The INTP's Guide to Dealing With Emotions

As an INTP your world is nearly entirely based on your finely tuned, logically constructed framework of the world.

You understand how most things work, and you are confident in your abilities. Through trial and error, you have built a real understanding of most things in life.

Unfortunately, at some point in your life you realize, "Hey, I got feelings, and logic isn't helping anymore."

There is an overwhelming consensus with discussions around INTPs, which state that INTPs are very logical creatures. Some discussions almost completely brush off their feeling and emotional side.

Well, I'm here to tell you that INTPs actually have very strong feelings and convictions; stronger than most other thinking types.

The INTP is ruled by their logic, and their way of seeing the world is through this logical analysis. However, the INTP's thinking is strongly connected to emotion. The INTP wants the world to make sense, but they also are closely in tune with the feelings and emotions of those close to them. They can form a strong bond with those they closely identify with, and can be very loyal and dedicated to people they care about.

Not Always Logical

The INTP that falsely believes they are extremely logical in all their decisions will have a tough time in the world.

The INTP needs to accept that sometimes their decisions are made by fear, passion, desire for praise, or love. And they also need to accept that these feelings are fair and allowable, and not beat themselves up for not taking the "logical choice." When the INTP accepts that their emotions (and others) are just as valid (and important), they will begin seeing the world more completely, along with accepting their own ignorance of the feeling and emotional realm.

When Thinking It Through Doesn’t Work

When an INTP can't logic themselves out of a situation, they tend to get stressed. Sometimes, the reason is that they are trying to logically justify why they shouldn't feel an emotion.

An INTP might feel that it is unfair for them to feel disappointment or annoyance toward someone because they have reasoned themselves out of it.

They might think, "I shouldn't feel this way," or "I'm being selfish for feeling this." However, if they take the time to actually accept these feelings and let them come to pass, they may just find the answer and peace of mind they've been searching for.

The INTP might actually be a bit more emotional than their INTJ and ISTJ counterparts, but this shouldn't be a problem. The INTP tends to have a bit more insight into the emotions and needs of others than the latter two types, which can be very helpful in its own way.

The INTP tends to want to use logic as a means to solve most of the problems in their life. The problem comes, when this typical mode of solving their problems doesn’t work. The INTP wants the world to make sense, so they may have a hard time admitting they feel emotions like disappointment, anger, or embarrassment.

The INTP is naturally defensive about experiencing emotions, because it puts them in a vulnerable position. Having to come to grips with intense emotions can be challenging, as the INTP does not have as much experience handling them as other types.

Feeling Others Emotions

The emotions of others are sometimes felt VERY strongly by INTPs, especially ones they are close to. The INTP might not be the best at responding to the emotions of others, but they can be relatively capable of picking up on them. For an INTP, this can be a problem that can overwhelm them and keep them from focusing on their day-to-day tasks.

The INTPs natural response is to rationalize the emotions of others, or try to problem-solve them. However, this route typically is not as effective as it might seem.

Step Back and Breathe

The INTP needs to step back, and accept the emotions that are happening in their environment, and realize that it is only natural. Trying to control or solve them, rather than letting them come to pass, will only overwhelm the INTP. Having an artistic outlet like writing, drawing, or music may allow them to express themselves better.

There is no advantage to an INTP coming to a decision in a highly emotional state, as it will more than likely be a hasty one. An emotional INTP may focus on subjective logic that seems real at the time, but then realize it was inaccurate when they have a clearer head.

Dealing With the Feels

The INTP needs to understand their emotional world a bit better in order to grow as an individual. Take some time to recognize emotions and feelings without trying to logically justify them. It will be an uncomfortable experience at first, but in time, you will get better at recognizing and dealing with them.

Scott Stafford

Scott Stafford is a writer interested in psychology, Myers Briggs personality typing, and technology. He is an INTP who has been writing for PersonalityGrowth.com for over 3 years.

Comments

Nico Liebenberg (not verified) says...

I am a Life Coach and I currently have two clients that are INTP's. Your article helps me (and them) a lot in understranding how to deal more constructively with their emotions.

Thanx!

Nico.

Faith M (not verified) says...

