An Open Letter to INFJs in the Aftermath of a Door Slam

IntrovetDear.com INFJ door slam after

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 a 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,

Emily

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Read this: 7 Things You Should Know About the INFJ Door Slam retina_favicon1

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    • Christina Clark

      So grateful for posts like this! People assume that after a door slam INFJs just pick up and move on with a smile. Thank you for acknowledging the grieving process we go through and providing some tips on how to move forward with hope for the future. This INFJ is deeply inspired by you.

    • Teresa Martin

      Wow! All my life I have felt misunderstood. I am an INFJ through and through! I have taken the test on several sites and get the same result again and again! This is truly my EUREKA moment and about time at the age of 44! When I was 15 years old my older brother brought home a new girlfriend that I hit it off with quickly. This was the late 80’s when it was popular to design your own Keds. She and I ended up trading shoes for a few days. Late that day an intense sense of sorrow, anguish, and pain came over me. I began to weep uncontrollably as this girl was on my heart. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. My mother prayed with me and I told me I had a special ability to “feel people”. I didn’t get. I returned the shoes and shortly after I learned that this girl’s father had shot himself in their home recently. I’ve had many experiences like this throughout my entire life. Thank God I am finally understanding me! THANK YOU! These 5 things describe me to a “T”!!! I am now divorced and pray I can find someone who “gets” me.

      • Thank you for sharing this. Can relate to this in many ways. 💕

        Zoey, http://www.zoeyolivia.com

      • IBikeNYC

        I experience my own version of this: Usually, I suddenly think of/about someone I haven’t seen or thought of in a very long time, but sometimes I’ll have a dream involving them.

        When I look about that person, I learn that they have either died or gone through some other dramatic (but not always traumatic) circumstance.

    • Jyotirmoy Sethy

      Got any advice?? Situation:- Slammed door on a “close” friend(or at least it was for me) now even though I still see good in people, and allow them to think ‘I consider them friend’ but I can’t actually let them be mine.. Don’t get me wrong, I help ’em.. care for ’em.. but that’s it.. I don’t let ’em be there for me.. All those Five points you mentioned (great points btw): ‘been there done that’ still I haven’t made a single new friend for past 4 years now, even if I have been a friend to many…

    • Amelia Brown

      Well written, Emily! I’ve experienced this a few times myself. It is so, so difficult to come to this decision. To an outsider looking in, it may appear that the INFJ is impulsive or too stubborn to “come around” and change their mind. In reality this type of decision is the result of an accumulation of things going wrong over a long period of time and an INFJ is exhausted by it. This article made me feel a lot better about my experiences with the INFJ Door Slam. It’s tough being a forgiving person because people expect you to constantly forgive instead of them changing the behaviors that are hurtful. Thank you for writing this. 🙂

    • Win7ers

      Emily,
      Thank you for this post. As I am muddling through my emotions this provides me with great reflection on the door slam. I had to end an unhealthy relationship with an ESFJ. As the only INFJ in her life we were amazing friends. I appreciate the endearing qualities, but actions spoke volumes in her personal life. Leading me to believe the friend I once cherished was now a fraud. After a year-and-a-half, I waited for her to get angry once again over my objective advice. Waiting to close the door slowly but surely. (Honestly, I should have done this a long time ago, but I was afraid to cause conflict.) Once she was done berating me, I decided to close it for good. As much as it hurts my heart because I love her kids dearly, I can no longer have her in my life. She drained me emotionally, and I could no longer tolerate it. I am grateful I have a husband who understands me at least on some degree as an INTJ. Thank you that I am not alone in this process.
      Caroline