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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Inferior Si, present in ENxP

Extraverted Intuitive Types
E N T P a n d E N F P

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

by Naomi L. Quenk

Important Features of Dominant Extraverted Intuition

ENTPs and ENFPs have a passion for new ideas and especially enjoy the pursuit of possibilities in the world.They prefer what might be to what is, approach the outer world with trust and optimism, and see the environment as welcoming, safe, and exhilarating.They are bored by facts, details, and repetitive activities, especially those that are irrelevant to their current interests.However, an incoming fact may stimulate their intuition and lead to new theories or models.

Extraverted Intuitive types seem to have a natural trust in the environment as supportive of all things possible. They may therefore ignore sensory data that might portend danger or take risks that others might avoid. As a rule, new challenges are more appealing to them than what is known and verified.They have an uncanny instinct for spotting trends and future developments, often before others are even mildly aware of them. Some may, in fact, predict future programs or outcomes and be told they are really “out in left field.” Months, sometimes years, later they may see those ideas come into their own.

Their enthusiasm for a current project can be so compelling that they may be oblivious to time and energy limitations, often ignoring their own and others’ needs to take breaks from the activity for food and rest. At an extreme, they may become so physically run down that they are forced to stop their work or risk serious illness.

ENTPs and ENFPs tend to enjoy the company of like-minded Intuitive types and may be somewhat disdainful of their opposite types, finding them drab, predictable, and conventional.They may see Introverted Sensing types as overconcerned with health, safety, and comfort. Their noninferior mode of responding to mild or moderate crises can verge on the dramatic, sometimes accompanied by a wealth of either affect or critical intensity that may seem excessive to others.

Extraverted Intuitive Types at Work

Interacting with other people and having opportunities to use their creativity in a flexible, open, exciting environment form the basis of what energizes Extraverted Intuitive types in the workplace. Whereas their Introverted Intuitive colleagues (INTJs and INFJs) want the highest degree of freedom to use their creativity in working independently, ENTPs and ENFPs want that same freedom to use their creativity in interaction with or as applied to other people. An ENTP described what energized her as “new projects, researching a new subject, meeting new people, interactive events, and enthusiasm from others.”An ENFP said he was most energized by “interacting with people in training and creating new material for training.”Another cited “social contact,working out difficulties and challenges regarding human nature and relationships.”

Teamwork is very important to female ENTPs and ENFPs, and ENFP women often mention “helping others” as energizing. An ENFP woman said she is energized by “empowering and enlightening others—contributing to the growth, development, and self-awareness of others; making a positive difference or impact.” Another ENFP woman cited “exciting new projects, high-quality work with interesting people, interacting with my team, helping people develop, and getting others enthused.”

Excitement, enthusiasm, and a spirit of fun in the workplace are highly desirable for Extraverted Intuitive types.An ENTP said he is energized by “working on new projects, developing new courses and ways of doing things, finding time to relax or play while I am working.”An ENTP woman mentioned “creativity, working in a group setting, competent people, adventure, and nonstructured work.” Two other ENTP women listed between them the following energizers: “talking to people, connecting, new problems, brainstorming, freedom, autonomy, open space, people thinking, respect for ability, visioning, fun, big picture, new challenges, competence acknowledged, winging it, interaction, stimulating, debate with no set outcome.”

Important Features of Dominant Introverted Sensing

The qualities associated with Introverted Sensing that are relevant to our discussion of its form as an inferior function are
• Solitude and reflection
• Attention to facts and details
• Awareness of internal experience

The Everyday Introverted Sensing
of Extraverted Intuitive Types

The inferior function affects Extraverted Intuitive 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 erupts and a full-blown episode occurs, or when an ENTP or ENFP is chronically in the grip because of long-term stress.

Typical Sensitivities and Projections

Extraverted Intuitive types report varying degrees of concern about whether others see them as having substance, stability, and depth.They can therefore overdo attention to facts or be somewhat defensive about their knowledge and use of facts and details.

One ENFP becomes so deeply involved in the details of a new project that she obsessively searches out supporting evidence in the form of ever more facts, which are often irrelevant to the goals of the project. An ENTP lawyer acknowledged that she often feels unprepared with data to support her legal arguments, so she makes sure she has at least a few facts she can bring forth at appropriate moments to convince others of her thoroughness. An ENFP teacher says she always overprepares for lectures, bringing enough material to fill twice the amount of time she actually has to present.

When a strongly held value or principle is involved, ENTPs and ENFPs will carefully collect important facts and details. However, people who disagree with their viewpoints may accuse them of overvaluing certain facts, which in turn may lead the ENTPs or ENFPs to doubt their own perceptions and judgments. As a general rule, it is relatively easy to shake people’s confidence in the area of their inferior function. When put in this position, Extraverted Intuitive types seek confirmation of their factual basis from others. For example, an ENFP whose company was planning a major move became increasingly concerned because critical financial facts were being ignored by management. When her expressed concerns were discounted, she began to doubt her perceptions, even though a few of her colleagues shared them. Only after the move actually resulted in a financial crisis did she (and others) accept the validity of her fact-based perceptions.

Less mature Extraverted Intuitive types may sometimes present themselves as “experts” about some factual area, eager to educate others about it.This can prove embarrassing if they try to impress a true authority in a particular field. An ENTP at a basic training session for volunteer firefighter complained that the level of information being presented was “too elementary for someone of my level of knowledge and experience. After all,” he explained, “I’ve already witnessed a forest fire and helped put out a couple of brush fires!”

Some Extraverted Intuitive types recall being sensitive about their factual knowledge even as children.An ENFP described an incident when he was about 9 years old.“My school class was doing a project on ponds and streams and the indigenous wildlife. I stated that a creature known as the great crested newt could be found in this habitat. My teacher denied the creature’s existence, and then I felt belittled in front of the class. I returned to school a few days later armed with reference books from the town library and copious notes and photographs to prove the creature’s existence. I felt vindicated and seldom went to the library to borrow similar books again.”

Overconcern with selected areas that involve facts or sensory data can also occur. One ENFP was characteristically picky about making selections from a restaurant menu. He invariably requested some alteration in the standard fare, adding or deleting a vegetable, grilling rather than broiling, and so on. His companions at these events would be subjected to a lengthy explanation of his finely discriminating gourmet tastes.

In mildly stressful or fatiguing situations, an uneasiness about facts comes out in projected form as a pickiness and obsessiveness about what would otherwise be judged by the Extraverted Intuitive type to be irrelevant detail. Often there are irritated complaints about others’ failure to attend to “important” details like typos, misplaced footnotes, motel beds that are too soft or too hard, or fussiness about food. One ENTP was surprised to learn from his wife that every time they discussed household finances, he would ask the same questions about their insurance policies—using exactly the same tone of voice.

Expressions Through Interests and Hobbies

For many Extraverted Intuitive types, the least-preferred function may be expressed through the development of expertise in one or two specific areas that require the use of Sensing. One ENFP who doesn’t care much for cooking is known for her superb pie crusts; another takes great pride and pleasure in doing all her own business accounting; and one ENTP has a passion for meticulous gardening and landscaping.

An ENFP described her interest in horse shows, especially turnout classes, as an adaptation of her inferior Introverted Sensing: “It involves a lot of preparation of the horse in the very early hours of the morning. I am alone and have to spend a large amount of time paying attention to very specific details to make sure everything is perfectly in order to be competitive.” Another ENTP described his lifelong hobby of model railroading: It connects me to facts and reality. I literally create a world in a very direct way, and I run that world. I operate it and manipulate it. It is also pure relaxation of my usual intense cognitive activity. When I stop working on my railroad, I can’t remember a single thought, only what I actually did. Another appeal of his hobby is its connection to his grandfather, who was an acclaimed master woodcarver.The hobby thus provides a strong sense of connection to his past.

Some ENTPs and ENFPs whose work lives involve primary use of their inferior and tertiary functions may welcome the opportunity to use their dominant and auxiliary functions in their hobbies. An ENFP listed his hobbies as “sports/exercise (especially team sports), travel, and going to clubs and concerts to listen to music and chat with friends.” He sees these hobbies as primarily addressing Extraverted Intuition and auxiliary Feeling. “I believe this is because I work in a highly ISTJ environment as an engineer and thus I work in my tertiary and inferior functions a lot. It can be exhausting.”

Eruptions of Inferior Introverted Sensing

When one or more of the preconditions for eruption of the inferior function are present, Introverted Sensing emerges in its more exaggerated, disruptive form.

Typical Provocations or Triggers

Fatigue and pressure from overcommitment often trigger inferior function reactions in ENTPs and ENFPs. Not surprisingly, given the typical expressions of their type, they mention physical exhaustion as an inferior function trigger more frequently than other types. Often the enthusiasm of Extraverted Intuitive types encourages them to overextend themselves and neglect their physical needs for food and rest.The result may be a physical illness that forces them to stop overdoing things and also may serve as a trigger for an inferior function experience.

An ENFP aptly described this when he said, “I think of myself as a high-stimulus person, and I enjoy having many things on the go at once. My ‘issue’ is knowing where to draw the line between so much to do that it becomes impossible and ‘just enough’ to keep the challenges interesting and attainable.” Both ENFPs and ENTPs mention taking on too much, but ENFPs seem particularly distressed by this tendency, often attributing it to their poor time management. Said one ENFP,“Too often, it is me not allowing enough time to finish a task or not leaving early enough to be on time.”

An important and frequent trigger for inferior Introverted Sensing is having to deal with a lot of details or attend to practical matters for long periods with no breaks. This is an especially effective provocation if the Extraverted Intuitive type’s efforts meet with failure. Dealing with bureaucratic red tape can be particularly noxious for Extraverted Intuitive types, who are likely to dig in their heels and refuse to capitulate to “ridiculous rules.”

For some ENTPs and ENFPs, violation of important values can constellate a reaction. Explained one ENFP, “It happens when I feel the pain of others who are the victims of someone’s extreme aggressiveness.” An ENTP economist’s severe inferior function reaction was triggered by working on a theoretical model that had negative social implications.

Triggers and Stressors at Work

Not surprisingly, the very opposite of what makes Extraverted Intuitive types excited about work is cited by them as very stressful. One major stressor is dealing with an overwhelming workload. This stressor may be particularly problematic for ENTPs and ENFPs because of their difficulty in distinguishing between the challenge and excitement of multiple demands and a totally unreasonable workload. Other stressors consistently mentioned by both male and female Extraverted Intuitive types include the following: too much structure, routine, rigidity, planning, specifics, being watched, being forced to work alone, staying in the same environment, no change, repetition, being unable to deviate from an agenda, being over-controlled by others, a prescriptive approach. Dealing with details is particularly stressful for female ENTPs and ENFPs. An ENTP woman cited as stressors “doing planning and detail and not having the right equipment, although I can adapt very quickly to crisis situations.” An ENFP woman listed the following: “details, managing my schedule, boundaries, rules, judgmental attitudes, too much paper, problems that don’t go away.”

Lack of stimulation and a constraining atmosphere can quickly cause Extraverted Intuitive types to lose energy and become demotivated at work. An ENTP said that what he finds stressful is “lack of space, routine and mundane activities, people looking over my shoulder, unproductive meetings, unnecessary reports.” Another ENTP added “boundaries, a judgmental atmosphere, constraints, negativity or apathy from others.”An ENFP described as stressful “long hours of work (more than fifty-five per week), a bad organizational climate, having to work for long periods by myself.”

Detailed work, deadlines, and excessive structure can all sap energy for these types, and the longer they operate in such an environment, the more likely it is to take its toll on their productivity and well-being. An ENFP described “spending an extended period of time on systematic, procedural, detail-oriented data and working with chronic, argumentative, antagonistic individuals” as quite debilitating.

In a work situation in which the particular stressors for Extraverted Intuitive types continue over long periods, ENTPs and ENFPs may respond quickly and intensely to the triggers described here.This increases the likelihood that their subsequent demonstrations of “grip” behavior will be frequent and pervasive. When persistent stress causes them to be chronically in the grip of inferior Introverted Sensing, they are likely to lose touch with their natural enthusiasm for future possibilities and their trust in their ability to successfully overcome obstacles. They may doggedly focus on minor facts and details and habitually complain about others’ factual and detail errors.

The Form of the Inferior Function

Many young male and female ENTPs and ENFPs report becoming uncharacteristically quiet and reserved when they are out of character and find this in marked contrast to their usual openness and sociability. Like other young Extraverted types, they do not seem to find anything positive in moving to this Introverted approach, but are rather puzzled and surprised by it. “I become very quiet and reserved,” said an ENTP young man, “and I don’t talk to people like I normally do.” An ENFP young woman said, “Sometimes I withdraw from everyone, sit alone for hours, and just think. Let stuff stew in my head alone.” Older Extraverted Intuitive types also do not report much pleasure in being withdrawn, quiet, and reserved, and in losing their natural Extraverted Intuitive qualities. Said an ENFP,“I become very quiet, unsure about my thoughts and expressing them. I think a whole lot.”

As the connection with dominant Intuition diminishes, so do Extraverted Intuitive types’ characteristic enthusiasm, optimism, and energetic approach to life. When their hold on their dominant and auxiliary functions continues to taper off, the qualities of inferior Introverted Sensing manifest in withdrawal and depression, obsessiveness, and a focus on the body. For ENTPs, tertiary Feeling emerges as strong, uncontrollable, and emotional criticism that accompanies the obsessive “facts” that overwhelm them. The tertiary Thinking of ENFPs contributes to their obsessive “facts” the sarcastic, legalistic “logic” that proves others’ failings.

Two qualities of the negative, inferior forms of Introverted Sensing (obsessiveness and a focus on the body) are reflected in Jung’s (1976a) description of the inferior Introverted Sensing of ENTPs and ENFPs:

They take the form of intense projections which are . . . chiefly concerned with quasi-realities, such as sexual suspicions, financial hazards, forebodings of illness, etc. . . . [The Extraverted Intuitive may] fall victim to neurotic compulsions in the form of oversubtle ratiocinations, hair-splitting dialectics, and a compulsive tie to the sensation aroused by the object. . . . But sooner or later the object takes revenge in the form of compulsive hypochondriacal ideas, phobias, and every imaginable kind of absurd bodily sensation. (p. 370)

Withdrawal and Depression

Effective dominant Introverted Sensing types are in their element when they spend time alone in reflection. Processing their stored information is familiar and pleasurable, and they are energized by their Introverted Sensing activities. For ENTPs and ENFPs in the grip of inferior Introverted Sensing, the inward focus of energy is unfamiliar and disturbing.The diminution of Extraverted energy results in feelings of sadness and despair.Tertiary Thinking or Feeling may emerge as well. For ENTPs this comes out in a conviction that no one understands them or cares about them; they may become emotional and vulnerable in this state. ENFPs may demonstrate perverse logic and accuse others of not being rational, insisting that logic is the only acceptable criterion for making a decision.

In this condition, one ENTP describes feeling isolated, convinced that no one loves her or ever has. Another reports feeling hollow, turned off, “fixated on a narrow linear trap.”Another ENTP is plagued by an uncharacteristic emotionalism. “When things don’t go well, I resort to emotion to get my point across,” he explained. “There is a sense of feeling numb and frozen with no way out,” said an ENFP.“I have tunnel vision and lose my sense of time.” Another noted that when he is under too much pressure, his verbal skills deteriorate until “I become almost mute.”

Many ENFPs describe turning inward, eventually becoming grumpy and depressed and putting people off. Their Feeling side seems to disappear. One ENFP said,“I realized I had become numb and frozen inside— there was no light, no energy—just a wasteland of a landscape, and I was plodding through it.” Another ENFP described “deep depression and hopelessness.The most extreme unrealistic scenarios become real and factual. I will be broke, I will die of some dread disease, I will lose all respect among professional colleagues.”

