The stereotypical assumption of the INTP may be that of a person who would constantly say ‘Let’s try and be rational’ to any emotional reaction.
That is both true and false.
A response like that is, more or less, our inner, instinctive reaction; our heads trying to wrap itself around what’s happening and analyzing it to come up with a solution how to appropriately respond to something that is not our immediate field of expertise… since we don’t understand emotions that well. To speak plainly.
However, I, too, personally find it irritating when someone says ‘Let’s try and be rational’, because, unless it’s a situation of total panic, it can come across as arrogant – as if bypassing the legitimate emotions and subsequent thoughts of those around them, though that may not be intentional.
Just like shushing a crying person – no matter how benevolent intended or kindly done – is basically a slap in the face to the one crying, because crying is, in fact, a healthy, cathartic outlet for an abundance of emotion/pain.
It’s as if shushing is not letting the crying person feel – which the person obviously needs – and especially when the person is an adult I believe. Instead shushing centers around what the comforting person is feeling; often discomfort and awkwardness in properly responding to the crying person, and the action becomes almost two-fold; as if calming oneself down instead of the person crying.
Why not just say ‘Let it out. I am here for you’ instead?
Crying is still an unspoken taboo among adults, because we are taught and expected to have mastered such emotional outbursts and channel them appropriately, like talking, analyzing or rationalizing these feelings instead. And too often we just feel ashamed or uncomfortable dealing with them at all and stomp them deep within ourselves, in the end bottling them up into an entirely too unhealthy pattern of emotional management. Honestly, sometimes we should just be allowed to… feel. There’s a reason crying is the instinctual physical response to a difficult emotional situation, no matter your age. Frankly, I’m vary and concerned of adults who do not (or claim to never) cry. Surely, to quote Charlotte Brontë, “crying does not indicate that you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.” I’m not saying adults should allow themselves to openly wail in the middle of the streets or in any given situation. Just allow yourself to feel once in a while, not stomping it down with some rational excuse each time (just as much an advice to myself).
I guess, I also feel this on a personal level, the more I’ve learned about my INTP personality as well. Knowing how little we express emotions on a conventional level, though are not less emotional on the inside, I feel we are more than legitimized when we actually do express them. Especially when we feel the need to cry (because, be honest, we only ever cry rarely and alone, don’t we?). For once, don’t tell or expect us to rationalize or channel this expression in any other way. Don’t talk the feelings down, whatever they are. Just let us let it out and feel whatever we need to feel for a moment and be there for us. Am I right? Well, not just INTPs; everyone, really.
But, if you have some insight in INTPs’ track record in this matter, you know the INTP is particularly notorious regarding sudden outbursts of emotions at rare and odd times. We may need some friendly reassurance afterwards; sympathy instead of pity, and, perhaps, someone who isn’t afraid of sticking around (though I wouldn’t blame anyone from wanting to run away) and deal with such an emotional outburst from an (INTP) friend. Nobody wants someone who is just half-listening or pretending to care.
Not that I am any good at handling such things myself when others react this way (have I already mentioned that?), and I use way too many awkward platitudes or whatever I can come up with to make the person feel better without having any clue if it works. I’m no good with the physical stuff and I’m generally such a blatant INTP I avoid the act of comforting like the plague, even though I hate to see people in pain and want to do something to help. Never confuse an INTP’s awkward response to an emotional situation with a lack of emotion, sympathy or empathy. My heart goes out to people in pain; I simply cannot always express it or help in an appropriate way. In fact, sometimes I feel like I feel too much. That I cannot contain it nor express it.
So, I understand perfectly well the need to have a good cry and not be shushed.