Why Can INFJs Be So Intense? (5 Important Reasons INFJs Will Understand) (Part 2)

Jul 14, 2022

Despite being mysterious and soft-spoken, the INFJ exudes a quiet intensity.

Silent on the outside, yet inside there’s a raging quiet storm. Something, I'm trying to reconcile as an INFJ male.

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.

But, what is causing the INFJ's intensity and how does it manifest? Let’s take an intense look!

5 Important Reasons Why INFJs Can Be So Intense

1. INFJs can be intense, because they are obsessed with the impermanence of life

It’s hard to pinpoint when it sets in.. but somewhere along the way INFJs become extremely aware of the miracle of life and the impermanence of all living things.

Whether they relive the nostalgic memories of an idyllic childhood, trace back how their life’s path in all its beauty and sorrow organically led to their current state of adult life affairs, or watch the metaphorical golden sunset of a life well lived at old age.

All is done in a deep state of continuous contemplation.

The concept of time, its significance and its furious pace.. None of it escapes an INFJ as they are captivated by it, terrified, yet hopeful all at the same time.

Conflicted, tormented while in awe you could say, and poignantly so because INFJs are drawn to the future despite knowing that the future also holds their inevitable demise.

Like a moth flying towards a flame.

Deep down we all know that nothing is impervious to the flow of time and its nature to gradually dissolve everything in it.

Some even view time as this incurable lethal disease.

As dismal as it may sound, our days in this human incarnation are numbered. It’s not a question of if, but when..

That goes for you, me and all of our loved ones, the psychopath down the street, the animal shelter volunteer, the child abuser and the pediatrician..

1.1. A sense of urgency

In the western societies we like to believe that we all are going to live up to 100 years and beyond.

Even though our life expectancies have increased dramatically due to medical and technological advancement that increased our quality of life, in the end no one knows how much time they have.

Is it 90 years? Or 10 years? Perhaps 50 years?

Whatever the amount may be, when our unavoidable end comes it comes relatively quite soon.

Now, let me ask you a question. Given that happiness seems to be the universally desired goal, who in their right mind would want to contemplate a doleful fact like the impermanence of life?

Well.. the INFJ does.. Constantly,.. Incessantly.. Obsessively!

The INFJ’s intense drive to reach their full potential and to live a life of meaning by contributing to a more beautiful world is enormously fuelled by this notion.

They remind themselves and others constantly about how little time we actually have in this life and why it’s so important to pursue whatever we find meaningful with some urgency.

Do you see now why INFJs can be intense?

Since they’ve been meditating excessively on such dire thoughts of the same magnitude, they’ve developed a few mental calluses that make them withstand many disconcerting subjects with ease.

Due to their seemingly acquired immunity to core shaking existential concepts, that would cause a sane person to run away screaming, INFJs won’t shy away from casually bringing up grim subjects for conversations from time to time.

Subjects that perhaps would rob most people from their existential comfort.

INFJs might casually bring up these intense topics at a birthday party, wedding reception, or a baby shower out of fascination.

Also because these milestones in life often hallmark the beginning of a new era or the end of one in a person’s life.

Others find the INFJ too intense, because most people don’t want to think about these things and no bloody wonder.

Sad to say that INFJs regularly forget that.

Who knows what gave birth to the INFJ’s intense awareness of our fleeting existence.

Perhaps some painful loss made their sensitive hearts conscious of life’s tragic side a little too soon.

Nevertheless, the INFJ intensely contemplates the notion that there’s no beauty without sadness.

A sad beauty the INFJ somehow sees subtly hidden within the passage of time.

2. INFJs can be intense, because they are passionate beings

Like a mountain climber that’s under a spell when imagining the view on top of the highest mountain, INFJs wonder to what heights following their heart’s desires could take them.

INFJs need to be caught up by something greater than themselves in life.

They need to be swept up by a higher meaningful purpose that leaves them in a state of awe and inspires them to pursue that purpose relentlessly.