Both ENTPs and ENFPs report a loss of enthusiasm and motivation accompanied by low energy. They are prone to an uncharacteristic, uncomfortable pensiveness and are unable to find pleasure in the things they normally enjoy. This may lead to self-neglect and, ultimately, illness. This kind of approach to life is particularly alien to them, for they are usually enthusiastic, fun-loving, and full of energy.

An ENFP said, “There is a lot more going on inside my head. I want to be alone to think and it becomes one-track thinking. Everything else is clouded by this one issue—I can’t stop thinking about it. I lose confidence in myself and doubt myself in every realm of my life.”

One ENFP noted that twice a year, in winter and summer, she regularly experiences ten days to three weeks during which she retreats into herself and broods. Others describe periods of becoming withdrawn, critical, unfriendly, and cold. Isolation can exacerbate this reaction. An ENFP who was forced to spend a lot of time alone while recuperating from a badly broken leg was put on antidepressant medication after a month of increasingly lengthy periods of sobbing and despair.


Effective dominant Introverted Sensing types are adept at dealing with many facts and details and at putting their knowledge to practical use. In the psyche of ENTPs and ENFPs in the grip of inferior Introverted Sensing, this appears as an obsessive focus on one or two facts or details. This is in marked contrast to their typical perspective, which includes the broadest range of possibilities in the world.

The tunnel vision that accompanies the expression of all the inferior functions is particularly dramatic for ENTPs and ENFPs because they no longer have the Extraverted Intuitive energy necessary to envision a future that differs from their present obsession. All sense of possibilities is eliminated.

An ENTP said that sometimes the details involved in a major project overwhelm her so much that she slips into an obsessive focus on how much time is left to work on the project: “I get it down to minutes and keep repeating the time frame over and over.”

An ENFP said, “I can become compulsive when I begin to bring order into my kitchen or when I’m balancing the bank statement. I’m generally pretty relaxed about order and usually have piles of books and stuff that needs to be returned to file cabinets.” Another ENFP said, “I examine, analyze, question stupid things. I also get overly organized, planning and cleaning things rather than getting to the task appropriately. I work overtime to create organization for myself. I count things (like sides on a piece of furniture) over and over. I remember and get obsessed with facts and details, remember dates, memories of being bombarded with ‘unwanted greatness.’ I have an overwhelming need for all data to make every ‘little’ fact relevant.”

When their Intuition is not working, sensory data become the all encompassing objects of perception for Extraverted Intuitive types. But as their statements indicate, their lack of expertise in this area usually leads to an inappropriate selection of sensory data.And because “the future is now” in a very distorted way, they take the data at hand and project it into a vague, oppressive future.They may focus on a thought, such as “I’m alone now and will always be alone,” rather than the dominant Intuitive type’s more typical response of “I’m alone now; I wonder what interesting things I can find to do, and what exciting people I’ll find in the world.” In this state, the depression and hopelessness described earlier readily occur.

It seems that when inferior Sensing focuses on a single fact, dormant dominant Extraverted Intuition intrudes and generalizes it. Because their Extraverted Intuition is not functioning in its usual well-developed way, ENTPs and ENFPs cannot recognize the fact in question as one possibility among many. No perspective exists for the person beyond the one fact.

Extraverted Intuitive types in this state report being unable to respond to alternatives presented to them by others. The present fact—be it pain, depression, or whatever occupies the central focus at that moment—is projected into forever.

Extraverted Intuitive types report one or more of the following ways of obsessing: being overly picky, getting upset about little things, becoming irritable, escalating small irritations into major issues, getting finicky over unimportant things, being nervous and jumpy with people, and becoming fussy, crabby, short-tempered, and rigid.“I am usually a very happy and relaxed person,” said one ENFP.“Sometimes I want people to just get to the bottom line, and then I want to analyze for them where they went wrong and just get on with it.This is quite out of character for me and I feel bad when I’ve been like this. People tell me that when I’m in my negative mode I become terse and clipped in my interactions with others.

I give orders and delegate in a very autocratic manner.” An ENTP described becoming outraged by minor errors, irritated by detail, intolerant of interruptions and people—“the very things I usually welcome.” Another told of feeling overwhelmed and out of control, being unable to sort out priorities, and thus becoming inflexible.

An ENFP described becoming curt with people, insensitive, literal, logical, and critical, and being especially insensitive and pedantic about language and vocabulary. Other ENFPs report doing obsessive record keeping, organizing data from their checkbooks, making endless lists of things to do, and putting minute details in order. “I become incredibly organized; everything is step by step when I’m under stress. I also act to get things done, not worrying as much about the impact,” said an ENFP.

Many ENFPs report fanatically mowing the lawn or cleaning house and being unable to stop themselves, even though they typically view these activities as relatively unimportant and avoid them. The ISTJ husband of one ENFP reluctantly admitted that he rather liked it when his wife was highly stressed because it was the only time the house ever got thoroughly cleaned! An ENFP described the following reaction as very distressing:

I cannot respond to another’s conversation. I pace, the traffic is loud, the clock is loud, sounds I never noticed before are deafening and very slow. It’s almost as though time is standing still. My usual self is calm, patient, and friendly. I would classify not responding to the conversation of another as exceedingly rude behavior. And I’m generally oblivious to noise.

Another ENFP becomes picky and critical of himself and others. Usually, he sees the bigger picture, is flexible, and allows others to be who they are without trying to control or change their behavior.

On the day before the final examination in a workshop, when anxieties typically run high, a minor typesetting error was discovered in a table of data in the test manual.The instructor commented that there were two or three other errors in the text that would be corrected in the next printing.

One ENFP heatedly stated that he wanted the publisher to prepare a document listing all the typos in the text and to send it to him so he wouldn’t have to buy a new text when the errors were corrected.

Focus on the Body

When effective dominant Introverted Sensing types describe the nuances of their internal sensory experiences, one can marvel at the exquisite, evocative images that emerge. When an Extraverted Intuitive type in the grip of inferior Introverted Sensing focuses on inner sensations and internal experiences, it often translates into exaggerated concern about physical “symptoms,” whose diagnostic meaning is always dire and extreme. In the grip of their inferior function, ENTPs and ENFPs frequently over-interpret real or imagined bodily sensations as indicative of illness.

When they are in full command of their dominant and auxiliary functions, these types easily ignore or minimize messages from their bodies. So when they do focus on the body, it is done to the exclusion of everything else and with little experience of what is “normal” for them. A particular symptom can have only one cause, which must be life threatening or incurable: A pulled muscle is taken as a sign of heart disease; indigestion signifies an impending heart attack; and a headache is believed to be a brain tumor. It seems that when their Intuition isn’t working, they react to messages from their bodies rigidly and absolutely.

An ENTP had been in a rare bad mood for several days but was unable to identify any cause. One morning while shaving, he noticed that when he turned his eyes to the left, the white in his right eye crinkled.He had never noticed that before and was terrified that something was terribly wrong with his eyes. Before making an appointment with an eye doctor, however, he decided to observe other people’s eyes to determine just how bad his were.To his relief (and chagrin), he found that everyone’s eyes moved the same way his did. He had simply never bothered to look at eyes—his own or other people’s—at all closely before.

An ENFP fell and injured a small bone in her back, which she could feel as a bump. She asked a friend, who was a nurse, what the bump could be and was told that it was probably a cyst. She quickly translated the cyst into cancer and imagined herself on Medicaid dying alone in a squalid hospital ward. In fact, all that was necessary was a visit to a chiropractor to have the bone put back in place.

During a particularly stressful time, another ENFP woman insisted that her husband have an otherwise innocent-appearing wart removed because she feared it was malignant.An ENFP man reported that in times of great stress he becomes obsessed with illness. Once, when he had a routine liver function test, he became convinced he was dying of liver cancer before the test was even performed. Another ENFP told of owning a blood pressure cuff he rarely uses—except when he becomes very stressed, at which times he takes his blood pressure three times a day.

One ENTP described taking any fact and blowing it out of proportion—for example, imagining an illness in his child as a fatal disease. Others report having a low pain threshold, fearing the dentist, and reacting to stress with a number of somatic symptoms. In fact, though physical symptoms as an expression of stress are common across types, it may be possible that “somaticizing” is more prevalent among Extraverted Intuitive types. One ENTP had digestive problems for fifteen years. During a period of extreme stress, he developed a life-threatening bleeding ulcer. An ENFP and an ENTP discovered in a discussion that they both have medical conditions that force them to attend to their bodies—something they did not do prior to having the conditions. As a result, they more readily attend to their other physical needs as well.

There is an interesting contrast between the imagined negative outcomes of minor bodily symptoms reported by Extraverted Intuitive types and the catastrophizing that is an expression of the inferior Extraverted Intuition of Introverted Sensing types. Although there is some seeming similarity, the processes through which the two negative expressions occur are actually quite different. For Introverted Sensing types, the future is always somewhat suspect, so stress encourages them to imagine and anticipate a future filled with negative outcomes. Extraverted Intuitive types, in contrast, are typically optimistic and welcoming of future possibilities. But when they get stuck on a present fact or situation, they lose sight of the future, imagining it as an endless repetition of the negative situation that is occurring right now.

One way in which Extraverted Intuitive types may try to return to being themselves when chronically stressed is to vacillate between the extremes of frenetic Extraverted and Introverted Sensing. Because both extremes are likely to be exaggerated and undisciplined, little of substance is accomplished in either state. When they finally succumb to negative Introverted Sensing, it may take the form of moderate to severe depression and a sense of hopelessness about the future. One ENFP said, “I get in a downward spiral. One time I went into a stress-induced depression. I almost left my job and made it back through therapy.”

Perhaps because ENTPs and ENFPs thrive on the threshold of chronic stress, they seem to have a high tolerance for situations that might prove debilitating for many other types. ENTPs in particular report very few sources of stress in their lives, and both types report a low incidence of heart disease and hypertension, ENTPs having the lowest incidence of all the types. This is in marked contrast to their opposite types, ISTJs and ISFJs.

Extraverted Intuitive types are likely to leave work situations in which conditions become intolerable, but usually not because they are overloaded or forced to work very hard. Rather, such conditions as working with incompetent people (especially for ENTPs) or being forced to adhere to unacceptable work values (especially for ENFPs) are likely to trigger quitting the noxious situation. Sometimes becoming ill or depressed and recognizing how different they have become can force these types to take action. Some of the flavor of what constitutes a noxious work setting is captured in this statement by an ENTP who said that stress was a very important factor in quitting her job:“I reacted by leaving an organization and becoming an independent consultant. I can select the work I want and the people I work with. I can arrange my own schedule.There are no stupid rules and regulations. I enjoy helping organizations function better, but I don’t want to be part of one.” She had earlier described the most stressful work demands of her previous job as “working with incompetent people, not having control of my own schedule and activities, and running up against a lot of stupid rules and regulations.”

Lengthy Episodes in the Grip

The types of episodes described above are experienced by ENTPs and ENFPs as temporary states during which they are vulnerable to the three forms in which their inferior function is expressed. However, when Extraverted Intuitive types are chronically in the grip of inferior Introverted Sensing, inferior function behavior may become habitual. Little of their typical enthusiasm, open-minded acceptance of new ideas, and uncanny visioning of future trends will be seen. Instead, they will be irritable, critical of everyone around them, and obsessed with minutia.They are likely to find fault with everything and everyone, especially close family members and co-workers. If their obsessiveness involves a focus on imagined illness, they may be unable to shake their conviction that they are seriously ill, despite medical reassurances. Depression may result from this or simply as a consequence of their unnatural focus on negative realities in the present.

Chronic grip behavior may lead the individual and others to believe that he or she is typically irritable, impatient, and cranky, vacillating between withdrawal and frenetic activity. Since the process of becoming chronically in the grip is often gradual, even people who have known the person in a nonstressed state are likely not to notice what, in retrospect will be recognized as a radical alteration of personality. The person will appear to be a rather exaggerated, poorly developed Introverted Sensing type.

However, there are also occasions when a lengthy time in the grip of inferior Introverted Sensing 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

Extraverted Intuitive types seem to need time to reflect, fully experience themselves, and even “wallow” in their inferior state. ENFP men in particular for all Extraverted types to attend to their Introverted functions, is particularly appealing to Extraverted Intuitive types in the grip of their inferior function.

As is the case for most types, Extraverted Intuitive types in the midst of a grip experience need others to back off and avoid patronizing them. It can be helpful if some of the overwhelming details are attended to, but attempts to assist by taking over and “solving the problem” for them are not appreciated.Talking to trusted friends helps, especially for ENTP and ENFP women, as long as the friends don’t offer advice (or, if they do offer it, they don’t expect it to be taken), make judgments, or try to talk them out of their negative state.

Movement out of the inferior function often is aided by a positive engagement of the Sensing function, especially in situations in which a neglect of behavior associated with Sensing has provoked an inferior function experience. Physical exercise, such as jogging, engaging in some quiet sensing, or visualizing a place of peace and silence can be helpful. ENFPs in particular mention exercise as helpful. For most Extraverted Intuitive types, attending to physical needs, such as sleeping a lot, eating good food, and getting massages, also accompanies the gradually diminishing effects of the inferior.

The role of the auxiliary function is apparent for ENTPs, who find it helpful to try to analyze what is happening, either alone or with a close friend who is able to accept the ENTP’s emotion and help him or her sort out priorities.An ENTP said,“I make myself stop and really consider what it is that’s worrying me—do a reality check of how I might achieve it.This stimulates me into positive actions to start dealing with the situation, rather than just worrying about it.” Another ENTP suggested that others “talk to me as I am, combining the normal me and the anxious me.”

For ENFPs, who may be communicating uncharacteristic coldness and indifference, what is needed from others is warmth, kindness, and approval. It is interesting to note that ENFP women in particular seem to call on their tertiary Thinking to help them, perhaps reflecting the value of being forced to develop Thinking in their work lives.

One said,“I sort of talk myself out of it—often aloud, reasoning and feeling my way back to a more comfortable and productive position.” And another said she needed “time out—to rationally evaluate the reality (the truth of the situation—not just as I see it.), assess things, and decide what I need to do.”

A third ENFP woman described needing others to help “by applying logic to my irrational, exaggerated obsessions—bringing me back to earth.” Extraverted Intuitive types often respond to an inferior episode by resolving to pay more attention to details, especially the kind involved in their recent negative experience. They may also gain a new respect for their bodies and their physical limitations.They report being better able (at least for a while) to maintain a more balanced perspective regarding their often overly ambitious expectations of themselves.They may create a plan to attend to their bodies with such things as an exercise regimen, and to develop their inner judgment with such things as formal meditation or regular quiet time.They may also resolve to notice and deal more quickly with the overload that can signal an impending inferior function episode.


In the grip of inferior Introverted Sensing, Extraverted Intuitive types tend to withdraw and become depressed, obsess about details, and become focused on their bodies.When they are obsessing about one or two inner facts, their dominant Extraverted Intuition may intrude in the form of a theory projecting the few facts into the distant future. Auxiliary Thinking or Feeling accompanies their return to equilibrium. ENTPs use logical analysis to do so, and ENFPs reconnect with their inner value structure and its relationship to their dominant Intuition.

As a result of important inferior function experiences, Extraverted Intuitive types acknowledge the limitations of their physical and mental energies, resolve to take better care of themselves, and integrate a greater report needing time alone. Meditation, which can be a useful way appreciation for details, facts, structure, and careful planning.

1,794 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Extraverted Feeling Types
E S F J a n d E N F J

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

by Naomi L. Quenk

Important Features of Dominant Extraverted Feeling

Extraverted Feeling (Fe) types typically radiate goodwill and enthusiasm.They are optimistic about life in general, and human potential in particular.They prefer to focus on the positive, harmonious, and uplifting aspects of people and human relations, paying little attention to negative, pessimistic, limiting, and divisive messages, situations, and conclusions.Their primary goal is to create and maintain good feeling and harmony among people.

