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  1. #1
    Senior Member Wanderer's Avatar
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    Default INFJ's - Difficulty moving on?

    I'll just be honest (this is the internet, so I have nothing to lose lol)

    As an INFJ I have a hard time letting people in; I tend to keep most people at arms length. I'm usually a really good friend to the people around me, but I don't feel like I can trust those people even though I may genuinely like them and hang out with them. I never quite let them in because they don't meet my standards, and I don't want to "force" people to live up to those expectations. At the same time my expectations aren't really negotiable.

    That being said, I do allow some people in. When I do, they can do tremendous damage by simply being careless. This has led me to being extremely careful who I allow in, and I only allow myself to trust someone after a certain amount of time watching them to make sure I'm not going to be shafted. I've only got 3 people I would consider close friends, but I've had them for years and I trust them with everything.

    Well, I recently got out of a relationship with an ENFP, one I thought was deeper than it was; I was reading elsewhere on the forum that

    "7) ENFPs tend to share intimate details easily with others, and often have others reciprocate, a misunderstanding can arise between the two people in that relationship as to the status of the other person. ENFPs tend to love easily and like spreading that love, making people feel loved and being loved in return. It creates a special harmony, a being in sync that's very pleasurable, as well as a bond which makes everyone feel safe. Similarly, it can give the illusion of a stronger bond than was intended by the ENFP"

    Long story short, that's what happened. She's moved on (for a variety of reasons) and I finally got closure a couple days ago, and I know (for sure) we're done. So now.. I'm trying to figure out what to do with my feelings. I don't form them easily, I can't banish them easily either.

    So, quite a few questions;

    Is this common for INFJ's? Having difficulty letting go of what we consider close relationships and feelings?


    I'm highly private - though I'm relatively outgoing and I enjoy socializing, I do NOT share myself/my life experiences with others easily. If I "open up" it's not common and it means a hell of a lot regarding my trust of that person. How are INFJ's supposed to interact with personality types that expect us to be open and place far less importance on what we'd consider "intimate" information?


    Are the high expectations I have of the people I trust unhealthy?


    How DO you let go of feelings and relationships? (In a healthy way)
    I've only had to let go of someone I considered a close friend once before.. and it took a LONG time before I was better.



    I want to handle this as best I can, and learn whatever lessons I can from it. (I don't think writing off an entire personality type as untrustworthy would be healthy xD)

  2. #2
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I want to respond to this, but it's late tonight. More tomorrow! In short, the answer is absolutely yes to the first question.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Onceajoan's Avatar
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    Wow! Some of this is so me...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    I'll just be honest (this is the internet, so I have nothing to lose lol)
    Well, we wouldn't be INFJs if we weren't honest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    As an INFJ I have a hard time letting people in; I tend to keep most people at arms length.
    Same.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    I never quite let them in because they don't meet my standards, and I don't want to "force" people to live up to those expectations. At the same time my expectations aren't really negotiable.
    Same. Consequently, I find I need to lower my standards at times so I don't feel isolated. I'm in that place now. However, the associations I'm making seem inauthentic and unsatisfying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    That being said, I do allow some people in. When I do, they can do tremendous damage by simply being careless. This has led me to being extremely careful who I allow in, and I only allow myself to trust someone after a certain amount of time watching them to make sure I'm not going to be shafted. I've only got 3 people I would consider close friends, but I've had them for years and I trust them with everything.
    Yep. I can be overly cautious too. Not sure that's such a great thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Well, I recently got out of a relationship with an ENFP, one I thought was deeper than it was; I was reading elsewhere on the forum that

    "7) ENFPs tend to share intimate details easily with others, and often have others reciprocate, a misunderstanding can arise between the two people in that relationship as to the status of the other person. ENFPs tend to love easily and like spreading that love, making people feel loved and being loved in return. It creates a special harmony, a being in sync that's very pleasurable, as well as a bond which makes everyone feel safe. Similarly, it can give the illusion of a stronger bond than was intended by the ENFP"
    That sounds soooo much like what I experienced with an ENFJ. I felt we had a special connection, a special relationship. My feelings ran deep. I thought because he acted 'caring' that he actually cared. To the contrary, his sense of 'caring' ended up being pretty shallow and inparticular - i.e. he 'cared' about everyone, magnanimous man that he was. The two us shared a mutual attraction to each other. We had an emotional affair for eighteen months during which time I was infatuated, obsessed and smitten with him. AND he knew that (very important point to make!!!) In the end, it turned out that he could care less. He told me point blank, "I never had any feelings for you." COLD COLD COLD. He used me for his own emotional needs and it hurt me like hell.

