As an INFP, I Feel Disrespected A Lot

This has something that has been bubbling underneath the surface of my mind for a while. So, as the title of this post states, as an INFP, I feel disrespected by people a lot. I am just an ordinary 23-year-old woman, and you would think this would afford some measure of respect in society when you interact with, say, a salesperson in a store or even your family, but that is not the case.

My family sometimes are offhanded with me. They make remarks on how “useless” I am or “incompetent”. And yes, their accusations are fair. When it comes to matters not related to the written word, I can be quite clumsy and rather incompetent. Because of my fear of driving and my anxiety, I don’t drive either, which obviously, for some reason, makes people respect me less. But the real reason, and I know this very well because I’m aware of it and my family has told me about, is that I give off an air of having my head in the clouds and being a daydreamer and impractical. Which, as some of you may know, describes the personality type of INFPs to a T.

I try my best to live in the real world. I have managed so far, for 23 years, but for some reason, this is not enough. The moment people catch a whiff of my “ditzy nature”, as my sister once described it, they start to treat me like a child or someone younger than who I am. It is demeaning, and it is disrespectful. Clearly in society, your competence at doing real-world things, like driving a car or understanding how the economy works, determines whether you are to be respected in life. Clearly, who I am as a person is not enough to earn any respect from people. And you know what the worse thing is? I start to disrespect myself because of their disrespect for me. I start to think, erroneously, that I should(italics) more practical, more grounded, more LOGICAL. That’s the word, isn’t it? Logic. People respect logical people, and I am clearly too illogical to be given an respect.

But it goes deeper than that. I almost stand in awe of the people who can understand the economy or drive or know how to build a building, fix a car, refinance someone’s house, and I hate that I’m in awe of it. It’s something that I feel like is so foreign to me – I have very little interest in insurance or engineering. Of course, I could learn and read about such subjects and gain some knowledge for myself, but far too often I just find myself veering towards fiction books instead, where I feel the happiest and most at home. But back to the awe. To the people who can act as managers and lead people, who can smile and act bubbly as a customer service representative. To the kinds of people I can never be. I feel inferior to them in some way, like I’m wrong, defective, lacking, and I know I shouldn’t feel this way because I have so many wonderful qualities of my own, but when you’re bombarded with disrespect and put-downs every single day, it’s hard to keep your chin up.

One time, this young man put me down for saying something that was, in his words, “too deep”. Immediately, his disapproval of me, this young man who I saw as so strong and capable, made my heart sink down to my toes. His disapproval of me was like slap. And I’ve realised I’ve let the disapproval of people I viewed as bigger or stronger than me rule my life. It started first with my father, who was obviously bigger than me and exerted his power through physical force. At the time, I felt only horrified pain – but now what I feel is what I’m supposed to feel, which is rage. How dare he hurt his precious and beautiful daughter? From then on, a whole host of people were able to exert themselves over me, and I could only shrink down and cower. At school, when I was given detention by a furious and angry teacher, I cried as if my heart would break (I was a sensitive child). This translated into my adult years, wherein the disapproval of a manager of mine, domineering and bold, made me feel as though I were physically in pain for months. All these big, powerful people have loomed over me all my life, their shadows stretching ahead of them, and me inside those shadows, cowed before them, small and alone.

I am really trying not to cry as I write this post. I don’t like crying because it’s just another weakness to add to my long list of weakness and sensitivities. As I grow older, the more do I realise my worth. I am so creative, and I’m working to become a better writer. I am intuitive and sensitive. I am smart, even if I’m not logical or practical. All people see, when they look at me, is someone who seems like they are off with the fairies – and only later do they realise I observed and concluded so much about them, even in my “ditzy” state. I have worth, even though everyday it is a struggle, as a tiny butterfly in a storm of enormous ones. As I write this, I am talking to myself, not just other INFPs out there who might feel devalued by the people around them. By disrespecting us, they make us feel small. No matter how hard I’ve tried to not feel small, to counteract that disrespect, in the moment, it’s impossible not to feel like you’re being demeaned and treated like a child. But from now on, let us hold onto what is inside of us, our bright and beautiful souls. That is something they will never know and never see, our lovely souls as well as the bright, fantastical and beautiful world we live in inside our heads. We are something precious, and if they dare not see it, then they’re the ones missing out.  

