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MOTM August 2012
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Discussion Starter #1
Below is an excerpt from Naomi Quenk's book "Was That Really Me?" which deals with how we act when we are in the grip of our inferior function. This isn't the whole book, and not even the entire chapter. The book itself goes into much more detail and gives more examples that I've edited out for the sake of brevity. But this should give a good indication of whether or not you can identify with Inferior Te or not.

Many people have a hard time differentiating themselves into a type. There is much confusion as to whether they are INFP, EFNP, INFJ or sometimes even INTP (or they give up and claim INxP or INFx). Because these types can be temperamentally similar sometimes a bottom-up approach is more effective as the differences between Te and Si in NFPs can be very striking. Also the manifestations of the inferior may be more easily recognizable.

Excerpts of this book have been posted on this site before, and also over at Typology Central and of course the full book is available if you want to learn all the different types. I encourage you to read the entire book. Was That Really Me?: How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality (9780891061700): Naomi L. Quenk: Books

Introverted Feeling Types
I S F P a n d I N F P

Dominant Introverted Feeling
Auxiliary Extraverted Sensing or Intuition
Tertiary Intuition or Sensing
Inferior Extraverted Thinking

by Naomi L. Quenk
Important Features of Dominant Introverted Feeling​
Introverted Feeling types are flexible, open, complicated, mild, modest, and often self-effacing.Though difficult to get to know, they are seen as trustworthy confidants who are tolerant of a wide range of differences.Their habitual approach to people is nonjudgmental, understanding, and forgiving. They place a high value on affirming both their own and others’ individuality and uniqueness.They seek to affirm all parties in a controversy and thus readily see the validity of contradictory points of view.

Underlying their characteristic tolerance is an overarching natural curiosity. They find the diversity in the world immensely appealing. ISFPs want to experience as much of the environment, especially the natural environment, as possible; INFPs’ desire for broad experience, especially human experience, may be secondary to their need to understand it.

Both Introverted Feeling types may find it difficult to take a firm stance on issues that are not centrally important to them. As a result, they may see themselves and be seen by others as indecisive and lacking in conviction. In matters in which they hold strong values, however, they are firm and uncompromising in expressing and enacting their beliefs. Introverted Feeling types focus on what is good in others, so they tend to downplay others’ faults, often forgiving them for slights or minor hurtful
behavior. At their best, they accept their own mistakes and imperfections as well, achieving some success in maintaining the inner harmony that is so important to them.

In crisis situations, they typically will hold back to see if others will solve the problem competently.They are then content to follow someone else’s lead. But if adequate leadership is absent, ISFPs and INFPs may assume a dominant role, acting swiftly, confidently, and competently to handle the difficult situation.

Introverted Feeling Types at Work​

Work is energizing for Introverted Feeling types when it enables them to enact important values, especially by helping others grow and develop as individuals.Their own growth and development is equally important.Thus they flourish in an environment that offers the freedom to complete projects within a flexible time frame and focuses more on people than on the “bottom line.”An ISFP said he was particularly energized by “successfully completing a task or mission when I am assisting someone else.”An INFP is energized by “working one to one with people, helping them discover themselves.”

Having the freedom to be creative in a relaxed atmosphere is important for both Introverted Feeling types, but their respective auxiliary Sensing and Intuition influence their preferred focus. ISFPs tend to enjoy accomplishing concrete projects, such as “interesting, hands-on work that I know has a purpose and gives me a sense of accomplishment” or “hands-on materials, creating things, lack of boundaries.” INFPs’ auxiliary Intuition emerges in a liking for innovation, particularly in the context of helping people. The following description typifies energizing work for INFPs: “growing and developing yourself and others and creating new programs.” INFPs generally find difficult tasks appealing, while many ISFPs appreciate simplicity in their work assignments. One INFP is energized by “doing something I enjoy that is difficult but has the end result of being something productive and helpful.” Another expressed feeling energized “when I take on a hard problem that can be solved in a new way that allows me to use my creativity and feel as if I’ve done something.”