    It took me three years to get over him. Whereas I doubt he ever gave me a second thought (well, maybe a second thought - but that's about it). That made it hurt more. I did write him a letter though which I think helped. I told him how I felt and how his manipulative ways affected me and others. While it probably had no impact, it made me feel better to have sent it to him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Is this common for INFJ's? Having difficulty letting go of what we consider close relationships and feelings?
    I would say 'yes' because we're highly invested in relationships. When I fall, I fall hard. When I love, I love forever (at least that's what I think at the time).

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    I'm highly private - though I'm relatively outgoing and I enjoy socializing, I do NOT share myself/my life experiences with others easily. If I "open up" it's not common and it means a hell of a lot regarding my trust of that person. How are INFJ's supposed to interact with personality types that expect us to be open and place far less importance on what we'd consider "intimate" information?
    Others need to respect boundaries. Your boundaries are not necessarily someone elses. It's not unreasonable to expect others to earn your trust.


    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Are the high expectations I have of the people I trust unhealthy?
    I don't know you well enough to say. I don't consider my own high expectations unhealthy. Some people are not worthy of my trust. Having said this, I have also considered the possibility that a fear of intimacy as a reason I may keep others at arms length at times. Fear of intimacy is quite common. It's just something that some people need to work on in their relationships. In my case, I had a troubled childhood, so it's something I need to be cognizant of when establishing intimate relationships.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    How DO you let go of feelings and relationships? (In a healthy way)
    I've only had to let go of someone I considered a close friend once before.. and it took a LONG time before I was better.
    It's a long process for me. I know that about myself so I try to not beat myself up about it. I just try to accept it and be patient and kind to myself. BTW: I just read an article about Highly Sensitive People, Intensity and Falling in Love. The article makes a couple of interesting points about HSP (highly senstive people): 1) HSPs fall faster and harder than most people. 2) HSPs feel more intensely when in love than other people 3) HSPs take much longer to get over the loss of an intimate relationship than others. I don't know if you are a HSP - but it does apply to me.
    What if everything's an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet. - Woody Allen

  4. #4
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Is this common for INFJ's? Having difficulty letting go of what we consider close relationships and feelings?
    LOL. The beginning of your op is so ridiculously INFJ, I considered the possibility that maybe someone wrote it to make fun of us.

    The other questions are definitely issues I also have myself. It's too late tonight to expound, so I'll have to come back.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  5. #5
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onceajoan View Post
    That sounds soooo much like what I experienced with an ENFJ. I felt we had a special connection, a special relationship. My feelings ran deep. I thought because he acted 'caring' that he actually cared. To the contrary, his sense of 'caring' ended up being pretty shallow and inparticular - i.e. he 'cared' about everyone, magnanimous man that he was. The two us shared a mutual attraction to each other. We had an emotional affair for eighteen months during which time I was infatuated, obsessed and smitten with him. AND he knew that (very important point to make!!!) In the end, it turned out that he could care less. He told me point blank, "I never had any feelings for you." COLD COLD COLD. He used me for his own emotional needs and it hurt me like hell.

    It took me three years to get over him. Whereas I doubt he ever gave me a second thought (well, maybe a second thought - but that's about it). That made it hurt more. I did write him a letter though which I think helped. I told him how I felt and how his manipulative ways affected me and others. While it probably had no impact, it made me feel better to have sent it to him.
    Just reading this makes me...urrrgggghhhh...so I can only imagine the horribleness of going through it. Cold cold cold, exactly. Anything I've gone through which has been remotely similar, though not quite as bad, has been so utterly horribly painful that even after years have elapsed and I've realised that I learned some lessons...I kind of regret it still. The lessons may have been valuable, but they almost weren't worth it with the damage suffered. That's how I feel, anyway.