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An INFP and writer, living life, dreaming of castles in the sky.

19 thoughts on “As an INFP, I Feel Disrespected A Lot”

  1. Don’t ever let them change you; you’ll miss out on a beautiful life.

    One of my favorite poems reminds me why:

    She had blue skin,
    And so did he.
    He kept it hid
    And so did she.
    They searched for blue
    Their whole life through,
    Then passed right by —
    And never knew.

    Masks by Shel Silverstein

    1. It truly is… The the magnificence of who you are far exceeds any fantasy we will ever impose upon ourselves.
      It reminds me too also of a Poem by the same name that I’d also love to share that highlights the human tendency to hide our true feelings and thoughts from those around us by putting up a façade or a mask.
      *The Mask*
      Always a mask
      Held in the slim hand whitely
      Always she had a mask before her face–
      Truly the wrist
      Holding it lightly
      Fitted the task:
      Sometimes however
      Was there a shiver,
      Fingertip quiver,
      Ever so slightly–
      Holding the mask?
      For years and years and years I wondered
      But dared not ask
      And then–
      I blundered,
      Looked behind the mask,
      To find
      She had no face.
      She had become
      Merely a hand
      Holding the mask
      With grace.
      — Author unknown
      From Marshall B. Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life (Encinitas, CA: Puddledancer Press, 2003), 36.
      You’ll never be able to expose the magnificence and beauty of who you truly are to the world, until it might be too late

  2. Hey fellow Dreamer!
    First off, I’m sorry to hear about the way your family sometimes treats you. The majority of our world is practically made up of mostly SJ’s and SP’s so it’s incredibly hard to find that little bit of love and acceptance from the world when for the most part, we find ourselves living so far and detached from it…
    Your experiences you share sound so heartbreaking and it must be really challenging caring so deeply for people and yet being rejected by them at the same time. I’m an iNFP male (who’s also 23) and even though I’ve learned to develop a thick skin over the years, I can relate so much to what you are talking about.
    What’s helped me the most is to realize that we all have a little bit of everyone’s personality type in us and the beauty of it all is that our interactions with them, whether positive or negative give us the chance to be who we truly are. You’re unique, sensitive, quirky, caring, and an excellent blogger and author too and this is what makes you special setting you apart from everyone else.
    Just like you’ve shared, they are things you (and all collective iNFP’s) see that nobody else does and so it’s extremely important to have a healthy dose of self-awareness of your life. Know your values, how you have an extraordinary “sixth” sense for empathizing and connecting with people (even if they don’t appreciate it like the young man you talked about [who was probably dismissive as he couldn’t put things the way you could) and how you can end up using this skill to heal, help and serve others (such as a therapist, counselor, social worker, etc)
    Many people inherently know this and You Anne Lee already have that as many of your blog posts testify of this and the next helpful suggestion that many iNFP’s forget to follow is to find a tribe of like-minded people to connect and meet with every so often if you are able to. Not just here online with fellow readers such as Lorena, Tanner, and Myself, but out in the real world too as they help you shine a light on your good aspects, helping you not only to see, but BELIEVE IN THEM too so you can stay grounded and revert to your true nature, even in spite of life’s difficult challenges such as we all currently find ourselves like with this Pandemic. There’s an excellent phrase I live and breathe on that says
    “You cant see the picture with you in the Frame.”
    Lastly and most important, once you’ve got the first two aspects covered, The #1 thing that has helped me not only cope but live authentically as an INFP is learning how not to take things personally through an incredible life-changing strategy embedded within the philosophy and techniques of Non-Violent Communication. (Google if you haven’t heard of it or just listen to )
    Whist I’ve learned and I’m still in the process of mastering it, It’s helped me so much to hear the true feelings and needs behind the speaker’s message and communicate compassionately (like an iNFP naturally does) and never hear a judgment or criticism from someone else even if their actual words could be indicating so. Just imagine being able to be vulnerable, sensitive, and open just like Anne here is on her blog, but with others out in the real world and not fear what they have to say about you because you are able to find common ground with anyone, anywhere, at any time. Both personally and professionally. That is just a fraction of the potential that this simple 4-step technique offers anyone who is willing to learn it!
    So before this comment becomes another blog post in and of itself (As such is the literary curse of being an iNFP haha ;] ), Let me pause here. My parting words would be just the same as yours Dreamerrambling which is to find a way to cultivate the skill of staying connected to who you truly are. The world being so cold and so harsh gives us all NF’s the chance to remind them what it’s like to feel and to find the hidden joy’s and beaut’s of the simple things in life like being in nature, listening or singing the words to our favorite songs or being engrossed in a phenomenally good book so we all have our roles to play. Both online and off. There is no need to compare because we are all unique, radiant, irresistible, and inconceivably divine 🙂
    Take care and all the best,

