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  1. #11
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    I completely identify with you guys. I have learnt to keep my emotions out of the public eye as much as possible because they are too raw, intense and deep for people to feel comfortable with. Unless someone specifically asks me my opinion about something I will keep them hidden. Although it's difficult to be this way, as many of you said, it's a way to avoid potential conflict. I try to channel my feelings in creative outlets. Believe me it can be very tough experiencing these emotions of ours! but it's so worth it - I am really beginning to love myself and my gifts. I also feel that not all people deserve to see what's inside me, I'd rather sell it to the ones I feel will know how to respond! I may sound selfish but better safe than sorry. I realize that ideally I should express who I am to the world without worrying about approval or acceptance. I'm not that confident yet but I'm hoping I will be one day.

  2. #12
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzylas View Post
    I am an INFJ and I feel things deeply and I'm quite emotional but I seem to have trouble showing these emotions, one of my friends even pointed out that I'm "not one for showing emotions". I really care about people and am always there for them but I seem to struggle with verbalising how I feel, so people are inevitably oblivious to it. The reason why I don't show emotion is because I feel like if I did express them it would cause problems and I hate conflict and the like, even though a part of me knows this might not necessarily be the case. Is this normal for an INFJ? If so, why?
    Sounds pretty normal.

    People that don't know me seem to think I'm cold, logical, and unfeeling. Even my close friends can't seem to figure out how sensitive I actually am. :-\

  3. #13
    nevermore lane777's Avatar
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    Any INFJ that fits that "weepy" stereotype we all know to well, does not have a strong preference for introversion. I'm a compulsive introvert... I rarely emote - unless it's shallow or impersonal... in which case, I can come off extroverted. If an INFJ is expressing themselves quite passionately, it will only be done if it will not lead to vulnerability (ex:// it's one thing for me to express anger over injustice done to another, but it's an entirely different ball game when an injustice is committed against me - then you won't know my feelings on the matter). Besides that, even when I feel safest (when I'm alone), personal emotions rarely make it to the surface; a true sign of introversion. Expressive INFJ's are simply iNFJ's, or a different type altogether, from my understanding.

    It baffles me how this stereotype perpetuates when personality pages everywhere stress how private true INFJ's are:

    Are sometimes seen by others as cold and hard on the outside.
    May find it easier to express their deepest feelings and sentiments non-verbally or in writing.


    http://www.infj.org/public/infjness.html

    It can be difficult for an INFJ to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings to others. They tend to be secretive by holding back and protecting part of themselves, thus creating hidden sides to their personality. They are choosy of what and when to share things and tend to only truly do so with those they trust.

    http://www.infj.org/public/infjcharacter.html

    Still, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or mate.

    http://www.annholm.net/2009/08/the-mysterious-infj/

    Reserved about expressing their true selves.

    http://www.impunity.biz/faeriegrotto/INFJ.pdf

    They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJs hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.

    http://www.personalitypage.com/INFJ.html
    To die would be an awfully big adventure - Peter Pan

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  4. #14
    Senior Member Onceajoan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by violaine View Post
    I have trouble verbalizing my very deep feelings. I think how I feel doesn't translate well into actual words. And if I can't express myself without a lot of over-explaining and misunderstanding... well, I'd just rather not. I'm also keen not to ever be verbose, or me me me me me, which is what a lot of words out of my own mouth sound like to me.
    Yes^ I also like to think before I talk. When I'm in a situation where I feel compelled to express my deep feelings, I hold back. In that moment I don't feel anything I say could do justice or convey my feelings (especially in romantic situations). Also I think at times, I'm so focused on 'feeling' those emotions that words just won't come out. Though, if given sufficient time, I can express my emotions in a somewhat eloquent, heartfelt manner. Perhaps it's because I've distanced myself from the intensity of the emotions a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by violaine View Post
    Actually, I've always thought words are an inadequate means of communicating what's inside.
    ^ Very true, I believe. I would even go so far as to say that expressing ones feelings actually taints these feelings. I've experienced a sense of loss, at times, after expressing my emotions.

    Quote Originally Posted by violaine View Post
    One question though, is it like that with people you are close to AND trust? I am expressive around the people I trust. That is, I trust them to be able to understand what I'm saying pretty easily because they are similar to me or that they are interested enough to want to know what's going on inside of me.
    I'm somewhat contradictory in this manner. Yes. I can be expressive around those I trust - however - the expression may, at times, only go so deep. With me, there always seems to be a holding back. I don't ever feel that someone completely understands me. And, I really don't want them to (it's a narcissistic thing, I suppose - I'm too deep to be understood completely) or the fact that I don't want to be completely vulnerable or exposed.

