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Greetings INFPs

Yes an NT has infiltrated your forums. Do not run off, I come in peace! So I've been wondering how comfortable you guys are in displaying emotions (e.g. utter frustration, crying, fear)? I tend not to be emotionally expressive because it seems like a weakness *no offense to any of you*. Do you guys mind explaining how it can be easy or difficult for you to emote?

**I knew if I were to ask this question in the INTP subforum, I would've just been met with sarcasm and/or dark humor... our attempts to disregard the emotional aspect of the subject.
 

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I'm a very transparent person, meaning you'd know the second I was irritated or bored or whatever emotion I'm experiencing at the time. It doesn't mean I'm comfortable expressing it, in fact I often which I was less.. obvious. I feel extremely uncomfortable crying in front of people for example, especially when it's out of my control, because it feels private. It's mine, not everyone else's. Unless it's someone I'm comfortable showing my "weakness" to, in which case, I feel much better at exposing my vulnerability.
 

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Greetings INFPs

Yes an NT has infiltrated your forums. Do not run off, I come in peace! So I've been wondering how comfortable you guys are in displaying emotions (e.g. utter frustration, crying, fear)? I tend not to be emotionally expressive because it seems like a weakness *no offense to any of you*. Do you guys mind explaining how it can be easy or difficult for you to emote?

**I knew if I were to ask this question in the INTP subforum, I would've just been met with sarcasm and/or dark humor... our attempts to disregard the emotional aspect of the subject.
I feel the same way, and I hate looking like a pussy, so that's why I don't cry infront of people. It's hard sometimes to hold back my emotions, but I somehow allways manage to get them under control at least in public. When I'm by myself, I kind of let my guard down, but I still feel like I bottle up my emotions alot.
 

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Greetings INFPs

Yes an NT has infiltrated your forums. Do not run off, I come in peace! So I've been wondering how comfortable you guys are in displaying emotions (e.g. utter frustration, crying, fear)? I tend not to be emotionally expressive because it seems like a weakness *no offense to any of you*. Do you guys mind explaining how it can be easy or difficult for you to emote?

**I knew if I were to ask this question in the INTP subforum, I would've just been met with sarcasm and/or dark humor... our attempts to disregard the emotional aspect of the subject.
Depends on the emotion. It is very difficult for me to emote when I'm sad or angry, in fact I almost always keep that to myself. HOWEVER, when I'm in these states I often get really quiet, quieter than normal for me, because I'm keeping it inside. So, at times, those around me can sense that something is wrong because I'm quiet. Not always though, usually when I'm feeling extremely sad or extremely angry.
 

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I'm generally not a highly emotionally expressive person. I'm often described as being very reserved and private. I keep most of my emotions internal.
 

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@jennandtonic said was I was going to say. It depends on the emotion. My hardest emotion to express is anger. It is not only hard to be angry in front of people, but it is hard to be around other people who are angry. The absolute hardest is being angry in front of the person who is making you angry. I can be angry in front of people who are not making me angry (like venting), but to actually confront the person who pissed me off, while I am angry? No. Too hard. I start shaking and my throat closes up and nothing comes out right. A fear response, I suppose. I am afraid of hurting them or making them angry back at me.

Sadness, though. Sadness is a different bag. I can be sad and cry in front of people no problem. It's a little harder when I'm crying around people who don't know why I'm crying, because I fear I am making them worry or feel uncomfortable. But if people know why I am crying, then I just let it out. I don't care. I don't worry that other people might see me as weak because I know in my heart that I am not weak. I know that it is a good thing to feel emotions and care about other people. I know that I have a right to feel the way I do and it actually feels powerful to be able to express myself like this.

