“Over”thinking | INFJ Forum

“Over”thinking

ThomasJ79

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Oct 10, 2012
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I can’t count how many times I have told that I overthink. I find this to be used pejoratively to stymie the time I spend on thinking. Just because you do not spend as much time thinking about something, it doesn’t follow that I am “over” thinking. From my perspective, it is just thinking.

I find it interesting that these uninvited assessments from others almost always come from individuals who don’t seem to think very deeply in general. It is as if they are the embodiment of the Nike mantra recited by walking zombies in Night of the Living Braindead.

What are your thoughts on the word overthinking and how it is used? Do you see the word being used in a negative or neutral way?
 
It’s the sibling of overreacting.

A judgment, nothing more.

Typically, both are weaponized.

Cheers,
Ian
 
This is highly relatable. The older I get, the more I keep my thoughts to myself. I even struggle with getting deep here. To me, 'overthinking' is just thinking. I have so many layered thoughts and ideas.


I understand why people criticize overthinking, or at least I think I do. To many people 'overthinking' means worrying. It isn't healthy to get carried away by worries. When people criticize overthinking in general, they mean 'worrying.' To others, it means they are not comfortable pondering complicated or deep ideas. They want the deep person to switch to a lighter topic.

I am also often told to stop fantasizing or that my ideas are 'unrealistic.' (I enjoy conversations where people share ideas.) For example, when iPods were released, most of my friends had them. I claimed I wouldn't get one until Apple combined phones and iPods. My friends laughed at me, told me I was ridiculous, and said Apple would never combine two devices they could sell individually because they'd make less money. (The solution was obviously to charge more for one item!) I also had an idea to make a keychain that partnered with a phone app to help people find their keys. Again, I was told the idea was absurd and 'unrealistic.' Apple came out with that, too. ...Now I just write down or draw all my ideas for inventions and don't share them with anyone.

...Nor do I often share deep thoughts or concerns anymore. It's been years since I've had an in-person conversation where we opened up our minds like jars and shared ideas.
It's also less fun to discuss the same philosophical topics and unanswerable questions over and over for decades.
 
It really depends on the context. If I’m thinking about something deeply and at length for its own sake then anyone commenting negatively on this is making a boundary violation as far as I’m concerned and they can just bog off!

It’s more complicated when the thinking is a necessary lead up to making a decision, particularly one that impacts on other people. Sometimes the deep thinkers reach a much better choice than the shallower ones - but sometimes there just isn’t a single right answer, or there isn’t enough time to think it through in depth, or there cannot be any more information and conclusion than you already have. Paralysis by analysis is a very real problem in these latter circumstances.

I had to learn how to pick between these situations and adjust my decision making accordingly where needed. It’s quite daunting though relying on Ni when necessary without full Ti approval 🤣😅. It would be easier if we were supported in its use when we are children and adolescents, but sadly that’s not the way society works.

But have you noticed how people don’t get accused of over-feeling in the same way. In fact I can’t help thinking that those who accuse a contemplative person of over-thinking are themselves over-feeling about it!
 
I am also often told to stop fantasizing or that my ideas are 'unrealistic.'
Pardon me, but fuck those people.

JFC,
Ian
 
Pardon me, but fuck those people.


Absolutely, 'be realistic' is poison.
It took me years to learn that. I always interpreted it as the person telling me I was not passing as a normie and was failing to fit in.
 
Absolutely, 'be realistic' is poison.
It took me years to learn that. I always interpreted it as the person telling me I was not passing as a normie and was failing to fit in.
I’ve not been told that since I was a child, because as a Ne-dom with ADHD, it’s more than clear that I am a lost cause. 😂

Cheers,
Ian
 
As someone who greatly values efficiency, I often notice overthinking in others.

I don't know what others might, or might not consider overthinking to be, but I mostly see it in one of two varieties:

1) People who can't figure out or decide something fairly trivial, who become obsessed with solving their own conundrum without asking others for help. They overcompensate for their lack of ability with pig headed pride. For example, a retail worker who can't get a receipt to print, and won't hand over the purchase until they can get the now unwanted receipt to print, and refuse the help of coworkers.

2) People who can think but because of anxiety become obsessed with trivial perfectionism, and end up neglecting the big picture. (Those who allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good). For example, people who will try to plan the perfect vacation, but never end up going anywhere because they're permanently stuck in planning.
 
