Q&A: How Can I Stop My Obsessive Thinking?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 1 Comments A+ a-

Your Question:

Hi - do you have any info on stopping obsessive thinking? i had a breakup and i cant quit blaming myself and obsessively thinking about my mistakes and memories esp when i go to bed. i dream about it and its at the 6 month mark now and ive had enough. please help!!

My Answer:

Wow, obsessive thinking. That’s kind of the norm for INFJs. When my brain grabs hold of something, it has a hard time letting go…especially if I’m emotionally attached to the issue. Relationship problems are the hardest to kick out. I do the same as you: analyze my mistakes, relive the memories, and drill the whole thing so deeply into my subconscious that it shows up in my dreams (which totally haunt me the next day). This is pretty common for us.

But you’ve been dealing with this for a long time. It can take me up to a week or two to get over emotional turmoil. By that time, I’ve categorized the issue and am learning to live with it (though it will resurface from time to time). I might still be fragile, but I’m moving on. Six months is a super long time to be stressing over your breakup. It almost seems like you haven’t put it to rest…like you’re still trying to package it up and find closure. If we INFJs can’t get closure on issues, they often cycle over and over in our heads. That makes it hard to find peace.

There a couple of things you mentioned (blame, mistakes) that may be making it difficult to get to that place of peace. I’m not an expert at psychology or anything, but let me give you a few tips that I use to get a handle on my own obsessive thinking. I’ll try to make them relevant to your situation:

  • Forgive Yourself: It sounds like you’re shouldering a lot of unnecessary blame here. No one is perfect, and no relationship is perfect. Whatever mistakes you think you made, they are forgivable. ALWAYS. If the other person won’t offer you forgiveness, that’s their problem. Give yourself a break, learn from the situation, and take that knowledge forward in your journey.
  • Feel and Let Go: I don’t know why, but today’s society has painted emotional sensitivity in a bad light. Like we’re wimps or weak for showing our feelings. Nothing could be farther from the truth! Emotions are vital…they’re our feedback system. They let us know where we’re at and what needs to change. If sadness rises up, let it come. Feel it, realize its message, and let it pass. Same with anger, helplessness, and frustration. They’re not good or bad…they’re there to tell you something. Listen to them and let them lead you to more positive place.
  • Stay Present: We INFJs spent an awful lot of time dwelling on the past. We also worry about the future. These are okay activities if we’re reflecting (to learn from past experiences) or planning (using concerns to help carve out a better future). But we tend to forget that the past is gone. Literally. It doesn’t exist any more. All we have is “now” and if we spend our “now” reliving the past, we’re robbing ourselves of all that the present moment has to offer. I know it’s hard to “be here and now” and am still learning how to do it myself. But if a past memory comes back to torment you, try telling it to go away. Open your mind to what’s happening right now: what you can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste at this moment. Don’t let non-existent moments spoil your present joy.
  • Talk to Someone: If you can’t get the thoughts out of your head, try expressing them to someone you trust. Sometimes, INFJs don’t really know how they feel about an issue until they say it out loud. Seriously. It sounds funny, but it’s true. I often talk myself through issues when I’m alone, and it’s kind of surprising when I say something that I didn’t know I felt. It’s like, “Did I just say that? Do I really think that?” Usually it’s just a thought that came to the surface on my way to resolution. But it can be helpful to talk through your pain and suffering. I highly recommend counselors…they’re trained, they’re professional, they don’t judge, and they’re required by law to keep your secrets (lol). If I’m obsessing and the first 3 steps don’t help, I immediately go to my husband, a friend, or a counselor.
  • Journaling: This goes along with #4. Writing things out can be incredibly therapeutic.
  • Heal Yourself: Obsessive thinking, if left untethered, can damage your psyche. This is partly because your ego (the Jungian one) has been trained to think a certain way. It maintains an image of you (usually a false one) and will do everything it can to keep you in that negative thought pattern. Long-term, this is unhealthy. But you can squash your ego a little by doing things that feel good to you. Get a massage, take a walk, go for a manicure…pamper yourself. Whatever heals your heart and helps you find closure, do it. You’re worth it.
  • Remember Who You Are: Did I mention that you’re worth it? :) You are. No matter what’s happened to you, you are a super valuable person. You have a mix of INFJ superpowers—intuition, empathy, compassion, sensitivity—that all blend into an incredible, unique energy. Just by existing, you bring immense value to everyone and everything around you. Thoughts can’t hold you down. You’re above and beyond all of that. Try to relax and realize how awesomely cool it is to be YOU. 
These are things that I do to stop my own obsessive thinking. Usually, they work. I’ve had a few experiences that took a long time to get over. That’s where counseling helped quite a bit. So, I hope this will help you in some way. Also, if you’d like, I can open your question up to the Cafe Facebook page and see what others have to say. I’d keep it anonymous to protect your privacy. Just let me know if that’s something you want me to do.

Take care of yourself, and please feel free to write back if you have any thoughts or questions, or if you just need to vent. That’s what I’m here for. :)

Your Follow-Up Question:

thank you so much for your detailed response. Is it common for INFJ's to attract narcissist? I was blaming myself or what was an impossible situation and now I see how much of a loser he really is. my feelings were ignored for 3 years I just didn't feel like I mattered and I was angry all the time.I can't let some idiot Define my self-worth.

My Follow-Up Answer:

You’re so welcome. And yes, it’s actually common for us to attract people with narcissistic behaviors. Narcissists believe they should be the center of everyone’s world, and INFJs are excellent at focusing on people and making them feel like they’re important. So they love us. After a while, though, the things that the narcissist likes about us will become the very things that they get jealous of and try to control, and the relationship starts going downhill. Some will even “gaslight” you and make you feel like it’s all your fault, which is horrible. I know this because I’ve had relationships with these kinds of people. UGH. It’s not pretty. I was my shadow self most of the time and not able to shine like I should. So I door-slammed them all with NO regrets.

It’s also possible that you were in a relationship with an MBTI type that isn’t supportive for you. INTJs, for example, are not adept at showing emotion, even with people that matter to them. I don’t know the specifics of your ex, so it’s hard to tell. But all that matters now is you. Anger and blame are not your default settings. You’re meant for much, much more than that. So set firm boundaries, and if anyone is poking holes in your boat, push them overboard. They’ll survive. You need to be healthy and happy and spreading your INFJ awesomeness around, lol.

Take care and have a great day! Be good to yourself 😊

Image Credit: CanStockPhoto


Write comments
Arlee Hang
April 20, 2017 at 10:53 AM delete

Oh goodness, I'm in the exact same spot. Except this just happened a week ago, but reading this is making me feel a bit better. I hope you find someone someday who truly values you :)