Are you an INFJ who has been traumatized by a narcissist and you don’t know how to recover from the abuse? INFJs are highly intuitive and empathetic creatures which makes them prime targets for narcissistic abuse. INFJs have a tendency to ignore their own feelings as well as put other people’s needs above their own. We live in a world that praises selflessness and can make you feel bad if you place your needs first, and INFJs are especially sensitive to this.
What is an INFJ Personality?
The INFJ personality is known to be a compassionate, intuitive leader and is considered one of the rarest Myers-Briggs personality types. But when this highly sensitive and creative personality becomes a victim of narcissistic abuse, the devastation can be enormous.
According to 16Personalities.com, “An Advocate (INFJ) is someone with the Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging personality traits. They tend to approach life with deep thoughtfulness and imagination. Their inner vision, personal values, and a quiet, principled version of humanism guide them in all things.”
Quick Facts on the INFJ Personality
They are genuinely good-hearted people who connect quickly with others.
They often find interest and support in helping other people more than themselves.
They want to help and make a difference, which makes them an ideal target for manipulation.
INFJs value deep, heartfelt relationships.
They focus on a few special people in their lives and are intensely loyal and protective of them.
INFJs great strength lies in the intensity of their feelings, which they use intuitively to understand other people.
Their unique combination of traits makes INFJs natural advisors or counselors.
People value their insight and willingness to listen to others.
Why are INFJs the majority of narcissistic abuse survivors?
While every single personality type is susceptible to being a victim of narcissistic abuse, the most common profile of narcissistic abuse victims is INFJ. But why? For one, INFJs are givers by their very nature, and when they fall in love with someone (or are infatuated), their first instinct is to give everything they have to make that person happy.
They will bend over backward to ensure the emotional safety of anyone they love. This makes them prime targets for narcissistic abusers, who are known to lack empathy and only concern themselves with their own emotions and needs. Plus, many INFJs may have develoed this particular personality type due to their own childhood trauma.
INFJs are sensitive and intuitive.
INFJs are highly intuitive, which is an asset in many situations. It’s often the quality that leads them to choose counseling as a career. But it’s also the quality that’s most likely to lead them into abusive relationships. INFJs are so attuned to other people’s feelings that they’re often taken advantage of by narcissists and sociopaths.
They can be easy targets for emotional predators because INFJs tend to trust people too easily and believe that everyone has good intentions. This tendency toward being trusting and giving isn’t a character flaw — it’s just part of being an INFJ personality type. And it can be a trap if you don’t learn how to navigate relationships more effectively.
INFJs struggle with seeing their own value.
INFJs are not always good at taking care of themselves. They can be overwhelmed by their own pain and are so used to putting other people first that they have a hard time letting themselves take a front seat in their own lives. So when an INFJ endures narcissistic abuse, it can really knock them down hard. The self esteem of an INFJ can take a real hit after being treated so poorly.
Many INFJs describe narcissistic abuse as having the rug pulled out from under them in some way. The dream they had for their life is shattered and they find themselves lost and confused with no idea where to turn next. Even if you’re familiar with personality disorders, the effects of narcissistic abuse on an INFJ can still be devastating because it attacks their very core being – everything that makes them who they are as a person. It’s like a parasite that burrows into your brain and takes over your mind, convincing you that you will never, ever be enough.
As outlined in my DUO Method, the first step in treatment is to recognize that there is a problem. There may be some denial involved because the INFJ has been subjected to constant criticism and manipulation by this person. When the INFJ realizees that they are being abused and that the abuser has no regard for their feelings or their needs, they’ve already taken the first step toward narcissistic abuse recovery.
The next step involves learning how the abuser thinks and operates so that they can spot the red flags before they get into another toxic relationship, as well as learning how you got into the relationship in the first place and what you can do in the future to protect yourself from similar situations.
It is important for INFJs to develop a strong support system during this time and seek out other people who understand what they are going through. Therapy and narcissistic abuse recovery coaching can also be helpful in teaching them how to set boundaries without feeling guilty or ashamed of themselves.