Although ESFJs and ENFJs may recognize judgments that rely heavily on logical analysis, cause-and-effect relationships, and statistical odds, they largely ignore such factors in making decisions. Others may therefore see these types as making decisions that “fly in the face of logic.” Thinking types may be particularly puzzled and frustrated when an Extraverted Feeling type accurately describes the logical conclusions warranted by a situation but decides in favor of harmony and caring. From a Thinking point of view, using such a criterion in decision making is inappropriate.

Extraverted Feeling types are careful not to hurt others’ feelings and try to take others’ well-being into account. If they cannot avoid telling someone an unpleasant truth, they will carefully soften the message by putting it in an affirmative context. Unconditional positive regard is a strongly held value.

As a result of their natural pleasure in pleasing others, Extraverted Feeling types can mistakenly be seen as overly caring or even codependent. In reality, attending to others’ needs is usually a satisfying, legitimate way of expressing their dominant Feeling preference.

In a crisis that does not activate their inferior function, ESFJs and ENFJs focus on alleviating the concerns and suffering of others.They are comfortable letting others manage the more technical aspects of a crisis so they can devote their energies to creating a cooperative, comfortable atmosphere for crisis victims. When a situation demands more forceful methods, however, they will take any action necessary for the benefit of others.

The Everyday Introverted Thinking
of Extraverted Feeling Types

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

Typical Sensitivities and Projections

Extraverted Feeling types can be particularly sensitive about others’ assessment of their intellectual competence. Although they don’t usually doubt their abilities, they may worry that they have not communicated their knowledge clearly. In comparing themselves to others, they may see themselves as slow to learn and lacking in analytical facility.Though many, especially ENFJs, are high achievers, some feel they are at a disadvantage in highly intellectual and technical endeavors.

This sensitivity about their intellectual competence makes Extraverted Feeling types particularly attuned to comments that could be interpreted as reflecting on their adequacy. In the early stages of an inferior function episode, this may manifest as a projection onto others of their own feared incompetence.They may notice and comment on others’ inaccuracies and their failure to recognize reality and confront the truth.

Such projection can be seen in the intensity with which they criticize others’ behavior, particularly in the area of control. An ESFJ became furious whenever her INTP supervisor barged into her office and interrupted her to talk about whatever was important to him at the time. In reflecting on her reaction, she realized that she herself needed to resist barging in on others and demanding their attention when she had a problem to solve or was upset about something.

Extraverted Feeling types may be quick to identify other people’s illogical behavior, but they may apply a different set of criteria to their own equally nonlogical actions.An ENFJ complained that his INFP wife’s art studio was not set up systematically.“You really should put things into some logical order so they’ll be right there when you need them,” he told her. She replied that her current system suited her way of working. “But it’s just not rational,” he responded. When his wife likened the “disorganization” he perceived in her studio to his illogical way of organizing his
household chores—his inefficient way of ordering tasks and his tendency to leave tasks half done—he insisted that this was not the same thing.“The cleaning gets done, doesn’t it?” he said heatedly. “My artwork gets done, too,” she replied. He remained blind to the similarity.

Expressions Through Interests and Hobbies

Perhaps because the demands of their daily work and home lives require them to use their less-preferred processes, Extraverted Feeling types seem to choose recreational activities that engage their dominant and auxiliary functions rather than their tertiary or inferior ones.They enjoy such activities as entertaining, playing bridge, participating in group sports, and generally socializing. A hardworking, highly regarded ENFJ district attorney loved to organize large dinner parties that brought together people from different parts of her busy life. Extraverted Feeling types are often avid readers who enjoy discussing books with friends or becoming active members of book groups.

Home improvement hobbies are also quite satisfying to Extraverted Feeling types. Sewing, crafting, building, carpentry, decorating, and gardening are often mentioned as enjoyable activities. ESFJs and ENFJs may be great joiners of civic, political, or school-related groups and tend to willingly take on leadership roles. One ESFJ, who enjoys a demanding career, takes pleasure in cooking elaborate meals for others,working in her garden so it will look beautiful, and writing lengthy letters to old friends— all activities that give her special joy because she has so little time for them.

ESFJs and ENFJs may also enthusiastically support the work, interests, and hobbies of their spouses and/or children, taking great pleasure in developing at least some expertise in the relevant areas. One ENFJ learned all he could about his wife’s research area and was as genuinely excited as she was when the results fit her hypotheses.

Eruptions of Inferior Introverted Thinking

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

Typical Provocations or Triggers

Extraverted Feeling types respond with inferior Introverted Thinking when they perceive they are being misunderstood, not trusted, not taken seriously, or pressured to conform to some prevailing view with which they disagree. In fact, any situation in which conflict persists and remains unresolved can activate the inferior function of ESFJs and ENFJs. Being unable to use their natural preferences can also serve as a provocation since it arouses their sensitivity about their competence. An ESFJ mentioned as triggers “too many things to do all at once; short time frames, extra responsibilities and tasks that require me to think on my own and don’t allow me to bounce ideas off of others.”

When asked what provoked being “beside himself,” an ENFJ responded, “too many demands and feeling that I’m not appreciated, that I’m being taken for granted, and that what I do doesn’t matter to anyone.”

Another ENFJ cited “impersonal treatment, criticism, and not being appreciated for my contribution.” An ESFJ said “when people disagree with my point of view and attack me personally.”Another cited “if I can’t get my point across no matter how hard I try; when I’m not allowed to talk something out to get it resolved.”

ESFJs and ENFJs recognize that disagreements can arise and that criticism is a necessary aspect of working with people. However, the way in which critiquing and conflict are handled makes a difference. An ENFJ stated that what could provoke an inferior function response for her was “criticism that is delivered in an unfeeling way—or when I find out that I have done something that hurt another person and the person doesn’t tell me until months later.”

Triggers and Stressors at Work

Work environments that force conformity to values that are contrary to those of the Extraverted Feeling type, that place other concerns above the welfare of people, and that fail to recognize the individual contributions and value of employees are very stressful for ESFJs and ENFJs. For one ESFJ, the work demands that are most stressful are “high technology, strong competition between work peers, a lack of opportunity to show my strengths, and being placed in situations in which I am constantly using
my inferior function.”

Conflict in the workplace is also upsetting for Extraverted Feeling types.Working with uncooperative or undermining people and dealing with an overwhelming workload are particularly stressful for ESFJs. Female ENFJs often mention dealing with details, general disorganization, and lack of recognition as quite stressful. One cited “details, proofreading—routine detail tasks,” and another, “plowing through detail” as sources of work stress.

In work situations in which the particular stressors for Extraverted Feeling types continue over long periods, ESFJs and ENFJs may respond quickly and intensely to the triggers described here. This increases the likelihood that their subsequent demonstrations of “grip” behavior will be frequent and pervasive.When persistent stress causes them to be chronically in the grip of inferior Introverted Thinking, they are likely to lose touch with their natural optimism and trust in human potential and
become negative, critical, and judgmental toward everything and everyone around them.

The Form of the Inferior Function

Some Extraverted Feeling types mention becoming uncharacteristically logical and analytical, with a tendency to think before they speak, when they are in the grip of their inferior function. Such experiences of Introverted Thinking are not generally seen as either positive or negative—merely as strangely different. Perhaps the prevailing societal favoring of Extraversion over Introversion makes Introverted forays into Extraversion (note the comments for Introverted Feeling types and Introverted Thinking types) more appealing to Introverts than the converse experience of Introversion for Extraverts.

For Extraverted Feeling types, the more obviously distressing aspects of “losing” their dominant Extraverted function seem more prominent. Falling into the grip for them is preceded by a diminution or an absence of characteristic Extraverted Feeling qualities. General optimism, enthusiasm, and interest in people give way to low energy, pessimism, and depression.

Uncharacteristic withdrawal from usual activities and becoming highly critical of others are consistent responses for male and female ESFJs and ENFJs. “I’m different in being Introverted. I don’t make contact, call friends, go to social events, meetings, the theater. I may accept an invitation, but only if someone urges me.

I get concerned about my health. I have no plans, no vision, the future is bleak. I am numb, without feeling or zest for life,” said an ESFJ. An ENFJ said, “I am quiet and withdrawn and want to be alone and reflect on what is happening.” Commented
another, “I feel phony and uncomfortable, like a fish out of water. I am unable to be my usual spontaneous self.”Another ENFJ said,“I don’t make eye contact. I can’t share what is going on inside me. I feel tight and negative.” An ESFJ said,“I want to be alone—I’m uninterested in anyone else.”

Jung’s (1976a) comment on the inferior function of Extraverted Feeling types touches on all three of these features:

The unconscious of this type contains first and foremost a peculiar kind
of thinking, a thinking that is infantile, archaic, negative. . . .The stronger
the conscious feeling is and the more ego-less it becomes, the stronger
grows the unconscious opposition. . . . The unconscious thinking
reaches the surface in the form of obsessive ideas which are invariably
of a negative and deprecatory character.

Tertiary Sensing and Intuition serve to support the negative judgments that are made.The tertiary Intuition of ESFJs generates vague, negative“hypotheses” that affirm their convoluted “logical” critical stance about themselves and others. ENFJs bring their tertiary Sensing to bear by coming up with negative past and present “facts” that support their complicated and largely illogical critical judgments.

As energy continues to be withdrawn from the dominant and auxiliary functions, inferior Introverted Thinking intrudes in the form of excessive criticism, convoluted logic, and a compulsive search for truth.

Excessive Criticism

Effective dominant Introverted Thinking types critique ideas, products, systems, and methods. The inferior Introverted Thinking of Extraverted Feeling types appears in the form of a sweeping condemnation of people. In the grip of inferior Thinking, ESFJs and ENFJs may “dump” on other people, slam doors, yell, make biting comments, and say terse, blunt, or even cruel things to others. They often become physically tense, grit their teeth, clench their fists, and appear visibly agitated. Both Extraverted Feeling types frequently mention “laying a ‘guilt trip’” on those closest to them as responses to being in the grip.An ESFJ said that her automatic response to anyone’s “excuses” about his or her work is to state emphatically,“Well, it’s not good enough!”

A hostile, negative atmosphere can elicit sharp, biting, even vicious comments from Extraverted Feeling types.They seem to dig in their heels, becoming impervious to either logical or feeling arguments.As one ENFJ described,“I become cranky, judgmental, and angry. I mistrust myself and others. Normally, I instinctively trust everyone. I am different when I am not acting from trust. Often this occurs when I feel I am not trusted or understood, or when there is conflict and tension around me.”

An ESFJ reported becoming steely and caustic; another described herself as being coolly objective when her strongly held feelings were violated. One ESFJ was convinced that everyone took advantage of her good-natured, helpful ISFP husband. She persistently berated him for his weakness and loudly condemned his family and friends for their rude behavior.

“I am like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” said an ENFJ, describing his reaction to extreme stress.“My humor becomes inappropriate, meant to shock people. I’ve even been known to throw things while in this frame of mind.” An ESFJ said he becomes “angry, out of control, critical, responding too quickly to others with impatience, cutting a person off when they speak.” “I’m critical rather than seeking harmony, self-protective rather than ‘giving,’” said an ENFJ.

As their Extraverted energy further diminishes, their criticism is internalized, resulting in self-deprecatory judgments. Turning the criticism inward encourages depression, low self-esteem, and guilty embarrassment at revealing what they view as their alien and unacceptable side.

Convoluted Logic

In the grip of inferior Thinking, the Extraverted Feeling types’ attempts at logical analysis take the form of categorical, all-or-none judgments that are often based on irrelevant data. A highly idiosyncratic “logical” model may be developed internally, but the resulting conclusions may violate good logic.

In describing this quality, Marie Von Franz (1971) stated that because Extraverted Feeling types ’Thinking is neglected,“it tends to become negative and coarse. It consists of coarse, primitive Thinking judgments, without the slightest differentiation and very often with a negative tinge”

“My thinking becomes rigid and I insist on solving problems alone, with none of my typical sharing,” said one ENFJ.“I maintain a front, even though I feel unworthy. I am verbally critical, organize more, and become rigid, perfectionistic, and angry. I want the world to go away.” Another ENFJ described being “inside my head analyzing—adding two and two and getting five and knowing it’s right.”

Elaborate, logical “plots” may be developed by the Extraverted Feeling type in the grip of negative Introverted Thinking.These take the form of complicated and improbable scenarios for dealing with or eliminating the distress or disharmony in question. ESFJs and ENFJs frequently describe making up “stories,” the goal of which is to explain some upsetting event or solve some nagging problem.

An ENFJ recalled that at the age of twelve, she was required to participate in a field day of sporting events. Convinced of her lack of skill in this area, she wanted to avoid embarrassing herself in front of her peers. She plotted various ways to break her leg or ankle, such as falling out of a tree or being run over by a car, but she abandoned her plans, reasoning that she would probably suffer more than minor injury. She also recognized that a lot of pain could be involved. Ironically, her forced participation
resulted in her placing third in the broad jump.

Often the source of the problem stimulating the “story” is meanness or criticism directed at the Extraverted Feeling type or a close associate. An ESFJ with a long commute to work was frequently distressed by other drivers’ rude, inconsiderate behavior. He found himself “making up a long and involved story about one particular rude driver, in which I imagined the kind of work he did, his family relationships, the daily events that affected him, and the possible mitigating circumstances that caused his meanness to me.” The imaginary explanation served to restore harmony and allowed the ESFJ to retain his positive valuation of people.

Compulsive Search for Truth

Dominant Introverted Thinking types value truth as the criterion for judgments and decisions.They use logical analysis to arrive at the most objective truth possible. For Extraverted Feeling types in the grip of inferior Introverted Thinking, seeking absolute, ultimate truth can become an obsession. Many report turning to experts for advice but requiring them to have the “real truth,” or at least the latest knowledge and thinking on the subject.When an expert is not immediately available, they may attempt an internal logical dialogue, often ending up recognizing that their logic is convoluted.This may make them feel frightened, out of control, and despairing of ever extricating themselves from their negative logical conclusions.

An ENFJ said:

I become stuck on an idea and don’t have any perspective about it.The
devastating truth of my conclusion is overwhelming. I try to think my way out of this tight box I’m in, but there is no escape from my conclusion. I feel compelled to find someone to tell me what to do.

Instead of searching for a specific person who might provide them with needed answers,many Extraverted Feeling types report turning to lectures or books relevant to their current problem; these types are often avid readers of self-help books. ESFJs and ENFJs agree that when stress occurs in some area of their lives, they search bookstore shelves for answers.

One ENFJ had a wall full of books in his office. His colleague wondered how he could possibly have read all of them. The ENFJ reported that when under pressure to solve a big problem, he virtually devours the books, having many of them open at once, searching for expert advice on the problem at hand.

When a stressful area is chronic or serious, Extraverted Feeling types tend to be attracted to support groups. In the company of others having similar experiences, they can find validation for their perceptions, as well as the latest expertise and thinking about the problem area.

Lengthy Episodes in the Grip

The types of episodes described above are experienced by ESFJs and ENFJs as temporary states during which they are vulnerable to the three forms in which their inferior function is expressed. However, when Extraverted Feeling types are chronically in the grip of inferior Introverted Thinking, inferior function behavior may become habitual.

They will then be seen as having a sour, disapproving approach to people and to life in general. Instead of their upbeat and enthusiastic usual selves, others will experience them as gloomy, unhappy people who are reluctant to acknowledge and support optimism and good feeling in others. In this state of chronic, distorted Introverted Thinking, ESFJs and ENFJs become rigidly pedantic, expressing defensiveness and hostility when their often faulty judgment is questioned. Internally, the Extraverted Feeling person applies this same negative assessment to himself or herself.

