Question: “I’m in a relationship with an INTJ who’s one of the least emotional people I’ve ever met (I’m an ENFP). He’s usually pretty cynical and calloused, but last night he cried like I’ve never seen anyone cry before and he won’t tell me what’s wrong. I tried to ask him but he then he locked me out of the bedroom and has refused to come out for hours. How on earth am I supposed to handle that? Someone so hard and rational crying is like the most disconcerting and painful thing I’ve ever witnessed.”
Answer: First of all, I’m really sorry you had to witness that. Everyone always criticises INTJs for seeming emotionless, but as soon as they get emotional…people just start to get uncomfortable.
Trust me, the crying thing is just as disconcerting, unfamiliar and stressful for him as it is for you.
Most INTJs do not cry unless something has truly upset his or her world (not all INTJs are this way, but it sounds like yours is). When an INTJ cries, emotion is raging inside them like a storm –and they are both pained by whatever it is that caused them to cry and disconcerted by the fact that they can’t control their emotions.
INTJs don’t like their emotions to control them –and they do not like other people to see them cry.
Furthermore, a lot of INTJs just don’t feel much. period. for the majority of the time. (I can go a couple weeks without feeling anything). INTJs definitely have powerful emotions, but they often dwell beneath the surface where we can’t fully feel them. Instead, our brain simply interprets them for us logically. When emotion becomes strong enough for us to cry, we don’t know what’s happening to us, and so we simultaneously feel the full weight of our misery and panic over the fact that we’ve lost control of our emotions.
My advice is to give him his space. Don’t keep asking him over and over again if he’s not answering. If he wants to tell you, he will. Give him at least a week before you ask him again, and if he doesn’t want to tell you then, just let it rest for a while.
INTJs are known for being some of the world’s best secret keepers. A lot of us like to hide our problems from people.
Let your INTJ feel his emotions the way he needs to feel them. If he opens up to you, that means he’s comfortable talking about them. If not, be sensitive.
23 thoughts on “Help! My INTJ is crying!”
I am trying to put this and the “introverts need people, too” articles together. They seem to be saying opposite things. INTJs in the comments say they are overwhelmed with emotion only at times of great turmoil. Arvid says the experience is disconcerting. So I would expect that a crying INTJ is one in desperate (and rather atypical) need of someone else to be at their side in whatever capacity necessary: to advise, to re-engage all the INTJ’s functions so the problem can be solves/looked at with both rational and emotional intelligence, break it out of an Ni-Fi loop, etc. As an INTJ myself, I recall the worst times in my life were when I wanted/needed someone else to “meet me halfway” so to speak, to understand me and to help me understand my own/other people’s problems so those could be fixed, but I was all on my own and I KNEW I was not wise enough, nor could I become adequately wise quickly enough, to address the given issue with all the gravity and understanding it demanded. It is the most awful thing, I think, to understand and to care, but be powerless to help.
Anyone have a different perspective? Are the INTJ functions really so self-sufficient that in times of grief, depression, or confusion the INTJs, alone among the human race, are better off left to themselves? Or does it really depend on why the INTJ is crying in the first place?
Saw your post on Pinterest. :) I am an INFJ and my daughter is an INTJ. I can remember a time when I didn’t understand why she would be so private about her feelings (this was before I knew what her personality type was). On the occasions that she would get upset, I would try to comfort and talk to her (that’s the counselor part coming out in me), but she wouldn’t share anything. It was frustrating, and I would get upset and feel hurt that she wasn’t sharing, but I have gotten used to just letting it be. Just letting her be, giving her time to figure out and deal with her feelings and thoughts in her own way, and letting her talk when, and about what, she wants to has made our relationship a lot better. She knows that I love her and she knows that I am here for her.
Every time I read about personality types, it blows me away how I can relate to the people in my life. It helps me understand how to love them and I LOVE that. :)
Let’s all walk on eggshells around INTJs so as not to waste their time, annoy them, expect them to be humans with feelings.
Seems to me that INTJs are a fragile lot with huge egos.
I’m an INTJ female, but I cried a lot since young (to get attention I remembered) then I became more and more emotionless as I grow up.
I still cry a lot when watching movies, novels, dramas…etc. and I cry on other occasions like when I’m very disrespectedly treated or misunderstood me. I feel like I’m so used to crying, so even sometimes in the public, I still can’t hold it, but the funny thing is I’ll cry with a poker face or pretend it’s tear from yawning. Though same with any other INTJs here, I only want to cry when no one is around, or not paying attention to me.
I would say the emotion that I’m lack of is not sadness, but anger and surprise.
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As an INTJ my self, the worst thing is when people ask me what’s wrong, coz that, for me, makes it worse. It makes me realise that my emotions are getting the better of my and it frustrates me. All someone needs to do is set down a cup of tea and a slice of cake and leave me alone for a while. That way I can deal with it on my own
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I agree with you on all of this. My mom (ISFJ) is a saint, honestly. I (INTJ) rarely cry and normally in times of great stress or pain – can be physical or mental. When I say great, as well, I mean as in a sh–load of it. Sorry for the language. Anyway, my mom just has a very calming presence and will be in the room but far enough away to give me space. If she asks me why, she is okay with an I don’t know and/or will offer up reasons which is way more helpful than society dictates it is. Sorry for backtrolling your blog, just wanted to add in my two cents.
No need to apologize for backtrolling. People comment on old posts quite regularly.
I am an INTJ, and I all I can add for all of those non INTJs out there, is that you all really need to follow the whole “give them space” rule. I speak from experience, getting discovered that you are crying and have a well wishing infp smothering you in “what’s wrong?!” Is one of the worst things that could have happened during that time. She forced me to talk about what was happening (I had just found out that my best friend had to be taken to the hospital because she had tried to commit suicide) and I resented her for it. For months. If you really care, don’t push… Sorry, this kind of turned into a rant.