    As for the OP...I read it and thought "oh...I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Another thread on a subject which I think about constantly, and where the OP sounds like I could have written it myself." Partly it makes me feel less alone in the way I react to things, partly I wish we weren't so over-invested emotionally and likely to get damaged...!

    What especially resonated for me was about people causing a great deal of damage by being careless, and of course about the extreme difficulty of moving on. The carelessness thing...I doubt that most people intend to cause damage and hurt. But people are so so careless. If they just thought a bit more, the results would not be so bad. It's all tied up with selfishness, I think. People have a hard time seeing outside of their own perspective and their own little bubble.

    So, first question...yes, this is common for INFJs. Very.

    I'd really like to see more about what others have to say about how you interact with types who are very open, but who don't invest the same value in sharing intimate information. I think this is a huge problem for us. Certainly for me. When you encounter what seems like real understanding, extraordinary conversational/emotional/intellectual flow, it can be absolutely fatal. In the case of someone who I find attractive, it may just mean that I end up falling hopelessly in love (sometimes even without having started to date them or entered a relationship with them.) In the case of a friendship potential, it can mean that I end up feeling confused and let down. We have some extraordinary exchanges, or what feels extraordinary to me, but then they go off with their other friends and don't bother with me any more. Or I open up to them and they come back to me with a bunch of "advice" and commentary which indicates that they've utterly misunderstood me. Or some variation on those themes.

    I think it may help to not project your viewpoint and feelings on the other person, so to speak. When you feel yourself falling in love, or you feel yourself getting super-attached as a friend, or whatever the case may be, that may be the time to force yourself to step back and take a cold hard look at the situation. Ask yourself, what has actually happened here that I am putting so much significance on? How does this person behave with others in comparison to how they behave with me? Am I fantasizing about their thoughts and feelings, without much concrete basis? These things are very difficult to do, and frankly I think I suck at them. It results in me falling in love with guys who just view me as an interesting friend. Or trusting a friend to the extent that their carelessness leaves deep wounds and I'd rather not even be around them, not even casually. But...if I could put some of my own advice into practice, this would be it. Try to pull back a bit and get a bit of cold detachment before it's too late, or before your feelings have gone so far that a bit of detachment is nearly impossible.

    As for the actual moving on? Not seeing the person for a long time, not being in contact...that's in situations where they don't apologise or seek you out to find out what's wrong. Ie. situations without closure. If the person will just apologise for the harm they have done, for me, that can be a shortcut to a lot of relief and much less painful feelings. But...even in those cases it's really better if I've had time and distance for difficult feelings to gradually disperse, especially when it's someone I had romantic feelings for. Without closure, though, I will have painful thoughts and feelings spinning around for years, and though they will eventually disperse, it will take a very long time, and it may not be 100%.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Wanderer's Avatar
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    I'm replying out of order, but this post made me laugh.
    Z Buck McFate: LOL. The beginning of your op is so ridiculously INFJ, I considered the possibility that maybe someone wrote it to make fun of us.
    It's... nice to see that I'm not the only one who is LIKE this. I've only known 1 INFJ, so it's strange (in a good way!) that people seem to understand where I'm coming from.

    Onceajoan: Well, we wouldn't be INFJs if we weren't honest.
    Yeah.. I'm starting to think that the trait of honesty isn't a good one. Not sure how I feel about it anymore.

    Onceajoan: Same. Consequently, I find I need to lower my standards at times so I don't feel isolated. I'm in that place now. However, the associations I'm making seem inauthentic and unsatisfying.
    See... that's exactly what I'm doing, with people around me; but I feel horribly exposed because of it. And I guess I still feel alone but in a different way? It's hard not having anyone share my values >.<

    Onceajoan: It took me three years to get over him. Whereas I doubt he ever gave me a second thought (well, maybe a second thought - but that's about it). That made it hurt more. I did write him a letter though which I think helped. I told him how I felt and how his manipulative ways affected me and others. While it probably had no impact, it made me feel better to have sent it to him.
    Haha... ow. I know exactly how you feel.. you kinda describe my first ex. Though it only took 2 years for me to get over her. And well. My experience with my ENFP ex I think is more a case of her not being mature and a combination of me misreading her and her leading me on - though I don't think she saw it that way. I don't think that she never cared, just that her feelings were never as strong as mine, so moving on for her was easy. And I'm still stuck here. She still apparently "cares about me" and "wants to be friends", but that's not something I can do. She didn't exactly break it off quickly, or cleanly, and there were a lot of broken promises. And damn me I still care about her, despite the way she ended it.