Important Features of Dominant Extraverted Thinking​

The qualities associated with Extraverted Thinking that are relevant to our
discussion of its form as an inferior function are an emphasis on
• Competence
• Truth and accuracy
• Decisive action

The Everyday Extraverted Thinking
of Introverted Feeling Types​
The inferior function affects Introverted Feeling types in several different ways. These include everyday sensitivities, projections, and ways of relaxing, as well as the dramatic manifestations that can be seen when the inferior function erupts and a full-blown episode occurs, or when an ISFP or INFP is chronically in the grip because of long-term stress.

Typical Sensitivities and Projections​

Like their Extraverted Feeling counterparts, Introverted Feeling types may be concerned about their intellectual abilities, often viewing others, particularly Thinking types, as smarter and more knowledgeable than themselves.

Because they are likely to be somewhat uneasy about their skill in logical analysis, they tend to be hypersensitive to illogic, dishonesty, and inaccuracy in others. They are quick to detect insincerity or phoniness, and they readily take offense when faced with the hyperbole typical of television commercials and candidates running for political office. One INFP who hated magic shows and card tricks gave as her reason for this her dislike of “being fooled.”

Introverted Feeling types also may be somewhat disdainful of people who act quickly on the basis of insufficient information, seeing their own careful, reflective, and restrained approach to problem solving as inherently better.They may be quick to point out the errors made or opportunities missed by people who reach conclusions hastily.

Projection of the inferior function is revealed in a readiness to notice and comment on mistakes made by others.“I start noticing that there are an unusual number of rude and incompetent drivers on the highway,” said one INFP. An ISFP commented that she becomes “very aware that people at work are not following procedures and are making the same mistakes over and over again. But when I think about it later, I have to admit there are no more mistakes than usual.”

An extreme, even passionate, focus on the evil and wrongdoing in the world may also indicate Introverted Feeling types’ hypersensitivity to the “Thinking” issues of truth and justice. Their often-noted idealism about the perfectibility of humanity may also reflect their discomfort with the harsh reality of an imperfect world.This kind of all-or-none approach is a reflection of the unconscious, black-and-white character of their inferior function.

Because their opposites, Extraverted Thinking types, can be experienced as intimidating, ISFPs and INFPs are sensitive to perceived negative messages from these types.They may project their own black-and-white critical judgments onto them, seeing ESTJs and ENTJs as hypercritical, controlling, demanding, and intrusive. Straightforward comments from an Extraverted Thinking type may therefore be taken as global criticism and simple requests as dictatorial commands.

Expressions Through Interests and Hobbies​

Introverted Feeling types may select hobbies that engage their Thinking function. One INFP thoroughly enjoys computer games that require logic and strategy. Another relaxes by analyzing companies for possible investment.

An ISFP spends many hours developing software programs to automate the computer entry of his pharmaceutical data. An INFP is a skilled equestrian, devoting much of her spare time to learning precise and intricate riding techniques. An ISFP who is prone to intense headaches finds that grooming her cats and dogs invariably alleviates her pain.

As an INFP psychotherapist, I find that cleaning the house, organizing drawers, or alphabetizing spices can provide a relaxing and welcome break from seeing clients, theorizing, doing research, and writing.This gives my dominant Feeling and auxiliary Intuition a rest when they have been used particularly intensively. Another INFP engages her tertiary Sensing in her detailed, photorealistic drawings of objects and people, and many INFPs mention crafts as a hobby. An ISFP relaxes most successfully while doing the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle. He enjoys being able to put the many facts he knows into the logical order of the English language and giving his tertiary Intuition free rein to fill in the gaps in the puzzle.

People whose daily work requires them to use less-preferred functions may use their preferred processes in their leisure time. An ISFP business manager described suppressing her dominant Feeling and auxiliary Sensing at work, where Thinking and Intuition are more highly valued. She spends as much of her free time as possible enjoying the outdoors. This comes naturally to her and is the most comfortable and relaxing place for her to be.There is a similar tendency for Extraverted Feeling types to engage their preferred functions in leisure activities.

