Patterns and Causes of INFP Wounding

personalityhacker.com_INFP_Wounding

The depth in which an INFP can feel emotions is extraordinary. The INFPs ability to relate to humankind’s joy and struggle is what makes them so necessary to the planet as a whole. This wisdom and insight is where morals and standards of behavior are born, and without this gift of conscience the world would be lost. This conscience is what separates us from both machines and animals and allows us to have our uniquely important human experience. Thank heaven for INFPs!

But this depth of contribution comes with a very specific price: exhaustion. The pain of disconnect and the lack of kindness within the human race triggers INFPs into the “hero” mode, where they wear themselves out for the benefit of the greater good.  As the champions of sovereignty and individuality, INFPs get exhausted in the service of others, while denying these qualities within themselves.  

Only INFPs, and a few others, really understand the depth of value they offer to the world. The subtle way in which an INFP manipulates others’ emotions is masterful, and the end results can be wonderful. Those fortunate enough to be around healthy INFPs feel like they can achieve anything. The rich inner world of the INFP, and their interpretation of endless possibilities, can give us hope and a welcomed distraction in our times of struggle. They allow us an escape into a dream world where anything is possible, and in which we can feel safe and loved.

Healthy INFPs take it even further. They are masters at helping us choose a powerful story for our lives. They then follow it up by helping us build bridges from our current reality into a newly discovered story. And they do all this while facilitating us to stay authentic to the journey at hand. What a gift!

What most INFPs struggle with is to stay present and authentic to their own work when there is so much more that they “should” do for others. INFPs can even go so far as to sacrifice themselves, and live an inauthentic life, so that someone else can actualize their dreams. This, of course, eventually leads to resentment and emotional outbursts.

What stands in the way of full actualization of a balanced INFP is the following patterning:

Instead of setting boundaries according to what is authentic to them in real time, INFPs escape the outer reality into an inner fantasy land of infinite possibilities.

There’s one specific challenge that occurs here: relying solely on the inner world as a way of managing stress stops the INFP from building bridges between the inner and outer world. This causes a massive split in the INFP’s life, and can lead to feelings of loneliness, and a sense of disempowerment.

When an INFP reaches this point of split, the outer world starts feeling restrictive or suffocating, and freedom and sovereignty can only exist in the distractions of the inner world. This inner world freedom often takes on the form of stories – either the ones they make up or are found in books, movies, or repetitive board and computer games. This patterning of escaping into a story of infinite possibilities perpetuates the existing wounds and ironically stops the INFP from living authentically in the outside world. If unhealed, this kind of escapism can also lead to addiction and other obsessive compulsive behaviors.

The INFPs sovereignty and freedom in the outer world is tied into their level of consciousness regarding this tendency to split realities. In other words, the key is awareness of the inner and the outer worlds, as well as learning how to switch between the two. If these skills are not developed, the wounding and subsequent repetitive patterns will end up running the INFP’s life, knowingly or unknowingly.

As an INFP, if you wish to discover your own inner wounding, ask yourself if and when you are likely to exhibit one or more of the following:

  1. You feel out of control in your outer surroundings, and instead of addressing it, you feel powerless and withdraw into what others might call “procrastination mode”.
  2. You are deeply triggered when you are around people who try to assert power over others.
  3. You are overly flexible with your own time when serving others, but feel emotionally depleted afterwards.
  4. You escape the outer world by engaging in excessive reading or tv marathons.
  5. You feel indecisive, and commit to things only to pull out in the last minute, creating friction in your relationships.
  6. You feel criticized for being too emotional and for taking things too personally.

personalityhacker.com_INFP_Wounding_articleThese are just some challenges you may face as a wounded INFP. If these patterns are not understood and accepted, they will unconsciously continue to run your life leaving you feeling enslaved to the world. Allowing these wounds to run your life will result in a lack of authentic direction and purpose, and can make you feel overwhelmed and out of control.

All these wounding patterns develop early in childhood, usually in the imprint period, and a lot of these pain points can be traced back to life events of a very specific flavor. Here are some examples of how thes pain points may have come about:

  1. Observing people exercising authority over one another: in the family, in school, at work, and so on.
  2. Growing  up as a “non-person” to your parents. The severity of this wound can range from being raised by a narcissistic parent to having an old fashioned parent who believes that “children should be seen and not heard.”
  3. Accepting in your imprint period that you are responsible for how others around you feel. As a result you learn to manipulate people around you into feeling better, so that you can feel safe.
  4. Challenging a figure of authority (such as a parent or teacher) because they are misleading others, and then being berated for having done so. This usually takes place in a public forum, and you are left feeling that the world is against you. You may receive some support from the fringes, but still feel predominantly alone and powerless.
  5. Feeling like a constant underdog or a black sheep for saying what’s right and wrong, and standing up for people who are being bullied.