A sense of worthlessness and incompetence can become all-consuming, and the Extraverted Feeling type can project this onto others by being hypersensitive to imagined slights and negative assessments. Such a stance can lead to rifts in lifelong friendships that may never be healed.

The auxiliary Intuition of ENFJs may contribute to their reporting a greater variety of coping resources and options for dealing with stress than do ESFJs. ESFJs are particularly vulnerable in situations in which their experience level and self-confidence are already low, especially where they don’t have others to help them. ENFJs report physical stress symptoms.

Exercise is found to be helpful by both male and female ESFJs and ENFJs, as is talking to someone about issues (especially for female ESFJs). Extraverted Feeling types in general are also clear that they need time alone to reflect on what is happening, often before talking to others.

Chronic grip behavior may lead both the individual and others to believe that pessimism, negativity, and global disapproval are a part of the natural makeup of an ESFJ or ENFJ and that he or she has always been that way. 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 person will appear to be a rather exaggerated, poorly developed Introverted Thinking type. For example, a woman
had known an ENFJ many years ago but had lost contact with her. She was surprised when an acquaintance mentioned the ENFJ as a work colleague and described her as habitually negative, critical, and pessimistic. “But when I knew her, she was a happy, optimistic person who always saw the bright side of life!” the woman exclaimed.Apparently, the intervening years had been fraught with disappointment and loss for this ENFJ, leading to chronic grip behavior.

However, there are also occasions when a lengthy time in the grip of inferior Introverted Thinking 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

Normal access to dominant Feeling returns as Extraverted Feeling types allow new information to enter their consciousness. This may occur through either auxiliary Sensing or Intuition. Experiencing a change of scenery, listening to a friend talk about something interesting or amusing, spending time outdoors, and exercising can all aid the process of return to equilibrium. (Although most of the types find that exercise alleviates stress, Extraverted Feeling types, ENFJs in particular, consistently mention regular exercise as important in tempering both short-term and long-term

One ENFJ said he sometimes needs to take long breaks that allow him to withdraw from his usual hectic schedule and spend time in more solitary study and physical exercise.An ESFJ said that what helps is “humor and laughing and light entertainment.”

Extraverted Feeling types appreciate being encouraged to get involved in projects. ENFJs find it helpful to embark on an ambitious new undertaking, even if they have to force themselves at first; ESFJs may prefer to work on a smaller, detailed project that can be accomplished slowly and methodically.An ENFJ said that returning to herself was aided by “talking with a close friend who reminds me of my strengths and qualities, and starting work on a task with possibilities.” Talking things through with
someone who cares seems to be particularly helpful for ESFJ women, but is also helpful for all Extraverted Feeling types.An ENFJ explained,“I need to spend time with someone who gives me feedback and says I’m an okay person—the conflict isn’t because I’ve done something bad.”

ESFJs and ENFJs frequently mention the need to be taken seriously by friends and to be allowed to vent without being talked out of it. Like other types when they are emerging from the grip, Extraverted Feeling types do not appreciate being patronized or dismissed or told “It will be okay; don’t feel like that.”They are being genuine when they say they want to be left alone. An ESFJ said she returns to herself “by spending time alone, working through things in my mind, often getting away from the situation or environment physically.” Writing in a journal can also help them fulfill this function by allowing them to extravert auxiliary Sensing or Intuition on paper. They may get a handle on the problem without fearing external judgment or interference, and also get enough distance and perspective to recognize the tunnel vision with which they have been operating.


In the grip of inferior Introverted Thinking, Extraverted Feeling types engage in excessive criticism of others as well as themselves, adopt a distorted and convoluted logic, and compulsively search for exacting truth. Auxiliary Sensing or Intuition may help them reestablish their equilibrium.

ESFJs may work on a task requiring systematic attention to detail;
ENFJs’ return to equilibrium can be aided by planning new projects.

The new awareness Extraverted Feeling types gain as a result of an important bout with their inferior function often centers on achieving acceptance of the limitations reality imposes on their desire for peace and harmony. They may become better able to evaluate their own logical analyses and face adversity more dispassionately. Their auxiliary Sensing or Intuition can aid in this process. ESFJs may acknowledge previously rejected unpleasant facts, while ENFJs may permit their Intuition to flow
into darker possibilities. Both are then able to increase their effectiveness in accomplishing goals important to their value structure.

1,794 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Introverted Intuitive Types
I N T J a n d I N F J

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

by Naomi L. Quenk

Important Features of Dominant Introverted Intuition

Introverted Intuitive types are the most intellectually independent of the types. They have a theory to explain everything, prefer innovative solutions to established ones, and are adept at seeing situations from an unusual perspective. Their skill at taking a very broad, long-range view of things contributes to their reputation as visionaries. Regardless of whether their auxiliary judging preference is Thinking or Feeling, their dominant Intuition tends to be sharp, quick, and often uncannily correct. It is as if they have antennae that enable them to detect things long before other people do.

People often count on INTJs and INFJs for insightful analyses and forthright judgments. They are adept at appropriately discounting distracting details and homing in on the essential meaning of complex, confusing situations.

Introverted Intuitive types report being puzzled by others’ perception of them as rigid and intractable.This perception may result from their tendency to express their views directly and forcefully.This is especially true for INTJs. Misinterpretation of their forthright communication style as inflexibility may make others reluctant to present alternatives or argue their own point of view. But, as described in Chapter 3, dominant Perceiving types are unlikely to be wedded to their decisions, since they give greater weight to data (perceptions) than to conclusions (judgments). Experience bears this out for the most part. INTJs and INFJs readily modify their incorrect conclusions when they receive convincing contradictory new information.

The spiritual, sometimes mystical, bent of Introverted Intuitive types has been frequently noted.At the very least, they seem to be aware of subtle cues or nuances long before others notice them. INFJs are especially sensitive to unexpressed anger and conflict, whose presence is usually denied by others.This contributes to the sense of separateness from others that many Introverted Intuitive types report, which may lead them to doubt their own mental stability.

Introverted Intuitive types, especially INTJs, readily see the big picture in crisis situations and know how to direct others to take the most effective action.

Introverted Intuitive Types at Work

Work can provide INTJs and INFJs with the ideal opportunity to fulfill their typological nature.They are highly energized when they are able to use their creativity and independence of thought and action to achieve important goals.They enjoy variety in the projects they work on and prefer complex problems to simple ones.“Planning and strategizing that will help fulfill a vision—in silence or with a small group, and after I’ve had some time to reflect and gather information” is how one INTJ described what is most energizing for her. Another INTJ stated that he liked “an opportunity to put all my facilitation in place to solve a problem, reorganize a section, and then run it—some autonomy and complexity.” An INFJ described as most energizing “creativity, variety, people, time alone, helping people grow and develop.”

Introverted Intuitive types want to see their vision of the future enacted at work.This desire for completion contributes to the intensity and single-mindedness that others observe. One INTJ described as energizing “working on projects that have a beginning and an end, which I can work on autonomously, especially those that have a visible, tangible, beneficial impact on the organization and individuals. Finishing tasks and multitasking, making improvements, getting recognition, and keeping people happy.”

An INFJ in her early twenties said,“I place all of my heart and soul and expectations into my work, so I like to see these expectations fulfilled or exceeded.”Another INFJ is energized by “thinking up the best process and ways to work with my staff to accomplish tasks.To be able to juggle tasks and complete them.”

INTJs and INFJs very much want to be recognized and appreciated for their contributions at work, but they may not receive such appreciation. Co-workers may misperceive their desire for autonomy and their single-minded concentration as arrogant and controlling. They may be seen as overly critical and hard to please. Their typical long-range vision can also be an obstacle if others at work do not trust the Introverted Intuitive type’s ability to accomplish his or her often complex and interconnected objectives. However, in environments that support the needs and talents of Introverted Intuitive types, others readily recognize, appreciate, and encourage their devotion to excellence and accomplishment.

Important Features of Dominant Extraverted Sensing

The qualities associated with Extraverted Sensing that are relevant to our discussion of its form as an inferior function are
• Focus on external data
• Seeking sensual/aesthetic pleasure
• Delight in the outer world

The Everyday Extraverted Sensing
of Introverted Intuitive Types

The inferior function affects Introverted Intuitive 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 erupts and a full-blown episode occurs, or when an INTJ or INFJ is chronically in the grip because of long-term stress.

Typical Sensitivities and Projections

Introverted Intuitive types easily gloss over facts and details in their everyday behavior but can be hypersensitive about this. When they become aware that they have made a “Sensing” mistake, or an error of fact is pointed out to them, they are likely to become annoyed and defensive.

Like their Extraverted Intuitive counterparts, they may compensate for their uneasiness in this area by becoming expert in some highly specific area.This can sometimes resemble a fetish. An INFJ who had little interest in most aspects of housekeeping knew all the ingredients of different household detergents; an INTJ was pleased with his ability to identify any kind of cloud formation.

INTJs and INFJs sometimes assert as “fact” information that may have no basis in reality but that strengthens a conclusion they have arrived at using Introverted Intuition alone.When the validity of such facts is challenged, they may become defensive or simply change the subject.

In the next chapter, we will discuss how Introverted Sensing types worry about dire possibilities occurring in the future. In contrast, Introverted Intuitive types focus on relentless realities in the present. They have a readiness to distrust the outer world and to assume that the environment, things, or people will fail them. An INFJ dreaded an impending vacation trip because she was sure the highway signs would be inadequate or confusing.

An INTJ father prepared to teach his daughter long division because he was convinced that her teacher would not instruct her correctly. Another INTJ questioned whether the electrician installing new wiring at his office had used the proper grounding. To deal with these kinds of concerns, INTJs and INFJs may acquire detailed knowledge about the issue at hand—carefully studying highway routes, modern arithmetic teaching methods, electrical wiring, and so on.

Discomfort with the environment can also be seen in an overconcern with keeping track of things. One INTJ reported having to check his pocket two or three times to be sure his keys were there. Introverted Intuitive types try very hard to avoid losing things or getting lost in unfamiliar surroundings. They can become disproportionately upset when their efforts fail, frequently blaming others for their own carelessness.

INTJs and INFJs readily project their own distrust of the environment onto others.They may comment on other people’s failure to notice details or assume that everyone experiences the anxieties they experience when dealing with an unfamiliar environment. They may therefore be overly cautious in giving people directions and provide too many—often irrelevant—details. One INFJ instructed his 28-year-old son as he was about to head out on a long trip in the car,“And when you smoke, you use the ashtray.”

In giving a friend directions to her new house, an INTJ detailed the following:

Take Central Avenue to Fifth Street and turn right. Go two blocks to Smith Street and make a left at the next corner, Avenue M. Go three blocks and turn right into Mulberry. That’s my street. About halfway down the block you’ll see a blue house with a two-car garage and a “For Sale” sign on the lawn. Next door to that house is a small cottage with a peaked roof. My house has no address number on it, but it’s diagonally across from the blue house. . . . Oh, and did I mention that my house is the only two-story house on the block?

Expressions Through Interests and Hobbies

For Introverted Intuitive types, relaxing their dominant and auxiliary functions may occur through such sensual pleasures as eating, exercising, and gardening. One INTJ especially enjoys and appreciates sunshine in spring, autumn, and winter. Another likes to “go somewhere beautiful—mountains, ocean, water.” INFJs often mention the pleasant luxury of taking an afternoon nap. Other Introverted Intuitive types describe craving very hot curries, or escaping by becoming totally absorbed in a mystery or adventure novel.“Escape literature” seems to be a particularly effective way for Introverted Intuitive types to suspend their intense inner focus and vicariously enjoy adventures in the external environment.

An INTJ reports that at times she feels exceptionally relaxed and able to focus totally on observing her environment. At these times she is able to step away from her usual goal-oriented approach and does not feel she must immediately do something with her observations. Often doing aerobic exercise precedes and stimulates this relaxed state. An INTJ who is a passionate bird-watcher tries to arrange his worldwide consulting work to take advantage of bird-watching opportunities. Other Introverted Intuitive types take up hobbies that require careful attention to details and memory for facts, such as photography, woodworking, furniture refinishing, or cooking.

Introverted Intuitive types mention going for walks or drives and noticing interesting details, such as the shapes of houses, the designs on garage doors, the arrangements of trees and flower beds in parks. One INFJ described taking walks by himself and noticing how many different shades of green he could identify on a nature trail, or closing his eyes and trying to identify as many different sounds as he could.

Using Sensing for relaxation seems to be particularly enjoyable because there is no pressure to achieve any particular goal.“Gardening is an activity I love. I don’t worry about performance or doing it perfectly,” said an INFJ. “I like pulling weeds, smelling flowers, removing dead flower heads, admiring the colors. All of this nurtures me.” Another INFJ enjoys the aesthetic aspects of gardening, the shapes and colors of the flowers, as opposed to the straightness of the planting rows. And an INTJ’s hobby is making flower arrangements. She tries to achieve an overall look with the colors of the flowers, rarely wanting to learn the names of the various blossoms.

Eruptions of Inferior Extraverted Sensing

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

Typical Provocations or Triggers

Dealing with details, especially in an unfamiliar environment, can trigger inferior Extraverted Sensing in Introverted Intuitive types. In fact, these types frequently mention that feeling overwhelmed by details often provokes characteristic inferior function reactions. Unexpected events that interrupt planned activities can also unsettle INTJs and INFJs enough to arouse their inferior function. One INFJ said that “sometimes it can be something like having to get from the airport to a hotel. It can happen if I’m driving a rental car in a foreign city, and even if I’m in my own country.”

Another INFJ reports having the following response when she has to deal with unfamiliar details like taxes and finances:

I feel like I become instantly stupid. I truly don’t seem to be able to take in explanations and process them. I have such anxiety I can’t get through it. I feel panicky inside and desperately look for help from someone who can talk to me on my level so that I can slowly begin to understand.

An INTJ finally turned the accounting for his small business over to an accountant when he found himself becoming tense, irritable, and depressed whenever he had to work on the books.

Of the four dominant Introverted types, it is Introverted Intuitive types who most frequently mention “too much extraverting” as a common trigger for inferior function responses.They describe being provoked by such things as crowds; people overload; noisy, busy environments; feeling that their personal space is being invaded; and frequent interruptions. When faced with such provocations, they retreat inside themselves and become intolerant of intrusions by others.They either express irritation at people’s questions or do not respond at all to attempts to communicate with them.

An INTJ described having been raised in a large family with no private, personal space for anyone. All family members were expected to behave in the same way, as prescribed by a narrow set of acceptable behaviors.“ Even though we had separate rooms,” he said,“we had no freedom to decorate them in our own way or use them for anything but sleeping. I had a sense of frustration and rage at the absence of private territory. In hindsight, I was too often ‘in the grip.’”

Triggers and Stressors at Work

Work settings that do not permit sufficient autonomy or that offer few opportunities to work alone and intensively, and that do not provide the opportunity to be creative, think independently, and accomplish goals, are extremely stressful and undesirable for Introverted Intuitive types. INTJs and INFJs hold very high standards of excellence for themselves and others, so issues of competence at work are quite important.

INTJs in particular are intolerant of and impatient with inefficiency and with others’ avoidance of problems.They like to get to the heart of an issue immediately, which sometimes makes others uncomfortable. An INTJ finds it stressful “when there are multiple ‘agendas’ at play so that there is no sense of purpose or direction about an issue that may be a legitimate problem.” She added, “I don’t suffer fools or foolishness well. I like to focus on real issues.”

Other INTJs mention as stressful “noise, confusion, lack of order and direction,”“working with others and not being able to get alone,”“being led by the nose, not having a degree of autonomy.” INFJs are distressed by similar work characteristics, often focusing on the inability to achieve their vision of growth and development for people.

