INFJs usually have no idea how they are feeling. What are feelings and how do they show up in the body? For a person with a poor mind-body connection, INFJs usually don’t know how they feel and end up emulating others around them who are feeling something. But this usually ends up in them picking up on the anxious and neurotic feelings of the people around them.
It’s a Catch 22. We don’t know how to feel so we open up ourselves to other people’s feelings. Then we chameleon-ize ourselves. And that causes us to pick up unwanted energies from other people. Eep.
Either way, an INFJ’s reaction to all of this anxiety or unwanted emotion is usually to clean house. Literally. They will start going into a frenzy of cleaning and organizing everything that they own, and everything that they can.
It Usually Begins With An INFJ’s Room Or House
I’m not saying that INFJs are the only ones who use cleaning house as a form of feeling better about their anxiety. But it’s definitely one of those things that we end up doing quite often, oblivious to the actual feelings roaming around our brains.
I notice that I myself have spent countless hours cleaning up little crevices and corners in my room to the utmost of perfection when something in my life isn’t going completely right. For example, when my relationship with my ex was on the rocks. Or, I had a fight with my mother, instead of going to my room and crying, I would go to my room and clean. All old paper would be thrown out. And all old clothes would be put away for donations. All sheets, towels, and clothes would be washed, dried, and folded away.
After such a cleaning splurge, INFJs usually feel a sense of temporary peace. They assuage their guilt or anxiety or shame or whatever other negative emotions they were feeling for a few minutes. They think to themselves, “Hmm, everything else in my life might be shit (we have a tendency to exaggerate sometimes), but at least my room is absolutely and perfectly clean. At least I have that.”
And then we hold onto that clean room as if it were a lifeline. And wrath be upon anyone who comes into our room or house and messes it up. I have been known to blow up on my siblings in the past when mess up my perfect organizational structure. It was unacceptable and they left thinking I am completely insane. Which was partly true.
It Can Also Include Our Finances Or Our Work Projects – The Cycle Happens Over And Over Again
I have noticed that sometimes my room or house is already pretty organized from my last bout of cleaning madness. Therefore, I have to move onto something else. I have to focus my cleaning frenzy on some other aspect of my life. Usually then I move on to my finances, making sure everything looks fine and dandy, or reducing my spending as much as possible, etc. I will also end up spending some time on my work projects, making them as perfect as humanly and creatively possible.
INFJs are perfectionists, and this perfectionism will definitely show up in these cleaning frenzies, because not only do we want to alleviate our negative emotions using this organizing mission but also we need to do it perfectly.
This might funnily enough end up causing us even more anxiety and adding to the stress of the situation, because we just can’t clean our rooms perfectly or we just can’t organize ourselves in that ideal way that we desire.
Anger usually results from this and causes us finally to feel some semblance of an emotion, even if unrelated to the original emotion that we were running away from.
This is the cycle that an INFJ usually goes through in their quest to avoid feeling any negative emotions or their quest to organize their life into feeling better about themselves.
Of Course, You Will Not Feel Better By Cleaning Your Room Or Closet
I don’t think I need to say the obvious, but I will. I have gone through this cycle of madness many times in my life. And even though, I do feel a temporary sense of satisfaction after cleaning up my room or my life, it’s momentary happiness. The original anxiety or fear or shame always pops up again. And causes me to feel terrible about whatever is going on around me.
The main way to deal with all of this, the ideal way that I have found works for me is journaling about my feelings. INFJs usually have a hard time talking about their feelings to others. Venting is usually not an option, unless you are one of those rare healthy INFJs. But journaling our thoughts, emotions, feelings, and why we think we are running away from them by cleaning our rooms is a great start.
Every time, I would feel anxiety creep up and the need to start cleaning creeping in, I always take a step back, and pull out my journal, which I carry everywhere with me. Even if I am on a bus stop, or at a restaurant waiting for someone, I will take a few moments to jot down what’s going on within me. Why am I feeling this way? And usually a few moments is all it takes.
Ah, I realize to myself, I am feeling anxious because I saw a high school friend of mine get admitted to medical school. And that made me feel envious and depressed.
Or, I see, I wanted to be the one selected to go on that business trip with the boss. But I wasn’t, and that made me feel terrible about myself.
Or, I realize that I actually really wanted this one guy to like me, but he ended up with someone else. And that made me feel undesirable, ugly, and fat.
These few revelations are great. Because as soon as I realized the cause of my anxiety, I am able to start making myself feel better about it. Oh, it’s okay, I tell myself, you will find someone else. Or your colleague deserved to go more than me. Or I really don’t want to be in school for 10-15 years, so it was a great escape.
Instead of pushing my feelings away, I am able to use my journal to start the process of realizing what they are. And really start feeling them. It’s always been a source of great joy and peace to me.
I recommend it highly to any INFJ who wants to be more connected to their feelings and emotions from now onwards. And it doesn’t even need to be a very formal process. Whenever you need the solace of speaking to a friend, your journal is there for you. You don’t need to hide away from your deeper selves. You can use your journal to speak to them now.