Eruptions of Inferior Extraverted Thinking

When one or more of the preconditions for an eruption of the inferior function are present, Extraverted Thinking appears in its more exaggerated and disruptive form.

Typical Provocations or Triggers​

Introverted Feeling types frequently mention that an atmosphere of negativity and excessive criticism provides a fertile context for an eruption of their inferior function. Even if the criticism is not directed at them, it brings out their Extraverted Thinking in a black-and-white form. They harshly attack the people who are being negative and critical—for being negative and critical!

As an important part of her job, an INFP nursing supervisor critiqued the records and charts of the nurses who worked under her. One nurse, also an INFP, invariably became furious when his charts were reviewed. He accused his supervisor of gross insensitivity and pettiness and of being unfit for her job. Though the supervisor tried valiantly to view these attacks in context, they would often “send her into a tailspin” and she would be filled with self-doubt, guilt, and a sense of incompetence about
her performance. In the context of each having to use less-preferred processes, these two INFPs constellated their own and each other’s inferior functions.

Fears of impending loss and separation from people who are important to them can serve as triggers for ISFPs and INFPs. One INFP said he is most likely to fall into the grip of his inferior function “when something very dear to me is threatened and I’m afraid I’ll lose my most valued connections with life.” An ISFP said that for her it is “when my attachments to people are demeaned and invalidated.”

Introverted Feeling types quickly fall into their inferior mode when an important value has been violated.

One INFP said:
I put my feelers out to detect more and even unrelated violations. Once when reviewing my manuscript, which had been typed by a new typist, I found he had made all kinds of really stupid errors. Just after that, I called a colleague at a hotel where I was to meet her. The operator connected me with a wrong room three times. I concluded that the hotel was badly managed and all the staff were incompetent. I went back to the manuscript and found more mistakes and blamed the typist. But this time they were my mistakes!​

An INFP said he gets in the grip “when someone really steps on my core values, i.e., accuses me of being dishonest.” Another INFP said, “Unfairness, social injustice, manipulation; when someone is unwilling to discuss problems that need to be resolved and not left to just ‘go away’; when someone is not authentic and honest in a relationship.”

Another trigger for the inferior function of Introverted Feeling types occurs when they project their own unrealistic standard of competence onto others and feel they have not lived up to other people’s expectations. “I know I should have been better prepared for that one scene in the play,” said an INFP.“It ruined the whole thing.” Obsessing on this one perceived inadequacy could quickly lead to a full-fledged experience of inferior Extraverted Thinking.

A highly regarded ISFP office manager persistently berated himself for his imperfect filing system.“Even though I do everything else adequately, I know my boss is disappointed in my overall performance,” he said. As a chronic focus for his imagined inadequacy, he was hypersensitive to any reference to the files, readily seeing criticism in the most innocent comments and quickly generalizing it to be a negative assessment of his overall performance and his acceptability as a person.

Triggers and Stressors at Work​

Work environments that offer little opportunity for fulfillment of Introverted Feeling values are inherently stressful for ISFPs and INFPs, even if other stressors are absent. If such limited opportunity is accompanied by conflict, difficult and controlling people, and a bottom-line atmosphere oriented to deadlines and rigid rules and procedures, the workplace can become intolerable for Introverted Feeling types.An ISFP finds it stressful to “work with people who are very focused on regulations and rules,” and another said,“I dislike strict deadlines and like to move at my own pace.”

One INFP said she was stressed by “office politics that are out of line with my personal values, not being heard, and disregarded.” Another INFP’s stressors included “dealing with details, making arrangements, applying policy to a situation and balancing that with my personal values; having to do paperwork that meets the mandate of my organization but not my ‘personal mandate.’” The following description by an INFP includes many Introverted Feeling stressors: “constant interruptions and demands on my time; a hostile environment; dysfunctional relationships; unappreciative managers and disgruntled, complaining co-workers and clients.” In a work situation in which the particular stressors for Introverted Feeling types persist over a long period, an ISFP or INFP may be pushed into the grip very quickly and powerfully by the triggers described here.

