Are you asking if INFJs are moody or in what unique ways do INFJs express their moodiness? I can identify with most of the responses in this thread, and I'm sure most types when feeling moody can identify as well.
I tend to be rather even-keeled particularly with acquaintances. In a work environment I am consistent. There is a way I can hide emotional reactions fairly easily, but they end up expressing themselves in my physical self. On the larger scale of people, I am probably average to below average in my degree of "moodiness". My typical state is one of an understated, sustained bittersweetness that holds few expectations about life. I can have strong emotional reactions with people in my inner circle if they do something to reinforce a deep fear. My emotional reactions tend to result when a long history of fears align inside me and I lose the sense that I can cope with it. Because of this I have worked out many systems to regulate my emotions. Sadness and anxiety are what I primarily cope with in that overwhelming sense.
A few ways I rid myself of emotional overload is to:
1. Go away by myself and let it all out, then step back to view everything from a distance. Simply not allowing others to see an emotional response can make the idea of moodiness not relevant externally.
2. Start thinking/analyzing something that is completely devoid of emotion like the patterns in the wallpaper. This shifts the thoughts to another place in the brain and can lessen the productions of chemicals that produce/reinforce emotional responses.
3. Flood your thoughts and senses with those things you associate with a good feeling. For me, spending time in nature was a balm. There is an actual technique in behavior therapy where you consciously list what sights, smells, sounds, etc. create a sense of peace and balance for you. When you become anxious, angry, sad, you flood your senses with these positive stimuli.
The first man to raise a fist is the man who's run out of ideas. H.G. WELLS
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. FEYNMAN If this is monkey pee, you're on your own.SCULLY
I've read here and there that INFJ's have the tendency to be moody (which I totally denied until recently). So for those that will admit it, how do you deal with it - or more importantly - CONTROL it?
I've noticed it as a fundamental difference between my ISFJ boyfriend and I, so I am beginning to think it may be Ni influenced. He is SENSITIVE, but his moods are fairly even. I'm way more prone to flip outs or mood change at the mention of a word. I can identify the sort of things that set me off, but I can't seem to control the destructive thought process that follows & inevitably effects my entire mood.
Originally Posted by nightning
My mood appears to cycle monthly... So I'm just going to attribute it as a bad form of the "non-existent" PMS. The downswings affects the way I see things, and to some extent my thoughts. Of control... I find it difficult. I try to keep it confine to myself so that I don't infect other people with it. I also try not to make any personal related issues during that period of time as damage control. Other than that... I don't know what else I can do. It's not going away...
I can totally identify, and have experienced it quite recently. But I wouldn't say my emotions are obvious to everyone aside from people I live with, unless I decide to talk to someone about how I'm feeling. If I'm in a downturn, I typically stay quiet and don't externalize it outside of email. Here's something I put in my blog last week -
Too much introverting is a VERY bad thing for me. And my thoughts grow tiring. I revisit the same themes over and over again and rarely make headway. It just ends up being an exhausting, confusing, and upsetting emotional experience, with thoughts whirling around non-stop because I can't effectively do anything with them or make headway when I have the emotions that are *really* overpowering me, and then I start feeling physically ill. By the end of the day, all I want to do is lie down and hide from everyone.
The questions I ask myself are never ones with easy answers, and I think I often dig too deep. Analyzing myself can be extremely counterproductive, but once I start introverting and contemplating myself, my life, my job, my relationships, etc, I get 'stuck' in it and can't really extricate myself. And then in that state I don't WANT to do anything, or talk to anyone, because I don't think I'm good for socializing one bit, and think I'm kinda toxic/pathetic anyway....but that's exactly what would be most helpful for me, it's just the last thing I want to do when I'm like that.
So Monday evening I allowed myself to just stay at home and not do anything, although I did work out at the gym, which helped quite a bit. I say 'allowed', because I tend to be rather self-disciplining. Although I know going out and doing something (Se'ing) would do me the most good when I get in these little funks, at times I just grow SO incredibly weary of self-disciplining myself. I just want someone else to be there to give me a gentle push or to encourage me....I get tired of trying to be 'strong', I guess.
I also tend to think JAVO is onto something....perhaps INFJ's tend to be extremely attentive/hyper-sensitive to our inner world of emotions?? So any slight change will be something we will notice?? (well, at least I do). Maybe INFJ's tend to be the ones who 'sit' in the experiences longer because we want to 'work through them'?
As for how to control them, I do not know. I do think the answer to not letting the negative thought circles overwhelm is to simply get out, 'Se', and stay active in the world -- whether exercising, doing some sort of activity, or continuing to interact with people. I know this is what tends to help me and stop the infinite Ni/Ti circular loop in my mind, and tends to pull me out of my head. However, I also acknowledge that when I'm IN that place, doing some sort of tangible activity is the LAST thing I want to do -- simply because I'm tired and feel toxic to others, and don't want to be around others. So, I don't know. I'm still working on it. It's especially hard for me in the winter months when I can't get outside, and getting outside is what makes me happiest and **always** clears my head.
I've only become aware of my mood swings in the last 5 yrs or so. I've gotten a better grip of them, and whereas in the past a negative downturn might have lasted for a while, now it might only be a few days....there's still room for improvement. hahaha..that goes with the INFJ self-improvement thing I suppose.