You mention fear and utter frustration... I rarely admit to feeling scared. I don't know why. It's not that I am rarely scared, I just don't accept it. When something scares me, I would rather not say it out loud and instead try to plow through it and get it over with. Like, if I need to confront someone, which can be scary, when it comes down to it, I'm not going to sit there and say, "I'm scared, I'm scared", I'm going to try to psych myself up and say, "you can do this. You will be fine." But when it comes to physical fear, like you are in a car with a driver who is driving like a maniac - I think I express my fear in a critical way. I'll tell them they are driving crazy and what the hell are they doing? etc. There is a chance I'll say point blank "you are freaking me out" but more likely I will start criticizing their driving skills instead. Is that effective? I don't even know.

Frustration? That one depends on my mood. If I am already in a bad mood, I have been known to almost break things because I am so frustrated with them. I often get the most frustrated with the physical world, when something is not doing what I think it should be doing. Let's say a plug won't fit in the wall right and I am in an awkward position trying to get it in. I keep trying and it's just not going in. This is when I am capable of forcing the damn thing into the wall and breaking it. Then, I will probably yell and scream at it and push or hit something in my immediate vicinity. I will then give up and leave the room and go do something else. Again, is this an effective way of dealing with things? No, probably not. :)

I wish I had more patience sometimes. Wow, I'm not really painting a pretty picture of myself, am I. Oh well. Just being honest. :)
 

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I use to not show any emotion whatsoever while in the company of others. I presented a blank expression while inside i was a wreck of mixed emotions. This lead to alot of people that knew me to see me as "cold". The reason why i did so was because i was so sensitive that I felt inclined to make many many walls to block people out. But now that im maturing a bit i've learned its ok to lower some of those walls and express my feeling. I must confess it has been great, thus far it feels alot healthier then when i use to bottle them up. I say just be you and make make an effort to try and express some of those emotions in some way (if you want to, im no one to tell ya what to do). And not see it as a weakness emotions are apart of what it means to have a soul to have a heart it normal to feel them.
 

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It's harder for me to express sadness or anger in front of others, without a shoulder to cry on. So mainly being indifferent and annoyed is the only sign I'm upset about something. But as long as I don't try to indulge in something to forget about it, it doesn't bottle up much. Fear, though, isn't usually a problem for me to express. And as for the positive emotions, they're naturally easier to show, but the more I know a person, the less contained I'll be about it.
 

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Alright so I'm understanding that some of you are more comfortable expressing emotions when around people you know better, with the exception of some males because of the "feminine" association feelings get from society. I am not comfortable whatsoever around anyone enough to display anything. Like someone said before, I have built up some walls to keep people at a distance because I think that my feelings are for me to experience, not to burden anyone else with. I realize that this might be my own defense mechanism because for me, weakness = vulnerability = possibility to get hurt.
 

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I agree with the previous posts, it depends a lot on the emotion and the situation. In general, I'd guess most of us (and correct me if I'm wrong, fellow INFP's) have a harder time fully expressing our emotions in front of other people--especially if they don't feel very close with those people than in private. I'd say that's pretty characteristic of our type. It has to do with introverted feeling, which is our primary function. There's also a number of other factors that go into the "equation," if you will:

1. I find that I'm much less likely to display emotions perceived as "negative" in front of others--sadness, anger, frustration, and other such feelings. Depending on the emotion this is easy or difficult to do. For example, anger and the other emotions under this umbrella like frustration, contempt, etc. is an emotion I have a much harder time tapping into than sadness or empathy. Couple that with the fact that anger often leads to conflict (which I fear and avoid like the plague), I find it easier to swallow my anger in order to preserve the peace in a situation. Sadness and all its counterparts, on the other hand, is an emotion I more readily and easily feel so I have a harder time suppressing it. I tend to be less vocal about these "negative" emotions, but I think it's still evident in my eyes. At least, my NF friends always seem to pick up on it. Either way, these are emotions that we're socially conditioned to suppress, I suppose because they're considered signs of weakness. So I tend to hold them in instead.

