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7 Reasons The INFJ Is Both Emotionless and Overly Emotional

Guided by internal intuition and external feeling, there's no doubt the INFJ personality type can feel challenged by understanding and expressing their inner emotions.

INFJ: Emotional, Emotionless or Both
Photo by Waxwing on Unsplash

However, why is it that they can come across as both closed-off and welcoming? Both cold and warm? Both emotionless and overly emotional?

7 Reasons The INFJ Is Both Emotionless and Overly Emotional

1. They don’t always use their deep emotional understanding

The most ironic dynamic to the emotional paradox of the INFJ personality type is that they know much more about emotions compared to the average person. However, they don’t always use their knowledge to their advantage. Aside from their external feeling function, the INFJ’s deep interest in understanding other people’s feelings is rooted in the deep-thinking, logical portion of their minds.

It’s as if they want to understand emotions in a logical way in order to better understand how to utilize their foggy sense of personal feelings. Like monkey-see, monkey-do, the INFJ has been analyzing others' reactions to certain emotional scenarios since they were children as a subconscious effort to fill the void of having little emotional understanding for themselves.

Not only does it allow them insight into other people’s minds, but also a deeper understanding of how to express their own feelings to other people. Sometimes however, this indescribable and never-ending learning process comes with its downsides. Which brings us to..

2. Emotions can become so intense that they shut down

Burnout, overstimulation, emotional-overload, or fear of being judged, most INFJs don’t even realize that they subconsciously bury their emotions at times. While this sensitive personality type is usually known for their voluntary efforts of understanding things on an emotional level, when their extroverted feeling functions become overloaded, all of their best intentions fly out the window.

This is all especially true and much more prominent when the INFJ is stuck in the dreaded introverted cognitive loop. Referred to as the introverted intuition-introverted thinking loop, this cognitive phenomenon occurs when an INFJ focuses primarily on their dominant intuition and tertiary thinking functions.

With a focus solely on their introverted functions, they can end up falling into a depression-like state where their outer world becomes insignificant. This is usually seen as the INFJ retreating from their outer surroundings by putting a halt on interacting with the people and environments around them.

However, not only do they pay less attention to those around them, they also become uncharacteristically cold, withdrawn and seemingly emotionless. This is where the contradiction of their normal empathetic, kind, and caring selves can become seriously confusing for some people.

Luckily, when they’re back to their normal selves, the INFJ can utilize their extroverted functions for a sense of balance. Once of which being..

3. Extroverted Feeling

Every personality type copes with and responds to emotions with a different approach. For some it can be more challenging, and for others the process isn’t given any thought. And then there are the INFJs, who tend to be much more comfortable with understanding the emotions of others over their own.

Thanks to their second most dominant cognitive function - extroverted feeling - learning the basic ways others process information and express themselves is the INFJ’s main focus when involved in an emotional situation.

They not only want to learn, they actually have no choice but to absorb the negative and positive energies of those around them. Whether it’s their coworkers, their family members, their romantic partner, or a stranger on the street - the INFJ can’t help but to tune in and ‘feel’ to the deepest degree necessary.

Sure, this can feel like a super power at times, but it can make deciphering their own emotions and feelings from that of others seriously confusing, especially when in a close relationship. It can make it difficult to really know what they want, why they want it, what they feel and why they feel it.

In other words, this emotional dilemma can end up making self-understanding a seriously complex thing for this personality type..especially if they don’t know they can blame some of these odd tendencies on their cognitive functions!

4. Heightened emotions due to blindsided body signals

Speaking of extraverted feeling and overstimulation, the externally-focused INFJ tends to experience an underlying disconnection to not only their emotions, but also their body signals. Missing meals, caffeine-crashing, ignoring low-social battery warnings, taking on more than their energy can handle..

The simple little signals our bodies send the INFJ everyday are often muffled somewhere in the background of their busy internal minds and their focus on the outer world. Now, this wouldn’t be so bad if this type wasn’t also considered highly sensitive. Meaning, these little occurrences may be subconsciously ignored, but they’re certainly not silenced.

In fact, it’s as if overtime these mental cues have had to find different ways of getting the INFJ’s attention. This is where random emotional bouts can come about. Feeling rather frustrated at that difficult client at work? Maybe it’s time for a snack.. Split a splash of coffee and realize you’re on the verge of tears? Maybe it’s time for some R & R.

5. They’re sensitive but don’t open up

INFJs are so good at burying emotions that they themselves forget where they hid them. Since the reserved and rather shy INFJ doesn’t really know how to express themselves outwardly most times, emotions can also end up getting set aside.

This can come from a fear of being judged or misunderstood, since they do often feel different from those around them. Or, it’s a protective mechanism of their logical side to guard their scarce emotional energies.

Whatever is to blame for their reluctance to share these deep-set emotions, sometimes the INFJ ends up missing out on some great conversations and opportunities for connections due to this closed-off nature. The worst part of it all is that right beneath their guarded surface is a want to open up freely, yet without the trust to do so, it’s the last thing an INFJ will do.

This realization alone can make them retreat from others as an auto-pilot reaction to avoid risking any type of slip-up or accidental exposing of their secretive emotional side. Luckily, this reluctance can fade once the INFJ finds a genuine connection that proves they can in fact start to open up about their own feelings and desires.

6. They’re much more emotional when putting themselves in other’s shoes

A big part of the INFJ’s experience with their famous empathetic and people-reading nature is that they tend to only truly feel when witnessing others feelings. Yes, we discussed previously that they tend to be more in-tune with other’s emotions over their own. However, this isn’t just with the people they meet.

In fact, sometimes INFJs can shock themselves by the sense of emotion they are overcome with when simply watching an emotional scene in a movie, reading an emotional chapter to a book or hearing something as simple as a hard-hitting song lyric.

When an INFJ can see the pain in someone’s face, sense the emotion in someone's voice or can imagine the feelings behind written words, they lose control of that emotional regulation. Similarly, INFJs can easily sense inconvincible emotions of actors or characters using this same empathy, which can actually ruin sentimental-intended pieces for this type.

When asked about watching movies in particular, one redditor said “I always just start analyzing the perspectives of the actors while they're acting and focusing on how they're regurgitating the screenplays they've memorized but with emotions and expressions, and whether it's believable or not.”

7. Their most emotional times are never witnessed by others

Reveal any emotional news to an INFJ and they’ll remain cool, calm and collected. With a tendency to automatically step into the position of grounding mediator, the INFJ consciously leaves emotions out of the picture for the sake of mental clarity.

Whether it’s a personal disappointment, a targeted wrong-doing, a family affair or an unfortunate announcement, this analytical type needs every detail before they give the slightest reaction. Once they have a good idea of what they’re working with, then they move onto the people involved.

Without first harmonizing their surroundings, the INFJ cannot take the time to begin processing everything themselves. If they are deeply affected and are no longer needed for any type of mediation, this private type will still wait until they’re behind closed doors before they really allow the absorption and processing stages to begin.

While this approach may seem slightly emotionless from the outside looking in, it’s the only way the INFJ can properly navigate emotional uproars in life.