Other people's emotions.. become yours? how can you avoid it? | INFJ Forum

Other people's emotions.. become yours? how can you avoid it?


Permanent Fixture
Dec 19, 2008
I don't really know if this is an INFJ trait, but I seem to notice it in me.

When I'm around other people, their emotions become like mine. Well not fully. It depends on how intense it is. It has a different impact on me.

I find this trait both good and bad.

GOOD - if the people you are around with are happy and they are optimistic
or they just send some positive vibes to you.

BAD- if the people you are around with are angry, depressed, sad, easily
irritated. Or for me, they seem to give bad vibes to me.

my dad sends really really intense bad vibes to me.
it's like he's ALWAYS ANGRY at something and someone.
when he's mad, he treats everyone like NOTHING... like no one is more
superior than him. and I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.
he's always mad at everyone!!!.... he makes small things seem like THE END OF THE WORLD!!!!!!.... than it seems like he's blaming everyone but himself because the world is going to end. (HE TREATS IT THIS BIG!!)

A WHILE AGO, i was really really happy and cheery.. but when he came.
he seemed really really mad. and i don't know it's like.. i felt it.. and it feels sooooo bad.....it's like HE DRAINED MY ENERGY... i hate it!!!!..IT'S REALLY KIND OF HARD BECAUSE HE'S MY FATHER AND i don't know how to stop this emotion sponge blah....

Do any of you here experience these things?.... like someone drains every inch of your energy.. or their emotions become yours?...
how did you deal with it?... (especially if they're close to you and if you live with them and have no choice)

I can certainly relate. While it can happen around friends and family (and can hurt the most then) it has also happened around strangers with me. I think I am drawn to the emotion and their plight more than anything. Whatever I was doing seems secondary to help soothe them.

I have learned to try to take 2 steps back from the situation and clearly identify what it is that I'm doing. It may be an unconscious process, but we can still learn to recognize when we are being swept up in people.

I would recommend finding some personal space if there is no other choice. Try to find an area where you can be just who you are without having to worry about other people's emotions. Also recognize the problems for what they are: small stuff. If worse comes to worse, you can always go to a friend (or someone you trust) and be with them when things get rough for you. Make sure your support system is strong.

I hope this helps and let me know if I can do more.

I'm so happy that it's our school break now.
because i also feel this way when i'm in school.
it's like you seem to know what all of the people really feel. and it's good if they feel good or have good intentions
but you know that feeling?.. it's like behind every person, behind what they
want people to think of them, behind all of them......
I'M SORRY I just can't explain it but, it's like everybody is SOOOOOO DIFFERENT.

MAYBE this will explain it,..
it's hard when the people around you are not that deep. like us.
like the ocean, they just notice the exterior. the sunset, the beauty BUT JUST THE EXTERIOR.

unlike US, we know that the ocean it not just an ocean, what lies underneath it, is far more than just water. everything is underneath it.

that's how i feel most of the people are. they just notice the things that ALL of the people notice.

and i'm getting tired of it.

it's like I WANT TO ESCAPE but I can't..... FOR NOW I AM CONTENTED BECAUSE i don't have to go to school and face all of the people there. WELL i'm not being bullied or anything.. but it's just....I FEEL IT EMOTIONALLY DRAINING...ALL OF THOSE SHALLOW PEOPLE....

i know that they're not me....BUT I DON'T GET WHY I'M STILL AFFECTED.

as of SUPPORT GROUP, i would be happy to have one...well i have friends...but never the deep deep ones...like really close...

they seem all.. shallow!??! i don't know how to describe it..

Soul seeker, sometimes the colors you choose make it hard to read your posts. I am sorry if that offends you, but I would like to read what you write without going through the extra trouble I do to make it easier.

I also find it hard sometimes to keep others emotions out. Especially dark ones. I tend to remove myself from the group if I can, retreat into myself as best I can if I can't physically get away. I find being alone in a comfortable place like my room served best when my mum dated a woman who I found very negative. Also letting go of relationships if you can that effect you this way.