It’s not all bad news, though! Many have overcome these pain points to live a happy, authentic, and meaningful life.

David, one of my INFP clients struggled with the scarring of his childhood. David was the only male in the family, as his father had walked out on them. He was the constant target of his mother’s resentment regarding his father. As the pattern deepened, the mother became an unhealthy, manipulative, matriarchal figure of the family. She favored the girls categorically, holding David responsible for everything, including her own emotions and those of his sisters. David grew up resenting manipulative women. Having accepted that women were not safe to be around, he found it extremely difficult to find a mate that would love him unconditionally. The trust issues had been there from the very start of his life, and at some point David felt that it would just be easier to give up on the hope of a truly loving partner. Thankfully, with our inner parenting work, he persevered. He didn’t give up on his dream of a solid, creative, and loving family life where he could express himself freely and feel like he was a part of a proactive team. His dream girl arrived soon after he claimed his sovereignty and began living authentically according to his dreams.

Maria, another one of my INFP clients, had a very deep seated fear of being abandoned. This fear of abandonment came as the result of a strict father who had demanded much of her. She learned very early in her life that if her father’s demands were not met, he would withdraw his presence. As a result, Maria learned to gain her father’s presence and approval by performing at a certain level. This wound led to a cycle of perfectionism and exhaustion. In her early 20s Maria was diagnosed with adrenal exhaustion, and she was showing signs of clinical depression. Realizing that she could never possibly perform well enough to maintain the masculine presence at all times, she had effectively lost all her power and hope for a brighter future. I met Maria when she was 24. She worked through the INFx Unveiled course material and the first thing she recovered was her sense of hope. Soon after, she started feeling clear emotions again. And within 6 months of doing this work consistently, she had gained enough strength and clarity to start doing something for herself. She began submitting articles for online magazines. Now, 4 years later, she has written 2 books and is a regular contributor to magazines on and off line. Not only did she find herself again, she found her strong, beautiful, revered voice.

If you can relate to anything you have read so far, here are some action steps you can take right now to bring you the freedom, voice, and sovereignty you have been searching for:

  1. Commit to a weekly adventure where you take yourself out on a date and explore thepersonalityhacker.com_INFP_Merja_article city/country/forest/desert/suburb around you. Take a notebook with you and write down things that you find fascinating. Reserve 1-2 hours for this, and book it in the diary. Treat it like a medical appointment – this is imperative to your health.
  2. Take time to dwell on the fascination and wonder of the things you have written down, and produce a piece of expression relating to one of them. Give yourself a 30 minute time limit, so that you can learn to be precise about your expression.
  3. Finish all daily tasks at 80% done and then review if the task is good enough to be considered as finished. Will the extra 20% make a difference in the practicalities of the task? If not, don’t complete it. Make sure to draw parallels between your ideals and what is actually practical. This will help you draw attention to your perfectionist tendencies and it will teach you to let go of an attachment to a specific level of outcome.
  4. If you want to take a deeper dive into yourself, check out the INFx Unveiled course, which will help you understand and solidify your personal development more thoroughly.

 

Want to learn more?

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Showing 59 comments
  • Sam
    Reply

    Yes I feel this as well…. there is a constant push pull feeling with other people. I always feel that I am ready to stand up for others or notice the underdog, but when I am in need, no one can stand up for me or even notice my contribution. I have always felt slighted for my creativity. Sometimes solutions that I thought of would be hijacked by others and then the credit goes to them. And when I stand up for myself, I am deemed over-reactive or emotional ….

  • Alexandra
    Reply

    I couldn’t help but to leave a comment. I am an INFP too and am so thankful I have found someone’s article to relate to.
    I have occasionally always stepped into hermit mode during my free breaks in life but have always been worried if they were unhealthy. It was almost to the point where I do not answer any calls or any messages. The only time I ever got out of the house was when I had something of importance to settle or do. Even stepping outside the world for a few hours was already exhausting for me.

    The factors on childhood caught my eye too though. I wouldn’t spend much time explaining about my childhood. All I can say that it was tough too.

    Are you an INFP too, Merja? I would love to read more about your insight on INFPs if you have other articles to share.

  • Alexandra
    Reply

    I couldn’t help but to leave a comment. I am an INFP too and am so thankful I have found someone’s article to relate to.
    I have occasionally always stepped into hermit mode during my free breaks in life but have always been worried if they were unhealthy. It was almost to the point where I do not answer any calls or any messages. The only time I ever got out of the house was when I had something of importance to settle or do. Even stepping outside the world for a few hours was already exhausting for me.

    The factors on childhood caught my eye too though. I wouldn’t spend much time explaining about my childhood. All I can say that it was tough too.

    Are you an INFP too, Merja? I would love to read more about your insight on INFPs if you have other articles to share.

