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You know you’re a Feeler when you’ve been working hard and doing well, but in the end, the only thing that made you feel truly good about yourself was helping someone who felt bad. Type is all about how you feel, really. You can become good at Thinking or Sensing as an INFJ, at least decently so, but the question is, what energy, purpose, or value does Sensing and Thinking give you? Type is all about flow, and those that try too hard to compensate for their weaknesses may find themselves feeling understimulated and stuck in a bad rut. We’ve all heard about the INFJ Ni-Ti loop. But there’s a lot more underneath the iceberg.

The Enneagram, I’ve found, is about blocks and issues in finding and maintaining this flow. The Enneagram fixation becomes stronger the more attached we are to acting in ways that are counterintuitive to our needs and values. The Enneagram discusses emotional states that are less than ideal. The 2s pride comes from the underappreciation towards one’s own interests and hobbies. The 4s nostalgia comes from the neglect of their present self and their new values and interests. The 8s lust comes from a lack of personal boundaries and disrespect towards one’s own needs.

INFJ Enneagram 1

Don’t be fooled that your Intuition and your vision only has value if it can be used to drive forward objective, measurable results. Learn to value and appreciate the existential, healing, and interpersonal qualities of your journey too. If you become hyperfocused on pushing forward and showing results for your efforts, you might lose motivation and passion, and this can make you struggle with perfectionism. The lesson should be to refocus from the question of what results your vision can bring you to what lessons you can learn and what impact you can have on other people as a result of your vision.

INFJ Enneagram 2

It’s great to feel good about what you do, live with integrity, and be true to your values and beliefs. But you don’t have to compromise your existential interests and your more Intuitive hobbies for the sake of other people. Too many INFJ-2s decide to live a purely traditional and limited life in accordance with their parents and friends expectations. INFJ: while it may be difficult to explain your visions and ideas to others, trust that your ideas and visions can bring a great deal of good to the world and to the people you care about overtime. While it may seem like just a hobby, even an innocent hobby can end up having an enormous impact in the world.

INFJ Enneagram 3

INFJ-3, just because it’s happening in your head, does not make it any less real. The work you do does not have to translate into a happy, cheering audience. You don’t have to work overly hard to be seen or to show other people how hard you work. You don’t have to always be on for other people. Take the time to unwind and to detach and see for yourself the existential value of what you do, and appreciate the things you do, even the things nobody else knows about.

If you try too much to get other people to appreciate you, you will only overwhelm yourself. INFJ-3s often struggle with coming home and recognizing their need for downtime. They often feel that downtime is time wasted, when in fact, downtime is time to center, to gain insight, and to process the lessons you have learned throughout the day.

INFJ Enneagram 4

INFJ-4s often feel bad about not being more stress-tolerant, resilient, and successful. The INFJ-4 may feel weak or inferior in comparison to those that can be more structured and pragmatic, wishing they also had the energy, power, and productive capacity of these types.

The INFJ-4 can idealize those who have power, but at the same time, struggle with resentment towards those that are more successful. This is because the INFJ-4 is strongly aware that their values and interests are often in direct opposition to the establishment. In this, the INFJ-4s are constantly juggling whether they should stay true to themselves or whether they should just “toughen up” and be more realistic. Sometimes, there can be a feeling that society is rigged and that you can’t realize your intuition and feeling because society doesn’t care. Then it is important to connect with like-minded spirits who dream just like you do.

At the same time, an INFJ can be truly romantic in the pursuit of their vision, because even though they try to push away or ignore their hero’s calling, this only makes their dreams more intense: so should they stay true to their ideals, they can become true visionaries and adventurers. Often, the INFJ-4 is fighting to realize that they already possess what they need to succeed; they don’t have to become something they are not. What you are is already enough.