    Onceajoan: Others need to respect boundaries. Your boundaries are not necessarily someone elses. It's not unreasonable to expect others to earn your trust.
    Mm. Yes. Here's the catch; I'm not good at socializing (I have background issues), and I've learned to survive, socially, by maintaining equilibrium. Mirroring the other party's investment - i.e. if someone is sharing something from their past, I'm obligated to do likewise or risk damaging the relationship/alienating the other person.

    And.. yeah. I am a HSP. I've learned to mask it as best I can, because if people actually knew how sensitive I am I'd be considered wierd, at best. If you're a girl you can get away with that, but if you're a guy.. you might as well commit social suicide by admitting to that. It means I'm almost completely out sync, emotionally, from others, and worst of all, no one can know. And THAT sucks. How do you deal with being highly sensitive?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Wanderer's Avatar
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    And ooo.. there's so much in Silk Road's post to respond to.. not enough time before class though. Back in a couple hours.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lily flower's Avatar
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    I have trouble letting go of intimate relationships, but less trouble than others in not looking back at casual relationships.

  9. #9
    Diving into Ni-space Crescent Fresh's Avatar
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    I think the problem with ENFPs is that they want everyone to feel special toward them, while for those who are involved with ENFPs might have a difficult time to distinguish the love s/he craves for you with those who received love from him/her so freely. I think it's unintentional as ENFPs shape their personal identity strongly via developing a strong bond with others. This often can make ENFPs lovers to feel they often lacked of the affections which they deserved, especially among INFJs imo.

  10. #10
    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    Is this common for INFJ's? Having difficulty letting go of what we consider close relationships and feelings?
    I'm not an MBTI expert by any stretch, but this seems to be very common. I don't know if this is something that mellows out with age across the board, but it has for me. For me, I've always had a very vivid internal world and fantasy life, I was a late bloomer in just about every area of socialization and spent a lot of time in my own company. Hence, when I did make connections with people they became very precious to me, and I inadvertently formed a habit of imagining what I wanted these relationships to be like, and in turn I started expecting a lot out of these people.

    Probably no surprise that I was extremely disappointed by people and took it so incredibly hard. I'd ruminate and linger, I would dissect the entire relationship trying to figure out what went wrong, I'd feel emotionally bruised and battered. I would feel angry at the people who left me behind, and then I'd feel angry at myself for being left behind. All sorts of thoughts and emotions all over the map. I didn't even fathom how to 'let go' or 'move on' at the time, I was in my late teens/early 20s and I thought dead relationships and the memories were just something one had to carry around forever like scars.

    This changed in a watershed period that came around the time I was 25. Now, I want to say that in my case there was simply A LOT more going on than just me being the INFJ type. I just think I type as an INFJ because it is directly related to how I formed as a person through my experiences. I was guarded, I was ultra-sensitive. My inner thoughts, hopes, ideas, passions, etc. were like these precious pieces of ceramic I protected with fervor. This came from growing up in a family that had a habit of stomping all over these things as if they meant nothing, so I learned to hide it all away. As seems common with many INFJ types, I learned to put on masks and put my true self behind thick inner walls. Hence, when I'd meet the rare person I actually felt room to open up with, the subtext in my head was always "Please don't break it, please don't break it".

    Around the time I was 25, I began to realize a lot of my own pain rested on my own shoulders. I used to get upset with people who were so seemingly careless with these precious feelings, if they hurt me I would blame them, always thinking "I actually SHARED with you! I chose you! Do you have any idea how hard that was? And you don't even care!". All sorts of stuff like that. To be brutally honest, I had to grow up and realize that putting such a burden on someone else was simply unfair. That was my personal outlook on the situation, for myself. I had to take control of my own feelings, take responsibility for them, and realize that NO ONE, not ONE PERSON could crush my feelings unless I LET THEM.