His or her subsequent demonstrations of “grip” behavior are likely to be frequent and pervasive.When persistent stress causes them to be chronically in the grip of inferior Extraverted Thinking, Introverted Feeling types are likely to lose touch with their inner values, believing them to be muddled and untrustworthy.They may eventually begin to feel hopeless and despairing about themselves and the human condition.

The Form of the Inferior Function​

Being out of character can be temporarily enjoyable when inhibitions are lessened, freeing up energy to explore unfamiliar but intriguing parts of oneself. Introverted Feeling types sometimes report becoming more sociable and outgoing. This is particularly true for male ISFPs and INFPs in their early twenties and somewhat less so for older males of these types. Women generally do not report this kind of lowering of inhibitions, perhaps because any such “positive” expression is likely to be eradicated by the negative expressions of anger and criticality that are the hallmarks of inferior Extraverted Thinking.Women may find these inferior function expressions to be more unacceptable than do men.

However, over time the characteristic tolerance, flexibility, and quiet caring of Introverted Feeling types diminishes as the energy available to their dominant Introverted Feeling dwindles.“I lose my concern for harmony, my connection with my inner values,” said an INFP. An ISFP said he “searches for conflict and forgets about others’ feelings.” ISFPs may also lose access to their auxiliary Sensing function. “I react quickly without finding out any facts,” said one. INFPs may similarly lose sight of their auxiliary Intuition. One INFP said that she “cannot process information, thoughts, or ideas” and becomes “focused on detail, making elaborate plans that are unnecessary.”

Initially, INFPs and ISFPs may control their urge to blurt out hostile thoughts by engaging in destructive fantasies directed at just about anyone available. Alternatively, they may employ biting sarcasm and cynicism. As these tactics fail, the negative Extraverted Thinking of their inferior function becomes manifested in judgments of incompetence, aggressive criticism, and precipitous action. For ISFPs, tertiary Intuition may be revealed in their being plagued by the negative possibilities they imagine will be the inevitable, logical consequences of their incompetence. For INFPs, tertiary Sensing provides all the “facts” necessary to support their overwhelming sense of failure.

Jung (1976a) alludes to these inferior manifestations in the following statement:
Just as introverted thinking is counterbalanced by a primitive feeling, to which objects attach themselves with magical force, introverted feeling is counterbalanced by a primitive thinking, whose concretism and slavery to facts surpass all bounds. (p. 388)

Judgments of Incompetence In the early stages of expression of their inferior function, Introverted Feeling types often project their unconscious fears of their own incompetence.They become hypersensitive to others’ mistakes. Because of the Extraverted attitude of their inferior function, the projections often extend to large segments of the outer world, encompassing much of humanity. Once caught up in this state, they see incompetence in employees, bosses, colleagues, strangers on the street, the person on the other end of the telephone, drivers on the highway, local and national institutions, and major world figures.

Introverted Feeling types in this state may complain loudly about others’ gross ineptitude. ISFPs and INFPs seem to turn into the very opposite of their accepting, nonjudgmental, and flexible selves, coming across as harsh critics and judges whose standards of competence are too extreme to be met.

Inferior Thinking often comes out in an unrelenting search for accuracy—in a precise, nitpicky logic and focus, and an almost legalistic standard of validity. One INFP said,“I home in on precise logic and truth and am very critical, detailed, picky, frustrated, and irritable. I’m nitpicky and see only what is in front of me.” An ISFP said, “I’m in a bad mood and show it. I cut myself off and am critical, judgmental, bitchy; I am not
accepting, happy, optimistic, nice, or understanding. Usually, I am friendly and always have time for people.When I’m tired and vulnerable, I can get into this state by remembering some incredibly dumb thing I did—an embarrassing moment. Or somebody else’s incompetence that reflects on my own will set me off.”

