5 Reasons the INFJ Has a Hard Time Coping With Heartbreak

While most people (well, people who aren’t heartless) tend to have a difficult time moving on after a breakup, the INFJ often takes this sentiment to a whole new level. Their family members and friends may even start to worry terribly about the wellbeing of an INFJ who doesn’t seem to be making progress towards healing.

I’ve compiled a list of reasons why the INFJ has a slow healing process, along with tips on how they can try to cope with heartbreak in a healthy way. If you’re an INFJ or you’re trying to help an INFJ out, I hope these lists will help you or them with the difficult process of healing from a painful heartbreak.

1. Their pickiness & idealism make it hard for them to foresee how something they felt so strongly about could have gone wrong.

Contrary to popular belief, the INFJ may, from time to time, have relationships that are more surface-level; relationships that they try to make work because they want that “happily ever after.” But their heart isn’t really in these relationships, which is why it’s a little easier for them to get over these, even if they’ve formed a small attachment.

But, on the other hand, if an INFJ has actually accumulated real & deep feelings for someone, that means that someone is extremely special and unique to them. If they’ve found someone that they can see true potential with, they’ve probably spent countless hours idealizing what could become of the relationship and even putting this partner on a romantic pedestal of (maybe sometimes undeserved) perfection.

When they’ve finally found a deep and meaningful connection with someone- a connection that they think could last a lifetime, and it ends, it’s extremely devastating for the INFJ. After numerous attempts to make other relationships work by forcing feelings or trying to make someone right for them (when they’re not), it can truly seem like the end of the world when a relationship ends that they actually believed in and wanted to work.

How to cope in a healthier way (advice for you if you’re an INFJ): Although it may seem like an impossible task at this time,  try to be realistic about the relationship and about your previous partner. By writing a list of what you loved and didn’t love about the relationship, you can start being less idealistic about how “perfect” the relationship was and how “perfect” _______ was for you.

No relationship is perfect and although this one may have come close, there’s going to be someone else that makes you happy, fulfills your needs, and someone with whom you have a deep connection with, even if that seems entirely impossible at the time.

This book (below) is an excellent source for the idealistic and attached heartbroken individual who is having a hard time seeing things clearly and moving on.

2. The INFJ often succumbs to their dark side in the wake of heartbreak.

While the INFJ is an idealist and optimist by nature, they also have an innate dark side that comes out when something traumatic happens. Instead of taking a little while to grieve and then picking themselves back up, they’ll let the darkness take over. It can seem like an impossible task to move back into the light. It may even take months (or years) for them to realize they have the strength to pick themselves back up and enjoy life again.

Just as the INFJ finds it somewhat gratifying to watch sad movies or listen to sad songs, in some twisted way, they find gratification in moping in their misery. Not real gratification- more like romanticised anguish that leads them to writing poems and songs and making art that reflects their distress and suffering.

It’s as though their dark side is another part of them- a part of them that they become comfortable with- too comfortable with. This kind of misery is acceptable for a short time, but the INFJ can take it too far because they don’t realize they have the strength to break through their comfort zone and start being truly happy again.

How to cope in a healthier way: Write the poems and listen to the sad songs. It’s okay to express your emotions and it’s okay to feel the pain. It’s more than okay to feel the pain! But commit to doing one thing each day that’s outside of your dark and gloomy comfort zone. Eventually, it’ll get easier to be optimistic, present, and happy.

Don’t feel bad for feeling pain, but realize that you do have the strength to choose to be happy for at least a little while each day. As you practice using your strength, you’ll become stronger and more capable of living and loving life again.

3. The INFJ often lets their anger get the better of them and the anger can prolong their heartbreak.

While the “INFJ Door Slam” sounds like a simple concept, in reality, it isn’t. It’s a long process that includes a lot of second chances, wishing someone would change (when they won’t), wishing things were back to how they used to be, and wanting to slam the door but feeling too attached to do so.

They often wish they could simply cut ties with someone without all of these emotionally exhausting precedents, but because they feel and love so deeply, it’s difficult for them to give up on someone and something they believed in and wanted so badly.

Sometimes they resort to behaviors that they later regret in an effort to restore the relationship back to what it was. These behaviors leave them feeling embarrassed and empty and also prolong their healing process, as they lose some dignity and confidence in themselves- confidence that is helpful in moving on from rejection and heartbreak.

Only after experiencing a grueling amount of pain and after being hurt and disappointed repeatedly will the INFJ truly call it quits. This is when the door finally slams shut, never to be opened again. Before this door slam, the INFJ may try to appear cold and distant in order to seem over the relationship, but this is when the INFJ truly becomes cold and heartless and detaches themselves from any emotional ties that will further harm them.

How to cope in a healthier way: If you don’t let yourself feel the pain (by using unhealthy coping mechanisms or by shaming yourself for appeasing your “dark side,”) you may end up behaving in angry and manipulative ways that you’ll later regret. Make sure that you let yourself feel the pain fully.

