Animals and INFJs | INFJ Forum

Animals and INFJs

Asa

Resident palindrome
Staff member
Administrator
Aug 21, 2015
9,056
85,744
2,590
MBTI
INFJ
Enneagram
5w4
A trait that is supposed to be specific to INFJs is the ability to feel others emotions. Not mirroring, or pulling from personal experience, but feel the same emotions as someone else present, or read others emotions so well that we feel [those emotions], too.

I am wondering if other INFJs feel animals’ emotions. Not anthropomorphizing animals and using human emotions to determine “what animals must feel”, not “mirroring”, and not anything weird like ESP (which I am highly skeptical of) but a raw "transfer" of their emotions?
(I also anthropomorphize them for fun, but that is meant for entertainment, not to interpret their real thoughts and feelings.)

For me, animal emotions are raw, real and precise. I’ve definitely felt this with humans, but it is more common with animals. I am well aware that animals don’t feel the same emotions for the same reasons as humans, nor do they feel the emotions humans want them to feel in certain situations.

In general, it helps me interact with animals, or leave them alone.

This can sometimes be life altering, scarring, or deeply bonding.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Enkidu and Sandie33
I know!
We all feel empathy, even types not "known" for it. (Yes, even INTJs! So, you don't have us fooled, INTJs.)

INFPs are know for pulling empathy from within, and INFJs are known for pulling empathy from outside. Like being struck by lightning sometimes. In general, despite both sibling types being especially known for empathy and kindness, I think INFPs are sweeter and kinder than INFJs, so it wasn't meant as a slight.
I would actually love to hear all other types give examples that this lightning bolt transfer of emotion (not mirroring) is not exclusive to INFJs as so much MBTI info insists, but in this thread specifically, I was wondering about experiences w/ animals.


- Edited because I omitted a word.
 
I am wondering if other INFJs feel animals’ emotions. Not anthropomorphizing animals and using human emotions to determine “what animals must feel”, not “mirroring”, and not anything weird like ESP (which I am highly skeptical of) but a raw "transfer" of their emotions?

I am so very guilty of anthropomorphizing, but only as you say, for fun. The transfer of emotions you describe I have felt also and it is indeed raw, pure, and very intense. It's different from empathy in a way that it's more accurate to describe it as you're absorbing it like a sponge, and truly feeling it as if you are experiencing it firsthand.

Two nights ago, my oldest cat became incredibly anxious and began pacing like a wild animal in a cage. My heart immediately began to beat faster, my breath quickened, this anxiety rose in me almost like a panic attack, though I was not anxious at all. He wanted to be held, more accurately, he wanted to feel safe. I scooped him up and held him, softly cooing to him and gently petting him till he began to relax and purr. This is also how I adopted my dog. A few years ago I worked with a shelter that would bring people-friendly dogs and kitties to visit long term care patients. She was one of them, and the moment I met her this incredible sadness and a deep-seated ache that can only be described as a sense of longing came over me. I later found out that she was a "puppy mill mom" and had gone through several pregnancies only to have her puppies taken away time and time again. So of course I took her home to spoil her rotten.

This can sometimes happen with animals that I don't even know out and about in public, but it happens way more often in my pets. And not just negative emotions as I described in my examples, all sorts of emotions. When I can feel their excitement and happiness, it tickles me so.
 
No I didn't think it was a slight. Just saying empathy is universal but maybe i read you wrong and you werent trying to say it isnt. It's interesting to hear how infjs experience it.
 
Last edited:
acd - Phew! :) I am glad you don't feel slighted.

This can sometimes happen with animals that I don't even know out and about in public, but it happens way more often in my pets. And not just negative emotions as I described in my examples, all sorts of emotions. When I can feel their excitement and happiness, it tickles me so.

Exactly.

Most of the examples I can think of right now are so sad I don't want to share, but a few weeks ago I was overcome with crying laughter when my dogs were especially happy. My SO asked what was wrong with me.

Edit: Also, yes "sponge" is the perfect metaphor!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: acd
Exactly.

Most of the examples I can think of right now are so sad I don't want to share, but a few weeks ago I was overcome with crying laughter when my dogs were especially happy. My SO asked what was wrong with me.

I agree most of it is negative and so painful. But when we get those glimpses of pure delight, it makes you appreciate the positives so much more! And yeah, my SO thinks I'm crazy half the time even without the sudden outbursts of laughter for no apparent reason. :p
 
  • Like
Reactions: hush
I know that my relation to animals is different from a lot of other people because they often anthropomorphize incorrectly/incongruently and it makes me very uncomfortable. I can legitimately intuit many animals feelings. I know it is a more... real understanding because it varies from animal to animal (some dogs I can't understand at all) as well as species to species (i.e.- don't know what the fuck a toad feels generally unless it's massively obviously suffering).
 
For me it's easy to read/feel peoples' emotions, and animals are even easier, which is why animals are soothing for me to be around. They are so simple and straightforward compared to people.
 
