I just stumbled across this description of introverted feeling and wanted to see what some of you had to say on the subject.
The introvert of feeling-type finds support and guidance by shaping his own feeling-attitudes in accordance with an inner ideal. Here the activities of feeling are hidden, and from the outside there is, as a rule, little to tell us that we are dealing with a person of feeling-type. Feeling aims more especially at an inner harmony, trying to discover what under various circumstances should be the right relationships between people if life is to be beautiful and well balanced. Reality, however, reveals in most cases that this ideal is not attained, and introverted feeling is particularly vulnerable in regard to such experiences. This vulnerability — which may become as intense at that of the sensitive plant — is one of the most characteristic peculiarities of this type.
Just as with the introvert of thinking-type, we find here, too, a marked contrast between inner security on the one hand, and uncertainty in external behavior on the other. But whereas with the introverted thinker this opposition gives rise to thought concerning the problems of life, with the individual of feeling-type it leads to deep feeling, and to a strange mixture of inner tenderness and passionate conviction. These people are absolutely certain as to the soundness of their ideals, but this is accompanied by a helpless feeling that it will never be possible to realize them in this world. They do not, however, reject the world, for feeling means the making of ties and is directed towards social contacts. In spite of ever-repeated collisions with the world and with other people, they can never give up their wish to love them both.
They conceal their sensitiveness behind a mask, which may be childish or simple, or again conventional, remote, or it may be friendly. But behind this mask the search goes on for someone who will understand, and for a community which will embody their ideals. However disappointed they are, they still in their innermost being believe implicitly in what their feelings tell them. Even if they are not able to express it clearly in words, they are inwardly quite certain as to what accords with them and what does not. Outwardly, their feelings are not very obvious, for when these are affected, these people tend to withdraw into themselves, and if they do express anything, it will only be much later, after they have had time to work it all over within themselves.
In ordinary life their mask conceals what they really are. But there is, nevertheless, something very individual about them, sometimes remarkably so, which will come to expression particularly in certain moments, in relation to certain people. This happens more especially in two situations: when they achieve real contact with another person; and when, in a state of high emotional excitement, they stand up for a threatened ideal.
In the first case, a very profound relationship of mutual understanding may suddenly come into being, all the wealth of their minds being unlocked to the confidant; sometimes this contact will later be broken off just as suddenly and unexpectedly, in defence of their own vulnerability. And where his feelings are aroused, the person who appeared to be so impersonal, remote and somewhat insignificant may suddenly burst out with a personal point of view, expressed with such conviction and such force of feeling that it compels respect.
Such people may also resist with extreme obstinacy anything that does not accord with their sentiments. This resistance may be justified, in so far as it is based on a motive of fine feeling; but the means used to give it emphatic expression is ill-suited to the external world, and in this respect incorrect. The consequence is that they are nearly always misunderstood, and they tend more or less to resign themselves to this situation. This contrast between a clear intention, directed towards harmony, and uncertain modes of expression, giving rise to misunderstandings, is found again and again in the lives of these people.
In childhood they are gentle and dreamy, and somewhat reserved, but with occasional violent outbursts of emotion. In familiar surroundings they can be unrestrainedly gay; but more often they are likely to exhibit violent resentment if circumstances do not correspond to their feelings, and it then seems to them that harshness and indifference prevail in the world. As a result, they seem to show signs of disappointment at a very early age, and a certain distrust of life. Owing to their inability to express themselves clearly, and to bring their ideals to reality, there may arise a feeling of impotence and inferiority. They are apt to seek the fault in themselves, and may suffer much from a sense of guilt on this account. Here, also, feelings have a tendency to extend their influence, with the result that their whole being may be plunged into depths of unhappiness; but at other times a genuine emotional contact with someone will once more fill them with a quiet and enormous delight. Now they will look at the world again with new eyes, and a feeling that is almost religious will embrace both nature and man.
Later, also, the happiness of these people will depend on the emotional attachments which they are able to make, though they find it less necessary than do extraverts of this type to be in immediate touch with other people. The expression of other people's feelings in poetry and music, and the realization, through the reading of stories and biographies, of the depths of their spiritual experience, may have the effect on these people of making them feel more at home in the world. In this way, there develops in them a life of the spirit, which is carefully concealed from strangers, and which may be expressed, for instance, in a secret piety, or in poetical forms, which are revealed only with great unwillingness.