Recovery from narcissistic abuse really sort of begins when you stop blaming yourself for what happened. You may feel that the narcissist was right about you all along, but when you’ve finished the second phase in recovery, you’ll understand the psychlogy of what happened and you’ll see the patterns around them.
Finally, the INFJ will overcome narcissistic abuse by ending or minimizing the relationship in their lives before evolving into the best possible version of themselves.
INFJs: Questions to Ask Yourself After Narcissistic Abuse
What are your personality strengths and how do they relate to narcissism?
When you were being abused by a narcissist did you get caught up in the narcissist’s web of lies and manipulation? If so, what did it feel like?
How did you deal with the narcissist’s flow of constant criticism during the relationship and now that it is over?
How do you handle working through your feelings of self-blame, guilt, shame, and not feeling good enough?
Can an INFJ be a narcissist?
Can an INFJ be a narcissist? It’s possible, though unlikely, that an INFJ personality type can be a narcissist. First, we have to consider this: Since Narcissists really haven’t manifested any original, true identity (and since they tend to lie to even themselves), any Myers-Briggs Personality Test result would (or at the very least) could be false. Narcissists won’t or can’t see any true insight into their false selves.
The truth is that their actual identity is comprised of “borrowed” personality traits, hobbies, choices, and frustrations from other people in their lives. There’s not a lot of substance. Narcissists usually aren’t capable of self-reflection – and don’t forget: they lie – to themselves and everyone else. With all of that being said, here is what you’d see if narcissism manifested in each of the 16 personality types – watch this video.
Communication Struggles for INFJs After Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
Many INFJs find themselves struggling with communication folloing narcissistic abuse. Part of this is because they might be (or have become) more introverted due to their abuse. Some of the issues that introverts have when communicating with others are due to the very definition of being an introvert.
INFJs are silent perfectionists.
Due to perfectionistic tendencies, introverts frequently don’t speak up, even when they have something to say because they fear it won’t be insightful enough or it will come out all wrong.
INFJs might neglect phone calls.
You much prefer to text or email because you can skip the small talk and it’s socially acceptable with those forms of communication. But phone calls… shudder! You find yourself procrastinating making important phone calls or returning calls, even to those you love. You have to feel energized enough to be an enthusiastic participant in the conversation, which can cause you to put off making calls, even if they are vital.
INFJs prefer to fly solo.
Because you need to think before you speak and because you need to have silence while you ponder, you find it challenging to participate in the conversation when there are comments and ideas flying everywhere. You may feel like you can’t gather your thoughts well enough to contribute to the conversation.
INFJs are overwhelmed and exhausted by large groups.
When you have to be around a lot of people, especially if you don’t know them, you feel exhausted fast. One reason for this is because it involves a lot of small-talk, which doesn’t come naturally to introverts. Putting out that much effort wears you out.
In fact, working in groups can be even worse for an introvert than small-talk. When you must rely on others to communicate in ways that aren’t comfortable or understandable to you, it’s a real challenge to complete the project. There’s also the issue of your perfectionism too. Because of your practice of thinking through every possible issue and solution, you are committed to only turning out perfection… but others in the group don’t often care as much about this as completion, or they have a very different perception of what “perfection” is.
INFJs can feel lonely in a crowded room.
Introverts often feel left out of a rapid conversation, whether it’s at a party or a work conference. This often occurs because, by the time you determine what you want to say and the best way to say it, the group has moved onto a new topic. You can easily feel left out and lonely during these discussions – more so than if you were actually alone.
INFJs CAN Recover From Narcissistic Abuse
Many INFJs are able to rebound from abuse and go on to have happy and fulfilling lives; however, there is no “road map” for recovery. Abuse is difficult for everyone, and for INFJs it can be especially hard because of their tendency to overlook their personal needs in favor of being selfless and accommodating.