INFJ Enneagram 5

INFJ-5 visions always appear impossible in the beginning. Don’t get stuck in the drawing stages. Don’t let small technical issues and questions of strategy get in the way. Realize that many of the problems you see will be solved along the way, and you can survive great hardship for your ideas and your Intuition. Too many INFJs will become obsessed with answering unanswered questions and solving technical problems. The stinginess of the 5 is found in that the INFJ will refuse to spend energy or to invest until someone proves to them that they can profit from it.

INFJ-5s will often become uncommunicative, thinking they can’t move forward until they have solved the problem. Here’s another issue: A lot of the problems INFJs are obsessing over can only find answers with an open and prolific mind, the mind of a person who lives the vision the INFJ-5 is waiting to start. The popular theory about Ni-Ti loops explains this well: The Ni-Ti loop reveals the desire to prove their thoughts through evidence and critical thinking and to move rationally towards an impulse that is in its nature irrational.

Often, the Ni-Ti loop will serve the opposite role of what Intuition is supposed to provide the INFJ. The INFJ will shoot down their visions and dreams and aspirations and deem them as “impossible,” and then find themselves locked in the status quo. By the time the INFJ has proven that their vision was indeed rational, it may be too late to go for it, and they bear the disappointment of a missed opportunity.

INFJ Enneagram 6

INFJs are very insecure about their Thinking and lack of complete Accuracy (Ti). They are speculative types – philosophical types – that deal with “what-could-be” and “what might become.” There are never any perfect, absolute answers, and INFJs ideally answer with estimations, theories, and suggestive foresight.

The INFJ-6 will often be far too bound by the system, and will only give space to personal intuitions and ideas when they can fit within the system’s external demands and within some frame of logic. The INFJ-6 will discount anything outside the structure. The insecurity of the 6 can drive the INFJ-6 towards taking shelter behind other people or systems with the line of reasoning: “If my ideas fail, the system will protect me. But if my ideas go outside the system, and they fail, I will not have the system to protect me.” So, the INFJ-6 becomes tempted only to explore ideas accepted by whatever system is around them. If a friend says it’s a good idea, it’s go-time, but if they dislike it, an INFJ-6 might become insecure and full of doubt.

INFJs can become insecure about their ideas, thinking they must take more time to explain and prove their theories to the world. But this pursuit can cut them off from their passion – which is to share and use their theories to guide other people. While the INFJ-6 tests their theories, they often feel too insecure to apply their Intuition to better the world. Often, what they must realize is that the answers do not have to be perfect, or right in all situations. They only have to be right more often than they are wrong.

INFJ Enneagram 7

INFJs benefit by rallying and convincing other people to follow them in their visions and existential journeys. If INFJs do not share their processes, experiences or discoveries, they do not get the same value or meaning out of their journey as they could have gotten. INFJ-7s constantly carry this feeling of emptiness, as they move bravely and intuitively. Their Intuition can feel lonely if they forget about their Feeling Copilot – Harmony (Fe). Typically, they can remedy this loneliness and emptiness if they can let their visions and ideas have an impact on, but also be influenced by, other people.

When INFJs forget to explore their Intuition and visions in this way – without sharing them with other people and without using their lessons and insight to make the world a better place – they can feel the sting of emptiness. The mistake here is assuming that their journeys or ideas have no value and that there is always a better idea, which suggests that the INFJ-7 is not looking closely enough and not taking the time to appreciate what value their ideas have to offer.

INFJ Enneagram 8

In the INFJ-8 is a person with an intense lust for a global mission or vision. The INFJ-8 is ready to set aside personal comforts and peace for the sake of a productive life in service of their values and their ideals. But often, the INFJ-8 gets caught in the trap of pursuing and championing ambitions and ideas of other people. While this gives power and influence that is usually positive for the INFJ-8, it can cloud their judgment and awareness. They lose the big picture when they become sucked into the day to day demands of being a leader or inspirational figure. In this scenario, INFJ-8s may compromise their health and well-being and find themselves driven to burnout. Not recommended.

