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I've always been somewhat ashamed of how much and how intensely I feel things. It's like the feeling that you're ultimately too much to handle sometimes, and there's no amount of work you do can ultimately change what you are at your core.

I felt this way growing up the most. I remember feeling like my emotions were strong enough to destroy me. I think sometime around 14-15 years old, I just started shutting them off. I learned to distance myself from people, because I didn't want them to have to deal with it. I didn't want to burden other people with my shit.

I'm 23 now and what's weird is that I've learned how to not need people anymore. I've learned how to satisfy my own emotional needs. I'm independent and emotionally stable. But whenever I try to get close to people now, I feel like the emotional stability I've fought so hard for is threatened. I feel like I don't know how to share my life with others, without burning them or burning myself. I want closeness and I don't. I'm so emotional and so emotionally distant at the same time.
 

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Emotional distance is my way to protect myself from being hurt. So, I'd say yes.
 

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Your whole post is the story of my life until I was in my mid-20s. I can't relate to any of that anymore, as I'm a completely different person now, did a 180º. So the quid of the question is, do you want to change? When I say "you" I don't mean you-you, it's a rhetorical you, the you of whoever is reading the post and relating to it.

I made a conscious decision when I was 23-24, I made the decision to stop attempting suicide and get out of depression. Because you wrote it with the perfect wording: "my emotions were strong enough to destroy me". They absolutely destroyed me, and they destroyed all my relationships; not by exploding, but by imploding. There's this misconception of people imagining INFPs as exploding emotions outwardly, but this is so far from reality. We implode. The extremely depressed ones are those who will never express anything other than quietness, and one day they jump off a window and everyone is shocked because we show so little of our feelings, if we show anything at all tbh.
So I made the decision, and I didn't know the how, but I knew there was no other way but up. And it took me years. Plural.
I found myself unrecognisable by the time I hit my late 20s, and everybody around me notice, people were absolutely shocked by my transformation five years later. So you are not doomed. You doom yourself. Staying the same is a decision one makes.

I haven't felt my emotional stability threatened by relationships with others in years, in fact the memories of when I felt that way are so foggy because that was ten years ago. It often seems like it never even existed. But when someone mentions it, if I really really focus and go to the caverns of my memories, yes I can see a glimpse of those times. I don't look at them tbh because they don't do anything for me, I feel nothing, they're just there, lifeless and like a faded VHS, grainy and distant, like it's someone else's life, not mine.

I can say that making the decision to become the strongest version of yourself is just... well, I lack the words. When your emotional realm is unbreakable, well, like the word itself says, nobody in the external world can break it, ever. I've gone through the most painful shit in the last five years, from being sexually assaulted, to being cheated on by someone I trusted, the betrayal of my three closest friends, the betrayal of my own mother twice after I let her in and trusted her twice, the multiple deaths of close family members, to both my parents having cancer... and I never once felt destroyed. In fact, there's a lot more that I can take still. And it's a muscle that you work on -for years. And it's 350% worth the effort.
So the OPost seems to me like the middle of a journey, and it's in no way the end, I see a whoooole journey still ahead. But then, one can only travel if one wants to, ofc.
 

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I see both posters are INFP AND enneagram 9. Now, being Fi, INFPs will tend to be rather passive with things typically and not want to impose their feelings onto others, but being a 9, will exacerbate that so much. In fact, 9's are typically known as the peacemaker and the mediator, because 9's like to keep relationships peaceful and harmonious even at the expense of their own desires and feelings.

Also instinctual variants will make a difference usually as well. If you're SP first or second, a big instinct will be to withdraw when you feel things strongly, especially if you're SP first. If you're not sure, that's fine too, but, likely if you're first instinct is to withdraw from things, particularly strong feelings, you're likely SP first.

http://personalitycafe.com/type-9-forum-peacemaker/9072-personal-growth-recommendations-enneagram-type-nines.htmlT
Threads like this might be helpful.

I also wanna say that 9 is likely the most common enni for INFPs, because INFPs typically tend to be pretty chill and passive as a default state anyway. 4's are common to, but I'd go out on a limb and say 9's are typically a bit more common.
 
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This is such a common issue for INFPs, but on some level, I think it effects everyone. From society, we're often taught to feel shame over what we're feeling, that emotions aren't to be taken seriously because they aren't logical, so we should shove them aside when dealing with most situations. For us INFPs, this is harshly emphasized when people are constantly and directly telling us we are "too sensitive". I have heard that way too many times in my life. Then they get annoyed with us when we don't share what's actually going on inside.

