12 Signs of an Unhealthy, Underdeveloped INFJ

IntrovertDear.com unhealthy INFJ

Generally, INFJs are warm, caring people who are deeply sensitive to the needs of others. If you get them talking honestly about their life’s purpose, they will probably tell you that they have always felt they were placed on this planet to use their insights to help others and make the world a better place. It’s speculated that Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were INFJs — no wonder this personality type has been nicknamed “the counselor” and “the advocate.”

(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality test.)

However, just like with any other personality type, maturity goes a long way. A healthy, balanced INFJ is going to look a lot different than an INFJ who is unhealthy and underdeveloped as a person. So, here are 12 signs that an INFJ may be unhealthy:

1. They let other people walk all over them. They don’t have strong boundaries that protect them from others taking advantage of them. Babysit your kids all day for the third weekend in a row? Sure, they’ll do it — even though it means they have to cancel their own plans. Meet you at that sushi restaurant, again, even though the thought of a spicy tuna roll makes their stomach turn? Unhealthy INFJs never want to disappoint.

2. They bend over backwards trying to make everyone around them happy. They live to people-please. Generally, INFJs are generous people who gain immense satisfaction from making others happy. This is an admirable quality, and it’s okay for INFJs to do this to some extent. However, unhealthy INFJs constantly put other people’s needs ahead of their own, to the degree that they become exhausted, unhappy, and disconnected from their own sense of self.

3. Everything they do has to be perfect. At work, they read an email six times before sending it to make sure there are no mistakes and that the tone is just right. In school, they spend much longer on projects or papers than other students do — they can’t live with anything less than an “A.” An unhealthy INFJ’s self-esteem is inherently tied to how well they perform on any given task. They figure that if they do everything perfectly, no one will have a reason to criticize or dislike them.

4. They door slam too easily and hold grudges. The door slam can be a healthy mechanism that protects INFJs from toxic people, and at times, it is necessary. However, underdeveloped INFJs will slam the door on important relationships — their spouse, close friend, or parent — without first trying to resolve the root issue. Instead of being a last resort, the door slam becomes the first and foremost way of dealing with any issue that pops up in a relationship.

5. They have yet to master the art of saying “no.” They irrationally fear that their friend will hate them if they turn down the party invitation. They worry that their boss will fire them if they say they can’t work overtime.

6. They let toxic people, narcissists, and other emotionally needy people run their lives. INFJs have a light that burns brightly — which, unfortunately, can attract people who will take advantage of them. Unhealthy INFJs will make excuses for other people’s toxic behavior. (“He was raised in a broken family, so he doesn’t know better — that’s why he hurts me.”) In fact, due to their inherent desire to help people, INFJs may find themselves unconsciously dating or befriending toxic people in order to “save” them. This usually results in the INFJ drowning in the other person’s noxious mess.

7. They become so involved with other people’s problems that they can’t focus on their own. Likewise, they become so bogged down with other people’s emotions that their day is constantly ruined because someone else is having a bad day.

8. They rarely let anyone in. Private by nature, INFJs tend to open up slowly to others — and that’s okay. However, this tendency can become a problem when INFJs won’t reveal themselves to anyone (not even a significant other, best friend, or close family member). Unhealthy INFJs rarely share their true thoughts and feelings with others because they fear being judged. However, when they close themselves off, they are likely to become lonely and depressed. INFJs, just like any other personality type, need strong relationships to be at their best.

9. They put their type on a pedestal. They become so carried away with the fact that they are the rarest personality type that they start believing they are superior to other types.

10. They use their personality type as an excuse to continue unhealthy behaviors. They believe they can’t change themselves or their lives for the better because of their four letters.

11. They don’t let their emotions speak. INFJs are not emotional in the sense that they weep loudly in public or hug everyone they meet. On the contrary, INFJs tend to keep their feelings to themselves and may dislike strong outward displays of emotion (these displays can feel manipulative to INFJs). This may lead INFJs to suppress their emotional side. Of course, there must be balance — INFJs shouldn’t live at the whims of their feelings. But, mature INFJs recognize that they are indeed emotional creatures, and that they can live their best life when they tune into their emotions — and respect and protect them.

12. They are extremely passive. INFJs are natural observers; they love sitting back, analyzing, and reflecting. They’re also pretty chill in groups/relationships, and they’re usually fine with letting other people have their way. However, these tendencies can lead them to be too passive. Unhealthy INFJs let other people make all the decisions for them. (“What do you want to do tonight?” “Whatever you want to do is fine!”) That way, they can’t make a “wrong” decision. These INFJs may lack a sense of control over their circumstances. Life is something that happens to them.

What causes an INFJ to be unhealthy? A number of things. Some INFJs have not had enough life experiences, so they have a very narrow perspective. Other INFJs have simply not invested much effort into developing themselves. Still others are “unhealthy” through no fault of their own — they learned unhealthy behaviors and coping mechanisms from their parents, or suffered emotional abuse at the hand of a close friend or partner.

