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[INFJ] Emotional sponge

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by Scientia, Jan 26, 2015.

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  1. Scientia

    Scientia A true lady

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    Kiersey calls the INFJ The Counselor. In my experience, this tends toward truth in that I can be anywhere in almost any setting and someone will start talking to me about life issues. I listen, reflect and guide almost on autopilot at times. Recently, I was at a gathering and three different people - all acquaintances - literally waited in line to talk to me about their problems. I now know a great deal about these people but they still know very little about me. I was exhausted afterwards but I am still thinking about that day. I found this curious and wondered if you all have similar experiences.



    By this term, I mean do people tell you their problems, effectively using you as an impromptu therapist? When was the last time this happened to you? Do you "soak up" all of their issues and emotions until they feel better or do you not encourage them to talk? How do interactions like this affect you?
     
  2. nosferatu

    nosferatu Community Member

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    This happens to me a lot. I don't really listen well anymore though because I've been burnt out from being a dumping pad for so long. So more or less when it happens I try to think of the funniest thing I could possibly say and dispel the conversation with laughter. If they keep going and going I will find ways to get them to stop and instead re-direct the conversation so everyone is laughing.
     
  3. Solongo

    Solongo Well-known member

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    Does not happen to me often anymore because the advice I give is very straightforward and blunt. My style when helping people is trying to get to the bottom of the problem and help the individual see the issue and offer solutions. Often times the solutions require a lot of work. After a while I came to the realization that most people like to discuss their troubles and dramas and they enjoy being listened to and enjoy getting help. But very few; I mean very few are actually interested in making changes. Most are subconsciously attached to their dramas and lifestyles and it is often the most exciting thing going on in their lives. The people who do make the changes are people usually in dire and desperate situations where their only choice is to change and make adjustments. For a while I felt like I was making a difference and helping and it fed my need to make a difference in the world. But after a while when the same people are still going around acting like they really want to help themselves; you realize that the energy that most INFJ counselors give is like crack to these people who are feeding on the energy of the giving and counseling but does not have the strength to really work on their problems. Many use this tactic to get attention and feel important. it is a sad reality; especially since INFJs do have the capacity to help individuals but it always goes back to the saying ' you can drag a horse to a well but you can't make it drink the water'.

    It is too much to feed into these dramas that harm the sensitive and nurturing aspect of INFJs. It also can lead to an INFJ feeling hopeless because the realization that they cannot make the changes for the ones they are counseling hits hard. This will also force INFJs to learn to set boundaries so they do not deplete their energy resources into people and situations that are pointless. you will find that most situations will deplete you depending on how much you are giving. Because of these reasons I chose not to be a counselor or psychotherapist or whatever; it maybe something I may consider in my later years when I can fully protect myself against energy vampires and such.

    But you will find that a person who wishes to better or work on themselves and their lives usually just goes and does it. Most don't feel the need to sit in an office for hours talking about their problems. So yes, the idea is that people will change only when they are ready and most will never be ready. if you are into counseling then you have to be ready to deal with these things which usually ends up discouraging many "counselors" in the long run and they feel burned out.
     
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  4. Solongo

    Solongo Well-known member

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    You also have an option to not be an emotional sponge. There are many ways INFJs can help foster others without risking themselves in the process. I like to do it through my writing and my art and of course helping others on the forums helps me feel like the 'counselor' I am :).
     
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  5. Erlian

    Erlian Community Member

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    I know what you mean. Although probably don't/haven't experience it as strongly.

    Personally it never has gotten that far. I don't think I'm perceived with such trustworthiness as you are, but I've certainly gotten some life stories and then gave advice.
    Often enough I'm the one telling my story though. It really depends, if I currently experience a problem I'm eager to share it, but I'm also eager to hear another's.
    More often than not others don't feel like sharing their problems and I give my story a try. If they welcome it I'll continue, if they don't we'll talk about something else.
     
  6. Bird

    Bird Happy Go Lucky

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    Yes. I have a longterm friend that uses me as an emotional tampon excessively.
    Daily, I receive texts and calls chalk full of her problems and issues. The majority
    of which I am sure she dramatizes because she has a need for attention. Korg
    absolutely cannot stand her and it has gotten to the point where I simply cannot
    take it any longer myself.

    She has no interest in having a conversation whatsoever. She has monologues.
    She will call me and monologue for an hour or so and when we text if I say anything
    to her that is not about her she will not even acknowledge I said anything. Instead
    she will continue to talk about herself and her life. It is exhausting and frustrating.

    I am going to explain to her the next time we talk on the phone that I can no longer
    allow her to treat me in such a way and that it seems as though she is only using me
    as a soundboard and does not treat me like a friend. Though she has in the past helped
    me tremendously and I do appreciate that and that is what has enabled me to allow
    her selfish behaviour to go on for so long. I anticipate that it will be hard to actually
    get a word in edgewise but once I start speaking she will likely actually address what
    I am saying on this topic :)
     
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  7. BrokenDaniel

    Infraction Bin

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    Random people, no, i relate to what solongotgon said that way, i don't offer my advice that often, and when i do it tends to be rather blunt. Some people tend to seek sometimes more validation than an actual advice/detached perspective.
    As for more intimate friends, yeah, since i understand them i'm also more aware of what makes them tick, so there's more of a validation reflex from my part. A couple have expressed the feel of seeing me as a sort of psychologist, it's kinda uncomfortable sometimes though.
     
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  8. Zen Lizard

    Zen Lizard Newbie

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    In general I enjoy being helpful and a safe person to talk with when someone has problems or needs a listening ear, but someone calling daily and presenting a monologue with no acknowledgement of anything I want to talk about would be a no go. I'm pretty accommodating but that would be so damn uncomfortable on a daily basis I just couldn't deal. There would need to be a frank discussion with said friend or family member as to what constitutes a healthy relationship where there's a reasonable balance of give and take, conversation wise, and BOTH are getting something from the exchange, and why things need to change for the better. If they aren't willing to pitch in a bit and put in some effort towards getting a healthy relationship, frankly I'd bail, either limit contact or in extreme cases where my emotional health was at stake I'd cut off contact and go into full avoidance mode.
     
  9. Trifoilum

    Trifoilum find wisdom, build hope.

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    I.....am most definitely one. Was so in the past. Stopped, and then reverted again this past year and a half.

    Must think about it more.
     
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  10. Cornerstone

    Cornerstone Well-known member

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    Nope. My family (mostly my dad) hogged all of that so I became closed off and cold, arguably one of the needy people you're talking about.
     
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  11. Erlian

    Erlian Community Member

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    I once had a friend that told me I could come to him with any problems. And boy, I did.
    He couldn't take it and started avoiding me*. Eventually he came clean about why. That's when I noticed what I had been doing. I apologised and stopped.
    Sometimes it's that simple ;)

    Tell the other how you feel, they might still believe that you don't mind hearing about their' problems. Or you might still like hearing about it, but it's just too much and too one-sided.

    *He had other issues as well: his new gf was away for half a year, he was flunking his courses badly and pretty depressed overall.
     
  12. Alomoes

    Alomoes Community Member

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    Well, yeah. Not going into the insanity I deal with.
     
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    #12 Alomoes, Jan 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
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