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Thread: Anger

  1. #21
    4x9 Array cascadeco's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    4 so/sp


    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I'm definitely having problems with letting things go. I've always had problems with letting really major things go. The trouble is that now I feel like the less major things are building up too. I believe in forgiveness and I don't want this in my life/psyche.

    How do you INFJs and NFs (and anyone!) deal with this? I really don't like feeling this way. I'm not typically an "angry person".
    First off, sorry you're in a rough patch!

    Whenever Anger topics come up on this forum, I'm at a loss to really contribute - mostly because I tend not to experience Anger towards other people. I actually don't think this is 100% a good thing - I think it means I am totally always adjusting to see other pov's, such that I then become incapable of becoming truly angry with them - when perhaps I really should be. Or.. maybe I just hang out with totally awesome people and weed out the ones I know I'd become resentful towards? lol.

    In a situation where I think most people would become angry, it's like I bypass that and then I always turn it back on myself and become mad at myself for 'not knowing', or getting involved in the first place, or not knowing myself well enough to know that I shouldn't have done such and such, or not knowing until much later down the road what some of my needs actually are. This actually came up yesterday - I was counselling an INFJ friend going through a breakup, telling her that I think one of our pitfalls that probably won't ever go entirely away is the subjectivity we have in terms of our needs - that our needs can be flexible depending on the situation/context/person at hand -> I recognize within myself that one thing I do is that I might ride something out for a while, simply because I honestly don't know if I'm ok with it or not. So it's only later on that I might realize I'm in fact not cool with it, and in the end just can't adjust and it's not me. Big negative side of the Ni coin here, I think (well, lack-of-significant-Fi-coin, rather). That, combined with belated need recognition, can be a recipe for, well, not being selfish enough and not putting our needs at equal level with the other person. Not accepting help, and setting up a dynamic where the other person - rightfully so, probably - thinks we don't actually need anything. So yes, in a way we are the ones who create all of this.

    So for myself, all anger/irritation tends to be directed towards myself in the end - I might initially think I'm angry or hateful towards the other person, but when I examine it more closely, I realize it's mostly me being pissed off at myself for 'not knowing', or not being self-aware enough, or any number of other things.

    The solution? I guess... I dunno, I've gotten a little better about this in recent years. Just stopping the self-bashing thing. And being kind to myself. Knowing that I have stumbling areas and recognizing those and treating them as 'facts'. *Believing that a mix of selfishness and selflessness is a good thing to strive for in a relationship. It's never a good thing if you're pulling all the weight, either by flexing an inordinate amount, OR not being open enough when you're not happy or something is bothering you. ALSO being ok/thankful for people who help you out, and letting people do that.*. Finally, always keeping the big picture in mind -- life is short. Moving onwards. Putting the past behind me. (But I also sense that it may be a bit easier for me to do this than what I've read of other INFJ's on this forum -- I've never really been one who's wanted to hold onto the past. I want to be done with unpleasantries and move on. I'm only in control of myself and what *I* do and say, and have no control over anyone else - if they do something of their own volition, so be it. They're free/entitled to do so. And if I don't like it, I can choose to move on; or bring it up and talk through it and express what I actually think/feel, and see what they do in response. Life is ahead of me. Live and learn. But then I think... I guess it took me a number of years to really get to this 'place' where I could do this more easily. I can't give an easy 5-step answer as to how I did this though. )
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  2. #22


    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    [...] I think I end up making the latest person who did that the representative of all the people who have done that to me in the past, and probably all the people who will do it to me in the future... I know that my instinct to "pattern" things can be quite harmful in this area.

    To give an example: I feel like people often treat me as though my feelings are not sensitive or as though I don't really care, like I'm a passionless, emotionless person. So it's not just about one or two people who may recently have done that. It becomes about all of the following: a) the many times I went to the city finals for the public speaking competition but didn't win anything because I wasn't as animated as some of the other kids; b) the times I've been turned down for a job because they thought I didn't seem excited enough about it; c) the guys who thought I'd be absolutely fine with being friends with them on their own terms even though they'd just rejected me, sometimes very unpleasantly; d) the people who I've tried to help who thought that I had an infinite supply of emotional energy for them to drain; e) the roommate who picked on me because she thought I wouldn't stand up to her, but then reacted nastily when I occasionally tried to give her a taste of her own medicine; etc.

    And yeah, I know that what I've just written is...ridiculous, in a way. It's too much. [...]
    That’s a fascinating exposition of what happens when an INFJ gets angry. I’ve always wondered what the hell is going on in the head of an INFJ at such times.

    Anyway, partly based on that exposition that you gave, I would recommend the approach taken by Their approach is that type-related problems arise, for the most part, when the Auxiliary function is used in a very limited capacity, i.e. it is used almost solely to support and execute the decisions made by the Dominant function; it is used in a fashion that makes it subservient to the Dominant function. A healthier approach (and the solution to one’s problems) is to develop the Auxiliary to the point that it functions largely independently of the Dominant.

    How that would work out in your case:

    Your Dominant function--Ni--is largely a brooding function. It engages in the kind of brooding that the quote above describes: It extrapolates from specific events to the general and looks for similiar patterns throughout your life. So far so good; nothing wrong with that.

