12 Unmistakable Signs of an Unhealthy INFJ [+4 Tips for Healing]
by Lisa Sparrow
No personality type is perfect—and INFJs aren’t an exception.
While some of them can maintain a balance between their good and bad sides, others get lost on the way. They stray into the toxic side of their personality, which makes their lives significantly more complicated.
If you want to delve into the dark secrets of the INFJ universe, search no more. This article covers everything you need to know about unhealthy INFJ people and helps you get answers to crucial questions, including:
- What Causes INFJs to Become Unhealthy?
- 11+ Tell-Tale Signs of Unhealthy INFJs
- 4 Best Tips to Heal and Become a Healthier INFJ
What Causes INFJs to Become Unhealthy?
INFJs aren’t born unhealthy. Like other personality types, INFJs tend to show both their strengths and weaknesses.
Still, they can develop some toxic traits during life for various reasons, including:
- INFJ “grip” stress caused by various factors
- Traumatic events and situations beyond their control
- An environment that frustrates them or suppresses their basic needs
- Emotionally draining friendships and other relationships
- Extremely poor or inflated self-esteem
- Inefficient use of their function stack, which may result in a Ni-Ti loop and cognitive distortions
Such a gap between their true nature and external factors can be quite intense for INFJs, especially when they have little to no control over the situation.
No matter how great their personality may be, struggling with their own demons can make it difficult for INFJs to heal. Yet, everything gets better if they are willing to work on their weak points and overcome insecurities. By doing that, INFJs can turn the situation to their advantage.
11+ Tell-Tale Signs of Unhealthy INFJs
The question arises—how can you spot an unhealthy INFJ? They may not show any physical signs of struggle. Yet, you can catch the symptoms by observing their actions.
Here are the most common indicators of toxic behavior in INFJ people:
#1. Becoming Socially Isolated
Because they’re highly sensitive and empathetic, INFJs don’t like bothering people with their problems. They’ll keep it all to themselves and face issues on their own rather than risk destroying someone else’s harmony.
In such cases, INFJ people tend to withdraw to avoid coming across as “too much to handle.” While this gesture may be thoughtful toward others, it does more damage than good for INFJs. It puts pressure on them, as they don’t express their emotions as freely as they should.
Other reasons why INFJs may isolate themselves include:
- Going through different types of crisis
- Feeling that nobody can understand their concern
- Inability to regulate their emotions when they feel overwhelmed
- Wanting to distance themselves from toxic people or environments
#2. Ignoring Their Personal Needs
As seen in the previous example, INFJs often care more about others than themselves. While nurturing their loved ones, they usually neglect their own needs along the way.
By focusing on listening to other people’s concerns, INFJs decrease the validity of their emotions.
As a result, they lack the motivation to solve their problems and end up overwhelmed. Obviously, this is closely related to their need to sometimes distance themselves from people and recharge.
#3. Accepting Toxic Behavior
INFJs suffer from a savior complex. They are prone to finding excuses for people who hurt them and trying to make them better people. It’s all about their need to be needed—even when it harms them.
INFJs will tolerate bad behavior and justify it whenever possible by pointing to trauma and childhood problems. The end result? Emotionally abusive people can often sense this and take advantage of their empathy, using the kindness of INFJs to escape their distress. This drains INFJs’ energy to the point of exhaustion and weakens their spirits.
#4. Easily Cutting People Off
Remember the famous INFJ door slam? That’s exactly what this personality type does when they feel the need to stay away from someone. They can disappear from your life by cutting all ties with you—and when unhealthy, INFJs do it way too easily.
Still, there’s a good side to all this.
Although this tendency to cut people off is considered unhealthy, it can be a blessing for INFJs who are dealing with toxic people. By “slamming the door” right in their faces, INFJs can free themselves from unnecessary stress and pressure in a breeze.
#5. Acting Impulsively
Healthy INFJs are known as calm people who aren’t prone to angry outbursts. However, if they are going through an unhealthy phase, this can easily change.
The most common reason for this issue is “grip stress,” which makes INFJs focus on sensual pleasures. It happens when INFJs rely on their weakest cognitive function, extraverted sensing, instead of being guided by their dominant introverted intuition.
Their impulsive behavior doesn’t only include rage. INFJ “grip stress” leads them to lose balance in everything else they do.
For example, they might drive recklessly, overeat, binge drink, become obsessed with decluttering their homes, and overreact to everyday situations. These activities distract INFJs from stress but can easily turn into addictions.
#6. Feeling Resentful Towards Others
The people-pleasing nature of INFJs takes its toll if they try to make someone happy and fail to do so.
This personality type loves harmony and thrives on happiness. If the ones they’re trying to please don’t respond accordingly, INFJs realize they’ve wasted their energy and get frustrated.
These emotions come from feeling like they didn’t do enough and usually turn into anger directed at the person they tried to help.
#7. Becoming Self-Righteous and Judgemental
Since INFJs know they are the rarest personality type, they may get the impression that they’re more enlightened than others. They will often feel different—like they don’t belong in this world or like no one understands them.
When healthy, INFJ people will do their best to fight this feeling and avoid judging others. If they’re in an unhealthy phase, it may cause them to look down on people and invalidate their opinions. For this reason, communicating with an unhealthy INFJ may sometimes feel like talking to a wall.
#8. Avoiding Conflict at Any Cost
No INFJ likes conflicts. Healthy ones just do their best to come out of their comfort zone and solve problems with others as peacefully as possible. The sooner they stop the dispute, the better they feel.
