INFJ Ni-Ti Fatigue and Emotional Turbulence


#1

Assuming that I’m correct in my assumptions (that I am actually an INFJ), it is very common for me to get sucked into what I’m pretty sure is the Ni-Ti loop. I can’t remember a time in my life where this was not a struggle for me. From my teenage years onward, I was obsessed with perfectionism and productivity despite rarely being able to fight off the urge to procrastinate.

At this point in my life, I’ve started doing a lot of self discovery. One of the biggest discoveries I’ve made is how prone I am to becoming overwhelmed – either by too much sensory input, too much information processing, too much emotion, or too many things on my to-do list. I’ve started to catch on to some of my worst habits; when I am trying to relax and enjoy myself, I can’t stop thinking about all of the [unnecessary] things on my to-do list. Meanwhile, as I am trying to be productive, my mind is daydreaming about all of the things I’d enjoy doing more than the work I’m trying accomplish. As a result, I’m pretty consistently being thrown back and forth between the guilt of slow progress and/or being unaccomplished, while at the same time craving fun, challenging activities. My mind wanders in just about every direction all at the same time, yet I couldn’t tell you a single thought going through my head because it all feels so abstract at times. Then there are these random bursts of limitless motivation and energy that come out of the blue at the least opportune moment, and I can’t take advantage of it because I’m required to be doing something else at the time.

I know Blake suggests getting in touch with Fe to overcome the loop, but I have to admit that I really struggle with this most of the time. Even some of the best forms of creative self expression occasionally feel like chores. Once I get started, I quickly realize that I’m enjoying what I’m doing and the creative juices start to flow … but getting started sometimes seems like the equivalent of climbing Mt. Everest. For example, I want to write to take my mind off of things, but I’m too busy getting stressed out while thinking about what I want to write that I don’t write anything. Or I feel like meditating to clear my head, but my mind seems treat it as an opportunity to latch on to every incomplete concept or idea that I’ve had for the past week and branch off of them to come up with more ideas that can be branched off of.

I don’t really have the mental capacity at the moment to summarize everything that’s going through my head … there’s a lot to it. But I’m mostly curious about how others handle the emotional turbulence of getting stuck in the middle of your own opposing mindsets? Is this a common thing for INFJs? Are there tools that you’ve found useful for staying focused or directing your focus?

Most people I talk to don’t really understand what it is I’m having difficulty with and I think I try to cram too many thoughts and emotions into as few words as possible. If I’m going off a little too much in all directions, I apologize. Let me know if there is anything I can expand upon or rephrase to make it easier to understand.


#2

I live in overwhelmed land. Tomorrow I will elaborate, it is very late here.

I know the feeling. But I also follow you fine.


#3

That makes us partners in crime @mana 'cause I’m struggling with everything you said and more than that, I have Virgo sun, which makes my tendency to strive toward perfection multiple, plus having a messy husband and children. What a torture!


#4

Lately I have completely stopped jutting down to-do lists.

So this is what I write. Over and over again. The rule is don’t think too hard. Do not think at all! Be in the present. You can write something like, ‘right now I am writing’. I call it ‘pre-meditation’. I don’t think beyond this. I mean, I do, but I don’t…
I catch myself all the time. With my pen. I found out that when I write some plans for the day it makes me even crazier than I am. So I stopped. I use as much of imagination and tones of humor as I can.


#5

One of the things I do is to work in my little garden. I use latex gloves! I talk to the insects! I become the mighty monster when I tackle the ant’s nets! I grow a basil plant for the bees.
And this is one of my friends. I named it Zack!


