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  1. #1
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    Default INFP's & Overwhelming feelings in public

    This is specifically directed at INFP's, but I welcome anyone's input.

    Do you have trouble controlling your feelings in public? Have you learned a way to shut down or somehow keep emotions from bubbling up at times when you'd prefer them not to?

    This is really embarrassing, but tonight I attended a little kid's gymnastics recital and at the beginning we all stood up to acknowledge the American flag while the national anthem played, and I found myself getting teary eyed and overcome with emotion. *Sigh.* I feel stupid even typing it. I'm glad nobody really saw me. Then, during the recital, I was wrestling with emotions yet again, thinking about all these kids and how I'd be willing to sacrifice my time and energy to make sure they turned out well, and how so many people tell me I'm stupid and shouldn't care for people I don't know, and thinking about humanity at large... blah blah blah.

    I don't get out much. And no, I'm not all hormonal, either. Seriously, though, sometimes I avoid going out because the stupidest little event can trigger all sorts of wild, philosophical thoughts and deep emotions, and I get frustrated with myself. It's kind of exhausting.

    Once, my SO and I were at a wedding and he asked me to slow dance. We had been having relationship problems. I really wanted to dance. But I couldn't. I had to say no, because I knew if I got out on the dance floor then I would have some sort of overwhelming emotional moment and start crying in public and making a complete spectacle of myself. I missed out, because the only alternative to the overwhelming feelings is to shut them off completely.

    I get really overwhelmed in crowds, too. The crowd dynamic does something weird to me. If I'm in a big audience at a sports event and people start jeering and screaming, I get really worked up and out of sorts. I feel like I'm in ancient Rome and someone's about to be killed for fun. I don't know how to explain it other than, I get overwhelmed with a negative energy. (Sorry for you non-fluffy people.) Or if I'm at a concert and there is a huge, positive sort of emotional moment, I feel as if I'm almost floating out of my body. It just seems like most people I know can have these normal experiences but somehow I have to be all freakish and exhausting about everything because of how it affects me.

    Does anyone have similar experiences? What are your stories? How do you deal with overwhelming emotions in public? Can you keep yourself from crying when you feel overwhelmed? Are there any tricks so people don't think you're completely psycho? Do tell.
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  2. #2
    Self sustaining supernova Zoom's Avatar
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    I am simply someone very logical who has an equally strong emotional side (INTP if ye'd like to get into the normal specifics), but processes things through my brain. It actually creates a conundrum of sorts: I am normally on a very even keel, but specific emotions trigger tears easily. It's not even a show of the actual emotion, necessarily - sometimes it seems like a physiological response to the stress of the situation. Since these emotions are rarer, though, this normally isn't a problem. Lately it has been due to life events and the fact that I am in a situation with some kind of hurt as all of the possible options.

    Since I experience extremely intense emotions, I have to be quite careful with them, and who I share them with. In complete and utter honesty, the best technique I know is breathing, deeply, and looking upward so the tears don't actually fall - so you tear up a bit, but don't start the actual waterworks (once they start it seems twice as difficult to stop). Also, retreating from people helps, as well. It takes away the possible feeling of embarrassment - an emotion that would compound the tears, because I hate crying in front of people.

    I've had to keep from crying at work a lot lately - I allow the base tear or two to fall, use a tissue, and ignore it. The silent kind of tears are easier than sobbing, obviously.

    Just a thought, though - if you are finding yourself easily tearing up a lot, is it possible that there is something big in another part of your life that is leaking over to the rest?

    P.S. Also going somewhere calm, cool, and dim for a few minutes. Going into a bathroom, locking the door and turning off the light. Leaning against the door right inside a movie theater for a moment to compose yourself - wherever. Hiding in a hug (face in her/his shoulder) of your SO's, if you have one. Giving yourself a chance to not be in front of people and physically calm down (breathe) is really, really important.

    I hope something I've written assists you.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rainoneventide's Avatar
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    I definitely know where you're coming from. It's a pain in the ass.

    There's just so many little instances when I end up tearing up because my emotions take me for a joyride. When this happens in public, I start counting random objects... basically distracting my brain with sensory details so that the unwanted display of emotion subsides. It works.

    But when I start crying, it's really hard for me to stop. Like when one of my best friends came back down from Canada to visit, I literally started crying the moment she opened the door, and it was really embarrassing for me because I usually try really hard not to show my emotions so blatantly.

