INFJ Fears

10 Things That Terrify INFJs – According to 352 INFJs

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Have you ever wondered if what frightens you is unusual or weird? Do you feel alone in your fears or worries? Many of us do, including me. I’ve wondered for a long time if personality type has anything to do with the kinds of fears we face as humans. Do different personality types fear different things? Are there any considerable differences or similarities? I decided to find out.

I scoured numerous online forums and Facebook groups and asked everyone I could about their fears. I wanted to make sure I had at least 300 responses before I wrote any blog posts on the subject. The first group of personalities to get to 300 responses were the INFJs. I’m thankful to each INFJ who contributed to this by talking to me about some of their most personal fears.

Not sure what your personality type is? Take our new personality questionnaire here. Or you can take the official MBTI® here.

What I Found Out

Each personality type had a unique set of fears, and there were definitely patterns and unique worries that were particular to type. While some fears were shared between types, there were definitely big differences in what people feared most. For example, NT types greatly feared mediocrity, while SJ types greatly feared uncertainty. And within those temperaments there were even more variations. This is just part one of a series on what truly frightens each of the 16 personality types. I found talking to all of the types extremely enlightening, and I hope these posts will help you to better understand your own fears and the fears of others.

DISCLAIMER:  Just because you’re an INFJ doesn’t mean you will automatically have these same fears. Your fears may be different, or you may have confronted a lot of your fears and be free of them by now. Don’t take offense if you don’t share these fears. This is just part one of a study on the 16 types and what the majority of them mentioned as their biggest fear.

Universal Fears

It was plain to see that certain fears were universal to all types; for example, spiders, bugs, and heights came up in every group regardless of type. So I’m not going to include those fears in these lists.

The Top 10 Things That Terrify INFJs

1. Humanity’s Potential for Evil

INFJs crave a world where equality, compassion, and freedom reign. When they are inundated by news of injustice, corruption, and cruelty they start to feel emotionally connected to all the pain around them. It can be difficult for them to detach from all the struggles that people encounter at the hands of others. It can feel impossible to focus or find their strong sense of vision and purpose when they know others are in pain or being treated unfairly. At the same time, many INFJs use their fear of evil to spur them towards speaking out against injustice. After all, Mahatma Gandhi and Mary Wollstonecraft were both INFJs who stood up for their beliefs and values.

2. Death or Loss of Children

child

While nearly every type mentioned loss of loved ones to some degree, INFJs were unique in that they specifically mentioned the loss of their children. While other groups mentioned “Losing someone in my family”, or “the loss of someone I love”, or “losing my spouse”, INFJs were the only ones who, by a majority, specifically mentioned the loss of children, and not a general loss of loved ones. INFJs are known for having very strong emotional bonds with their children, and for being very protective parents, so this may have something to do with the nature of their responses.

3. Phone Calls

phone

“Making phone calls scares me to no end.  I have to make scripts of what I will say, and I feel jittery and nervous the entire time. I hate it when there’s no way around making a phone call.”
– Sarah, an INFJ

More than 1/3 of the INFJs I spoke with mentioned phone calls as a serious cause of anxiety and worry. Whether it was making a phone call or receiving an unexpected phone call, they much preferred written correspondence to the phone; unless they were talking to a very close friend or family member.

4. Crowds

crowd

INFJs easily become overstimulated in large crowds of people. They tend to absorb the emotions of the people around them, and they also have inferior Extraverted Sensing (Se) which makes a lot of commotion especially difficult and strenuous for them. While this may be more of a stress-related fear than a cause of real terror, it certainly was mentioned a lot.

5. Ghosts

ghosts

While a few INFJs specifically mentioned not believing in ghosts, and others believed but weren’t afraid of them, there were still a considerable number that feared their existence quite strongly and even shared their experiences with me. Some INFJs believed that their strong Intuition and the ability to pick up on moods and emotions outside themselves made it possible for them to sense a spiritual or otherworldly presence.

6. Insanity

grip-stress

Insanity came up as a fear far more frequently among IN personality types (INFJs, INTJs, INFPs, INTPs). IN types have such strong imaginations and look so deeply into hidden meanings and connections that, for some, they feel that their faith in “reality”, may be a little more skeptical than what most people believe. It also could be that because IN types are so heavily immersed in their own thoughts and mental functions, they fear the loss of that far more than most people would consider. None of the other types I’ve spoken with have mentioned insanity as a fear at all. This doesn’t mean they aren’t afraid of it, but it wasn’t at the forefront of their minds when they were speaking of their fears.

7. Abandonment

abandonment

INFJs are notorious for having a difficult time trusting others. They read between the lines so fluently and look for hidden meanings so frequently that they take everything with a grain of salt, almost without realizing it. Because they are the smallest minority, making up only 1% of the population, they also tend to feel a little alienated throughout much of their lives. These factors can cause them to have difficulty trusting people, difficulty accepting love without restraint or apprehension, and difficulty feeling like they can be 100% themselves. Many INFJs, when speaking of their fears, cited fear of abandonment alongside a fear of opening up to others and allowing themselves to be loved unreservedly.

