What Do INFJs Fear The Most? (8 INFJ Fears)
Sep 7, 2022
Despite the tendency of the internet to regard the INFJ as a pure enlightened being, nothing could be further from the truth.
The INFJ is one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, making up roughly 1-2 percent of the population. “INFJ” is an acronym which stands for Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F) and Judging (J).
These four core characteristics describe the cognitive functions INFJs use the most to navigate through life.
Just like everybody else, INFJs struggle a lot to overcome their demons.
Being an INFJ male myself, I can confirm that challenge is a long ongoing journey.
One form in which their demons manifest themselves is fear.
What are some of the typical things INFJs fear? Let’s take a bold look at 8 INFJ fears!
8 Things INFJs Fear The Most
1. INFJs may fear not having enough time in this life to reach their full potential
“Oh who invented time and why? And why such furious pace?” (Perrion, 2013, p. 339). The concept of time is something many INFJs seem to obsessively contemplate.
Captivated when immersed in nostalgia. Frightened, yet intrigued when looking too far ahead, or just even a little.
As idealists, INFJs tend to set the highest, most admirable life goals for themselves and valiantly pursue them.
For instance, a life of harmony, creative expression, intellectual challenge, autonomy, financial freedom, authenticity, beauty, true love, altruism, philanthropy and enlightenment.
They have a strong sense that it’s their moral obligation to develop and embody as many of those beautiful qualities to fulfill their role as contributors to a better world.
INFJs also pursue these life goals for their own well-being and to protect themselves against hardships, since a meaningful purpose seems to justify life’s inevitable suffering in a way.
However, as the term “life goals” implies, achieving them might take exactly that, a lifetime.
So for the INFJ there seems to be little room for error or delay, given the magnitude of their desired goals, which are nothing short of utopian.
They fear not having enough time to achieve that full potential in their lifetime and that they must live a dull, meaningless and lonely life full of suffering and go to their grave with their song still in them.
2. INFJs may fear being narcissistic
Possibly, the most bizarre statement to read. INFJs fear being narcissistic?
Surely, the prototypical INFJ, who’s generous with its empathy, devoted to social harmony, wholeheartedly interested in other people’s personal experiences and unwavering in its loyalty to worthy individuals, is actually the antithesis of narcissism?
That doesn’t mean INFJs can’t be narcissists as pathological narcissism is often rooted in childhood trauma and a healthy developmental path gone awry.
Irrespective of stereotypically being deemed as empaths and actually too nice, INFJs still fear waking up one day realizing they were narcissists all along unknowingly wreaking havoc in their social circle.
INFJs value integrity, honesty, mutual respect and loyalty in relationships so much that the worst possible thing that could happen to those values would be relating to a person, or being a person that is devoid of all that.
And typically that would be a pathological narcissist, characterized by a grandiose sense of self, selfishness, manipulation, lack of empathy, emotional volatility and contempt for others.
Unfortunately, many INFJs have negative experiences with narcissists as the INFJ’s life giving energy seems to attract these emotional vampires.
A lot of INFJs have seen at first hand the insidious traits of narcissistic people, and its devastating effects on someone else’s or the INFJ’s own mental well-being.
Since narcissism is hard to spot in oneself, INFJs fear any minute unconscious narcissism could be pointed out in them by their friends and family.
In a way by being extra thoughtful and nice, INFJs try to make extra sure they don’t even slide a nanometer towards that reprehensible side of the spectrum.
3. INFJs may fear conflict
The INFJ’s sensitivity lends itself perfectly to sensing what’s needed to shape a warm social atmosphere for harmonious social interactions to take place.
On the flip side, that same sensitivity can be a liability when dealing with relational conflict.
As sensitive and in some cases even highly sensitive people, the INFJ’s nervous system soaks up emotional energy like a sponge.
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Yes, this sensitivity can lead to almost euphoric highs when engaged in joyous and loving interactions.
Yet, this sensitivity can also lead to overwhelmingly debilitating lows, through bouts of stress when facing enraged or distraught people.
Photo by Timur Weber on Pexels
INFJs may fear the emotional intensity of contagious negative emotions, like anger, shame and anxiety, because those are particularly painful emotions to experience, especially as sensitive beings.
Or they may fear conflict, because of the painful idea that they’ve upset someone.
Perhaps, there’s an even deeper reason why INFJs tend to fear conflict so much.
It might be because they can’t trust themselves to be able to protect themselves physically and mentally by fighting back or standing their ground in a heated verbal fight, due to being overwhelmed by almost paralyzing sensations of stress.
Perhaps, if they knew how to create their own safety in almost any given circumstance, there wouldn’t be a need to fear conflict so much.
Paradoxically, that would require deliberate exposure to and practice with tense confrontations.
“That which you most need will be found where you least want to look” – Carl Jung.
4. INFJs may fear mediocrity
As was mentioned before, INFJs are trying with all their might to manifest their utopian visions for the world in their lifetime.
