Few situations cause more fear to INFJs than being humiliated in public. We can handle sacrificing our own wellbeing for the sake of others, or even face the daily pressure of being called unworthy, but public humiliation is like the edge of a cliff for us. We sense that we’ll fall, but with someone laughing at us in addition. So the question is, why do we fear INFJ public humiliation so much?
The fear of INFJ public humiliation
INFJs can withstand a lot. We are known to be extremely resilient and can put up with a lot of sh*t before we even think of saying something. Yes, we are that understanding. But there’s one event that sparks a tsunami of emotions within our already busy mind and accepting heart. It’s when somebody publicly humiliates us.
INFJ public humiliation is a red line for us, and if a person crosses it, he or she might as well forget that we exist, because in our mind they are already gone. Few moments can bring more overwhelm, sadness, or the feeling that we are misunderstood than public humiliation. One emotion stands out, however. It’s fear.
When an INFJ is publicly humiliated, it’s like the ground itself has opened up beneath us and we have lost our footing. We can’t focus, we can’t think, hell, we can’t do anything, except hide somewhere if possible. It’s a truly terrible situation that I have experienced more times than I can count. Being INFJs, we’re scared of what will happen next, because we know we have lost control.
INFJ public humiliation is a terrifying event that will unfortunately happen to you at some point. But that doesn’t mean that you should stop pursuing your dream, or that you should go with the flow.
Why public humiliation devastates INFJs
The main reason why public humiliation is so devastating for INFJs is because we cannot handle criticism well, and because we are a people oriented personality. We value the opinions of others, and always try to find a constructive solution that will benefit everyone. When someone humiliates us in public, it goes against everything we believe in.
In these critical moments, we have two options: Try to defend ourselves, or withdraw. As conflict is out of the question due to our peacemaker nature, withdrawal sounds like a good idea. But there’s a catch. INFJs become overwhelmed by panic when we face public humiliation. This brings our rational way of thinking to a complete stop.
When you find yourself experiencing INFJ public humiliation, there are two things you need to remember. First, it’s most likely that you haven’t done anything wrong. Second, you need to stay calm and don’t engage yourself in any arguments. Don’t get me wrong, you should always stand up for what you believe in. But INFJs have a gentle heart that only knows about understanding, respect, and acceptance.
A constructive response could be a good solution. I know how difficult this may sound, but a public humiliation is also a chance to learn. It will show that you’re actually doing a good job. Behind the scenes of that unpleasant moment, you’ll see that the instigator was motivated by jealousy and envy. You are unique and genuine, and this is why some people will never understand INFJs.
My public humiliation nightmare
The most difficult anxiety attack I ever had happened at the beginning of 2016. (If you struggle with anxiety, I recently wrote an article on how to manage INFJ anxiety and stress. You can access it when you join the new INFJ forum).
What was to be just an ordinary day at work turned into a living nightmare. My work superior publicly humiliated me in front of my coworkers.
When I got home, my hands started shaking, and self-sabotaging thoughts filled my mind. I decided to quit my job that same day and cried the entire evening. Thoughts such as: “Where will I live, what will I say to my family, how will I fulfill my dreams?” occupied my INFJ brain.
I started to panic, couldn’t focus or think, and it became obvious that I was in a deeply anxious state. “What now?” I wondered. I believe you’ve asked yourself the same question. But there’s a way of thinking that made all the difference with me when I experienced public humiliation.
What am I supposed to do?
There’s no magical formula to avoid being humiliated in public, but there’s one thing that you can do to face the aftermath. Establish boundaries. I know, easier said than done. But the thing is, you are in control of your life, no one else. If an INFJ public humiliation happens, decide that you will not allow it to break you.
Cry it out when you come home if you have to, be angry at yourself, let it all out. But get up, and don’t stop. Being humiliated in public is something all INFJs fear, including myself.
We INFJs are not the giving up type, never were. So you see, even the darkest fear can have the brightest result.
In a world that constantly forces you to blend in, you’re that wild flower that grows from a roadside crack, rather than a predictable garden. This is why you’ll face INFJ public humiliation at some point, but you know what? The flower is always looking at the sun, never the garden. So keep facing the sun my fellow INFJs and be who you are, no matter what anyone else tells you!
A happy ending to my anxiety nightmare
What if I told you that I found who I want to be on the very same day when I was publicly humiliated by my superior? Who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t had that highly unpleasant moment that made me re-think what I want to do in life. I am deeply grateful for it, despite the fact that it hurt like hell.