    I've found the best thing to do when that happens is to just admit that you are an emotional person and it's not "bad" or your "fault" or anything for letting those feelings take over. When I start crying in front of someone I'll say something like, "Jesus, sorry, I cry really easily." Just being honest and looking at the situation with a more humorous perspective really helps, at least for me. For instance, I recently emailed one of my friends and had a heart-to-heart chat, eventually admitting that I would always be there to listen whenever she needs to vent, but as a forewarning, I cry really easily. And she replied back with something along the lines of, "Hey, no problem, so do I."

    In my opinion, denying your true nature is double times a pain in the ass than allowing yourself to just be... yourself.

    And honestly, only assholes would judge you harshly for having deep emotions, and who really gives a shit about them, right? Grrr.
    "So I say, live and let live. That’s my motto. Live and let live.
    Anyone who can’t go along with that, take him outside and shoot the motherfucker."
    - George Carlin

  4. #4
    Shaman BlackCat's Avatar
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    I don't really do this as much as you do... but I still do it. This is mostly at the movies... or when I see anything inspiring. Depending on my state before seeing the inspiration, I'll either just feel more or yes... I will get so emotional that the emotions will bubble over (get teary eyed or something). Other than that I'm very neutral in public... but when something gets my feelings going too much then yeah. I don't cry... I just kinda feel them intensely.
    () 9w8-3w4-7w6 tritype.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jewelchild View Post
    …and how I'd be willing to sacrifice my time and energy to make sure they turned out well, and how so many people tell me I'm stupid and shouldn't care for people I don't know, and thinking about humanity at large... blah blah blah…..

    because the stupidest little event can trigger all sorts of wild, philosophical thoughts and deep emotions, and I get frustrated with myself. It's kind of exhausting.
    Oh. My. God. I feel like I cry over the smallest things/’dumbest’ stuff for exactly the same reasons, I can’t seem to detach from the thinking part of me which goes into overdrive on certain things and emotionally amplifies the experience... example: I went to a planetarium over summer and whilst we were going on a “journey through the universe” I got so overwhelmed by how infinitesimal and utterly insignificant we as human beings are comparatively to the universe as a whole and how utterly, breathtakingly beautiful the keck/hubble telescope images were I cried. Yup. I cried at the planetarium. How lame is that???


    Quote Originally Posted by Jewelchild View Post
    I get really overwhelmed in crowds, too. The crowd dynamic does something weird to me. If I'm in a big audience at a sports event and people start jeering and screaming, I get really worked up and out of sorts. I feel like I'm in ancient Rome and someone's about to be killed for fun. I don't know how to explain it other than, I get overwhelmed with a negative energy. (Sorry for you non-fluffy people.) Or if I'm at a concert and there is a huge, positive sort of emotional moment, I feel as if I'm almost floating out of my body. It just seems like most people I know can have these normal experiences but somehow I have to be all freakish and exhausting about everything because of how it affects me.
    Do you also bounce off of the feelings of your SO when you’re in a relationship? I find it very hard to not reflect my partners emotional state when they’re very, very down or very, very up.

    I hate crowds, I find the mass of minds and bodies to be too much, but that’s even shopping and probably has to do with mild anxiety more than anything else (heh!) but I’ve experienced the overwhelming almost emotional consciousness of crowds before, sometimes so much so I’ve had to leave.

    Counting as previously mentioned is excellent, or I’ll hum the theme tune from Indiana Jones (just something to completely distract yourself from the moment before tipping over to being too emotional) trying to turn the overly emotional feelings into something positive is good too, something I did when I used to cry seeing homeless people was to actually DO something about it, and looked into working in a soup kitchen. It helped to humanize the topic and not make it such an emotional one.

    And generally if I do get a bit teary (at wildlife ads, war scenes, an old lady/man inline at the supermarket) I’ll generally smile at whomever I’m with an say I’m a softy, generally people think it’s sweet rather than psycho

    Terrible things happen to good people every day.
    Consequentially, I am not one of the good people.
    I am one of the terrible things.
    .



    Conclusion: Dinosaurs


  6. #6
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    I love the crowd dynamic when at a concert or large club event where you feel so connected to everyone

    It's not often that I tear up but I almost teared up seeing some bands play

    Edit. One of them I was with an INFP friend and she was feeling it too, everyone was singing along

  7. #7
    Senior Member r0wo1's Avatar
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    I really dislike showing my emotions in public... I dunno I dont like really showing my emotions outwardly unless Im around somebody I really trust.