    1. Hi Sol,
      I just wanted to say how much it meant to me, your comment. It truly was an uplifting piece in admits my rather dreary life these days. I’m both glad and sorry that you could relate to my experiences. Thank you for your compliments, you sound like a great young man yourself too, very insightful and caring.
      I should know my value, definitely, and appreciate my empathy and other skills.
      I do have one INFP friend. She isn’t technically a real-life friend, as she and I don’t live in the same country, but I’m quite close to her. I’ll see what I can do about building my tribe of people.
      I will check out the philosophy and techniques of Non-Violent Communication, it sounds really interesting and helpful. Being able to be vulnerable, sensitive and open out in the world is something I can barely dream of, so I’ll definitely check it out. Thank you SO much Sol for your comment. My apologies for not replying to it sooner—I’ve been feeling a bit down lately. Take care and all the best as well! ☺️

  3. TLDR: There are 3 things in life are essential for living in this world as an INFp
    *Healthy dose of Self awareness
    *Find your tribe
    *Know how to communicate with others

    Stay awesome

  4. Hi everyone! I’m an INFP too. I love the way I am – I love being an INFP. But disrespect has been a theme in my life, even though I didn’t realise it for many years. It manifested in me a crippling shame and embarrassment during the subtle or overt nastiness. I somehow blamed myself, and tried to make myself tougher. Or that I deserved my shame. And I kept going back to these people who constantly stuck a knife my heart.

    As an older INFP, I have learned a lot. I had to undo the damage to my psyche. So I looked around, and then found some great emotional clearing techniques. They have helped me know end. Those who wished to put me down, now have no power over me. It is awesome! It was almost like they made themselves disappear from my life. They weren’t able to embarrass and belittle me anymore, so they left!

    I found the best of the best of the practices. They have always worked wonderfully well for me, and they are fast and effective. My heart feels lighter every time I use them.

    I hope they help you too!

    1. Hi Liza,
      Thank you so much for sharing this. As you can tell from my post, I struggle with being treated with disrespect too, or sometimes outright scorn. Will definitely be checking out the techniques. Again, thanks for sharing!

  5. i crossed upon this blog after searching for INFP disrespcted. I am an INFP(M) and surely had my share of this kind of stuff. Just want to let you know this blog is awesome, it speaks to all of us INFPs! thank you 🙂

  6. Hello, fellow dreamer! I just stumbled upon your blog and want to say that I like you! Your openness to share your inner feelings and reflections really sparks sympathy and resonates with a lot of us, INFP’s. By reading your last blog entries, I felt strongly compelled to recommend you a book! A book that focuses mainly in the aspect ‘N’ of INFP. Intuition. The book is called: The Intuition – a Precious Help for our Life by Christopher Vasey. The author made the book available for free here:

    Click to access The_Intuition_a_Precious_Help_for_our_Life.pdf

    You don’t need to read it if you don’t want! Its just a recommendation with my best intentions. That’s about it, take care!

    1. Hello! Thank you so much for the book recommendation – I’ve just opened it on another tab and am checking it out. Thank you so much for your kind words. I really appreciate you reaching out to me like this through the comments; it makes me feel like the blog entries I wrote were worthwhile. Thanks again for the book, I will definitely read it. Take care too. 🙂

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