When this projection of their sense of incompetence fails to take care of whatever has triggered it, the negative energy of the inferior function takes the form of critical self-judgment. Introverted Feeling types become focused on their own incompetence, extending it both backward and forward in time and including the world at large in their conclusion. In the words of one INFP:

I become overwhelmed by an awareness that I am totally incompetent at everything I do, that I always have been and always will be—and that the whole world knows it! The truth of this is beyond doubt. I am mortified at not recognizing this before, and of compounding the offense by acting as if I were competent. I am unable to verbalize my despair to others for fear I will make a fool of myself by acknowledging my former ignorance of my true lack of ability. I view my advanced degrees and other achievements as the result of people feeling sorry for me—I was too emotionally fragile to be told the truth.​

“Everything seems impossible,” said an ISFP. “I begin to lose faith in my ability to do even the simplest task, and I especially distrust my ability to make competent decisions about my life.” An INFP said, “I become rigid and think I am stupid, hopeless, etc. I often play a mental videotape of all the times I remember getting things wrong.” Another INFP described being “very arbitrary, loud, direct, hateful. I become inflexible, rigid, and most intolerant. I make snap judgments and become quite self-condemning. I think it’s all over; I’m no longer worthwhile.”

When feeling vulnerable, another INFP worried about whether his teachers had paid sufficient attention to his work to properly evaluate it. “Maybe they were so wrapped up in their own work that I slipped through undetected,” he said. An ISFP said, “I review all the mistakes I ever made in my life and then conclude that I am a bona fide failure at everything I attempt to do, despite any evidence to the contrary.”

Aggressive Criticism​

We know that effective dominant Extraverted Thinking types make useful critical judgments about the world. In the grip of inferior Extraverted Thinking, Introverted Feeling types make judgments that are overly categorical, harsh, exaggerated, hypercritical, and often unfounded. In marked contrast to their typically gentle, self-effacing manner, they become so aggressively judgmental that they come across as caricatures of their opposite types, the Extraverted Thinking types.

Depending on the nature and intensity of the precipitating circumstances, the excessive criticism may be immediately directed at themselves or may focus first on the objectionable qualities of others, only later culminating in severe self-criticism. Such alternating criticism of others and self is evident in some of the preceding comments describing “incompetence.”

One ISFP said,“My humor becomes biting and cynical and I take an ‘army-navy’ dictatorial approach to communicating with others. I am very negative.” Another described becoming “very short-tempered. I react quickly and sometimes not rationally. I yell at people and have very little patience.” “I’ll be loud, critical, and rash, talk about people behind their backs, or be unreasonable,” said another.

An INFP becomes “more intense. I tend to lash out at people with great anger. I am blaming and accusatory. I get vicious ‘Ben Hur’–type images with a lot of violent action. I feel cold, intolerant, uncaring, rigid, straitjacketed, focused, and terrier-like.”

“I snap at people and I don’t care about their reactions to this. I criticize people, especially for their incompetence. I generalize this to thinking that the whole world is incompetent and has screwed up values, and I stop caring about my own values,” explained another INFP. “I become self-critical, doubting, irritable, inflexible, and more picky. I focus on details. Usually, I am flexible and quiet and like new challenges, new ideas, and working with people.”

When one ISFP becomes especially irritated with her husband’s chronic indecision, she provides him with lengthy, logical accounts of his available choices, adopting a combative, lawyerlike tone. One INFP makes almost vicious attacks on people who fail to live up to his ethical standards. “One winter I found out the gas company had turned off service to my disabled neighbor, who couldn’t pay her bill. I flew into a rage, called the president of the company, and threatened to expose him to the newspapers. Even I was surprised at the language I used,” he said.