#6

30 years ago I learned classic guitar.
[My teacher was from Russia. He used to drink a Russian sparkling wine while I was playing and proclaimed it as the real champagne!]
When I’m heavy in the loop I play Segovia’s scales. I checked the internet and there is no one guitarist who like to play it. But I like! It calms me down. Who knows, maybe Andrés Segovia produced it especially for INFJ’s loop…


#7

Another thing I do, is to rearrange a book shelf or the clothes in my closet by colors categories.
This way, Ti ask Fe for forgiveness…
I know it’s sounds funny and childish… better than going insane, right?
I feel that it makes my mentality stronger. All these silly things…


#8

That! Before my wife and I got married, I struggled with the overwhelm of things like dishes and random items from around the house collecting on surfaces; I mindlessly would move things around and forget about them. Now, we have a daughter that is almost 2 years old. I crave order, but she is pure chaos. She can’t stand for surfaces to have anything on them, or for containers to have contents. She routinely runs around a house and takes everything off the kitchen table and throws it on the floor, removes folded laundry from the baskets and sprawls it across the floor, empties her toy chest, etc.

I have never been known to be a tidy person, but I also can’t stand messes. This makes me crazy.

This is probably one of many reasons why to-do lists don’t work for me. I get stuck on one thing and never finish it.


#9

I like writing to-do lists, crossing off two or three items and then throwing it away. Or better yet, keeping it. Then when I come back to it months later, I can say “oh, I never really got around to doing that thing. I guess it didn’t really matter.” Or it does, and you can do it right then and there.

Have you tried getting up earlier to give yourself some dedicated creative time? It feels really good to have gotten that out of the way first thing. Also, if you have a chaotic house, it helps to be the first up, to beat everyone to the quiet time.

I struggle too with trying to come up with things to write about. What helps me is keeping a journal (or using my phone) to jot down ideas throughout the day. Then when I sit down to write, I can pull up my list of ideas and just get started on one of them. See where it goes. Otherwise, yes, starting from square one every day is too much.


#10

Try SEVEN children, @mana
Yap. Don’t ask how!..
But I tell you what I decided to do. I have a big house (not good for INFJ). Two of my children already left home (hopefully :grinning:)
There’s a little room near the basement. It took me 2 years to gain the courage, to state a clear massage for me as well as for the gremlins that live here and make the place for myself.
I think it’s important for people like us to have our own room. Yes, the house is a big mess, it pains me every day, but now I have my own studio. And no one’s going to mess with me!
Well, that’s my goal. Now, how am I going to get the room to order???

Same old, same old…
No matter how much time it’ll take, I set a timer for 5 minutes. This is an excellent exercise. It works magically on children. When the time is over you’d like to continue. DON’T!
This is a Fe positive motivation.


#11

Reminds me of the pomodoro technique. I’ll defiitely have to give it a try.


#12

These are good questions. And a great bit of writing and insight by the way, thank you so much for writing this, you’ve summarised nicely.

I want to get my thoughts out before reading all the other responses.

I’m also gonna throw this out bullet point style to make sure I post this and don’t overwork so sorry if a bit clumsy [oh, there’s a starter - throw perfection and elaboration to the wind].

Accept the motivational swings back and forth and try to catch the ride. If you miss don’t worry, it’ll come again.

Reduce, cut out, minimise. Cut out unnecessary crap from your life and streamline the rest. Cut that list down. I don’t have a to-do list anymore, it was too much torture. I have a shopping list and a ‘to buy’ list. That’s more fun. Any longer term goals get a vision board.

Give yourself long timelines to get stuff done. If something never seems to get done then look at how to make it something fun again. Or get rid of it. Move on. Konmari style.

Any boring / practical to-dos (life stuff, errands/appointments etc) break down into practical bite size actions. I note stuff in a week to view diary that I carry with me. I book things way in advance while my diary is blank and not overwhelmed with destracting detail. I give myself a week to do an errand cos then then I don’t feel bad if I put something of because it’s raining that day.

Personal projects: I think it’s fine to have a few things on the go & ongoing. They start feeling like a chore otherwise. I need to move from one thing to another as and when the feeling takes me. But I punctuate with external deadlines to help feel a sense of completion. Even if it’s just someone’s birthday I want to make something in time for 3months down the line. This works for hobbies but maybe not for self-employment via creative means which I sucked at.