  • Mark
    Reply

    I love how much this article resonated with me. My story is basically the same as David’s with some parameters changed, being the only male in a family of manipulative, emotionally abusive women that did not give me any private space (and would routinely go through all my possessions).

    Understandably this had led to a lot of trust issues with women which I feel I am finally moving past through a mix of therapy and action. I have laid out my feelings of how I felt growing up in that household to them and that was met which such a violent reaction I have had to cut family members out of my life. Confronting them, standing up for myself and starting to move on was one of the hardest things I had to do and it was the best thing I have ever done in my life.

    INFPs have an amazing energy to offer this world, but I feel there is a lot of resistance to be conquered first. The challenge is well worth it. 🙂

    It is amazing to read all of your stories and wish you all the best on your journey!

  • Heather
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this information. I have left my emotional wounds unattended for so long, not knowing they were there until recently, that I believe these issues have manifested physically with rashes on my hands. They seem to increase with added stress and pressure I my life. Have you come across this before?

    • Merja
      Reply

      Hi Heather, yes, in fact, my mother (and I to some degree) gets bouts of psoriasis when under stress and deep-seated emotional issues. In my previous career as a master therapist of classical and orthopedic massage, I came across a lot of psychosomatic issues, as in emotional issues presenting as physical problems. You might find Louise Hay’s “You can heal your life” book interesting as a point of reference in your own journey, but please let me know if I can be of more assistance!

      Kindest regards, and happy 2018!

    • Attie
      Reply

      Oh my goodness! I just recently started getting eczema on my hands and feet. Around the same time I retreated to my house. It has become increasingly difficult for me to go out in public anymore. I have repressed my childhood wounds as well. I have been bullied and ridiculed aND thought love was supposed to hurt. But somehow I still don’t have a hate bone in my body. I am following my heart and little bit here and there. Currently learning art of reiki, I council my friends and I restore furniture. I had no idea that someone would ever be able to explain me to the point where I feel that I am reading my own story! Wish I had known about INFP when I was young. Thank you for mentioning the hand rash. It is all coming together very rapidly right now.

  • Mnmomma
    Reply

    Thank you so much Merja! I don’t think that I have ever read an article that resonates with me more than this one!!! My M. O. is that I tell myself that everything is all good! Life is wonderful! I’m a strong person! I’m realizing that I’m big into avoidance, and self sabotage. I do not establish boundaries with others in a effort to please them, but am often sacrificing my true feelings and even my ideals as a result. I have been struggling in all aspects of my life lately, and think I desperately need to look into your program. With divorce on the horizon, my way of dealing with problems… through avoidance and just not dealing with difficult situations is really taking its toll on me. Reading your article resulted in a huge “aha” moment for me, and I realized that I need to deal with this once in for all. Thank you so much…. I appreciate you!! ? ? ?

    • merja
      Reply

      Hey Mnmomma! Thank you for your comment! I’m here on the sidelines cheering you on as you embark on this journey of dealing with this! I got you!

  • Merja
    Reply

    Hi Maria, thank you for reaching out! I just want to say that yes, it’s hard for me to help you with your specific issue, and depending on a dysfunctional NHS is, I’m sure, of no help whatsoever. Maybe, if you are on facebook, you can check out an INFJ/INFP healing group (closed group) that was formed as a result of the INFx Unveiled course, and you may get some further and concrete support there. It’s a great place to start conversations on issues that are too complicated to deal with there in the outside world.

    Here’s the link to the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/212833542445150/

    Hang in there.
    Merja

  • Nach
    Reply

    What follows is a small piece of advice from an INTJ who has had her share of big struggles with highly developed Fi.

    One thing that is rarely highlighter is that INFPs (healthy or not) need to realise that they DO have a pronounced tendency to escapism AND self-deception. The first one is always mentioned, but not the latter.

    I have known a few males who were adept at “escaping to the future” (“la fuite en avant” in French). Most of them were aware of this problem, yet took the easiest route by running around in circles, trying to “collect” tokens of acceptance from any random people that they met, which ultimately did nothing but throw a smokescreen on the whole issue, so that they wouldn’t have to deal with the bottomline.

    I would say, instead of investing all their energy in having people “approve” of their faults, INFPs should use their knowledge of themselves and their weaknesses to activly work on becoming a better version of themselves.

    I’ve always found that for Introverted intuitives, INFPs place way too much stake into people’s opinions of INFPs, all the while pretending to “not really care”, “be independent”, “carefree” and other self-deceiving rambles. THIS inherent hypocritical double standard is precisely what gets people to reject them: they simply appear too vacant, fake, self-conflicted and unreliable, if not dangerously unstable/bi-polar.

    INFPs should simply avoid using their Ne to sabotage their authenticity: even if they don’t like who they are, they need to realise that they can never (successfully pretend to) be someone else. Instead, they should use their Ne to find ways to ASSERT their multifaceted authenticity in the outside world. Ultimately, that is the only constructive way to find their place and peace in society.