Being unable to work at their own pace and within their own structure is also stressful. An INFJ cited as work stressors “lack of organization and vision by management.”And another INFJ is stressed by “unclear goals and expectations and others’ unwillingness to fit into my flexible time line.” Both INTJs and INFJs find that dealing with details (often seen by them as irrelevant to the task at hand) is extremely stressful.

In a work situation in which the particular stressors for Introverted Intuitive types continue over long periods, INTJs and INFJs may respond quickly and intensely to the triggers described here. This increases the likelihood that their subsequent demonstrations of “grip” behavior will be frequent and pervasive.When persistent stress causes them to be chronically in the grip of inferior Extraverted Sensing, they are likely to lose touch with their natural confidence and pleasure in their Intuition and come across as picky, fault-finding, narrow-minded, and unimaginative.

The Form of the Inferior Function

INTJs and INFJs appear less likely than other Introverted types to get much pleasure from a lessening of introverted “inhibitions,” although some INTJ males describe becoming more extraverted in a positive, sociable way. An INFJ said he is “surprisingly more extraverted, especially in the company of strangers; more expressive and less contained.” Female Introverted Intuitive types mention increased sociability less frequently, possibly because they, like other women who are Introverts, are encouraged (or required) to develop social skills.However, for the most part, the obsessiveness and discomfort that accompany extraverting their Sensing function is experienced as overwhelmingly distressing for both male and female INTJs and INFJs.

As dominant Introverted Intuition loses its position of primacy, INTJs and INFJs start to lose their characteristic wide-ranging, global perspective. Their field of operation narrows considerably, and their range of acknowledged possibilities becomes limited and idiosyncratic. They may make more factual mistakes and become careless with spelling and grammar. “I am unable to cope with simple decisions and problems,” said an INTJ woman. “I’m frustrated by the physical world—I lose things, drop them, hate them. I don’t know what to wear or what to eat. I’m impatient with people and can’t read or concentrate.”

An INTJ said she obsessively looks for the “right” factual piece of information that will solve the problem. “I notice things not put away around the house—things that are broken or things to do.”

As their hold on their dominant and auxiliary functions further diminishes, the qualities of inferior Extraverted Sensing manifest in an obsessive focus on external data, overindulgence in sensual pleasures, and an adversarial attitude toward the outer world. For INTJs, tertiary Feeling may abet the process in that the “facts” (real or invented) on which the INTJ obsesses are often used as “proof ” that others discount, devalue, or dislike the INTJ. Similar “facts” may be used by the INFJ’s tertiary Thinking to prove that the INFJ is inadequate or a failure.

Sensing (obsessive focus on external data, overindulgence in sensual pleasures, and an adversarial attitude toward the outer world) in the following comment:
What the introverted intuitive represses most of all is the sensation of
the object, and this colours his whole unconscious. It gives rise to a compensatory extraverted sensation function of an archaic character. The unconscious personality can best be described as an extraverted sensation type of a rather low and primitive order. Instinctuality and intemperance are the hallmarks of this sensation, combined with an extraordinary dependence on sense-impressions. This compensates the rarefied air of the intuitive’s conscious attitude. (p. 402)

Obsessive Focus on External Data

Effective dominant Extraverted Sensing types are open to the widest variety of information from the environment—the more the better for them. Fully experiencing the outside world is their greatest pleasure. For an INTJ or INFJ in the grip of inferior Extraverted Sensing, data from the outside world can seem overwhelming. Facts and details in the world demand the attention of the Introverted Intuitive type in the grip, so he or she obsesses about them. This may be experienced by both INTJs and INFJs as a state of intensity and drivenness.Their attempts to control the details in their environment are often expressed in such activities as feverishly cleaning the house, moving furniture, and organizing records and other materials. They may show an adamant concern about minute details and an unrelenting effort to control everything in their immediate vicinity.

An INFJ described her obsessiveness and withdrawal from her usual interests this way:“I stew about what’s going on. I can’t sit still and am restless. I am mentally fatigued and find myself compulsively putting things in order and trying to control everything around me.” An INTJ said that when he is in this state, he feels like a top spinning faster and faster. If he is working with tools and getting frustrated and angry, he has learned that it is best for him to stop or he will get hurt or break something.An INFJ described “obsessing about details.” He gave as an example:
When I’m using power tools that can cause injury, I will spend an inordinate amount of energy making sure that I’m not going to inadvertently hurt myself when I turn the thing on. I will triple-check to make sure my fingers are out of the way, etc. Usually I take in the world more globally and have less concern about details until I need them.

“I’m more likely to have accidents,” said an INTJ.“I’m robotic, forget things, say things backwards; I’m obsessed with a thought and can’t get it out of my mind. I try to control situations and people and engage in strange behavior, like checking on things,” said an INTJ woman. And another INTJ woman said,“I can become obsessed by detail. I’m less able to function and make decisions—sort of paralyzed.”

An INFJ said, “I alphabetize my compact discs; or suddenly it’s time to do that thing I thought about doing two months ago. I drop everything and do it; or I fixate on smells and sounds.”“I organize or clean. I feel pressured and can’t think clearly,” reported another INFJ. “I nitpick about things in the environment. I bombard people verbally and obsess out loud.”

An INTJ recalled the following from his childhood and adolescence:

When my studies were not going too well I would start to develop detailed tables of data, or drawings to support technical/science answers.These were frequently in too great detail, taking a lot of time and usually out of all proportion to the task and the length of the answers sought—or even irrelevant to the original questions.

Often the external input that becomes the object of obsession is something someone said or even failed to say.When the last client on an unusually busy day left without saying her usual “See you next week,” an INTJ therapist became convinced she had made a mistake during the psychotherapy session. She spent many hours going over the content of the session. She felt the only reason the client had not terminated therapy that day was politeness, so as not to hurt the therapist’s feelings.

A common focus, particularly for INTJ and INFJ women, can be an aspect of their physical appearance.They may become convinced that they have prominent skin blemishes, that others are noticing that they don’t dress very well, or that they look fat. In combination with the “overindulgence” manifestation described below, a powerful effect can occur.

Overindulgence in Sensual Pleasures

In effective dominant Extraverted Sensing types, the enjoyment of sensual pleasures is natural, spontaneous, and quite consistent with their focus on the reality of the immediate environment.

In Introverted Intuitive types in the grip of inferior Extraverted Sensing, this quality takes the form of sensual excess rather than sensual pleasure. It is interesting that a number of INTJs and INFJs described themselves as becoming “self-centered” and “self-indulgent” when they are in the grip—a descriptor often projected onto well-functioning Extraverted Sensing types by INTJs and INFJs (and by other types as well).

Overdoing gratification of the senses is a commonly mentioned behavior for INTJs and INFJs in the grip of their inferior function.They may overeat or binge.They see themselves as obsessively doing harm to their bodies. A typical “tactic” is to overindulge compulsively and immediately thereafter—if not during the episode—berate themselves for their uncontrolled, shallow, destructive behavior.

An INTJ described the experience this way:

There is a clear preliminary state where I am totally apart from the real world. I am not even an observer, and I can completely ignore anything real. It’s a nice fantasy, that’s all—just absorbing. But later I become excessively indulgent, getting totally immersed in physical experiences—eating, exercise, pulp fiction,TV. But I don’t enjoy it. It feels like a dangerous roller coaster, but I’m immobilized and can’t get off.

An INFJ said,“I have to get away from reality. I do too much of something— one thing. I eat more or stop eating; I shop for useless things.” Another said,“I eat too much, spend too much, watch TV or read excessively to escape. I’m late for everything.” An INTJ said her pattern is to overeat, feel guilty about it, wake up in the night and feel worse, get too little sleep, causing her to feel more vulnerable, and then eat more. Another INTJ feels bad about her overeating but not guilty: “I hate it when people brag about how much they exercise!” she said.

Adversarial Attitude Toward the Outer World

Effective dominant Extraverted Sensing types approach the outer world with eager anticipation of all the wonderful experiences awaiting them. For Introverted Intuitive types in the grip of inferior Extraverted Sensing, the immediate reality of the outer world spells difficulty and danger.They expect obstacles and problems to plague them as they move through a strange and potentially hostile environment.

Their hypersensitivity to potentially dangerous surroundings can promote uneasiness about people as well.“I can have negative forebodings and feel that people are against me,” said an INTJ. An INFJ said she “becomes suspicious. Usually I’m tolerant, curious, and compassionate, so ‘out of character’ for me means I’m unaccepting and frustrated with the world.”

An INTJ said,

“I start tripping over things and feel out of control in the external world. I feel like I’m under a dark cloud. I get hung up on some false fact and distort it. I get stressed out about time—too many things and not enough time. I attack others with words and then feel guilty.”An INFJ described herself as “shutting down, communicating very little. I misplace things, especially keys and watches. I’m very harsh, critical, not diplomatic. I lose my temper, obsess about details, organize, reorganize, yet nothing gets done.”

Anticipating the worst can often elicit anger and blame in INTJs and INFJs. “I’m moody and gloomy, with sudden deep anger,” said an INTJ. An INFJ also describes experiencing deep anger: “I am emotionally aroused and am terribly critical of others. I accuse people of never helping me. I become dogmatic and blast people with facts. If no one is around to attack, I write a scathing letter to someone.”Another said,“I internally check off all the events that happened leading up to the ‘conflict’ and then I verbalize this list with a sense that the impeccable logic of it will convince others I am right and I will be vindicated.”

The altered state of any inferior function is typically accompanied by a lessening of social controls and therefore more frequent expressions of anger. However, the character of the anger may be different for different types. For INTJs and INFJs, the “cause” of distress is often one or more “objects” in the environment.The anger directed at either things or people may therefore be more focused, intense, and extreme than with other inferior functions. Introverted Intuitive types may be unable to recognize alternative possibilities so that their perspective becomes extremely narrow. This tunnel vision and externalization of blame can produce ruthless results.

One INTJ said, “I get into verbal raving and am out of control. I regress emotionally and act childish. I feel anxious, exposed, childlike.” Another INTJ said,
“If I bump my head on a cupboard, I get mad at the world for putting a cupboard there. Others think I’m cursing at myself— but it’s really at the inconsideration or stupidity of the cupboard being there.” An INFJ observed, “I am angry, unreasonable, totally irrational, closed-minded, and impatient. I feel vulnerable and then become angry at others for it. I can’t communicate with anyone. I am hard, callous, unfeeling, and I have no energy to be bothered with anyone else.”

Lengthy Episodes in the Grip

The types of episodes described above are experienced by INTJs and INFJs as temporary states during which they are vulnerable to the three forms in which their inferior function is expressed. However, when an Introverted Intuitive type is chronically in the grip of inferior Extraverted Sensing, inferior function behavior may become habitual.

Obsessiveness about details in the form of micromanaging others both at work and at home may cause great distress to other people in these environments. “Irrational” accusations by the INTJ or INFJ can alienate others, causing them to avoid the person or attempt to remove him or her from a position of authority. Family members of an Introverted Intuitive type in a chronic grip state may be unable to find ways to sidestep the ready anger and criticism expressed by their loved one. Co-workers are likely to be similarly at a loss.

If and when INTJs recognize the extremeness and persistence of their out-of-character behavior, they are likely to try to confront and solve the problems that beset them, especially in a work situation. INFJs, who report a high level of stress in many areas of life, tend to rely on their spiritual and religious beliefs to help them cope and rise above persistent stress.

Chronic grip behavior may lead the individual and others to believe that fierce anger, excessive control of others and the immediate world, and distrust that approaches paranoia are a part of the natural makeup of the INTJ or INFJ, and that the person has always been that way. 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 person will appear to be a rather exaggerated, poorly developed, and distorted version of an Extraverted Sensing type.

This can sometimes lead to a productive, valuable outcome, however, as illustrated in the last story in the next section.There are also occasions when a lengthy time in the grip of inferior Extraverted Sensing 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 or our psyches.

Return of Equilibrium

Introverted Intuitive types need space and a low-pressure environment to regain their dominant Intuition and auxiliary Thinking or Feeling function. Like Extraverted Intuitive types, they are not amenable to suggestions and deny the possibility of alternatives. Stuck in a negative, omnipresent “reality,” they are unable to process contradictory information.

They may respond to those who offer it with anger and rejection, adamantly insisting that no alternatives exist. In fact, INTJs and INFJs agree that the worst thing others can do when they are in this state is to give them advice or try to fix the problem for them. INTJs and INFJs agree that a period of solitude and silent, nonintrusive acceptance from others is important in their return to equilibrium.

INFJs may welcome more direct support, empathy, affirmation, and acceptance, but they are unlikely to let others know what they need when they need it. INTJs typically just want to be left alone.They need to give themselves the time to recover, often finding that accomplishing a simple, nonthreatening Sensing task is beneficial. Sometimes removing all stimulation helps the most. One INTJ said that after too much sensory stimulation and too much people-dealing what she does is “lie in bed with earplugs and a pillow over my head—remove all stimuli—often even fifteen minutes of this is enough.”An INFJ said that when stressed, she wants the room to be dark to eliminate external sensory stimulation.

All types engage in self-criticism at some point during or after an episode of the inferior function.However, the focus of that criticism varies according to type. Introverted Intuitive types are especially hard on themselves, later viewing their obsessive concerns or angry intensity as a sign of unacceptable personal imperfections. One INFJ said that when she is in this state, she needs others to remind her that she is as human as the next person and that she should not be so hard on herself.

A change of scenery or activity can help break the negative, obsessive focus.This may entail getting outside, exercising,walking in the woods, or seeing a movie. As with other types, often a good night’s sleep helps. And exercising, particularly alone, is consistently mentioned as helpful by INTJs and INFJs.

Some examples of methods Introverted Intuitive types use for returning to normal include submerging themselves in peaceful, quiet, natural surroundings, being outdoors and looking at nature, canceling activities, lightening their schedules, making more space for being alone, and taking time out to “recharge” and sort things out.

One INTJ said:

A Sunday afternoon nap is a wonderful escape. I make an obsessive list of all the things I’m thinking about, do some light reading or reading I “should” do, and go right to sleep. If I write in a journal just before I go to sleep, I will often dream, and that calms me and helps me find a solution to my troubles. In addition, my cat purring and sleeping next to me is a great way to put life in perspective. I know my equilibrium has returned when I can’t find my list of things to do and I don’t care!

INTJs may call upon auxiliary Thinking by strategizing to help extricate from obsessiveness. One described forcing himself to get control of at least one situation. This calms him down enough so that he can start to regain a broader perspective.

Another INTJ is able to focus on details that are actually productive. “I normally can’t proofread well since I fill in the blanks and errors myself, but when I’m in the grip, I can find the smallest error,” she said. Gretchen’s story in the preceding section also illustrates productive use of inferior Extraverted Sensing. Similarly, another INTJ said that what helps her is “to stop and sort things—think the situation through logically and make some decisions. I usually decide to drop one whole task or responsibility, or ask for help of a practical nature.

Auxiliary Feeling helps INFJs by encouraging acceptance of their less serious side. They can then give in to the urge to cry during “trashy” movies. Or they can read bad novels and recognize that doing so is normal and acceptable. Recognizing that others are hurt and distressed by their out-of-character actions often signals to INTJs and INFJs that the process of extricating from the inferior is occurring. Both types report that they know they are coming out of it when they become bored and frustrated with themselves.

Expressions of understanding, sympathy, and empathy aid the return of equilibrium for some, but usually not for all Introverted Intuitive types. INTJs may find it embarrassing to have others recognize their “weaknesses,” or may find such expressions condescending. Gentle humor can be helpful, especially for INFJs. An INFJ said she found it helped to remind herself to be as kind to and accepting of herself as she would be for another person in the same situation.


In the grip of inferior Extraverted Sensing, Introverted Intuitive types obsess about details in the outside world, overindulge in sensual pleasures, and externalize blame to outside objects. Their auxiliary Thinking or Feeling can be the vehicle through which they regain equilibrium. INTJs develop a strategy for analyzing what they are experiencing, achieving distance and objectivity from it, while INFJs examine the important meanings and feeling connections involved and are therefore able to regain their normal wide-ranging perspective.