It's like, which side of me do you want? :rolleyes:

I haven't perfected the balance between sharing and repressing my emotions just yet, but the biggest thing that has helped me is a necessary perspective change: sharing how you feel is self-advocacy and it's one of the deepest ways to bond and connect with others. It's not something we should shy away from, it's one of the best ways to release our pain. Our well of emotional depth is the source for so many of our pursuits in life, and our strength is sharing it with others.

The biggest issue for us is finding the right time to share these things (because we need to process our emotions first) and finding the right people to share them with. This requires the risk of trusting others, despite what you've been told in the past. I kind of think of this whole process as summoning out the inner ENFP, the one that's willing to throw things out there and see if people take the bait. It takes trial and error, along with the skill of reading people, but I've found that this has greatly helped the health of so many of my relationships.

Brene Brown explains it the best:

 

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I think being on this site and seeing what other types say about INFPs can also fuel withdrawl as well. When you see someone say "INFPs are too emotional, too sensitive." Over and over again, you can say to yourself, I don't want to be that kind of INFP, I don't want to be an over-dramatic burden to those around me, and this is a nice aspiration, but you can close yourself up too much in fear of being a burden, and if you hold on to something for so long, and finally let it out, you're not usually a burden to people in that case, you are simply finally talking about the thing that has been bothering you this whole time, and honestly, people are saying "Finally they let it out, it was getting painful watching you hold on to that thing for so long, I don't know why you do that to yourself." People actually do care, you're usually just a burden if you are ALWAYS a debby downer, but if you're just getting something off you chest people can understand.

I used to think people thought everybody should just suck it up and keep their emotions to themselves, but when you're going through something, people can see it, and they are wondering why you are holding on to the thing that bothers you so much, just say it.

We can get so trapped thinking that our problems are so nuanced that no one will ever understand them, we fail to realize that we and other people are both humans, they go through this life too, they can understand you to some degree and/or in a broader sense.

Then again I need to take my own advice.
 

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I used to think people thought everybody should just suck it up and keep their emotions to themselves, but when you're going through something, people can see it, and they are wondering why you are holding on to the thing that bothers you so much, just say it.

We can get so trapped thinking that our problems are so nuanced that no one will ever understand them, we fail to realize that we and other people are both humans, they go through this life too, they can understand you to some degree and/or in a broader sense.
No, I don't want to.

I definitely don't think they can understand me.

And, I'd argue that most people can't see it.

Honestly, I don't see the harm is keeping my problems to myself... and, by myself, I mean posting them on here or journaling my downer thoughts privately. My issues are usually all about my own mindset and not concrete and truthfully, I handle them best myself. If I have a concrete problem, then I can ask for help like a normal person, but that usually doesn't involve any vulnerability - at least at this point in my life. I'm thinking out loud here, but for example, if I had cancer and asked for help, that would probably link the concrete with the vulnerable, but even still, actually, the emotional part of it I'd probably keep to myself.

I guess I feel like I am pretty much always "going through a hard time" (lol) emotionally based on nothing real except myself and way of being (again, lol), so I should be able to help myself through it since it's me that is the (ongoing) problem. And, I mean that.

It does seem like it causes me more harm than good when I share with people who do not understand EXACTLY what I mean. So, I'd rather not bother.
 
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"Fear Of Being A Burden"

I think I fear others becoming a "burden" on me, rather than me becoming a burden on others. Zapping all my energy and leaving me a limp biscuit.

But yes, feelings... I'd love to try living on a planet with no feels. To see what it's like. No happy no sad. I bet I'd get a lot of stuff done. Maybe not as emotionally spent/tired.
 

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When I was a teen, I really didn't want to be a burden. As I grew up though, I thought the thinking process was illogical and selfish that I alone could be such a burden on someone—but they still stayed around me? If they thought I was a burden, they could just leave, right? If they left, it would be good for both of us because we could both find some better friends. As I go along, I try not to be a burden, but I don't categorize it that way. Its more about being healthy enough to engage in whatever will come my way. If I take care of myself, I can't be a burden on others because I learn to understand what they need and desire better. My only burden to others is when I have so many thoughts/ideas/solutions that they hurt their brains trying to comprehend it! Then I just feel out of place, not a burden. I'm just me.

