I’ve been feeling detached from the world nowadays, and it’s weird ’cause I don’t feel as sad about it as I expected. Normal ENFJ me craves connection, so I took it upon myself to dig deep and analyze what’s this crazy phase I seem to be in.
I tried to think about my behavior to validate if I have really become detached, or if I’m just being dramatic c/o PMS. I have observed the following:
- I find it difficult to sustain conversations with friends nowadays. I love my friends, but it has become unnatural for me to figure out how to reply to certain stories and jokes. I think I have become the kebs friend who doesn’t seem to care.
- I don’t even rally the troops to have some weekend getaway. Invite me out, and I’d probably hesitate. (Example: I’m supposed to have some resto-hopping at a hipster street in Makati today but I will likely not go because I want to work from home instead.)
- I have not attended a gig in quite a while, and I just stayed until 10:30 pm the last one I went to in April.
- I stay in our QC office 90% of the time to avoid having to be around people. I have grown to love sitting alone in my cubicle.
- I have no regrets on spending more money on my commute just to avoid having to do small talk with a ka-carpool via Uberpool or GrabShare.
- I have uninstalled Viber from my laptop, and I’ve muted all Viber notifications. I don’t even reply to people on Twitter.
- Whenever there is a choice, I’d rather stay home and spend time alone watching shows on Netflix or thinking about the next project I need to get done.
While those mentioned above might sound ‘normal’ to some, they are completely odd for a person who is 100% extroverted like me. I then tried to pinpoint certain events that have happened in the last 2-3 months that may have affected my behavior. I thought of the following:
- Two mini-heartbreaks with my two serious crushes (one has left our company, and the other one seems to already have a girlfriend)
- Crazy period at work as I am in a project that’s so high-pressure, with a lot of things that are beyond my control; I always end up feeling stupid and inadequate
- Figured out that I haven’t figured out what I want to do in life; thus, I feel like I’m stuck in a career rut
- Overwhelmed with a feeling of responsibility as I got assigned as national youth director for our denomination (+ the recent incident in Mindanao that jarred me beyond comprehension)
- Pressure from my other various assignments (e.g. singles’ retreat, work initiatives, church ministry, discipleship, etc)
- Pressure from my upcoming PMP exam!!!!!
- Slight fear c/o my upcoming wisdom tooth extraction
- Absorbing the stress from everyone I interact with and from everyone who won’t pull their own weight
Pretty crazy times, I must say. There’s just a general feeling of tiredness and lethargy.
One time, while I was trying to label what I was feeling, I chanced upon this term called “empathy burnout”. It totally made sense. It’s exactly how I felt! When the article mentioned that ENFJs “unconsciously absorb other’s emotions in real time”, I just wanted to stand from my seat and pump my fist in the air in celebration as it validated how I was feeling inside. I felt like a sponge for my entire life–having to absorb everything that’ going on around me just to keep the peace. This paragraph from the article just sums up an ordinary day for me —
The negative side to the feeling abilities of NFJs is that they can feel overwhelmed with the emotional input of others. Because they are in a constant state of “absorbing emotions” they can struggle with finding any internal peace if there is any external conflict at all. As an INFJ myself I know that I can’t sleep if someone in my household is upset. I’ll lay in bed feeling their pain and trying to imagine some way to resolve the situation and return my home to a place of harmony. Reading the news can be especially difficult for NFJs, as they are so touched by the hardships of people worldwide and find themselves immersing themselves in what it would be like to undergo other people’s hardships.
I tried to look at more articles, and they support what I am feeling. (I know, it’s nothing scientific but I’m a firm MBTI believer.) This ThoughtCatalog article says this about what a “rut” looks like for an ENFJ:
An ENFJ in a rut reverts to their introverted thinking. Usually empathetic and decisive, the ENFJ will become cold and overly analytical – they take a detached view of those around them and may make harsh judgments under the guise of ‘just being honest.’ This normally understanding type become pessimistic about themselves and those around them – criticizing others without warrant and refusing to show their loved ones the compassion that usually defines their very personality.
This write-up on PersonalityGrowth.com says this about what being in a “high stress” state does to an ENFJ:
If the ENFJ feels like they have too many demands placed upon them, and like they are not being appreciated they may feel extreme levels of stress. When they feel like others are taking them for granted the ENFJ loses sight of their normal behaviors. The ENFJ will no longer focus so strongly on tending to the emotions of others, but rather become much more analytical than usual. They will begin to critique the details of everything and may ponder a thought for a while before they attempt to speak. They will uncharacteristically withdraw from others, feeling very drained by the presence of too many people. The ENFJ is normally very focused on how they affect others, but under stress they may become overly critical. They probably stop attempting to make contact and no longer feel a desire to organize social events. Their strong focus on facts and logic may be skewed and overly critical.
From AdviceAmerica, on ENFJs under stress:
The empathetic nature of the ENFJ causes them to take the blame for conflict or failure. They often hold these feelings inside to keep the peace, losing sight of their own feelings in a sacrifice for the common good of all. Over time ENFJs dissociate themselves or stuff the emotions they feel deeply inside until some future point when it explodes out in emotional upheaval, anger or irrational sudden outbursts.
There’s even this brilliant infographic from PsychologyJunkie that captures this ‘phenomenon’ perfectly:
Okay, so there seems to be an explanation to my current blah attitude to life. Since I’ve been in a high-stress environment for quite a while and things don’t seem to improve, I have relegated to my “keep-it-in” mode, which has been making me detached from others. Makes sense, really. Sometimes when I wake up, I wish to not have to interact with anyone so that I don’t have to absorb their concerns in life. When my mom tells me about her issues nowadays, I even literally cover my ears and beg her not to talk to me about it because I will tend to absorb it and put it upon myself to fix the situation.
Now, how to get out of this rut…