    It no longer felt like I was 'giving in' and kowtowing to the mainstream, it felt empowering. I stopped putting those feelings up on a pedestal, I stopped thinking of them as these precious, fragile things. This sounds harsh, I know, and it truly was for me. It took me a long time to sort this all out for myself. The bottom line is that I TRULY WANTED to connect with people and be intimate with them, I wanted a close relationship, I wanted warmth and tenderness from people. But walking around foisting all this responsibility for how I felt upon the shoulders of others had to go. Not because I was making it 'easier' for THEM, but because I made it easier for MYSELF.

    I realized that I could talk about my feelings, hopes, dreams, etc. and still keep them intact no matter how anyone else reacted to them. They are MINE and always will be. Suddenly, my relationships improved by leaps and bounds. I got into a 4+ year relationship and I made the choice to share, to open up, to reveal myself. I married him, and in the end he cheated and took off on me with barely a word. In the past, something like that may have literally killed me, but I had gone into that relationship making MY OWN CHOICE. I got hurt, and that is a risk anyone in the world takes in relationships. He did not value me or the things I shared, but his indifference to these things did not render them worthless, it did not take away their value or meaning. It hurt like hell of course and I had to experience the grief and pain, but I was able to LET GO and MOVE ON.

    How DO you let go of feelings and relationships? (In a healthy way)
    For me it had a lot to do with acceptance. I accepted that this relationship had died, I accepted that this was going to come with a lot of pain and tears. I accepted that I was never going to know all the reasons why it ended because I was not given much to work with, and I accepted that I was going to mess up my own life if I decided to ruminate on finding all the answers before ever trusting someone again. I accepted that I had to pick myself up, I accepted that I had to ask for help without thinking it made me weak or obligated to those who helped me. All of that and more.

    The way I see it, relationships have never and will never come with instructions, maps, guarantees, safety nets, or any of it. If I decided to run back behind my wall and hide myself again, if I decided to become fiercely protective of my feelings and thoughts once more, if I decided to burden anyone I met with having to prove all of this stuff to me before I'd trust them, then I would be the creator of the situation that was to follow. I'm not saying I became numb, and I'm not saying I started whoring out my feelings as if they were free gifts for the taking. Not one bit. These things inside are just as important and vivid to me as they ever were, it's just I've stopped thinking anyone else has the power to break them.

    I came out of that relationship happier, more in touch with myself, and I learned a lot from it. Sure, there are still things that hurt but I accepted this person is no longer a factor in my life and we're back to leading lives a separate entities just like we were before we ever met. He didn't steal anything from me, he didn't destroy anything, because I simply didn't let him. I hope that makes sense. I've chosen to see positive potential in people and I've accepted that yes, some of them will hurt my feelings and disappoint me from time to time. EVERYONE has to face this. If I look at people the way I did before, like these potentially threatening creatures that could stomp on my feelings and break me in two, I'm going to basically be making the conscious decision to be fragile.

    I know I'm going on and on here, and I'm not sure if I'm being helpful at all. It all sounds harsh and perhaps very cold, these are things I learned over a long period of change and effort, of learning, trial, and error. It was VERY hard for me to change my ways, it wasn't until I turned 30 that I think I really began enjoying the hell out of relationships and feeling at home with all of these new lessons I learned. I did not want to take responsibility for a lot of these things because it felt unfair for a number of reasons, but once I learned how beneficial it is FOR ME to own my own feelings and take control, it just got easier and easier.

    Are the high expectations I have of the people I trust unhealthy?
    Judging from some of the things you wrote, I think it potentially might be. I think there is a difference between 'standards' and 'expectations', I think consciously sorting out the difference is important. Again, I just want to stress that I'm coming from my own experience and what I've observed in others, I'm not trying to play dictator or seer here because of course I do not know you and there are always lots of variables, experiences, and situations. Like I said before, it would be great if all INFJ types were indeed the very same and we could all find a map that is perfect for us, but I just think that can cancel out the importance of personal experience and all things which make us individuals.

    I suppose what I'm saying is perhaps examine the deeper personal issues and reasons why you protect your inner world so fiercely and why it's hard for you to trust. I think INFJs have this trait in common, but the reasons why we do it are never exactly the same. I had to hone in on my own reasons why I feared being hurt and why I took things so incredibly hard. I had to cut to the quick and face my own personal demons. I thought my 'type' might change but I still type as the INFJ to this day, but so much has changed.

