Written By Kirsten Moodie
The Truth Behind the INFJ Paradox Explained
Many of you may have heard about something referred to as the INFJ Paradox. We are here to set the record straight and explain exactly what the meaning behind this actually is.
What is the INFJ Paradox?
The INFJ Paradox is often used to reference the many qualities of the INFJ that contradict themselves. INFJs are complex individuals, with concrete values and a deep understanding of others. They have many qualities that appear like a contradiction to others, but truly make sense when they are deconstructed. Being someone that is considered a paradox can be a serious struggle, especially for the INFJ that doesn’t understand themselves sometimes. Their complexities are what makes the INFJ such wonderful and rare individuals, but that doesn’t mean those qualities are not a struggle for them sometimes.
Examples of the INFJ Paradox
INFJs are intensely caring individuals, who value deep connections. They want to be able to bond with others and feel a strong connection with them. The INFJ understands people very easily and often feels the emotions of others very strongly. They are willing to reach out to others and help guide them through their struggles. The INFJ is a natural support system for the people around them, often capable of making them feel understood and appreciated. While the INFJ values sharing deep bonds with people, they often struggle with opening up themselves. So even though they are the person who will coax the truth out of others, they are intensely guarded about their own emotions. The INFJ wants to bond with others but may struggle to truly do so. They hide parts of themselves out of the fear of being judged or misunderstood. They understood others very easily, but struggle with sharing themselves completely with people. The INFJ wants to be understood, but often fears what it will mean if they open up to people. This is often a confusing quality of the INFJ, since they value having true and meaningful connections. These connections are hard to honestly acquire, since they fear being hurt so deeply.
The INFJ also craves solitude, but simultaneously craves being around people. This of course is a very confusing and paradoxical combination for the INFJ. They need to be alone to recharge and often needs large quantities of alone time to feel fully like themselves. At the same time the INFJ craves being around people and loves to be able to connect with others. This makes the INFJ often crave the opposite of what they are experiencing at that very moment. When they are alone they desire to be around someone and to feel the connection to another soul. When the INFJ is with someone, they may feel somewhat drained and desire alone time. It’s not that they aren’t enjoying being in the presence of that person and the INFJ will even be willing to listen very intently. They simply struggle with their energy quickly dipping lower as they experience too much social interaction. This can be intensely confusing for the INFJ and others around them. Wanting to live in the social aspects of the world, yet needing to be by yourself to process everything, can be utterly complicated. They can be perfectly content with being alone, yet at the same time crave the feeling of connecting with others.
INFJs also experience a contradicting reaction to humanity as a whole. While INFJs are caring and warm individuals, they are also very aware of people’s intentions. They are good at seeing the truth behind their world, making them capable of seeing the darkest parts of people. They are well aware of the cruelty and pain that people can inflict upon others. This often makes the INFJ feels cynical and angry towards people, often wanting to be away from the world because of this. At the same time the INFJ believes in people and often is capable of seeing the best in others. They want people to strive to reach their full potential, often making them capable of keeping hope for even the darkest of individuals. They are often angry and disappointed in humanity, but at the same time compassionate and hopeful.
The INFJ also prides themselves on being a very honest individuals, which is often true. They seek out truth in the world around them and want to be honest with others. At the same time the INFJ is often very guarded, hiding parts of themselves from people. The INFJ may value honesty, but they are not averse to little white lies. They don’t actually consider things like that to be true lies, since they are not harming anyone or diverting from the truth that matters. Elaborating a story to make it seem more interesting or adding a little flare to it, is not something that the INFJ considers a lie. If you are embellishing a story or simply telling someone that they look good in a pair of jeans when they don’t, that is not a true lie in the eyes of an INFJ. When people are lying for their own personal gain or to escape being held responsible for something, that is a real lie to the INFJ. This view of the truth is a paradox in itself, but makes complete sense to the INFJ. It is something they think about thoroughly and do not take lightly at all.
An INFJ may cut off from someone that they love very deeply, this is something referred as the INFJ Door Slam. They remove someone from their lives that they love, simply because they care far too much. This appears as a contradiction to others, but makes complete sense to the INFJ. When someone is continuously harming the INFJ or themselves, this can sometimes be too much for the INFJ to bare. Of course the INFJ works very hard to help this person, pushing themselves beyond reason to make things right. When they come to the conclusion that nothing can be done, the INFJ may have to completely shut this person out of their lives. This is actually because the INFJ cares too deeply for this person and cannot handle the pain of the situation any longer. Caring so much that you have to shut someone out, is one of the most powerful paradoxes of the INFJ.
INFJs feel emotions very intensely and although sometimes this can be hard, they both love and hate this about themselves. The INFJ may suffer from sadness and this is very painful for them, but they are also capable of seeing the beauty in it. The fact that they feel things very deeply, yet are capable of seeing the beauty in the darkness, is a very complex quality. They are more capable of appreciating things than people realize, often finding the positive side of the most dismal experiences.
The INFJ is extremely compassionate and warm towards people. They are often level-headed and conscientious individuals, but also experience a powerful rage at times. The INFJ is often seen as the person who will be supportive and loving towards everyone, but they do experience intense anger. This is something that may shock people who have never witnessed it from the INFJ before. Their caring nature can be the exact thing that makes them explode with a sort of just rage. When something has gone too far or when someone harms someone that the INFJ cares about, they are capable of being frighteningly vengeful. They do not enjoy hurting people, but in certain cases the INFJ is very good at striking at others. This is a rare occurrence, but is does happen when the INFJ is pushed too far. If the INFJ has been made angry enough to seek vengeance on someone, they are often capable of doing this without much guilt. This often happens when someone has harmed a person that the INFJ loves, so they deem this a reasonable reaction. Having such strong compassion is the very thing that often causes the INFJ to become angry with others.
The INFJ can be often pessimistic towards the world, appearing constantly inside their own minds. They appear intense and serious, but also have a strong silly side to them. They are not shallow individuals and are drawn towards real and intense connections, but at the same time they can be goofy and playful. So even though the INFJ may seem intense, they don’t always take everything as serious as they may seem to. It often takes time to see this part of the INFJ, but it is a strong part of who they are. They both desire to be open, but simultaneously contain many layers to their true self.
How To Appreciate The INFJ Paradox
INFJs experience many of these paradoxes and more on a constant basis. Being someone who appears utterly contradicting to others and even to themselves, is an often challenging experience. This may cause the INFJ to become confused about themselves, possibly feeling like they are too strange. There is nothing odd about these qualities and the INFJ needs to understand this. Being so complex is what makes the INFJ so very capable of understanding others and loving them regardless. These complexities and paradoxes are a big part of who the INFJ is and these things should be valued and appreciated. It often makes the INFJ misunderstood by others, which can be a struggle for them. For the people who are willing to take the time to peel back the many layers of the INFJ, they will be able to truly appreciate what they have to offer.
There is nothing wrong with the qualities of the INFJ that appear to be contradictions. These qualities should be celebrated, not banished. They are what makes the INFJ so very magnetic and compelling. They are caring individuals, who strive to make a real and honest difference in the world around them. Embrace the paradox and learn to appreciate the value that is brings to the INFJ and to others.
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