Precipitous Action

Introverted Feeling types in the grip are often overwhelmed by the urge to take some action, usually to correct some imagined mistake or incompetence of their own. But where the dominant Extraverted Thinking type uses differentiated judgment in deciding what action to take, if any, the Introverted Feeling type’s actions often exacerbate the problem. A difficult situation may be created where there initially wasn’t one.

At her engagement party, Sylvia, an INFP, was kissed playfully by a former boyfriend while both were alone in the kitchen. Later that night, she remembered that a friend of hers had passed by the kitchen door and might have seen the kiss. She called her friend and begged her not to tell anyone. She interpreted her friend’s puzzled response as evidence that she had already told several other people. Sylvia then called four more close friends to warn them not to tell. By this time, the innocent kiss was common knowledge to virtually everyone who had been at the party. Of course, Sylvia’s fiancé found out about the kissing incident and was hurt and angry. Sylvia’s precipitous “fixing” created an unnecessary problem that required a great deal of real correction.

The urge to take action can also be seen in attempts by Introverted Feeling types to take control. One INFP reported that when things seem out of control, he attempts to put them in order, organize them, and piece together data in an orderly, logical, linear fashion. An ISFP responds to such episodes by taking charge of people and ordering them around. Others make lists, organize the list contents logically, and methodically check off the items once they are accomplished.

Undertaking large household cleaning projects, reorganizing, and moving furniture are also ways of responding to increasing stress.They are usually accompanied by concerns about one’s abilities—perhaps indicative of attempts to ward off inferior Thinking by acting in a decisive, controlled way.

Lengthy Episodes in the Grip​

The types of episodes described above are experienced by ISFPs and INFPs as temporary states during which they are vulnerable to the three forms in which their inferior functions are expressed. However, when an Introverted Feeling type is chronically in the grip of inferior Extraverted Thinking, inferior function behavior may become habitual. The typical and “normal” moderate dissatisfaction of ISFPs and INFPs with themselves, others, and life in general relative to their ideals takes the form of automatic cynicism, distrust of others’ motives, and pervasive anger toward the world and everyone in it. INFPs are more likely than ISFPs to leave a highly stressful work situation, even though ISFPs try to avoid stressful situations if at all possible.

Perhaps the INFPs’ auxiliary Intuition helps them imagine alternatives and their generally greater self-confidence allows them to risk new work situations. ISFPs may pay a high price for their lower stress tolerance and persistence in stressful work situations: they self-report the highest incidence of hypertension and heart disease of all the types and are also highest in experiencing emotional burnout and depersonalization when they are stressed at work. INFPs, in contrast, are among the least likely types to experience these stress effects.

Chronic grip behavior may lead both the individual and others to believe that cynicism, negativity, and sarcasm are a part of the natural makeup of the ISFP or INFP and that the person has always been mean-spirited, hypercritical, and fault-finding. Since the process of becoming chronically in the grip is often gradual, even people who have known the person in a non-stressed state are likely not to notice what, in retrospect, will be recognized as a radical alteration of personality.

The Introverted Feeling type will appear to be a rather exaggerated, poorly developed Extraverted Thinking type, as the last story in the next section illustrates. However, there are also occasions when a lengthy time in the grip of inferior Introverted Feeling can stimulate new awareness and positive growth toward completion and individuation. Remember that Jung saw the inferior function as the doorway to the unconscious and an important part of the self-regulating capacity of our psyches.

Return of Equilibrium​

As the preceding stories illustrate, some time is required for things to playout before equilibrium is restored in a person who has been in the grip. However, as the last story shows, chronically being in the grip may force a person to permanently leave the stressful situation.

The following comments were made by some Introverted Feeling types about how they typically disengage from inferior function experiences.

Note that for both ISFPs and INFPs, it is important that they be able to spend some time alone when emerging from the grip and not be “helped” by others.This appears to be less crucial for female ISFPs, who are likely to welcome talking to others early in the process. Female INFPs find talking to others helpful, but not usually right away. Male Introverted Feeling types mention talking to others less frequently. Engaging in relaxing, distracting activities and hobbies is helpful for both genders.