For great resources on how to grow as an INFJ, check out this article and this article.

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

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  • Louise

    Oh my god… These are all me. Too true. I’m even with a guy who keeps hurting me, who “grew up in a broken family, so he doesn’t know better”… I’ve been with him on and off for 10 years, he keeps hurting me (“unintentionally”) and I keep forgiving him and trying to show him the high road. I feel like I’ve invested so much of myself in him, but… What the hell do I do to turn this around?

    • Delia Rowe

      All my relationships in the past were like that.I kept on signing on,giving in,helping,analysing,offering insight,wishing my partner would just get it….Until I realised I had too and do a lot of soul searching as to
      why the confusion and chaos was attractive.

      • Louise

        I’m glad to hear I’m not alone! I have so many emotions and thoughts about things, and he just thinks I’m “weird”, I crave deep connection and he will just say that he thinks “I’m hot” (why is that not good enough for me?), he will say I have a zit in my face when I wish he would tell me he loves me, he disappears when I need him.
        When I was lost and anxious he called me ‘lazy’ and I should “get it together”.
        I have to “act normal” and “behave” to deserve his affection…
        Writing this all at once brings me to tears, because I usually deny it, or make excuses for him. I tell myself it’s not his fault, because he had a tough childhood and was picked on as a kid.
        I really hope I can get past this, like you did, Delia. Thank you for reaching out to me.

        • Delia Rowe

          I was you!My partner always used to tell me to go away and think about it…this would ttally throw me off as he knew I was always trying to sort through our relationship.It took one night of him confusing me and me getting into trouble for something which resulted in him pinning me down in the car and throwing abuse at me.Believe me it escalates eventually the more they see they can get away with their behaviour.I arrived home with bruises on my face and my arms and this is how I got out of what I thought was a relationship.If a man is demeaning,puts you down rather than builds you up you are not in a relationship.If you severed ties with him he would I am afraid to say very quickly find a replacement.Its a cold ugly truth but its a fact.You so need to awaken to having peace,calm and nourishing your being.You are probably exhausted by all this.I hope you get to that point.To the journey.All the best and strength ..

        • Chels

          I could’ve written everything you said myself a few years ago. Stayed with a guy on and off for 10 years who was so emotionally stunted and treated me like crap most of the time, but because his father’s death had taken such a toll on him at a young age, in my mind that gave him a pass for all of his bad behavior. I thought if I tried hard enough, was “perfect” enough, he would finally realize how great I was and start treating me with love and respect. It wasn’t until I finally left and worked on myself that I stopped attracting guys like that and instead attracted ones who valued and cherished me.

          My advice would be to move on, spend some time on your own to understand what you really want, how awesome you are and how you truly want and deserve to be treated, and I promise things will get better. Good luck 🙂

  • Vijayeta Barman

    I loved this article so much because its honest. While other pages are all over the place trying to convince you that we are the special ones. This one clearly says how it might not be the case, which is the first step towards truly looking at yourself.

  • Wow I have a lot of these characters traits.

  • Val Woodhouse

    Sadly this is true of someone I’d been trying to connect with on social media. He’s a phenomenally talented person but he’s thrown it all away to pander to one of the most emotionally greedy users I’ve ever come across. Everything I’ve seen of them is what he does for her, nothing about what she does for him. I’ve seen her do things across him that nobody with any self respect would put up with from someone insisting you’re their “ultimate friend”. Yet there was I, trying to encourage him to further his career and he totally ignored me. I guess some people enjoy being treated like dirt. Needless to say I’ve done the famous door slam on him (not that he knows or would care) and now I can only see things about him that annoy me.

  • Louise

    Thank you so, so much, Charlotte. I really appreciate you reaching out! I will have a look at the article now. I really need to get in the driver’s seat. You are a star!

  • Melodicious

    I can so relate to this article.

  • Alphaxard Kimoto Mwangi

    Best way my character has been explained to me.

  • Rozarrianne

    In #9 being the rarest doesn’t make me feel superior at all, in fact its very lonely to be a person with a rare personality type. Although I am proud to say that I have gone past through some of the above, I still have some of the unhealthy signs but I am optimistic to correct them all since growing up is indeed a long path.

  • Christine

    I am an INFJ and dated someone who claimed to be for a few months. He turned out to be a liar and a chameleon, like Woody Allen in Zelig. When I spoke of my feelings and thoughts he never responded or took me seriously, because he lied about everything I think he figured I or other people must lying too. So glad I left that one.

  • Anne Johnson

    A lot of these, especially the doormat-related ones, are how I used to be. But I’m working on not being a doormat anymore. In fact, just last week I just ended a bad friendship that was stressing me out.