    My inner world is still intact and vivid as ever. I'm still empathic and I'm still sensitive. I'm still the kind of person who doesn't quite fit in mainstream society and I'm still private about many things. All of that and more. All the things I feared losing by trusting and opening up more have not been taken away from me. I just learned how to take control of my relationships in a healthy way.

    I accept that people will disappoint me, and I no longer place such a high premium on every relationship I undertake. I think this is important. When you are so exacting with whom you get close to, that automatically places a massive amount of pressure on the relationship and others DO feel this even if you don't literally state all the expectations and hopes you have. It is often destructive and I'm speaking from personal experience here. I was pretty much setting myself up for failure and disappointment because of how rarely I engaged with anyone, with how I studied and summed up a person for ages before I'd make a decision to have a real relationship with them (friendships or romantic). It got to a point where I wrapped up so many hopes and expectations in one person that they just failed, felt hurt by me, and had to bow out of the pressure they truly did feel. I also wound up hanging on to relationships with people who were truly toxic to me, because I WANTED them to live up to these expectations so bad and I chose SO CAREFULLY that I didn't want to let go even though these people did not value me and used me.

    So from that point of view, sometimes these high expectations and wrapping up so much of it in one singular relationship is extremely destructive and unhealthy.

    I'm not advocating a run to the other side of the pole and trusting EVERYONE right off the bat, absolutely not. For me, it has been finding middle ground. I still hope to find people I click with and feel safe with, just like anyone. I don't go into relationships THINKING so hard about it and being so incredibly guarded. I don't approach relationships in the "Are you THE ONE?" way I used to. I don't expect anything from people, I just jump in and see what they're like. Trust is built and earned, this goes for any relationship. I used to pick apart and examine people for signs of trustworthiness and all of that, I was very cerebral about the whole thing. Now? Now I just let it HAPPEN. When you feel you can trust someone, you KNOW it inside, and this takes TIME. With my current boyfriend, my trust in him built-up over time. I trust MYSELF and my own instincts to gravitate toward all the things he does which feel right to me. Is this any guarantee he will never hurt me? No, and I'm not putting that pressure on him. If he ever betrays me, I've learned I CAN HANDLE IT, so I feel secure. I hope I am making sense here

    I just don't attach superlatives like "You must never hurt me" or "You must never be careless with the important things I share with you" and "You must never do _______" or "You must never say ________". I did not consciously do these things in the past, but I DID THEM all the same and then came so much pain and suffering. Now I think more in terms like "You might hurt me, of course, but we will deal with that particular situation if and when it happens, I'm not going to worry about it right now", or "You might be careless sometimes, but this doesn't mean you're automatically a wholly careless person, I'll take these things on a case to case basis". I don't literally think in those exact sentences, this is just the gist of my attitude and outlook now.

    I just accept that people always hurt each others feelings from time to time, say things they don't mean, screw up and make mistakes. I do it, and other people do. I'm just more in touch with what standards in behavior and treatment of me that I will allow and what I won't, I'm more in touch with valuing myself enough to do this, and I've loosened the white knuckle grip I used to try having over any given situation. I let people show me who they are over casual friendships without expectations, and I make my choices as to whom I trust and share myself with. I do this willingly, and I feel secure that I can judge who is good for me and who is not, and I don't put all the power and responsibility for relationships so much in the hands of others. I cannot guarantee my choices will always be the right ones, but I can handle the outcome of my choices now.

    Again, I'm spouting off here like I'm on a soap box, but again I'm just speaking from my own personal experience and point of view. I really do know how difficult and agonizing all of this stuff can be. I feel like I'm on the other side of a former self, so it's probably all too easy for me to make it sound like it should be all too easy. I know it's not.

    How are INFJ's supposed to interact with personality types that expect us to be open and place far less importance on what we'd consider "intimate" information?
    For me, this comes down to personal perspective once again. If you have a grouping of emotions/thoughts/ideas that you place a premium on and make a rule that "I will not be intimate with anyone who does not also place the same premium on these things that I do", you're probably going to set yourself up for a lot of hardship and struggle. Again, I used to DO THIS. There's a difference between hoping someone appreciates how important certain things are to you, and hoping someone can see those things exactly the way you do through your eyes. I used to have these moments where I suddenly felt I could open up about some hidden fantasy or passion to someone and it would feel exhilarating, and then we'd talk for awhile and it still felt good, but then at the end of the night in my own bed I would reflect on how they reacted and feel this disquieting sense of disappointment and exposure. Then I would wake up feeling paranoid and worried about what I had done. Does this sound familiar at all?

