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[INFJ] INFJ & Addiction?

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by alis volat propriis, Jul 4, 2016.

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  1. alis volat propriis

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    Hi everyone,

    I just found this site and am new here. I wanted to post something to see if there are other INFJ's who have experienced/done similar things or at least maybe might understand. I do think loneliness can be difficult for any personality type, but more so for introverts and especially INFJ. Sometimes, at least for me, just knowing others can relate or if not relate, at least can understand the "why" behind something, helps me feel less alone and like I'm not a total freak.

    So, I've come across a few different personality tests and usually it lists me as an INFJ. There were a few times where I've gotten ISFJ, INFP and INTJ but INFJ is the one the came up the first time I ever did a personality test and I remember going, "Oh wow! This explains so much!" I also feel a sort of instant connection when I watch INFJ youtube video posters and do think I am an INFJ. I think these other types come up when I'm feeling or thinking a certain way and take the personality tests. I don't know why I re-take them, lol. I guess just because the INFJ is rare and often mistyped, I wait a while and take a personality test again to see if it comes up again. I really do think the INFJ is one of the coolest personalities out there, probably because it is rare; and I don't want to be one of those people that's like, "I'm one of the few!" if I'm really not. I also want to know for sure, because I think understanding/knowing what your personality is can give you an understanding of yourself and who are and when you know that you do so much more in life I think. Knowing what you're good at and what you'll probably never be good at, can save time by not wasting it trying to do something that goes against who you naturally are.

    Anyway...all that subtext to get to what I really wanted to post here today.



    INFJ's are known for having this notorious moral compass and morals about them. Are there INFJ's who's morality actually drove them to rebel? The thing that makes me wonder about whether I'm an INFJ or not is I've had a lot of issues. But I feel like some of the reason, if not a lot of the reason is because of being an INFJ. Picking up on everything, people's emotions, motivations, negative energy that get soaked up like a sponge by an INFJ. I grew up the oldest of 7, so there was constant chaos at home. And I sensed when my parents were stressed and when they lashed out in anger whether directed at me or not, I somehow felt responsible to do something. I also grew up going to church and my mom was/is big into justice and the holiness of God and sin being punished. So I grew up around that. This isn't to say that I grew up around some sort of cult or bad home, I really do have a great family, but these things were also a big reality in it. Add to that being a first born and the drive firstborn's feel to succeed, along with being a girl and society's pressure for girls to be/look perfect. Anyway, when I was 16/17 I started being bulimic and shortly after that also cutting. I never cut deep but would do so enough to draw blood and sometimes have a whole area on my arm mauled up. I didn't really think about why I did these things when I did them, there was just an overwhelming drive and need for some sort of release because of the depth that I felt things. I also always dreamed of getting married and thought I'd only have sex with my husband. Fast ward to when I was 28, I felt weird being that old and still a virgin. Other than a little fooling around when I was 18, 21, 24....I didn't do much sexually. I had sex with the guy I was dating at the time, when I was 28, and after we broke up, I wanted sex all the time. I found an online site where I could just flirt with guys but rather quickly it turned into hooking up and all of the sudden I realized I'd become very promiscuous. That said, I do think women should be able to have flings and not be labeled or judged. Guys can do it without any repercussions. And there was a part of me that discovered a huge side of who I am (my sexuality) that was good and liberating. But I did start feeling bad from hooking up and even after wanting to stop, still wanting that experience. I also eventually started to feel sex had become my new "eating disorder" . It gave me the same feeling of control and relief and it felt 10x better.

    So, I don't want to give INFJ's a bad name and I feel like these behaviors are so anti-typical an INFJ. I will say though, that every time I've done these things, even as I do it there's something inside me going, I don't want to be doing this, this isn't me. I've worked through things enough to know I have to find healthy ways to deal with all the emotions, especially the "negative" ones. I was working on this a lot until I started to feel I care too much and should just try to be like everyone else...not really giving a f*ck. Yah, I realized that's not good for me. It's about caring about the right things or finding good things to be passionate about and pouring all the INFJ into that.

    I'm wondering if other INFJ's have struggled with similar things. Or if you haven't, can you see how an INFJ would do these things?
     