The problem is, as an INFP I have a very hard time "stopping" myself from feeling something. My friends who are T types, especially my NT friends, have this uncanny (at least from my perspective) ability to compartmentalize their emotions and set aside the ones that aren't useful in order to more directly and efficiently reach a solution. It doesn't mean they don't feel things. It just means they say, "this emotion isn't going to help me right now--bzzt! Switch off!" and that's that. While I marvel at their self-control, this idea is both foreign and horrifying to me. Denying my emotions is like denying who I am, and discovering who I am is the very core of my existence. I don't really relish the idea of ignoring my feelings, nor can I even imagine being marginally successful at it. Heck, I can't even get through a Disney movie without getting misty in the eyes...:blushed:

The trouble is, this bottling up of my emotions tends to lead to outbursts when I can't hold it in anymore. Sometimes I'll even unleash my contained feelings on hapless victims who weren't the ones to provoke me anyway, but more often than not I'll end up snapping at the cause. If I'm being a good and healthy INFP, then I seek a more productive and peaceful outlet for my agitation--exercise, artistic expression, writing, something like that. If I can express my feelings indirectly, that usually helps alleviate the pressure building inside.

To sum up that word vomit, I am very unlikely to express "negative" emotions, although at times suppressing them proves impossible and leads to an intense outburst that I later feel embarrassed about (though I don't necessarily regret it).

2. The previous posters have touched on this, but gender also plays a significant role. In my experience, heteronormative pressures make life very difficult for a man who is openly emotional, particularly when showing sadness or vulnerability. If a guy wants to be angry and wrathful, then he's just releasing some of that testosterone-infused masculinity. But if a man cries because you hurt his feelings, he's a whiny little pussy. Growing up, my father and my peers often told me to "man up" when I was being emotional, whereas my sisters or female friends never received the same treatment. This really only serves to reinforce the conditioning we receive not to express our emotions in public. I don't mean to imply that INFP women are more expressive, but I think it's worth mentioning that because of gender roles prevalent in society most F males have an additional obstacle to overcome--in the same way T women are pressured to be more "sensitive" because of preconceived notions about femininity. It's just another outside pressure to alter our natural tendencies.

3. Finally, I think it has to do with our cognitive functions, specifically our dominant Introverted Feeling. Forgive what will be an epically long-winded explanation, but I feel it's necessary to fully answer your question. In general INFP's experience the world internally through their feelings. It's hard to describe in a concrete way, but basically what this means is that we experience every situation we encounter in terms of how it makes us feel. My brother, by contrast, is an ENTJ. He experiences every situation in terms of the logical challenge it presents and how to most efficiently respond to the needs set out by that challenge. My mother, an ENFJ, experiences the world in terms of how she can help to facilitate a cooperative and supportive environment in which to nurture everyone's individual potential.

That's how T differs from F, which I touched on earlier, but it is also how about Fi differs from Fe. For my brother, the thinker, the focus is on logic and working with economy of resources. For my mother and me, the focus is on feelings and working towards cooperation. That seems simple enough, but there is also a difference in how my mother's Fe and my Fi function. As extroverts, my mother and brother are usually asking themselves, "how do I affect this situation?" whereas introverts like myself are more prone to ask, "how does this situation affect me?" For my mother, who utilizes Fe, that means actively using her emotions to create a harmonious and peaceful solution that makes everyone happiest. For me, this means staying in tune with my emotional response to the situation to evaluate whether or not this situation is conducive to positive emotional/personal development, and then responding accordingly. Whereas I am content to let the situation affect me and then reflect upon that, my mother feels obligated to interact with the situation in order to bring about the solution. She's constantly wondering how she makes others feel, whereas I'm paying attention to how others are making me feel.