I know that my relation to animals is different from a lot of other people because they often anthropomorphize incorrectly/incongruently and it makes me very uncomfortable. I can legitimately intuit many animals feelings. I know it is a more... real understanding because it varies from animal to animal (some dogs I can't understand at all) as well as species to species (i.e.- don't know what the fuck a toad feels generally unless it's massively obviously suffering).
Exactly.
It is hard not to correct people, but sometimes I want to say, "Actually you are causing the dog to feel tense by doing that, not loved." And even though I prefer the company of animals, I leave some alone because I know they do not want to interact. I let them set the level of interaction they prefer.

For me it's easy to read/feel peoples' emotions, and animals are even easier, which is why animals are soothing for me to be around. They are so simple and straightforward compared to people.

Yes, people are easy and animals are easier. Their company is preferred for me, too.


I agree most of it is negative and so painful. But when we get those glimpses of pure delight, it makes you appreciate the positives so much more! And yeah, my SO thinks I'm crazy half the time even without the sudden outbursts of laughter for no apparent reason. :p
LOL!!!
 
Isn't necessarily off topic. :)
 
Extroverted feeling is a judgement function, not a perceptual one. INFJs and INTJs both perceive the world through Ni.

Te users are also very aware of people's emotions. The difference is that INTJs don't prefer/judge emotion/feelings to be the most important aspect of our interaction with the world. We engage, or at least try to engage with the world in terms of reason/causality/objectivity. Fe users can do these things, but give preference to engaging in terms of feelings/emotional consequences/subjectivity.

Animals are funny to me because they can sort of be reasoned with. I have a knack for being able to train animals very quickly. I've also been called "the baby whisperer" by friends with infants. I don't subscribe to the notion that interactions are primarily about making the beastie happy/feel good, but about establishing a way of communicating a mutually agreeable and constructive plan of cooperation and compromise, which maximises our individual happiness.

With the local cat, we communicate through mutually understood looks. If she wants to go inside the house, she'll get my attention with a single meow, we'll make eye contact, and then she'll pointedly look at the door. I taught her not to go to the door, but to come to me and look across the yard.

If I want the cat to go inside, I'll do the same thing, except I'll say her name, make eye contact, and look at the door. If either of us don't want to go inside, we just answer with another verbalisation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Enkidu
In general, it helps me interact with animals, or leave them alone.

I do this instinctively.


Animals are funny to me because they can sort of be reasoned with. I have a knack for being able to train animals very quickly. I've also been called "the baby whisperer" by friends with infants. I don't subscribe to the notion that interactions are primarily about making the beastie happy/feel good, but about establishing a way of communicating a mutually agreeable and constructive plan of cooperation and compromise, which maximises our individual happiness.

Spooky - husband is an INTJ and he does the same thing with cats and also has super powers to put babies to sleep. His fantasy dream job would be a "tiger whisperer" :)
 
This is a good description of how INFJs feel empathy:
I once heard a description for ’empathy’ as “Your pain my heart.” For an INFJ, this couldn’t be more true. INFJs absorb other people’s emotional energy whether they want to or not. If it’s powerful and there — friend or foe, intimate or stranger — your pain is in their heart.
The combination of Perspectives [Introverted Intuition] (getting into other’s heads) and Harmony [Extroverted Feeling](having other people’s emotions on their radar all the time) seems to converge into this super power (absorbing emotions), a gift I’d venture to say most INFJs would trade away if they could. (Well, for a day… before they started missing their sixth sense.)
Here is the link. It gives a good description of the differences between INFJ and INFP, and explains how the types feel empathy differently.
http://www.personalityhacker.com/infp-vs-infj/

With animals I've never wished I don't have it, but with humans I have.
 
Me too. Totally identify with this. A family of magpies have adopted us. The parents bring their new babies to meet us. I totally sense the alertness of mum and dad as they keep a watchful eye over their young ones and dare I say it they even seem to exude a sense of pride in their offspring. Perhaps I am too imaginative!
 
  • Like
Reactions: TechnocolorJET
Me too. Totally identify with this. A family of magpies have adopted us. The parents bring their new babies to meet us. I totally sense the alertness of mum and dad as they keep a watchful eye over their young ones and dare I say it they even seem to exude a sense of pride in their offspring. Perhaps I am too imaginative!

Magpies are awesome. I think their family structure is so much like human families, that we can get each other, and mesh.

They will also avoid swooping you specifically, during the nesting season.
 
Last edited:
Me too. Totally identify with this. A family of magpies have adopted us. The parents bring their new babies to meet us. I totally sense the alertness of mum and dad as they keep a watchful eye over their young ones and dare I say it they even seem to exude a sense of pride in their offspring. Perhaps I am too imaginative!

That's very interesting. I don't think you're being too imaginative. Anyhow, they're clearly interacting with you. I wonder whether they're partly teaching their children to live next to humans.
 
I am one with all living creatures. I am just another animal born of the same root that spawned every living thing the universe has conspired to create.

I love animals... they tend to like me. Sometimes (mostly in my youth, but still today) I'll waste several hours playing with insects, getting to know them, hanging out with them, playing little games with them, taking pictures of them. I just like to make friends. It's easier with non-humans. It's more fun when I'm bored and drunk. Usually I'm too busy adulting to ever be playing with bugs, but damn do I still enjoy it.

I talk to them as I would my dog. It's spiritually fulfilling, and it brings me an immense amount of happiness to enjoy all of nature's offerings, plants and animals. I just wish animals could talk and not run away out of fear of being eaten by me.