    The problem arises when you use your Auxiliary function on a limited basis, i.e., for no other purpose than to externalize the conclusions of your Dominant function: You come to the conclusion that people have been walking all over you during your entire life, and you externalize that conclusion by feeling lots of anger toward people.

    A more healthy use of Fe would be to study people and realize that they have their own stories, their own backgrounds, their own motivations, their own agendas, etc., and to use Fe to better understand those things. Then, with a better understanding of the people around you, your Ni could use that additional information to “brood” up better solutions: Compromises between your needs and the needs of the people around you. In other words, using Fe in this expanded fashion would serve to provide Ni with better information and help it come to better conclusions.

    Also, better use of Fe would help with your understanding and use of boundaries. Fe is your boundary function. It would provide you with a better understanding that some agendas are “theirs” and some are “yours,” and that your Ni needs to compare and compromise in its solutions, rather than just working up a sense of boundariless resentment at the state of the world.

    For more on this approach, see the INFJ section of

    Just for comparison, here’s how the same dynamic plays out for INFPs: With Fi as our dominant and Ne as our Auxiliary, Fi tends to hold set views about oneself and the world; if Ne is used only on a limited basis, i.e., solely in a role that is subservient to Fi, then it tends to come up with simplistic, dramatic ways to execute Fi judgements: Ne generates quick bursts of temper or emotions to solve conflicts. Ne used in this mode results in the kind of volatility and easy shifts of emotion that you mentioned about FPs in a post above.

    A better use of the Auxiliary for INFPs would be to develop their Ne to operate independently and use it more as a brooding or deliberative function: Spot similar patterns throughout one’s life, and spend a little time working on longer-term solutions (rather than just addressing things with a quick gush of emotion and moving on).

    Anyway, hopefully you get the idea: Try to develop and use the Auxiliary function to collect more information and to moderate the excesses of the Dominant function.

    Anyway, good luck addressing this problem, whatever approach you may take!

  3. #23
    Vaguely Precise Array Seymour's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    5w4 sx


    I have to say that I don't really think my emotions are more turbulent than most peoples as an INFP. I think I am more aware of my emotional state, moment to moment, than most. I also feel that when I am upset, I tend to find it imperative to attend to my emotional state so I can reach clarity again. I can put my emotions aside and deal with the practical and important, but that means giving up a lot of my insight and finesse for the duration.

    Although I've done some management and been team lead on a number of management, I really don't identify with going into "drill sergeant mode," either. If anything, I tended to work behind the scenes to fill in the gaps left by others not pulling their own weight. It's been an uphill battle to learn to call out those who are slacking and not doing their fair share... I still tend to put it off.

    I've never used "quick bursts of temper or emotions to solve conflicts." The only kind of emotional display I tend to attempt during conflict is to lay my emotional cards on the table in hopes the other party will do the same, so that we can move past conflict towards some non-zero-sum-game solution. That approach doesn't always work, yet it's sometimes worthwhile as a last ditch effort before throwing in the towel.

    At any rate, I think the enneagram is better at capturing unhealthy defense mechanisms than the MBTI (since that is what the enneagram is based around).

    And, cascadeco, I do sympathize a lot with struggling to give one's own needs equal weight during conflict. I was taught to avoid "selfishness," which actually ruled out standing up for one's own needs.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Array Neutralpov's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
    1w2 so/sx


    What amazing responses! I also think one other experience or approach that helped me was beginning to put into practice boundaries after the time (months) of anger subsides from allowing boundary violations. I was shocked when I started drawing them newly with the stronger relations and worked outward. You may find a tectonic shift in your life so don't implement in all areas at once, but phase slowly. The friends who you connect with may not be the ones who accept your boundaries and that was saddening to me. Turns out when you let your relationships be give and take you find out who was in it only for you to give. Turned out that people I never expected ended up honoring my boundaries and being fine with them and encouraging me and the ones I thought I connected amazingly I had to let take a natural (distancing, reciprocal so as to be give and take for me) course or feel their backlash at my setting reciprocal boundaries and putting myself first. What I found over those few months is that my taste in friendships changed to being drawn to and attracting boundary-respectful people and a distaste for people who react at a natural and healthy one. A new kind of love-language showed up like spring rain!

  5. #25
    Senior Member Array
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    Dec 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Yeah, I guess that's true. I'm not volatile - when I do feel like I "suddenly" get overwhelmed by emotions, I have come to realize that they've been building up on me for some time, and I'm trying to get better at realizing when the dangerous buildup is happening.

    I think we are more stable but we also take a lot longer to work through things. One of the hardest things for me about feeling anger, pain, sadness etc is that I know they're likely to be with me for a while, sometimes a long while, and it's hard to know what to do about that.
    My best friend INFJ has had a few relationships in which she has felt a great deal of anger and remorse. I understand what you're saying about the anger lingering. Some have hurt her deeply and these are men she was involved with years ago. Her feelings run deep and I think these men (one man in particular) encouraged her feelings and love and then left her in the lurch without saying why, which I frankly think is cruel. Sometimes I think that re-imagining the situation might help or to tell yourself that some things can't be known, though they might drive you a little crazy. I know I struggle to tell myself this. Maybe it might help to change your scene or do something different, anything to get a different perspective, just to try and move yourself out of feeling bad. I always feel that emotions, feelings, are a process. Perhaps if you might say (just a suggestion) to yourself that it's okay to feel this way for as long as it takes. Then, things will change again, for the better.

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