe I forgive myself a bit more easily now - a big factor in this might be that I no longer automatically think something's wrong with me. That reduces anxiety considerably. [not saying I still don't get into big analytical loops, and beat myself up, but again, somehow, for some reason, I've just been able to let go a bit more recently -- I think it's a 'life is short' mentality, maybe -- there's just too much out there that I don't want to miss because I spent my whole life just being by myself, thinking by myself.]
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

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  10. #10
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    I'm a P, and a Thinker, and that quote could have been written about me. I've also had both panic attacks and depression due to perfectionism, and the drive to constantly improve. I think I'm getting better about being easier on myself, and I'm also becoming more acclimated to the idea of allowing myself to take the risk of epic failure, and also to accept the idea of incremental attempts at competence, rather than whole-hog going for perfectionism and mastery.

    I think it's ultimately the need to tame and temper a drive that is ultimately helpful, but destructive when unchecked. I have to take myself out of it, too. I have to stop judging myself as deficient if I'm not constantly improving, etc.
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