INFPs are quiet, reserved people who sometimes have trouble feeling understood and really seen. This is not usually evident from the outside, as their warmth draws people to them, and they’re usually thought of as the center of their family group. But INFPs often consider themselves to be on the edge of their family, looking in but never a part, and this can be a barrier to their happiness and sense of security within their family group.
INFPs and their Preferred Family Structures
INFPs have a strong sense of right and wrong, but it’s highly subjective. This can make it very difficult to determine how they’re likely to react to something. INFPs lead with introverted feeling, a little understood function that makes decisions based on how external information makes them feel. This function is strongly associated with the individual’s personal beliefs and moral code, which means their view on the appropriate family structure is subject primarily to their personal beliefs rather than outside data. However, INFPs use extraverted intuition as their secondary function, which enjoys novelty and exploring the world, so they’re likely to be open to unusual family structures as long as they don’t conflict with the INFPs moral code.
INFPs are also naturally independent. They have a good understanding of other people’s emotions and motivations, but don’t often share their own. This can make INFPs fairly solitary and fiercely protective of their own need for space to grow and change and develop naturally and free of outside pressures. This means they’re unlikely to accept a role in their family just because it’s their traditional gender role, and they wouldn’t expect others to do so either. This would violate their most deeply held values regarding autonomy and self-development.
The Dark Side of Families
The INFP personality type can have high expectations for the people around them. This usually comes from a good place, but it can also make INFPs highly critical. If they feel as if their family members don’t live up to their expectations, they can become disillusioned and angry, and may retreat from the family connection. This can result in the INFP mentally, emotionally, or physically withdrawing from the family bond, and can cause a lot of confusion. INFPs will rarely if ever share their emotional world with others, they’re more likely to just retreat and leave the relevant family members confused and hurt. And if they’re pushed too far with this, INFPs can become sharply critical, telling the other person exactly what’s wrong with them in no uncertain terms.
INFPs also have a very strong dislike of conflict and discord and tend to have trouble leaving bad relationships. If they find themselves within a dysfunctional or damaging relationship, their natural loyalty and instinct to care for others can force them to stay despite the obvious drawbacks. INFPs also have a natural tendency to blame themselves for problems rather than the people around them. So if someone in their family is abusive in some way, they’ll often consider it their fault rather than the fault of the abuser. For their own safety and happiness, INFPs need to learn to place blame where it belongs and protect themselves just as much as they protect those around them.
Domestic Life and Potential Sources of Stress
INFPs can be extremely sensitive to criticism, perhaps more than any other personality type. From the outside, most people probably wouldn’t know this. INFPs tend to keep their emotions and pain to themselves until pushed beyond the limit. So when they’re criticized, they usually internalize and ruminate. And this can result in a lot of pain and stress for this type that no one really sees until it reaches a crisis point. And when that happens, the INFP will usually lash out at the guilty party and cause a serious rift in the family bonds.
INFPs use extraverted intuition as their secondary function. This gives them a natural desire to explore the world and makes them unlikely to react badly if a member of their family has to leave for a prolonged period. In fact, this type is very likely to leave themselves for a job opportunity or just to explore the world, and they won’t mind being separated from their loved ones. To an INFP, time away from their family usually isn’t about disconnecting from their family, it’s about growing and learning independently and bringing that new knowledge back home to benefit everyone.
Finances and Other Responsibilities
INFPs don’t particularly like to do household chores or finances, but they will if they have to. This personality type would much rather be thinking or exploring the world or working on one of their own personal projects, but they understand the value and the necessity of everyday tasks. When INFPs do take control of the finances, the family schedule, or of the household itself, they’re almost scarily competent. They work quietly and diligently to ensure that everything runs smoothly and make decisions with their usual practical competence and care for the needs and wishes of the people they love.
Going the Extra Mile for the Family
INFPs are fiercely loyal to their family members and are usually willing to do whatever necessary to nurture these connections. Because of their emotional intelligence, INFPs usually express this loyalty by offering warm, empathetic understanding to troubled family members. They’re naturally very good at offering support and advice in times of trouble, and will usually be the one that others turn to in times of trouble. INFPs often enjoy being able to offer this service to their family members and take pride in their ability to connect and understand the people around them.
INFPs are warm people who enjoy the bonds offered by loved ones they trust and feel comfortable around. These connections make INFPs feel grounded and allows them to exercise their natural independence while still having a solid support behind them. INFPs love to be a part of a family, and once they’ve built the perfect web of connections, will be reluctant to ever let go. And this dedication will serve them well in the good and in the bad times.
- “Introverted Feeling (Fi)“. (Retrieved Feb 2018).
- Dr. Drenth A. J. “How INTPs & INFPs Can use Extraverted Intuition (Ne) to Cultivate More Meaningful Lives“. (Retrieved Feb 2018).
- “INFP – The Idealist“.