The INFJ Ni-Ti Loop – What it Means and How to Cope

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The INFJ Ni-Ti Loop – What it Means and How to Cope

As an INFJ have you ever felt exceptionally cold, critical, and detached from everything around you? Do you feel like you can’t get yourself out of analysis-paralysis or inward criticism? If so, then there’s a chance you’re experiencing a Ni-Ti “loop.” Why do these loops happen? How do you get out of them? Is there a way to avoid these? That’s what we’ll be exploring in today’s article.

Looping can be understood when you look at the way your own brain is wired. No matter what personality type you have, using all four of your primary cognitive functions is an essential part of staying mentally healthy. Whenever you bypass either your extroverted or introverted functions, you run the risk of getting into a “loop.” As an Introverted Intuitive type, you can be drawn to reclusiveness, solitude, and quiet. None of this is bad, but it can be taken too far.  It can be all too easy for some INFJ to become solitary hermits,  retreating into permanent reflection and circular analysis. This might sound pleasant for a time, but it’s not a healthy place to be long-term.

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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

What is the Ni-Ti Loop?

The Ni-Ti loop occurs when an INFJ focuses primarily on their dominant intuition and tertiary thinking functions. When the INFJ retreats from the outer world and stops interacting with people or objects around them, they can get stuck in a loop and become uncharacteristically cold and withdrawn. I know this might seem inevitable during our current crisis, but there are actually ways to reach out to people even when you’re stuck in your house!

To understand the Ni-Ti loop, we need to take another look at the cognitive functions:

Introverted Intuition (Ni), the INFJ’s dominant function, is a perceiving function. It doesn’t make decisions or act in the outer world. Ni perceives numerous perspectives and ideas from a bird’s eye view of the world. While the INFJ may seem warm and empathetic, they can have a very detached viewpoint and perspective because of the way they “zoom-out” of the world and try to understand how everything is connected from a distance.

Ni absorbs information, perceives ideas, and tries to find patterns and links between them. Ni wants to know how everything is related. Extraverted Feeling (or “Fe” for short) is the INFJ’s auxiliary feeling function. This is what brings intuitive perceptions into a judgment or decision. Fe brings INFJ perceptions and empathy to life in the form of action in the outer world. Fe is what gives the INFJ their responsiveness to people’s emotions and needs.

The INFJ counselor combines Ni and Fe to understand and reach out to people and give them solutions for their problems.

The INFJ philosopher sees the big picture of humanity and uses Fe to channel that picture into words that will encourage empathy, compassion, and kindness.

The INFJ author uses Fe to bring their imaginative stories to life in a way that will connect with people. They use Fe to give their characters life and dimension and emotion and values.

When INFJs bypass Fe and go straight from Ni to Ti, they get caught in a cycle of perception and logical analysis that often leads nowhere.

What Does Introverted Thinking (Ti) Do?

Introverted Thinking categorizes and organizes logical thoughts and blueprints in the inner world. It creates an internal infrastructure of analysis points and principles that are constantly being refined by new data. Introverted Thinking combined with Introverted Intuition is not concerned with putting anything into the outer world or interacting externally. It seeks to absorb information, analyze, define, and categorize. It learns and analyzes for the sake of learning and analyzing. INFJs caught in the Ni-Ti loop can logically justify nearly any action they take, retreating from friends who need them, not finishing projects they promised to finish, shirking plans, or skipping important daily tasks. An INTP, ISTP, ENTP, or ESTP who use Ti use it effectively because they balance it with Ne or Se. The INFJ who uses Ni and Ti alone isn’t balancing it with any extraverted function.

When INFJs bypass Fe and go back and forth between Ni and Ti they can become cold, reclusive, critical, unproductive, and selfish.

The Reasons for the Ni-Ti Loop

The Ni-Ti loop can be a protective mechanism that the INFJ uses to defend themselves from the outer world. INFJs who have been hurt or abused by people may retreat into the Ni-Ti loop to avoid getting hurt again. INFJs who struggle with over-stimulation and high sensitivity may retreat into the Ni-Ti loop to protect themselves from burnout. Other INFJs simply don’t have enough opportunities to interact with the outside world; perhaps they’ve been sheltered, kept from people, or haven’t had the right opportunities to find friendship.

Is the Ni-Ti Loop Ever a Good Thing?

Any time a person stifles one of their primary cognitive functions, the result is almost always negative. INFJs who have looped for a long time or who struggle with looping may strengthen their Ti by relying on it more. However, because they have no outer-world balance for their perceptions, their intuition begins to feed their thinking process more and more outlandish and bizarre perceptions. They may become more and more detached from reality as they stifle their feeling function to perceive only impersonal, abstract data. Often, INFJs who are in a loop become conspiracy theorists, harsh critics, and highly eccentric and out of touch with what’s real.

Damages of Being in a Ni-Ti Loop:

– Lack of empathy and concern for others.
– Extreme procrastination.
– Loneliness and isolation.
– Inability to complete projects and tasks.
– Damage to friendships and relationships.
– Developing a feeling of imbalance or emptiness.
– Detachment from reality.

How to Get Out of the Loop:

The best way for an INFJ to get out of the Ni-Ti loop is to employ their auxiliary Extraverted Feeling (Fe) function. The good news is this is relatively easy for them to do because Fe comes naturally to them. Here are a few ways to use Fe to get out of a loop:

– Call a friend or family member on the phone.
– Write a letter to a friend or family member.
– Try to find random acts of kindness to complete
– Listen to emotionally rich music and sing along.
– Help out in a homeless shelter or an animal shelter.
– Talk to people about what you’re going through.
– Talk to people about what they are going through and listen well.
– Make a gift for someone you care about.
– Write poetry or a song and then say it or sing it out loud.
– Talk to a counselor or therapist.

Some INFJs try to rely on their inferior extraverted sensing (Se) to get out of a loop. This is NOT a good idea, because more often than not, this will lead to an INFJ “grip” stress reaction. INFJs who rely too heavily on Se can become overwhelmed with outer stimulation and can start behaving rashly and make impulsive, detrimental decisions. They may become indulgent, reckless, and lose their long-range focus and vision.

The INFJ who wants to escape a Ni-Ti loop must accept and nourish their need to care for people. They will find relief as they begin to reach out to people in the outer world, and as soon as they embrace their rich empathy again.

Below is an infographic I made about recognizing the INFJ Ni-Ti loop:

Other Articles You Might Like:

A Look at INFJ Rage

Your INFJ Personality Type and Your Enneagram Type

10 Signs of an Unhealthy INFJ

7 Things That INFJs Experience as Children

What Are Your Thoughts?

Do you have any insights or unique experiences to share? Let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type,  The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!

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