Foxhole Friends

I am a fierce friend.

I am the faithful dog that always comes back to be by your side, to help you when you’re struggling. I am the foxhole friend, the one who jumps right into the shit with you no matter what. I do not easily give up on people that I have let into my heart, people that I love and care about. I don’t really know how to quit anything in my life let alone friendships or relationships that might be so dysfunctional they are hurting me at my core. I forgive again and again and again. Second, third, fourth chances are given readily. Why? Because I believe that people are inherently good and that everyone is doing the best that they can.

I acknowledge that part of this behavior stems from my deep fear of abandonment which I tend to project onto other people. I won’t let anyone down because I am terrified of being let down. I also acknowledge that I am tenacious, stubborn, and determined to see the positive in everything and everyone that touches my life. If I believe in you, love you, and feel as though you are someone worth having in my life, you’ll have me for as long as you want. These qualities, while wonderful and helpful much of the time, can end up causing me more harm than good.

Sometimes the best decision is to walk away, quit, and give up.

Sometimes it takes me a long time to finally hang my head down and acknowledge that the time has come to walk away. And it hurts, so so much. I understand why INFJ’s have to do the door-slam thing; it’s a last resort we use to protect ourselves, our hearts, and our minds. After having invested so much emotional energy into another human being, after loving and giving and caring with every fiber of my being, I need to slam that door to regain my sanity and my sense of self.

And yet, I still try to focus on the positives; even in the midst of deep pain and anger. I try to remember why I loved this person in the first place, what about them felt special and safe for me. I pull out all of the good memories and lessons learned. I savor the truth of the friendship; what was real and what changed me for the better. And, when remembering the love, care, and kindness starts to hurt, I shut that off too and tuck it away for another day when I might feel stronger and more at peace with the world around me.

*A few thoughts on the INFJ ‘door-slam’:

I didn’t know there was an actual term for this until a few years ago. It was such an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me and also very validating. I had called myself a ‘bridge-burner’ before I knew about the door-slam. I harbored tremendous guilt and shame around the times in my life where I would literally shut people out and never speak to them again. Some of those people were best friends at one time or another. What I have come to understand is that the door-slam isn’t immature or impulsive; it is not something we do to be mean or vicious. The INFJ enacts the door-slam as a final effort to protect ourselves from more harm. Because the truth is, we have likely tried to make things work to such a degree that we have exhausted ourselves completely and totally. We do not give up easily and we are apt to see the best in people for as long as we possibly can. But there comes a point in an unhealthy relationship where we must let go. In order to do this effectively, sometimes it means cutting a person out of our lives for good. It is the ultimate act of self-love and preservation. It is the boundary that says, “I cannot do this for one more second.” And we put our needs first no matter how much it hurts.

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