Dealing with Emotional Overwhelm as an INFP

The current state of our world is troubling to nearly all of us right now. From inequality to isolation to mass illness, there is a lot of pain and confusion in the hearts of people everywhere. Whether you’re protesting and returning home feeling exhausted, or maybe you’re emotionally drained by the corruption you see everywhere. Today’s article is going to explore how the INFP personality type deals with being emotionally overwhelmed. We’re also going to offer some solutions for finding relief. I hope this will be helpful to you!

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Get a look at how INFPs handle emotional overwhelm, and ways to cope! #INFP #MBTI #Personality

Dealing with Emotional Overwhelm as an INFP Personality Type

Typically warm-hearted and imaginative, INFPs who are emotionally overwhelmed tend to guard themselves against the outside world. It feels as if corruption and despair are everywhere, and they will try to put up walls to keep the corruption at bay. They often feel emotionally burned out, and thus they resort to a more impersonal, critical approach to handling life. Frustratingly, they feel out of touch with their values and emotions. Contrary to their typical gentle nature, they may seem more cynical, rigid, and avoidant than usual – calling out errors and trying to right wrongs. In their arguments, their logic will be more biting and aggressive than usual.

Explore the ways that INFPs experience emotional overwhelm, and find ways to cope. #MBTI #Personality #INFP

More Signs of Emotional Overwhelm in the INFP:

#1 – They Appear Quiet and Distant

INFPs tend to be on the quiet side, but there’s usually a whimsical warmth that shows up anyway. But when they are stressed and overwhelmed, they appear more distant, detached, and stoic. Usually they are absorbed in thoughts, trying to sort out how to handle what’s plaguing them. Staying in touch with what’s going on around them becomes more and more difficult.

#2 – They Appear Rigid and Tense

Typically laid back and easy-going, INFPs who are emotionally overwhelmed seem tense and strained. They often put their head in their hands, grit their teeth, or crack their knuckles.

#3 – Everything Seems Impossible

Normally innovative and imaginative, INFPs who are emotionally overwhelmed lose their signature vision and optimism. The world feels narrow, their potential seems stifled, and they often feel trapped or listless.

#4 – They Become More Self-Critical

Emotionally overwhelmed INFPs tend to fixate on their past mistakes and errors in judgment. They often feel like they can’t do anything right and get lost in a loop of self-criticism, attempts to “fix” things, confusion, and then despair.

# 5 – They More Readily Comment On the Mistakes of Others

Typically slow to judge or correct, overwhelmed INFPs may be surprisingly critical and cynical. They often feel that the shortcomings and errors of others are distractingly obvious. Rather than being focused on the emotional wavelengths around them, they instead notice errors, flaws, and inefficiencies.

#6 – They See Evil Everywhere

Many INFPs who are emotionally overwhelmed report that they see nothing but corruption all around them. It seems like everyone has ill-intent or despicable motivations. This creates a great deal of anxiety and many INFPs try to retreat from the world as a way of protecting themselves and collecting their thoughts.

#7 – They Care Less About Harmony

Normally, INFPs are very concerned about the feelings of the people around them. Making sure that everyone is attended to and heard is crucial to their sense of well-being. That said, when they are emotionally overwhelmed they tend to stop caring as much. They fixate more on getting things done, figuring out their thoughts, and fixing problems in the world. The feelings of other people drop to a much lower priority during these times.

#8 – They Struggle to Process Thoughts and Ideas

Rather than seeing possibilities and creative alternatives, INFPs who are overwhelmed feel stuck in narrow thinking. Usually they see possibilities everywhere. Now they see nothing but a long hallway with no doors. As you can imagine, this is extremely frustrating for them.

#9 – Get Lost in Destructive Fantasies

At an extreme level of overwhelm, INFPs tend to have destructive, rage-filled fantasies. They might imagine being reckless or impulsive. They might daydream about getting back at their enemies for the state they are now in. These fantasies are a way for them to cope with the anger and helplessness that they feel inside without actually damaging their relationships.

#10 – They May Feel “Stupid”

Many INFPs feel incompetent and lost when they’re emotionally overwhelmed. All their ideas seem pointless, and they are afraid of bringing up ideas for fear that they aren’t good enough. They often report feeling listless, anxious, and unable to form clear thoughts.

How to Cope:

During these times, it’s crucial for INFPs to get time alone to process their emotions and calm their anxiety and grief. The more INFPs are pushed into social settings or interactions the more critical and sarcastic they will become. This will only make them more stressed because they KNOW they aren’t behaving in a way that aligns with their self-image or their values. They know they’ll feel guilty about being so critical at a later time. Therefore, it’s vital for INFPs to get some time to quiet all the outside noise and practice deep breathing and relaxation. Many INFPs have told me that standing with their legs shoulder-width apart and leaning down, letting their head hang between their legs, helps them to immediately reduce tension. Others find relief through listening to music that resonates with their emotional state.