Whew! Hopefully, that long-winded explanation of Fi in comparison to Fe helped shed light on the differences between the two. The reason I felt the need to go into such detail is that I think it explains why INFP's and other Fi types are less likely to be emotionally expressive compared to Fe types. My mother can't help but express herself because that's how she instinctively deals with the world around her. Asking an Fe individual to suppress their emotions is like asking a Te not to use logic. SYSTEM. FAIL. Introverted Feelers, however, INFP's are able to sneak under the radar much more easily. Although we experience our feelings very intensely, we internalize this feeling. We experience it inwardly, whereas Fe types express it outwardly. I don't fully understand how I'm feeling unless I'm introspecting. My mother, on the other hand, doesn't fully understand how she's feeling until she expresses it outward. For this reason, INFP's are probably less likely to express ourselves in front of others. Because of this, people often make the mistake of thinking we are "cold" or "unfeeling" when in reality there is a tempest raging under our stoic expression.


Wow. Didn't mean for that to turn into a novel, but there you have it. Sorry to bombard you with all that info but I just felt that our responses might mislead you into thinking we were less emotional than other F types simply because we were less expressive, and that's not the case. We just feel it inwardly, not outwardly.

I don't know if you're specifically interested in INFP's or F types in general, but I'd recommend posing this question in the ENFJ or INFJ forum as well if you want to hear a perspective on Extroverted Feeling from NF's. They can offer you a completely different perspective I'm sure. And since they're Fe types, they'll be really eager to help you :wink:
 

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I can show some happy emotions, in order to blend in or empathize, but tend to internalize the sad ones - stress, panic, fear, etc. The only exception to that is anger, which, if provoked enough can come out to bite the attacker in a vicious manner but I try not to do so in case of overreaction or being wrong.

I agree that some will see the emotion as a sign of weakness and that's in part why I tend to hide them... It's only to very close people that I'd show the negative emotions.
 

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Im glad to see were touching upon how the gender roles play another contributing obstacle to our emotions. To answer your question those walls we build can be exremly difficult to put down. We've conditiond ourselves to set them up involenteraly. I know for a long time i was so out of touch with my feelings i came off alot more rigid and cold then now. But if you want to put the down and get more in touch with your gentle side that going to take some courage from your part. In my opinion a man who can bare his soul to the world is truelly fearless. Im not saying go out and be completly open but be brave and dare to show some of those emotions. Sure you'll get critisized and seen as weak but does that change who you are? Absolutly not! Find a center from were you can find harmony with your feelings and your judgment.
 

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I just remind people of the important people in society that were passionate.

It is rare people will say MLK jr wasn't a man.

Etc..
 

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Do you guys mind explaining how it can be easy or difficult for you to emote?
Sure. ^^

I don't find it difficult to emote :3 but I am talking about superficial, visually present emotions ;) Because to me >:] emotions like anger :mad: and frustration -.-" are pretty easy to lead back to certain events :) Say I was working hard (yes, I do work hard every now and then :O ) on something and a coworker of mine starts joking around :D but in the process, accidentally messes up my work D: I would definitely show him my face of frustration -.-" although I imagine she/he'd see more of a blank stare :| in my face.

But when something touches upon my inner core D: it becomes pretty difficult :S because I experience the feeling on a deeper level :O That's when I experience probably more than 1 type of feeling :S It is sort of a conflict :( as a consequence of personal values being stepped upon, which personally hurts :'(

See what I'm saying? ^^;
 
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Looking back at some of these posts, I wonder why society still pressures men to not display most of their emotions. You'd think after psychology advanced this far, people would actually learn this isn't a good thing to do. :dry:
 

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Looking back at some of these posts, I wonder why society still pressures men to not display most of their emotions. You'd think after psychology advanced this far, people would actually learn this isn't a good thing to do. :dry:
I think that if people are still offended by the existence of others with a different concentration of melanin in their skin, or a different sexual preference to their own, then we have a long way to go before dispelling any of these absurd societal mandates.
 

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Good point.
 

