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Thread: The INFJ Tin Man

  1. #31
    Lay the coin on my tongue Array SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtledove View Post
    I bet money I know why he's feeling this way. Why else do you think he hasn't been on here for a while (at least I haven't seen him) and now is posting something, hm? -.- I knew from the get go it wasn't going to work out.
    You sure you know so much about it? He's never on here very much.
    Enneagram 6w5 sp/sx


  2. #32
    Senior Member Array Wanderer's Avatar
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    Feb 2011


    It figures that I would start a thread that actually gets to 4 pages right when life goes absolutely nuts.. xD

    Not trying to "resurrect" the thread but I do want to give replies where they're warranted - apologies for starting a thread and then dashing, and for not answering people's well thought out posts. I've read them all, and they ARE very greatly appreciated. Now, where to begin..

    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    You liar! You DO need a hug!

    Well, we have discussed this kind of thing a little already. I do relate. I have felt somewhat similar lately. I don't think INFJs have a monopoly on this sort of thing but I certainly know a few (probable) NFs who have erected barriers, become bitter, etc. I have even looked at one or two who I am genuinely fond of and thought to myself that it is a shame and I don't really want to get to that point. But I do feel angry, detached and bitter more often than I care to (though I'd hardly say it's all the time or anything like that.)

    Contributing factors have been:

    -A number of letdowns in terms of what I perceive as people's reliability, honesty, and trustworthiness
    -Occasional jealousy at seeing others get things which deep down or not so deep down I want too
    -Cumulative stress - though I think this was very bad a few years ago and is not so bad currently[/I]
    -Living in a big, tough city which tends to heighten stress and tensions and make me feel more self-protective (at the same time, paradoxically, that it makes me feel liberated, strong and empowered)

    As for overcoming it, I think @Tiltyred made some great points (even though she didn't like the original source! ). I could be wrong may not be as much of an asshole as you think you are. I sometimes think about something I've done, said or thought, "man...I'm just turning into a nasty, hard, cynical person." SOmetimes I sense-check this with someone I think will give interesting, honest feedback (not just tell me what I want to hear). In general, they tell me that I'm being normal and self-protective and that I'm still a caring person, and that it's perhaps a shame that I got to the point of feeling that way, and didn't protect myself more earlier. I can sometimes become harsh and cold toward individuals who have hurt me (or toward the thought of them, as they'd generally be out of my life at that point) and I have occasionally had that pointed out to me. I am then usually willing to qualify my harshness and coldness about that person with the fact that it still hurts me to think about them, and it's sort of a coping mechanism. Even amidst those kinds of feelings I can usually find some kind of balance - even if it's a bit elusive or doesn't hang around long.

    Things that help me a great deal are:

    -My faith and the resilience, support and hope that it gives me when I place my burdens there rather than carrying them all myself
    -Remembering that I've had far more wins than fails in my human relationships, even though the fails hurt badly
    -Spending time with people who are loyal, reliable, fun friends and who won't stress me out. Remembering that I've stuck with them too and that we deserve each other.

    -Seeking out my interests in culture, the arts etc
    -Getting out of my head - er, not with drugs and preferably not with too much alcohol, but with music, exercise and so on
    -Trying to look after myself but also not be too self-focused. Inevitably if I feel very angry, sad, lonely, bitter, etc I'm focusing too much on myself.
    -Letting the passage of time do its work. I think that for INFJs, even more so than for some other types, this can take a very long time, which is tedious and painful and sad and sometimes awful. But eventually it helps.

    I don't know if any of this is very helpful, but I mean, you're not exactly beyond hope. I really think that as with so many things it is about finding a balance. Be self-protective, but don't build the Berlin Wall around you. And I know this can be really hard to do. I think in my case, for instance, it's not so hard to put this into practice with friendships, but with romance I really screw it up. I either let myself be too open and get over-attached to someone before anything much has even happened, or I wall myself off emotionally because I've had one too many painful, disappointing experiences and I just don't want that to happen any more. I don't know what the answer is in finding balance - besides what I've suggested above. But it is achievable. And I think it's possible that you're not becoming the horrible person you think you may be.
    the parts I bolded were what really jumped out at me - thanks for pointing them out. It helps put things in perspective somewhat

    Quote Originally Posted by Inverness View Post
    As an INFJ male, I can say the 'tin man' concept definitely resonates with myself in many regards. Constantly setting such barriers and preventing people from getting close, even despite an explicit internal desire wanting to grow closer to someone. It's like an unhealthy knee-jerk isolation reaction. I do my best to be open (at least to those I choose, definitely not just anyone)...but at the end of the day, many barriers still stand. And while I don't think I'm hateful, intolerant, or cranky on a daily I really do love people...the qualities of 'patience, kindness, empathy, caring, warmth' do sometimes get thrown out the window. And I don't like who I am when they do.