This feeling-type is particularly found among women. Whereas the woman of extraverted feeling-type has it in her to create an atmosphere of harmony around herself, in the introverted woman of this type all the riches of her mind will be developed into a love which is inwardly directed towards the highest ideals of harmony. Without saying or doing much, such a woman will emanate a feeling of rest and security. It is difficult to describe an influence of this kind, expressed as it is in such indefinite forms. But on the immediate environment it may be very effective. A mother of this type may have an even greater influence on her children than the devoted and radiant mother of extraverted feeling-type. These women are often able to implant and foster something of their own ideals in their children, exercising in this way a quiet force which helps to keep a respect for moral authority alive in the world.
All the modes of expression for the deeper impulses of the spirit in religion and art find great support in such people. Whether they are artists or scientists, they are still primarily attracted by problems of the emotional life. They express themselves in such occupations with great care and precision. Here again the persistence and devotion of the individual of feeling-type become evident. When they do give form to their inner feeling — in a poem, for example — they will carefully weigh every expression; at the same time, they will often neglect generally accepted social forms, which for them have no significance; or they will employ conventional and simple forms as a mask, from behind which a more genuine and finer feeling
Although in these persons the will, under the direction of strong moral conviction, represents an important factor in the psyche, it is less evident than in the other rational types, owing to the fact that the controlling activity is directed more inwards, and will occasionally come quite unexpectedly to light. feeling is expressed more indirectly. It is most evident in the strong sense of duty characteristic of these people, and in their faithful discharge of their duties. Their activity frequently suffers as a result of moods of discouragement. When this is so, they lose themselves in pessimistic feelings, giving up their efforts to make themselves better understood, or to alter things in their environment. After a time they recover from such moods, since they tend, as a rule, to regard them as a fault in themselves.
This contact with their own moral judgment represents an essential factor in the lives of feeling-introverts. They are not bound by the judgments of others — as is the feeling-extravert — for the standard by which they judge their own behavior is an inner moral law, intuitively felt to be binding. While the extravert of feeling-type will repress, for the sake of harmony, things both in himself and in the external world which do not accord with his ideal, the feeling-introvert will remain more aware of such conflicts. In him, however, the limiting and excluding activity of the demand for harmony may be detrimental in a different way, everything not consonant with that harmony being regarded from a negative point of view, as opposed to what is ideal and good. It is impossible for these people to see the world or themselves objectively, and their continual comparison of things with ideal requirements gives them an exaggeratedly critical point of view. Since this also applies to their own lives, there is an undermining of their own self-confidence, as well as of their confidence in the world, which may seriously affect their happiness in life. It is necessary for these people to recognize that things which do not exactly accord with their ideals may yet have a value which may be developed.
In these cases, also, the instinctual life is to a very large extent subordinated to the regulating force of feeling. Since the relationship between moral conviction and instinctual impulse is here worked out more within the mind, there is less danger of pretence for the sake of the external world than with extraverts. Instinctual feelings are subordinated to the ideal. At the same time, there may be a too forcible suppression of the instinctual life, in which case it will lead not so much to a split in the emotional life as to a certain joylessness, and to the feeling that life is passing without bringing any true fulfilment. There is too often a need to associate all pleasures and joys with some moral value, and to condemn them if this higher satisfaction is not obviously found in them.
Intuition is also subjected to the authority of introverted feeling. Intuitions here bear more on the inner aspect of feeling than on its expression in other people. They may give form to the laws of feeling, but in images rather than in concepts. Where intuition is developed, it is of great assistance in finding expression for introverted feeling, both in practical life and in art. Intuition may also provide a link with religious life, which, in this case, will be specially developed in its feeling-aspect: inner moral unity with God and with his fellow-man has greater significance for the man of feeling-type than ecstatic experiences or philosophical problems. The dominance of feeling is revealed in the constant search for a harmonious relation and in the weight given to views on morality, love and justice.
Thought is, as a rule, not very essential in the lives of these people. They accept the thought-forms as taught to them, and make conscientious use of them; butthis is not vital to them, as the judgment of feeling is. In their thought-processes, they argue from preconceived attitudes of feeling, and frequently do not embark on any logical thinking at all, leaving the realm of logic to others to deal with.
Dr. J. H. van der Hoop, Lecturer in Psychiatry, Amsterdam, Conscious Orientation