When I get into an intimate relationship, I have the opposite problem of being hesitant to open up. I say way too much! And I do it to see if they are interested or not. I either draw them in or scare them off by being unabashedly myself. I want to see if we can get along, and I want to get on my way if we can't. I think it's the whole extraverted Ne thing. I describe my Fi through Ne, and since I don't share it often, it's an absolute frenzy when I have to teach myself how to talk about who I am on the inside. It gets better as time goes on, so if the gent can ride it out, it's alright! I don't want to be with someone who doesn't think I'm cool and doesn't appreciate the importance of learning and exploring. I want to be accepted for my wandering mind, and if they can't accept it, they're the one burdening me. They don't have to be the same as me or even understand me; they just need to like me enough to stick around, whatever that means for them.

I suppose my negative emotions can be a burden to other people. All my emotions are a personal and passionate experience for me, and I still don't understand why I do or why I don't feel the need to tell people certain things. A lot of the time, I can just pretend to have a conversation with someone and I feel much better. I tell people of my negative emotions when I feel there is something to be done about it. I hate one of my classes because of the teachers, and I told my friends about it, and now we have a better connection with each other (because the feeling is mutual) and we're going to have a fun party at the end of the semester to celebrate getting out of that class.

With my emotions, I understand that no one has the power or responsibility to make me feel better. It's a choice I can make about whether I'm going to work to a resolution or not. This is especially where my religious beliefs help me; I realize that there is a difference between weak humanity and the all-powerful Divine. I can always rely on God, and He has knowledge and control beyond understanding. I can be independent of others without actually being independent and alone. There's always a purpose and always hope.
 

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No, I don't want to.

I definitely don't think they can understand me.

And, I'd argue that most people can't see it.

Honestly, I don't see the harm is keeping my problems to myself... and, by myself, I mean posting them on here or journaling my downer thoughts privately. My issues are usually all about my own mindset and not concrete and truthfully, I handle them best myself. If I have a concrete problem, then I can ask for help like a normal person, but that usually doesn't involve any vulnerability - at least at this point in my life. I'm thinking out loud here, but for example, if I had cancer and asked for help, that would probably link the concrete with the vulnerable, but even still, actually, the emotional part of it I'd probably keep to myself.

I guess I feel like I am pretty much always "going through a hard time" (lol) emotionally based on nothing real except myself and way of being (again, lol), so I should be able to help myself through it since it's me that is the (ongoing) problem. And, I mean that.

It does seem like it causes me more harm than good when I share with people who do not understand EXACTLY what I mean. So, I'd rather not bother.
I can't do this anymore though, it's been a strategy that has produced no fruit in my life. Constantly putting walls up and waiting for someone who cares enough to reach out to me to simply ask me "How are you doing." It doesn't usually work. It does feel horrible when I "bear my soul" and people don't understand me, but it also hurts that I can never really live my insides in the outside world, and that people will NEVER know who I really am. That also scares me. I can't do that anymore.

The other day somebody at my job (My guess an ESTP), someone who I really did not expect to do somthing like this, but this guy just randomly came up to my desk and said "You alright?" I said, everything is fine and then he repeated "Yea but are you alright?". I was shocked, somebody who seemed pretty void of emotion, seems like they do not care, seemed concerned about somebody like me. This kind of made me realize, yea the world isn't filled with a bunch of sensitive people, but it's not completely void of care like I thought either, I want to explore it a bit more and challenge my worldview a bit, maybe I boxed myself in due to a few bad experiences. I don't want to be too hopeful, but not too hopeless either. There's a whole world out there.

I'm tired of hiding. I'm never gonna get the kind of connection I want in fearing I'm gonna be a burden, misunderstood, and feaing being vulnerable for once.

Being a wanna be stoic is becoming a bore honestly.
 

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ISFP (I don't have my type listed so I can play 'Guess The Type' games on here.) But I experience the exact same problem. At the same time I feel very compelled to share my feelings with people I care about, so it feels like eating shamefully; you eat 'cause it feels good, but still feel the same amount of shame afterwards.

I'm still learning how to move past this, honestly. But lately I'm just trying to keep in mind that I want other people to feel like they can talk to ME and vice versa, without worrying about whether or not I think they're a burden. The only time I think someone is being a burden is when they come to me with the same problems over and over/constantly ignore my advice instead of just trying something new.

