A Letter to INFJs Who Are in a Dark Place

IntrovertDear.com INFJ dark place

Dear fellow INFJ,

Have you ever been in that dark place of feeling like others don’t understand you? If so, you’re not alone. As an INFJ, you’re going to struggle through dark times as you attempt to make sense of how others cannot understand you, even though you seem to understand them so well. Even people who are close to you, like your relatives, parents, significant other, and friends, may not “get” you. People who misunderstand you may make you feel inferior because you are different. They may force you into situations you are not comfortable being in. They may have little regard for your emotional and mental health, and seem to only be capable of seeing what is right in front of them. Sadly, through pained looks and little comments, they may try to make you into someone you’re not. This constant criticism of your introversion and sensitive nature can make you feel alone and alienated.

As an INFJ myself, I know this feeling all too well. My family has always misunderstood me. I do not think this is intentional, but I am simply different from them. I’m an introvert while they’re all extroverts. I’m highly sensitive and an empath, so I get hurt more easily than they do. Because I’m different from them, they try to make me more like them.


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Unfortunately, you may meet many people in your lifetime who misunderstand you. You may encounter terrible people who hurt you simply because they can, and others who hurt you without meaning to because of your sensitive nature. As a naturally empathic person, you may attract narcissists and toxic people without trying. And because you initially give everyone the benefit of the doubt, you may overlook their mistreatment of you until you cannot take anymore. One day, you may meet someone who makes you hit rock bottom—but then you will find out who you really are and how strong your sensitive nature has made you.

Learning to love yourself is not a feat that is accomplished overnight. In fact, it could take years for you to find who you really are and how the world needs your gifts. If you are an INFJ who is still trying to find your way, do not lose hope. Do not let that dark place consume you. Do not let the heartless people you encounter diminish your gifts. You cannot let them win or lessen who you were meant to become.

I promise you that one day soon you will see a brighter place. You will find your purpose and revel in it. Then you will know that you had to walk through the darkness to find out just how bright your light can be. As the rarest of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, of course many people do not understand you—because you’re not like them. You will find your way and you will learn and grow tremendously while you walk this road. You will meet people who intrigue you, believe in you, and give you hope. When you find like-minded souls who are also sensitive and introverted, you will feel like you have finally found your tribe.

One member of my tribe is an INTJ who helps keep me grounded. I love her ability to bust out pure logic that calms my fears. Because INTJs and INFJs use both Introverted Intuition and Extroverted Sensing, my friend and I have a great deal in common. She’s one of the few people who understands me. Meeting her has made me feel less alone.

INFJs are unique in that we can often see what others cannot see. In fact, INFJs have a habit of changing the world. Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, and Eleanor Roosevelt are said to have been INFJs. Some people even speculate that the man himself, Jesus, was an INFJ. Though we cannot walk on water or turn water into wine, we still have incredible strengths. And those strengths are what set us apart. You really can use your insight and knowledge to help others and change the world.

I currently work in the Department of Veterans Affairs, where I help homeless veterans find housing. I also have a passion for helping trauma survivors and people with PTSD, because I have survived a lot of trauma. It took years to discover this career path, but now that I’m using my strengths to help others, I feel incredibly fulfilled.

When you start seeing the big picture for your life, your light will become so bright that no toxic person will be able to bring you down. So don’t you dare let those who do not understand you keep you from living to your fullest potential. Without you, this world would not be the same. So go out there and take on that dream you have been procrastinating on. Go out there and tell your story. Help people who need you to show them the way out of their own darkness. Go out there and take on the world.

Lots of INFJ love,

Joni

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13 Comments

  • Katie SJ says:

    I found myself nodding along to every line of this essay. YES!!! As an INFJ who has gone through the darkness (and occasionally feels back in it), has been manipulated and hurt by toxic people, and misunderstood by even the most important people in my life – I can agree with the author that it gets better. You come out of the darkness stronger and more resilient, and learn to appreciate the things that make you different and special. INFJs have such a unique way of thinking and of supporting those around them. Don’t let anyone let you feel bad for this!! If you are still “in the darkness” – hang in there!!

  • Rupali Grover says:

    This is just what I needed. Thanks for all of this.

  • Chrissie says:

    Thanks for this. I have been in a very down mood lately, feeling lost and alone. It doesn’t help that it’s Christmas which means parties. I hope the new year will bring me some much needed light into my life.

  • Matt says:

    Jesus was INFJ 😀 you’ve killed me. This is why he loved so much walking alone and sneaking out from crowds. And on the other hand he has this need helping all people. Thank you for youre article, such personal stories always gives hope, somwhere is someone who will understand our mission. I feel every INFJ has an aim, which not ends on achieving it like money, building house etc. but an immortal purpose to live for every day. If someone is saying it’s not practical or something like that, it really cuts my wings. But when someone believes in me I am able to do such not practical but great things.

  • Connie May says:

    my sister and I were raisd by a manic Extrovert. No seriously manic.

    My poor sister is an INTJ and somewhere on the high functioning autism scale with a photographic memory. Brilliant. A Temple Grandin brilliance.

    As kids we almost killed each other. She hates, absolutely hates, any emotional upset or being around emotion. It infuriated me to be ridiculed by her. It was absolutely frustrating to not be understood or heard by either of them. Beaten up by one & shunned by the other.

    As adults I find her disengaged logic calming.

    And I live in an entire community who doesnt understand me. like seriously doesnt. Im an atheist, liberal straight solo woman farmer in a small red state bible belt town.

    At this point in my life I just assume no one can understand me. And Im accepting of that. Their loss.

  • Great article! I know what you mean, Joni, about getting that objective perspective from your INTJ friend. I have the same kind of chats with my dad (whom I’m almost positive is ISFJ) and his concrete but compassionate view on life keeps me grounded. I hope other INFJs and introverts find such a good friend in their lifetime.

  • Mouchette says:

    Actually very isolated, stuck in the deep down darkness spiral … It helped me to read this article, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for that !
    I’m not able to fly and get out of this dark hole until I heal my “wings” properly, but now I know I can, I know I will, I know it will take time, but I’ll make it ! (first time saying so much “I” without feeling ashamed … !)

  • Wb says:

    In a horrid holiday hole, first thanksgiving and Christmas without my exboyfriend. Thanks for this. The world is stuck with me for the better.

  • Emmet Cunneen says:

    Thanks Joni, all you said made perfect sense, I read your bio too, freaky like an older me

  • A very encouraging article. Thanks for sharing it with us. I have been in the dark hole and out of it and in it again. Many times. I am mid life and still haven’t really found a fulfilling career. I think it is because I am a square peg and I keep trying to pound myself into a round hole. I will use your words as inspiration to try to find something more fulfilling in the coming year.

  • HP says:

    This felt like a hug! 🙂 I can relate to the characteristics of both- INFJ and INTJ. Most personality tests also give similar results. And god, I feel alienated mostly. It gets emotionally exhausting and mentally frustating- I guess the dark sides of both types. Recently, I do seem to have hit rock bottom, but I am gradually learning to love myself. Like your INTJ friend, I am picking MYSELF back up. Thank you for this reminder. <3

  • Thank you so much. I read this at the exact moment I needed to read it and I more inspired than ever.

  • Xristina Christina says:

    you are so lucky, i am in the same patio too.
    this was a relief and very motivating essay/letter.

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