    #1 alis volat propriis, Jul 4, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
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  2. James

    James Infamy, infamy.. they've all got it infamy
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    Hi there - I'm sorry you have felt troubled or unhappy. Having read your post, I think the things that have happened to you are maybe not related to being an INFJ, but just that you are a human being, and like everyone else, good and bad things can happen to INFJ's. How you describe the re-testing sounds very like INFJ behavior to me. I knew a lady at work who was quite religious (catholic) who sadly began self harming. It was a guilt/shame reaction I think following the break down of her marriage, she was very popular and with support she did recover quite a lot. I hope that behavior, and eating issues have receded now and that you feel more tranquil. Both can really become major health issues, and if you are still troubled by them, I would recommend you see your doctor to discuss them as soon as you can. Your health has to be the priority.

    I would say though that self harming can take many many forms, so it's possible that it might explain some of your actions. Don't feel too bad about your love life activities, what's in the past is in the past, you were/are young and you explored life, you are quite right about the male/female double standard, its totally unfair. What is it you sought from these relationships? If it was just a 'fling' or to have fun - did you feel better afterwards? I'm guessing not, and that really what you probably wanted was something more meaningful, and if so I hope you can find that soon.

    What are your hobbies/interests ? If you can find a social group that covers them, you may make some good friends and maybe someone who might be a good partner for you. You haven't given INFJ's a bad name, it's ok to be you and it's ok to want to live your life differently to your parents or others, it's your life and your choice. I play guitar and I love music, what makes you feel good ? Push yourself towards the positive things that you enjoy and I'm sure you will feel better. I hope that helps, take care of yourself and stay well,
    James

     
  3. invisible

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    Welcome to the forums,

    Yes, I agree with you. It's not easy being an INFJ. I think maybe, sometimes what you're talking about is called "being in the grip" of Se.

    You can see this article on reddit that says a bit about it?

    If you think you're INFJ, you probably are. I don't think we're the coolest of the types, I think all types have their strengths. And MBTI is only one way of understanding human personality. But having said that, I think it's important to feel good about who you are, and your own strengths in yourself.
     
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  4. PintoBean

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    This is purely speculative, but I think INFJs are more likely to be compulsive in their behaviors than some other types. So, an INFJ may be adamantly tea-totaling, or conversely totally excessive. In other words, I believe INFJs are generally compulsive and extreme whatever the course of action they choose. I think the "I" part seriously tempers obviously outright anti-social behavior (public drunkenness, brawling and etc that we might associate with an "E" type addict), but that doesn't mean self-destructive extremes aren't going on behind closed doors, so to speak. So yes, perhaps addiction might potentially be a bigger problem for the INFJ.
     
  5. OP
    alis volat propriis

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    Hi James,

    Thank you for your kind reply. I am doing much better with the cutting and eating disorder. I've been recovered from cutting for almost four years and though I still purge sometimes it's much less frequent than I used. The last time I went to the doctor I told them I had bulimia and asked for my heart to be checked specifically and the doctor said everything was fine. You are right, that I would have liked something more meaningful than the flings. What I was looking for was different for each one. There were ones where I was just horny and wanted sex and had no expectations for anything more than that. There were definitely others though where I thought/hoped it might turn into something. I also felt like I was too cautious and by the book and wanted to try letting myself "be wild" and have fun. I definitely had mixed experiences. I got to meet some really cool people that I never would have met and even though we don't talk it showed me that being more open to people can bring some cool opportunities. For example, one guy I met was from NY and took me to a packers football game. He was young, cute, successful, nice and took me to a football game.
    I like your suggestion of looking for social groups around a hobby/interest. I also love music and play guitar and keyboard. Another challenge for me currently is living in an average/smaller city. I'm working on completing a degree right now, so I can hopefully move to a bigger city like Milwaukee where there's more going on and it's easier to meet young adults.
    While agree somethings are just being human, I've had people say to me that I'm "so sensitive" or elude to me being intense. And I do think that I feel things more deeply than a lot of other people (typical of an INFJ) and that I make connections and notice motivations or emotions that most others don't. I think when I was a younger adult I sometimes felt that even how I feel things was because of who I am and there was/is nothing I could do to change that. Almost like the emotional pain I felt was because of who I am. So I guess that's what I mean about having problems because of being an INFJ. Oh, and the way we can actually almost feel others emotions as our own.
     
    #5 alis volat propriis, Jul 5, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  6. OP
    alis volat propriis

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    Hi invisible,

    Thank you for your reply. I had also come across something very similar to the link you shared about being in the grip of "Se" and I do think that's been a factor for me with some of these things. Especially for a young/immature INFJ, you don't know how to handle Se.