I have the same problem with people who are excitable. I get so wound up and when I am alone I will either relax or get depressed. I try and take a bath in either case.

I am sorry it's you family that seems to make things so hard on you. I can relate to the exhaustion. Find your own safe place where you can relax and be you. Try to turn yourself off when around him. Azure has good advice.

Good luck and tell us how it goes.
I can definitely relate. I find I am kinda like a sponge and I absorb the emotions of others very easily. I find this especially true when others are stressed out. I find I absorb it, even to the point of suffering physically.
absorbing emotions whether of other individuals, the collective vibe of a group, or the general feel of a place has always been natural for me.

when it is positive, it is contagious. however, if it is too positive as in cases of extreme excitement, i have trouble becoming nearly as excited. also, when i intuit that the positivity is rather ungenuine i tend to distance myself.
when what i internalize is negative, sometimes it does become physical pain like CoffeeShopDiva mentioned, though usually inconspicuous.

i find that unless my consciousness is situated in my physical body and not in the particularities of the person/situation, i can easily forget my own stance and adopt external emotions as my own without realizing.

Having to battle against the shallowness in others is something that all INFJ's have to deal with. Even if the people are shallow, please don't judge them. Not everyone fits into the same mold, and perhaps time and experience will awaken them a bit more to the important things in life. Give them lots of time and an unlimited number of chances to be good. We are affected by them because it is our gift. What we do with that gift is up to us, but wouldn't it be nice to use it to help others? It can be painful and draining at times, but doesn't it make you gentler because you know how it feels to be in those situations?

Also try your best to not get too caught up in the ocean; even if you are a good swimmer, you will get tired of swimming nonstop and diving deep eventually. Take the time to appreciate the sunset like the others, and do your best not to worry about what other people are doing. Be the change that you want them to be; calm your heart.

As far as a support group, we are all here. I'm sure all of us are willing to help :)

Keep trying to find those deep friends. They are out there, but they might take a little more looking than others. You may find them where you least expect it; use your intuition and search for them.

Finally, take time for yourself and relax a bit. I'm guessing you are out of school, so take some time to walk somewhere safe and peaceful. Go out into nature and let yourself get in synch with the season.; I always find that nature can reset us in ways that other things can't. You can always try meditation and other things like aroma therapy (like scented candles or even just scents) to help soothe you. Warm baths and comfort foods will also do wonders if you have had a long day. Take care of your body, and relax the mind.

I'm here if you need any help :D

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i just read about this in Emotional Intelligence, Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman...

emotional mimicry is what it is called...

the ability sway the public or a group of people called for the ability to empower that mimicry and influence others by emotion...

which is how Hitler was able to sway ALL of Germany... he was just an emotionally charged speaker...

go to a conference where someone is talking in monotone and then go to an emotional debate... you'll see what i mean...
I don't really know if this is an INFJ trait, but I seem to notice it in me. When I'm around other people, their emotions become like mine. Well not fully. It depends on how intense it is.

Hey soulseeker, even though I'm INTJ I can relate to what you are saying here, though in a slightly different way because INFJs use extroverted feeling (Fe) as the 2nd function and INTJs use introverted feeling (Fi) as their 3rd! I definitely think this is an INFJ trait. I recently watched a really interesting discussion between an INFJ and INFP about the difference of those functions and I think the INFJ lady is really interesting in this because she describes really well what you are saying here about how she picks up other people's emotions and connects with them. And she mentions that she is not always aware of what her own emotions or values are but instead feels like her emotions are what everyone else is feeling. Here is the link if you'd like to watch.


For some reason I am unusually empathetic for an INTJ and I find that I can easily pick up on the emotions of other people around me. But I am more like the INFP guy in the video describing Fi because I am very aware of my own feelings and I sort of empathize with people by being able to imagine what their experiences would be like from their point of view while still knowing that they are separate from me. So it's sort of like I can imagine myself living their life temporarily rather than feeling like their emotions are mine. Other people's values and convictions are important to me as well. If I perceive that someone else's emotions are negative and out of sync with either my values or theirs then I can feel like I am experiencing the same thing as them as well as my own opinion on the matter. So if that involves pain and suffering then it's not such a good thing! I am particularly crap at watching violent movies because I get my emotions confused with what is happening with the characters in the movie (even though they are not real).