Have you ever been humiliated in public my fellow INFJ? Feel free and safe to share your thoughts and experiences here, no one will judge or mock you in this safe, understanding space. ☺
P.S. The much anticipated new and vastly improved INFJ Forum is open! This forum has so many amazing features, including private messaging, member generated blog posts, easy image and video embedding, and so much more. It is the place for INFJs to connect and be inspired in a space that’s 100% private. You also gain access to resources that we don’t share publicly, such as recordings of all our past INFJam webinars, member only online events, and our INFJ Relationship Guide. Go here to check out the new INFJ Forum.
Hi, fellow INFJ. Before my daughter was born, I was publicly humiliated by my own mother. She wanted grandchildren and I had already suffered three miscarriages. She took it personally that I could not give her the grandchildren she wanted so desperately. After surgery, I did eventually become pregnant, but the damage of her humiliating me in public made it so she would never have a relationship with her grandchild. I never knew at the time that such an experience would eventually make me even stronger. I am in tears now 18 years later with my daughter about to go to college. She is a straight-A student and a fantastic human being. I am proud of her and excited about what the future looks like. I wouldn’t have known how strong I could be without that awful, horrifying day. I have since talked to my mother a couple times since then, and I’m sure that our relationship is existent only because I am as strong as I am. And because of that experience, I’m sure that my telling myself that I would be the mother to her that I so desperately wanted for myself made the whole experience worth it.
Hi Rosalie! I am so sorry you went through all of this, I really am… I cannot imagine how you must felt… But I am really happy for your daughter, and I can feel your pride and happiness for her just by reading what you wrote. 🙂 Be proud of her, and be proud of yourself, because what you did was for every admiration and respect. I am humbled to read what you shared here, thank you.
The one who humiliated me over and over again, since a very young age, was also my mother. I broke with her years ago but still can not talk about it without crying. 52 I am and still. About 2 weeks ago the interim manager at work, who clearly doesn’t like me, humiliated me to the bone. I was so angry I immediately informed HR (there are more things going on in the international team). I already was searching for another job but that day I started to follow several courses. Some already finished. To improve my possibility for a good fitting job. I haven’t spoken with the interim anymore and I will not.
I’m sorry Karin you had to go through this with your mother, and more recently with the interim… Public humiliation scenes are incredibly difficult for us INFJs, and I can only imagine how you must have felt… But it’s good that you started searching another job, and applying on courses, because you will find a better job, it’s only a matter of time. 🙂
Hi Marko, can you share what you did the next day? Did you quit your job? Did you talk to your superior at all?
Hi Amethyst! I quit my job the next day, cancelled my apartment, and relocated to a smaller town 30 days later. 🙂 We did talk, but it was more of a formal small talk since I already made up my mind.
WOW! I cannot express how incredibly relieved I am that this is an INFJ thing! Taking criticism has always always been a hot button thing for me. My husband doesn’t like to teach me things because of all the times I’ve “freaked out” on him while feeling judged, and now I know that it’s all for the fear of public humiliation. It is amazing how poorly I handle any situation in which it’s even a possibility. I do lose control, and I wish I didn’t react so strongly. But knowing this is SO so helpful to get on the road to finding better ways to handle it. This is an amazing revelation this article has brought me to. Thank you so much for your words.
I’m glad the article helped you, Calli! Don’t worry, this is your INF nature, and like I said, there’s no middle with us, especially when it comes to our reactions and emotions. You are most welcome, and I thank you for your kind words about the article. I’m happy it had such a profound impact on you. 🙂
I recently went through a similar experience with friends. Needless to say, I thought we were all getting along and the husband thought of me as a sister. Well, recently, I started to suspect he had deeper feelings than that for me and it was confirmed when he pretty much asked me to have an affair with him. First, I’m not that kind of girl. Second, during the whole thing when I tried to break it off, he acted like I was the bad guy. He even sent me a ton of text messages and there was a big scene where I was crying, my sister threatened to call the police if he didn’t leave me alone and her guy friend was threatening to kick his @$$. Now I realize that I shouldn’t have made their problem mine and that I don’t need friends like them. That I’m going to learn from this and move on and be a stronger person.
I’m sorry you had to go through this painful experience, Tiona… I believe it was hard… It’s good that you got out of it as a stronger person.
Thank you! Regrammed the flower part and how the world constantly forces us to blend in. I just love everything you said. It really helped me understand myself more and to love myself more. It really is hard handling public humiliation but with our peaceful nature, ath the end of the day we still smile. Sometimes we wanna blend in, but most time we nahnah! We are happy with who we really are. ? thanks thanks my friend! 🙂
You are most welcome, Mary! Thank you so much for your kind words. 🙂 Public humiliation really is hard, but our peaceful nature will always emerge victorious. Thanks again for your understanding words. 🙂
My husband, an ENTJ, has a habit of doing this. It is usually small-scale, as far as scenarios go. He will honk at me when I exit the car so eyes go straight to me and I cringe. One time I wasn’t thinking and cranked the car while he was pumping gas and he yelled at me. That memory still turns my stomach. He’s made comments in front of people, such as once we were disagreeing about something and some people came up to us and began talking. He rolled his eyes at me and said, “ok, whatever” and walked off with them, snubbing me. It’s things like those that chisel away at an INFJ. And being an ENTJ, he just says, “You’re too sensitive. Get over it.”
