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 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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19 Comments

  • Louise says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

          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 says:

          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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    I can so relate to this article.

  • Alphaxard Kimoto Mwangi says:

    Best way my character has been explained to me.

  • Rozarrianne says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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.

  • I am probably one of the most selfish and rudest INFJ’s you could ever meet. I won’t even deny it.

  • Darrell Wolfe says:

    Totally me: 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.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey says:

    I’m pretty sure I’m an INTP, not an INFJ, but almost all of these are true for me.

  • Franchesca Irby says:

    *sighs* I had my first INFJ friend. I’ve never talked to another INFJ before, this was the first time. And he ended up being like this. I’m very disappointed. Well not all 12 signs, mostly just 4, 9, and 10. He door slammed me when I tried to tell him he was acting very entitled towards women, and he seemed to think that because he was INFJ he was incapable of misjudging people or their reasons for doing things. Yes, INFJs are good at understanding people, but we’re not omniscient. I never realized INFJs can be just as immature as anyone else. I always thought the level of empathy, compassion, and observation they possess made them all very enlightened people.

  • Alexa says:

    I am outrageously GRATEFUL for this post. I’ve been wanting to do one similar, but this has been so enlightening, even so.
    I cannot tell you how many times I find blog posts about the INFJ (from an INFJ) that essentially flaunts the negative parts of our personality type. Like it cannot be changed, and is somehow a “cool” thing to door slam someone or to be misunderstood. Instead of using this test to grow, so many use it as crutch, and an excuse to continue in old, and harmful ways.
    Thank you, thank you.