This is definitly an insight when it comes to dealing with my emotions as an INTP. Thanks.

Guest (not verified) says...

Before I knew I was an INTP I was the type who based many of my opinions and beliefs in my insecurity and fear. I would explode when things seemed to fail or I was made to appear wrong. Part of my psychological journey has been learning not to take things personal, to set boundaries, and how very much INTP I am.

I like the article. When I first feel something I am aware of it now. If I know I am going to react in a regretful way I take time to myself to prevent hurting others. At some point I am able to rationalize and make sense of the way I feel and move past it.

My biggest problem is that I want the truth no matter how I feel about it, so I often disregard my own feelings or change them according to the truth I learn. This means I often do not regard others feelings and emotions, either. I can come across as uncaring or cold because of that.

Guest (not verified) says...

I am an INTP as well and agree with you 100%. I am guilty of making quick decisions in the worst of situations but I have now learnt to let time pass so that my emotions can settle.
I now, at the age of 20, think it's best to develop habits that set boundaries for a positive transition into a growth mindset for the future. When I do place a barrier between emotional thinking and my logical reasoning (making a habit of this) I can freely overcome an obstacle without over rationalizing the situation.

Nataza11 (not verified) says...

I don't know if this has anything to do with INTP but i personally, find that i have very hard times on controlling my negative emotions, if someone scolds me too hard and don't understand me then i get very frustrated and sad. And if they come later on to say sorry i just feel worse and i hate that. And it's not like the actual thing is bad in it self, it's just if it hits me as if i'm doing things wrong even tho i'm trying and thinking of how to do it or make it and i don't take it well.

Am i the only one who can't take it when people who are close to you (Like a parent or super close friend) says things like "You have to do it! you can't just put it aside" like their forcing me or trying to harshly push me to do it i just want to run away and get really sad even tho what they say makes kinda sense (only that the words they use are very hard) but like realizing afterward that they are right but you can't accept the way they pushed it on you.

Leeh (not verified) says...

Im an INTP and can relate, i drove off someone i really liked because of this. When i was presented a problem i feel like I will try and come up with a perfect plan and every step to the plan might be critical to turn things around. I always try my hardest so i expect others to also... The problem is that the plan is a good plan that i can probably see myself accomplishing but it might be out of the limits (mentally) for others to do. i would say you need to just open up and tell them they are being too hard so they can mentally also take thst into consideration and adjust... We are thinkers afterall so we need more details in order for us to tailor u a better plan.

Justin r. (not verified) says...

I know what you mean. I'm probably reading this a year after you posted, but sometimes rooting me on makes me not want to pursue that goal in certain ways. Or when I'm down about a big obstacle I just hit in a relationship or career, I feel like it's minimized and not understood how big of a deal it feels like to me, followed with some general "you gotta keep your eyes on the prize" or "everything happens for a reason" junk. Then I quickly feel guilty for caring about my dog, or ex girlfriend, or job I didn't get too much. And also build resentment toward that person for not being understanding or knowing what it feels like or saying something to make me feel better even though they tried

Bearsona (not verified) says...

If you ever see this (it has been almost 2 years) I just want you to know that your are entirely not alone. When a good friend/teammate/family member/ gets harsh or demanding, even if it's for a moment, and even if want they want is understandable and reasonable, I immediately feel overwhelmed. I've seen other people describing the same feeling as well. For me at least, I think it's because I pride my ability to come to a solution, and I greatly value having several options, and ways to do things, it makes me feel secure. Saying I have to do something a specific with no discussion is, in way, violating all of this. When this comes from someone I don't know well I feel a little stressed and pretty annoyed, when it comes from someone I really care about, it feels like a betrayal, as if they should know better (even if I cognitively know that that's an unfair expectation). Couple that with the anxiety of  disappointing them and it's a good few minutes of intense emotional wrangling to just be able respond properly.

DataSpock (not verified) says...

The feelings are very too high that you only weep when you can but of course in the same time even though you feared having too much feelings because they are Horrifying, you still move on to your next journey... well I'm a Unsure about being a INTP but when it comes to the scenarios like that I'm being crippled by my Emotion then as I know to myself when that time comes my mind is being flown away to the things that I had done wrong. Which leaves me Compromised, Feeling or Thinking What my Future is Going to be, Insecured and The Knowing I am a Woman who's carrying a Dead Courpse on Her Back.

shaira (not verified) says...