One last comment -- the time in my life when I didn't have any 'swings' to speak of was in my mid-20's, when I'd built up a pretty hard shell/exterior and had rather shunned my Fe -- but I was also pretty disillusioned and cynical-- so, while I didn't have the mood swings at that time, it was because I'd effectively numbed myself from feeling much of anything, and was intellectualizing everything and being pretty critical of everyone/everything. Oh, also in college. Not many mood swings in college, because college was all about living in the moment, socializing, and just having a good time. I didn't have much time in college to just ponder things. ;-) And prior to that?? I couldn't have pinpointed my emotional state -- I think it was always there, but I didn't know to identify it as such. Basically I don't remember focusing on emotions as a child. I was certainly inward and sensitive, but I never dissected emotions at that time.
"...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
Just thought I should do a little summarizing for my own understanding... but I figure it'll be useful for everybody and people can double check as to whether I'm seeing it correctly.
Signs & problems with INFJ moodiness:
1. overly critical of self(?) and leads to a depressive state (Fi? interacting with Fe?)
2. internalization of the problem and start over analyzing emotions (Ni Ti loop)
3. becoming mentally tired, and unproductive as the mind cannot stop thinking about depressive thoughts.
4. Behavior affecting others
1. Let your emotional frustration out privately. Cry, scream, vent by yourself, or preferably with a SO or a close friend to clear the system (targeting Fi)
2. Thinking of things that are going right for you. Happy thoughts (targeting Fi)
3. Detach yourself, block the emotions so that it doesn't influence your interactions with people. (preventing Fe feedback)
4. Thinking & analyzing something completely unrelated without emotional content. (remove Ni Ti self analysis loop) Thanks Toonia for pointing that one out.
5. Keep yourself busy with physical activity. Exercise or do other sensory related activities so that you don't have time to analyze yourself anymore. (Se countering Ni overload)
So Monday evening I allowed myself to just stay at home and not do anything, although I did work out at the gym, which helped quite a bit.
*nods* I've been told by a counselor that exercise (even something like 15 min a day of brisk walking) helps in keeping depression away.
You've brought up an interesting point about Enneagram types... INFJs are mostly 1s or 4s? So maybe this dramatic mood swing thing is more pertinent to type 4 INFJs... or more specifically 4w5 INFJs.
My mood swings are usually unnoticeable to the outside world, even when they are turning my inner world upside-down. The one exception is my husband: he never fails to notice one of my mood swings, often even before I do! (The other exception is the Internet: I don't manage to fake as well online as in real life, for some reason.)
But then, my mood swings are usually related to Fe, not Ni or Ti. Ni and Ti don't go around trying to sabotage me, but Fe, and even more especially its Shadow Fi, sure do. I'm so dependent on their good side, and sensitive to their bad side, it's ridiculous. Someone saying a nice word to me can make me smile inside all day, and inversely someone saying a bad word can literally render me suicidal. It's ludicrous just how out of control my F is.
Would the self-demand for perfection, or at least excellence, in everything that matters to me, to my loved ones, and to whoever plays an important role in my life, enter that category ? It doesn't matter if I CAN do it, or even if I WANT to do it: if I feel I SHOULD do it (because it's expected of me, or because it's a part of who I want to see myself as, or whatever), then I WILL drive myself insane over it. It doesn't matter how unattainable it is (like, I want to be an ESxJ, for example), I WILL go back to it regularly, and judge myself by how well I've performed compared to that standard (you can guess that this INFJ doesn't do well AT ALL playing at being an ESJ, for example), and then I'll spiral down into blame, anger, irritability and whatnot. Which is when my husband will ask me what's bothering me, and how am I supposed to answer that ?
what helps me may sound a tad bit cliche. Most of the time excercising helps. If you are by yourself, get the hell out of your house or wherever and do something that requires concentration that makes it harder to think about your mood. For instanse socializing helps a lot or shopping for something fun or whatever you like to do. This one difficult for me, b/c even moving seems overwelming when mad. You have to go to a person or place that you like, b/c undesirable locations make me and most infjs that i know feel worst. You can always veg out and pop a xanax as a last resort.
Wow, I wish I had something to add to this topic that hasn't been mentioned already...
My two cents: Get outside and be active. Play some video games. Go to a bar with friends.
My moodiness usually comes about when I'm inactive or by myself; essentially any time I'm in a situation that allows me to be introspective. So the best way I've found to kill those moods is by doing something that'll occupy my mind for the time being.
Omnia Mutantur, Nihil Interit.
'Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.' -- Roman Soldier translated by Dream, "The Wake"
I'm pretty even keeled now, but I was mildly depressed for years and prone to dark melancholic moods. I was always tired and never quite that happy. I listened to sad music a lot and concentrated on all the negative in life.
Like some of the other people have posted, excercise works. It was amazing for me infact. I think it was largely responsible for bringing me out of my very long and painful funk. I went from being tried 70% of the time to nearly forgetting what fatique feels like, seriously.
I was into weight lifting in high school, but it wasn't until I started doing cardio and kept at it for more than two months regularly that I think it started affecting my mood.
I also started conciously changing my negative thought patterns. If I think of something negative about myself or the situation (like I was prone to doing automatically), I then try and think of something positive (there is almost always SOMETHING positive to think about, no matter what happens). Also avoiding sad music/movies helps too if you tend to do that.
I used to scoff at people who talked to me about positive thinking, but it honestly works. I now believe you are largely in control of your moods, barring some chemical imbalance (which I think is pretty rare).