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I understand why people criticize overthinking, or at least I think I do. To many people 'overthinking' means worrying. It isn't healthy to get carried away by worries. When people criticize overthinking in general, they mean 'worrying.'
I think this is important and it's worth considering whether a criticism may be justified in some ways, even if not well expressed. Overflowing INFJ tertiary looping certainly looks like over-thinking to anyone else and it's almost always accompanied by anxiety. If others are anything like me, we can resent anyone breaking into our looping, but the only real escape is not to dive deeper inside but to look outside. It's hard to acknowledge that the other may well be right - though usually they don't express it very well. In fact our anxiety often causes others very close to us to worry (about us) too, and that can become an additional problem.

Ni-Ti looping isn't very pleasant, but Ni-Fi looping is at least as bad, and just as difficult for someone else to react to well. I never really know how best to deal with all those seemingly endless inner convolutions of conscience in INTJs close to me.

The trouble is, so few folks have the discernment to understand each other, and fewer still have the gift of whether to intervene at all or not. .
 
I think this is important and it's worth considering whether a criticism may be justified in some ways, even if not well expressed. Overflowing INFJ tertiary looping certainly looks like over-thinking to anyone else and it's almost always accompanied by anxiety. If others are anything like me, we can resent anyone breaking into our looping, but the only real escape is not to dive deeper inside but to look outside. It's hard to acknowledge that the other may well be right - though usually they don't express it very well. In fact our anxiety often causes others very close to us to worry (about us) too, and that can become an additional problem.

Ni-Ti looping isn't very pleasant, but Ni-Fi looping is at least as bad, and just as difficult for someone else to react to well. I never really know how best to deal with all those seemingly endless inner convolutions of conscience in INTJs close to me.

The trouble is, so few folks have the discernment to understand each other, and fewer still have the gift of whether to intervene at all or not. .


You're right. Everyone loops and it is never good. Learning to recognize looping and clicking people out of it helpfully (gently, kindly) is a life skill.

Anxiety is pretty normal for me, but I don't usually bother others with it. (I'm pretty mellow by default no matter what is going on internally.) The only time it escapes is when my dogs are up to something that could end in a vet visit.
 
...Ni-Ti looping isn't very pleasant, but Ni-Fi looping is at least as bad, and just as difficult for someone else to react to well. I never really know how best to deal with all those seemingly endless inner convolutions of conscience in INTJs close to me...
That's interesting to me. Thank you. Although, I'd suspect that for an intj as myself, it would be Ni-Te looping. (Not Ni-Ti).

In confession, I often get advised to be wary of scrupulosity. It manifests as unrelenting application of a moral ideal in trivial matters. For example, out of an exaggerated avoidance of self indulgence, I'll seldom if ever choose to eat anything tasty, unless it's related to being charitable/friendly/sociable.
 
You're right. Everyone loops and it is never good. Learning to recognize looping and clicking people out of it helpfully (gently, kindly) is a life skill.

Anxiety is pretty normal for me, but I don't usually bother others with it. (I'm pretty mellow by default no matter what is going on internally.) The only time it escapes is when my dogs are up to something that could end in a vet visit.
I'm very similar. What throws me is when I am in a 'carer' role for someone very close to me, and it isn't obvious what action to take for them - I loop like mad if I'm not careful. It took me decades to get to the point where I could stand back and short circuit the loop, usually by talking things out with someone. Usually though, there can be a storm going on inside, but no-one would ever know.

That's interesting to me. Thank you. Although, I'd suspect that for an intj as myself, it would be Ni-Te looping. (Not Ni-Ti).

In confession, I often get advised to be wary of scrupulosity. It manifests as unrelenting application of a moral ideal in trivial matters. For example, out of an exaggerated avoidance of self indulgence, I'll seldom if ever choose to eat anything tasty, unless it's related to being charitable/friendly/sociable.
For an INTJ the loop is Ni-Fi and so your confessor's comments are really very much on point. Looping is between your dominant and tertiary, and it locks out the way to break away from the loop which is usually through your secondary. My wife is INTJ to my INFJ, and we are typical in the way we each do our looping LOL - one of my sons is INTJ too and he's very similar.
 