I've been wanting this advice since I diagnosed myself with generalized depression. I tend to over think things and it worsen my anxiety. Recently, i discovered I was an intp and later did I know why I have this repressed and at the same time uncontrolled emotion. Thank you for making this article. I am really glad I found your site. GOD BLESS

Guest123 (not verified) says...

This is a great post, thank you for doing the work that you do. I test as an INTP and I have a question about emotion and narcissism. I sometimes get panicked that I'm a narcissist because I think a lot about myself and most of my day revolves around serving myself.

there are a lot of reasons why I think I'm a narcissist, but those reasons can also be justified as being an INTP. Since you can't think your way to a diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder, do you or anyone else here have any sure fire ways to tell if you actually should look into getting tested for NPD vs just being a normal INTP?

MelissaGuest (not verified) says...

If you are worried you are a narcissist, you are probably not one.

Bex (not verified) says...

Look at ASD before going down that route. You are worried, I would say it would suggest your not, as a narc would not really care.

Guest (not verified) says...

After a long searching, i found that i'm INTP.
I have always had problems with my emotions. If i have to comfort others when they're sad or something i don't know how to react and i feel very confused and nervous by that. Should i hug them, should i say something comforting or just talk to them and offer solutions?
Also, if i see some powerful emotional bursts in tv-shows or in real life i feel very confused. I don't know how should i feel or react, so i just stare at the screen blankly.
(And bad english, I know)

Guast (not verified) says...

WOW! I have read a lot about my type (INTP) but this post has been the most comforting. So many make us like we're machines and that's not the case - especially for us female INTPs. We feel so terribly deep, it can hurt real bad at times. I'm pretty young, so I'm still having to learn to deal with my emotions, but it's nice to know others go through this as well!

JessicaG (not verified) says...

I have always tested and identified with the INTP personality type, but I usually felt like the depiction of us as mostly unemotional wasn't right for me. But this article explains so much about me! Why I have so many problems with dealing with my emotions and those of others close to me. I just keep trying to reason the problem away and when I can't figure out a way to do that, I start to feel despair. Also so spot on for me on how we feel emotions deeply, and are especially affected by emotions of those close to us, but we just can't figure out a way to deal with them.

Toll (not verified) says...

I'm an INTP I test as 35%introvert, 95%Intuition over sensing, 40%T over F and 70%P over J.... Turbulent

I appreciate the article but don't understand how it helps. I believe there is one underlying thing that can resolve these issues I have, I either don't have the emotional intelligence to understand it but I believe It seems as though these issues are underpinned by the same thing and I'd like someone to point it out and guide me in the right direction, if you would be so kind.

so here goes.

performance anxiety plagues me - I am competitive and whenever I am aware of being observed I fall to bits. If I let my emotions/feelings pass they just heighten, my best attempt is to try and ignore people and imagine I'm alone.

I have had a few times where I'm being observed doing stuff and yeah I've got nerves but I've managed to zone In under the feeling of the nerves and performed like a boss but then I get overwhelmed by expectation and just resign.(even though i know it's my own expectations my emotion thinks otherwise)

I try to distract myself, this helps but I'm then not performing at 100%

I use "step back and breath" when I'm locked into a perspective and know i need to think outside the box - but under observation it does nothing for my state of mind much like it doesn't change the fact I'm still being observed.

I'm the same for any form of intimacy, I act like a weirdo before and after sex and may say or do some weird stuff

I find singing along with people cheesy

I'm an adrenaline junky but to0 much and I choke.

I put on a front but I'm very submissive.

Reven (not verified) says...

I'm an INTP that tests almost identical to you, being 75% Intuitive, 55% T, and Turbulent

I feel very similar to you, I am extremely results oriented and am aware that anything I try I can most likely succeed at. At the same time though, this mindset of knowing I can succeed causes me a lot of stress when I undertake something that I cannot immediately pick up.