As a result of important inferior function experiences, Introverted Intuitive types may become better able to adapt to changing surroundings, incorporate sensual experience into their lives in a satisfying way, and moderate a perhaps overly ambitious, visionary stance into one that is more realistic and possible.

1,794 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
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.

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Discussion Starter #6
Extroverted Sensing Types
E S F P a n d E S T P

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

by Naomi L. Quenk

The Form of the Inferior Function ESP's

Both ESTPs and ESFPs typically become quieter and more thoughtful when they are in the grip, and this may either precede or alternate with becoming more emotional and/or easily angered. As was the case for Extraverted Feeling types, no positive or negative value seems to be placed on this more introspective stance. Many Extraverted Sensing types who describe becoming more introverted convey a sense of wonder and surprise at this change from their usual way of being.

One early sign of an impending inferior function episode is a loss of the easygoing, agreeable character of the Extraverted Sensing type. Although becoming quiet and withdrawn is by far the most frequently mentioned effect, irritability and negativity are also frequently reported. No longer are sensory data accepted indiscriminately at face value. ESTPs and ESFPs often withdraw into themselves, appear to lose contact with their habitual optimism, and appear tired and worried. An ESFP remarked, I gradually take on too much work and too many responsibilities, then I become overpowered with negative thoughts and become very quiet and sad.

An ESTP noted,I start to feel that things are overwhelming, then I let them accumulate, and then I lose all motivation.Another ESTP said he becomes quiet and reserved and withdraws from people.An ESFP said, I become more contemplative, less talkative, and Im seen by others as a serious, withdrawn person. This is not my usual self.I feel like I have to get control of the situation, said an ESTP. I avoid other people, feel guilty about it, and try to speed up everything I do. As their hold on their dominant and auxiliary functions further diminishes, the qualities of inferior Introverted Intuition manifest in internal confusion, inappropriate attribution of meaning, and grandiose visions.

For ESTPs, tertiary Feeling aids and abets inferior Intuition in the form of imagined personal slights that are incorporated into an elaborate theory that proves that others are rejecting them. ESFPs use their tertiary Thinking to come up with cold logic to support their theory that others see the ESFP as immature or incompetent.
The comparison between dominant and inferior Introverted Intuition
is shown in Table 10.

Important Features of Dominant Intuition

The qualities associated with Introverted Intuition that are relevant to our discussion of its form as an inferior function are an emphasis on

  • Intellectual Clarity
  • Accurate Interpretation of perceptions
  • Visionary insight

The Everyday Introverted Intuition
of Extroverted Sensing Types

All three qualities of the negative, inferior forms of Introverted Intuition (internal confusion, inappropriate attribution of meaning, and grandiose vision) are reflected in Jung's (1976a) description of the inferior Introverted intuition of ESTPs and ESFPs:

"Above all, the repressed intuitions begin to assert themselves in the form of projections. The wildest suspicions arise. . . . More acute cases develop every sort of phobia, and, in particular, compulsion symptoms . . . contents have a markedly unreal character, with a frequent moral or religious streak. . . .The whole structure of thought and feeling seems, in this second personality, to be twisted into a pathological parody: reason turns into hair-splitting pedantry, morality into dreary moralizing . . . religion into ridiculous superstition, and intuition . . . into meddlesome officiousness" (p. 365)

Internal Confusion

Effective dominant Introverted Intuitive types are noted for their intellectual clarity their ability to process and integrate complex information. In the grip of inferior Introverted Intuition, Extraverted Sensing types become confused by unfamiliar inner processes. An ESFP in her early twenties described being out of character when her mind starts wandering. An ESTP described herself as flustered, haphazard, out of control, especially about details; I forget things. Because their negative Intuition is internalized, fantasies of impending disaster and dire possibilities are typically self-referential or limited to the people closest to them. They may have overwhelming fears about fatal illnesses, forebodings about losing an important relationship, and anxiety about harm coming to a loved one.

Fears of impending psychosis can also haunt ESTPs and ESFPs. The unfamiliar internal Intuitive information appears fraught with danger and impending doom. Extraverted Sensing types may feel overwhelmed by inner possibilities, disturbing images, unfamiliar self-doubt, and loss of connection to their environment. They may question their own abilities and fear subsequent exposure as incompetent in their most important endeavors.

I feel like I am being enveloped in a whirling, swirling maelstrom, said one ESFP. I get into a spiral filled with frightening possibilities,said another. A third ESFP said, I cry! Everything is bad! I can be extremely creative (using my Introverted Intuition) about worrying about what could happen. An ESTP describes feeling as though she is in a dark, endless tunnel. Another explains, I become confused and paranoid. All possibilities are fearsome any kind of change, anything in the future. When the trigger for the experience is being forced to think about future plans, the reaction can be devastating, as the following example illustrates:

I am terrified that I wont be where I want to be. Not that my lack of accomplishment will be disastrous, but that it will be dreary. If I try to project myself to where I should be, it will cut off my ability to react to the moment. Instead of exciting possibilities, I can only think of disastrous ones. The thought of future change makes me feel lonely and gloomy and dreary. It all ends up with misery. So its safer to stick with what is, but the possibilities in what is are also dreary. For this ESTP, negative Introverted Intuition is accompanied by tertiary Feeling so that the negative possibilities appear as emotional states loneliness, dreariness, and gloom.

Inappropriate Attribution of Meaning

Effective dominant Introverted Intuitive types are adept at interpreting their complex inner perceptions. They are highly selective in the environmental information they process.
In the grip of inferior Introverted Intuition, an Extraverted Sensing type may, due to lack of experience, internalize random cues from the environment and interpret them as negative possibilities. If an intimate relationship is involved, there may be a foreboding that the ESTP or ESFP has done something to elicit a negative response from the other person. Or a simple request may be interpreted as a sign of disapproval or disappointment.

A young and newly married ESTP became overwhelmed by the thought that her husband, who had gone out with his friends, had left her and would never return even though she knew that he visited his friends frequently and that the time at which he was expected to return had not yet arrived. She obsessed on the thought that she had been nasty to her
husband earlier and became flooded with anxiety and apprehension. She thereupon drove over to his friends house, only to find that he was just preparing to leave and return home.

Extraverted Sensing types in their vulnerable phase may start reading between the lines and attributing malevolent motives to people. A feeling of unreality or disconnection from others may occur, and this alien experience of isolation may in turn lead to terror. One ESFP was pleased to have free time while her children happily spent the weekend with her ex-husband and his new wife. But when the children were gone, she became consumed with the idea that they would prefer their new stepmother to her because she was not a good mother. They wont be my kids when they return, she told herself, so nothing is okay and it never will be again.

Grandiose Vision

The visionary insight of effective dominant Introverted Intuitive types has often been noted. They have an uncanny ability to envision the distant future in an almost prophetic way. In its inferior form, this quality surfaces in Extraverted Sensing types as grandiose, often nebulous cosmic visions. We saw hints of this quality in the magical thinking that was described earlier. Because dwelling on the past or future is unusual for Extraverted Sensing types, their inferior function episodes tend to be short-lived and magical ruminations are rarely acted on. However, when subjected to extended stress, Extraverted Sensing types may search for mystical meaning in the form of an obsessive interest in unseen forces of cosmic proportions.

The omnipresence of profound meaning may stimulate the ESTP or ESFP to search for or create a grand cosmology. Events typically given no more than a moments thought are imbued with deep significance; unrelated chance occurrences are subjcted to complex integrations and interpretations; theories about the ultimate purpose of life and humanitys place in nature are formulated. Such ruminations may engage the entire attention of the Extraverted Sensing type, and this interest may be seen by others as out of bounds and out of character.

An ESTP who lost his business during a recession became increasingly morose and distant. He tried reconnecting with the church of his childhood but was unable to find comfort there. By chance, he saw a notice in the newspaper advertising a lecture by an East Indian guru. He attended the lecture and felt instantly transformed by the words of this wise man. I knew what my destiny must be,he explained. He abandoned his existing life and joined the gurus spiritual movement. During his year of spiritual exploration, he wrote lengthy mystical poems extolling the unseen forces that shape peoples destinies. When he returned home, he started a new business with great enthusiasm and optimism and felt that he brought greater balance and breadth to his enterprise.

Although ESTPs tend to report that few aspects of life are very stressful for them (in comparison to ESFPs and most other types), when they do become vulnerable, both they and ESFPs are likely to lose their typical optimism, carefree enjoyment of the moment, and skill at solving immediate problems. ESTPs, especially women, may become emotional more readily. ESFPs can become angry and critical. Im less tolerant of other people, and I am just an angry person with a short fuse, said an ESFP in his early twenties. A young ESFP woman described becoming sarcastic, oversensitive, negative, sad, worried, and cold. However, compared with other types, ESFPs report little work stress relative to the stress they experience in their personal relationships and responsibilities. They are likely to try to leave stressful situations if they can.

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Discussion Starter #7
[Can't find inferior Fi] :mellow:

1,794 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Introverted Sensing Types
I S T J a n d I S F J

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

by Naomi L. Quenk

Important Features of Dominant Introverted Sensing

Introverted Sensing types are careful and orderly in their attention to facts and details.They are thorough and conscientious in fulfilling their responsibilities. They may sometimes even do the work of others rather than leave important tasks undone.They are typically seen as well grounded in reality, trustworthy, and dedicated to preserving traditional values and time-honored institutions.With their focus on the reality of the present, they trust the evidence of their senses, relying on carefully accumulated past and present evidence to support their conclusions and planned courses of action.They derive great pleasure from perfecting existing techniques with the goal of maximizing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Introverted Sensing types tend to have a skeptical, critical attitude toward information that has not been verified by the senses and are likely to distrust people who are careless about facts, sloppy about details, and apt to favor imagination and novelty over accuracy and solid substantiation.

Both ISTJs and ISFJs are uncomfortable moving beyond sensory experience until they have thoroughly absorbed and understood it.They want to review and assimilate the facts and events of a movie or book before discussing its meaning with others.

In a crisis that does not constellate their inferior function, Introverted Sensing types typically appear calm and unruffled, efficient and pragmatic. Others may marvel at their serene demeanor, but the Introverted Sensing types themselves may report that they are actually feeling quite anxious and distressed and their visible behavior does not accurately reflect their inner state.

Introverted Sensing Types at Work

An ideal, energizing work environment for Introverted Sensing types is one in which they can achieve goals and reach closure on tasks in an efficient, timely manner in quiet, organized surroundings.They prefer minimal conflict and competition among co-workers and want to be recognized for their knowledge and contributions to the organization—a desire that may remain unfulfilled because they often work in the background of organizations.

ISTJs and ISFJs value and support organizational change that is based on solid information and careful reasoning, but they see little sense in change for its own sake, or for brainstorming with no attention to realistic limitations.They want what they do at work to make a difference. One ISTJ said that what energized her was “accomplishing tasks and improving processes in some way.”An ISFJ teacher described as energizing “relating to the children on a personal level—figuring out what approach to learning works best for them; having a child feel successful because I utilized a strategy.”An ISTJ woman described an energizing environment as having “a combination of people interactions and reading and writing; a serene office and busy hallways; good light and lots of filing space.”

Important Features of Dominant Extraverted Intuition

The qualities associated with Extraverted Intuition that are relevant to ourdiscussion of its form as an inferior function are
• Comfortable inattention to sense data
• Flexibility, adaptability, risk taking
• Optimism about future possibilities

The Everyday Extraverted Intuition
of Introverted Sensing Types

The inferior function affects Introverted Sensing 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 ISTJ or ISFJ is chronically in the grip because of long-term stress.

Typical Sensitivities and Projections

Inferior Extraverted Intuition seems to color the everyday personality of Introverted Sensing types.They see themselves and are seen by others as worriers.They are ready to notice and comment on negative possibilities even in everyday, nonstressful situations.A new plan, a previously unexperienced event—anything new—is likely to elicit a list of all the many negative possibilities or all the many things that might go wrong. Anything that is not grounded in past or present experience is suspect. In a work situation, Introverted Sensing types’ focus on the negative may prove frustrating to their Intuitive colleagues, who may see them as impossibly rigid and stodgy.They may, however, merely need time to reflect and recognize the connections between anticipated new experiences and the known past. Once that connection is made, the ISTJ or ISFJ can be comfortable pursuing actions that initially may have seemed potentially dangerous. Colleagues who can be helpful in providing such connections will likely find the effort quite successful.

As parents, Introverted Sensing types may appear unreasonably overprotective, especially in situations in which the child wants to do something new, test his or her independence, or take any degree of risk.The untried and untested may automatically raise the specter of disaster, despite the parents’ awareness that they may be overreacting to a reasonable request.

A 10-year-old boy asked his ISFJ mother if he could spend the night at his friend’s house. “Where will you sleep?” his mother asked. “He has bunk beds,” the child replied.“You can’t go, then.You’ll convince him to let you sleep in the top bunk, and you’re not used to sleeping on the top. You’ll fall off and break your leg. No!”

Although this is often the initial parental response to minor risk taking, children of Introverted Sensing parents report that when their parents receive additional factual information and reassurance about precautions, they often amend their original decisions.

In projecting their inferior Extraverted Intuition onto others, ISTJs and ISFJs are likely to see Intuitive types as totally ungrounded, unrealistic, and irresponsible in their focus on possibilities and theories. Introverted Sensing types’ own inexperienced Intuition is thus attributed to those in whom Intuition is developed and practiced. Their unease with the unknown may also manifest in suspiciousness about others’ motives and fears that the environment will somehow betray them. They may thus see Extraverted Intuitive types’ natural comfort with the outer world as foolish risk-taking, judging them to be irresponsible, immature show-offs.

ISTJs and ISFJs may engage in self-pity, blaming the outer environment and other people for whatever difficulties they are experiencing. This is in marked contrast to their typical willingness to accept responsibility and solve problems calmly and methodically.

Expressions Through Interests and Hobbies

Poetry, music, and art may provide a way for Introverted Sensing types to engage their “other side.”Their choice of artists and styles within the arts may tend toward the expressive and dramatic, and they often prefer romantic musicians and artists.The favorite opera of one rather austere and conventional ISTJ is La Boheme.

Some Introverted Sensing types are attracted to astrology and the more occult spiritual movements.The evidence presented for such systems often involves detailed eyewitness testimony collected over long periods.

Perhaps this Sensing method lends the data legitimacy, thus providing a comfortable, acceptable way to develop familiarity with the vagaries of Intuition. In some ISTJs and ISFJs, interest in such areas can become excessive and obsessive and may be an attempt to control unruly, disorganized, and frightening eruptions of Intuition.However, as long as it does not take too much energy away from the person’s dominant Introverted Sensing, even such interest may prove adaptive.

Introverted Sensing types may enjoy relaxing their use of Sensing by reading fantasy fiction, watching science fiction movies, or entertaining themselves with idle speculation and daydreams. One ISTJ described his hobbies as astronomy, painting, and gardening. He identified his fascination with Hubble telescope photos as engaging his Intuition is a very satisfying way: “It opens a whole new dynamic, evolving universe.” He wondered what would come of this. Another ISTJ very much enjoys reading adventure stories with animal characters, such as The Wind in the Willows.

Eruptions of Inferior Extraverted Intuition

Typical Provocations or Triggers

Issues of reality are likely to push the inferior “button” of Introverted Sensing types. Dealing with people whose approach denies facts and actualities (often identified as Extraverted Intuitive types) serves as a trigger for eruptions of harsh, negative, extreme reactions to whatever is being proposed. With the usual preconditions in operation, even slight deviations from present reality or minor suggestions for future change will provoke

Introverted Sensing types to intractable anger and stubborn immovability. One ISFJ said,“If I’m watching the devastating effects of an ongoing crisis and someone says to me,‘Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine,’ I come unglued. I steamroll over the person and mow them down!”