    Would a hug help? Probably...I just really dislike the walls, despite every natural inclination to build then.
    This post very accurately reflects my own state - there are people that I want very much to allow in, that I don't WANT to wall out.. but I wound up walling them out anyway. I talked to those closest to me - that I LEAST want to wall out - and explained it. Strangely enough.. it helped. Just sharing my concerns and fears about this helped alleviate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    I remember this. And it’s hardly worth expressing this distinction, but I’d actually meant the opening post itself (not poster) was the ‘INFJiest damn op that ever was’. It was a total caricature of INFJ woes, if I remember correctly, and I’d honestly suspected someone wrote it to make fun of us. (You’d listed an A list of INFJ hang-ups, then asked “does this sound like an INFJ problem?” Lol. I think it was your first post in the forum?)
    Lul. Yep! Though on other parts of the internet OP means Original Poster as well as "Original Post"
    The sentiment expressed is pretty much the same though. Quite INFJ either way xD

    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    To this op: after I go for a period of time ‘looping’ about a conflict- examining as many different possible perspectives as possible- and then inevitably feel like it’s effort that’s been taken for granted anyway, I feel rather numb myself for a while. I’ll feel angry, but I won’t know who I’m angry at or why (since it’s not like the other person asked me to put that much effort into it, it’s just what I do). I’ll feel generally discouraged and exhausted, but I always recuperate eventually and want to dive back into interaction again.

    Mostly I’m with Tiltyred, regarding ‘tin man’ piece. I’m not saying INFJs always throw anger at the right people, but the feeling itself is always there for a reason and it seems to me- at least regarding myself and the INFJs I know irl- we have a hard enough time accepting what we feel and isolating our own anger as valid. I don’t think it’s healthy to push ourselves to not feel it…..the INFJs I know already push themselves to not feel it- which is exactly why it builds up in the first place. But then I don’t entirely understand what Vicky Jo is describing, I’ve never known an INFJ who didn’t eventually get sick of that ‘barrier’ once the grieving period was over (which for us, is ridiculously long) and become interested/enthusiastic about interacting with people again. I’ve heard stories of older INFJ guys being like this, but I don’t think I’ve ever known one. I would think, though, that the very fact this is bothering you- and that you long to return to how you felt before- is an indication that you probably will. When it feels like that flame is truly out for good and you don’t want it back- that’s when I’d start worrying.
    That post goes with this one very nicely. (And yes, Starry, immensely helpful indeed. Thankyou

    Quote Originally Posted by Starry View Post
    This is exactly what I was putting together in my mind yesterday but couldn't formulate the words until after the forum went down (???) @Wanderer the INFJ male I refer to in the first *amazingly helpful* post I made in this thread... He didn't question this 'tin man' process like you are doing. In fact, I suspect he believed it was a very good thing to have happen. And while it makes me somewhat sad and heartbroken...I truly get the sense he saw his INFJness as some sort of defect (a weakness)...and this hardening process as somehow becoming 'a man'. I mean, his INFJness is still there. It's just burried underneath some seriously aloof, uncaring, cold, pissy surface behaviors which are in place to distance/separate him from the rest of the world. And it's a shame really. When I consider how much he has to offer...and how much I sense he truly wants to connect with others. But at the same time I find it difficult to judge because I don't know the challenges of what it is to be an INFJ male in our society. <--- And that is what they claim this is about isn't it? That there is something especially challenging with regards to being an NF male ((Tiltyred helped me discover yesterday that the whole 'Catalyst thing' is, in fact, a term referring to all's alls I'm sayin now is that the ENFP is 'the catalyst of the Catalysts' haha!))...but for reasons unbeknownst to me…the INFJ male seems to ‘get it the worst’.

    But yah...awareness is everything.
    I for a while had that very mindset (though it only lasted a few months)
    For the exact same reasons you outlined - I figured that "toughening up" was expected, and that the reason I have had so much bad luck in relationships is because I'm not "manly enough."