I also tend to be an adrenaline junkie, liking dangerous, yet technical activities like motocross, snowboarding,
skateboarding, etc. I generally am very good at all of these activities until I am either:
a. Competing or
b. Being watched by people I care about
In either of these situations I completely fall apart.

Recently however, I have found listening to music in any of these intense moments can make me "trick" myself into being more confident and performing at the level I feel I should be at. I think the main reason why this works is because of the high intuition craving rhythm and patterns to dissect and music is perfect for that. I know for myself to perform well I always feel like I have to be in a good flow and someone watching me or interacting with me messes up that thought pattern.

Recently I have been really working on taking competition less seriously in general. I know a big problem I had was always wanting to be at 100% and always go for the win if able to. Now I have changed my mindset to making sure I always learn and improve on certain focused weaknesses and go for the long gain rather than burning out from always trying to hone in and be at 100%

Nix Mathews (not verified) says...

This is somewhat accurate in my own experience, but falls through in some aspects.
Firstly, I find it very easy to know other people's emotions through a simple process of deduction. I analyze their body language and (gently) question them about what is bothering them. After that, it is merely piecing together a puzzle through using basic psychology and logic. I find this to be very refreshing because it allows me to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge my abilities.
Secondly, I don't know my own emotions. Often times I question whether or not they actually exist or are just the reflection of those around me. I don't laugh at humorous situations unless someone is around me. Death has never effected me. Hell, I had to use a rubber band to inflict pain so I could cry at my father's funeral. I have pushed away anyone with whom a relationship could be possible. I feel no sexual attraction, and bond with characters in books as opposed to real people.
This being said, I suppose that I do fit the stereotypical intp robot.

IG (not verified) says...

Actually, what you describe sounds a lot like psychopathy (though probably a very high-functioning form). Check out Athena Walker's responses on Quora--she is a diagnosed psychopath and has helped a lot of people understand this condition and dispel some of the myths that surround it. She describes some of the same things you experience (not feeling sad whne people die, easily understanding other's emotions very well through logical deduction--as psychopaths cannot experience empathy, etc.)

Anon1993 (not verified) says...

Thanks for posting. I'm not sure I have INTP preferences, but I do handle my emotion the way you describe. It sounds like useful advice.

Critic (not verified) says...

Thank you for at least doing me the of courtesy of neatness as you funnel your impertinently banal and redundant analysis into my eye-sockets.

Justin r. (not verified) says...

I am extremely grateful I found this  article. I am a 30 year old male on the California coast who works in construction, an environment where suppressing emotion until an outburst is standard. I am a hard worker when I feel proud of my job, did well in school given the minimal effort I put into it, have a good family, and am baffled daily by the way I feel or react to things. This article has lifted some major fog in my thoughts, and I can identify very closely with some honest individuals who've left helpful comments. Being thought to have borderline personality or some mood 
disorder, i recently took a personality test as honestly and quickly as possible to avoid overthinking, and the results were  intp, 60-70% both introvert and intuitive, half and half think/feel, and around 85% both prospecting and turbulent, which 
seems like a contradiction to me. For the first time in my life as far as I can think, other than parts of songs in an endless 
search to describe or decipher my emotions, I felt like I wasn't alone. As quickly as I felt this relief, i was filled with doubt that wasn't a product of my 
own doing for once.  A friend who studies the personality types recreationally feels I am not this type. He feels this because I am not "robotic, or cold. Far too emotional." 

When he expressed this to me, I really had no reason to object, though I felt defensive. Possibly I was afraid to find a 
different, less flattering(in my mind) truth.  The discrepancies in advice given and personal action taken in emotionally driven situations came to mind. Very different. And within the past few years, I've stopped internalizing much of my emotion after an event where I couldn't keep it in.  So much so,  I can unfortunately shed a tear very easily now. 

