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INFPs and OCD Behavior

The Care and Feeding of INFPs, part 3

Our OCD comes from over-thinking

INFPs think too much. We’re information gatherers. The strength of our Perception score determines how far into overdrive our secondary cognitive function of External Intution (Ne) runs. INFPs with high Perception scores get stuck in the “what if”. When we get stuck, the external doesn’t get processed by our Introverted Feeling (Fi) so we don’t move on.

In doing so, we lose touch with our Ideal and our Ideal Self. We start losing track of those things that we have built towards that ideal life we wanted. We start getting anxious that our tenuous grasp on our ideal life is slipping further away so we fall into OCD behavior.

For example, when I was in my early 20’s before I had a girlfriend and learned how to have balanced relationships, I would over-think situations meeting girls. Was this person a potential girlfriend and not just a friend? Was that an I-think-you’re-cool-smile or was that an I-wish-you-would-ask-me-out smile? What action I took depended on how I interpreted body language, word choice and all the minute details of all interactions. A brief phone call or a passing hello turned into hours of analysis later.

Ideally, I wanted girlfriend who loved and understood me. My over-thinking was causing that ideal to slip away. If she was the one, shouldn’t this entire process be natural and I shouldn’t be obsessing? The more I obsessed, the more un-ideal the situation was becoming. To lessen my anxiety, to stop thinking so much, I attempted to control my external environment by imposing order. I would be obsessive about washing dishes or putting books a certain way. A myriad of little quirks sprung out of nowhere all because I was over-thinking a relationship that didn’t even exist yet.

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Speaking INFP

The Care and Feeding of INFPs, part 2

Speaking INFP

INFPs can be great communicators when they want to be. That’s the big catch: when they want to be.

By default, INFPs do two things that cause great frustration to other types.

1. Moving from point A to D while skipping points B and C.

Conversations with INFPs at times seems like a string of completely unrelated topics. I know I do that. I could be talking about Ethan Hawke and the next second, I could be talking about locus of control theory. The connecting thoughts are: Ethan Hawke was in Hamlet –> famous Hamlet quote “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” –> your thoughts are one of the few things you can control –> amount of happiness is proportional to how much control you feel you have in your life –> locus of control theory.

INFPs don’t vocalize those connecting thoughts. Conversations may seem like random jumps from topic to topic but those topics are related in the INFP’s head.

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INFPs need alone time

The Care and Feeding of INFPs, part 1

Give your INFP some alone time

INFPs need time to reset. We have this mental/emotional bookshelf where a book is an emotion or mindset. The acts of everyday living—going to work, interacting with people, striving towards goals, maintaining our lives—requires pulling a book off the bookshelf to access what we need to live in the day-to-day.

As we use those books, they pile up and as more things happen day after day, going through the piles to find the books we need takes longer and longer. Eventually, we have to take some alone time and put those books in our mental piles back onto the bookshelf. That’s what I mean by resetting.

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