According to my results from tests based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, I am an INFP-type personality (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving). Since I learned about my personality type, I have done a bit of searching around for information on it. I especially appreciated one blog post that I came across. I felt much of what was expressed fit me very well and I wished that more people understood those things about me.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
How to deal with an unhealthy INFP
So I have seen some posts about how to help an unhealthy INFP and as I am an INFP myself I thought I would give my two cents. Especially because there were some things I didn’t agree with. I’m not an expert on this and I am simply speaking for myself here in the hope that some other INFPs will relate. And of course, no two INFPs are the same.
First of all, I said ‘ deal with’ rather than ‘help’ for a few reasons. INFP’s are generally – or at least deep down on the inside – vulnerable, emotional and self conscious people. This sensitivity means we are going to have our low points – a lot. These low points can be really clear and concerning to others, or it could be more subtle as it fluctuates. Basically these low points are inevitable – regardless of the form they take. INFPs can also be quite stubborn and distant when unhappy so any attempt to help will be in vain and leave you feeling frustrated. Rather than trying to ‘help’ them so you can fix them, I advise that you simply acknowledge and accept them as they are. Know that eventually it will pass, but it’s vital also to remember that it will return again at any point. (This of course does not apply if you are seriously concerned for their mental health in which case you should encourage them to seek professional help).
Words that best describe unhealthy me:
- Moody (grumpy/serious and/or mood swings – cannot take pleasure in things the way I do when I’m healthy)
- Easily frustrated (can get unnecessarily angry about things that would not usually effect healthy me)
- Forgetful (about physical possessions and events in mine and friends lives)
- Disregard for physical possessions (Messy room – like REALLY messy, dirty clothes, un-organised uni books etc)
- Distant, guarded, quiet, private (to a point where I can come off as cold and unfriendly)
- Fatigued, sleep-deprived.
- Uncaring and self-centred (it’s all still there deep down inside but it’s hard for me to focus on external things when I’m unhappy/tired)
- Lost sense of humour.
Sometimes these things don’t shine through as I can still act interested or like I find something funny even if I really don’t.
For me personally some signals that I’m probably stressed and unhappy include: losing personal possessions/leaving things behind more often and getting sick, always tired.
What to do:
- Give me space. I mean this in the most literal way possible. When I’m not doing good the last thing I need is someone being close in proximity or trying to be physically affectionate (healthy me is the opposite as I do not ever feel comfortable expressing affection in words and prefer to opt for hugs and close proximity). Sometimes great hugs can feel relieving, but generally speaking – unless I’ve got the hots for you – don’t touch me (please and thank you). I need to be left alone completely. If you want to contact me – use social media and I will respond if I want to. Please do not demand attention or affection from me. This ties in a lot to the way I become distant and quiet when unhealthy. I cannot explain why I feel any of these ways, but I do and I need space to combat it. I am usually guarded with everyone except for my closest friends and family, but when unhealthy I become distant to everyone. It will pass. Like a cat, you need to wait for me to come to you on my own terms.
- Patience. I’m just going to apologise for this one. Sometimes I will be self-centred and even though I’m thinking of them, I will not show support, care or friendship for those I care about and their struggles. I will be stubborn, short-tempered and probably quite irritating. All of which I am sorry for. (But also if you keep your distance you probably won’t have to deal with this as much).
- Don’t use guilt. Please don’t make me feel guilty for not being affectionate, social, interested or open. Guilt is like poison to me and will eat away at my insides and will definitely not improve anything. I cannot help the way I feel, nor do I want to feel this way but I do and you need to let me breathe.
- If you are frustrated be open and honest. One of the things I hate most is passive aggression. It makes me furious. (Surprisingly a lot of posts have described unhealthy INFPs as being passive aggressive which astonishes me. I cannot imagine ever being passive aggressive. I internalise and do not tend to let my anger out or show people when I am annoyed with them. I am more likely to be blunt and honest – if provoked – than passive aggressive. Or I will vent to a friend. I cannot be passive aggressive or tell people what I think to their face because it feels cruel and unnatural. It is just not possible for me. My anger goes deep down inside and then explodes later when my anger bank is full). Find a time to speak to me gently about what is on your mind and I am 10x more likely to listen and take it on board.
That’s it for now. We are all complex beings and even this lengthy post doesn’t really do me justice.
If you relate to this please let me know. If you need more help dealing with someone like this feel free to ask me things. IF YOU DISAGREE/DO NOT RELATE AS AN INFP LET ME KNOW BECAUSE I AM CURIOUS.