INFJs are passionate beings that live very much from the heart and feel deeply.

Due to their nature to lead with their hearts, they often follow their passions (or at least try to) as much as they can.

They are usually very much attracted to expressive ventures, like a career as a writer, painter, graphic designer, musician.

Or they try entrepreneurial ventures like freelancing or setting up some type of business.

It can also be a particular hobby they lose themselves in next to a regular day job.

As long as they can immerse themselves passionately in their meaningful endeavor.

In general, to them it’s absolutely vital that whatever life decision they make not only “makes sense” logically, but that they also FEEL it’s the right choice.

The passionate, full of life, joyful and enthusiastic energy that emanates from deep inside when they are engaging in whatever they love to do is a very nurturing state to be in and a very generous one.

Photo by Burst on Pexels

Because they revel in it and the passionate energy can build up so intensely, they need to channel it outwards and share it with the world!

For example, you’ll notice that the INFJ is many times very physically affectionate towards their romantic partner.

Meaning the INFJ is frequently touching, caressing and physically close to their partners.

When they’re out to dinner with their significant other, there’s a high chance the INFJ is sitting NEXT to their partner at the dinner table instead of across and initiates a lot of physical contact throughout the evening.

For instance, holding hands underneath the table, or having their legs and shoulders constantly touching their partner.

Yet, this can be too intense for those who aren’t used to all that passionate affection!

3. INFJs can be intense, because of their overly active open mind

A typical INFJ is never bored! That’s because they have a very imaginative open mind that conjures up all kinds of interesting ideas and images.

When the INFJ is daydreaming, it’s like they teleport inwardly to this dreamlike inner world of vast plains of green fluffy grass, set to a background of a mesmerizing vanilla sky color palette where their constellation of thoughts are displayed like a night sky displays a constellation of stars.

Mentally, it seems that infinite distances are being traversed by the INFJ through contemplation, imagination and entertaining the most beautiful and interesting ideas their minds can think of.

For instance, trying to think of which book to pick if they’re going to try the idea of running a warm bath for their lover and reading to them while the INFJ’s lover soaks.

Or wondering about what their ideal life would look like and playfully design a plan about how to achieve it.

Or notice the new creative impulses that manifest themselves as vivid images or ideas, after having been particularly inspired by beautiful works they’ve seen at an art gallery.

The list goes on!

On top of that, it seems the INFJ’s mind creates these intriguing thoughts all by itself, how entertaining!

3.1. The INFJ’s Shadow Realm..

However.. there’s a flip side.. Not far from this fantastical inner landscape lies a horrendously dark place.

A place where morbid and depressing thunderous thought clouds darken the inner stretches of land and obscure the clear inner night sky of the mind’s eye.

For lack of a better word, the INFJ’s shadow realm!

Because as effortlessly the INFJ’s mind produces inspiring light-hearted creative thoughts, it can just as easily take the INFJ on a ride to a painful place.

INFJs can have the masochistic tendency to keep obsessing about the most painful thoughts, scenarios or experiences despite the resulting emotional pain and stress being almost unbearable.

For example, thoughts about the current state of human suffering in the world.

The existence of malevolent forces verified by actual encounters with them (narcissistic/psychopathic people and tyrannical institutions).

The tragedy of worldwide poverty and unequal opportunity.

And not to forget, the scary notion of the impermanence of life.

Add the creativity and visual thinking of the INFJ’s mind in the mix and you can easily imagine the inner torment they inflict on themselves through their own imagination.

It can lead to depression, anxiety or a cynical viewpoint on life and modern human societies.

This whole inner rollercoaster ride between the two polarities of thought is absolutely intense for the INFJ and those who are close to them.

Because, the INFJ’s social circle is puzzled by the fact the INFJ dares to venture into those painful mental places semi-voluntarily.

An intense rollercoaster ride that is not a picnic by any stretch of the imagination!

4. INFJs can be intense, because of their rigorous discipline

Fortitude, mental toughness, discipline. These are typical INFJ virtues.