    • Dan
      Reply

      Thanks for your positive support. A very perceptible difference in tone to other commenters here.
      Has an INFP done something to upset you?
      If “asserting my multifaceted authenticity” will make me self assured in being only one with the solution, like how you come across, no thanks – I’d rather keep on dreaming thanks.

      INFPs want to promote positivity.

  • Mont
    Reply

    Such an insightful article! I relate so much to everything said, at least I think I do, I’m still trying to figure out whether I’m an INFP or ENFP. I’m wondering if there is a parallel article for the ENFP type? Thank you so much!

    • merja
      Reply

      Hey Mont, I’m not sure about a parallel article for ENFPs, but what you could do is change the roles around to facilitate that particular type, and you might gain some amazing insight from there! All the very best on your journey!

  • Brandon
    Reply

    I’m very glad I found this. My story is just like Davids’. I have 2 older sisters and a mother who favors them. I actully changed my name in my early 20s because I was a Jr, and after my my mom filed for divorce she spoke of my father with severe derision and persecution – then if she needed me or wanted my attention she would call me by the same name, and I would be seized with fear and anxiety. Even worse, I was responsible for her’s and one of my sisters happiness. I literally worked myself to exhaustion helping my mother and one of my sisters who was in a bad marriage. To make things even worse, my father was filled with psychopathic rage, would not let me suceed or even be right about actual provable facts. He was always busy woking in some way or another and I was not allowed to disturb him and if I did I could be slapped so hard that I often hit walls, furniture etc. Then I would be laughed at and ridiculed and if I cried I could be beaten for that if I didn’t run away fast enough. When my mother filed for divorce I was in my mid teens and thought my life would get better, and it did, but in a lot of ways the nature and type of abuse simply changed. Now dad was pathetic, emotionally manipulative, and – everything wrong in his life was someone elses fault, mostly my mother’s but he desperately wanted her back. I became my mother’s protector just as she was shifting her blaming and scapegoating from my father onto me. Her and my 2 sisters worked together to make me the familly scapegoat. I’d never been popular or understood even, but scapegoat and blacksheep were new roles. (My oldest sister was my father’s scapegoat – she is from my mother’s first marriage.)

    As you might imagine I turned to alcohol, and other drugs to numb my pain and stayed pretty chemically numb for about 10 years.(18 thru 28) Once I sobered up after about 10 years I had a very difficult time putting my life back together, (in a functional way) and while I was able to put together years of recovery I had a difficult time getting and keeping work. I now had all of the qualifications to be the family’s black sheep for evermore.
    I’ve actually learned alot allready about my personality and my family’s. (Thru the internet starting about 10 years ago.) I am the only introvert of the bunch. My mother is an unhealthy ESTP with narcissistic traits. She gaslights me. I’m very reactive and get loud and obnoxious if somebody tries to hurt my mother, or abuses me or anyone else. I still have problems keeping jobs for very long and am dependant on my mother for a place to live. As I have become more aware I have shared my knowledge with her and she is actually trying hard to be nicer. She actually likes my compnionship though, and that is evidenced by her sabotaging my relationships and efforts to become independant. One of her favorite tricks is to create a big blowup and yell at and berate me just prioor to job interviews or work which makes it almost impossible to keep a level head while there when I leave the house hysterical. She also quits buying me anything, including food, gasoline, car insurace etc. In fact she goes out on shopping and beauty service buying sprees, eats out then claims that she doesn’t have any money. And oh yeah, when she’s in this behavior mode she never has left overs to bring home. I’ve seen the same pattern for 30 years and know it is happening, but feel helpless to escape the situation. I’m completely isolated now, have anxiety, depression and physical health problems that keep me dependent. I feel hopeless and helpless most of the time. I am completely isolated, Sometimes weeks pass without anyone but her to talk to. I do take anti depressants, which is the only way I have survived, but they make me emotionally numb. I know they are slowing my progress recovering, but I don’t dare attempt going without them. I take Buproprian (450MG/day) and Escitalopram (20MG/day). I take many meds trying to feel somewhat normal. At least I’m not suicidal anymore.

    It does help that I am aware now of how what and why she does the things she does. It was learning about covert narcissistic traits and gaslighting that really opened my eyes to what is really happening to me and how she keeps me under control. (But it’s taken 10 years).