8. The Supernatural

shadows

Out of the ten types I’ve surveyed so far, INFJs mentioned fear of the supernatural far more than other types. INFJs are known for being very spiritual in nature, whether that spirituality is religious or personal. This may cause them to have a much stronger belief in the supernatural world. While INFJs tend to avoid a lot of superstitions, they have great respect for the unknown and what “could be”. Many said that they strive to be rational about everything, but that there is only so much that science can truly explain. Of course, there were several INFJs who piped up and said they weren’t afraid of or didn’t believe in the supernatural at all. So these fears will vary from person to person depending on their beliefs and background.

9. Their Own Imagination

imagination

INFJs have extremely rich and vivid imaginations. They spend a lot of time “in their heads” and a lot of time analyzing and predicting. However, sometimes their imaginations can get the best of them. Because INFJs have such strong Introverted Intuition (Ni), they form insights and future-oriented visions quite frequently. They put a lot of faith in these beliefs, ideas or “gut feelings”; almost more so than the faith they put into the sensory world. This can cause them, especially in childhood, to form very strong fears that have been formed by their imagination and their intuition that may not be particularly accurate. Even as adults, many INFJs struggle with taming their overactive imaginations.

10. Darkness

While many INFJs can enjoy stargazing or a night-time hike in the woods, they also mentioned a deep fear of dark spaces in their homes. Getting up in the night and using the bathroom might make their minds wander to all the things that could be lurking in dark corners or empty rooms of their homes. They tend to fill in dark spaces in their homes with terrifying ideas and images from their imagination.

What Do You Think?

Do these fears bother you or do you disagree? Share your thoughts with other readers in the comments!

Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type,  The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

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Did you enjoy this post? Then you’ll love these!

https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2018/08/05/7-things-that-infjs-experience-as-children/

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104 Comments

  1. I am only recently discovering my INFJ personality, however each of these struck a chord for me. The phone calls, I thought I was just a weirdo, lol. Crowds drain me, just totally- the stress of being around a crowd wears me down very quickly. I have a deep and overwhelming fear of losing one if my children. Very vivid nightmares about something happening to one of them. (I sleep poorly for a number of reasons and that’s one of them). I practice mental games to keep my mental abilities sharp, or I hope they will, because I fear losing what I’ve learned through life to some mental disease, losing who I am. I only watch news once a week, it hurts me, to see all the callous, violent, vicious things people do. I just can’t see it every day. Though i feel strongly compelled to remain informed, and have very passionate ideas pertaining to our world. For me, I am finding so much understanding and insight about myself, which is a relief!

  2. Wow. Alarmingly accurate. Some used to be more of an issue when I was younger. But wow. I think everyday, “What if my kids died today? What if today was my last day with them?” I even wrote a letter to my little one before leaving for work this morning telling her how much I love her and what I admire about her. And phone calls – they just suck.

    1. A lot of this hit home with me too. Out of all of them my fear of losing my child is on the top. I am worried my fear of losing him will effect him somehow. I hold him tightly and tell him how much I love him and why I am so grateful to have him in my life. He is four and wakes up when I go to work in the morning to give me hugs and kisses, tell me to be safe and wave me goodbye. Such a sweet child. My next fear would be crowds and phones. There’s a several people around me that don’t understand this, but it is what it is.

  3. This is well done. At first, I didn’t want to admit a fear existed, but, looking back, the evidence is clear; it’s just a matter of severity around them and their impact. Fears, like the shadow side of life, can be viewed as helpers to growth and maturity. As for the supernatural, though a help or a hinderance, generally it can be hard enough for an INFJ to deal with the complexities of life on this side of the veil without having to consider the other side. But, I admit to a certain self-centered laziness in stating that; a ball of contradictions are we. Above all, avoid insanity. I would call “abandonment” more desertion or non-acceptance in its lighter form.

    1. This article understands us well in terms of our common INFJ fears. Wow! The phone!! My EST, IST family members decided I was just plain deficient mentally and emotionally based on my response to incoming calls. So phones ringing caused calamity for me and entertained them, not healthy. Great job on the distinction of abandonment could be also be referred to as “desertion … non-acceptance” – yes. Or even stated in other articles that “being misunderstood” … once again, downright exhausting too.

      The MBTI has given me a positive more proactive foothold on myself; understanding personality types is dynamic and had given me confidence to know better how to help others. I appreciate being able to understand others with more compassion so much.