I’m really sorry you had to go through these moments Kelli, I believe they were highly unpleasant… Even small scale humiliating moments can really hurt us INFJs.
I was publicly humiliated by the speaker at a work conference—who knows nothing whatsoever about me— after asking a question in front of more than 100 of my peers! I am still in shock about it. But the good thing is that I didn’t feel like crawling under a rock or disappearing into the floor. I was angry rather than hurt and I made it through to the end of the conference and a bunch of people came up to me worried about how I was doing after that. (My work friends realty know me well)! Anyway I’m still upset that someone felt the need to publicly humiliate me in front of my peers, BUT I do realize that I’m a lot stronger than I ever thought.
I’m glad you got that support after the conference, but I am so sorry you had to go through that initially… I know how you feel… I too was once humiliated on a life conference, similar situation. But just like you said, you are much stronger than you think. 🙂 That’s a wonderful mindset!
I felt so strongly all the feels while reading about your experience. I have experienced the same so many times, it sounded more than familiar. It was like your were describing my own life – not yours. Even the anxious aftermath, it has happened to me so many times and in that very way you described so well.
I’m so glad to know – know deeply – that I’m not alone. As a lot of INFJs, I have felt different and strange (a freak, even, sometimes) all my life. Reading about similar experiences makes me feel a bit less “peculiar”.
Thank you so much!
Thank you Maia for your kind and supportive words, they really mean a lot! I’m so sorry you had to go through that too… But you are definitely not alone, you are most welcome, and thank you once more! 🙂
I in this situation at work. Two of the PTs I worked with were constantly going to the boss complaining about me. The boss then went to all my colleagues to get their opinion about me and my “work ethic” (I worked my ass off for my patients, would always consult with the Therapists when I needed to, the drill). The boss then proceeded to tell me half the Therapy department thought I did a great job, the other half thought I took too much “liberty” interpreting their evals.
Not only was I mortified the boss had gone to EVERYONE in the department but she didn’t pull me into her office to discuss it. She did it in the charting office where everyone could see and hear.
It was bad enough I was getting burned out doing outpatient PT, this helped nothing. I wound up getting injured on the job about a year and a half later. Never went back after the surgery.
I’m so sorry you had to go through that Cyn … Thank you for choosing to share this!
Yes, a rude wisecrack that obviously stems from a true thought will do that. Raise your eyebrow, turn and walk away, then doorslam em. They’ve just showed you their true colors and if you believe their false apologies you’ll only be victim again. There are enough compassionate people in this world that we don’t need to clutter our air with these sorts. Hurts terribly but we eventually scar and that skin is stronger than the original. The edges of our circle occasionally grows weeds. We’re the gardener. Snip with shaky hands and move on. Our true friends blossom better without the weeds sucking our strength anyhow. Good stuff, stay strong!
Wonderfully said, Becky! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this! 🙂
The real question is “how many times” have I been publicly humiliated?
My father was a physical and sexual abuser.
I did what I was told, when I was told, how I was told.
In the first grade the teacher wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom and I was afraid to keep asking (too many questions after I was told no would get me smacked at home)
so I peed on myself in front of the class while I was up at the blackboard as the teacher had told me.
Bosses over the years going on and on right in front of people, even my own brother in law (who was shooting me down for transfer to his same job at another location) and not giving me travel time when I was traveling 4 hours a day 2 to work and 2 back while he was getting paid BOTH ways and lying to me about it.
Being in the Marines was hard but they were fair, everyone got berrated so no big thing. It made me tougher and able to stand up for myself.
Unfortuneately I am now 58, disabled, and now I don’t know where I’m going.
My experience with iNFJ humiliation went like this:
My brother had recently gotten married which wasn’t a public affair. He did do an actual ceremony later on. When he invited me to the ceremony, I spent money and thought into picking out a dress to honor his special day. It wasn’t a traditional dress but it was orange, had tiger stripes, and I thought it was beautiful. I know it wasn’t what people would consider normal for a wedding. I did put a lot of thought into it, though. It wasn’t revealing. All of my siblings are slim and I am quite the opposite despite many attempts to look like them. It was a long dress as well as conservative in it’s fitting. The only abnormality was it was brightly colored with tiger stripes. I felt confident in that dress. After the ceremony, during pictures, he made comments about the dress, downgrading what made me feel so confident. One comment became many comments throughout the event. On my way home, I cried. I never wore that dress around my family again.