    I agree that all types have strengths, I do think though that an INFJ's ability to pick up on BS is amazing and I know I do that A LOT. Because it comes so naturally to me, it took me a while a understand not everyone has that/can do that. So for I while I kind of thought other people were just stupid because I would wonder how they don't see this or that, or pick up on something that to me was either just plain obvious or even if not obvious, that I was able to figure out as a 20 year old. I also think the mystery of an INFJ is something that others types don't have (although this has it's pros and cons). Also I don't know of any other type that can be both analytical and creative. And INFJ's can do both well. Those are just some reasons I think the INFJ personality is really cool.
     
  7. OP
    alis volat propriis

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    Hi PintoBean,

    Thanks for your reply. I think you stated that really well. I've noticed extremes in myself just as much with positive things as with bad. So that was a really interesting point made. As you stated, I also think addiction could potentially be a bigger problem for INFJ's. I guess what surprises me is that most things you read about the INFJ personality never mentions an inclination or risk for addictions. Everything I read highlights and talks about the INFJ's moral drive, uncanny intuition, and other than being guarded and disliking conflict makes it sound like INFJ's are perfect. I don't remember which personality type it was, but I remember reading about one where it actually stated that this personality had a higher inclination towards addictions. It was one of the E types.
     
  8. James

    James Infamy, infamy.. they've all got it infamy
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    I'm really glad to hear you've got a good handle on the issues you raised, you sound very positive and you seem to have a good plan for what you want to proceed with in life. As soon as I read your post it felt 'INFJ' all the way. Empathy for an INFJ can be very intense, it's a gift and it helps others greatly but it takes strength to adjust and cope with it, and you are doing that. I'm glad you enjoy music, for me it was always about finding a constructive outlet. INFJ's are not perfect, I have a temper, I can be moody and sulky and far too intense. Just knowing those things though, makes me lighten up, laugh at myself and try to avoid them. And forgive myself when occasionally I mess up.

    Don't stress about any of it, complete your degree and accept yourself - with all those incredible INFJ traits - it's who you are. I would love to read your next update, that you got a great degree, and met someone special. You will, it's inevitable. Seriously though no more with the self harming, I am terrible around blood. Some time ago, I had to go for a blood test and I had to warn the nurse in case I fainted seeing the blood. She looked at me gone out and then laughed - thinking it was a joke. I really wish it had been, my fragile male ego didn't allow me to tell her it was genuine. Take good care, and post some updates !
     
  9. OP
    alis volat propriis

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    Hi PintoBean,

    Thanks for your reply. I think you stated that really well. I've noticed extremes in myself just as much with positive things as with bad. So that was a really interesting point made. As you stated, I also think addiction could potentially be a bigger problem for INFJ's. I guess what surprises me is that most things you read about the INFJ personality never mentions an inclination or risk for addictions. Everything I read highlights and talks about the INFJ's moral drive, uncanny intuition, and other than being guarded and disliking conflict makes it sound like INFJ's are perfect. I don't remember which personality type it was, but I remember reading about one where it actually stated that this personality had a higher inclination towards addictions. It was one of the E types.
     
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  10. James

    James Infamy, infamy.. they've all got it infamy
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    I'm not aware that any type has a higher inclination towards addiction - but I think I've read INTJ's sometimes have issues with over drinking and self medication. Addiction is a very complex thing, people seem to be able to get addicted to almost anything, though there are more common types, alcohol,gambling, drugs, cigarettes etc. From what I've seen of it it almost falls into two brackets A) chemical dependence B) Psychological dependence and often these are linked.

    It seems to be something that hijacks the brains reward system, I think people often slide into this as a mechanism to remove pain. Personally I had a period when I was suffering with back pain greatly. I over drank, took too many strong pain killers it was not good. I eventually managed to reduce both (by giving up work for a spell until my health improved) and felt much better for it. I try to use external methods to deal with any pain issues, now. I have ice packs ready in the fridge and 'instant' ice packs scattered strategically around the house. I have heat packs as well, but fortunately at present I seem to be in much better shape. Physically at least. I think whilst INFJ's are sensitive they usually have the emotional intelligence to adjust in ways that perhaps T types struggle with.