An ISTJ reported that her usual calm demeanor is replaced by cold fury and biting sarcasm when someone tries to contradict the evidence of her senses:“I’m seeing and smelling the ash from this guy’s cigar and smelling the smoke on his breath and he’s telling me he doesn’t smoke cigars!”

The prospect of unknown, previously unexperienced activities and situations is a common trigger for Introverted Sensing types.The anxiety associated with the unfamiliar and unimaginable future acts directly on their most unconscious arena. Making careful contingency plans and giving attention to details normally tempers such an unconscious reaction.

But when the new possibility comes up suddenly, an inferior function response is likely. An ISTJ described this provocation:

When I have to do something that is a completely new experience—for example, fly to a city I’ve never been to, move to a different city, attend a workshop on a topic I know nothing about. Any situation in which I don’t have a clear picture of what I can expect and what is expected of me.The before and waiting period is always worse. Once I’m doing it, I’m fine.

“Overdoing” their own type may also provoke an inferior “grip” response in ISTJs and ISFJs.When this takes the form of doing other people’s assigned duties, working long and hard, and feeling unappreciated or taken for granted, the stage is set for an extreme, spontaneous eruption of inferior Extraverted Intuition. “I get to feeling used and abused,” said an ISFJ. “Then I explode and say awful things that I’m embarrassed about later.”

Triggers and Stressors at Work

Stressful work environments for Introverted Sensing types are those that are chaotic, noisy, and disorganized; where the rules and procedures frequently change, their work is often interrupted, they are criticized for “lacking vision” or “resisting change,” and they are not recognized for their substantial and consistent work for the organization. ISTJs and ISFJs are quite uncomfortable with unsubstantiated, sweeping statements that lead to decisions at work. ISTJs tend to be more distressed when a system is involved and ISFJs when people will be affected. However, both types find it stressful to do tasks that require Intuition, especially when they have insufficient time to think things through.The teacher quoted earlier in this chapter described as stressful “writing narrative reports, constant interruptions, figuring out what to do with unplanned time.”

Introverted Sensing types find an overwhelming workload to be the most important stressor in their work environment. Having too much to do inevitably affects their ability to live up to their own high standards of performance. One ISTJ said that his strong work ethic forced him to complete his work, but, as a result, he had no time for other things. For other Introverted Sensing types, not having sufficient information to do a good job is equally stressful. One ISFJ teacher cited the following as work stressors: “working with students when I’m not clear on who they are and the new material I’m supposed to teach them.”

A source of stress mentioned frequently by ISTJ women is dealing with incompetence at work. Having too much to do appears to be secondary to this stressor for them. One ISTJ woman provided the following very detailed description of work stress, which incorporates many of the issues mentioned by other Introverted Sensing types:

Back-to-back meetings.

Having to deal with meeting or workshop details while also having to lead a discussion that is hypothesis-like or strategic in nature.

Having to check sloppy work of others or deal with another department that maintains low standards.

I have to watch myself because I tend to “fix” others’ incompetencies.

Too much interacting with people can also be stressful for ISTJs and ISFJs, especially if a great deal of talking occurs.They are likely to view too much talking and too many meetings as wasting time they could be devoting to accomplishing things. The same impatience relates to being interrupted when they are concentrating on tasks, and to lack of followthrough by co-workers. In fact, anything that prevents or slows achieving closure in their areas of responsibility creates stress for Introverted Sensing types.

In a work situation in which the particular stressors for Introverted Sensing types continue over long periods, ISTJs and ISFJs may respond quickly and intensely to the triggers described here. This increases the likelihood that their subsequent demonstrations of “grip” behavior will be frequent and pervasive.When persistent stress causes them to be chronically in the grip of inferior Extraverted Intuition, they are likely to lose touch with their natural talent for assessing reality and their practical grasp of problems.They may become habitual “naysayers,” spreading doom and gloom throughout the workplace.

The Form of the Inferior Function

Younger Introverted Sensing types, like other Introverted types, report becoming more sociable, outgoing, or outspoken as part of their grip experience.This is especially true for young men, and to a lesser extent for young women. “I’m more outspoken and friendly,” said a 21-year-old male ISTJ about his grip experiences. “I’m also more into people’s needs and how they feel. I guess I’m more of a ‘people person.’”An ISTJ young woman said,“I’m more sensitive and understanding, more outspoken and outgoing.” Introverted Sensing types often report that their increased sociability occurs in social situations in which they feel comfortable. An ISTJ is his mid-thirties said he becomes “outgoing, daring, dancing the gorilla dance, whereas I’m usually reserved and calculated.”This is stimulated by festive, comfortable occasions with family and friends. Some young Introverted Sensing types, however, report going too far, becoming loud and obnoxious in social situations.

ISTJs and ISFJs of all ages also report a high frequency of becoming more withdrawn, angry, irritable, and pessimistic when in the grip. However, there are some notable differences by auxiliary function and gender.

ISTJ and ISFJ men tend to report becoming angry, while women report withdrawing from others. ISTJ women report becoming both pessimistic and scattered, while ISFJ women mention becoming more irritable, emotional, and worried.

Introverted Sensing types’ characteristic task orientation and calm attention to responsibilities begin to disappear as they move further into the grip. “I feel like I’m in a fog of sand and can’t absorb details around me,” said an ISTJ. As their hold on their dominant and auxiliary further diminishes, command over dominant Introverted Sensing is lost. If this state persists, the qualities of inferior Extraverted Intuition manifest in a loss of control over facts and details, impulsiveness, and catastrophizing. For ISTJs, tertiary Feeling combines with inferior Intuition so that the negative possibilities are focused on important relationships with loved ones. The tertiary Thinking of ISFJs contributes the “logic” used to support negative possibilities regarding career, money, natural disasters, and so on.

Two qualities of the negative, inferior forms of Extraverted Intuition (loss of control over facts and details, and catastrophizing) are reflected in Jung’s (1976a) description of the inferior function of ISTJs and ISFJs:

Whereas true extraverted intuition is possessed of singular resourcefulness, a “good nose” for objectively real possibilities, this archaisized intuition has an amazing flair for all the ambiguous, shadowy, sordid, dangerous possibilities lurking in the background.

Loss of Control over Facts and Details

Effective dominant Extraverted Intuitive types are comfortable glossing over facts and details as they focus on the complexities of an engaging new idea. Their strength lies in emphasizing generalities; the particulars can be dealt with later. In the grip of inferior Extraverted Intuition, however, Introverted Sensing types’ relationship to details becomes problematic. As they begin to lose trust in dominant Sensing and auxiliary Thinking or Feeling, ISTJs and ISFJs have difficulty attending to relevant factual information and arriving at rational conclusions.

On the last afternoon of a difficult training session, an ISTJ imagined that a small group exercise in which trainees practiced their presentation skills was preparation for each class member to give a presentation to the entire class. He became anxious and agitated as the time to return to the workshop room approached. He later admitted that he did not feel adequately prepared to present the material publicly and feared he would be humiliated.What he failed to recognize was that no such activity was listed on the schedule (Sensing data) and that with only sixty minutes left in the workshop, thirty-five people could not possibly make presentations (Thinking judgment). His general anxiety and fatigue at the end of a stressful day contributed to his abandonment of his Sensing and Thinking functions.


Flexibility and adaptability are assets to effective dominant Extraverted Intuitive types. These qualities permit them to manage the multiple activities and interests characteristic of their operating style.

As expressions of inferior Extraverted Intuition, however, these same qualities take on an aspect of thoughtlessness and impulsiveness, not unlike the qualities ISTJs and ISFJs project onto dominant Extraverted Intuitive types. When they experience a gradual slide into their inferior function, Introverted Sensing types may become uncharacteristically spontaneous, sometimes to the point of later judging themselves irresponsible and reckless.

One ISFJ reported giving in to the urge to leave work in the middle of the day and go to the movies. An ISTJ made a spur-of-the-moment decision to buy a new computer before thoroughly researching the options. He returned the computer later, assessing the purchase as rash and foolish.

Introverted Sensing types may experience increasing lack of focus, confusion, anxiety, and even panic, even though their demeanor remains calm and seemingly unperturbed.Their uncharacteristic spontaneity, however, may come out in snappishness and terse, hurtful comments to others, or in out-of-character behavior. After being divorced by his wife of twenty years, an ISTJ dated forty different women in six months. It was as if his inexperienced Intuition went haywire and his tertiary Feeling judgment was unequal to the task of deciding among the overwhelming relationship possibilities available.


Whereas effective dominant Extraverted Intuitive types thrive on the exciting possibilities the future will bring, Introverted Sensing types in the grip of inferior Extraverted Intuition anticipate the future with fear and trembling. As their descent into the grip proceeds, they become ever more negative, less willing to tolerate the unfamiliar, and more wildly imaginative about disastrous outcomes. One ISFJ described this as “awfulizing.”

In its full-blown state, inferior Extraverted Intuition anticipates all the catastrophes that might happen in an unsafe, threatening world and focuses on dire possibilities in the future. (Remember that the other Introverted perceiving types, the Introverted Intuitive types, focus on negative realities in the present.) ISTJs and ISFJs imagine that anything not previously experienced—any unfamiliar place, any new activity—will provoke horrifying consequences. In the full grip of their inferior function, even familiar, previously safe areas may be reassessed as fraught with danger. This level
of catastrophizing is the hallmark of inferior Extraverted Intuition.

“I start imagining a lot of terrible things that could happen,” said an ISTJ.“If I tell anybody what I’m thinking, the usual response is,‘you worry too much,’ or ‘don’t think about that.’ I appear emotional, not my usual controlled self. I am not being realistic, which I always pride myself on being, but borderline ridiculous,” she concluded. An ISFJ school choir director is usually in a good mood when she awakens—except when a choir performance is scheduled for that day. On such occasions, she experiences a general feeling of dread and impending disaster, even though there is no specific content associated with her forebodings.

After having knee surgery, which resulted in a good deal of pain and immobility, an ISTJ was convinced that he would never feel any better:“I couldn’t stop expressing my pessimism and was a real pain to one and all. Before that I’d always been a pretty optimistic person.” In fact, research evidence supports this ISTJ’s experience. ISTJs and ISFJs are among the types most frequently treated for chronic pain.

An increase in fatigue and stress often lowers Introverted Sensing types’ tolerance and patience in the face of others’ inattention to or denial of important facts and details. A full-blown exhibition of negative possibilities is likely to ensue. One ISFJ said, “I am given to very sarcastic humor, slashing and unpredictable explosions of cold, hard statements about here-and-now reality. I get stubborn and let loose a negative barrage covering all the bad consequences of what is being proposed.”

When her work situation becomes particularly stressful, another ISFJ’s recurrent fear is that her most recent promotion will be rescinded, or that she will receive a letter from her college informing her that her degree was granted by mistake and they are going to have to take it back.

One evening in May, an ISTJ returned home tired after a long day of hiking in the mountains. Distressed to discover that his garage door would not open, he immediately imagined all the possible negative effects—he would have trouble getting to work on time, he wouldn’t be able to go on vacation in the summer, and he certainly could not make it to his niece’s wedding in August!

Introverted Sensing types report having strange or paranoid thoughts when they are in this state, feeling overwhelmed and irritable and imagining that a current stressful situation will go on forever, as will their inability to handle both the stress and the situation.Alternatively, they may come up with off-the-wall, unrealistic positive possibilities when faced with unfamiliar situations.They then must deal with the extreme disappointment that results when the positive possibilities don’t materialize.

For example, an ISTJ was quite attracted to a young woman he met and talked with briefly at a party one evening. He planned to get her phone number from his friend so he could ask her out. He imagined where they would go, what they would talk about, and how pleasant their date would be. On calling his friend, therefore, he was upset to learn that the young woman was engaged to be married and had left town that morning to return home to plan her wedding.

One ISFJ’s description of not being herself includes all three forms of inferior Extraverted Intuition:

I ignore facts and details—create monstrous, horrible outcomes that have far-reaching impacts (for instance, in my lifetime and my daughter’s lifetime). I dwell exclusively on these “realities.” I believe that I need to act right now, this moment (for instance, leave my husband or quit my job). Generally, I am very loyal and steadfast, however.

Lengthy Episodes in the Grip

The types of episodes described above are experienced by ISTJs and ISFJs as temporary states during which they are vulnerable to the three forms in which their inferior function is expressed. However, when Introverted Sensing types are chronically in the grip of inferior Extraverted Intuition, inferior function behavior may become habitual. Their typical hesitation to accept change and their desire for data to back up decisions may become extreme and take the form of angry accusations about the disasters others are perpetrating at work or at home. Their work output is likely to suffer because their judgment about what to pursue is distorted by being in the grip. Even their typical calm demeanor in the face of stress is gone, and others are likely to see their worry, negativity, and catastrophizing most of the time.

Continued stress takes its toll on ISTJs and ISFJs, who are likelier than other types to report having hypertension or heart disease. Chronic stress may be more prevalent for these two types because of the increasingly rapid change that characterizes the workplace and the world at large.

Leaving a stressful work or home environment may be quite difficult for Introverted Sensing types because of their natural loyalty, persistence in spite of adversity, and devotion to duty and responsibility. If they do recognize the unreasonableness of the demands made on them and manage to leave bad situations, they may discover a newfound freedom and a greater ability to accurately assess bad work and home situations.

Chronic grip behavior may lead the individual and others to believe that he or she is typically sloppy and forgetful of details, impulsive, and habitually focused on negative possibilities. This was the case in the last story in the next section, where a supervisor new to a company clashed with a longtime ISFJ employee who had been in the grip for some time.

Since the process of becoming chronically in the grip is often gradual, even people who have known the person in a nonstressed state are likely not to notice what, in retrospect, will be recognized as a radical alteration of personality. The person will appear to be a rather exaggerated, poorly developed Extraverted Intuitive type.

Bear in mind, however, that there are occasions when a lengthy time in the grip of inferior Extraverted Intuition 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.

ESFP’s New Experience or ISFJ’s Worst Nightmare?

Annette, an ISFJ, and Dan, an ESFP, were having a drink before dinner in a revolving cocktail lounge at the top of a twenty-story hotel in Texas. The clear glass walls on all sides of the lounge gave customers a full view of the city. It was an early August evening. As they talked, the skies darkened, heavy clouds appeared, and the wind started blowing very hard.

Dan, leaning against the glass outer wall, said,“Hey, this is great. I can feel the glass vibrating from the wind!”

“Let’s go inside the main part of the restaurant,” said Annette.

“Why would you want to do that? We won’t have the beautiful view,” said Dan.

“I want to move away from all this glass and go into the central part where the restaurant is,” insisted Annette.

Dan was puzzled.“But I don’t understand why,” he said.

“Because it’s August—we’re in Texas, the wind is blowing hard, those clouds look ominous, and it’s tornado season!” she declared vehemently.

Replied Dan, “But if there’s a tornado, this is a wonderful place to watch it from!”

Return of Equilibrium

Introverted Sensing types tend to make excellent use of their knowledge about their inferior function reactions.

Both male and female ISTJs and ISFJs consistently report that they need time alone in order to regain their equilibrium, but how they use that time may differ by auxiliary function and gender. For example, female ISTJs report wanting to reflect on, reframe, and solve the problem (auxiliary Thinking) that caused their stress. An ISTJ woman said,“I think logically— or decide what the possibilities might be. Once I’ve accepted them, I’m prepared, even for the negative ones.” Another ISTJ said she needs “some quiet time, and then for someone to slowly ask me questions and slowly play back what they’re hearing from me. I also need acknowledgment that I’m struggling—someone else who can label my plight.”