    I have a secret bank account now, saving for an escape. I used to hide money in books untill my mom found some of it (3 $100 bills), then over the next 2 weeks she found all my stashes. I had been taking benzos and Gabapentin for 3 years prior so she assumed I had just forgotten where I’d put my money. She never said a word, she just took it, and I never said a word either. She’s not hurting for money either with a house that’s paid for, investment property and 3 retirement streams, (2 provided by my father, and her own social security.) But nothing in savings, she’s never been able to save. I have nothing but rags to wear, I even cut my own hair now. If she sends me to the store she demands receipts and asks me every few days how much money I have so that I can’t bank any. I’ve even sold some of my own property in the past, only to see her get ultra stingy. She’ll pay minor medical bills and buy my precriptions, but if I sell something or say $300 dollars, she’ll stop untill she’s forced me to spend it. The whole reason I was hiding money in books was so because I rarely get the chance to leave the house on my own, unless I am on an errand for her. Pathetic, I know. If I read this and it had been written by someone else I would doubt it was possible to be in that situation and not have the power to just up and leave. It’s taken a whole lifetime to learn to feel so helpless. I used to run myself ragged working for my mother and sister, trying, hoping for just a thank you or some outpouring of love, but they eventually came to expect it with no thought of a kind word. I can hardly bring myself to do anything anymore, even for myself. The one thing I can control still is my own stubornness. (This just occurred to me a few months ago.)

    I came across this link tonight while I was looking (Googling) for other INFPs with (unhealthy) ESTP mothers. While I relate to almost all that I read, Dave’s story sounds so simmilar to mine, that I had to share, I really thought I was the only one. I was only going to write a few lines.

    • Merja
      Reply

      Brandon, thank you for your candid sharing and your “few lines”. Much appreciated! All the very best on your journey! Keep going!

  • C.
    Reply

    This page is mmm my whole life. I feel enlightened.

  • Patricia
    Reply

    I can really relate to your frustration Sara. When I am in that state I remember one of my teachers recommending chanting Sanskrit mantras as a healing modality. It brings peace, energy and gradually dissolves the issues. I highly recommend it.

  • Misha
    Reply

    I am an ENFP and I could relate and learn from this too, thank you!

  • Su.B
    Reply

    Hi everyone,
    I’ve been trying my whole life to figure out who am I and how my inner life is working, by constantly questioning and exploring myself and others through the endless waves of emotions and feelings I experienced. I often felt misunderstood, as I was torn between a ravaging amount of internal chaos unmercifully assessed by an ethical clock, and a deeply painful experience of the world as I could feel and see everything. I was raised by narcissistic father (not sure what his type is) and a ESFJ mother, I grew up feeling like they constantly wanted to cut out pieces of me to make a certain kind of person out of me, without any regard to what I wanted or how I felt about it. that engraved a profound sense that something was wrong with me, and I received the wrong message about how to deal with mistake and failure. Paradoxically, I always had an excessively optimistic voice screaming out that the world is a marvelous place, if only people would be more gentle and comprehensive to each other.
    As I grew up, I grew more and more aware of my mechanisms, and constantly worked on myself to try to reach balance. I’ve made some great progress recently as I grew more spiritual, and I’m looking forward to feeling better! Not so long ago, a friend told me about this personality classification, and I feel like it will be life changing! reading about my type helped better see what am I, and thus better understand who am I.
    I’ll be an architecture graduate in two months, I feel like I’ve gone a long way in trying to heal my wounds, but I still need some help with my self-esteem, motivation, and time management.
    I feel like I have so many things to give to the world, if I only knew how to sort out my feelings and thoughts, and know how to better be in the real world.
    So, please, if you could write an article about how INFPs manage their time, and sustain their motivation, or just a reply to my comments, I’ll be forever grateful!
    And thank you anyway.

    • Merja
      Reply

      Hi Su.B, and many thanks for your comment, and your candid sharing of your childhood.

      Perhaps Joel and Antonia have already covered this subject, but if not, I will send a message with your article topic request to my assistant, and see when we could book it into our article schedule. As you can imagine, we get a lot of requests for articles, and we do the best we can with facilitating those requests.

      Wishing you all the very best with your graduation! 🙂

  • Maria
    Reply

    I can’t believe how accurate this is. The biggest underlying issue I grew up with was being adopted at birth, and it left me with a lot of abandonment issues (Instead of seeing the true positives in it growing up, I only saw that someone didn’t want me and handed me over) Any advice for being fully aware in my adult life and still being so insecure? It’s made relationships growing up very hard to put my entire heart into it and just live in constant fear. Im married now, but I still get those stretches of time when I just feel like he’s going to decide Im not enough and just let me go.

    • Merja
      Reply

      Hey Maria, and many many thanks for your comment. Self parenting will break this fear of abandonment. Have you had a chance to look at INFx Unveiled? I really recommend that you consider investing in it. The course is all about self parenting for INF types.

