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Male INFJ 5w4 (Sx/Sp)
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I think why many people are confused with INFJs is because of our contradictory nature, and how it changes considering the situation we are in. Some situations can result in us being outgoing and confident, and others can result in us being quiet and distant. In reality, we are not that different functionally, we are just different in where our functions are placed.
In reality, each person has four sides of the mind. We have the Ego, Subconcious, Unconcious, and Superego. For any type, their ego is their preferred state of being whenever they are comfortable (so for INFJs, their ego would be simply an INFJ), and whatever stacks are associated with it. For any type to access their subconcious type, we have to utilize the function we are least comfortable with, our inferior function. For example, an ENTPs subconcious would be an ISFJ, and it is activated when they have to utlilize their inferior function, introverted sensing.

However, I think what is interesting about an INFJ, is that when we use our inferior function (extroverted sensing), the subconcious persona we change into is an ESTP. Which is characterized by being confident, efficient, observant of details, and potential adrenaline seekers. This can be quite confusing for an INFJ, as this side of themselves is completely different than the one they are comfortable with, and can be confusing for friends who only see one side of them. (The INFJ chart is at the bottom of my post)

To try and explain this, I'll go into my personal experience

When I was younger, I was typically alone and more comfortable reading a book, or observing other kids from a distance (especially being a type 5 INFJ). However, whenever I spent time with my father (who is an ISTP, and a thrill seeker), he would often maintain that I had a big internal drive when I am pushed, and I can be extremely sarcastic, witty, and very assertive. He said that I was a lot like he is, and that I love the thrill as much as he does when I am pushed. This confused me as a kid, as it was all subconcious, and I only knew myself as the quiet kid who stayed away from conflict. My father on the other hand would often speed on the highway, throw people out of restuarants with his bare hands if they disrespected him or others, and would often get himself into pretty dangerous scenarios, all for the thrill of the chase. But I guess he was right, because when I started to get pushed, another side of me would often come out.

For example, I used to rough-house with my younger brother (who would often initiate the fight), while my Dad would often spectate. At first, I thought I was just defending myself. But from what my Dad would tell me, I would become very assertive, efficient but sometimes brutal in trying to end the fight quickly, and I seemed like getting hit would only push me further. The fights would sometimes be violent (as fights between brothers can get), but instead of being scared, I secretly craved the adrenaline rush. I get that this can sound very wierd (especially for a Type 5 INFJ), but for me, it felt like a natural subconcious part of myself that would be let out.

Even at work at my cashier job, I could walk into work shaking in anxiety, but after, I would often prioritize being as efficient as possible. I would often juggle or pass objects between my hands to make things quicker, initiate conversation with customers, and have great focus on detail while I was cleaning aisles. Customers noted that I was the "cheeriest" and quickest cashier they have seen in a long time. That confused me, because at home I thought I was doing a terrible job, and I was often pretty quiet when I was alone. At my job working at a oilfield shop, I got frostbite on my right ear, fingers and toes, but i would still be cracking jokes, and generally prioritizing the job getting done, no matter how I felt. During sparring lessons with my Muay Thai coach, I could have spent the whole day not speaking a single word to anyone. However, once the fight started, I would suddenly get very confident, and even when my coach would repeatedly ask if I needed to stop and take a break, I would often refuse and keep going. Something my "normal" self, typically would not do.

I know I'm not a violent person, and I generally can't stand unnesccesary conflict. So it was strange when I started noticing how different I was in different contexts to how I was normally. When I would tell people this other side of myself, they would get confused.

After I studied psychology, and discovered there were four sides of the mind, it made a lot of sense when I discovered that my subconcious personality is an ESTP. For an INFJ, it is naturally to change into this "persona" when you are in a situation when you are surrounded by external stimuli. This discovery has led me to be more confident, knowing that I would be able to handle most situations intuitively. I hope it can maybe help some INFJs who believe they have no inner willpower. That is BS, you have it, you just need to expose yourself a little more to notice it. Just be confident, but make sure you leave enough room to learn what you don't know

Is there any times you've noticed a personality change in yourself as an INFJ? Did it result in you becoming cocky, arrogant, or generally more assertive than you normally would be? Share your experience down below!

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I've seen this kind of transformation in my INFJ partner over years, fortunately only a few times and temporarily :) It felt rather like "ESTP done wrong" - much more assertive, action-oriented but this assertiveness was based mostly on wrong/negative emotions. I most likely pushed her Se usage too far to reach to such mindset - but in normal situations I very much like INFJ's Se usage - it gives them unique sense of style and objective interpretation of external world, while exposing it only slightly and smoothly :)

Such kind of shadowing happens to us when we are stressed out enough but in normal situations, I guess you can stay in your shadow/opposite mindset only for a limited time - and that's good. I've experienced that shadow/opposite mindset too but as an ENFP, it was quite different for me.
 

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Male INFJ 5w4 (Sx/Sp)
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Discussion Starter #3
I've seen this kind of transformation in my INFJ partner over years, fortunately only a few times and temporarily :) It felt rather like "ESTP done wrong" - much more assertive, action-oriented but this assertiveness was based mostly on wrong/negative emotions. I most likely pushed her Se usage too far to reach to such mindset - but in normal situations I very much like INFJ's Se usage - it gives them unique sense of style and objective interpretation of external world, while exposing it only slightly and smoothly :)

Such kind of shadowing happens to us when we are stressed out enough but in normal situations, I guess you can stay in your shadow/opposite mindset only for a limited time - and that's good. I've experienced that shadow/opposite mindset too but as an ENFP, it was quite different for me.
I know for me, the "negative" side of me comes out when I am overly concerned about my peformance, then I tend to overcompensate that way. I become brash, cocky, and out of fear of doing a bad job, I would start to convince myself that I should be perfect, and neglect the need to practice. When in reality, the only way to get better is to practice.
For an ENFP, I guess your subconcious personality is an ISTJ, and it would be activated primarily when you start to utilize your "Si" (Focus on your own experience). So, that would look a bit different, and it would come out at different times.

