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Thread: Why does my stomach hurt when other people have problems? (INFJ)

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    Default Why does my stomach hurt when other people have problems? (INFJ)

    Not sure if this will make sense, but here's the most recent situation: My bf's sister in law (brother's wife) left his brother a few days ago. She took the kids and said she was miserable. I am very close to his brother and the kids, but never got along well with her... she came off as being very dramatic and talked shit about everyone.

    There were quite a few instances where we heard about her cheating on him and talking to other guys, but he's always been very loyal. Not saying he's perfect or that I know everything that went on in their lives, but she is appearing to be pretty damn selfish.

    So when my fiance told me she left and that his brother wasn't doing very well, I got sick to my stomach and haven't been able to get it off my mind. I also feel guilty for being happy in my relationship and I don't know why. I also worry that this issue will cause problems in our relationship. It doesn't make ANY sense, I know, but it still goes through my head. I guess I'm just wondering if this is normal for INFJs? Is this just part of being empathetic? Could it have to do with my parents getting a divorce? I take marriage very seriously and when other friends of mine went though situations like this in the past, I've had the same reaction. It's just.... weird.

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    facettes de la petite mor Array Words of Ivory's Avatar
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    You're just stressed about the situation, that's all.

    It sounds to me like this woman likes to dig her own graves. If you're able to, try to distance yourself from this issue as much as possible, even if your instinctive impulse is to try and help. Talk it over with your boyfriend too, tell him how you feel about the whole thing.



    "Life calls out the meaning of pure jubilance,
    if you'll only take the time to hear it."
    ~ Words of Ivory ~

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    yeah, i think you're right. i know it's not my place to try and "help", i just wish it was easier for me to let it go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whynot View Post
    Not sure if this will make sense, but here's the most recent situation: My bf's sister in law (brother's wife) left his brother a few days ago. She took the kids and said she was miserable. I am very close to his brother and the kids, but never got along well with her... she came off as being very dramatic and talked shit about everyone.

    There were quite a few instances where we heard about her cheating on him and talking to other guys, but he's always been very loyal. Not saying he's perfect or that I know everything that went on in their lives, but she is appearing to be pretty damn selfish.

    So when my fiance told me she left and that his brother wasn't doing very well, I got sick to my stomach and haven't been able to get it off my mind. I also feel guilty for being happy in my relationship and I don't know why. I also worry that this issue will cause problems in our relationship. It doesn't make ANY sense, I know, but it still goes through my head. I guess I'm just wondering if this is normal for INFJs? Is this just part of being empathetic? Could it have to do with my parents getting a divorce? I take marriage very seriously and when other friends of mine went though situations like this in the past, I've had the same reaction. It's just.... weird.
    I can really relate to the bolded part. When someone I care about is feeling bad, I feel guilty if I'm happy. At times I would also sort of unconsciously make myself unhappy or cause trouble in my own relationship so to make us not so happy either. I know this is bad. It's Fe under stress going awry. I agree that you should have a talk with your fiance about your feelings.

    How close are you with your fiance's brother? If it's inappropriate to offer to help (your fiance's brother might not want anyone to know he's not doing well, etc.), then there's nothing you can do about it. However, if you are fairly close with his family, you might try to actively help out with things you don't really want to do. This might sound weird, but when I do something I don't want to but that helps someone else, I feel better about myself and feel less guilty. If I get to do something I don't like, I feel like I'm entitled to be happy in my own relationship afterward, after the unpleasant task is done with.

    Another thing is, try to think about it this way: that woman was poison for him. It's a good thing that she left, because it will be better for his life in the long run. It might hurt at first, but it's like pulling out a thorn from your finger. There is more pain in the process, but you get better afterward.

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    Ugh...I know this feeling all too well. It drives me nuts that I can't make things better for people. Just do what you can for him and your family without getting too entangled. Just being there and being sympathetic will help.

    Just keep an eye out that you don't become overinvolved, because that is a common INFJ pitfall. We can spend so much time worrying over other people's lives that we neglect our own.

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    I'm an ENFP, but I can relate to this as well. It's difficult to see a horrible situation like this play out in front of you, want to help, but then not be able to do anything about it. I'd say that it's a common NF pitfall, in general, this ability to give yourself to an emotional problem completely.

    I agree if there is any way you can help at all without (emotionally or otherwise) injuring yourself, you should absolutely try. But try not to let it affect the health of your excellent relationship. Talk about it with your boyfriend, ask him to help you think and feel things through as much as he can help.

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    Senior Member Array Lily flower's Avatar
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    It's that oversensitivity we all have. If anyone has good advice on how to empathize without letting it drag us down, I would love to hear it.

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    Senior Member Array Onceajoan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valerie View Post
    It's that oversensitivity we all have. If anyone has good advice on how to empathize without letting it drag us down, I would love to hear it.
    This ^. Not only are we overly sensitive. We overidentify. I don't have a "sick to my stomach" response, I cry (even if it's someone I barely know). I have a hard time seeing people in pain.

    For example, I attended an enneagram conference where various types went up to talk about their experiences in front of the attendees. As some of the people told stories of their childhoods or difficulties in life, they sobbed (sometimes uncontrollably). I started crying too although the stories didn't relate to my life experiences. All I can say is that I have experienced a lot of pain in my life so I can relate in a generalized way.

    The solution? Learn to take some emotional distance. (how you do that, I don't know). Establishing healthy boundaries so you don't take on the pain that isn't yours. We each have to own our own emotions. And so does the other person. That's healthy boundaries.

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    Senior Member Array Onceajoan's Avatar
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    I'm wondering how many of us INFPs felt a need to rescue someone in their childhood which would account for oversensitivity or overinvolvement.

    Just a thought I'm throwing out there. Probably best for a new thread since I'm going off the main purpose of the topic.

    The reason I think this might be a link is because I know my rescuing behavior stems from having to rescue my mother growing up throughout my childhood. I became adept at rescuing people, listening to their problems, sympathizing, feeling and internalizing their pain, reading nonverbal, reading between the lines, etc. There could potentially be a solution. And if you have a sense of where this behavior originates, you may be able to work through it.

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    It's all a part of being empathetic without having emotional boundaries. It's completely normal but also hard to overcome. I sympathize with you. =(

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