    For me, I spent so much time alone and in my own company that the only reflections and perspectives I had on my dreams, ideas, passions were MY OWN. I wanted people to UNDERSTAND what all this looked like through my eyes and I thought the only people I could click with were people who would hear me speak this information and light up with almost telepathic understanding. I DREAMED of this constantly. I WANTED to find this in someone else (I think this is another one of those things that seem common to INFJs, even though, again, the causes are varied). Then I'd finally meet someone I really thought was going to GET IT, and I'd tell them things, but I'd always walk away feeling this emptiness like "They didn't really understand the way I thought they would".

    I'm not saying I think you do this, I really don't know. If you do though, if this sounds familiar, I understand it's so extremely hard to get past these feelings and why they happen.

    I sort of had an epiphany when I realized that everyone in this world has an inner world and perception unlike anyone else. We can never truly see the world exactly the way others see it through their eyes. I used to feel such utter sadness about this sort of thing, like I was cursed to walk the earth never being understood and that these things were just trapped inside me without any way to translate or be validated. To this very day I experience pangs of this from time to time, but nowadays I don't think anyone in the world does not experience this to a certain extent. I just think perhaps people who are innately sensitive and empathic wind up feeling it ten times more.

    These days, it's more important for me to appreciate those who care about me enough to simply respect my feelings about everything that makes me who I am rather than hoping they will understand who I am through my eyes, if that makes sense. If I come across people who I feel truly are reckless and treat the feelings of others like the 'flavor of the moment' or just a temporary whim or distraction, I simply walk away. I do not try to change these people anymore. I used to cling to those expectations I had and I'd think "Oh, they're so great but only if they would do more of ________ and less of _______!!!". I'd hang on and think these things could be tweaked and changed if I just confessed how much it meant to me. That was a very wrong path. Not saying people can't change, but they have to want to and if it turns into this struggle, it's best to just let go and walk away. Cut your losses and move forward. It took me a very long time to become fully conscious of how to do this, of changing my methods of judgment, but it was not impossible.

    Like, if someone is pressing me to talk about something I'm not comfortable with, there is difference between those who are like "Oh come on! I WANT to know! Just TELL me!" and those who are like "I didn't mean to overstep, it's cool!". I've found the people who are truly interested in me and how I feel are the ones who are patient and give me room to open up without pressuring me or feeling pressure themselves. The people to be avoided are the ones who demand and guilt-trip. Someone can express the fact they are interested in knowing your inner world more without pressuring you to give them satisfaction immediately. It takes awhile, but like I said I had to tweak my methods of judgment toward people and stop trying to read their minds. I had to let nature take its course, and stop obsessing over getting answers about the character of those around me immediately. Those who were truly interested in me planted the seeds by letting me know they were curious but they let it lie and allowed me to come to them with an answer when I felt comfortable, those who just demanded instant satisfaction and were reckless just got pissed at me and drifted off (unless I walked away first).

    On the very same token, I learned to give room to others and not demand answers from them either. I learned to take time to learn their character and give them room to open up to me too. I stopped thinking of my secrets and inner workings as gifts I would choose to bestow on people who proved their worth. I started thinking of them as just part of who I am, and simply stuff I just wanted to express so people might better understand where I come from and how I see the world if they wished to. I stopped hoping people were going to be some telepathic soul mate and dumped the fantasies that were too idealistic and intricate for ANYONE to ever be able to live up to and accepted there is great value in those who appreciate me even if they don't always understand my weird little ways. I'm so much happier now than I ever thought possible just ten years ago.

    I've gone on with a novel here, I just related to a lot of the things you wrote here and wanted to share. I don't know how much can apply to you personally or be helpful. Whatever resonates, keep it, and don't stress the rest.
    Last edited by Gloriana; 03-18-2011 at 12:38 AM. Reason: context
    "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you...amazing things will happen" --Conan O'Brien

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