Why Do INFJs Seem To Have Trust Issues? (5 Credible Reasons)

Jun 15, 2022

As private, reserved and lone wolf personality types, INFJs might seem to have trust issues when it comes to letting other people into their lives.

It saddens me to say that I've observed this too in my own relationships as an INFJ male.

The INFJ is one in 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.

Do INFJs have trust issues? If so, what could be some of the reasons? Let’s have a deeper look!

5 Credible Reasons Why INFJs Seem To Have Trust Issues

1. INFJs seem to have trust issues, because their sensitivity made them vulnerable to betrayal

Without trying to point out the obvious, in most cases anyone who is betrayed could develop trust issues.

For INFJs the subject of trust issues is often an all too familiar painful recurring theme. 

“Extraverted Feeling” (F), is the cognitive function of INFJs that makes them very much focussed on other people’s emotions, state of mind and well-being.

“Extraverted Feeling” propels INFJs to cater to the emotional needs of another person or group.

INFJs are very astute when it comes to sensing the interpersonal relational energies and knowing how to keep all of them flowing in pristine harmony.

For example, talking to that one person that’s being left out of the group conversation at a party so that they feel included.

Or using self-deprecating humor to break the ice when in a new group setting where the energy is tense.

INFJs are often also born as highly sensitive people (HSP), which means their nervous system picks up on a lot of subtle (emotional) stimuli, but make them more easily over aroused.

Being so focussed on the emotions of others and having a heightened sensitivity in general as HSPs, also make INFJs more susceptible to emotional damage and pain.

Betrayal, is a very complex nefarious emotional occurrence and cuts so deep that the more emotionally sensitive INFJ can develop some serious emotional wounds which may result in trust issues.

Especially, when the INFJ is young, naive and still inexperienced.

The young INFJ who has a reputation for being altruistic, kind-hearted and soft spoken goes through life during their youth naively with their hearts wide open.

Sadly, INFJs get preyed upon, because of these traits.

When there’s someone in their life with malicious intent, like a bully classmate, or a narcissistic parent who seeks out sensitive and empathic victims.

The blow of betrayal hits extra hard, because the unassuming sensitive INFJ was standing wide open.

Therefore many of them experience trust issues when meeting new people, because of betrayal in the past.

INFJs are known to be personalities that are very difficult to get close to.

They take their time to figure people out from afar, before opening up.

Especially, adult INFJs who have experienced betrayal or painful relationships before which their sensitivity amplified even more.

2. INFJs seem to have trust issues, because they tend to attract toxic people

Consequently, INFJs who have experienced betrayal by people who’ve exploited their sensitivity, may have emotional wounds.

Emotional wounds that consist of residual sadness, pain, anxiety, anger, shame, insecurity, low-self esteem and trauma.

When the (young) INFJ does not tend to these emotional wounds early on and heal them by going through therapy, or having healthy caregivers/role models/significant others help them process these painful emotions, the wounds may get obscured over time.

Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels

Meaning, that the INFJ isn’t as aware of the emotional baggage they are still carrying deep inside with them.

However, underneath the surface those emotional wounds are still there, oozing ever so subtly the unresolved pain of the past.

Now, this is where it becomes dark, because toxic predatory people on the narcissistic, antisocial or border-line personality disorder spectrum consciously and unconsciously are attracted by the emotional wound energy like sharks are to blood in water.

They seek out their next potential victims based on that emotional vulnerability.

As these predatory toxic people need their victims in a weakened emotional state, so that they can unleash verbal abuse, emotional manipulation and exploitation without any push back, an emotionally wounded INFJ with porous boundaries is very much at risk of attracting these people on a consistent basis.

If all of the above wasn’t morbid enough, the INFJ’s deeply nurturing qualities (empathy, supportiveness and patience) also may attract other wounded individuals who are codependent and consciously and unconsciously seek out the INFJ’s warmth hoping to be healed.

After perhaps multiple painful relationships/encounters, over time INFJs might start to realize they attract the aforementioned toxic people consistently.

In an attempt to protect oneself, and jaded because of the accumulated hurt throughout those toxic relationships, INFJs can become extremely vigilant when it comes to romantic relationships, friendships or new people they meet.

Often to their own detriment, INFJs become so hyper focussed on the intentions, character and morality of others that they have a hard time trusting people.

The INFJ’s trust issues are rooted in the painful past of relationship turmoil.

By any luck they become aware of their own unhealthy relationship patterns and their insight propels them to seek healing via therapy, self-help and the spiritual domain.

Yet, poignantly so, in many cases the INFJ remains trapped in this insidious toxic relationship bind and suffers immensely while in the midst of it.

3. INFJs seem to have trust issues, because they try to protect their sensitive hearts

This question has been posed many times before.. is the INFJ personality merely a by-product of childhood trauma?