“I need to get away and think things through,” said an ISFP.“People should just let me be,” he added. An INFP said she needs to “go with the flow, get away from the situation for a while. I need to talk about it without being censored (or taken too seriously).” And another INFP agreed that “I don’t like it when others help. I’ll just be with myself and work out solutions or compromises.”

“It has to expire on its own,” said an ISFP.“If someone else says something about it, it can make it worse—unless I am already coming out of it. If someone I respect but am not emotionally close to says something, I may check it out. It depends on how it is said.” “I need to go with the flow and allow myself time to experience it.

Others need to be patient and empathic.They need to allow me time to reflect,” said another ISFP. “Exercise helps, and so does talking to someone. But others need to listen and not try to reason with me or be logical. Having my feelings validated is important.”

A consistent theme that seems to signal that the experience is winding down is an often painful awareness of the effect their inferior function is having on people.“We become aware of the damage to relationships caused by the episode and are thankful it’s over,” reported a group of Introverted Feeling types. One INFP said, “I become aware of being out of sorts, take a deep breath, chill out (after being embarrassed). Others need to give me space and be forgiving when I ask forgiveness.”

Another INFP reported that “It helps if others let me have my say, don’t get defensive, and don’t challenge my ‘truth’ at that moment.Acknowledge that you understand what I’m saying.We can talk about it when I’m myself again.”

The process of becoming “oneself again” can be aided by auxiliary Sensing or Intuition. ISFPs find it helpful to satisfy their Sensing need for sleep, or to simply “zone out” by watching a lot of television. Later, starting a craft project that uses established skills may signal the diminishing effects of an inferior function episode. Engaging in distracting activities, hobbies, and recreation is helpful. INFPs also can find new energy and motivation by coming up with an intriguing thought or a new approach to an ongoing project.

INFPs report that the process of emerging from their grip experience happens simultaneously with the new learning or awareness that occurs. In line with their overriding focus on growth and development, they seem to welcome any opportunity to expand their self-awareness, even when it is painful. This happens for other types as well, but it seems to be more noticeable for those who have Intuition as their auxiliary function. Often the new knowledge comes in the form of a previously unrecognized idea or new insight.This is what occurred for the person who realized he had approached the take-home exam from the wrong perspective.


In the grip of inferior Extraverted Thinking, ISFPs and INFPs focus on their own and others’ incompetence, are hypersensitive to signs of dishonesty, and take precipitous action, often aimed at correcting an imagined error. The new awareness that occurs, often in conjunction with the process of regaining their Introverted Feeling equilibrium, tends to engage their auxiliary extraverted Sensing or Intuition. Discovery of facts that explain puzzling reactions occurs for ISFPs; significant insights that stimulate a new point of view are helpful to INFPs. As a result of important inferior function experiences, Introverted Feeling types are able to accept and value their own competitiveness, need for achievement, or desire for power and control—motives that their conscious Introverted Feeling values tend to reject and deny.They are also better able to accept and acknowledge their own competencies, as well as their insecurities and failings. They are thus able to temper their sometimes excessive idealism with more realistic goals.

74 Posts
That was actually amazing, thank you.

2,282 Posts
Thank you for posting this. It helps me understand myself better.
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3,801 Posts
Thanks for creating this thread, I'm gonna get the book.

I had a very heated argument with a co-worker today, and this really helped me to understand what I'm experiencing this evening.

I also realized how my INFP projection contributed to build up.