The INFJ-8 may become the weapon or the true representative of a collective vision and mission. But in thinking that they constantly have to work for other people, they may be missing out on crucial downtime and self-reflection hours. And there’s a risk here that in charging forward blindly without connecting to their higher awareness and Intuition, can result in taking on visions and missions that are unrelated to their real purpose and life philosophy.

INFJ Enneagram 9

Finally, the INFJ-9 is often a highly creative type, but with an overfocus on Accuracy (Ti). INFJ-9s may use their Thinking to anticipate problems and criticisms that others will have to their ideas, shooting down our own creativity. The INFJ-9 will keep looking for a good idea, but will typically end up abandoning and becoming critical of plans too quickly, making it hard for them to express their ideas in a structured and proactive manner.

The INFJ-9 diagnoses everything they think and is constantly readjusting their ideas and checking for options or alternative ways to advance their vision. This tendency to stall never gives them the focus they need for their Intuition to gain enough speed and force. The INFJs vision can bring significant change and growth in the world, but it can also spark conflict, and the INFJ-9 is seeking a vision that will bring change without tension and conflict. However, no such idea exists, and so, the INFJ-9 may find themselves on an impossible quest, full of ideas, but no idea “good enough” “big enough” or “peaceful enough” for the limitations we may force upon it.

INFJ Social Instinct

The fear of isolation and exclusion can be just as real in the INFJ as in all people. In all of us, the consequence is that this fear can alter our behavior and our self-expression. INFJs can get caught in the mirroring trap: instinctively, they will reflect whatever it is that other people want to see. On reflex, the INFJ may say and do things that other people will appreciate. Their Extraverted Sensing (“Sensation”) can take over here, and in the grip, it’s easy just to mold themselves to environmental expectations.

People confuse Harmony (Fe) with over-adaptiveness, but regular mirroring and social street flow are often found more in Sensation (Se). The INFJ-Social subtype carries an acute awareness of how different they are from other people, and this drives them to cover up and hide their quirks from other people in social situations. INFJ-Social subtypes become prone to mirroring other people, echoing what they say, taking on their hobbies and energy, and becoming social chameleons.

The INFJ-Social subtype may feel that anyone can like them, while simultaneously believing that they don’t fit in anywhere. The INFJs Intuitive mind remains hidden from most people, and only they themselves realize what they are hiding inside. These personas drain and overwhelm the Social subtype INFJ, causing them to retreat to a private space where their hidden weirdness can come out unchecked.

INFJ Sexual Instinct

The feeling of never being truly safe and at peace around other people is strongest in the sexual INFJ. INFJ-Sexual subtypes will pursue intensity in relationships, in an effort to find that genuine state of comfort and connection, where they can finally relax around the other person. But in the pursuit of this experience, the INFJ-Sexual subtype may become overly adaptive, which can put other people on edge.

The sexual subtype INFJ is often overly-accommodating, trying too hard to mirror and to make other people feel comfortable at the expense of their own personal discomfort. INFJs usually have an awareness of discomfort and pain in other people. They can see when someone is walking funny, or in distress, or when someone is struggling with something, and the INFJ nature is to accommodate and to aid, almost overly so.

The INFJ-Sexual subtype is a healer and a counselor of high intrapersonal intelligence, but their visions and ideas are often clouded by the ideal of working through other people. Possibly due to too much modesty, the INFJ-Sx feels it is not their role to do something. Change must come, but it is going to have to come from someone else – someone who is more worthy. But there is a risk of setting oneself up for disappointment here: nobody can achieve your dreams but you, and in the end, the candidates you choose will always end up pursuing their own purpose, not yours. If an idea has come to you, it is because that idea is yours to achieve.

INFJ Self-Preservation Instinct

I’ve found INFJ-Self-Preservation subtypes to be overly attached to security and harmony, at the expense of not pursuing personal visions and values that may put security and harmony at risk. There is a need to realize that there is a higher order and harmony in everything and that you are a natural part of that. If you trust your vision and your values, that can eventually bring peace and security to the world. However, there is a need here to let go of comforts and stability. To expose yourself and to be vulnerable.

