Everyone experiences sadness at one time or another. Sadness is a normal feeling of sorrow and melancholy in response to difficult situations that occur.
Periods of sadness are usually brief. Sadness occurs occasionally or frequently, depending on the type of trigger. How people deal with sadness depends on their different personality traits, age and experience.
Keep in mind sadness is a response and not a personality trait.
The Myers Briggs Trait Indicator (MBTI) is a tool used to identify 16 different personality types. Each personality type has four letters made up of one selection from the following four pairs.
Extroverted or introverted traits are represented by an (E) or (I). Sensing or intuitive traits are represented by an (S) or (N). Thinking and feeling are represented by (T) or (F). Judging and perceiving are represented by (J) or (P).
How you deal with sadness is influenced by some of these traits.
Fleeting episodes of sadness occur when you hear a familiar song, catch a whiff of a familiar smell, hear an odd phrase or are reminded of a special place on television.
Everyone deals with fleeting sadness on occasion. Other types of sadness are caused by events usually associated with loss or feelings of helplessness. Loss could be in the form of losing a loved one, a pet, a dream or your home.
The following discussion describes how some personality types deal with sadness.
Sadness should not be confused with depression. When a person is sad, s(he) usually knows why, whereas with depression, a person may or may not be able to identify the cause.
Depression may be the result of a physical or psychological illness. A sad person is able to continue with their activities of daily living, while a depressed person may not be able to continue to function in a relatively normal way.
With depression, objective symptoms such as a depressed mood, changes in eating and sleeping disturbances and feelings of hopelessness occur.
An ESTP personality type generally deals with sadness with an attitude that is fact based.
“It happened to me. It is sad. It is unfortunate. There is nothing more that can be done. I will do what I have to do and then move on.”
They put on a tough exterior and do not share their feelings with many people.
ESFPs are another personality type that deals with sadness in a rational way. The ESFP in this situation makes a decision that will cause sadness for both themselves and someone else.
Their rationale might go something like this.
“I cannot be hemmed in by someone else. I need my freedom. I cannot compromise enough to make this relationship work. I must break it off.”
In this situation the ESFP will be sad for a while and keep trying to rationalize his decision to make himself feel better.
ENFJs are great supporters of others. They are in tune with their feelings and can read well between the lines. Being sociable people, ENFJs discuss their sad feelings with others.
During periods of sadness, such as a major loss, this well organized structured group tend to become more introverted, harder to get along with and more visually anxious.
If prolonged periods of sadness exist, it places ENFJs at risk for excessive behaviors like drinking.
INFPs search for truth and meaning in their lives. This quiet and reflective group is a rare personality type. INFPs are highly intuitive and choose their relationships carefully based on personal values.
They have an ingrained sense of right and wrong and if INFPs sense disappointment in a relationship such as unfaithfulness or disloyalty, they become sad.
This personality type does not communicate emotions well, INFPs do not wear their emotions on their sleeve and tend to exhibit reactions to sadness like sidetracking themselves with mundane activities, avoiding any type of discussion about the sad event and they may even neglect personal and work responsibilities.
Another personality type, ISFPs, sometimes referred to as the artists, have a heightened response to sadness. This personality type is highly associated with caring for people and animals.
This causes ISFPs to place an extremely high value on their relationships. Any situation that threatens a long term relationship causes both personal stress and sadness.
If a relationship should end by either personal choice or external circumstances, ISFPs experience long periods of sadness during the healing process.
ISFPs also respond with feelings of great sadness when any type of injustice occurs to people or animals.
In response to sadness, INFPs usually walk away and retreat into their minds.
INFJs often deal with sadness in the similar way they respond to stress. These sentimental hopeless romantic personality types may behave illogically, especially if it is a romantic loss.
It is challenging for highly emotional and vulnerable INFJs to find suitable partners related to the limited sociability traits in their personality. If a relationship dissolves, the immediate response is stress but as time goes on these feelings assume the characteristics of sadness.
There is no anger, no depression – only sadness.
As INFJs are future oriented, they view how the relationship loss affects all aspects of their future. This way of dealing with sadness is similar to grief, but does not include all five the grief components – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
INFJs usually experience the fifth component only – acceptance.
INTJ’s reaction to sad events may appear outside the norm to the majority of people. For example in the case of a family death, most people take a few days off work, spend extra time with loved ones and talk about how much the person is missed.
The INTJ finds it difficult to describe or share all of their emotions including sadness.
INTJs may respond to the sad event by being more introverted, spending a lot of time just staring off and thinking or they might just go back to work as though nothing happened.
They are sad but not able to demonstrate it with words or body language.
ISTPs do not outwardly respond to sadness either because they simply do not ‘feel them [emotions]’ like most people do.
They are able to respond with the correct words that are socially expected in a sad situation.
After a sad event (or what society considers a sad event like the loss of a loved one), ISTPs tend to return to their normal routines quickly in comparison to other individuals.