While their most ambitious attempts at this are powered by a fear of running out of time, simultaneously they are powered by a fear of mediocrity.
Typically, INFJs may fear that slowly their dreams and ambitions get beaten out of them as they gradually succumb to the conveyor belt lifestyle that more or less still seems to be the default mode in our modern day societies.
Just going through the motions of commuting to work everyday for a soul crushing job.
Commuting back home again to heat up the microwave tv-dinner to consume on the couch in front of the tv while being dead-tired.
Dozing off after finishing the carbohydrate dense meal, just to drag themselves to bed two hours later to repeat the dreaded daily cycle all over again in the morning.
Trading dreams for pay-cheques and convenience, and quality time spent with close friends and family for quantity time in boardroom meetings with co-workers and strangers.
All the while the INFJ is painfully witnessing how they became an uninspiring emaciated shell of themselves.
Now, this sounds a bit dramatic of course (which INFJs tend to be anyway!), but this doom scenario is running in the background of a lot of INFJs’ minds.
While their dreams and visions remind them of where to run towards, this fear of mediocrity reminds them what to run away from.
5. INFJs may fear betrayal, abandonment and loss
It goes without saying that most people fear betrayal, abandonment and loss.
When you are particularly sensitive like the INFJ is, abandonment by a loved one or the loss of a meaningful relationship can be especially devastating.
Chances are that INFJs experienced some sort of loss in their lives of which the pain was so much amplified by their sensitivity that it easily became a traumatic experience for them.
Not wanting to feel that gut wrenching pain ever again, INFJs could risk going through life fearing and avoiding relationships, intimacy and closeness to a large degree.
They are already infamous for having their guards up consisting of an interpersonal firewall with a 99.5% success rate of keeping toxic people outside.
Sadly, because INFJs tend to be so strict when screening their social environments for potential threats, in many cases they also keep the good natured, healthy, and reliable people unknowingly outside as well.
Poignantly, those healthy, reliable people that the INFJ shuts out by accident are what INFJs who struggle with trust issues actually need the most to learn how to trust again.
However, when we look a little closer, these proclivities could also just be coping mechanisms born out of trauma mistaken for personality traits.
6. INFJs may fear that in the end life is meaningless
As beings that are propelled by meaning in almost everything they do, INFJs fear that in the end this miracle of life on earth is ultimately meaningless.
They might fear that this seemingly divinely orchestrated concert of magical existence is actually an utterly random one time phenomenon.
A cosmic glitch, causing us to be alive and conscious by accident, and dumbstruck while we witness in utter existential agony the incomprehensible ominous vastness of the Universe and our totally fragile and insignificantly short-lived incarnations bound by suffering while we await the looming inevitable dissolution into eternal darkness again forever.
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels
Phew.. holding that thought for a second will get you to be a chain smoker for the rest of your life for sure. Sorry about that!
Yet, it’s this gloomy possibility that INFJs fear a lot and try to alter by their relentless search for intentional meaning, bliss and beauty.
7. INFJs may fear their own dark imagination
Like was mentioned in the article Why Can INFJs Be So Intense? (5 Important Reasons INFJs Will Understand) (Part 2), INFJs can have an extremely dark imagination which they might fear.
With a highly creative mind that seems to have no limiter, the dark end of their inner world is always just a few thoughts away.
Like a 10.000 firecrackers roll, one particularly triggering thought can cause a chain reaction of dark thoughts firing in the INFJ’s associative mind.
For example, fearful thoughts about the most torturous incidents that could befall their loved ones.
Those dark fearful thoughts are likely very vivid images in the mind’s eye and creative in how they cause excruciating bouts of stress and anxiety.
The INFJ’s creative mind has a life of its own and by no means exclusively produces beautiful thoughts!
Regularly, INFJs find themselves involuntarily being taken on a wild ride by their mind into the dark lands, like a panicking cowboy stuck on an untamed horse on the loose.
8. INFJs may fear their own light
The general question remains.
How much of the INFJ’s personality traits are mistaken for adaptive responses to trauma?
The collective stereotypical image of the INFJ seems to lean towards that of a divine being with a tortured soul.
Many INFJs will find it hard to acknowledge their beautiful traits like empathy, joy, creativity, altruism, devotion and perseverance as much as others do.
It’s as if the INFJ has many of the most beautiful traits a person could dream of.
Yet, everybody but the INFJ can see them.
It’s a two-sided coin blessing/curse predicament you’ll get when dealing with the devil.
Often INFJs will keep themselves small to not upset others and only allow their light to shine secretly when alone or with a few good friends.
Why are INFJs so afraid of their own light?
Is it because they fear their light may shine so blindingly bright it will chase their significant others away?
Or is it because stepping into their light would mean they’ll have to drop the sad yet comfortable story they have been telling themselves for most of their lives about how broken they are?
Perrion, Z. (2013). The Alabaster Girl. Ars Amorata Press.
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