The key to understanding the process for INFJs is realizing that we are dealing with an abuse of power. It is because of immature, unfulfilled expectations of what romantic relationships should be that the narcissist tries to take control. Whether it’s because they were not treated with the love they expected when they were younger, or whether they are simply incapable of truly loving anyone else, the narcissist is only capable of meeting their own needs.
Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery right now.
The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. It offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups– We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery and some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
Did someone tell you that narcissists are demons from hell? More importantly, did you believe them? Do you think that the apparently evil and painfully destructive behavior exhibited by someone in your life is the result of demonic possession?
If you’ve ever considered the possibility that a narcissist might be an innocent person who has been possessed by an ugly, malignant demon from hell, and you’re looking for advice on how you can go about exorcising those so-called demons – stick around. I hope I will be able to help you understand what’s going on and how to deal. But first, we have to answer the question at hand.
Are narcissists really just people who have been demonically possessed? I’ve heard this question asked more than once, and in many iterations, and based on my own opinions, experiences, and research, the short answer is “no.”
The more detailed answer is based on an alternative perspective that narcissism is part of the human condition and can be defined through a more scientific lens and that, for the most part, it is developed in childhood, starting as early as the moment you’re born. Let me explain.
Are these demonic behaviors?
Depending on your personal beliefs and whether you’re reading this article from a literal or metaphorical perspective, you might feel bothered by one or both of these perspectives. Still, I thought it was important to note both points of view here. So please consider the following perspectives with an open mind.
POV: Narcissists are evil, demonic creatures from hell.
Or, at least possessed by one. Narcissists can be mercilessly horribly mean to you, to the point that you can literally feel like they’re crushing your soul, right? You have to wonder how they could be anything else? No human is capable of this level of remorselessness, are they?
And if you really consider this from the perspective that narcissists are possessed by demons, then you have to ask yourself how they could possibly be responsible for their behaviors.
What purpose might the demon have for your torment?
Why YOU? You might be finding all kinds of reasons for your torment in your mind; things that God has apparently done to you or sent your way because you were bad, or not good enough anyway, and which you deserve as punishment. You might be even living your life with the expectation that you’re going to remain that way forever – marked, ruined, not enough, too much – whatever. But what if you could consider an alternative perspective?
POV: The seed of pathological narcissism is planted early in childhood.
From this perspective, I’d like to propose that these behaviors are less demonic and more indicative of their own psychology, most often developed early in childhood.
Narcissism can be a direct result of attachment style.
So, from this perspective, starting the day you’re born, your core psychology and personality development begin and will depend at least partially on how your first few hours and days with your birth mother go. There are various theories on this, and some scientists insist that while a healthy attachment style can be developed when the birth mother isn’t present or able to emotionally connect with the baby, it can be more complicated. Others agree that unless the experience is especially traumatic, it could be repairable but only with the right kinds of therapy and self-work. (To be fair, most narcissists won’t even attempt the work required, much less accomplish it.)
Why should you care about what causes narcissism to develop?
I always find that if I can understand the mechanics and the basic logical structure of why someone is behaving in any given way, then I can logically deduce WHY they treated me that way, or acted like that, or did some other thing that directly affected me, directly or otherwise.
For most of us, understanding how a person’s behaviors are connected directly to their childhood and upbringing might help us arrive at the logical decision that we’re not cursed by God or being attacked by a demonic spirit.
Instead, we’re dealing with a damaged, broken person who, no matter how much we’re willing to give up to help them and fix them somehow, we will never be able to save.
Can narcissism be cured?
I think narcissism could be healed in theory. But in reality, I honestly believe it’s highly unlikely that a narcissist could successfully stop being a narcissist. It would begin by obtaining a qualified therapist, the narcissist must, with an open mind and genuine willingness, be willing to commit to intensive, psychosocial therapy in which they work with a therapist to learn how to:
CHOOSE to change of their own volition, and do a lot of deep therapeutic work with a qualified therapist to uncover the trauma that caused their disorder.
Unpack, work through and process their emotional and psychological baggage in order to overcome their core wound and heal.