Rant about your anger in a letter (that you’ll never send) to your ex, write a terribly sad song about how much you hate him (or her) for leaving you when you guys were perfect together. Write a poem about your ex’s new girlfriend and how much you hate every little hair on her head, but don’t (I repeat- don’t!) do anything that you’ll later regret. And if you already have, than stop it! Stop now- there’s still time to regain your dignity.

You’ll feel more confident and capable of moving on and you’ll feel more self-love if you behave maturely, even when you feel like punching him and his new girlfriend smack in the face (or worse.)

4. INFJ’s turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms that prolong their healing process.

Under stress, an INFJ’s inferior function, extroverted sensing, often manifests itself. This can lead the INFJ to make impulsive decisions in an effort to decrease their stress and pain “immediately.” These coping mechanisms aren’t healthy or helpful for long-term healing, so the INFJ ends up dragging on their healing process.

The INFJ also tries to cope by retreating into solitude. Their independent nature makes them wary of relying on anyone too much for helping them with their pain. They also don’t want to burden anyone, so they separate themselves from the world and spend time alone obsessing and ruminating unhealthily about the relationship. This also extends their pain, as they aren’t getting the help they need and they’re spending too much time alone in their minds, at a time when they have very little control over their minds and emotions because of their deep pain.

How to cope in a healthier way: Remember that there are “quick fixes” that will also help you long-term. Turn to those instead of to drinking, behaving in ways you’ll later be ashamed of, or watching Netflix all day and neglecting your homework.

Instead of becoming obsessed with unhealthy habits, become obsessed with healthy ones, like yoga, meditation, taking vitamins, writing in your journal, starting a blog, doing crafts, or exercising. These coping mechanisms are immediate stress reducers that won’t cause you problems in the future or void you of peace and happiness presently and long-term.

5. A “rebound” will only make matters worse for an INFJ.

Because the INFJ places so much value on a deep and meaningful relationship, dating can be very upsetting after a breakup and can even take them back a few steps in their healing process. Having placed so much value on their previous relationship and often having put their ex and the relationship on an unrealistic pedestal, it’s upsetting for the INFJ when no one else compares. This can make them miss their ex even more and make them become even more idealistic about their past relationship.

Dating will probably lead them to the frustrating conclusion that “no one else but _____ will ever make me happy again.” It can feel like an absolute catastrophe that their “one and only true love” somehow slipped away from them.

How to cope in a healthier way:  Don’t date! Yes, I said it. Even if the whole wide world is advising you to “get back out there” and start dating again, simply refrain (at least for the first while). Take some time away from guys (or girls) and focus on your own mental health, your friends and family, and your hobbies.

In time, you’ll be emotionally ready and healed enough to accept that not everyone is going to make you feel the way your ex did (without having a complete breakdown and thinking that everyone is wrong for you) and eventually you’ll even find someone that you connect with and can love just as much, or more, than you loved your ex. But if you’re presently heartbroken and angry, you won’t be able to properly cope with unpleasant dates or even be emotionally healthy enough to be aware of if you found someone worth your time, so take a break.

Relax, eventually, it will all work out. In time, you’ll find the true “love of your life” and you’ll be so glad your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend chose to leave you as a heartbroken mess.

Author: Coral Allen

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  • Thank you Coral for the suggestion to write down the "loved" and "didn’t love" aspects of the relationship. It helped me to evaluate and process what happened between us in a way that was fresh and enlightening. Healing has been a painful journey so far, however, it’s getting better and your thoughtful words encouraged me to dig a little deeper, with very nice results!! I’m grateful for the effort you put into this article.

    • I’m so glad that I could help in some way. The healing process is tormenting and difficult, but it truly does get "better with time," as cliche as that sounds. I thought I’d never get over my last boyfriend but slowly my heart started to heal, especially when I started doing the things that would help me heal instead of doing things that were only harming me further. It really will get better!

  • I’m INFP, but close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades. I’ve read three of your blog posts and they all rang so true for me. Thanks for the courage to put your heartbreak and your experiences out there to help others understand that we’re not alone in going through all of this. It takes a lot of bravery for an introvert to put their heart and soul on display. Thank you so much.

  • Coral, spot on, thank you! I only wish I had read this a year ago when I was in the depths of darkness in my break up. The pain is sometimes still there, even over a year later. What I am concerned about now is that entered into a new relationship a little over 5 months after the break up (the previous relationship lasted 3 years). Now a year later I am still in the new relationship but recognize that I didn’t give myself enough time to heal. Thankfully, I am with an ENFP who loves me so deeply and understands the pain that I have been through. He is so patient and on every level, my rational side knows that this is the beautiful, healthy relationship I have been looking for for so long. The concern lies with my heart that on many levels it still feels dulled by the pain of the breakup. I worry that the suffering from the break up may have somehow altered my ability to love, although that sounds crazy to me! I just hope that my heart can come out of this hibernation so that my partner can experience all that I have to offer. I want that so badly.