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Greetings INFPs

Yes an NT has infiltrated your forums. Do not run off, I come in peace! So I've been wondering how comfortable you guys are in displaying emotions (e.g. utter frustration, crying, fear)? I tend not to be emotionally expressive because it seems like a weakness *no offense to any of you*. Do you guys mind explaining how it can be easy or difficult for you to emote?

**I knew if I were to ask this question in the INTP subforum, I would've just been met with sarcasm and/or dark humor... our attempts to disregard the emotional aspect of the subject.

That is hard to answer. I've been told I have a terrible poker face...meaning when something or someone smells bad to me, my face reveals that. When someone is rude or obnoxious, my face reveals my annoyance. When someone is a circle talker and seems to not be able to comprehend anything but their own point of view, I'm fairly certain my frustration shows through...especially as I'm walking away and abrubpty immersing myself into something far more interesting. lol BUT..when someone actually hurts me, hurts my feelings...this is when I clam up and pull into myself.

In thinking about myself feeling a need to cry when someone is near me or has said something that hurts me, I imagine myself as painting a hint of a smile onto my face and fighting back tears. I probably begin talking a bit faster and then drop into silence when I feel like I have appeared unaffected for long enough. I shut something off inside and force myself not to wince or reveal the sting I feel and instead continue on with the conversation, all the while being careful not to reveal any of the surges or pangs running through my mind or body. I wait until it is safe to make a run for it, then go somewhere private. If I feel a need to cry or show display deeper emotions, I will wait until I can find somewhere to be alone. Usually, if I feel the need to actually cry, it is not something I want others to be witness to.

I'm not sure what my motive or hang up on that is...that is actually a good question. I have no idea whether my reluctance to let someone see me cry is due to it feeling like it is a "weakness"? When I ask myself that, all i feel is that when I do cry maybe I am worried about how awkward that would feel for the other person, or how the other person would probably feel bad if they knew they had hurt me, OR that they would think I was overreacting and just being dramatic. I'm not sure.

If I take a completely different situation such as, crying during a movie or at a theater, I get just as uncomfortable displaying tears or my emotions in front of others there too. I do not want anyone to see me doing that and dread the lights coming on, etc. lol If tears slip out during a movie, I go to great lengths not to let others see this. If I ask myself why on this? I think my answer wouldn't necessarily be that I view it as "weak", but more that I feel that my emotions would tend to annoy others. They would see me crying and think I were overemotional or attempting to get attention from them, being unauthentic...because after all it isn't real and is only a movie! Right? I think for me that is the real hang up, just feeling like my displays of emotion would feel unwarranted? unnecessary? annoying? baffling? from another's point of view.

(Hmmm... my list could all be considered weaknesses couldn't they? :p Idk, wish I could answer your question better. Always fun when someone answers a question with a question lol)
 

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So I've been wondering how comfortable you guys are in displaying emotions (e.g. utter frustration, crying, fear)? I tend not to be emotionally expressive because it seems like a weakness *no offense to any of you*.

**I knew if I were to ask this question in the INTP subforum, I would've just been met with sarcasm and/or dark humor... our attempts to disregard the emotional aspect of the subject.
Whatever is different from us is not necessarily wrong-favoring emotions is no "weakness", and a very "rational" mind is no stronger. I understand you realize this from your very words. I just mentioned it because I feel bad for all of those mocked by the dark humor you mentioned, because it's (in my view) "wrong" to make fun of that which you fail to accept and understand. Of course, this thread is a very attempt on your side to understand "emotions", and not all "thinkers" (in quotes because we all think, and INFPs are also "thinkers", although of a different sort) mock emotions-especially if they are mature and have an open mind. It's too bad that our society seems to currently believe that "the logic way" equates "strength", and "the emotional way" must represent "weakness"-it is one of the reasons why many an INFP feels uncomfortable with himself/herself, when they shouldn't at all. May you learn the answers you are looking for, and thanks for understanding that we are all not one and the same, nor should we be expected to be. :)
 
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