    I read the above comments carefully, and respectfully I disagree that INFJ's are 'extreme' - perhaps poorly adjusted INFJ's maybe, but I think that's rare. Of the INFJ's I know, I don't know any who I'd describe like that or who have issues related to that. They are mostly in caring/service type work and committed to what they do. I think they can appear extreme when their values are threatened. INFJ's just don't back down on the big issues, they will stick it out and face hardship for what they believe in. I don't see that as extreme, just committed. I think it's usually an INFJ who will actually challenge the 'extremist's' and usually very peacefully. I hope that makes sense.

     
  11. OP
    alis volat propriis

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    James,

    You make a good point. I think you described the "extremes" of INFJ's perceived by others, more clearly. INFJ's do tend to be very committed to something or someone until they either see despite all their efforts (for a long time) it's just not working or if something is becoming unhealthy. And they're definitely committed to their values.

    I like your breakdown too of addiction. I've never heard it put that way but that makes a lot of sense. Most people, when the hear the word addiction, I think automatically associate it with and think of a chemical dependance. I think psychological dependencies are harder for people to understand since it doesn't always create any sort of physical pleasure often times and inhibits the persons life.

    Good insight too about the INFJ and addiction versus a different personality type like INTJ. Thanks for you posts/comments. Always really interesting and well articulated.
     
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  12. PintoBean

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    This website says ISFJs are most prone to addiction, no idea if it's true or not:
    "Individuals with ISFJ Myers-Briggs preferences (introverted, sensing, feeling, judging) are the type that is often most heavily represented in reports from substance abuse treatment centers."
    http://www.addictionpro.com/article/understanding-clients-type
     
  13. detectivepope

    detectivepope Permanent Fixture

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    There is no reason to feel shame or your letting a side down, life happens.
     
  14. dang

    dang LONE WOLF BAD ASS
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    My therapist thinks I am an extremist. She might just be right. Often for me things are all or nothing. The middle path can be very difficult and boring. Doesn't the road to excess lead to the palace of wisdom? William Blake was smarter than me.
     
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  15. ashishkk

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    Definitely it has resemblance with my life too. ))
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  16. Ryso89

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    I'm addicted to control.

    Not people, but how I am perceived, especially lately.

    And not on here, because I don't actually know you people.
     
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  17. OP
    alis volat propriis

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    I can relate to that!
    I agree the anonymity provided online can be a nice way to be more your true self without worrying what someone else thinks.
     
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  18. ED0103

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    I’m an INFJ, and I have had a very similar problem. My mom has PTSD and is very clingy and a worrywart. Maybe the typical helicopter parent. I was homeschooled and she brought me to work at a childcare center with her up until I was 12, and she told me about one time she was having a nervous breakdown and started crying to me (at the time I was 3 years old) and telling me she needed me to help her because the kids were going to be there soon. I don’t remember that incident but for as long as I can remember, I had this feeling of “I need to behave and be emotionally strong so I don’t worry my mom”. I would almost never cry in front of her, and we shared a room in my grandparents house, so basically I never cried for over 10 years or so, and my mom would jokingly ask “you never cry, do you have a heart?”.
    Since I was about 12 or so I would daydream about finding a guy who I could emotionally rely on and just hug him and cry to him (wierd right? Lol). I would immediately get obsessive about any guy I talked to that I got along with and was nice and at least a little bit cute, and when I was 15, I had just started talking to a 24 year old online, and my family ended up homeless for 7 months. I ended up blocking everything out and obsessing over this guy up until the last month we were homeless. I hardly remember anything about what we went through at the time, as I was always in my phone texting this guy or reading our past conversations like a book in order to not think about anything. A week before we stopped talking, I asked him if he liked me, and he said he did, and I ended up telling my mom a week later (because I felt severe guilt if I hid anything from her) and she freaked out and told me to cut him off, and I did. I was still obsessed with one day talking to him again for the next 6 months. Shortly after that, I turned 17, and desperately wanted to find someone, but since I’m an introvert, homeschooled, couldn’t drive at the time, it turned into mostly talking to guys online, and in order to keep their attention, I ended up becoming what I call a “internet whore”, and sending nudes/having inappropriate conversations with tons of guys. I guess it numbed my pain. I ended up being lied to by a guy I liked and decided “I’m just going to keep having different relationships with different people so I don’t get attached to anyone and get hurt again.”
    Finally, I started hanging out with a guy I knew for a while (purely as friends, never did anything wierd with him), and despite me being scared to fall in love with another guy, he was so sweet and romantic and I couldn’t help but trust him, so we started dating a month before my 18th birthday. He was clingy like me, and didn’t mind being with me all day and then calling when we got home and falling asleep on the phone, and for me this was perfect. Then I guess the initial infatuation ended (for him) about 3 months into our relationship and we still hung out and talked on the phone, but he entered back into his “normal life”, and I didn’t have one, so I felt like I was going to go insane. Fast forward 2 and a half years later, we’re still together, but I’ve causes so many problems and trust issues, because I ended up doing the “internet whore” thing again multiple times, and 2 times I hung out with different guys behind his back, and he found out about everything and obviously got upset. Ultimately my boyfriend is the only guy I’ve ever even touched though. I tried to blame everything on him, saying he wasn’t paying attention to me, or bringing up arguments from 2 years ago and using them to justify my actions. but after a few conversations with him where I said “you know the feeling of love sets of a chemical in your brain that’s similar to the effects of heroin? I think I’m addicted to that, so you’re like my drug”, “I wonder if getting withdrawal symptoms from love is possible?”, I ended up looking it up and “love addiction” came up. Using the chemical reaction that “Love” sets off in your brain like a drug to numb pain... it makes so much sense now, but I just realized this yesterday, which is also how I came upon this forum... so I’ve still got a road ahead of me I guess. I’m so thankful that my boyfriend is being so supportive of me though. If it weren’t for him I feel like I would have been stuck in that horrible lifestyle forever.
     