Fe engagement - Blakes tips are gold. Te minimums. Writing a page or three on a morning of whatever. Ramble. No point to it. Just putting pen to paper and go. I also do this with doodling. This comes more naturally at the end of a brain-stress overstimulating day. Pen to paper, focus on the line. Not aiming to produce anything. This is so liberating. Nuggets of art. Opens the gates to…

Meditation. Again 5 mins just sit and breathe. 3 times a day. Te minimums. (Some form of grounding & protection meditation at the start of the day helps too)

The 54321 mindfulness technique is actually very affective for overactive stress head. Thoughts, words, conversations going round. White noise & frazzle. It’s helped me on sleepless nights.

General overstimulation - quite room. Lie down in you’re favourite space. Check out your space make it work for you. Feng shui. Blake touched on this as well.

Also I’m very affected by people around me’s vibe. I find it hard to seperate myself. I can’t get anything done when my other half is in the house. I’m much more practically productive when alone. At home. At work I move around to be where I need to be to get something done.

That’s all for now. Think that’s long enough!


#13

I do love to sort and order my environment when de-stressing too. Even mundane house chores though resentfully started, end up having a meditative effect. Definitely calms the mind.

Or any physical repetitive sort of movement and exercise to get the stagnant energy moving again helps. I’m very bad for making time for regular exercise though now I’m out of the habit. I’m working on it.


#14

I really like this approach. In a sense, you are forcing your mind to comply with yourself.

Is it strange that I often think of the mind as a separate thing from the person? The battle of the mind against oneself … this is like putting your mind to sleep so the real you can come out…

Most of my creativity has come out in in the form of writing, and sometimes through designs/layouts/code at my job. The rest of the creativity is all bottled up, just waiting to blow the lid off and come rushing out. The perfectionist side of my suppresses my need to be creative and expressive. As of the past few months, I’ve made some major strides. Finally started understanding my need to embrace the feelings, let some of my quirks show …


#15

I really appreciate your insights. I’ve been meaning to re-read over Blake’s article on Te minimums. There’s a lot of great information to take in on this site. Sometimes I forget I have to pace myself, otherwise it all gets lost in the web of thoughts.

I’m not familiar with this technique, but I need to take mindfulness more seriously; I have a bunch of mindfulness apps on my phone that send me reminders/notifications. Like a robot, I tend to dismiss them out of habit and get annoyed that I forgot to do my daily “session”.


#16

I get the urge to clean and tidy up the house when I get stressed. I agree it has a meditative effect, or at least it makes me feel accomplished when I finish up. Do you ever have moments where you cleaning makes you anxious instead though?

Whenever my wife and I have an event to go to outside of the house (family obligation, social gathering), I immediately get the urge to make the house spotless before I step out the door. Even if it isn’t all that dirty. But then, any other time, I get immobilized by messes or a chaotic disorderly environment. I find it really difficult to pick a place to start working from and end up doing nothing at all.


#17

Yeah, this happens to me as well, especially if I’m tired or stressed.


#18

This is very accurate I think. The frontal lobe gets way too much FaceTime. I read that you have to give it a job while you do something like meditate to keep it happy. Not just tell it to shut up. And it works for me. Distraction and redirection.
You have to talk to that part of your mind eg’ for the next ten minutes your job is to breathe in then out’ or to count down from 100. Or observe the thoughts then swipe along and breathe again.

I feel most connected to that part of me late at night when all is quiet and muted. That’s when good writings, doodles creative urges come to the fore.


#19

Yes definitely. It’s too exhausting to be perfect all the time. And counterproductive.
I used to get frustrated at my creative style (illustrative & general approach) because it wasn’t the neat, pretty (commercial) aesthetic that i was seeing all around me at the time.
I got the validation I needed to trust that my way was still just as “good” and admired as others. And, because of its loose, raw (imperfect) quality, I like to think it’s recognisable as my ‘handwriting’, harder to mimic, more unique & stands out from the crowd a little (yey, cos isn’t that what we all want really?).


#20

It’s a trick to help curb anxiety and bring you back to the present by making you focus on your 5 senses and current surroundings.

Here- this explains it nicely -https://copingskillsforkids.com/blog/2016/4/27/coping-skill-spotlight-5-4-3-2-1-grounding-technique