    For why INFJ's have it rough (though my ISFJ guy friend also has it tough - just differently)
    In my experience, INFJ guys (though I've only known 1 IRL besides myself, but he had the EXACT same problems) tend to be what most girls would consider "overly-sensitive" - which IS a turn off. It might be initially attractive, (He's sensitive! He understands me!) but eventually it kills interest. Women want guys that exude confidence, who are manly and direct (generalizations, I know, but true for a large % of the population) and INFJ traits aren't that way. For example; I used to be more concerned with the people I care about than with myself, so I would defer to their wishes - both to avoid conflict with people I love, and to make those people happy. The result was I looked like a doormat (one gf actually spread that as the reason she broke up with me. "He's too sensitive. Once we were officially dating he became a complete doormat."

    Was I? I suppose that's hard to say one way or the other if you don't understand the INFJ. I'd liken it to a dog that won't bite you even if you kick it. For some dogs, that's out of fear - for others, out of love. Regardless, I think that is why INFJ males have difficulty. A large portion of the strongest traits or our personality do NOT fit with what women find attractive. My ISFJ guy friend has it rough too- the complaint girls have for him is that he's too "nice."

    So it's difficult NOT to conclude. "Oh. Well walling myself off emotionally and just not giving a f--- will solve that problem." In fact, it DOES solve quite a few of the INFJ hang ups. It also does seem to make you attractive to the opposite sex (as long as there isn't bitterness with it. Seriously, in the month or two I was acting like that I was hit on quite a few times)

    It just makes you feel dead inside xP

    I decided, eventually, that the answer wasn't to wall myself off so much as to master my emotions and not allow them to control me or affect me as much as they had. The problem is/has become that those walls I spent so much time erecting are now very difficult for anyone to get through.

    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    @Wanderer, I have felt similar, as an ENFP. I think it is a tendency of NFs who are so open and absorbing by nature to shut down and become shelled sometimes to protect ourselves, when we become stressed. I would think that surrounding yourself with environments that are safe and peaceful as often as possible would help you ease back into your natural soft-skinned self.
    This especially, is true. Though at times I feel like a hypocrite because I AM so much more INFJ'ish in those places, and in the more stressful environments I'm far more irritable and angry. I've taken to spending as much time in those places I feel safe and at peace as possible, and it's helped.

    Quote Originally Posted by moon View Post
    Indeed, I experience this, too. I often feel that all my efforts are in vain when things don't go the way I planned or when people don't appreciate me and my output. But it's true, i can't even blame the other person. So, that's when I feel so tired and dumb and cynical! And I would try to separate myself from my feelings and those of the outside world. I'll try to build walls and barriers and fences which I know I do not like but have to for the moment to cope up. And which is a paradox of what I want to do in the first place because it's like I'll just put myself and my heart in a box and I'll be able to feel the cynicism, anger and disappointment more. Eventually, I get sick of the heaviness and I bloom again.

    I don't know what you've been through, Wanderer. But I feel that it's been so tough for you. And I'm glad you're catching yourself like that, like this. I believe that INFJs won't like to get stuck in that sea of cold cynicism, anger, disappointment and shame. Unless, they're too traumatized or stressed, they might give in. But that won't make them happy. Just more cold and batshit insane.

    Collect yourself. Have you tried doing meditations lately?
    Quote Originally Posted by 31january View Post
    In reply to the OP: I've seen this trend in two of my infj friends. Normally, they are both usually quite hopeful and cheerful people, but they've been greatly dissapointed by many things lately and seem to have become relatively angry and cynical as a result >< In a sense, they seem angrily dismissive of the things they are dissapointed about, and in general more...touchy. I'm not sure if it's really an infj thing, but i tend to respond more by being fearful or sad than angry when such things happen, so it isnt exactly a universal response either!
    After reading everything everyone posted, there were a lot of thoughts sparked, and I did a lot of introspecting about why I've been the way I have been.

    I realized that it was because I've had a lot of extremely major disappointments in the past 2 years (lost friends, a failed romantic endeavor, family issues, financial issues - the works) More accurately, it was in how I reacted to those disappointments. I hadn't really come to terms with any of it. I blamed God, Life, and the People in those situations, and I allowed a lot of bitterness and anger to creep into my life. Not that they were the defining characteristics (or at least, weren't for the past couple of months) but because they were under the surface they were never really dealt with.