That's interesting to me. Thank you. Although, I'd suspect that for an intj as myself, it would be Ni-Te looping. (Not Ni-Ti).

From Psychology Junkie:
INTJs experiencing a Ni-Fi loop can get stuck in a world of theoretical visions compounded by subjective, emotional reactions. They are often called “conspiracy theorists” when this happens. They become suspicious of other people and the world at large. Fi feeds the INTJ emotion-based suspicious, and Ni will go to any lengths to justify those suspicions.

As an example, an INTJ in a loop could imagine that her friend doesn’t like her. Fi and Ni work together to make an emotional judgment that the friend dislikes her after the friend seems distracted and keeps excusing herself at a party. The same friend keeps canceling plans and showing up late to meetings with her. However, if Te and Se had been in the picture and functioning properly, Te would have been working with Ni, Fi and Se to see that
A) The friend’s distraction is a result of tiredness (the friend has morning sickness, is anxious about pregnancy)
B) The friend is canceling plans and showing up late because she’s feeling sick. Maybe friend needs some help or reassurance.


My husband is an INTJ and his looping is usually about believing our friends don't like him because he's not very people-oriented and he doesn't bother to understand human behavior well. He's also pessimistic about the world at large.
 
Lotta overthinking about overthinking goin on here...
 
I think this is important and it's worth considering whether a criticism may be justified in some ways, even if not well expressed. Overflowing INFJ tertiary looping certainly looks like over-thinking to anyone else and it's almost always accompanied by anxiety. If others are anything like me, we can resent anyone breaking into our looping, but the only real escape is not to dive deeper inside but to look outside. It's hard to acknowledge that the other may well be right - though usually they don't express it very well. In fact our anxiety often causes others very close to us to worry (about us) too, and that can become an additional problem.

Ni-Ti looping isn't very pleasant, but Ni-Fi looping is at least as bad, and just as difficult for someone else to react to well. I never really know how best to deal with all those seemingly endless inner convolutions of conscience in INTJs close to me.

The trouble is, so few folks have the discernment to understand each other, and fewer still have the gift of whether to intervene at all or not. .
I have gotten a strong impression that most people don’t get anxious about not knowing a truth, which is something I cannot relate to at all. Spending a lifetime searching for answers is just not their jam. Learning, finding answers, and problem solving are all music to my ears.
 
I have gotten a strong impression that most people don’t get anxious about not knowing a truth, which is something I cannot relate to at all. Spending a lifetime searching for answers is just not their jam. Learning, finding answers, and problem solving are all music to my ears.
I agree wholeheartedly, but I am one who does not get anxious about not knowing a truth, because what can I know? How can I be sure?

I have found a way to aspire and dig, yet rest comfortably in ambiguity, and know that no matter how much I learn, I will only gain better perspective to apprehend the depth of my ignorance.

Cheers,
Ian
 
1) People who can't figure out or decide something fairly trivial, who become obsessed with solving their own conundrum without asking others for help. They overcompensate for their lack of ability with pig headed pride. For example, a retail worker who can't get a receipt to print, and won't hand over the purchase until they can get the now unwanted receipt to print, and refuse the help of coworkers.

2) People who can think but because of anxiety become obsessed with trivial perfectionism, and end up neglecting the big picture. (Those who allow the perfect to become the enemy of the good). For example, people who will try to plan the perfect vacation, but never end up going anywhere because they're permanently stuck in planning.

I think you hit it pretty on point here.
Usually if I'm being labeled as an overthinker, it's because the other person is perceiving me in one of these ways.
That's not to say it's true or accurate, only that it is often the perception of the other.

Their is of course the third option that @ThomasJ79 mentioned initially.
Which has more to do with the other person's own feelings of inadequacy, hence using the term pejoratively.

It's difficult to know when another person is making a fair and legitimate critique in this regard sometimes.
Easily dismissible for INFJs, whose professional business is itself overthinking.
Somebody's gotta be at one end of the spectrum and it's surely Ni users.

Self assessing if overthinking is being utilized as an excuse for inaction, neglect etc. can be tricky.
All we really know is what's in our own mind.

PS- eat a cookie once in a while Matty, they are good for you I promise
PPS- Overthinking is kinda badass @ThomasJ79