    For example if Im watching a movie or something, it is possible for me to get quite emotional but I fight it as best I can because I don't want those around to notice... but tearing up is pretty common despite my best efforts. So I do my best to concetrate on something else to pull my mind off what is causing me to become emotional.

    I dont know if its because I simply feel insecure showing emotions around others. But I prefer to keep my emotions to myself, to be experienced by myself.
    r0wo1 the destroyer of threads has struck again...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Synapse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jewelchild View Post
    This is specifically directed at INFP's, but I welcome anyone's input.

    Do you have trouble controlling your feelings in public? Have you learned a way to shut down or somehow keep emotions from bubbling up at times when you'd prefer them not to?
    I'd tear up after seeing an emotional film or something, I don't know how much though and crowds make me feel like I'm suffocating but not teary.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentium View Post
    Since I experience extremely intense emotions, I have to be quite careful with them, and who I share them with. In complete and utter honesty, the best technique I know is breathing, deeply, and looking upward so the tears don't actually fall - so you tear up a bit, but don't start the actual waterworks (once they start it seems twice as difficult to stop). Also, retreating from people helps, as well. It takes away the possible feeling of embarrassment - an emotion that would compound the tears, because I hate crying in front of people.

    Just a thought, though - if you are finding yourself easily tearing up a lot, is it possible that there is something big in another part of your life that is leaking over to the rest?
    Thanks for your suggestions. I find them helpful. One thing that's frustrating for me about being in a large crowd is the inability to get away from people, which is what I normally try to do if I feel overwhelmed. I haven't tried focusing on my breathing in these specific situations, so if it happens again, perhaps I will.

    I do have some overwhelming circumstances in my life right now, but as a general rule, I've always been super sensitive and emotional like this. It's extremely helpful for writing and creating, but not so helpful or socially acceptable in public. I can usually hide my emotions pretty well, but the physical response of crying is always difficult for me to hold back.

    Quote Originally Posted by rainoneventide View Post
    There's just so many little instances when I end up tearing up because my emotions take me for a joyride. When this happens in public, I start counting random objects... basically distracting my brain with sensory details so that the unwanted display of emotion subsides. It works.
    This is a great idea. It's nice to know that others understand what I'm describing.

    Quote Originally Posted by rainoneventide View Post
    And honestly, only assholes would judge you harshly for having deep emotions, and who really gives a shit about them, right? Grrr.
    Apparently my world is full of assholes. Lol. I think people who don't express or experience their emotions the same way just don't understand, so they think it's weird or bad. I do have friends who value my sensitivity, though other friends have reprimanded me for it. I think it's their own strange way of trying to help toughen me up for the "real world" or something. It frustrates me, since I can take care of myself and don't really prefer their brash coaching.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nijntje View Post
    example: I went to a planetarium over summer and whilst we were going on a “journey through the universe” I got so overwhelmed by how infinitesimal and utterly insignificant we as human beings are comparatively to the universe as a whole and how utterly, breathtakingly beautiful the keck/hubble telescope images were I cried. Yup. I cried at the planetarium. How lame is that???
    This is exactly what I'm talking about. I do the same thing. If I can channel it, it turns into worthwhile writing, art, etc. but it's difficult to experience it when I'm out in public and surrounded by people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nijntje View Post
    Do you also bounce off of the feelings of your SO when you’re in a relationship? I find it very hard to not reflect my partners emotional state when they’re very, very down or very, very up.
    I find it difficult to communicate what I'm feeling. That's why it's easier for me to go home and write an essay or something. When I'm done, if somebody reads it, they usually can appreciate it and see from my perspective, but in the moment, I just look like an overemotional fool and get lost trying to explain it. Luckily, most of my SO's and friends haven't expected me to explain too much and they're pretty good about dealing with the occasional weird-out.


    (Thanks everyone else for your input! I just didn't want to quote and respond to every single post. I appreciate your thoughts, though.)
    I-71%, N-80%, F-74%, P-96%

  10. #10
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    That's how you know that you actually have the capacity to connect to material objects, ideas, memories, and other people. It's a great quality! I think it's something to embrace rather than allow it to embarrass you.

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