    There has also been a long standing conflict in my life for some 5-7 years now, and it is something that makes me angry like nothing else - and at times I feel like a completely different person because of that. I notice that I'm very much a "tin man" whenever I'm around this person. In the past few weeks, the other party (an INFP) and I have mutually doorslammed each other. It wasn't what I wanted, and I tried everything I could to avoid the doorslam, but it came down to the fact that we both think we're right, neither of us will compromise (on a myriad of issues) and things were done and said that can never be fixed. So, resolution of sorts - even the highly negative kind - has helped immensely. I've been far less Tin Man-ish, though that entire business still makes me sad.

    Since then, I've been trying to put @Tiltyred's advice into practice, and I'm seeing good results. Though I think it will be a long while before I'm obviously an INFJ again, at least I'm getting there. I've started talking to God again, I've forgiven/settled those matters still standing to the best of my abilities, and I'm focusing on what I can do for the future rather than the disappointments of the past. I still have a lot of days where I'm a Tin Man.. but as I said, I'm working on it. A lot has happened in the past couple week since starting this thread, and I'm very grateful for the thoughts expressed here - they did help, a lot.

    So.. thanks everyone. Thankyou for taking the time out of your day to help a random person on the internet. It did make a difference.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Array Wanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Turtledove View Post
    I bet money I know why he's feeling this way. Why else do you think he hasn't been on here for a while (at least I haven't seen him) and now is posting something, hm? -.- I knew from the get go it wasn't going to work out.
    re: this..
    My ISTJ and I are still together, and she's a bright spot in my life that is showing no signs of going anywhere - though in part, she is why I was worrying about being a Tin Man. I *want* a deeper connection that you can't get if you're walling people out. Between that and distance starting to grow in some long-time friendships, I figured I needed to do something.. hence the thread

  4. #34
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    If you guys don't mind, I'll put in my two cents.

    One question that came to mind for me was, why did you suddenly start to feel this way? You said you haven't been feeling this way your whole life (only about a year or so), so it is a relatively new thing for you. Is there anything causing this change in your perspective? Did anything different from the norm happen during that time period (or before it)? Usually you don't start feeling a certain way without some kind of experience triggering it. For example, say you got a call from your girlfriend in the morning and she said something really nice to you, then all of a sudden you're happy the rest of the day and sometimes you might not even remember why.

    The same can happen with something bad. I went to a therapist recently for the first time in years and found out that I had emotional scars from things that had happened to me over 6 years ago that I didn't really think about anymore, but apparently were still affecting me somewhat subconsciously. Too bad therapy is so expensive...I really wish I could afford to get to the bottom of everything.

    I remember one time I went through a phase somewhat similar to the one you described, but it didn't last as long for me. I think as INFJs sometimes we may find ourselves wishing we can the qualities of other types...The intellectual "coolness" of NTs (especially introverted ones). Sometimes it seems cool, to me at least, to be able to live a less emotional, more rational life. Then it sometimes may seem cool to have the edgy, performance-based flair of the SP's. Or maybe even it might seem cool to be able to be upbeat like an ENFP. But ironically, underneath, a lot of INFJs have a lot of those qualities all in one, and that's what makes you special.

    Another possible explanation is that it could just be a phase. We all go through phases in our life of all kinds. I went through a phase as a homebody, and now I'm going through a phase as an explorer. I'm not sure why, and am trying to figure it out, myself. But we go through different times in life.

    Anyway, I by no means feel I can completely answer your question, but I think getting to the root of why you feel the way you do may be helpful for you, and who knows, maybe something else I said could help you too.
    A hero is someone who does the right thing without expectation of reward, just because it's the right thing to do.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Array Cloud of Thunder's Avatar
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    Funny. I had no idea Vicky Jo was so controversial.

  6. #36
    hyggelig Array EJCC's Avatar
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    I know an INFJ -- counterphobic 6 -- who seems to be this way. I didn't think she even had Fe, because of how un-Fe she acted. The only vibe I got from her was hyper-reactivity, jadedness/disillusionment, etc. I only got to know her because she's really good friends with my former roommate (an equally jaded/disillusioned INTJ 1w9). I know very little about her past, but I could see her being in a similar situation as you -- and maybe even perpetuating it, because she doesn't seem to surround herself with people who would get close to her, help her open up, and give her the literal/metaphorical hug that she needs. She opens up in more of an abrupt, Fi-ish way, in spurts -- which could be because of her Enneagram, or because she holds it in so much that it just bursts out of her.

    Hard to know.
    and it's nice enough to
    make a man
    weep, but I don't
    weep, do

    ESTJ - LSE - ESTj (mbti/socionics)
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