THEN, work on habit-changing and behavior modification, plus consider meditation, coaching, and/or relearning on how to live and behave from the perspective of a decent human being who has genuine emotional and compassionate empathy.
So, while it’s theoretically possible, I’ve never seen it happen, nor heard an accurate account of it having happened, narcissists seem to have a really hard time creating any meaningful change in their behavior.
How does insecure attachment lead to narcissistic abuse?
Narcissists are insecurely attached. They frequently switch between idealizing and devaluing their romantic partners and they are often unable to empathize with others. This pattern of behavior suggests that the narcissist’s personality is organized around an insecure attachment style, often called “anxious-ambivalent” by attachment theorists.
Here’s how this works:
Insecurely-attached people tend to feel uncomfortable in relationships because they are never quite sure if their partner will abandon them.
This uneasiness stems from the fact that they have trouble trusting that their partner really cares about them, so they monitor their partner’s behavior for signs of emotional betrayal. But this monitoring comes at a price: it means that the insecurely-attached person has less time to focus on his or her own emotional needs and less emotional energy to spend on other people.
This can lead to a vicious cycle of self-absorption, fear of abandonment, and further withdrawal from the relationship.
It can also lead to a perverse sense of entitlement, along with the expectation that one partner should meet all of the other’s needs while giving nothing in return – which is part of why narcissists can be so abusive towards their romantic partners.
In a nutshell, narcissists are insecurely attached because they were raised by emotionally distant parents. Narcissism is the emotional defense of choice for people who have learned to associate love with pain. The goal of narcissistic abuse is to control, manipulate and dominate another person by any means necessary.
This is what happens when you respond to hurt with more hurt. The narcissist makes you feel small so they can feel better about themselves. When you react by pulling away, the narcissist finds another way to keep hold of you through triangulation or manipulation. When you react by confronting her, she gaslights you into believing that everything is your fault. Remember: Narcissistic abuse is not personal; it’s a reflection of how the abuser feels about himself or herself.
Why do narcissists have so many failed relationships?
If you think about the typical narcissistic abuse pattern, it’s pretty easy to expect that they have or will eventually have a history of failed relationships, romantic and otherwise.
When they’re in love bombing mode (also called the idealization stage), you will notice narcissists develop a knack for saying what is on your mind before you can say it – you start feeling pretty sure they’re meant for you. Your one true soulmate, you hope.
As they get to know you, narcissists seem to develop a sophisticated way of keeping you (and anyone else they victimize) off-balance and confused. This helps them play on those emotions, without remorse, and to twist your personality and really your entire reality into a grayed-out shell of what it could be. All of this in the name of serving their own needs.
Worse, when those who they victimize can’t leave as soon as we want to, we end up being emotionally traumatized and psychologically damaged. And while it would be easy to say that narcissists are drama-filled demons from hell, the truth is that they’re just humans who, like us, have been deeply affected by the traumatic events in their lives.
They, like all of us, want to be loved and accepted and to belong somewhere. But deep down, they are well-aware of their flaws, at least on a subconscious level. This leads them to believe that they’re broken, flawed, or otherwise not good enough. Just like you and me, they also often suffered trauma that destroyed the person they might have been – but while you may have become a people-pleasing codependent, the same kinds of trauma might have led to their personality disorder.
If we take a closer look at the lives of relationally avoidant people, we can see that their role models and parental figures in childhood were selfish and hurtful. They were either exploited by others or neglected in favor of the other parent. This childhood experience leaves them with deep emotional wounds, which make them feel unloved and unworthy.
Should you pity your narcissistic spouse?
Ultimately, there’s a pretty big chance that if you’ve found yourself entangled with a narcissist in a toxic marriage, you’ve had your share of childhood trauma too. If you’re starting to pity the narcissist at this point, you might also be feeling guilty for any and every questionable thing you did, said, thought, or felt in the relationship.
Or, you might be considering relenting and/or begging them to forgive you. But don’t feel sorry for them just yet; despite the fact that narcissists are human (not demons as some well-meaning gurus claim), they behave in ways that make them seem positively evil.