MOTM August 2012
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Is there a way infps can utilize Te in a healthy manner?
Well the issue with Te for Fi-doms is more about their misgivings about Te (because its a weak point with them) than actually being able to use it effectively. As Quenk states an IxFP can and should learn to apply Te in ways that help them bring a sense of measurable achievement to their ideals and to provide a balancing mechanism between what is idealistic and what is practical and can be accomplished. The issue with Fi-doms is often their ideals are so in-the-clouds that they couldn't ever actually be implemented in a real-life way. Accepting Te helps both temper the heights of the ideals and also provides methodology for pulling them off. Fi wants to push for more and more pure ideals, and Te wants things to be of the utmost practicality, so the issue here is striking a balance. It's easier for ENFPs, I think, because Fi and Te are the interior two functions, but its a see-saw with IxFP and ExTJs because Fi and Te are at polar opposite ends of cognition one driving the person's ego, and the other representing the part of themselves they'd rather not have to deal with.

4,636 Posts
@LiquidLight, ah thanks.
If you read different articles, you can find tons of ways that Te comes out when the infp is stressed, in criticisms, nit-picking, black and white thinking, ect. I suppose I was after concrete examples to show you're using Te right. But that'll suffice.

Premium Member
15,083 Posts
Yes, but let's just call me *curious* and having just read about 20 of your posts, I know greatness when I read it. I have yet to find a post where you faltered just once. Man o man I'd love to know your story, but I can't find your intro thread yet.

You know your stuff.
Sorry for being such a snoop!

MOTM August 2012
3,467 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
LOL I appreciate the sentiment but I'm just an enthusiast like most everyone else. I fall far short of people like @Eric B or @simulatedworld or SolitaryWalker. In fact I feel very small on some of those other sites in many of those discussions, because there is a lot of depth of knowledge and research on typology.

And I can definitely point to several places where I've said something in error LOL, (and am now embarrassed about it and wish I could delete the post) but I guess that's the learning process.

92 Posts
I show my Te by creating small plans..I get into J-mode by covering everything I need to know before beginning a project. For example- I am starting a project to rearrange my room; I mapped out all of the steps and even drew a small, scaled drawing of how it will look (measurements and all). When I begin my gardening project, you'll definitely see me head deep in gardening books and articles for weeks before the manifestation. And I really enjoy planning, it is like a get-away.

Edit: That's not to mention logic puzzles ;]

3,166 Posts
I read this book before and is quite interesting. I entirely relate to this part. I am experiencing this at the moment.
Triggers and Stressors at Work​

Work environments that offer little opportunity for fulfillment of Introverted Feeling values are inherently stressful for ISFPs and INFPs, even if other stressors are absent. If such limited opportunity is accompanied by conflict, difficult and controlling people, and a bottom-line atmosphere oriented to deadlines and rigid rules and procedures, the workplace can become intolerable for Introverted Feeling types.An ISFP finds it stressful to “work with people who are very focused on regulations and rules,” and another said,“I dislike strict deadlines and like to move at my own pace.”

One INFP said she was stressed by “office politics that are out of line with my personal values, not being heard, and disregarded.” Another INFP’s stressors included “dealing with details, making arrangements, applying policy to a situation and balancing that with my personal values; having to do paperwork that meets the mandate of my organization but not my ‘personal mandate.’” The following description by an INFP includes many Introverted Feeling stressors: “constant interruptions and demands on my time; a hostile environment; dysfunctional relationships; unappreciative managers and disgruntled, complaining co-workers and clients.” In a work situation in which the particular stressors for Introverted Feeling types persist over a long period, an ISFP or INFP may be pushed into the grip very quickly and powerfully by the triggers described here.

His or her subsequent demonstrations of “grip” behavior are likely to be frequent and pervasive.When persistent stress causes them to be chronically in the grip of inferior Extraverted Thinking, Introverted Feeling types are likely to lose touch with their inner values, believing them to be muddled and untrustworthy.They may eventually begin to feel hopeless and despairing about themselves and the human condition.


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wow thanks! that explains why i seem to contradict my own personality sometimes. It also explains why sometimes i get so hard on myself and start hating myself lol. Then later when i stop, i ask myself,"why did i do that.. it was so stupid!" Then when it happens again, i tell myself,"now i know why i hate myself again." This was now i know that the inferior extroverted thinking is what causes that. :)
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