    Recent example of my expression of deep emotions: Yesterday I was confronted by my POI about my feelings towards him. He said, "How do you feel when you're with me?" I couldn't respond except to say, "I don't understand the question..." I asked him, "Well, how do you feel when you're with me", and he responded. Again he repeated the question and told me I was avoiding answering it. - I just felt my face get redder and redder when I took in the significance of his question. I responded, "There's a time and place for everything. I don't feel comfortable answering the question." He was annoyed and angry because of my lack of response. Two hours later, when I was home, I emailed him a lengthy email with an outpouring of deep feeling. I think he was quite surprised given my earlier behavior. The truth is that I really trust him and care of him deeply but I cannot express emotions "on demand" even if I feel them.


    Quote Originally Posted by violaine View Post
    I've also changed a little in how I feel about showing my reactions. Even though compassion and caring is at my core, it's my instinctive reaction when someone has trouble, I'm so depleted by all the caring I did in one particular relationship that I'm very armored and very careful about who I knowingly open myself up to in that way now. It feels like a resource I have to protect.
    Well, it's not always an even exchange based on my experience. I'm in a similar place.

    Quote Originally Posted by lane777 View Post

    It baffles me how this stereotype perpetuates when personality pages everywhere stress how private true INFJ's are:

    Are sometimes seen by others as cold and hard on the outside.
    May find it easier to express their deepest feelings and sentiments non-verbally or in writing
    .


    http://www.infj.org/public/infjness.html

    It can be difficult for an INFJ to articulate their deepest and most convoluted feelings to others. They tend to be secretive by holding back and protecting part of themselves, thus creating hidden sides to their personality. They are choosy of what and when to share things and tend to only truly do so with those they trust.

    http://www.infj.org/public/infjcharacter.html

    Still, INFJs are true introverts, who can only be emotionally intimate with a chosen few from among their long-term friends, family, or mate.

    http://www.annholm.net/2009/08/the-mysterious-infj/

    Reserved about expressing their true selves.

    http://www.impunity.biz/faeriegrotto/INFJ.pdf

    They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJs hold back part of themselves, and can be secretive.

    http://www.personalitypage.com/INFJ.html
    ^ All of the above is actually true of me. I guess INFJs come in all sorts of flavors.

  5. #15
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Hmm...I'm really not sure how to answer this thread. I relate to some of the comments in here, but don't think I relate as much to other things being said- at least to the extent that I think is being described.

    I think my 'baseline' personality, if you will, is one of projecting calmness and being even-keeled. I don't get riled up easily, I tend not to express negative emotions and prefer to process those all on my own unless I get to a point where I realize I need other input, and I have never been described as verbally or emotionally expressive/demonstrative. However I haven't been described as cold either, except in a situation when a friendship was ending and I was then deemed 'robotic'. I'm also not really one to discuss at length how I'm feeling, in the moment, because I'm one who wants to think through all of that so I reach a place of being centered/calm before I talk about it. This is because I don't really want to put much weight on momentary feelings - I may have contradictory feelings, I may not even know what I'm thinking/feeling if I'm put on the spot, or I just might know that the feelings will pass once I've reflected on them. Those are a few reasons I tend not to want to talk about them. I need a lot of processing time to figure out what's going on, feeling-wise, when it ties to interpersonal relationships/dynamics and how I want to proceed or how I realize I need to proceed after thinking about all of it. Or it might just be that my perceptions are totally out of wack due to the particular mood that I am in, and I know myself decently enough to know by now that if I'm in certain moods, I can't trust my perceptions very much. Let them pass, then everything's good. Another day shines forth.

    But... I don't relate to not wanting someone to fully understand me. I want to be known and appreciated/loved for who I am. I also think that my nonverbal communication can be very expressive/obvious, and I don't really have a problem showing my emotions to those I am really close to, even if it might just be a facial expression or a big hug rather than words - I can be extremely affectionate, and in photos and such I smile and all of that. I'll also very easily show happiness or positive emotions. It's just those more intricate situations...putting things into words that I don't have as much skill with, although I wish I did in those situations where I really wanted to express myself more clearly or whatever...this mostly applies to my boyfriend. But thankfully he and a few of my other close friends seem to be ok with my rustiness in expressing certain things - I have been told, and know, that if I were to compare myself to most, I can come across very awkwardly. So as long as someone has the patience to let me speak in my slower, back-up-and-rephrase, long pause, another sentence comes out state, that's I suppose all I can ask for. I am a woman of few words. Which socially can make things pretty awkward at times.

