An Open Letter to INFJs in the Aftermath of a Door Slam
Dear fellow INFJ,
I am proud of you. It’s a strange thing to hear, considering you’ve shut someone out of your life. Others may offer sympathy or express confusion at your severing ties with a person you once (or may still) love dearly, but I know the strength it takes to stand up for yourself in the face of an unhealthy relationship. We INFJs forgive people quite easily. It’s a gift that’s taken for granted many times. You’ve probably lost count of how often you’ve turned the other cheek or shushed your emotional conscience. I know exactly what you’re going through because I am still healing.
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Removing another from your life produces an inundation of emotions. Sadness, anger, and guilt come in tidal waves over a period of unplanned time. You must allow yourself to ride out the grief process. No matter what stage you’re in right now, it will get better.
When I stopped speaking to a close friend this past summer, I thought erasing pictures from my phone would force me to move on. I never thought a song playing in a grocery store would make me second guess the hurt I felt every time I swept my feelings under the rug. As I walked through the aisles, I couldn’t help but replay the ups and downs of the relationship. What could I have done to prevent this? Did I make the right decision? Am I a terrible human being?
Like me, you tend to see only the good in people. You put them on pedestals, never once lowering the height, even when they’ve done you wrong. Do not feel guilty for wearing rose-colored glasses. You are blessed to have such a strong, positive faith in others.
Memories filled with goofy grins and bear hugs will make you feel like you’ve thrown away a valuable relationship. You don’t need to regret the time you spent with another. I believe all relationships, past and present, hold value in the lessons we learn from them.
My friend helped me grow in ways he’ll never understand. On the surface, he inspired me to commit to a stronger faith and to take better care of my body. He changed my perspective on silly things like breaking the fourth wall, raw fish, and Spotify. More important, my friend taught me that my feelings are valid and should not be belittled. He made me realize that I don’t need to apologize for being sensitive or loving hard or needing space or wanting affirmation.
I want you to know that ending a relationship for self-preservation isn’t wrong. It’s a sign of knowing yourself. My best friend (who’s also an INFJ) gave me this advice: If another questions your dedication to the relationship, he or she doesn’t know you. INFJs will do anything for the people they care about, sometimes to the extent of ignoring their own needs. By moving on from an unhealthy relationship, you’re respecting your own happiness.
What I Learned From My First INFJ Door Slam
Here are five things I learned from my first (and hopefully only!) INFJ door slam:
1. There’s no right way to cope. Healing is a process that can’t be rushed, whether it’s physical or emotional. The loss of a deep relationship for an INFJ is a wound that won’t be fixed with a band-aid and a brave face. You might need time away from your other friends or family to grieve the person you’ve cut out of your life. When all your anger and frustration fade, you’ll realize that disappointment is a chronic hollow ache. Time and ice cream have a way of making this ache disappear slowly.
2. You’re the one in control. Recognizing when someone invalidates your feelings is the first step to taking the reins of your well being. By choosing to disengage from an unhealthy relationship, you’ve finally put your foot down. While you heal, it’s also important to stay in control. If you need to cleanse your social media of his or her presence, do it. If you need to bury a box of mementos in the backyard, do it. Figure out strategies to focus on moving forward instead of letting the past have power over you.
3. The door may not be locked. It’s true that when an INFJ shuts someone out of his or her life, both people involved will be hurt. Especially if the recipient didn’t see it coming, he or she may become resentful. This isn’t to say that you two will never talk again. Months or years of separation give both parties a chance to reflect on what went wrong and how to move toward better communication. If you do want to lock the door, there is also nothing wrong with moving on completely. Every door slam is different.
4. You’ll find your kindred spirits. I can count the number of people who I think “get me” on one hand. Peeling back the layers of an INFJ is usually a gradual process. If you thought the person who let you down understood your unique spirit, please know your people are out there. To find a tribe of friends who appreciate your intense empathy and wild imagination is like going on a road trip. You’ll get a flat tire, have sketchy cell service, and maybe even pick up a few hitchhikers. It’s going to be an exhausting and frustrating and exhilarating adventure.
5. Creative outlets help you heal. INFJs are creative individuals by nature, especially with a pen. In my angriest moments immediately following fights with my friend, I wrote poetry. Every word I wrote was charged with raw emotions, ones I didn’t dare show face-to-face. Whatever your art form may be, use it to work through your messy, tangled thoughts. It’s therapy only you can provide. Coming back to your work after you’ve calmed down can help you see what parts of you are still hurting.
Always remember that you are a beautiful soul who deserves more than you realize. The hurt will not last forever. Stay hopeful, INFJ.
With much love,
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Read this: 7 Things You Should Know About the INFJ Door Slam
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