The next day,  another thought surfaced. Since the emotional leak that started a flood, I feel I've been more receptive and open minded to the emotions of others, as well as being able to identify possible reasons my peer or their counterpart are feeling/acting a certain way. Much of the time, I feel I am discovering or realizing these things as I explain, that I couldn't single these thoughts out in my head without an actual situation in front of me. The same occurs with my own emotional situations, only after it happens and mostly while explaining/complaining to 
someone. It's happening right now! I still cannot stop from being overly upset over small disappointments, saying things with a sharp tongue out of anger that I will torture myself over later, or taking on a heavy emotion of a loved one and feeling selfish about it but was interpreted as "their rock". I think letting my emotions out, knowing people with a career in psychiatric care, and the 
observance of mental illness in my family have all opened many closed doors in my mind and have helped with my own emotional issues.

Sorry for rambling. Thanks to comments like the extremely negative, possibly misworded (ironically, and depending on intended recipient) comment before mine, I would normally rewrite much of 
this and eventually not even post, but maybe someone like myself will feel better reading it. I feel my constant trying to figure out, understand, and harness my emotions that possibly cannot be speaks on my personality type. And though this was the first or second result after searching  "can intp's be emotional" , I had not seen more than a brief paragraph touching on this subject. Much of my life, I have acted out of fear and insecurity. Battling depression and addiction for half of it has not been helpful. I've earned and lost great opportunities, careers, relationships, and have never felt like I was doing well enough to enjoy any of it yet. I've been accused or even prided myself (in the accusation) immaturely of being unemotional or insensitive. All while being floored by that perceptionand feeling the exact opposite is true. I have asked myself angrily why I don't love someone back or why very hurtful things to say generate in my mind that I wish never did for fear of verbalization under duress..... I regrettably lost the pinpointed place where I wanted to end up in this response, but this article and these comments have given me a huge shove closer to my own happiness and understanding how to achieve it by first knowing who I am. I will continue trying to understand and express emotion in a healthy way, but will now stop trying to curb or be additionally upset about having these emotions. Any objections, insight, or thoughts will surely be read and appreciated. Well, I've overstayed my welcome, but feel ssoooooo much better.   Thanks?

Roz (not verified) says...

I'm an INTP.  I'm constantly overwhelmed by emotion, I get depression.  I feel everyone's emotion, at least changes in their emotions, and I never know how to deal with it.  No matter what I do I feel like my cup (tiny cup) is constantly over flowing with the tide of emotions around me.  No matter what I do I can't catch up, and I don't know how to deal.  

Overloaded (not verified) says...

I feel the same way Roz.  At least this article helped me understand how I could be so sensitive to others emotions without understanding the emotions. It's why I never really thought I was a true empath as it doesn't result in any insight on my part and any attempt to alleviate or help the people emitting the disturbing negative energy usually results in me doing or saying exactly the wrong thing.  For now the best I can do, if possible, is put some distance between me and the source or sources.

Sylvius (not verified) says...

INTPs do NOT rationalize.  Rationalization is the greatest human failing.

Reasoning comes before the conclusion, not after.

Kaarumniex (not verified) says...

Can you please elaborate what you think about rationalising and how this synonim of logic thinking is the greatest failing? 

replica hermes classic bag (not verified) says...

Hi Jacky, Thanks for replying to my post. In a way it is reassuring to hear that even experienced academics experience the same, however, it is equally worrying, because it means that even with experience, this feeling may not go away. I do have a big decision to make as to whether I would like to remain in academia, but atm I am trying my best just to focus on finishing the thesis! ?

Mark N (not verified) says...

Emotions do need to be rationalized, understood, and filed away. The key is not letting emotions irrationally dictate our actions. You can debate whether emotions are merely chemicals the body is reacting to or something at the soul level. Either way it is up to the individual INTP which way they will let the scale tip, heart vs head. Experiential observer is the phase I am in. For now I will keep emotions at bay and live my life according to my rules.

Annacosta (not verified) says...

This post provides much-needed insight. Thank you. -INTP

Lucie (not verified) says...

"Take some time to recognize emotions and feelings without trying to logically justify them."

I was so shocked when I discovered that this wasn't a thing everyone did. I texted an F friend about it and she told me that she's able to feel things 'just because' and that she doesn't try and justify them. It goes against everything in me - like 'what do you mean this isn't happening for a reason, everything happens for a reason, I just have to find it'. Thank you for telling me this, it didn't occur to me that trying to logic my way through emotions isn't a normal reaction to them.

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