    The irony though is that in a work setting I'm told communication is one of my biggest strengths. So I sort of have to separate my communication ability in a non-personal context (task-oriented/analysis type impersonal things), vs. my communication when it comes to expressing my deeper self/thoughts/feelings/identity.
    "...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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  6. #16
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    I felt compelled to add my two cents worth on this topic: I can recall several incidences (my mother's death, best friend's accidental death) where my first reaction was to draw deep within myself and literally hide from my family, and later even my spouse. I can remember physically withdrawing from those closest to me because I felt like my emotions were too overwhelming. It is interesting that in both cases once I processed the loss (at the very beginning because such a loss is never really fully processed, IMHO) I was very open in expressing my grief and people seemed alarmed at my expression of pain. I was not wailing and screaming in public but I did have difficulty maintaining composure. I had several people express great concern about my expression of grief and from that I suppose I learned that it made others uncomfortable and scared to see. I didn't want my pain to be on public display but I had no choice, that was what I was feeling.

    It is my nature to hide those expressions of pain and grief, and not only about those events that effect me directly, but even those events that happen on the world stage. I was devastated when I saw what was happening in Louisiana after Katrina, and though it wasn't happening to me personally, I grieved very deeply and had to limit my viewing of the news. Strangely enough that is the only time my husband could recall when I cried in front of him.

    So expressing emotion is intensely personal and private which I relate to, but I would never consider myself a person that can't show warmth or compassion for another because I know I can be physically exhausted following an exchange with someone who is pain because I feel it too.
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all

    Joni Mitchell

  7. #17
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by violaine View Post
    I identify with the OP. I have trouble verbalizing my very deep feelings. I think how I feel doesn't translate well into actual words. And if I can't express myself without a lot of over-explaining and misunderstanding... well, I'd just rather not. I'm also keen not to ever be verbose, or me me me me me, which is what a lot of words out of my own mouth sound like to me.

    Actually, I've always thought words are an inadequate means of communicating what's inside.
    I relate to this very much. It's a bit slamming when people cannot follow my meaning when I'm trying to find the words or come off too abstract. Perhaps it explains in part why I have such fondness for images, the wordless, and the symbolic.



    Ok, now for more about me, me, me Forgive me if any of this sounds conceited.
    I'm really not a bleeding heart, but I don't struggle with noticing when a person is in need, or with expressing care or concern for them. It comes naturally, the understanding and the expression. And I know people have been touched by it, some come to rely on it. Luckily, this hasn't been abused out of me. And I do say luckily, because it is a good thing for me. The ability to emotionally reach a hand to people when they need it the most may be one of my few talents plus it gives me satisfaction. If I wasn't able to do this anymore, say the expression ability was blocked, that would be very sad. My heart goes out to those here who struggle with that.

    Its hard for me to take the initiative to open up when I need the emotional helping hand. Part of it comes from not wanting to burden another. Part is humility and deferential. Part of it is aversion to showing weakness. Part of it may even come from some weirdy arrogance, like a "counselor - counsel thyself" kind of thing, I should be able to think of all the appropriate comforts and advice. Part of it comes from disappointment in the way other people respond when I share something with them. Confiding in someone, only to have them let me down with their response causes me the most revolting feeling - I can't even describe it. Maybe because doing such a thing would be anathema to my nature. I have to accept people are going to respond in their way, not mine. Anyway, It all sets up for some tough tests to pass.
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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arclight View Post
    The INFJs I know , and I know a few, including IRL.. are very expressive caring and sharing people.
    They might be a tad selective.. But so am I.
    Too me INFJs are raw emotion and it's obvious in everything they do.
    This made me think of my good INFJ friend. When I met her, I felt she kept a lot inside. Outwardly, she didn't express much and appeared cold. But she is anything but that. The "raw emotion"--definitely. She feels deeply about everything.