Plus I have to remember that just because someone isn't experiencing the same problem I am doesn't mean they don't have ones of their own, or that they haven't been where I'm at.

If someone stops talking to me because they can't handle how much I feel and it hurts them, I'm not gonna lie and say that feels great. Still, if I'm not talking about things, I'M hurting. And I value my own well-being over someone else's.
 

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@Lord Pixel - So... what did you say to the repeat?
 

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I can relate a lot to what @entheos said about making a conscious decision to change. As with anything, that first step is realizing you need to change - admitting you're not happy and what you have been doing is not working for you. That's also a first step to seeing your ego and how it's no longer helping you navigate reality, but it's reducing your functionality and detaching you from experiencing it. The ego says "this is just who I am!". It's limiting, of course, and it often points the finger at others when it doesn't get results it likes.

I can't say I'm 100% over fears of being a burden. It still pops up at times, often unexpectedly & just when I think I'm over it. I'm a child of divorce, and that's part of my explanation for it. The difference now is I know it's not true, and so I can choose to not act on that emotion. I know it's just leftover, emotional noise from my childhood.

So one thing to consider is projection. If you fear being a burden, you may also fear being burdened. If you fear being too much for others, you may fear they are too much for you, aka you don't have enough within you to handle them (a kind of paradox...to much for others and yet not enough for them). To help ease this, give to others emotionally. The short of it is giving what you'd like receive from others. Don't dismiss others as needy, dramatic, to sensitive, etc. The less you dismiss others, the more you may lose the fear of being dismissed (aka being a burden). If you fear people separating from you for being "too much" and seek to be, say, invisible or extremely agreeable so as to be connected...you are already disconnected. That connection is an illusion. Withdrawing to not be rejected is rejecting others.

Another thing to consider is dealing with "thawing out" emotionally, or "de-numbing". Kind of like waking a sleeping foot or literal growing pains, it can be uncomfortable and awkward when you start to wake up emotionally. It can be downright painful even. The important thing to remember is that it is temporary. It may have debilitating effects, for a time, but it's part of becoming more functional. Just let the emotion pass over you, don't turn it into thoughts to dwell on. I used to think analysis was solving stuff. But you usually already logically know what is true; you aren't a burden, you have things to offer people as a friend or partner or whatever. So let the emotion pass without giving it more weight than it warrants. It's usually about a past experience you never fully processed, not the present. Present emotions are pretty easy to process....they arise in relation to what is happening and then subside once it's over.

Remember that emotions are very physical. Getting more in touch with your physical body can help facilitate emotional processing.
A lot of advice will tell you to do meditations where you just breath and focus on releasing tension in your body, letting any thoughts pass by and refocusing on your breathing and releasing tensions. What this does is connect your conscious mind with your body sensations...all of a sudden, the noticing of a tension may make an old emotion arise. It will be something like an epiphany. And with that release, you'll find yourself mostly over it. Whatever used to make it arise won't ruffle you so much anymore. Analysis doesn't usually bring this about...it can actually made you dwell and feed an emotion. There is some legit science behind the gut being something of a "second brain" and "storing emotions" in the nervous system. That's what you need to address.

Also, emotions are often in response to thoughts, which then fuel actions, give certain results, which our thoughts then interpret, and then we respond emotionally, etc. It may seem backwards, but start by changing your thoughts (including perceptions), as well as some behaviors. Perhaps start with thoughts about yourself - be really aware of negative internal dialogue about yourself. Counter it with something realistically positive. I started with a kind of personal mantra to "be nice to myself". Don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to a friend, and remember to be the kind of friend you'd want, including to yourself. When you start cultivating more positive mental and emotional experiences, then behaviors shift too, even if it's just vibe, and you get better responses from other people. It's a positive cycle. Be aware of your emotional story - the way in which you frame everything. It helped me to write down my "old emotional story" and then write a new one based on actual events & words from people, so that it wouldn't feel like a delusion. Then begin approaching reality with the new emotional story. This new framing will change how you see yourself and life, and that will change how you act, and again, you get new responses which reinforce this.