To them there’s an art to showcasing these powerful mental strengths.

INFJs take pride in developing these mental muscles like an olympic weightlifter takes pride in lifting weights and growing muscle.

They just love the challenge and admire sheer willpower!

Moreover, mental strength is absolutely vital to be able to push through and reach the ideal life goals INFJs have set for themselves.

No matter what their current life circumstances may be.

Typically, the default life path template our western societies prescribe to the average citizen causes a trajectory that isn’t conducive to fulfilling the needs of creative people like the INFJ (and ISFP or INFP just to name a few).

For instance, the INFJ might be trapped at a low paying, soul crushing, call-center telephone agent 9 to 5 desk job, while they dream of financial freedom, creative freedom and owning their own time again.

Photo by Mustafa Ezz on Pexels

Their plan might be to start an online business or find a job that better suits their needs.

Yet, there’s almost no time left in the day, because those 8 hours of work and adding the time to commute back and forth already eats up 11 hours of their day.

The solution? Getting up at 5:00 am daily, to work on their plan before going to work.

Or working on their escape route late at night and going extra hard during the weekends.

But, don’t you need some leisure time and fun after such a long work day?

Surely, you’ll need to use the weekends to unwind, lay on the couch and Netflix and Chill?

Otherwise you are just burning yourself out. C’mon lighten up, no-one can be so hard on themselves, right?!

The INFJ, however, just can’t stand the idea that they’ll be trapped in that endless cycle of work and mindless recreation and staying stuck in the rat race utterly unfulfilled.

So they’ll choose to practice rigorous discipline and work ceaselessly on whatever it is they think will help them get the life they crave.

To the INFJ’s social circle it can be very intense to witness the INFJ grind itself into a pulp.

Especially, since most people aren’t motivated nor built to put themselves under such pressure willingly.

Yet, to the INFJ it’s for a good cause and slow-motion is better than no motion.

5. INFJs can be intense, because of their Self-criticism

As empathetic, patient, accepting and open INFJs can be to the people close to them, when it comes to treating themselves that way, the INFJ usually isn’t as generous.

As personalities with a strong sense of responsibility, they often feel very responsible for other people’s emotions, their own life circumstances and outcomes.

When something backfired, like someone got upset with the INFJ, they’ve failed to pass that important exam, or failed to help that friend, they can easily berate themselves for coming up short.

The INFJ’s self-criticism is intense, because it seems to be absolutely vicious and unforgiving.

People who were close enough to the INFJ to catch some of their internal self-critical dialogue were most likely shocked by how easily the INFJ can turn to tearing themselves to shreds because of any perceived imperfection.

INFJs will obsess on the minutest of faults and flaws and punish themselves for not doing better, over and over and over again.

The INFJ’s friend might check in with the INFJ two weeks later, just to find out they are still punishing themselves, while holding that same emotional charge the day it started!

Stuck in an endless loop of what ifs and if only.

It doesn’t matter if it was beyond the INFJ’s control that they’ve failed, they would still take the responsibility and be hard on themselves.

Now, don’t get me wrong, being accountable and taking on responsibility is a mature thing to do.

However, the overgrown sense of responsibility and the resulting torturous self-criticism the INFJ engages in can be very self-destructive.

Why are INFJs so hard on themselves you ask?

Well, maybe their inflated sense of responsibility is a way of coping with the fact that life remains largely unpredictable and uncontrollable.

Maybe, INFJs feel better under the illusion of control as they are personalities who like structure, order and predictability (Judging or “J” in “INFJ”, reflects this preference).

Whatever it may be, it’s certain that the self-criticism of the INFJ is intense enough to bring anyone to their knees if they had to live with it.



As a psychologist with a Master's degree in Clinical & Health Psychology, and as an INFJ male, highly sensitive human being, the author aims to blend the objective, subjective, mind, body and spirit for a holistic view on true well-being
for INFJs, Introverts, Highly Sensitive People and Empaths!



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