Most INFJ personality types struggle with feeling selfish all the time. It’s most often triggered when we think about expressing a preference, or getting help with meeting an important need. When we realize we have the preference or need, then immediately we have the thought right after that we are somehow being selfish. The thought that we are selfish then triggers guilt and shame and we go into avoidance about dealing with that preference or need.
Expressing preferences and meeting needs is so hard for INFJ personality types because we usually were not taught how to do this in childhood, and no one modeled this healthy behavior to us, either. Many INFJ personality types have a past history of abuse, or have grown up in a home with a narcissist, or narcissistic family dynamics. Narcissistic abuse is a very common type of abuse reported by INFJs as having happened to them in their formative years.
Many INFJ personality types (and INFP personality types) might also have grown up in a home with strong codependent energy, or where they were enmeshed with one parent. The energy of codependence and enmeshment can also cause resistance to expressing and meeting one’s own preferences and needs. This happens because when the INFJ or INFP was a child and expressed a preference or need, or tried to assert a boundary, much of the time they were shamed for that and told that they were selfish for having needs, expressing a preference that was different from the parent’s preference, or trying to assert a boundary.
I talk more about this in the video below:
I’m teaching a new class all about this topic. It’s called “Living for Yourself” and it starts on Thursday, Nov 30. I got the idea for this class based on the comments of the students I had in a previous class when we talked about how deeply INFJs struggle with living for ourselves, because we so often put the needs of everyone else first. This is a topic that hits hard for a lot of INFJs (and INFPs) so I expect this class will resonate with a lot of people.
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I’ll see you soon with the next video in this series: INFJs Playing the Medic in Relationships.
Lauren Sapala is the author of Writing on the Intuitive Side of the Brain, The INFJ Writer, The INFJ Revolution, and the creator of Energy and Intuition for INFJs, an online course for INFJs on intuition, relationships, creativity, and more. She is also currently offering a free copy of her book Firefly Magic: Heart Powered Marketing for Highly Sensitive Writers to anyone who signs up for her newsletter. SIGN UP HERE to get your free copy.