I am not sure what a good solution is for you as an INFJ but personally I find thinking about situations logically or objectively seems to be a good way to create some sort of balance or distance from other people's feelings and not absorb them so much. (i.e. notice what you are actually thinking about and if those thoughts are subjective think of an equally valid objective version of the same thought). And peace and quiet or space away from people I think is something that works easily as well for INFJs and INTJs. When I lived at home my father was quite a nervous person and I used to feel nervous a lot as well because I empathized with him. Now that I don't live with him anymore I really notice how I start getting stressed out when I go and visit so I think that shows how your own space can be a good thing. :smile:
define how they feel
then how you feel towards their feelings
remember how you felt before you understood their feelings
meinpulate their feelings so they fit what i think and belive in- make sense of them in your head
this is important to me because i believe in no biased thinking- in my opinion if you let other affect what you believe you aren't an indenpedent thinker or true(can't describe it) this is important to me
sympathy will follow if i agree with them
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No, it happens to me too. I usually deal with it when it gets too overwhelming by making a conscious effort to become and maintain being an overly rational callous and reclusive bastard until I've enough energy to be around other people.
The curse of Fe...
I think it does help to find solitude to recharge. I am sorry to hear that you have to face a great deal of negativity. I think INFJs have some ability to influence in the other direction. Sometimes feeling the negativity inside can enlighten you to find ways to alleviate it in yourself and then in the other person.

There are advantages to absorbing the feelings of others. It can be useful information. It is a great help to me when I teach. I can usually feel levels of anxiety or other negative emotions. Once the person's feelings are inside me it makes it easier to have a positive effect to calm them or make them feel stronger or happier. It helps to do it one at a time though. Groups can be overwhelming to the point of being disorienting.
thank you everyone...for the all the adivice...:m107:.. yes i will try to do all those things....my close friends really notice how i soothe them...once, i had a friend who had problems.. and i felt like it was all mine..as if i am experiencing it at that moment.. well i DID but when she had that problem too, i was already moving on.. then i told her things to make her feel comfortable..and she said that... it's like i'm her and i can understand her well... even if she doesn't tell me everything, i can still tell her how much she feels.. that's why my close friends call me their counselor....but it is very very emotionally draining.... THANKS!!!!!!! A LOT!!! :m200:
Oh yeah, I can deffinately relate, especially when it comes to my mom (she's an emotional rollercoaster ride).

I'll be conent one minute, then my mom gets upset/gloomy/etc., then I start to feel sad and upset. Not too long after, she'll feel good and optimistic again while I'm stuck still feeling shitty and in a depressed state of mind. I HATE it.
Oh yeah, I can deffinately relate, especially when it comes to my mom (she's an emotional rollercoaster ride).

I'll be conent one minute, then my mom gets upset/gloomy/etc., then I start to feel sad and upset. Not too long after, she'll feel good and optimistic again while I'm stuck still feeling shitty and in a depressed state of mind. I HATE it.

Our moms ought to get together for coffee sometime and give the house a break. I definitely can relate to you on this one, it's especially exhausting if it occurs as you're walking in the door from a positive day out with friends. I've become better at maintaining my mood but that usually means I avoid 'downer' conversations with her. My ma has talent for the heavy sighs and "I don't know, just a bad day" answers.
By myself: I have almost no emotions - I used to find this peculiar, but it is my state of peace and quiet.

With others: I end up 'catching' their emotions - which takes me on a roller-coaster. The least unpleasant emotion to be around, for me, is gentle affection.

Solution: I keep to myself so as not to be dragged all over the place by other's emotions.
Working with my Dad I have seen him get angry and when he gets angry I feel it and it makes me want to avoid him. If I am in a bad mood it just lights my fire and I can join in. I like being able to sense others but it can be overwhelming at times. Hence the solitude I seek almost daily when I lock myself into my room alone to just hang out with myself and think...