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This isn't really a specific INFJ thread, but because I am INFJ I am interested in hearing if anyone has had similar experiences and what they have done to resolve their issues.

My 'issue' has always been lack of self-confidence and self-esteem. I almost want to say it's something in-built, because this is how I've been all my life - since I became conscious of myself! I can recall these thought patterns since I was like 6. I was highly stressed over the littlest of things, obsessed with neatness and dirt and some compulsions, and very uncomfortable with changes and lots of people. I was always stressing about everything - twice, I seriously thought I was going to die from two different diseases that I told no one about.

I'm now 20, and I really want to be responsible and trust in myself, "be normal", but I feel like I just can't break through these patterns now matter how hard I try. I have a hard time making friends, and when I try, I just want to slap myself cause I have a stupid role on that people then judge and think I am a retard (I kind of become a clown). I have a few, long-term, deep relationships with people I savour and that are very important to me. These people know the real me and love me for as I am, but still, they've got plenty more people in their lives too - I don't. I've always had a couple of friends and that's it.

I feel like I can't function socially. It's just bad. I used to be total recluse teenager, and now I feel like I want to go back - but having made some progress and knowing how happy connections make me - I can't. It's like forcing myself to get depressed, but I'm just too reluctant to break out from my comfort zone. I feel like an alien among people.

Needless to say, romantic relationships are very hard for me. My self-esteem streches into my appearance, and I can't help but thinking god, no one could ever like me. I am disgusting. Rationally I know what that means and where it leads to, but I just can't seem to help it.

It's like all my life I've waited for "the right moment" to blossom and live, to become who I want to be, and everything would be fine from there on. Now that I'm independent, live alone and all social contacts are up to me (my closest friends have moved to other countries), I've realized it's now. There's nothing but this. And I suck at this, I suck at this life thing. I can't hide away anymore, it's like my body isn't going to let me. But I am terrified, I am terrified of the world, I am terrified of rejections, I am tired. I am deteriorating in my mental health, I feel it, but I just want to sink. I want to get to the bottom, because it's familiar there, comfortable there. I am scared.

Even the most "normal" things cause me stress and anxiety. I feel like I'm socially so far behind my peers (in some ways) that I'm soon going to be that creepy reclusive cat-lady. There's one character I relate to, and that's Amelie from the movie. Never thought of it before, but yes. The thing is, it works for imagination, and I love getting escapistic and the farther away from reality I am... The more comfortable, but it's not life, it's hiding. I am just so lonely, but I can't manage to keep up contacts either. I am HATING myself for not letting these few nice wonderful people into my life (lately, I've had some people approach me with such tenacity and liking of me) because I ... I don't even know. All I do is talk to strangers and love these conversations and brief connections when they happen and I genuinely get satisfaction from giving to others but, it's like I have no one "close". I keep people away from me.

I just feel like sooner or later no one will bother with me either, and I just have to get up my arse and be willing to be vulnerable and trust in myself. But how do I gain that confidence? I've tried to fake myself to believe it, but the fear is always there.

It feels embarrassing to even admit this to myself. Has anyone ever felt anything close to this? And if yes, how have you gotten over it? How have you broken the pattern, and how have you managed?

This feels more like a rant... I think I am just scared of life. I don't know how common this is for INFJs, and as I see myself as fairly "unhealthy" (sometimes peaking healthy though, so I know how it can be) representative of the type.
 

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I was in the same place for a while, I didn't exactly record how I got over it but I've gotten used to the time I spend by myself when I wish I was hanging out with friends all the time.

Try initiating conversations with people that make you laugh. If you have a job in some kind of service industry then that's good, start there. Just talk with customers a little until your comfortable or find someone you like to talk more with. A workplace like that is an easy place to make acquaintance.

If you don't work in a place like that then just go into public and meet people. Spill your coffee in a store on purpose if you have to. Because the next day it isn't going to matter that you spilled it so who cares.

Most importantly if you have an idea and want to do something, ask people if they want to do it with you then go do it, if you don't end up doing it don't worry because you still got out and enjoyed your time right? If someone asks you to do something then do it and add on to their idea.

I only skimmed because I'm on my way out so idk if you said this or not but if your in school that's the best place to make friends. People actually like you a lot more than you think. You're not a bunch of little kids anymore you're what, 20? People don't judge you the way you think they do, you're fine if just know that people appreciate you when you talk to them.
 

