As an INFJ, I’d like to say that we never make mistakes. It would feel good to think that we have glowing records on every occasion, and all our motives are as pure as that winter snow that’s been falling on your front lawn. However, let’s not fool ourselves. All of us have our moments of immaturity and bull-headedness regardless of our personality type. But how would those moments show up for you? We’re going to explore how unhealthy behavior shows up in the four Dreamer personality types (INFPs, INFJs, ENFPs, and ENFJs).
We’ll start with my type (Maybe if I throw myself under the bus first, you won’t be so mad when I get to your type).
Over-Inflation of Intuition:
If you’re an INFJ who’s totally absorbed in Intuition at the expense of real-life experiences, then you’ve got inflated Intuition. Over-inflated Intuition can make you out-of-touch with reality, over-confident in your insights, and dismissive of anyone who contradicts your vision. Does this mean all your insights will be wrong? No. But more of them will be if you can’t get into the world and balance your intuition with sensory data, real relationships, and experiences that add weight to your theories.
Over-inflated Intuition can cause you to neglect your physical needs. If you’re constantly forgetting to drink enough water, get enough sleep, brush your teeth, or other important things then there’s a chance you’re getting too wrapped up in your Intuition (OR you’re just over-extended and burned out). Because Sensing is your inferior function, you tend to de-prioritize it. After all, why should you worry about brushing your teeth when the WEIGHT OF THE FUTURE is on your shoulders?!
Over-Inflation of Feeling
Maybe inflation of Intuition isn’t your problem, but you’re spending way too much time wrapped up in the outer world. Rather than getting the alone time you need, you’re pouring all your energy into people and experiences (some might call this a Fe-Se “loop”). When people have criticisms of you it probably feels crushing. You’re so absorbed in making everyone happy, that you’re burning yourself out and running your health into the ground. Your insights are less accurate than usual because you’re not getting enough alone time to imagine and think. You feel hyper-sensitive and bounced like a ping-pong ball between the ever-changing needs of other people.
In this unhealthy state, you start to resent people for not caring as deeply as you do, not trying as hard as you do. How dare they not reciprocate the hard work you’ve put into this relationship? Why is everyone else so selfish? You become passive-aggressive, terrified of being judged, overly fixated on your image, and so caught up in what others think that you’ve lost track of what matters to YOU. At extreme levels, this can lead to burnout and co-dependency.
The INFJ in the “Grip”
You’ve been stressed out for what seems like years. You’re exhausted, maybe you’re ill, and you’re emotionally and mentally drained. Something inside you snaps, and you become a warped, caricature of your former self. Instead of relying on Intuition and Feeling as you normally would, your Sensing side takes the wheel. You want to eat everything in your refrigerator. You want to blow all your money on a last-minute trip to Rio de Janeiro. You might want to clean everything in your house while blasting heavy metal music. “Don’t think. Just do.” This is what you tell yourself. You’ve exhausted yourself so much that you’ve fallen into the grip of your inferior function. How do you get yourself out of this? Get in touch with your thinking side, take CARE of your senses (don’t overload them), and/or get some time alone. Play a game of solitaire on your computer. Get on Lumosity and work out your mind. Take a nap. Take a hot bath. Call a friend and vent. Just don’t put a wrecking ball to your life because you’re exhausted and living on impulse. You can find out more about grip stress here.
Read This Next: Your INFJ Personality Type and Your Enneagram Type
I kinda hate to talk about immature INFPs, because these are one of my favorite types and almost every INFP I’ve met has been some kind of dreamy poet, musician, or idealistic author. However, here we go.
Over-Inflation of Introverted Feeling:
If you’re an INFP who has retreated from the world and lives in an idealistic fantasy of your own, then you’ve over-inflated your Feeling side (and maybe even your Intuition). When this happens, people’s words feel like daggers to you. Everything seems too harsh, and to protect yourself, you draw inwards. You stay in your room, fixate on your routines, and imagine the life you crave rather than actually living it. You feel over-sensitive, and everything seems corrupt outside of the world you’ve created for yourself. You may feel like a misfit or an outcast. When people talk to you, it seems like they lack any of the depth or conscience you admire in people. Everything inside you feels more real than what lies outside of you. To others, you may seem self-righteous, judgmental, reclusive, and out-of-touch with reality. You haven’t given people the chance to show their depth. You haven’t given yourself the chance to build your dreams in the real world and bring them to fruition. You’re selling yourself short and limiting your potential by engaging in fantasies rather than real life.
