If you’re an INFJ like me, you know how it feels to be overwhelmed in a toxic relationship. All our senses are messed up and we start feeling guilty and unworthy. The INFJ personality is like a magnet for relationships that utterly drain us, but we tend to stay in them nonetheless. Allow me to explain why.
Why are INFJs more likely to stay in a toxic relationship?
Staying in a toxic relationship can have roots from a childhood trauma, according to Ken Page, a psychotherapist and author of the book Deeper Dating. If a person was deprived of love or attention from their parents while they were kids, they tend to replicate that behavior in adulthood, seeking out partners who deny them that crucial validation and appreciation they so desperately need. This counterintuitive feeling is known as an “attraction of deprivation,” according to Page.
As Dr. Page points out, past traumas are one of the main reasons why INFJs refuse to leave a toxic relationship. Combine this with conflict avoidance, and the INFJ desire to maintain peace and understanding, and you got yourself a one-way ticket to overwhelm.
We don’t want to hurt anyone
Staying in a toxic relationship is much harder for INFJs because we don’t want to hurt anyone. For example, I never had the loving support I needed during my childhood and adolescent years. I was on my own and left to handle my fears as best I could. One of my ex-girlfriends was a classic narcissist and the relationship with her overwhelmed me daily. I wanted to speak up, but fear got a hold of me and I was afraid that I would lose her, even if she made me feel miserable.
INFJs always care. We hate conflicts and arguments and we try avoiding them at all costs. When INFJs are in a relationship that proves to be overwhelming, this is when problems begin. We would rather suffer and swallow the pain than hurt that person by breaking up.
There’s a feeling that’s worth mentioning: self-sabotage. This is a term well known for the INFJ personality. Even if we are in a toxic relationship, instead of putting a stop to it, we keep it alive and let it consume us slowly. We would rather sacrifice our own wellbeing than leave a relationship that makes us feel bad. But I want you to know something.
I understand you all too well my fellow INFJ
Toxic romantic relationships were a “normal” thing for me in the past. My partner overwhelmed me to a breaking point on a nearly regular basis. Despite my best efforts to stop, I found myself continuously entering one relationship after another with similar results. I was hurt, humiliated, sad, and lonely. But there’s a way you can avoid my mistakes.
Here are 3 warning signs of a toxic relationship:
1. Repetition of egoistical sentences and words
“I”, “me”, “it’s your fault”, “you didn’t do it right”, “I can do it much better”. When and if you hear these words repeating themselves like a pattern from your partner, be cautious. They usually represent early warning signs of a toxic relationship.
2. Lack of response and understanding from your partner.
An emotional bond between two people who cherish one another needs to be mutually caring, supportive, encouraging, and understanding. Despite the fact that INFJs give so much, that doesn’t mean that we don’t want honest, loving feedback.
3. An imbalance in devotion.
INFJs hold time in high regard, because it’s clear proof to us that someone cares. Words and actions hold a special place in our heart too. But when an INFJ senses lack of devotion from a partner, it’s a sign that a change is perhaps needed.
I deliberately focused on early warning signs, because this is the best time to act. As soon as you notice these signs, you’re likely in a toxic relationship and should consider taking action.
What should you do?
Don’t settle for anything less than you deserve. I can’t even tell you how many people are unhappy in their relationships just because they are afraid to be alone. There’s a huge difference between alone and lonely. Protect and value your INFJ qualities by not entering in an unfulfilling relationship .
Keep searching for someone who will accept you just the way you are. Too many INFJs I have spoken with on the INFJ Forum and during coaching sessions shared a story of how deeply unhappy they are with their partners. It’s not your fault. We just don’t want to hurt anyone, even at the cost of our own happiness.
Remember, you deserve to be respected, loved, and appreciated. If there’s one thing I learned, it’s that all the INFJ care, love, and attention you have given will find it’s way back to you. When it does, you will forget all about those toxic relationships that kept you awake and broken all those nights. You will realize that you are worthy of that love.
What are your experiences with toxic relationships? Have you ever been in one? Please feel free to share your comments below.
Want to read more?
If you’re interested in connecting with other INFJs from around the world, join Introvert Spring’s private INFJ forum. We are truly a buzzing community! Join today, and you’ll receive our 20-page INFJ Relationship guide as a gift. You’ll also gain access to unique INFJ blog posts, member events, and videos.