      Wishing you all the very best
      Merja

  • Mn
    Reply

    I shed tears reading this..
    Past experiences was all flashing up.
    I already knew what memories have been my wounds but I have never known the consequences of those. I think I am going to succeed in changing several unconscious unhealthy behaviors.
    Thank you, truly 🙂

    • merja
      Reply

      Hi Mn, thank you for your comment. I’m glad the work is of assistance! 🙂

  • Svetlana
    Reply

    Thank you for this article, Merja! I have a question. Can an INFJ relate to these traumas/have similar experience? I’ve read your article on INFJs but only some of the things you talked about sound like what I experienced before 20 (mostly perfectionism and sensitivity to repetitive sounds). But now that I’m 24 I feel I relate to this article more.
    It’s not only the traumas but my views on life, how I feel and behave seem to be somewhat more like INFP. (I can’t be 100% sure I’m INFJ but I think I used INFJ’s functions till I was 20-21, so I guess I must be one).
    I might also have developed AVPD, maybe this influenced my personality?

    • merja
      Reply

      The two INF types, while the cognitive functions are different, tend to manifest things in a very similar manner in life. Every person on the planet have the same traumas, but just to varying degrees. What this means is that everybody can, at some level, relate to everybody else’s trauma – they may just not be aware of it. This is especially true for introverted intuitive feeler types, because we can pick up others’ feelings.

      Overall in life, we tend to over-identify with things that we feel apply to us to some degree. If going down the route of investigating AVPD feels like the right thing to do for you right now, then please make sure to do what’s right for you. It’s important to remember, among all this personal development, that in the core, we are still here, as humans, having a human experience and that a part of that experience is to bring out inner beauty into the outer world.

      I hope my intention of assistance to you comes across this text, as I feel that there is so much more that goes unaddressed here. Unfortunately my time is limited, but I trust that you would find the exercises in the INFx Unveiled course a helpful in working through the confusion. Hope this helps! 🙂

  • Albert
    Reply

    Merja, is it possible for a INFP to determine if they are truly following there authentic self or are they just following a path that is only meant to help others? Where is the cut off Line?

    • merja
      Reply

      There is, and it takes a lot of practice. INFPs tend to know “in hindsight” what the authentic path for them was, so the key is to acknowledge how you felt when you realised that you were doing something for others rather than yourself, and then commit to doing something other than the same in the future. Because INFPs are naturally more present emotion -oriented people (rather than future), it is possible that your negative feelings about realising you are just people pleasing will overtake your attention and stops you from planning for future success. Learn to use your co-pilot – Exploration – to take over in these situations and say, well, this is how I’m feeling, but it may not be the whole truth of the matter. So, I’m going to acknowledge my innermost hurts, but then I’m going to move on to things and thoughts that are going to change this for me in the future. Maybe there’s a boundary here that I could enforce.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  • Tan
    Reply

    I’m an INFP who used to take pride in being inspirational, action oriented and innovative. However, lately I feel very disconnected from what I thought were my goals and feel an inability to identify what I really want out of life. I know perfectionism is stifling me into inaction and I am trying to work through that. I also know that I have some resentment issues regarding my parents, I am also working (internally) through that. I was bullied quite badly at school so know that too has impacted my confidence & sense of worthiness.
    I just really want to achieve but feel such apathy towards my goals and ‘stuckness’ as a result of not pushing forward with them. I am watching life slip through my fingers despite knowing I am a very capable person.
    I have written & rewritten lists to ascertain what passions are, I’ve tried letting go and seeing if something arises when I place less pressure on myself, I’ve tried connecting with nature, I’ve tried generating fun in my life but still I am stuck.
    Any assistance would be hugely appreciated as I really don’t know what to do. Much love for all that you do ?

    • merja
      Reply

      Hi Tan, thank you for reaching out. When I read your message, I got an urge to have you look at a very specific piece of work and see if that resonates with where you are at the moment.

      That sense of apathy can be so stifling, especially if you are used to being active from an innovative and inspirational space. It sounds to me like you may have reached what Peter Hagerty calls purpose perpendicular point – a point where you are beginning to move away from yourself and as a result your purpose path as well.

      Here is the link to the video. Let me know if I can be of further assistance!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK9MAZS_ecU&feature=youtu.be

      • Tan
        Reply

        Thank you for taking time to share this with me Merja. I appreciate it very much. Much love ?

  • Natalie
    Reply

    I think I am an INFP,but until recently I thought I was an INFJ. Still not 100% sure because there are many similarities on the surface. Idealism, perfectionism, seeking peace/harmony, helping others but neglecting self. I identify with the INFP cognitive functions, but am always helping others with their emotins. And I think all the time, though I wonder if it isn’t the authenticity meeting my imagination! I am much better now, and am in a healthy spot. Still, I’d like to know if this course will make a bigger distinction between each type in terms of healing. Or is it general enough for both types?