If you’re a little further along in your narcissistic abuse recovery, you might be well-aware of the fact that there is a certain amount of choice involved in the way a person chooses to treat the people closest to them, at least on some level, in any conscious person who is relatively functional in society. Remember that there is a certain amount of choice involved in the way a person chooses to treat the people closest to them, at least on some level, in any conscious person who is relatively functional in society.
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
Narcissistic abuse takes a lot from its victims: Our sense of self, our security, our trust and happiness, and sometimes even our memories. Often, when we finally break away from a toxic relationship with a narcissist (or any other abuser), we are left feeling like there is no true “us” anymore. We are merely empty shells of the people we used to be. Can you relate to that feeling?
Do You Remember Who the Narcissist Really Was?
When you first leave a relationship with an abuser, it’s easy to look back on all the good times you had with your now-ex as if they were real memories instead of manufactured ones. You may even feel that you miss your ex. But in reality, this person was never really who you thought he or she was.
This person was the false self that your partner created for the express purpose of gaining control over you. Narcissists are expert manipulators who use their false selves to get close to their victims and then use their true selves to manipulate them into staying put by causing fear, guilt, and shame.
Are you ready to release your past and own your future?
If you are ready to release your past, to forgive yourself, and to love yourself despite what has happened, you will also be able to find your own place in the world. You will find your voice and your truth, and you can live confidently with a deep knowing that you are enough.
To do this, you have to let go of the shame and self-blame. You need to understand how their abuse works so that you can recognize it for what it is – the actions of someone who wasn’t capable of seeing you as their equal, who may have had a sort of “god complex” – and who wanted to use and abuse you as an object. If we see these things clearly, we can begin to heal ourselves.
Your Past Doesn’t Define Your Future
Imagine for a moment trying to put on the clothes you wore as a baby or toddler. The fact is, the clothes may be yours but they simply don’t fit anymore. It’s the same with reacting to our past with the narcissist. It makes no sense to go back and dwell because the past doesn’t define your future. Your past was full of narcissistic abuse and was probably traumatic, problematic. It caused havoc and made you doubt everything you thought was true – but you can heal your past for a healthy present…and future.
Is Past Behavior Always an Indicator of Future Behavior?
Your past definitely influences the future. What you went through or the mistakes you made will impact your thoughts and feelings which can lead to a crossroads. One road leads to unconscious thoughts and feelings that trigger destructive behavior and repeat circumstances over and over. Another road leads to healing the past, becoming intentional with thoughts and feelings which promotes healthier choices and actions. The good news is that your past behavior doesn’t have to be an indicator of what’s coming down the road if you do the internal work to heal.
Take Advice from Maya Angelou
Author, poet, activist, and all-around goddess Maya Angelou famously advised us to “do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” My point is that the choices we make are influenced by a variety of things including:
Our support system…or lack of it
Our level of education
Our advantages…and disadvantages
The available choices at the time
We may make entirely different choices when any of these factors change. What we chose in the past does not mean it’s what we would choose today or tomorrow. As we grow, mature, find support, and experience different circumstances, we change and so does the quality of our choices. If we stay the same and keep making poor choices, it’s important to look at what is holding us back and do the work to heal and move forward.
Some Things are Out of Your Control
Sometimes circumstances are beyond your control – and when a narcissist is involved, they do everything in their power to prevent you from controlling your own life and circumstances. What you experienced in the past wasn’t anything you chose directly, but something that happened to you.
Still, it’s really important to remember that this doesn’t mean you can’t control the future. You may be unable to change what happened to you in the past, but going through tough situations does provide lessons and awareness that you can take with you and use in the present and future.
In a way, having things happen outside of your control can offer you mental resources that give you control moving forward. It may be as simple as choosing to forgive or learning you can manage stress or uncertainty. These are powerful tools to have today and tomorrow.
Your past doesn’t define your future, your awareness does. What you are conscious of, the choices you make with intention, and the actions you take today are what influence your future more than anything.
Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Resources
The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups– We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.