Looking at how hard it seems to win most INFJs’ trust, one might believe so.

When the emotionally wounded INFJ wakes up from the unconscious nightmare their unhealthy relationship patterns create, they start to realize how important it is to protect themselves.

They might start to realize how vulnerable, their sensitive heart, mind, and body are when they just naively let anyone enter their inner sanctuary merely on the premise of good faith.

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As a result of perhaps years of accrued relationship trauma, the INFJ might overcompensate and start to retaliate by throwing up defensive walls that stand taller than the Empire State Building.

Almost everyone gets thoroughly screened, observed and analyzed through their behavior patterns, emotional patterns, character, the congruency (or lack thereof) between words, deeds and energy (Infamous INFJ Bullshit Detector).

Almost nobody escapes the INFJ’s X-ray vision, that seems to even register your past lives.

All of that information is taken into account when the INFJ is preparing its final verdict of you as a person.

Sadly, as a consequence the INFJ creates a safe little kingdom, fortified by massive walls, yet devoid of (m)any nurturing relationships.

New people that might have become good friends or precious loving romantic partners slowly fade out of the INFJ’s life as those people have grown weary waiting outside of the fortress and prove themselves worthy.

Even-though, the new seemingly impenetrable defense system of the INFJ has an impressive success rate (around 99%) of keeping the toxic rabble outside, poignantly so that same defense system also filters out many good, well-intentioned, healthy people.

Healthy people that could have helped the scarred INFJ with healing attachment/relationship trauma through forming new and healthy relationships based on trust, empathy and reciprocity.

Heartbreakingly, INFJs may rob themselves from this opportunity for healing time and time again.

Repeating their trauma of abandonment and betrayal, but this time unknowingly by their own accord via their trust issues.

4. INFJs seem to have trust issues, because they have exceptional observation skills and intuition

Luckily, the INFJ’s X-Ray vision isn’t merely a consequence of relational trauma.

Many INFJs were born as Highly Sensitive People (HSP) as was mentioned before.

A HSP is someone born with a more finely tuned nervous system.

On average, it registers subtle stimuli far more easily, like barely noticeable sounds, soft lights and hidden emotional energy and ambiguous mood states.

For example, often HSPs are particularly easily startled or bothered by loud noises.

Or they may be precisely aware of what the people around them are feeling and needing most of the time.

Photo by Rodnae Productions on Pexels

About 20% of the population is born as a HSP and many could believe that the HSP nervous system may lie at the biological foundation of the INFJ personality.

Having a highly sensitive nervous system might be an explanation of the intriguing mystery of why INFJs are renowned for nurturing emotional harmony with such poise.

This heightened ability to consciously and unconsciously observe and register a lot of behavioral, emotional and psychological information of people is a gift.

Many people would miss it, but the keen-eyed INFJ usually has a wealth of subtle/hidden information to draw from when determining if someone would be a good person for them to associate with.

Yes, INFJs could therefore pretty fast come to a conclusion about somebody the both of you just met.

You might think this was a hasty decision bordering on strict unfair judgment and trust issues, because surely nobody could accurately decide what a person’s like within such a short time, right?

Yes, that might be the case.

Or the INFJ has seen and sensed in that instance an amount of information equivalent to ten encounters and now knows for certain to stay away..

5. INFJs seem to have trust issues, because they are too idealistic in friendships

Now last evening at a birthday party of a mutual friend, you had a nice chat with an INFJ.

Throughout the night you had running gags, conversations about your life dreams and goals and felt a strong connection based on some mutual interests.

On top of that you have mutual friends too!

All the right elements present for a new friendship to be born right? Well, YES! Uhm.. well.. and no..

Despite the fact that the both of you hopped-skipped on your way home all enchanted by your chemistry of that night, it takes a lot for the INFJ to actually forge a new friendship.

They are idealistic creatures that value morality, loyalty, peace, harmony, integrity, honesty, creativity, intellectuality and humor.

You might say: yeah, well.. doesn’t everybody value those things more or less?

Yes, of course! Yet, the idealistic and perfectionistic INFJ needs all of those qualities to be present in their friends and those friends need to have developed those qualities on a high level.

Next to that list of qualities, the INFJ is a being that makes decisions deeply based on feelings too.

You can make the requirements of the list, but the INFJ also needs to FEEL you are a suitable friend.

Because there are so many factors at play here, it is very rare for the INFJ to form completely new friendships in life.

Others might say the INFJ has trust issues, because of these seemingly unrealistic standards.

There might be some truth to that too. The INFJ’s spiritual commitment to a friendship however is for life.

Once, someone is considered a real friend, the friendship is for life.

Since, INFJs also very much value their alone time for creation and introspection they are very meticulous about who they should devote their precious time to.

All of these things make it a very rare occasion when they forge new friendships.



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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