    • merja
      Reply

      Hi Natalie, thank you for your message! The course will address both types separately, while drawing differences and parallels between the types. By the sounds of where you are, it might in fact be exactly the right match for you! But, like all Personality Hacker programmes, this one also has a 30 full satisfaction guarantee. Please let us know if you need more help deciding. Have a great day! 🙂

  • Delvi
    Reply

    Oh god…… It really hits me hard…. the first reaction when i read this was crying. it’s like someone finally get it… all the time why did i do some of the things (like flexibility of time while serving other that end up in backlash as my emotion got depleted) because i though (sometime still do) if i didn’t help someone…. if i didn’t try proof something to them…. they would abandon me, that i have no worth for them…. that i am not allowed to be alive…. . that’s not only that but that was one of prominent one, but still thank you.. thank you so much for addressing it , it means a lot to me

    • merja
      Reply

      Hi Delvi, thank you for your feedback and your raw sharing. Have a good day! 🙂

      • Caitlin
        Reply

        Hi Delvi, I am so on the same page as you. When I read these articles it feels like for the first time in my life I am understood and known to the very depth of my core, something that just unfortunately seems to be impossible for anyone in my life no matter how close we are, how kind they are, or how well I articulate my inner experiences.

        I also have had abandonment anxiety for most of my adult life, and it seems like a hell INFPs might be more likely to experience? My anxiety attacks start with a deep existential depression about not being emotionally connected with others, and spiral because I become so afraid that in that depressed state with nothing to offer others, no joy or hope, no one will want to connect with me again. When I am not experiencing anxiety I often also feel ‘good person imposter syndrome’ where despite how much I do to support other I question whether I am really a good person deep down or am just doing things to convince myself that I am.

        If anyone has any suggestions for dealing with abandonment anxiety I would definitely welcome them, I might try the course in this article.

        In my life I go out of my way to demonstrate radical acceptance and love for other people’s difficult emotions, to hold unconditionally safe space for them, to help them process and articulate them so they can go forth with strength and self-love. I know it is a blessing for them and it warms my heart and gives me purpose more than anything, but I also know I do it to make myself feel soothed – to show that what I crave most is possible – someone who can hold safe space for, love and understand even the deepest and most difficult feelings I might experience.

        The other silver lining to the difficult journey I, and I imagine other here too, have been on is that I have no tolerance for shaming or dismissing other people’s emoitons, and will stand up for the validity of other peoples feelings and experiences. I love that I have the conviction to do that and hope it helps empower others to do the same. I also make it clear to people around me that I will not tolerate them using dismissive or shaming language when talking about my feelings – i’ve been through enough not to at least validate my own emotional experiences. How we action or articulate them is something we can work and improve on, but the feelings themselves are an organic reaction and should never be shamed or dismissed.

  • Marca
    Reply

    Hello: when is the childhood imprint period that you refer to?

    • merja
      Reply

      Hi Marca, the imprint period is predominantly between 3 and 7 years of age, but can start from birth and continue until teenage years, depending on the severity of the experience. Hope that helps. 🙂

  • Ela Gulati
    Reply

    I really need help lol. Please can I contact you Merja? Please

    I’m struggling and lost.

    • merja
      Reply

      Hi Ela,

      Thank you for your message. I can’t promise that I will have time to address your issue specifically, but if you would like to email us at coachingwithmerja@gmail.com with your top 3 challenges right now and your time zone, my assistant may be able to assist you, or give you resources that might help you. It can take several weeks for me to get to answer specific queries, and this is why I have an assistant who can look after people in a hurry. If you are in an urgent need of help, please make sure to contact a health professional close by, who is able to help you immediately. Take care of yourself. 🙂

  • Kaitlin O'Neill
    Reply

    This is lovely. It hits home so hard…

    • merja
      Reply

      Hi Kaitlin, I’m glad you found it valuable. Have a great day.

  • Sara
    Reply

    My utmost deepest gratitude for addressing this topic!
    I have a question though and since I’m an INFP I’m going to be a bit personal but maybe some INFP’s can relate.
    Basically I have lost myself in healing for a long time. I have been attending to my wounds so much that healing is not doing it for me anymore!
    I’m actually going to therapy that specializes in trauma-treatment but after every session the same thoughts keeps coming to me. “Enough already! I already know this, I heard it so many times. I’ve been healing this wounds for ten years now and every time I saw it shut, it just keeps opening up again.” So for me healing becomes exhausting.
    I’m not afraid or scared of my demons, I have no problem dealing with them and I even think I cozied up to a few of them. I’m just sick of them and tired of having them in my life and not doing anything to try to get them to leave makes me feel even worse.

    So my questions are: Do I have to keep on healing even though it makes me tired both mentally and physically?
    And if so, how to I keep my motivation to do that?