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Sounds like some very common INFJ experience, this 'fear of life'. I can related to several things here - being stressed out by seemingly smallest things that do not affect other people, being reclusive/introverted, feeling a bit like an alien in this life, inferior ability to manipulate world around and instead preferring to observe it and wait and wait and wait.

Things that have worked for me to improve on this so far:

- Shifting your main focus from inside to outside. Too much internal focus and self-analysis leads to over-sensitivity, stress, low self esteem. It is something that practically all INFJs do, but at times you just need to drop it. You are already incredibly self-aware more so than any other MBTI type out there, more so than great majority of people you will meet. So instead of continuing to work on achieving even greater self-awareness, finding more flaws in yourself that you need to work on, preoccupying with those flaws, turn your attention outside. World is populated with people with significant personality flaws and they go around, not worry about it much, and don't develop low-self esteem about it.

- Ni can give INFJ a sense of predetermination. It inspects the past, the observations of how things have been going so far, and then the patterns and connections it observed it flips them into the future. The perception of future a Ni dominant can get is "things will always be like this for me". Now if things haven't been going great, the INFJ may get a sense that future holds more of the same and become pessimistic. But life introduces new variables all the time. Sense of doom and gloom, pessimism, will be disproved by the next good thing that comes along your way. It is better yet to work on helping that good thing come along instead of waiting for it.

- Because Ni can give this very heavy sense of doubt, anxiety, predetermination, and so on, it is good to shut it up at times. What shuts it up are sensory experiences. Your S and N cannot work at the same time. For INFJs our sensory function is Se, so new sensory experiences work on shutting up N for a while. This is what people mean by enjoying the moment. But because our sensory function is inferior, we are usually fine with very light new sensory experiences, just like it is shown in Amelie. So treat yourself occasionally to new music, new food, go to a park, explore new parts of town, sign up for some new art class, etc. Sometimes very small things like sitting out in the sun or having a cold water shower lol can make me feel better.

- Exercise your Ti, introverted logic, the tertiary 'relief' function of INFJs (in fact both Ti and Se are our relief functions). Some people judge you negatively for acting silly? Screw them <-- this is Ti. Eventually you'll flip back to your quiet INFJ self that once in a while says something very smart and meaningful. The silly part is actually our ENFP 'shadow' personality coming out. Both us and ISFJs flip like this. It does tend to freak people out a bit because they are used to us being serious, conservative, thoughtful, and quiet, so when you start going all silly they don't know what to make of it. But eventually they get used to it. One cannot be serious all life long - it's boring and limited.

- People actually think better of you than you think they do. There is quite a bit of INFJs who have this perception that people think horribly about them. I know I had a very strong perception of this when I was in the 16-22 age bracket. But you know what people think about most of the time? They are thinking about themselves. Majority of them aren't even thinking anything about you at all. And if they make a slightly negative comment they forget it the next day while an INFJ can spend days and weeks brooding about it.

- It gets better into middle age. I've read some INFJs report this, but not there myself to say if it is true. When I was 18-20 that was time of probably lowest self-esteem and lowest security for me. Later in life other functions develop - like Ti and Se - giving you a better rounded personality. In fact on studies people report feeling happier when they are in their 30s and 40s than people who are in their 20s, even though it is customary to think that when you are young and have no responsibilities that this is some kind of magical carefree time. But it is not so, there is a lot of stress on people in their 20s. So on average things get better as you move away from the teen years.
 

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Thank you everyone for sharing this!

I am dealing with this right now myself it was all so well put by everyone here that I gave up trying to quote and put in my own thoughts. I go through phases of this in my life & while I'm in it I can't see the forest for the trees. And not just any forest, but the Black Forest in Europe. It's super dark.

I'm in my 30s. I'd like to say I've figured it all out so I don't repeat it, but I haven't. I do know, however, if I stop and take inventory of my life and how I've improved from my 20s, I'd say I have reason to be proud of myself. :proud:

Scude - I'm feeling ya girl. And right when I'm racing frantically in my head about whether I will ever pull myself together, I came across your post that described the feeling/situation beautifully and felt that I couldn't be all that bad off if I wasn't the only human being facing this right now.

