It’s not unusual for ENTJs to find it hard to handle their emotions. We’re the personality type that prefers to squash our emotions and ignore them as much as possible. Life is less complicated when you can take out the emotion, right?
The problem is, to build healthy relationships, you need to learn how to deal with your emotions and let them show from time to time. If you ignore them for too long, you risk jumping straight to anger next time you feel any negative emotion bubbling to the surface.
If you want to have an easy life, handling your emotions is an essential skill to learn. It takes practice, patience and some trial and error, but it’s a learning curve all ENTJs need to go through. Here are some steps to help you along the way.
1. Disengage from the situation (but don’t shut yourself away)
When something triggers your emotions, the first thing to do is step away from the situation. Disengaging is really important to give you a chance to process your emotions and avoid lashing out.
As ENTJs, we’re not afraid of conflict or uncomfortable conversations, but in high-emotion situations, that’s not always a strength! One of the keys to handling your emotions is to resist the urge to get into an argument.
Instead, give yourself time before you launch into any major discussions or confrontations. Don’t send that email or message. Don’t call that person back. Remove yourself from the situation and give yourself a chance to get some perspective on it.
It took me a while to learn the strengths of this tactic. An ESFP ex-partner would always remove himself from any confrontation to give himself time to process his emotions. At the time, this action frustrated me even more. I wanted to have the conversation (read: the argument) there and then and I never understood his motives.
Now with hindsight I realize that he was using this method of disengaging as a way of controlling his emotions. If you can avoid launching straight into an emotion-fueled situation and give yourself time to consider your feelings, you can save yourself a lot of pain and energy. You could say something like “I need a chance to process this” or “I need some time to think this through”—whatever gets you some distance.
2. Sit with your emotions
Next is the hard part — giving yourself time to process your emotions. As most ENTJs find it difficult to recognize whatever it is they are feeling, it helps to have quiet time to sit with those feelings and get to know them a little better. You’re not going to fully process your emotions if you’re out partying. Try to avoid emotional-numbing activities like comfort eating, alcohol or surrounding yourself with friends.
This is the time for being alone and getting comfortable with your internal thoughts. You might benefit from doing a solo activity like going for a walk or doing the washing up (my personal favorite!) to help you work through your emotions more easily.
3. Get the anger out
As ENTJs have trouble recognizing and expressing their emotions, anger is often the first response to anything uncomfortable. Any emotions you’re feeling get channeled into a fight response, which can end with you isolating people and even losing your closest friends.
To properly handle your emotions, you need to find a way to let the anger out by yourself before you re-engage with the situation. Get it out of your system to give you a clearer head.
When I was younger, I used to punch a cushion or, when I found my anger really overwhelming, I’d scream. Now I prefer to run or shake out the anger in a special dance. Often the dancing makes me laugh, which helps move the anger along even more.
Do whatever you can to clear the red mist so you can approach the issue with a calmer and more rational head. If you want to handle your emotions effectively, this is a crucial step for ENTJs and anyone else.
4. Write it down or talk to someone
Once you’ve got rid of your anger, it’s time to really get to grips with your emotions — not just naming them, but organizing them into some sort of action plan. Writing down your feelings or talking them out to a trusted friend can help.
I like to write down my feelings so I can organize my thoughts more carefully. Writing helps me get out everything that I’m feeling and then gradually work towards a resolution, getting more clarity as I go. If I still want to talk about my emotions after writing them down, I’ll usually call my parents, my sister or a close friend.
In the process of writing you can slowly find a resolution. As ENTJs are extremely strategy-focussed, writing can help us to find the path out of difficult emotions. By putting pen to paper, you can develop a concrete plan for dealing with whatever you are going through.
5. Take the steps you need to
Now you can do what ENTJs do best: take action! With a clear resolution in place, it’s time to re-engage with the person or situation that generated those negative emotions in the first place.
Taking a proactive approach is key. Often this feels uncomfortable as it’s not easy to revisit the thing that caused you emotional hurt. It can feel embarrassing to admit to someone that they made you feel a certain way. But it can also be really beneficial.
In many relationships at home and at work, clear communication is essential. Although it can be difficult, it’s a good idea to address the problem and try to explain your emotions in a clear, non-confrontational way.
The secret to handling emotions as an ENTJ
ENTJs aren’t known for their emotional intelligence but with some work, you can learn to handle your emotions better. Though your first instinct might be to ignore your feelings or to let out your first angry response, if you can take the time to process your emotions you can save yourself a lot of pain. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Remember the steps!