12 Signs of an Unhealthy INFJ

IntrovertDear.com unhealthy INFJ

INFJs are warm, caring people who are deeply sensitive to the needs of others. Many feel placed on this planet to use their insights to help others and make the world a better place. Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr. are thought to have been INFJs; no wonder this personality type is nicknamed “the counselor” and “the advocate.”

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

Just like with any personality type, a healthy INFJ will look different from an unhealthy INFJ. Here are 12 signs that an INFJ is unhealthy.

Signs of an Unhealthy INFJ

1. They chronically put other people’s needs ahead of their own.

INFJs love being generous toward the people in their lives and making them happy. This is an admirable quality; if only more people were as selfless as the INFJ! However, unhealthy INFJs constantly put other people’s needs ahead of their own, to the point of becoming exhausted, unhappy, and disconnected from their sense of self. Unhealthy INFJs don’t see their own needs as valid.

2. They make excuses for other people’s toxic behavior.

The INFJ’s light burns brightly. Unfortunately, this means they often attract toxic or emotionally needy people. Unhealthy INFJs allow these people — and the chaos they bring — into their lives. They may make excuses for other people’s bad behavior. (“He was raised in a broken family, so he doesn’t know better. That’s why he hurts me.”) Due to their inherent desire to help people, INFJs may find themselves unconsciously dating or befriending toxic people in order to “save” them.

3. Everything they do must be perfect.

They read an email six times before sending it to make sure there are no mistakes and that the tone is just right. They avoid trying new things, because they’re afraid of failure. An unhealthy INFJ’s self-esteem is inherently tied to how well they perform on any given task. They tell themselves that if they do everything perfectly, no one will have reason to criticize them.

4. They door slam too easily and hold grudges.

The INFJ door slam can be a healthy mechanism that protects INFJs from toxic relationships, and at times, it is necessary. However, unhealthy INFJs slam the door without first trying to resolve the root issue. Instead of being a last resort, the door slam becomes the first and foremost method of dealing with any problems that arise in their relationships.

5. They have weak boundaries.

They let people take advantage of them. Sure, they’ll babysit your kids again, even if it means canceling their own plans.

6. Similarly, they’re afraid of saying “no.”

Unhealthy INFJs are chronic people-pleasers who never want to disappoint.

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 often ruined because someone else is having a bad day.

8. They rarely let anyone in.

Private by nature, INFJs tend to open up to others slowly — 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. As a result of closing themselves off, they may become lonely and depressed. INFJs, just like any other personality type, need strong relationships to be at their best.

9. They feel responsible for everyone else’s feelings.

When their significant other has a bad day, they feel like it’s their job to cheer them up. This can be a wonderful trait of the INFJ, however, when taken to the extreme, the INFJ will become a martyr. An unhealthy INFJ will be so attentive to the emotional states of others that they chronically neglect their own.

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 see their emotions as valid source of data.

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 lean into their Introverted Thinking function and suppress their emotional side. However, 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 feelings — and see them as a valid source of information when making decisions.

12. They are passive about life.

INFJs are natural observers. They love sitting back, analyzing, and reflecting. They’re also pretty chill in group settings, and they’re usually fine with letting other people have their way. However, these tendencies can lead them to become passive. Unhealthy INFJs let other people make their 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 many life experiences, so they have a very narrow perspective. Other INFJs have simply not invested 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.

More INFJ Resources

Learn more about being an INFJ personality type, and what INFJs need in life to be happy:

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Jenn Granneman is the founder of IntrovertDear.com and the author of The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World. She also cohosts The Introvert, Dear Podcast and blogs for Psychology Today. For most of her life, Jenn felt weird, different, and out of place because of her quiet ways. She writes about introversion because she doesn’t want other introverts to feel the way she did.