Your Emotions Tell You About Your Balance

Notice how each Enneagram reveals the true nature of an INFJ. Sure, they can try to behave differently, they can hide certain aspects of themselves, and they can get caught up in social masks and expectations from work or family, but in the end, how the INFJ feels about these masks and these expectations is the most revealing thing.

If an INFJ learns to recognize their emotions, they can also recognize imbalances and issues with their less developed functions. This way, the INFJ can take control over their mental processing and start using it for their benefit. Perhaps the confusion or nostalgia INFJs feel has a deeper hidden message: they look for happiness in all the wrong places.

 

 

The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this website do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of Personality Hacker, its team, or affiliates.

Showing 5 comments
  • Chelsea Welch
    Reply

    I really liked this post. Although I found a bit of myself in each of the 9 Enneagram types, I still identified most strongly with Type 4. The issue I ran into was with the instinctual variants. I felt that I could equally relate to all three of them. Would be nice to have more clarity around that aspect of the system!

    • Antonia Dodge
      Reply

      Beatrice Chestnut’s theory is that your instinct and your type create a unique subtype, which is why it’s so difficult to try and identify them separately. A 4so is going to look very different than a 6so, and may not even identify as social until they spot their unique subtype. We recorded a video with her on it: https://www.facebook.com/PersonalityHacker/videos/1597010663654441/

      -A-

    • Helen
      Reply

      Chelsea, I have been deeply immersed in the Enneagram for 9 years and typing myself has been very challenging! Some Teachers believe we have two dominant types and I am wondering if INFJ’s have three dominant, making their inner world complex and difficult to describe. On the car model this could may map out as SP4 and SO5 in the driver seat (the 50/50 mix of emotions and thinking dominance) and SX9 in the co-pilot position. This would give strong access to all three instincts. In Tritype theory (which is similar to but not what I’m describing) 459 is known as ‘The Contemplative’. The Contemplative feels to me like Perspectives. INFJ’s main growth comes from clear boundaries and this is definitely true for 9’s and 5’s. In Tritype theory a 459 would be dominant in one of the types and maybe that works for the population at large but for an INFJ we may actually be dominant in all three types.

      If I am right that INFJ’s are dominant in three types, one of each instinct, this means we do potentially have access to all types and all instincts.

      I can look at typing in several other ways using different theories from different teachers and this has made finding my type even more difficult. For example, spiritual teacher Sandra Maitri teaches that the energy of the wings combine together in an alchemical way to create main type. So, another possibility is that INFJ’s have an equal split of energy across the dominant type and it’s two wings. A 5 for example could be equally dominant in 4 and 6 energy. There are other teachings that I’ve considered but they would be too complex to attempt to describe here.

      As you’ve probably gathered, delving into the patterns revealed by the enneagram takes up a lot of my time!

      Erik, have you found self typing difficulties for INFJ’s a common problem? I’d be interested to hear what you think to my comments. Thanks!

      • Chelsea Welch
        Reply

        Thanks to Antonia, Helen, and Erik for your feedback! It’s a lot to chew on. I’ll have to give it all some time to settle in.

  • Erik Thor
    Reply

    What Antonia said is very important, your regular enneagram impacts how the instincts come of a lot. The 4So struggles more with social envy where the 6So struggles more with gaining the trust of the group. Also, a good thumb rule is that social instinct types have the weakest social boundaries and are the most about accomodating people and a group, where sexual types can be accomodating to particular individuals and in one-on-one interactions, where self-preserving types tend to have the strongest personal boundaries and take the longest to open up and let others in. Personally, I’m a self-preservation type, and my stepdad is as well, my mom would sometimes complain that we would always retreat to our own little caves where she was more of a social type, she basically felt more comfortable when in a group, where we felt more comfortable when we had our own territory.

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