Also, this stuff is often two steps forward, one step back, so be patient and compassionate with yourself as you grow. Awareness is a big step because you learn from mistakes more rather than repeating patterns. Every little change you make is altering a part of the pattern, and as you alter more & more, you're creating a new pattern of behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and ultimately, emotions. Instead of burdening people with intense, dark emotions, you can gift them with not only pleasant, lighter emotions, but also the empathy and insight that comes from having overcome heavier things. You also give people permission to be their whole selves. Vulnerability in people often looks courageous, not weak, and it's often liberating and inspiring, not a burdening to others.

I hope some that helps! Your post was really articulate and definitely resonated with my past experience, so it seems you definitely have the emotional intelligence to become who you need to be to live life more fully.
 

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I've always been somewhat ashamed of how much and how intensely I feel things.
That shame is an oppressor. Abolish it. That intensity is a blessing, not a curse.

It's like the feeling that you're ultimately too much to handle sometimes, and there's no amount of work you do can ultimately change what you are at your core.
Maybe you don't need to "change" so much as "hone" your natural gifts.

I felt this way growing up the most. I remember feeling like my emotions were strong enough to destroy me. I think sometime around 14-15 years old, I just started shutting them off. I learned to distance myself from people, because I didn't want them to have to deal with it. I didn't want to burden other people with my shit.

whenever I try to get close to people now, I feel like the emotional stability I've fought so hard for is threatened. I feel like I don't know how to share my life with others, without burning them or burning myself.
Maybe stability is overrated.
 
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I fear being a burden so much, that I developed this mindset where...once I feel the fear setting in, I drop everything and just go for it...or else I'll never go for it...in which case, I may have ended up, in fact, um...being a legitimate burden...

Same thing when I feel overthinking of my work sinking in, so I immediately submit it without another glance, and sometimes do get graded bad on typos
 

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I think we all need balance in our lives, physical, emotional and spiritual. Some people like to be alone and there's nothing wrong with that. I like the idea of living in Alaska on a homestead miles away from people. It doesn't mean I don't like people. You might not need a lot of people around you, maybe one or two at a time rather than crowds. Just remember that you are unique as we all are. So don't let people make you feel odd about yourself. Work on the things to build character and wisdom. You never know, you might inspire others.
 

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I honestly don't have any better advice than the ones already given here, but I relate to what you are saying - you are not alone, as I am going through the same (I wonder if there is any way to model the various stages of an INFP's life, looks like there's a pattern in behaviour for people of different ages).

I used to be emotionally turbulent (during my teenage years), and I had poor coping mechanism, which meant I didn't know how to process my emotions or express them in a manner that protects someone else's space & integrity. So I suppressed them, or maybe I didn't consciously suppress them; it was so gradual that it didn't feel like suppression. I have came to a point where thoughts and ideas I care about are up for censorship. They are so intense, and I am afraid of causing discomfort for the other and myself. Recently I've to come realize that in my suppression I was creating a distance between myself and the other. I kept people at arms' length and it became increasingly difficult for me to break out of this fear. I created a quarantine zone for my emotions and myself, and called it Independence. But in truth I was also ashamed about what my emotions can arouse in the other, and I am both shame and pain averse - it was more than fearing of becoming a burden, I am averse towards the very notion of rejection. So I clam up. But my feelings of loving freedom & independence of the mind, & autonomy in general, are also authentic. There is an eternal paradox I feel like I embody, when it comes to human beings and the emotional life. Of needing solitude (little emotional energy, or energy to offer in general), but also having such an intense emotional charge and wanting to share it with someone, sometimes. My basic human need for connection will always exist alongside me, and it feels like my entire life's goal is to find balance.

Unfortunately emotional truths cannot be discovered via the intellect. It has to be learned through living, and feeling. Thinking has only helped fuel my anxiety, but I have taken baby steps for now. Trying to reach out to people I know have less of an inclination to pass judgments made it easier for me (and believe it or not I had to do it with friends I have known for years). Nothing spawns into reality through thinking. Reality has to be shaped by our very hands; by action. And in this case, the word "connection" implies the participation of 2 entities. If we want closeness, then it is us that are preventing ourselves from going there, so then it is simultaneously us, that can empower ourselves to go there, and we must bring ourselves to where we want to go. But we cannot bring ourselves to where we must be so quickly. Like how the airplane was invented through iterative processes. Like how Rome wasn't built in a day.
 
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If you fear people separating from you for being "too much" and seek to be, say, invisible or extremely agreeable so as to be connected...you are already disconnected. That connection is an illusion. Withdrawing to not be rejected is rejecting others.
Wow. That's a good way to put it.
 
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