I often found that the description of an INFP can sound something like a happy little imp frolicking through the forest. This same imp lays under the stars dreaming of fantastical creatures. Think Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter, or Lulu from League of Legends. However I know that I and many other INFPs have a dark side to them that doesn’t fit that idealistic image.
INFPs Get Sad or Depressed Easily and Often
The dark side of an INFP can be a sad and lonely one. INFPs often make decisions based on their feelings. That is because we often feel A LOT and very strongly. These lyrics from The Front Bottoms instantly resonated with me and made me think how INFP-like they were:
“When I am sad, I am sad
But when I’m happy, oh god I am happy
there’s just no place in-between for us to meet “
The Front Bottoms – Flashlight
INFPs can often feel overemotional because of how intense our feelings can be. Those feelings allow me to extremely appreciate the nights out with friends laughing, or when someone lets me know I really helped them out by listening to them. However, it can also make bad situations feel overwhelming. INFPs are no strangers to long cries and burrito-ing themselves in blankets not wanting to get out of bed. They can fall down a dark hole easily and have depressive or even suicidal thoughts. It is important as an INFP to take care of ourselves and find ways to help us through our emotions. It can be important to reach out to others when we feel overwhelmed.
INFPs Idealism Can Have a Dark Side
I have found that a lot of INFP traits labeled as strengths can also be our biggest weaknesses. Idealism can have it’s dark side. No matter how logical I want to be, I am just another idealistic fool like the rest. I often find that I will have an idea for a project and then get in over my head wanting things to be perfect. When it appears that it won’t live up to this image, I get completely discouraged.
If I start a new chapter in my life and it doesn’t fit my level of expectations, I can get very down about the whole thing and write the whole experience off as terrible. It is only when I have had time to get over the disappointment that I can look at the positives. INFPs also tend to idealize people and relationships. I often found, especially as a younger INFP, that I put people and friendships on a pedestal. Someone was the greatest person ever and then later, when they didn’t fit this image I painted of them, they were horrible. I found it often hurt or ruined relationships because I was expecting certain things from people that I would do for them, and I felt attacked when they didn’t do those same things for me. In those moments, I could be a really passive aggressive and angry person.
I later started to learn that people react to things and show they care in very different ways. Just because someone does not say the perfect words to make you feel better doesn’t mean they don’t care about you or they are not trying. Sticking to relatable lyrics, I often think about the comedy lyrics in Bo Burnham’s song:
“If you want love, lower your expectations a few
Because Prince Charming would never settle for you
If you want love, just pick a guy and love him”
Bo Burnham – Lower Your Expectations (If You Want Love)
INFPs Are Masters at Avoiding Reality
INFPs often want justice in the world. With how unfair life can be, sometimes we just want to escape reality and bury our heads into our sketchbooks. I often used to say how I hated reality because there was no meaning in it. Things could happen and it was utterly meaningless. In stories, everything had a meaning and made sense, and often justice was served. It felt nicer to be lost in those stories than experience reality where everything was mundane and unfair.
I had a terrible internship, for instance, where my supervisor was very unfair to me and I felt there was nothing I could do about it. When it was all over, I felt completely empty inside that someone could make me feel so miserable without any repercussions. I found myself avoiding everyone and anything remotely related to that internship and spending more and more time playing video games and watching television shows in order for me not to think about it. While it is great to find ways to cope with our feelings, INFPs can really get out of touch with reality and avoid our responsibilities. This can also lead to INFPs straying towards unhealthy coping mechanisms such as abusing drugs or overeating. It is important to catch ourselves when we are going down the rabbit hole, and find the things in life that make reality great again.
“I’m so sick and tired trying to change your mind when it’s so easy to disconnect mine.”
Elliott Smith – High Times