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      Have you heard the PH podcast on the HAT model (Healing, Achievement, Transcendence)? It’s our ‘take’ on when one component of personal development stops working for you. It may help answer this question.

      https://www.personalityhacker.com/podcast-episode-0063-healing-achievement-transcendence/

      -A-

      • Sara
        Reply

        Yes I have, long time ago, and it gave me some really useful insights that I’ve been trying to achieve and transcend without being aware of it. I throw myself into change. Changing majors, changing cities, going abroad, finding new healthcare strategies and I’ve even learned 3 new languages just because I want to do something else then just being stuck in myself.
        I think I’ve tapped into the transcendence part too where I did a whole lot of soul searching and somewhere here I found your podcasts which helped tremendously 🙂 But all my wholehearted effort never gave me anything that lasted long enough for me to feel that I actually accomplished something. Of course it wasn’t all bad. I learned a lot and I’m not regretting my actions. However I keep coming back to the feeling that that my inner wounds are stopping me from true achievement. Even though I deal with them, they are holding me back. So on top of it being exhausting it’s also frustrating.

        I feel like I’m rambling which is coming from my frustration. This was not my intention.
        I simply wanted to point out that the entire HAT model is not working for me and I can’t figure out why. Is there another aspect of the HAT way that I’ve simply missed out on?

        • Maia
          Reply

          I relate to that, Sarah. I’m like trying and discovering new perspectives and healing strategies that never seem to have the expected outcome – that is, to feel finally healed. Well, I think that’s the problem: to expect that outcome. Lately I seem to reach this conclusion every time: we can learn to live together with our wounds, but don’t expect for them to go away forever. Maybe also because our self awareness, we’ll always find deeper wounds to heal, and better perspectives to deal with them… It’s like a never ending process. The good news is that the frustration and exhaustion always leads to a new exciting perspective, and so to deeper knowledge, and you know, more authenticity. Maybe it doesn’t feel like it, but we actually are progressing and improving through this journey. What do you think?

          • merja

            Hi Maia, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the topic. The beauty of discovering your purpose through healing your wounds is, as you said, never ending. Discovering different levels of wounding guides you deeper and deeper into the purpose of your life. This is such a wonderful gift!

            Thank you for your input!

    • Moon
      Reply

      This article is phenomenal! Thank you so much for helping me get how to get out of my inner world to continue healing! As an Infp this is priceless.

      • merja
        Reply

        Hi Moon, you’re very welcome. I’m glad you found it valuable.

    • Merja
      Reply

      Hi Sara, I hear you. I’m going to be brief, as my time is limited – I’m in transit. Your body is most often right if she is sending you specific messages. Listen to her. It sounds to me that you are at a pivotal point of the journey, at which you discover your life’s true purpose and rather than keep exploring your pain points, you are ready to give them a meaning and a subsequent job.

      Does that resonate?

      • Sara
        Reply

        Sorry, English isn’t my first language so it took me a while to understand. Yes, you’re on to something. I’ll give this some serious thought and hopefully figure out my next move. Thank you both for your replies!

        • merja
          Reply

          Pleaseure! Have a great day Sara!

    • Grace
      Reply

      I recommend reading the book ‘The Untethered Soul’ by Michael Singer. I’m an INFP too, and nothing else has helped me let go as much as this book. The more I grow and develop, the more I realise that happiness comes when you stop trying to control things that are out of your control, and stop holding onto memories which will never change. When you surrender to life and see where it takes you instead of trying to take life into your own hands and pull it your own way.

      Michael explains this much better than I can, and I really think it will help you, it’s a highly regarded book and easy to understand too.

      He has a speech on youtube called ‘Mindfulness as a way of life’ which gave me so many aha moments, and it’s so beautiful and comforting to listen to. You could listen to that first if you don’t want to get the book.

      Hope this helps you!

      • Cindy
        Reply

        Grace, Thank you for that reminder. I read The Untethered Soul a few years ago and felt the same. Time to re-read! Another huge assist for me was The Presence Process. Available in paperback only. The low cost is deceiving.

    • David Pannell
      Reply

      Dear Sara – as a fellow INFP I can easily relate to your frustration. For me, things changed when I took the demanded-ness and expectation out of my “healing.” In other words, I began to see my own struggles and challenges as something to “take care of” rather than “get over.” My struggles are a rich part of who I am, and they make it possible for me to be with and to help others. So, we just take care of whatever arises, without any sort of demand that it be over, done, and so on. That’s all. I hope this may be useful for you, as it has for me and many others. Peace, David.

    • Elena
      Reply

      Hi Sara, I see that you have tried various methods for healing and are not finding any peace in your life. You seem to be struggling to find answers and solutions and I hope that you find my response helpful. “Cast all your cares upon me, for I care for you” says God (1 Peter 5:7) When He (God) created us he placed that void in us, a relentless desire to find purpose. I think that you are a special being with a past and future that God has seen and can use for his glory! Just test Him, seek him out, He will not disappoint!!

    • Wm.
      Reply

      Hey … just ran across your post. I’m an INFP…and a therapist, and I too have a hx. The short answer is, yes… please continue healing. It does take a lot of hard work, sacrifices, and at times seems never ending. The person you’re fighting for, is yourself. I think we both know INFP’s never give up on themselves.. peace

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