Other tips for coping with emotional overwhelm:

  • Talk to someone you trust who will validate your feelings.
  • Journal your feelings
  • Avoid people who will try to rationalize your feelings
  • Talk to a therapist or counselor
  • Journal what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, and then pause to assess it.
  • Breathe in for four counts, hold for three counts, and expel for seven counts.
  • Visualize a memory or fantasy that helps you to relax and feel hopeful. Whatever the picture is, make sure it’s a place that brings you peace.
  • Sing as loudly as you can, pushing all the negative energy out through your voice.
  • Remember that you matter.
  • Get enough sleep. Most adults need 7-9 hours per night.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any suggestions or insights to share? Let us know 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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Susan Storm Psychology Junkie

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Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

A Look at the INFP Leader

Inside the Mind of an INFP

7 Ways That INFPs Make an Impact

Get an in-depth look at the changes that INFPs experience when they are emotionally overwhelmed. #MBTI #Personality #INFP

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  1. Thank you for a good article. It is exactly what i’ve been experiencing for a while. Good to know i’m not alone in that.

  2. Very accurate for me. I have been there and try very hard not to go back. When I start to feel like this I try to do anything I can to release it. It truly does not feel good because while you may be telling the truth. The way you’re doing it is not good for anyone and you know this. Which makes it that much worse.

  3. Thank you for helping me to understand this. When I am emotionally overwhelmed I isolate. I have a phone however and I sometimes take to social media or texting. Sometimes I say things that I don’t mean and I feel bad about it later. I have been hurt by many people and a lot of bad feelings come out when I am emotionally overwhelmed. I learned it’s best to turn off my phone or block people who might hurt me. It’s best to walk away from bad relationships. The guilt after raging is too much. It’s too much to continue letting bad people into my life. I can only ignore so much before I have had enough.

  4. Amazing article. I never knew I was an infp until recently. I always wondered why I think so differently than others and struggle so much with how others act. So many times I get overwhelmed.

  5. You nailed the reality of emotional overwhelm, but the horrific gas lighting and betrayal organized powerfully against me credibly promise to continue foreclosing any opportunity to gain ordinary human rights, safety or a path to establish real relationships with authentic people. This despicable stalking and promised total destruction realistically deprive me of hope and ability to separate from the horror. This reality is a life I wouldn’t wish on anyone. These Dark Triad creatures want me institutionalized or dead, because I will always know the evil they’ve done. They must eliminate me or my credibility, and, with their money, connections and corruption, they strike me as unstoppable. In a fascist society, there are no checks whatsoever on those with corrupting power.

  6. OMG this is really me! Thanks to psychology junkie, I’m become more understand about my personalities. And I’m always share my INFP personalities to my beloved one (partner). I’m so grateful and thankfil that I get to know him. He is understanding and love to hear what I’m going to saying or singing! 🤣

  7. So good! I really enjoyed this article! I recently saw Hamilton on Broadway. I was excited, I had studied a bit before hand and I was ready to enjoy. A preteen girl was behind me hitting my chair, or my husbands, and rattling a bag of food and then struggling to tear it open, then another bag for 3 hours! I was on stimulus overload, my expectations of the night were challenged and instead of listening to the complex lyrics, my mind was rehearsing ways to politely confront the mother, alternating with violent fantasies of ending the problem. I took deep breaths, and I made sure it was obvious that I was cupping my hand around my ear to hear. I turned and said, please! a few times. I said, shhhh in a calm tone. Nothing worked. At intermission, I asked the mother if they could please open the bag before the play continues. Her response was, “it’s almonds! Do you have scissors?”
    OMG. ! INFP stressed out! Alot of my stress is because I would NEVER in a million years do anything to hurt or annoy another person and because I go out of my way to be pleasant and kind and make people at ease. So it just feels worse, I guess, when people disregard me. Good thing I didn’t have scissors! lol.

  8. Enyess, It was a blessing and curse 13 years ago after a battery of Myers Briggs tests over several weeks, determined that I was INFP!! It was a workplace job counselling program to help some people find best fit work. I knew what worked for me before that but thought maybe I’m not considering the whole picture. The problem was, that I was drawn to these “idealistic” niche type jobs where funding and stability was dangled like carrots and I was usually an army of one working on an imaginative project and not fitting in with everyone else. Oh well. Life of an INFP.

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