Unlike their healthy counterparts, unhealthy people with INFJ personalities flee at the first sign of confrontation. They can’t stand arguing with others—it makes them deeply unhappy and disoriented. If they can’t fix the broken harmony, they withdraw and choose to simply get away from everything.
#9. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
People with an INFJ personality type have high expectations in all spheres of their lives, be it careers, friendships, or love. Being highly idealistic, they struggle with accepting anything that’s not the best. That also applies to people—the closer you get to an INFJ, the more they will expect from you.
For this reason, INFJs usually face disappointment once they realize it’s impossible to achieve what they want. Such negative feelings may lead to depression. At worst, INFJs may start questioning the foundations of their existence.
#10. Taking Everything Personally
The overly sensitive nature of INFJs makes it difficult for them to realize that not everything is about them. If people around them disagree with their opinions, they feel attacked on a personal level.
When unhealthy, INFJs are prone to overthinking and dwelling on other people’s reactions to their opinions. Sadly, such thoughts will often prevent them from seeing the wider picture.
Moreover, an unhealthy INFJ will hardly notice the good intentions behind someone else’s comments or advice. Coping with these issues can be rather exhausting, and it might destroy their confidence.
#11. Suffering From Apathy
INFJs love to help everyone—maybe even too much. They engage in solving other people’s problems to the point where they just burn out.
Some of them—the healthy ones—simply detach from what exhausts them with no hard feelings.
Unhealthy people with an INFJ personality, however, tend to stop being empathetic in the long run due to the burnout, disappointment, and other negative emotions they feel.
In such situations, they may stop caring about the issues they would otherwise try to solve as efficiently as possible.
#12. Struggling to Set Healthy Boundaries
INFJs were born to help people, but unhealthy ones usually do it to their detriment.
Even when they think about setting some boundaries, they feel guilty. For INFJs, it means withholding help from those who need it, although deep inside they know it harms them.
Some INFJs, especially unhealthy ones, hardly ever learn how to say “no” or turn to their own needs. As a result, they allow others to hurt them and even get better at their expense. The reason is simple—they can’t cope with seeing disenchantment in someone else’s eyes.
4 Best Tips to Heal and Become a Healthier INFJ
The good news is—unhealthy INFJs don’t need to stay that way.
The key lies in their ability to learn how to use their cognitive functions properly. If INFJs manage to defeat their demons, they can free themselves and live an unburdened life.
So, how can INFJs become healthier? Let’s find out!
#1. Prioritize Self-Care
Caring about others is nice but not enough, even though INFJs often believe it to be their purpose in life. To prevent toxic feelings and relationships from ruining their lives, they must put their own needs first.
Finding comfort in discovering what makes INFJs feel good can change how they see the world. It’ll also show them that the world won’t stop if they don’t solve each and every problem they encounter.
#2. Learn How to Say “No”
Another thing that leads INFJs to a happy life is knowing how to set boundaries and when it’s okay to say “no.”
Although it might be a tough lesson to learn, it can drastically change the way they see themselves. INFJ people must realize it’s perfectly fine if they don’t always feel like interacting with people or doing what others want.
#3. Ask For Help and Support
To heal properly, unhealthy INFJ people need support and encouragement. After the first step—admitting they have a problem—they should muster the courage to ask people close to their hearts for help.
This also means switching roles and becoming the ones others care about for a change. Considering the selfless nature of INFJs, such a twist might be difficult for them to process. Yet, it can only do them good.
#4. Learn Self-Compassion
INFJs’ tendency to be hard on themselves forms a huge part of their unhealthy routine. To learn how to take better care of their own feelings, they must change this habit.
INFJs need to learn that they deserve the same comfort and care they’re ready to offer others. Once they learn how to be kind to themselves and accept their flaws, their perspective can drastically change.
FAQs About Unhealthy INFJs
#1. What does a toxic INFJ look like?
You can tell that an INFJ is unhealthy or toxic by the way they react to everyday things.
They usually adopt the so-called victim mentality, even though they are responsible for their own actions. If they feel attacked (even when they are not), they will get defensive and irritable.
#2. What are INFJ weaknesses?
Besides the dark INFJ sides explained in this article, this personality type also shows the following flaws:
- Extreme perfectionism
- Proneness to burnouts
#3. Can INFJs be manipulative?
Although INFJs are generally kind and compassionate, unhealthy INFJs can become manipulative.
If they end up on the unhealthy side, INFJs can easily use some of their qualities to manipulate other people. Thanks to their extraordinary intuition and empathy, INFJs can easily notice weak spots in others and use them to get what they want.
#4. Why are INFJs intimidating?
To many people, INFJs seem quite absent and serious or, at times, even cold and unapproachable. Even though this may be just a façade, it’s convincing enough to make people shy away from these individuals.
And that’s all you need to know about INFJs when they aren’t at their best.
By now, you know not only how to recognize unhealthy INFJs but also how to heal if you or your loved one happens to be one of them!
So, to sum up what we have learned about unhealthy INFJs from this guide:
- INFJs can become unhealthy due to various factors, including stressful events, traumas, or the inability to handle their weaknesses.
- Among other ways, unhealthy INFJs express their toxic traits by isolating themselves from other people, tolerating other people’s bad behavior, “slamming the door” on the ones who hurt them without looking back, and running away from conflicts instead of solving them.
- The easiest ways for unhealthy INFJ people to heal are to learn how to prioritize their personal needs, accept their flaws, ask for help, and work on setting healthy boundaries.