INFJ (MBTI Personality Type)

On the Cognitive Function Mechanics of the INFJ Door Slam

by Andy Davis.

Contrary to what many non-INFJ or INFJ mistypes may assume, a real INFJ door slam isn’t a conscious decision or sudden act of painful emotion.

As an INFJ myself, here is a cognitive function breakdown of how I’ve perceived the door slam phenomena happening for me:

  • The offending partner in a relationship acts in a way that makes the INFJ withdraw internally. They retreat from intimacy as their introverted Intuition (Ni) makes them aware of a strong perception that the relationship future is limited.
  • However, their auxiliary extroverted Feeling (Fe) function continues to make them act in a manner that allows harmony to continue. This results in them concealing their internal withdrawal behind an externally warm demeanour. They can even appear more loving, to hide their internal Ni doubts and anticipatory distancing.
  • The ‘mask’ they took off when they first let the other person ‘inside their barriers’ covertly goes back on. The emotional shield goes back into place, and the adoption of ‘necessary external persona‘ replaces the connection they previously had with their partner. They are forced to stop showing their true inner-self, as they are becoming conflicted and negative to the relationship.
  • The INFJ will often disregard their Ni “ill omen” perceptions for as long as possible, as their stress provokes them to resort to judging the situation through their less mature tertiary introverted Thinking (Ti) function. This function causes them to rationalize excuses for their partner, giving them more chances and prolonging a sense of hope that the INFJ can make them change.
  • The stress of their conflicted Ni perception and Ti judgement can push the INFJ into a harmful state called a “Ni-Ti loop“: which many can understand as a classic “heart versus head” obsessive over-thinking scenario.
  • Eventually, the partner pushes the INFJ too far and their Ni intuitive predictions win the battle over the faulty rationalized Ti excuse-making. The INFJ accept their future-predicting intuition: there is no possible future with the other person because they can’t change or won’t stop the conflicting or hurtful behaviour.
  • As the tertiary Ti defence collapses so does the Fe-driven harmony ‘disguise’. The other person is perceived as having no use or place in the INFJs future, so the continued need to further harmonize with them becomes utterly irrelevant.
  • From the other’s perspective, this appears as an immediate shift from warm/loving to ice-cold and uncaring. No more chances will ever be given. The INFJ becomes emotionally void to the other person.
  • In reality, it usually a long, painful process for the INFJ. That process was just effectively concealed behind the INFJs chameleon-like ability to hide their inner-self.
  • A keynote is that a door slam is (obviously) an Ni-driven process. It’s gut-feeling, not a logic-dictated reasoning. Not a conscious choice. Not an angry ego-defence driven action. The door slam isn’t planned or put into effect, it just happens – when Ni wins the inner battle over Ti, and Fe harmony ceases to matter.
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Originally posted 2019-07-27 20:29:45.

2 thoughts on “On the Cognitive Function Mechanics of the INFJ Door Slam

  1. Brilliant analysis, Andy!

    I’m a female INFJ and the door slam has happened twice before in my long term relationships, but never as a premeditated decision.
    The door slam has actually come as surprise to me, because I’ve been fully invested in those relationships and for each of them initially thinking – they are “the one”.

    Once the door is slammed, there’s no chance of reopening it. And that also, is not a conscious decision…. Just simply, all the feelings for that person have been consumed and spent up by their repeated refusal to modify their hurtful actions and the person becomes a total stranger of the heart, it seems almost overnight.
    But looking back, each time it was the systematic waste of missed and ignored second chances and the slow erosion of trust, that one day manifested into the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’, irrevocable door slam.

    I’m still perfectly capable of being civil with the person when they try to contact me (which happens regularly, almost as if they want to rekindle the relationship). It just surprises me that those immensely strong feelings that I once had for that person, are completely gone after the door was slam and they are now a total stranger to me.

  2. This is one of the best explanations of the door slam I’ve ever read. And I can actually realte to that, unlike the other descriptions out there. Thank you!

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