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Thread: INFJ withdrawal

  1. #1
    in-game Gamine's Avatar
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    Default INFJ withdrawal

    INFJs, please help me out!

    My dear friend (INFJ) has this horrible habit of moving between two extremes; she is either giving every little bit of her heart to people or she is so withdrawn that even phone calls are uncomfortable with her. My theory for why she does this is because she is hardwired to give to people, but after someone takes advantage of that and uses her she has to shut everything back to protect herself. l call it the "Super Turtle".

    Is this switching a normal thing? Like an introvert recharge? I'm one of the few people she talks to when she is in super turtle mode so I can keep tabs and make sure she is ok, but I still worry about her a lot. I'm trying to find a way to suggest taking a break from people but not shutting herself in so far that she loses touch with everything that she does love outside of herself.

    How can I support her through this? Is it something I have to let her do on her own? Thank you!
    "Beware Those Who Are ALWAYS READING BOOKS" - Bukowski

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    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    When she is in her turtle mode, is she withdrawn from everyone? Or just from particular people? If she still keeps some people close (special friends/family) during that period, it should be fine. As you mentioned in your post, it seems she still talks to you, so that is a good sign. Does she sound depressed? Did something trigger it? If the sudden change isn't very dramatic and she doesn't sound like she is in distress, I'd say there is nothing to worry about.

    How to support her through this? Talk to her, but don't push if she doesn't want to talk about something. Little gestures, like occasional text messages to ask if she is all right, help. (However, before you go out of your way to 'help' her, make sure she is really going through a difficult time and not just 'lost in her head doing her own thing'. Because if it's the latter, she'd probably be perplexed by your excessive supportiveness )

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    in-game Gamine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    When she is in her turtle mode, is she withdrawn from everyone? Or just from particular people?
    She becomes really busy with everything except people. I think the only people she contacts are her mom, her neighbour and I.

    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    Does she sound depressed? Did something trigger it? If the sudden change isn't very dramatic and she doesn't sound like she is in distress, I'd say there is nothing to worry about.
    It is triggered mostly by not having the outcomes she planned to have with the other people in her life. Coworkers, friends, boys. If it doesn't go according to plan, she feels like she has failed and has been hurt.

    It can be very dramatic. It confuses me, because I take it seriously when she was just using dramatic language, or needed to express how she felt haha. I'm getting better at understanding it, but I'm worried one of these days I'm going to brush it off and she will be legitimately upset instead of stretching her vocab. When she is happy, she is really really happy. When she withdrawals, she becomes very dark. Complete opposites.

    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    How to support her through this? Talk to her, but don't push if she doesn't want to talk about something. Little gestures, like occasional text messages to ask if she is all right, help. (However, before you go out of your way to 'help' her, make sure she is really going through a difficult time and not just 'lost in her head doing her own thing'. Because if it's the latter, she'd probably be perplexed by your excessive supportiveness )
    I think she keeps me around because I know how to poke fun at her and challenge her to see things in a different way, to take herself less seriously and be lighter. She also knows that she is safe with me, when we get into fights she finds me funny because I suck at fighting. I don't have the sharp three-pronged ENTP tongue when it comes to people that I have cared about at any point in my life. Just doesn't exist.

    She explained it before as a way of proving to herself that she could do things along, that she could survive without anyone else. I understand the need for freedom and independance but it almost seems like self punishment when


    I appreciate your response!
    "Beware Those Who Are ALWAYS READING BOOKS" - Bukowski

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    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamine View Post
    It is triggered mostly by not having the outcomes she planned to have with the other people in her life. Coworkers, friends, boys. If it doesn't go according to plan, she feels like she has failed and has been hurt.
    I think she just needs time to think things through and analyze the situation. INFJs plan everything, and I mean everything. It's scary when things don't go as planned, and when that happens I tend to withdraw, something like 'stepping back and seeing what really happened'. Interpersonal relationships are quite difficult to analyze, because when feelings are involved, it is hard to tell what's 'right' and what's 'wrong', or whether certain actions or thoughts are 'appropriate' or not. When that happens, I need some alone time to figure out if I did the right thing. I need to be able to define the situation, know where I stand in that situation, and then come out with an action plan. This usually involves a lot of quiet time, and I get busy with routine, normal things that will allow me to ponder the issue while I'm doing them.

    However, boys are another issue. If she is going through a heartbreak, then there is nothing much you can do. Relationships are very personal, and you put a lot of yourself into them. So when you come out of one, you really need to pull back and regain your old self before you can do anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gamine View Post
    It can be very dramatic. It confuses me, because I take it seriously when she was just using dramatic language, or needed to express how she felt haha. I'm getting better at understanding it, but I'm worried one of these days I'm going to brush it off and she will be legitimately upset instead of stretching her vocab.
    I'm definitely guilty of this. Sometimes I feel so strongly that it could only be expressed through dramatic language. "I'm very upset" just doesn't do it. It has to be something along the line of "I feel like people are so alone, so isolated in their little shells that no one can actually see the big picture. No one actually knows what they're doing and people just struggle to fulfill their selfish needs so all humanity is heading towards doom!" It's normal, really.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamine View Post
    When she is happy, she is really really happy. When she withdrawals, she becomes very dark. Complete opposites.
    That's normal, too. And if she lets you see her darkness, that means you're in her inner circle!