  4. TThis article is pretty much spot on. Even as a child I preferred the company of animals to people. Trust issues, Don’t get me started. I am proud to be an INFJ,

  5. I can relate to many of these fears. A long time ago, when I was in my early 20s, I worked as a scientist on one of the British Antarctic Survey’s bases in the Scotia Sea. One night in the middle of winter it was my turn to do the midnight weather observation. The weather station was several hundred yards away from our base, it was pitch dark, and I was the only person awake for maybe 1000 miles, as far as I knew. We were on the edge of a bay surrounded by snow covered mountains, and on the other side, about a mile away across the sea, was a derelict whaling station – it was partially ruined and hadn’t been used for at least 10 years. When I went to read the thermometers in the screen, I suddenly noticed there was an electric light on in one of the old buildings across the bay. Now no outsider would have gone there without coming to us first, there were no ships around at that season, and anyway there was no power over there so the light was impossible. It was the most eerie feeling I have ever had, seeing that weird light in the dark, the cold and the snow– I must have broken the world record for completing a weather observation and getting back to the base. I can really understand why fear of the dark, and fear of the supernatural are mentioned!

    But my own greatest fear is not on this list. When I was eight years old, I woke up one morning and noticed the world didn’t look real. It hadn’t changed at all, it was just that I’d started noticing it, and it was very disturbing. I can’t imagine what my poor mum and dad made of this – they took me to a doctor but nothing came of it. I suspect that, at that age, I couldn’t explain properly what was wrong – but I think I was also finding even then that there are some of my experiences that most others can’t relate to and are best kept to myself.

    This problem got deeper in my mid-teens, leading to what I can only describe as negative mystical experiences that, while I was in them, put me on my own, completely isolated, with nothing, no world, no time, no other people, outside me. It is the most frightening thing I have ever experienced by far, and more than fear, it filled me with horror. (No, I wasn’t mucking about with funny mushrooms, etc).

    I found a way of living with this by making separate “worlds” for myself – one the everyday world that I didn’t know for sure was really there, but which I could believe in (like people can believe in God for example), the other my inner world, most definitely real, but full of these strange perceptions that I was trying to work through. Over my lifetime since then things have moved on a lot and my inner world is now in some ways bigger and richer than the outer world – beyond a certain point it seems just as “other than me” as the outer world does. The problem hasn’t resolved, but it has been transcended in many ways – but how this happened is another story.

    Are there others who go through the same sort of experience as I did? If there are, how do they cope with it? There are hints in the INFJ web sites and literature, but I’ve not seen anything as explicit as my own experiences. It would have been more than good to know when I was young that there others who had worked through something similar and that I wasn’t alone – maybe there are children out there now struggling with this sort of thing.

    1. I wouldn’t describe it that way. I felt as though the world had become miniature and I was watching from far far away. I could still feel everything. I could still see everything crystal clear, almost sharper. Same with hearing. But it felt as though I was watching from an outside, distant place. when i couldn’t make it stop, it made me nervous, but I’ve decided not to worry about it. I don’t know if that is similar, but it’s what your description made me think of.

    2. If you have imagination like such horrible/ terror, you have to deny its presence. Here’s why, you are giving your power/energy to an entity to become somewhat real in your mind and sometimes it will reside for couple of days. As INFJ, your impulse and hunger of knowledge on understanding would want to question why and how . To stop the terror, you have to firmly say to your mind, i dont want to know, and it will pass eventually even if you feel scared. I agree with everyone as darkness is the number one fear of INFJ because we can see features/details of whatever we are imagining. Hope this help.

    3. “…I woke up one morning and noticed the world didn’t look real.”
      I can totally relate to this. This happened to me a couple years ago, I was out with friends and on my way back home suddenly the world didn’t look real. Exactly as you said it. It was one of the weirdest and most terrifying experiences I ever had. Nothing was real, it felt like I was watching a movie, like my body was alien to me, I had no ties to other people…I spent almost a week like this. I had to hide all my pictures (I didn’t recognize myself in them) and I nearly threw out all of my belongings. Nothing mattered, nothing was real, I wasn’t real.
      I slowly got out of it once a friend of mine told me, “now you can be whoever you want to be.” I don’t know why it helped, but I “remade” myself and I became “real” again.

  6. Hi Susan,
    Very relevant content, almost every fear hit the mark for me in some way.
    Do you think maybe you could remove the pictures though? I personally find it triggering, and have to cover the screen so I’m not unnecessarily adding fuel to the fire. I figure others may feel the same.
    I appreciate how well you write about the issues in each article, I’ve read plenty of others that are frankly embarrassing and ridiculous in their personality profiling, but you communicated your points well, and I’ve enjoyed what I’ve been reading of yours so far.
    Thanks!

  7. I definitely relate to fear of making phone calls, crowds and abandonment. Also the fear about death but it is so palpable that I can’t bear to be any more specific than that. Maybe the dark. I don’t believe in ghosts at all. I am starting to consider the possibility of the survival of what we call the soul, but it’s not a fear.

    It’s not insanity I fear so much as experiencing a reality that I imagine others share, and finding out they don’t. This I think comes down to listening more to my own imagination at the expense of understanding the way other people might think or feel.

  8. So my older 60 year old, INFJ sister has decided to not get really involved with taking care of our elderly parents. She only lives an hour away, an empty nester, and hasn’t had a job in 10-15 years. When the going gets tough, she retreats and hides from the world for months on end. I’m an xNFP and don’t understand this at all.

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