Am I saying that you should act like an extrovert who always needs to get things done? No. You need your quiet time, imagination, and the world inside yourself. But don’t over-inflate your introverted side so much that you miss out on creating the real life you deeply crave.
Over-Inflation of Intuition:
Maybe you’re an INFP in a busy, fast-paced job who can’t seem to settle down or find a moment’s peace. You’re constantly generating new ideas and alternatives and trying to find the most effective ways to bring them to life. You take on more than you can handle because everything seems to be shimmering with possibility and promise. In the meantime, you burn yourself out and over-commit to too many things. You leave projects half-finished, miss deadlines, and beat yourself up over not being able to DO ALL THE THINGS. This stress makes you feel scattered, impulsive, and out-of-touch with your inner guidance. You might say yes to projects that don’t match up with your real desires for life. You’ve got yourself wrapped up in an Intuition-Thinking “loop,” and you need to find a way out.
If you’re in this position, you need to carve out some time alone every single day. Breathe. Meditate. Read a book. Draw. Journal. Get yourself inside your soul and find out what really matters to you on a gut level. Cut back on your responsibilities, and practice saying “No” to people. When you do this on a regular basis, you’re less-likely to over-commit, scatter yourself too thin, and get overwhelmed.
The INFP In the “Grip”
When your stress levels reach an all-time high, and you feel like the walls are closing in on you, there’s a moment when everything collapses. You suddenly become a warped, unusual version of yourself. Rather than being compassionate and gentle, you suddenly feel robotic, critical, and obsessed with effectiveness. You feel a compulsion to get things done as quickly as possible. All you see is inefficiency around you, and it can feel like everything in your life is the result of someone else’s failure. You become sarcastic, cynical, and short with people. You know you’ll regret this later, but right now you’re just angry that you don’t really care about sparing people’s feelings. After all, you’ve expended so much energy on that already.
If you’re in this state, then you’re most likely in an Extraverted Thinking “Grip” state. During periods of extreme or chronic stress, your inferior function, Te, will take the wheel and drive you off a cliff if you’re not careful. Your thinking side is important, and sometimes you’ll need to tap into that for work or a number of other tasks. But when you’re using it in a stressed state, it can make you say and do things you’ll later regret. How do you get out of this grip phase? Get into your Sensing and Intuitive sides. Take a hot bath, read one of your favorite books, eat a healthy meal and savor every taste and sensation. Go for a swim. Exercise. Do something to calm yourself down and ground you in your physical body. You can find more tips here: 12 Stress-Busting Tips for INFPs.
Over-Inflation of Feeling:
You’re so wrapped up in the needs and emotions of the people around you, that you’ve lost sight of your own needs. You’re constantly trying to set the emotional “tone” of the room, and you feel it’s your responsibility to get people’s needs (or whims) met. But in the process of doing this, you’re stunting your own growth and losing sight of your own needs – especially the physical ones. You might not have eaten all day, you probably slept only a few hours last night, and your body feels more like a mass hanging from your brain than anything else. You’ve lost touch with what’s important to you on a meaningful level because you’ve gotten so wrapped up in everyone else. You might feel impatient, restless, and tossed around between a bunch of activities that seem unfulfilling in the long run.
If you’re in this position, you need to get yourself in touch with your introverted side. Take some time for peace and quiet every day. Use this time to meditate, rest, and reflect. Don’t push yourself to get anything done during this time, just allow yourself to “be.” When you do this, you allow your Intuition to see possibilities and insights that you might not have seen otherwise. You allow yourself to get in touch with what you need on a soul level. Drink some water. Exercise. Take a nap. Take care of your body so that you can feel more grounded and less tossed-and-turned by the world outside of you.
Over-Inflation of Intuition:
Becoming too extreme in your introverted tendencies can result in an over-inflation of Intuition. When you start feeling out-of-touch with reality or addicted to being alone, you might want to switch gears for a little bit. Warped Intuition shows up when you read into things too extensively, becoming over-confident or arrogant about your insights. You might rationalize selfish or poor behavior because “the end justifies the means.” At a healthy level, you’re someone who cares about your insights and whether or not they are accurate. You have a genuine desire to make the world a better place, and you reflect on things before forecasting too far into the distant future. If you feel like you’re dealing with immature or over-inflated Intuition, then take some time to connect with the world around you. Fill your life with experiences that add reality to your insights and visions. Pause before envisioning something to see what facts are leading you to that particular conclusion.