My advice to your INFJ partner is to make sure she practices using her "Se", but make it on her own volition. Tell her not to be concerned with doing a bad job, and that the only way to get better is to practice. The ESTP subconcious will handle the confidence, and she'll gradually start to become more confident about learning new things.
With time, she'll start to merge her the good parts of her ESTP subconcious (confidence, charisma, determination, etc) with her INFJ ego (Willpower, vision, empathy, seeking the truth). That should bring her one step closer to becoming the best version of herself she can be.

But trust me, I'm no expert. This is just a suggestion.
 

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ImpossibleHunt5 said:
I think why many people are confused with INFJs is because of our contradictory nature, and how it changes considering the situation we are in.
I have yet to meet an INFJ with a ‘contradictory nature’. People who feel challenged but decide to assert themselves mobilise whatever they can, leaving their preferences behind.

At my job working at a oilfield shop, I got frostbite on my right ear, fingers and toes, but i would still be cracking jokes, and generally prioritizing the job getting done, no matter how I felt.
Stalingrad. Very INFJ. The sacred mission forbids retreat, whatever the cost. (EST)Ps prioritise their limbs, duty doesn’t call them.

“’I can make myself available’, Heydrich [ISTJ] sometimes summarised, struggling with himself, ‘others can pursue selfish goals.’” “In the first years of the war he spent his holidays as a fighter pilot with missions in the enemy hinterland.”(Deschner). Lina Heydrich, neé Osten, forever a fervent ‘National Socialist’, about her husband in a letter to Jean Vaughan (December 12, 1951): “Today I am going to tell you something about the character of my husband.

He did not read much. Never did he read novels or philosophical books, eventually he read themes on scientific topics.

The most characteristic trait was that he was a man of few words. He never talked about something or discussed something [just] for the love of talk. Every word had to have a concrete meaning, or purpose, had to hit the point. Therefore he never said even one word more than necessary.

He never wasted a minute of his time. Every minute had to have is aim and purpose. Therefore he simply hated to go for a walk. Gymnastic exercise was not meant for a past-time or leisure, but for discipline, a training to reach the highest possible record in it. Therefore he always chose such sports to which he did not take naturally, but which required a hard training, self discipline. For instance, he was not at all gifted for fencing, but the end of [his] hard and enduring training was that he became German champion.”
 

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Oh yes, there were times when turbulence during the teen years was not handled gracefully at all. Bouts of drinking and eating too much led to a see-sawing weight and a dull, tired, directionless mind. Other risky behaviors and very occasionally aggression. It's probably a good idea to provide this 'shadow' with a safe outlet. I do calisthenics 5-6 days a week, where some exercises are almost too difficult for my skill level. So there's 'risk' safely built in.
 

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Male INFJ 5w4 (Sx/Sp)
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Discussion Starter #6
Oh yes, there were times when turbulence during the teen years was not handled gracefully at all. Bouts of drinking and eating too much led to a see-sawing weight and a dull, tired, directionless mind. Other risky behaviors and very occasionally aggression. It's probably a good idea to provide this 'shadow' with a safe outlet. I do calisthenics 5-6 days a week, where some exercises are almost too difficult for my skill level. So there's 'risk' safely built in.
I absolutely agree. I also had begun to develop a slight drinking problem as well when I hit college, and it got worse when I had to drop out due to financial and family issues (I refuse to take student loans). That stagnation in my life, I believe, was the culprit.
I practice Muay Thai (not as frequently as I would like at the moment, due to Covid-19 and all), and it provides a great "escape". Since usually our "shadow" is made up of the personality traits we suppress, It's not a good idea to bottle them up over a long period of time.

I know for me, I grew incredibly frustrated and resentful with myself the more I fought it. I even considered joining the Canadian Armed Forces so I could test to see if I was really worth having around (and save enough money for school). It definitely isn't a good mindset to have, and I believe exercise and working with people from various walks of life (and learning from them) has tempered my frustration a bit.
You want a little risk (it pushes you to be better, and to live in the moment), but you want it to be based on the praciticality of the moment.
 

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I absolutely agree. I also had begun to develop a slight drinking problem as well when I hit college, and it got worse when I had to drop out due to financial and family issues (I refuse to take student loans). That stagnation in my life, I believe, was the culprit.
I practice Muay Thai (not as frequently as I would like at the moment, due to Covid-19 and all), and it provides a great "escape". Since usually our "shadow" is made up of the personality traits we suppress, It's not a good idea to bottle them up over a long period of time.

I know for me, I grew incredibly frustrated and resentful with myself the more I fought it. I even considered joining the Canadian Armed Forces so I could test to see if I was really worth having around (and save enough money for school). It definitely isn't a good mindset to have, and I believe exercise and working with people from various walks of life (and learning from them) has tempered my frustration a bit.
You want a little risk (it pushes you to be better, and to live in the moment), but you want it to be based on the praciticality of the moment.
Sounds like the path to maturity. Interesting that you mentioned joining the armed forces. I did not, but there was a kind of (unhealthy) self-imposed 'bootcamp' phase. In my late teens I would walk for miles in the summer where it regularly gets above 100F. No hat, no sunblock, no water, no phone, car far out of sight. Was really pleased with myself for conquering something and it was such a release. I know another INFJ who used to swim what I thought was too far out from the beach. Tested the patience of his more careful companions. Makes me wonder if this 'bootcamp' phase, however it presents, is a common phase on the path to maturity to INFJs. It seems distinct from the usual risky, self-indulgent designation.
 
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