  9. #19
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    I feel like I'm taking a risk of my self-esteem any time I express my strong feelings to someone else. Risk being, will the response the way I would like it or will it make me feel 'wrong' for daring to have these emotions. This has really held me back over the years. Whenever I get this response I feel like I'm literally going to fall apart. It's awful. My mother refuses to see me for who I am and this has really been stressful for me. I only feel accepted by her when I'm being logical and calm. So if I ever express myself strongly she would become very insecure and react defensive and throw it all back on me, instead of simply accepting that I'm an EMOTIONAL person expressing valid feelings, in an infj fashion. Because of this in the past I felt that I identified better with more logical types so I would spend time with them etc. Now that I'm more aware of this I am letting myself connect with more like-minded people which is really helping me to connect with the real me, become more confident and express myself the way I need to. It's been a real journey getting to be the real me but I am alot happier being me, even with the pain that empathy brings sometimes! Does this make any sense?

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascadeco View Post
    Hmm...I'm really not sure how to answer this thread. I relate to some of the comments in here, but don't think I relate as much to other things being said- at least to the extent that I think is being described.

    I think my 'baseline' personality, if you will, is one of projecting calmness and being even-keeled. I don't get riled up easily, I tend not to express negative emotions and prefer to process those all on my own unless I get to a point where I realize I need other input, and I have never been described as verbally or emotionally expressive/demonstrative. However I haven't been described as cold either, except in a situation when a friendship was ending and I was then deemed 'robotic'. I'm also not really one to discuss at length how I'm feeling, in the moment, because I'm one who wants to think through all of that so I reach a place of being centered/calm before I talk about it. This is because I don't really want to put much weight on momentary feelings - I may have contradictory feelings, I may not even know what I'm thinking/feeling if I'm put on the spot, or I just might know that the feelings will pass once I've reflected on them. Those are a few reasons I tend not to want to talk about them. I need a lot of processing time to figure out what's going on, feeling-wise, when it ties to interpersonal relationships/dynamics and how I want to proceed or how I realize I need to proceed after thinking about all of it. Or it might just be that my perceptions are totally out of wack due to the particular mood that I am in, and I know myself decently enough to know by now that if I'm in certain moods, I can't trust my perceptions very much. Let them pass, then everything's good. Another day shines forth.

    But... I don't relate to not wanting someone to fully understand me. I want to be known and appreciated/loved for who I am. I also think that my nonverbal communication can be very expressive/obvious, and I don't really have a problem showing my emotions to those I am really close to, even if it might just be a facial expression or a big hug rather than words - I can be extremely affectionate, and in photos and such I smile and all of that. I'll also very easily show happiness or positive emotions. It's just those more intricate situations...putting things into words that I don't have as much skill with, although I wish I did in those situations where I really wanted to express myself more clearly or whatever...this mostly applies to my boyfriend. But thankfully he and a few of my other close friends seem to be ok with my rustiness in expressing certain things - I have been told, and know, that if I were to compare myself to most, I can come across very awkwardly. So as long as someone has the patience to let me speak in my slower, back-up-and-rephrase, long pause, another sentence comes out state, that's I suppose all I can ask for. I am a woman of few words. Which socially can make things pretty awkward at times.

    The irony though is that in a work setting I'm told communication is one of my biggest strengths. So I sort of have to separate my communication ability in a non-personal context (task-oriented/analysis type impersonal things), vs. my communication when it comes to expressing my deeper self/thoughts/feelings/identity.
    Cascadeco, this pretty much describes me. Are we twins? It's very easy for me to be fairly articulate in that non-personal context. But the other, I don't express myself as well because the situation may be an intensely personal one and I don't just blurt out what I might be thinking in the moment in that situation. I've read that INFPs may have trouble articulating their feelings. I know that the reason that I do is that I'm thinking about saying something in the clearest, truest (my truth) as possible. Often, I don't know quite what that is yet. And, I don't want to say something that might not be what I'm really feeling.

    Because I'm sensitive to other's feelings, I may try to indirectly say something, which doesn't make communication very clear, to say the least. At other times, if I'm talking to someone I'm in a relationship with, the stakes go way up to be able to say what's important to me in a way the other person will understand and take in. I think it can be helpful to wait and see how you feel but I also think it's a good idea to just blurt out how you feel unedited (I don't mean anger but feelings that you may feel sensitive about expressing). I was having lunch with a friend not long ago. We were having a very intense conversation which was highly emotional for me....I managed to somehow hone into what I really wanted to tell him and just let it out. I was highly, highly anxious. But when it came to possible other things I might have said to him, I couldn't say because I was so over-stimulated, I couldn't articulate the feelngs, though the words arose in my mind.

    I feel there's value in going away to think about what's been said because sometimes relations/feelings between two people need time to jell. I also feel that my feelings are very evident from my body language because I'm basically a very open, affectionate person (wear my heart on my sleeve).

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