The ENFJ Experiencing “Grip” Stress
Conflict, lack of control, and a sense of failure are all pressing in on you. You feel shaky, restless, and burned out. Suddenly the weight of the world seems to break your resolve, and you start behaving in ways that seem foreign to you. Rather than being your typical empathic, gregarious self, you feel critical and irritable. Everyone seems to be doing everything wrong, including yourself. You become fixated on fixing errors and writing wrongs. When this is your mental state, you’ve probably fallen into the grip of your inferior function. When you’re in the grip of Introverted Thinking, you feel harsh and critical towards others, but especially yourself. People might feel intimidated by you, but they don’t realize that you’re being much harder on yourself than you are on them. You feel overwhelmed and lost in a sort of endless analysis paralysis.
Read This Next: Inspiring Morning Routines for ENFJs, INFJs, ENFPs, and INFPs
Over-Inflation of Intuition
Tossed and turn from one idea to the next, you’re constantly lost in a flurry of possibilities and theories. Life is an exciting adventure filled to the brim with shimmering ideas and potential, but you’re also wearing yourself out physically and struggling to finish anything you start. You’ve lost track of when you ate last, you stayed up all night tossing around ideas, and you’re pulled in a thousand different directions because of commitments you said “Yes” to. You can’t seem to get your mind to quiet down enough to finish anything you start or to find your best direction. When you feel like this, your Intuition has become inflated and taken over. In order to resolve this problem, it’s crucial for you to get in touch with your inner feeling side. Cancel some non-essential plans and lock yourself away in your room for a couple of days (or hours, if that’s all you can manage). Read poetry, meditate, journal, and otherwise let yourself get in touch with your soul and spirit. Think about what really matters to you. What will have mattered at the end of your life? How can you re-focus your energy so that it’s directed towards those life-purpose goals that will mean the most to you? Getting in touch with your inner values can help you to balance out the weight of all your brilliant ideas.
Over-Inflation of Feeling
If you’ve gotten yourself way too wrapped up in your inner world, then Feeling can become warped. You might manipulate situations to suit your desires and you may feel hyper-sensitive to the words of other people. The obligations and demands of the world seem overwhelming and unfair, and you feel offended when people ask you for things. You’re devoutly individualistic, and you do things like dye your hair or buy a whole new wardrobe just to show how atypical you are. It seems to you like everyone else has got their ethics and values all wrong. To others, you seem self-righteous and reclusive. You feel frustrated in the world because everyone seems to disappoint you. Where healthy Introverted Feeling allows you to be authentic, accepting, emotionally intelligent and empathic – unhealthy Introverted Feeling can make you judgmental, self-righteous, hypersensitive, and emotionally volatile. If you sense these unhealthy characteristics showing up, here’s something you can do:
Pause before standing firmly on a negative judgment. Let the feelings come and go, and look at the facts. How do you know that your way is right and theirs is wrong? Practice forgiveness for yourself and others. Engage with other people – when you talk to someone in-depth for long, you soon realize there’s more complexity to them than you immediately realized. Ask advice. These practices can help you to get back into a healthy Introverted Feeling place.
The ENFP Experiencing “Grip” Stress
You’ve got a never-ending to-do list and the deadlines are closing in on you. You’re on the brink of exhaustion and you can’t remember when you last had a drink of water, much less a bite of something to eat. Suddenly, in the midst of all your exhaustion, you sense something shift. You lose your typical imagination and flexibility and become hyper-focused on completing one goal. You develop tunnel vision, combined with a newfound awareness of your physical self. Is that a headache you feel pounding behind your eyes? Why do your teeth hurt? Have you been clenching your jaw for a month? Suddenly your body aches and hurts in ways you never noticed before. What if you’re sick or dying? You feel insecure and fixated on how you feel. You eat a whole loaf of bread to try to calm your hunger. You cancel all your plans and watch TV all day. You feel apprehensive, anxious, and nitpicky about details that never seemed to bother you before. All your ideas seem impossible now, and all your past mistakes seem magnified. When you feel like this, you’ve fallen into the grip of your inferior function, Introverted Sensation (Si).
How do you get out of this situation? Get yourself back to equilibrium by exercising, getting outside and taking a walk, or getting a full eight hours of sleep. Meditate or pray to calm your mind. Talk to yourself logically – what caused you stress to begin with? How likely is it that you’ll always feel this way? Look at the worst-case scenario. If that actually happened, what would you do? As you start to think more rationally, your equilibrium will start to balance out. Just remember to rest as well. You often get into these phases through pure sleep deprivation.
What Are Your Thoughts?
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!