True. Very true.
I know that as an INTJ myself, I went for years without crying…that is, until I lost someone I loved very much, and then the tears and depression came in waves for 3 years after that. When I did cry though, it was NEVER in public or where I thought anyone could see me. I could control myself until I was in an environment alone, and then everything broke loose.
If you give your INTJ enough time, the emotions will blow over and he will be his normal self again. As for how long this will take, I can’t say, because that depends on the size of the upset. For me it took 3 years.
It’s very long, it was.. 3 months for me – INTJ
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As an INTJ, myself, I absolutely hate crying, and I find that it doesn’t come very easily, either.
I’m horribly aware of how I appear when I cry, hence why nobody sees me do it, and if I feel like crying, I’ll distract myself with something else, trying to shove away the tears because nobody wants that. Especially not I.
However when (on rare occasion) I do cry, I’ll admit, myself, that it has scared the few people who have witnessed it. Though preferring to be left alone, there has been a situation in the past where I have cried, and my best friend – an ENFJ who is very good at somehow calming my nerves and getting me back on track – has come to give me a bit of affection, and I didn’t push it away unlike if my parents had tried to console me. I don’t openly discuss my feelings, either, so usually (unless you’re that ENFJ), I’m not going to tell you what’s wrong. I have a habit of bottling things up.
Also, as a side question: Are all INTJ’s supposed to be Mathematically and Scientifically orientated? Because I definitely fit the personality description, save for the fact that I can’t do Maths or Science for my life. Especially Physics. I’m more creatively swayed, excelling in Music, English and Art.
Answer: Nobody (regardless of personality type) is “supposed” to be oriented towards specific fields of study. It is more common for T-types to be oriented towards Maths and/or Science, but it is by no means a requirement –though many stereotypers will try to convince you that it is.
As an INTJ I can fully understand this experience. I rarely cry, really rare, and when I do it’s because of some circumstance beyond my control that impacted me deeply and let the volcano erupt.
I understand by fact that “crying is like peeing”,your body is releasing excessive amounts of stress or any strong emotions that cannot be controlled or keep under maintenance.
I don’t like other people see me cry.
Not too many things make cry but those that make … I can repeat the process over and over again wiht the same effect.
The things that make me cry are real facts, scenes, or even imaginations of:
War scenes: Children suffering, soldiers dying.
Sacrifice: People giving their lifes for the good, ie Jesuscrist.
Impotence against injustice.
Tremendous discoveries by any means (research, test, inspiration), as Universe Laws or how predictable I am by being an INTJ.
Some marriage proposals as the official video of “Marry you” of Bruno Mars.
Oh God that is totally true! I too have ”crying sessions” when I think too much about how humans are treating Mother Earth – I mean the pollution and species extinction it is causing…
I can relate to this.
It’s worth emphasising, as this author wrote, that if we get so overwhelmed by emotions that we cry, it’s sort of a double suffering in our minds (or at least in mine; this may not be true for every INTJ): firstly, the emotions themselves are painful, but secondly, we’re experiencing a failure of our normal systems to control those emotions.
I know that for me at least, if I cry, I try very hard not to let people see me do it. I don’t like to show that kind of weakness, even if they might be able to help.
In addition, I often find it difficult to express anything related to emotions, particularly when I am experiencing strong anger, sadness, etc.. Therefore, I would suggest a calm approach to talk over any practical solutions to the problem(s) if you want to help, at a time when your INTJ friend is no longer experiencing such strong emotions, as he will then be more receptive to talking.
Of course, all of the above is just my opinion based on my own experience, so I’m sorry if this doesn’t fit other INTJs, but I do hope it helps.
I am an INTP. My older sister is an INTJ (see where this is going?) We both hate crying of any sort but especially that release of pent up emotions when they get too strong and overwhelm you (like in times of extreme stress). Sometimes when I cry i want to be left alone to wallow in my pain, and sometimes I need a hug and someone to talk it out to. My sister always seems to know which one it is and the best way to make me feel better. While if I ever catch her crying (which is extremely rare) I just freeze up and have no idea what to do. I want to help her like she helps me, but the one time I tried to console her I got screamed at like I’ve never been yelled at before. Is there any advice you INTJs may have for me? Has there ever been a time where you have wanted comfort? Or should I just stick with my ‘freeze up and back away slowly approach’?
In my personal experience, I would prefer people to leave me alone when I need to cry, but then, not all INTJs are the same. There may be some that occasionally want to be comforted when they cry. I just don’t think there are a large quantity of them.
I am an INTJ female and my love language is physical touch. However, I only accept the hugs of a portion of my friends and family members, and only a few of those will I initiate the hugging.
From my experience, I would like my loved one to just sit beside me and staying silent. This shows me that in difficult times, I have someone who understands, cares and love me. If you are one of the people whose personal touch I accept, you can hug me. Beware, do not hug me too tightly or for too long or I might just feel uncomfortable and push you away. Just a relaxed short hug will do. Heads up, I will not hug you back or say anything. After that, just remaining silent beside me will be the best way to comfort me. If you did all these things, my appreciation and love for you will increase greatly. Hope this helps!
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give her chocolate or other form of her favourite treat – no funny “feeling” nonsense involved, that way she knows you are there, considering her, but not expecting to have her download to you (because she actually doesn’t have the words for you) INTJ girls struggle more than most to verbalise how we feel – although we will always tell you exactly what we think…
Oh my goodness yes.
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