    Quote Originally Posted by Gamine View Post
    I think she keeps me around because I know how to poke fun at her and challenge her to see things in a different way, to take herself less seriously and be lighter. She also knows that she is safe with me, when we get into fights she finds me funny because I suck at fighting. I don't have the sharp three-pronged ENTP tongue when it comes to people that I have cared about at any point in my life. Just doesn't exist.
    Keep doing that INFJs get weighted down pretty easily, and it's very refreshing to see someone not affected by all the crap in the world. It usually makes me think "Hey, maybe I'm overreacting and it's not that bad after all".

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamine View Post
    She explained it before as a way of proving to herself that she could do things along, that she could survive without anyone else. I understand the need for freedom and independance but it almost seems like self punishment
    I think all FJs have this secret need to be the 'giver', and to do that you have to be strong. I think it's more 'regaining self' than self punishment. It's also about regaining control over her own life, which I think is healthy.



    Anyway, she's lucky to have someone who cares so much about her

  5. #5
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Ouh I thought you meant drug withdrawal.

    This "between the extremes INFJ attitude" is a thing I know all to well. It's either candy or mealworm for my infj, if she is in a rage .

    I think you should try to talk to her about the implications you see in that attitude. Namely that she could exhaust herself at one point, cause noone can keep up changing between Extremes forever. Talking to an INFJ can be complicated. Though they are very reasonable people, they may dismiss your idea first hand but then come back to you 2 or 3 days later to tell you they thought about it and wanna try.

    You will probably never change that she needs her time of refugee. And you must respect that at any cost, otherwise you may make her feel uncomfortable.

    If you respect that manual and some more, you should be able to have fun with your sports car for many years
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

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    You just have to give her some time, i don't really think you can (or should) try change her ways

    also:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamine View Post
    l call it the "Super Turtle"
    Don't ever say that to her face

  7. #7
    in-game Gamine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Requeim View Post
    You just have to give her some time, i don't really think you can (or should) try change her ways

    also:



    Don't ever say that to her face

    She calls me R2D2 when I'm being..... me haha. It's a friendship built on love you see

    I don't want to change her, I love her for who she is, no matter who that becomes as we age and change and all that old people stuff. I just worry sometimes because my version of introversion is not healthy for me as a person, while it usually helps an idea or project develop with time away from others. I don't want to miss out on something that she is asking for if we don't speak the same language. This is the person who basically taught me to trust others even when they show they aren't perfect. That has meant a lot to me, because I normally shrug people away and never work through things. I don't want to see someone I care about hurting.

    Space. Giving space. Sounds good. Thank you!
    "Beware Those Who Are ALWAYS READING BOOKS" - Bukowski

  8. #8
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamine View Post

    It is triggered mostly by not having the outcomes she planned to have with the other people in her life. Coworkers, friends, boys. If it doesn't go according to plan, she feels like she has failed and has been hurt.
    I sympathize with this, I am much the same. Probably not so much with co-workers, but people such as friends (and boys!) who I have invested time and/or emotion with. If they let me down, don't respond the way I want, etc, I may feel like they've failed me, but above all *I* feel like a failure.

    It's a bad mental/emotional habit for sure, and I'm working on it. It doesn't sound like I'm as dramatic as your friend, though (or I keep the drama more inside, which can sometimes cause me a lot of emotional and physical distress).
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    Member Prime's Avatar
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    The process of working things out tends to be internal. Outside help, though appreciated, complicates things and slows troubled INFJ's down.

    When she emerges from her "Super Turtle" mood, absolutely DO NOT ask her if things are better. Mentioning a recently dark past may trigger reminders which an INFJ worked so hard to forget. She may get mad at you, which isn't necessarily an unrepairable probability, but still not the healthiest option. Just being there for her and wanting to hang out will be enough evidence that you care. If it's a bit hard to gauge exactly when she gets out of her shell, periodically inviting her to hang out is a good tactic to see exactly where she is in the timeline.

  10. #10
    Senior Member the state i am in's Avatar
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    it's the result of imbalance.

    it is a problem in itself. infjs may say they just need the recharge time, and the effect of said recharge time may in itself be enough. but it also can easily be couched in an over-reliance of the sp enneagram energy prompting withdrawal. focusing on positive, rejuvenative activities is more important than accepting hiding from the world.

    we withdraw bc we are either ashamed, overwhelmed by anxiety and fear, or we are full of resentment (e4, e5, e9). but we feel our own emotional skin suffocating us, and the world is inaccessible as it once was, replaced with a washed out, empty, noir twist. faces don't look human any more.

    so far the only things that have been extremely effective for me are writing and a healthy dose of enp optimism/lightness. something in which i can be located, and lead out of my own maze. the Ni "away from" program is always a crumbling building, an impossible tight-rope to be walked. there are always more threats than fortifications, and fortifications are too expensive, too costly anyways. openness is next to godliness.

    and long-term strategies are fruitful as well. exercise, physical health, moderation, rest, diet, meditation, work, kind of let the scabs form and release without picking at them, etc.

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