  19. Chris3T

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    I am new to this forum and I have been looking around for answers, and I think this might be the best chance for help. I feel like maybe I'm in the "grip" or maybe I'm addicted on the psychological level from the pain of past relationships. I'm having a difficult time figuring it out, ED0103 I am struggling with the SAME EXACT THING and it is quite destructive to myself and my relationship. I'm pretty desperate in ending this unhealthy lifestyle and it's tearing me apart from the inside out. What steps do I take?
     
  20. Lees

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    INFJ
    As an INFJ, I can say I definitely struggled - am struggling - with something similar. Since we're practically sponges, we soak in the good and the bad. Being the second born was always real hard for me, especially since I'm the only girl. Girls seem to somehow be held to a higher standard, at least when it comes to cleaning in my old house, so I feel like I got away with a lot less than my brothers. I'm also one out of six kids, which is pretty similar to you. I can understand being born first would be really hard. I don't know what I'd do with myself if I had to handle all that responsibility, too.

    I totally understand being overwhelmed and just needing a way to vent. For me it was mostly really loud music and occasional cursing, and lashing out. I too grew up in a Christian home, but mine was a little different. It was more doing exactly what the bible said, and while sin was obviously wrong and everything, they didn't focus on being punished for it as much. That being said, I still grew up with an angry God mentality. As a little girl and up until just very recently, I've seen God as some mean, all-powerful entity that's just watching and waiting for me to do something wrong, so he could punish me. I remember one time my China-made cheapo tablet just decided not to turn on anymore, and it ruined my whole week. I felt so sad I couldn't cry. Not so much because my tablet broke, but because I thought I somehow did something extremely wrong and now God's really mad at me. That's pretty scary, having the one who has the power to strike you dead mad at you. That was my train of thought. Looking back I see how flawed that thinking was, but at the time it seemed perfectly logical to my twelve-year-old self. I also feel like things would've been different if I could've talked to mom about it. I felt I couldn't though because I was always somehow responsible for her emotions. But anyway, back to the topic at hand:

    You do still have a very strong moral compass. Your conscience is telling you that what you are doing is wrong, and that you aren't being who you're meant to be. The problem is, you aren't acting on that voice. Now, if you were doing all these things and don't feel some type of remorse about it, then it's safe to say you've fried your conscience.

    I've also had issues sexually. I've never actually done the deed, but when I was little a neighborhood boy touched me in a way no little girl should be touched, and tried to get me to touch myself like that, too. I've always had issues with the shame of that since then. This led me to have issues with invasive sexual thoughts and masturbation. With a lot of prayer and just plain spending time with God, and starting to understand that God isn't some wrathful dictator, I'm getting better though. A lot better.

    I'm truly sorry it's gotten to the point where you've felt you've had to cut and all that. You sound like a really unhealthy INFJ, like myself, but I can say from my own experience that is does get better. For me I had to do something drastic. I had to move out. It was impossible for me to heal while still being around all that negativity. I'd be extremely surprised if you taking steps to change your situation doesn't require drastic steps. Have you ever thought about seeing a counselor, confiding in a trusted friend, or both? You can't do this alone...
     
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