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I hadn't placed that much thought on the shadow function theory until recently, but I just realized that there are another 4 functions that we are not even aware of*. For INFJs this are Ne,Fi,Te,Si. This means that while we are, for the most part, proficient in maybe 2 or three functions, there are another set that still affects us in a way, but we have no conscious way of controlling them.

Doesn't this concern you? The idea that there are forces(functions in this matter) that are doing their unsupervised mischief as we go through life is kind of a big deal. It's like you're in this puddle of light, and you're comfortable thinking that you know everything there is to know about that place, when suddenly you realize that there is another world out there lurking in the shadows. However, you have no way of exploring this world because it's so dark that you might stumble upon things that you don't understand.

I may be wrong on this theory, since I'm still new at this, but what are your thoughts on the shadow functions, and how they affect you?

*Actually, I knew about this theory, but it's the first time that I had actually put some thought about the ramifications of what this meant for us.
 

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MOTM July 2012
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yes, it is troubling. shadow functions are frustratingly uncontrollable, like computer settings (labeled "activate under stress") with checkboxes that are checked and grayed out...lately i've been so stressed out that i scored almost as high in Ne and Fi as in Ni and Fe on the cognitive functions quiz...crazy, but true.
 

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I find the shadow functions fascinating in myself and others...
It's like a dual personality, almost. Just that one is inherent, and the other is, like @seastallion said, activated under stress.
I used to think that I had two personalities sometimes, back in high school. I couldn't figure out how I could be so emotional, sensitive, intuitive and cautious, and yet, when I was stressed (although I didn't recognize that as the trigger at the time), I would suddenly become very rational, direct, insensitive and worldly. It never made sense until I learned about the shadow functions and what those look like.

Ironically, ESTPs at their worst (a.k.a. our shadow type) are absolutely intolerable to me. Every ESTP I've ever known has sent me home crying at some point. A couple of them much worse than that...
Anyway, I find it interesting that, when I'm stressed, I take on the negative traits of an ESTP. That, and I used to actually enjoy those traits in myself. It was like having this emotional shield up that I'm otherwise unable to access. I can confront others. I can tell them what I really think. I can not cry.

It's interesting.
It's like my stronger me inside of me.
:)
 

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I am noticing more how I'm interacting with my shadow functions. I've noticed sometimes the Ne will take over if there's a situation, I guess where I figure Ni is not really working, so I come out with an ENTP split personality. It's kinda like a milder version of "The Mask". That's probably why I find the ENTP forum pretty relate-able. I find Ne is the shadow function that presents itself in my mind more often than any of the other functions, so I guess that's why my split personality is ENTP rather than INTP, in fact I've gotten ENTP as a result a couple of times when taking a cognitive functions test.

I've noticed however, while the Ne comes out and works along with Ti, I'm not usually stressed out, I guess it's just my brain being exhausted of resources, and I guess sending in reinforcements or something like that, I'm not sure. But whenever the Ne and Fi take over, it's never pretty in my mind.

I find, yeah, when I'm stressed out, I do take on some of the traits of an ESTP sometimes, but lately, I've been able to come to terms with that shadow and have learned to use it to my advantage, especially since it usually comes out when the stress is task oriented, like at work. Then I just learn how to just respond, react, etc. to the immediate environment and to notice every little detail...yeah I do kind of go the extreme with it, and I do get obsessed with activities that are sensory oriented to de-stress, but I've learned with age to tame that shadow as I've learned to incorporate the inferior function in to my life more often.

But, like I said above, when I'm at a complete roadblock, I'm convinced that all the shadow functions take over temporarily, leaving me emotionally drained, because it's usually unhealthy versions of them. I find the Fi tends to take over more than the Ne, becoming really judgmental both toward me and toward others and the Si tends to back up the Fi dredging up past memories, but mostly negative memories, chanting: "This is how things always were, so it will never change, things will never get better", while the Ne emphasizes all the ways things can go horribly wrong. This might be why I have a more difficult time dealing with unhealthy INFPs than unhealthy ESTPs. I'm not sure.
 

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yes, it is troubling. shadow functions are frustratingly uncontrollable, like computer settings (labeled "activate under stress") with checkboxes that are checked and grayed out...lately i've been so stressed out that i scored almost as high in Ne and Fi as in Ni and Fe on the cognitive functions quiz...crazy, but true.
Superb analogy
 
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I've heard that it's actually not a good idea to focus on your shadow functions. The more time you spend developing and focusing on your primary functions the less time your shadow functions have to run amok.
 

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The Shadow is the first thing we encounter when embarking on the path to individuation, according to Jung. It is a very real part of us (duality can be found in every aspect of nature... ish :p)

If we wish to grow and develop as individuals, it is something we must wrestle with to understand. It's pretty interesting stuff.
 

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pmj85 beat me to it. Facing one's fears and repressed aspects of self opens up a path to the unconscious the shadow being one of them and there are also the archetypes (if you wish to know more about it research individuation). When self-actualization happens the person is capable of using the different 8 functions as the situation needed (even if with different degrees and he/she will still have a preference of functions). I have been able to use Ne for a few months now consciously even though I am a Ni-dominant and it is amazing, the present moment linking of concepts, perceiving things clearly, being more flexible, planning less, etc. which causes me to be like a P even though I am a J. The way one perceives personality changes then even though from the beginning growth is mentioned in the theory itself.
 

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pmj85 beat me to it. Facing one's fears and repressed aspects of self opens up a path to the unconscious the shadow being one of them and there are also the archetypes (if you wish to know more about it research individuation). When self-actualization happens the person is capable of using the different 8 functions as the situation needed (even if with different degrees and he/she will still have a preference of functions). I have been able to use Ne for a few months now consciously even though I am a Ni-dominant and it is amazing, the present moment linking of concepts, perceiving things clearly, being more flexible, planning less, etc. which causes me to be like a P even though I am a J. The way one perceives personality changes then even though from the beginning growth is mentioned in the theory itself.
i'm curious to know more about this...where do you find articles on this topic? i've looked for them but have not found them.
 

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I dunno about this. IMHO, and this is just my opinion, mind you, we don't access "shadow functions". When we're stressed, we still use the functions we always use, it's just that they get a change in priority. Se takes over for Ni, meaning we will binge on things, like foods, or sports, or whatever. Fe will take a backseat to Ti, etc. And anytime we appear to have "shadow functions", it's really just some mix of the functions we have.

The reason I believe we don't have access to shadow functions is because functions have to be developed. And they develop over time and in stages as we grow. And it's not a conscious effort on our part either. And how would we go about consciously "developing" shadow functions, not having them? Oh, that's right!

We'd use the functions that we have, thusly developing them instead. :dry:
 

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I used to think that I had two personalities sometimes, back in high school. I couldn't figure out how I could be so emotional, sensitive, intuitive and cautious, and yet, when I was stressed (although I didn't recognize that as the trigger at the time), I would suddenly become very rational, direct, insensitive and worldly. It never made sense until I learned about the shadow functions and what those look like.
This exactly! It's like a switch was being flipped, and then I couldn't understand which of the two I actually was.
 
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