Null - loved your advice

vel- oh my goodness - how much awesomeness can you put into one post! A lot of insight that could actually reach my mind in it's "scared" mode. If that makes any sense. :crazy:
 

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Scude, I understand and have been through pretty much everything that you wrote about. It can be so difficult to win against such powerful feelings and self-doubts. Yesterday, actually, I wrote an essay on "How to Defeat Negativity". It was for the INFPs because I am an INFP, but it just as much applies to INFJs or anyone else. I think it may have some information in it that could help you. It's about how to actually replace negative thinking with positive and confident thinking rather than just distracting from negative thinking. And it also includes examples and methods to take initiative to grow and have emotional/mental independence.

Anyway, I thought I'd ask your permission to post the essay in your thread, because it's quite long, even though it's sectioned. I think it was too long for the INFP attention span, because it had no replies, but perhaps it could enhance the discussion on this topic in this thread. Let me know, and I'll post it, or not.
 

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I think most INFJs go through a similar process as we age. I was you. It wasn't until recently (meaning the last 2 years) I came into my own and stopped worrying about what everybody else thought. What they may or may not be thinking was consuming my thoughts and hampering my growth. Until a year ago, I pondered and thought about everything. I people watched, I researched, I read, I wrote and I even made small exercises for myself to stretch my shy little legs. However, these things did not solve the problem I was having. It wasn't until the point I decided in order for me to move on with MY life, I had to take control of MY life instead of giving everyone else the power. I committed to cut ties with those that brought me down, I started to enjoy the things I wanted to do, I gave myself the power to truly LIKE myself no matter what other people thought. I had to accept me. That single thought progressed to the idea that people can think what they want but I wasn't there to please anyone, I was just going to be ME. Don't get me wrong, I still ponder the heck out of everything and I still create "tests" for myself. The largest difference I made was my own mind set and loving myself for who I am and sticking to it. I still blush when I do something stupid and people find it funny...but who cares...I'm still a great person. Finding this site is a good first step. INFJ's are quite frequently misunderstood and realizing this fact makes it much easier to accept one's self. It's true, we aren't like everyone else. We are unique, special, odd at times but that's just because others can't understand our thought process - don't worry, it's not their fault, they were born that way...and so were we!
 

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I think most INFJs go through a similar process as we age. I was you. It wasn't until recently (meaning the last 2 years) I came into my own and stopped worrying about what everybody else thought. What they may or may not be thinking was consuming my thoughts and hampering my growth. Until a year ago, I pondered and thought about everything. I people watched, I researched, I read, I wrote and I even made small exercises for myself to stretch my shy little legs. However, these things did not solve the problem I was having. It wasn't until the point I decided in order for me to move on with MY life, I had to take control of MY life instead of giving everyone else the power. I committed to cut ties with those that brought me down, I started to enjoy the things I wanted to do, I gave myself the power to truly LIKE myself no matter what other people thought. I had to accept me. That single thought progressed to the idea that people can think what they want but I wasn't there to please anyone, I was just going to be ME. Don't get me wrong, I still ponder the heck out of everything and I still create "tests" for myself. The largest difference I made was my own mind set and loving myself for who I am and sticking to it. I still blush when I do something stupid and people find it funny...but who cares...I'm still a great person. Finding this site is a good first step. INFJ's are quite frequently misunderstood and realizing this fact makes it much easier to accept one's self. It's true, we aren't like everyone else. We are unique, special, odd at times but that's just because others can't understand our thought process - don't worry, it's not their fault, they were born that way...and so were we!
Freaking Bravo Waterviolet!! :laughing: Such wonderful insight, & a new "plan of attack" to maybe get out of a cycle some of us can get in. Well put!
 
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I've been under tons of stress in the past few months and I'm not even sure if my Intuition is working anymore. I've known for a long time that I need to be balanced to feel happiest, but when you're in a slump how do you pull yourself out?
 

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ertertwert
Pull yourself out. You said it yourself, you need to feel balanced...so it makes sense to me you just need to find what it is that makes you feel balanced. I find it by focusing more on what's inside my "bubble". I don't want to say that I focus on myself but it's partially true - I focus on the things that I can control. What makes me feel balanced is enriching myself, learning new things, a clean house, reading a book, writing and taking time to gain a new focus on the things that I care about most. It's not a matter of pulling yourself out exactly, it's a matter of dropping the walls around you and saying "screw this, it's time to move on". If you feel your intuition needs a little exercise...remind yourself to listen to it, make it one of those things you will focus on in order to acheive that balance you crave. It may be tough to carve a little time out at first...but once you do it you'll start to see the light flooding in around you as the walls drop. I wish you the best and I hope you find your balance soon!
 
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