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  1. #1
    Senior Member SubtleFighter's Avatar
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    Default ENFPs and Hiding Feelings

    I've always thought that ENFPs were pretty much open books as far as emotions were concerned, that they tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves. But something has come up with an ENFP who's important to me that is making me question this.

    Is it possible that, if an ENFP loses someone who's really important to them (not through death, I mean if the relationship is severed) that they would feel strongly about this but be able to hide their feelings about it? Could they compartmentalize what they're feeling and not show it to the other person? Or maybe would they try to change what they're feeling by trying to focus on the other people in their life? What does this have to do with how important the person really was to them?

    If this would happen to me, I wouldn't be able to see that person without letting the hurt/pain be obvious. But I've learned that I often can't determine why the ENFP is doing something or what's really going on by looking at my own thought processes.

    Any thoughts on this?
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."--Ambrose Redmoon

    . . . metamorphosing . . .

  2. #2
    Unlimited Dancemoves ® AgentF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubtleFighter View Post
    I've always thought that ENFPs were pretty much open books as far as emotions were concerned, that they tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves.
    most of the time, this is true. we have to explain our emotions and thought patterns at times (they often make no sense to others). hell, they often make no sense to us. and when our emotions + our values are not aligned and/or we are afraid of voicing them, we will hold back.

    Is it possible that, if an ENFP loses someone who's really important to them (not through death, I mean if the relationship is severed) that they would feel strongly about this but be able to hide their feelings about it? Could they compartmentalize what they're feeling and not show it to the other person? Or maybe would they try to change what they're feeling by trying to focus on the other people in their life?
    interesting. i just had a discussion last night with an INFJ about compartmentalizing of emotions. i said i can't do it. he didn't believe me. but perhaps what i told him isn't strictly true. i can compartmentalize in certain circumstances, when my Fi is still working on it. and then if/when the emotion is externalized, it often surprises the hell out of the person witnessing that expression of emotion.

    fortunately, looking at our facial expressions often helps as we are (at least i am) incapable of hiding spontaneous emotions. INTJs--particularly the crafty ones--are particularly good at asking targeted questions and de-emphasizing what we say in favor of focusing on our reaction to the question posed. this can turn into an elaborate game of cat/mouse which at times is fun and other times tiresome. for both.

    If this would happen to me, I wouldn't be able to see that person without letting the hurt/pain be obvious. But I've learned that I often can't determine why the ENFP is doing something or what's really going on by looking at my own thought processes.

    Any thoughts on this?
    yeah, INFJs seem to manage their emotions very differently than ENFPs. i really like how accessible your emotions are, you also care about what people think but you don't apply layers of social niceties to them. your vulnerability is out there in the open. it's refreshing.

    our emotional machinery works through various filters (and the more Te we develop--with does happen even though it's our tertiary) the more hesitant we are at times to expose the more nascent emotions. it has to do with vulnerability and rawness.

    and i won't say this is true of all ENFPs, but as an ENFP who is also 7w6, pain is to be avoided at all cost. so, yes. there can be some effort to massage or manipulate our feelings into a less painful form, and we can even try distorting reality in the process. if operating at an unhealthy level, numbing behavior (shopping, drugs, alcohol, sex, porn, internet, video games) can result. the good news is that, for most of us, our "emotional refractory" period is often brief. so we bounce back and often seem to have forgotten the whole episode.


    we haven't. maybe we suppressed it. maybe we moved on. you will likely never know.
    I may be kindly, I am ordinarily gentle, but in my line of business I am obliged to will terribly what I will at all.
    ~ Catherine the Great


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  3. #3
    SingSmileShine
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    I am an ENFP, and for most of my life I have been, literally, always happy. I have had a very bad anxiety disorder to deal with my entire life, but when I'm in public or with other people I feel a release from it. So I generally am usually happy. However, last year, I was going through a very rough patch. I felt the need to keep up that smile that everyone knew me by, and I smiled despite how much I was hurting inside for a variety of reasons. One day, though, I just broke down. I realized that I couldn't do that any longer. From then on, I've become an open book. If I'm not feeling that great, you'd best believe that you'll end up knowing!

    (:

  4. #4
    SingSmileShine
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    Oh. I misread the question. In relationships, I can often tend to put on a brave smile no matter how it ends up. I will end up finding the bright light and telling myself it was all meant to be, no matter how sad it may make me!

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    Maybe it's a pride thing but I don't want to show the other person how much they hurt me. Distractions and time away really help because it can draining to maintain your composure.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Santosha's Avatar
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    In a nutshell, yes.

