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The Dark Side of the INFJ Personality

infj dark side

Each MBTI type features a positive and negative side of its expression. When it comes to the INFJ, this darker side can seem especially unsettling for loved ones accustomed to their gentle and compassionate nature. Here is a list of aspects about the INFJ dark side.

Ni-related Neurosis

In its healthy expression, Introverted intuition (Ni) is a guiding light to the INFJ that allows them to astutely anticipate and foresee where things are headed. It also accounts for their capacity to understand other people’s perspectives and identify with them. It is their source of inspiration and what makes them visionary and mystic-like in their insightfulness. In its unhealthy expression however, Ni can lead the INFJ to form unfounded suspicions about other people and their motives. This can include a loss of trust or faith in their spouse’s fidelity. They can lose their sense of direction and purpose for their lives becoming aimless and fatalistic. A doom and gloom mindset can occasionally cloud their outlook and cause them to become paranoid and fixated with negative thinking and negative outcomes. Additionally, they may perceive threats in otherwise benign events.

Stress-induced inferior Se-grip

Under stress, it is claimed by MBTI theorists that the inferior function will manifest in dysfunctional and harmful ways. The inferior extraverted sensing of the INFJ mostly speaks to the fact that INFJs are not very impulsive and tend to overthink and procrastinate rather than take immediate action. Their subconscious attitude towards extraverted sensors is that they are often foolish, shallow and busy pursuing meaningless and transient experiences. Under stress, the INFJ can fall under the grip of their inferior Se.

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At this time, the INFJ’s expression of extraverted sensing can take the form of hypersensitivity and overreactions to minor incidents. Furthermore, INFJs can become unfocused, clumsy and prone to accidents which only add to their frustrations. INFJs are normally people who value substance and what lies beneath the surface but when their inferior Se is unhealthy, they can become preoccupied with superficial insecurities and aesthetic flaws. They can become compulsive, irritable and end up busying themselves with trivial, pointless and sometimes self-sabotaging activities as a means of distraction from the emptiness they feel.

Characteristics of being in the inferior Se-grip:

  • Intense anger, agitation, irritability, fatigue
  • Overdoing sensory activities — eating, cleaning, repairing, exercising
  • Physical stress symptoms such as muscle tension
  • Seeing external details as major obstacles that impede progress
  • Obsessive attention to perceived sources of stress; difficulty refocusing attention
  • Sleeplessness due to persistent reviewing of problems
  • Scattered, disorganized and out of sorts
  • Obsessive focus on data, facts and details
  • Adversarial attitude towards the outer world

INFJ “Door Slam”

The INFJ door slam is something referring to the INFJ’s capacity to shut people out of their lives and hearts permanently and become entirely indifferent to their existence. INFJs can become unforgiving of those who have mistreated them and effectively erase whatever feelings or sentiments they may have once held for that person. This comes after they’ve reached a point at which they decide they can no longer tolerate the abuse, treachery or toxicity they have endured from a person. INFJs being the altruistic idealists they are, do not cut people out of their lives lightly. They tend to see or try to see the best in people for as long as they can and are inclined to believe that everyone deserves a chance to be a better person. INFJs are very loyal and devoted to their loved ones but can be very cold and apathetic towards their enemies once they’ve decided it necessary.

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Characteristics of Unhealthy Fe:

  • unwilling/unable to open up emotionally
  • avoids exposure to social influence/feedback
  • difficulty trusting; uneasy around (new) people
  • fear of intimacy; socially avoidant behavior
  • poor understanding of individual differences
  • too emotionally involved with what others do
  • excessively fearful of being hurt / judged / shamed
  • lacks proper boundaries; tries to “harmonize” people to allay fears
  • bends self-image through the lens of external gaze
  • makes false assumptions about people and/or society

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Jetta Moon
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