    I really think that any type is capeable of compartmentalizing emotions, and ENFP's open book motto is really no exception. The other posts have already touched on the things I would add, but I would consider the following-
    Most ENFP's really prefer to keep things positive, this is where we thrive. So when confronted with very painful experiences whether that is our own dark sides or that of others, we definately have a tendency to shove unresolved emotions aside. THis is part of the e7 fixation - keeping busy and excited to often avoid having to deal with intense internal analysis. I am either a core or strong 3 wing, and I have quite a conflict in coming to terms with how i really really feel, like at a gut level, about people that have hurt me. It's like I want to just believe that people dance to the same beat as me (even though experience has shown otherwise) and that they couldnt possibly have malicious intent, because why would someone actively hurt another person? How could they operate on that level? How could they cover it up and get by in life, look in the mirror, etc. Pyschology and defense mechanisms have been very helpful for me in understanding myself and others. But to the point, yes I have some compartmentalized skeletons in the closet, and i sometimes sense a great fear in dragging these things out and looking at them closely. And to be honest, I'm not sure if I really believe that everything must be worked through and delt with some intense magnifying glass. Life is extraordinary but it can also be a real fucking bastard, and if the darkness and pain of it all is wallowed in constantly, how does one truck on? Ofcourse their is benefit in understanding hows and whys of your processes.. but there is a time to reflect and a time to just live. RIght now I am happy to just live.
    Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun - Watts

  7. #7
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    To your OP-absolutely. When I am hurt the most, the more silent I will be. It feels like I should be able to cope with my own emotions and my own issues and it feels very strange/invasive to share them with other people. Additionally, it isnt hard to put all the hurt in a little box off to the side and ignore it. Often that is the very best thing I can do-rather than let me hurt overwhelm or paralyze me, I set it aside and try and deal rationally with whatever the situation demands. Very often the emergence of a lot of emo will only create uneeded drama and prevent immediate action to resolve the problem. Even worse, at times the emotion is reactive and turbulant and not properly processed for external distribution-it may not be the "right" thing to feel but be an over or under reaction, thus it is best saved and pondered before being shared.

    Often I prefer to not dig up stuff from the past either-if there is growth value then perhaps I ponder it myself, but dont tend to want to externalize most of the time.

    Also-weird though this may seem-I dont think enfps quite need to talk thorough emotions externally quite the way an Fe user might-it actually can bizarrely invasive to have someone start asking about an emotionally charged event that I wish to place behind me.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SubtleFighter's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies--they're really helpful!

    So it seems like while ENFPs may have a hard time hiding immediate emotions, they may not express something that's more pervasive that they're still figuring out emotionally. Or maybe they have figured it out emotionally, but they don't feel the need to express it.

    I have another question: does it matter how strong or important the pervasive thing is that you're trying to figure out emotionally?

    I know for me, I can not talk about something that's maybe slightly hard to deal with or even "medium" hard, but if it's something big (like what I mentioned earlier about losing an important relationship), then I need to express it somehow to someone else to really work through it. I've seen from the ENFP I know that she tends to express things immediately that she's feeling if it's something big. But does that extend to things that aren't immediate but that are big that you're still working through? Or do you still prefer to work things through on your own?

    This is interesting what everyone's saying about how ENFPs tend to try to remain happy even through hard times. That explains a lot of things! It sounds to me like seeming externally happy isn't an indicator of how important this bad this was that is happening, just an indicator that the person is trying to figure out a way to deal with it and that one of the ways is trying to be positive about it. Does that sound right?

    And about compartmentalizing emotions, I have suspected that INFJs will tend to be better at this than ENFPs (because of being Ni-doms and shifting perspectives), but it's interesting to note that ENFPs do this sometimes too. I wonder if the ENFP version of compartmentalizing has to do with Te coming into play?
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."--Ambrose Redmoon

    . . . metamorphosing . . .

  9. #9
    Senior Member SubtleFighter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by agentfurrina View Post
    yeah, INFJs seem to manage their emotions very differently than ENFPs. i really like how accessible your emotions are, you also care about what people think but you don't apply layers of social niceties to them. your vulnerability is out there in the open. it's refreshing.
    You know what's interesting--I feel this way about you guys! Like your emotions seem more raw and unfiltered when you put them out there. And that it's refreshing because I know that when you guys act like you care, you really do, and you aren't just doing it because it's the socially appropriate thing to do. In a lot of ways, you seem more vulnerable in the moment than me, who tends to over-think everything, and that's refreshing too.

    ENFPs =



    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    And to be honest, I'm not sure if I really believe that everything must be worked through and delt with some intense magnifying glass. Life is extraordinary but it can also be a real fucking bastard, and if the darkness and pain of it all is wallowed in constantly, how does one truck on? Ofcourse their is benefit in understanding hows and whys of your processes.. but there is a time to reflect and a time to just live. RIght now I am happy to just live.
    I admire this attitude--I need to get me some more of that.
    "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."--Ambrose Redmoon

    . . . metamorphosing . . .

  10. #10
    Cheeseburgers freeeekyyy's Avatar
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    It seems to me to depend on the depth of the emotion and connection. The deeper it is, the easier time they have not showing what they're really feeling. They simply will not allow certain feelings to be shown, especially if it makes them feel vulnerable.
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