For one ISFJ woman, the helpful “alone” time is spent “rehashing how I would have handled the situation (in my mind), relive it a better way. Analyze why I was reacting the way I did.” Both auxiliary Feeling and tertiary Thinking are called upon to aid her in this process.Another ISFJ perhaps uses both auxiliary Feeling and tertiary Thinking to “figure out how I got to not being myself in the first place.”Yet another ISFJ engages auxiliary Feeling when she “reads materials that are personally moving—that
is, spiritual things to get back in touch with my feelings.”

It is interesting to note that female ISFJs (in contrast with male ISFJs and male and female ISTJs) want the support and reassurance of others (auxiliary Feeling) after they spend some time alone. It is also interesting that male and female ISTJs and male ISFJs typically cite physical exercise as important in aiding their return to normal, but female ISFJs rarely mention it —although some describe using deep breathing to calm themselves down. The natural pathway out of the inferior function for Introverted Sensing types seems to be through their auxiliary Extraverted Thinking or Feeling. This may take the general form of engaging in physical activity with others or perhaps changing their environment. ISTJs report using their Thinking to remind them of what is real—that they can take control and that things always work out. ISFJs find it helpful when they (with great difficulty) talk to someone and reveal their irrational fears, and then receive quiet reassurance.

As with other types, ISTJs and ISFJs report needing to “hit bottom” before they can extricate themselves comfortably from a grip experience. One ISFJ used the metaphor of being sucked into a whirlpool. “The worst thing to do is fight it,” he said.“That will guarantee you’ll drown. Instead, you have to let yourself be drawn into it and pulled all the way down to the bottom.Then you will emerge alive.”

Introverted Sensing types also report needing others to take them seriously, not to patronize them or judge them as irrational. Being allowed to vent with an active listener who resists offering solutions is useful. Unobtrusive help with some of the overwhelming details contributing to the Introverted Sensing type’s fatigue and stress is also welcome.

Knowledge from Grip Experiences

In addition to learning to recognize and avoid the stress and fatigue that may lead to a grip experience, Introverted Sensing types, even prior to their midlife development, are able to broaden their perspective and become more accepting of others’ different approaches to life tasks. They report a greater willingness to consider what is important to themselves as well as to others in deciding what goals to pursue and how to use their time. This inclusion of a range of possibilities and other ways of doing things enables them to benefit from their Intuition, as well as to accept and
use theories and hypotheses they might otherwise reject as unrealistic.

When stress either at work or at home is extreme and persists over time, Introverted Sensing types may persevere longer than some other types before they consider leaving the stressful situation.They are likely to believe that the stress they are experiencing is uniquely theirs and that others in the same situation are handling things much better.They may see that their opposite types at work (ENTPs and ENFPs) seem to thrive on stress, change, and upheaval and thus may view themselves as weak and inadequate. It may take a crisis situation such as becoming physically ill, having an emotional breakdown, or being confronted by family members for them to recognize that they are in a habitually out-of-character state. Only then might they realistically assess the role of their environment in their plight and consider a drastic change.


In the grip of inferior Extraverted Intuition, Introverted Sensing types lose control over facts and details, become impulsive, and catastrophize about the unknown, especially the future. Auxiliary Thinking or Feeling aids their return to equilibrium. ISTJs use objective analysis to begin to control their anxious imaginings, while ISFJs solicit the reassurance of trusted companions and friends to modify their perceptions.

As a result of important bouts with inferior Extraverted Intuition, Introverted Sensing types recognize and incorporate a broader, more flexible perspective into their lives.They are better able to stand back from the absorbing tasks and responsibilities of daily living and consider what is most important to them. Often the awareness involves a renewed appreciation of family and other close relationships.
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Discussion Starter #9
Introverted Thinking Types
I S T P a n d I N T P

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

by Naomi L. Quenk

Important Features of Dominant Introverted Thinking

Introverted Thinking types maintain the utmost objectivity. They approach people and events as dispassionate observers, with the goal of arriving at the most comprehensive truth possible.The process of objective analysis is a source of great enjoyment for the Introverted Thinking type, with its outcome often of much lesser importance. Introverted Thinking types typically do not take constructive criticism and disagreement personally.They often welcome tough, unrelenting critique as an aid to achieving the highest levels of accuracy and objectivity.

Because they do not take criticism personally, ISTPs and INTPs are often surprised to discover that others are hurt or offended by their constructive criticism. Others often see them as distant, unfeeling, disinterested in people, and arrogant—all characteristics that they disavow. The fact that they may appear to have these qualities is a function of their basic typological approach, which applies objective analysis to most things, including people.

In a crisis that does not provoke their inferior function, Introverted Thinking types take the same detached, objective approach typical of their non-stressful problem solving.They don’t tend to report the internal (and undetectable) turmoil described by the Introverted Sensing types, and they appear to experience little or no emotional response to objectively experienced crises.

Introverted Thinking Types at Work

Achievement and satisfaction at work are as central to the identity of Introverted Thinking types as they are for their Extraverted Thinking counterparts. In general, however, ISTPs and especially INTPs report less satisfaction with their work situations than do ESTJs and ENTJs. A corporate environment that emphasizes management of people, observable team efforts, and outer-world results often forces Introverts to use their less-preferred form of energy. This can be particularly difficult for Introverted Thinking types because they are most energized when they can work independently and with intense focus on challenging problems.

ISTPs’ auxiliary Sensing function motivates them to prefer clear, stable structures and responsibilities at work. In that context, they enjoy active involvement in concrete, tangible efforts. One ISTP likes “breaking down problems into manageable steps and finding solutions that work for everyone,” another likes “solving problems and building things,” and a third favors “a variety of issues requiring my attention; a fast-paced environment with lots of problem-solving requirements.”“Solving problems and building things” is most energizing for an ISTP in his early twenties.

INTPs’ auxiliary Intuition emerges in their desire to be creative, independent, and resourceful in solving problems.An INTP said,“I love doing good, competent work that makes a difference for my clients. I enjoy the collegial and intellectually rigorous environment.” An INTP in her early twenties mentioned “having a challenge that I successfully overcome.”

INTPs enjoy devising new systems and putting ideas together in different ways. Both of the Introverted Thinking types want the highest level of autonomy and the freedom to solve problems in their own way. As one ISTP explained, “I want the freedom to use my time in my own way, to spend as much time as necessary thinking.”

Important Features of Dominant Extraverted Feeling

The qualities associated with Extraverted Feeling that are relevant to our discussion of its form as an inferior function are
• Comfortable inattention to logic
• Sensitivity to others’ welfare
• Sharing of emotions

The Everyday Extraverted Feeling
of Introverted Thinking Types

The inferior function affects Introverted Thinking 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 erupts and a full-blown episode occurs or when an ISTP or INTP is chronically in the grip because of long-term stress.

Typical Sensitivities and Projections

Introverted Thinking types may notice and comment on what they consider to be inappropriate, irrelevant, even histrionic communication styles and behavior, which they often attribute to Extraverted Feeling types or Extraverted Intuitive types with auxiliary Feeling (ENFPs).They may treat such people with disdain and in turn may be seen as hypercritical, dismissive, and lacking in social graces.

An INTP father was chastised by his wife and children—all of whom had a preference for Feeling—because, when he was told by his son that he had crashed his bike into a wall, his first question was,“Is the bike badly damaged?” The family members agreed that he should have first asked whether his son was hurt. The father replied that he had already determined by looking at him that his son was not hurt and therefore had chosen the condition of the bike as the next logical priority. This father was quite puzzled by his family’s perception that he cared more for a bicycle than for his son. He assumed that his love for his family was self-evident.

Introverted Thinking types may assess behavior based on subjective values as “noise in the system” that interferes with the accurate appraisal of situations and is therefore a waste of time. Extraverted Feeling types can seem out of control to them.The higher value that ESFJs and ENFJs place on harmony over logically determined truth arouses distrust in the Introverted Thinking type, who then doubts these types’ intellectual abilities.

Like their Extraverted Thinking counterparts, Introverted Thinking types may therefore interpret other peoples’ need for frequent personal validation as weakness and insecurity.

Because Introverted Thinking types value logical Thinking and objective analysis of situations, they do not see much value in idle conversation and social small talk. They may feel inept and awkward when situations require this of them, and their discomfort, inexperience, and lack of understanding of this kind of social interaction often leads them to “put my foot in my mouth and say exactly the most inappropriate thing,” as one INTP expressed it. “I then feel really inadequate and foolish and I can dwell on my ineptness for days,” he explained.

As for expressing their own Feeling side,Von Franz (1971) states that the feeling of the introverted thinking type is extraverted. He has the same kind of strong, loyal and warm feeling described as typical for the extraverted thinking type, but with the difference that the feeling of the introverted thinking type flows toward definite objects. (p. 41)

Those definite objects may be people, causes, spiritual arenas, and so on. In their raw, inexperienced form, these Feeling expressions come out as clichés and sound sentimental and excessive. Sensing this, Introverted Thinking types hesitate to express them and may do so only in the relative safety of close one-on-one relationships.

Expressions Through Interests and Hobbies

Many ISTPs and INTPs have a passion for challenging but primarily solitary physical activities.They may be avid mountain or rock climbers and serious hikers or backpackers.They describe having a deep emotional and spiritual reaction to wilderness experiences and their oneness with the universe. The mountain, trail, or rock can become the “other” in their experience of intense feeling.

One INTP mountain climber writes emotionally evocative poetry describing his reactions to his climbing experiences.An ISTP police lieutenant loves listening to music of the Romantic era, especially Wagner. Another ISTP enjoys reading romance novels and an INTP reads spiritual literature. Another INTP covers both auxiliary Sensing and inferior Feeling in her relaxation activities. She described her pleasure in a “sensory trip” to a nearby small town, where she quickly checks out the bookstore, listens to music, sits in the park, eats ice cream, and reflects on the week. She also engages in deep conversation with an ESFJ friend and makes special cards to express her appreciation or love to special people.

Tertiary Sensing often shows in the hobbies of INTPs. They mention gardening, cooking, knitting, and playing golf or other sports that require individual skill. ISTPs may engage tertiary Intuition through such activities as visiting museums or reading art books. One ISTP’s elaborate model train boards create complex, evocative scenes, complete with stories about the tiny figures and their lives in the towns he depicts.

Eruptions of Inferior Extraverted Feeling

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

Typical Provocations or Triggers

Being around people who are expressing strong emotions can serve as a trigger for Introverted Thinking types, especially if those people are criticizing the personal characteristics of the ISTP or INTP. Dealing with incompetence also serves as a major trigger. And, as is the case for Extraverted Thinking types, ISTPs and INTPs can be pushed into the grip when their own strong values and feelings are not recognized or affirmed.

Others’ insensitivity to an Introverted Thinking type’s need for silence and solitude—“not enough time to recharge,” said one INTP—can also provoke the experience.The short-term, intense stress of a crisis situation, especially if others are expressing strong emotions and the ISTP or INTP is expected to respond to the emotion, is also a stimulus to the inferior function. Introverted Thinking types may themselves react with an uncharacteristic display of emotion or readily take offense at such times.

Other triggers are feeling controlled by arbitrary situations that limit their freedom of choice and action, and feeling that others are intruding on their space. Being treated unfairly and feeling unheard, unvalued, and excluded from important decision-making discussions can also push these types into their inferior function. An INTP covered many triggers to inferior Extraverted Feeling in her description: “other people becoming very emotional, excessive control from other people, others encroaching on my responsibilities, having to rely on others who—I feel—are not competent.”

In projecting their inferior Extraverted Feeling onto others, Introverted Thinking types can readily see others’ easy expression of emotion as hysterical and out of control. Because of their fear of being consumed by strong, uncontrollable emotions, they assume that any expression of emotion is similarly out of bounds. ISTPs and INTPs may try to leave a situation in which highly charged feelings are being expressed, and if that is not possible, they may react with a full-blown episode of their inferior function.

Triggers and Stressors at Work

Introverted Thinking types find being micromanaged, supervising and working with incompetent, uncooperative people, and dealing with an overwhelming workload to be major sources of stress and dissatisfaction at work. Deadlines and an excessive workload can interfere with their need for time to focus in depth on the problems they are trying to solve for their organization. Incompetent people inhibit their reaching a solution or acquiring necessary information, and onerous, rigid supervision wastes their time and insults their sense of competence. One INTP listed as stressful “paperwork, especially if the purpose is unclear; overly directive managers and situations in which my autonomy is compromised; pointless meetings; and large ‘networking’ events.” An ISTP said, “Don’t tell me I can’t do something and try to restrict my freedom.”

Both types, especially INTPs, find it stressful when they don’t have sufficient time to be alone and introvert, which makes multiple meetings and meandering agendas particularly noxious for them. Both types are as stressed when strong emotions are displayed at work, an event that often engages their inferior Extraverted Feeling.An INTP described her stressors as “emotionalized situations and interpersonal conflict.” An ISTP said he finds it stressful “when individuals get hung up on their personal preferences—refusing to let their emotions take a backseat, which becomes an obstacle.”

In a work situation in which the particular stressors for Introverted Thinking types persist over a long period, an ISTP or INTP 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 these types to be chronically in the grip of inferior Extraverted Feeling, episodes of intellectual inefficiency and poor use of logic can become habitual. Their typical and “normal” moderate dissatisfaction with their work situation can also become chronic. They may complain continually about others’ incompetence and the irrationality of management.They are likely to feel singled out for victimization and may imagine elaborate but baseless “conspiracies” being hatched by co-workers or supervisors that are designed to make the ISTP or INTP look bad and exclude him or her from decision-making roles at work. One INTP described this as “feeling paranoid.”

INTPs tend to find more areas of life to be stressful than do ISTPs, and they have fewer available ways of coping with stress than any other type. However, ISTPs report the second-highest frequency (ISFPs being first) of hypertension and heart disease. INTPs, like INFPs, report these conditions relatively infrequently.

The Form of the Inferior

Like Introverted Feeling types, Introverted Thinking types often report becoming uncharacteristically sociable, outgoing, and expressive of feelings as part of their inferior function experience.This is reported by both males and females of these types and by individuals of all ages. However, the loss of social inhibition is likely to emerge eventually in easily expressed anger, being loud and perhaps inappropriate and obnoxious. Introverted Thinking types seem to report less pleasure in losing their inhibitions than do Introverted Feeling types, perhaps because they are uncomfortable extraverting their normally introverted critical Thinking. It may be that their naturally unspoken critical stance emerges more quickly than it does for ISFPs and INFPs.

As the Introverted Thinking type’s conscious control of differentiated Thinking starts to diminish, use of that dominant function along with auxiliary Sensing or Intuition becomes increasingly difficult.The internal struggle for control may be largely unobserved by others. But as time goes on, others may notice a certain slowness, vagueness, and distractibility replacing the sharp acuity that they are used to seeing in the ISTP or INTP.

Introverted Thinking types report becoming illogical, inefficient, unfocused, and scattered.An INTP described becoming “emotional, edgy, disorganized, obsessive about details, confused, closed. Usually I am easygoing, centered, and creative and see lots of options.” An ISTP reported becoming “confused, disorganized, unable to focus. I lose track of my organizational strategies and get messy.” A young ISTP described himself as “slow and dimwitted, forgetting stuff all the time.”And a youthful INTP said, “I lack the mental energy and clarity that I ordinarily maintain. I’m not able to concentrate at all. I become completely illogical.”

As inferior Extraverted Feeling becomes more prominent in the demeanor of the Introverted Thinking type, it comes out in the form of logic being emphasized to an extreme, hypersensitivity to relationships, and emotionalism. For ISTPs, tertiary Intuition may aid and abet these forms, appearing as a conviction of some imagined “pattern” of others’ uncaring neglect of the ISTP’s needs and feelings. For INTPs, tertiary Sensing takes the form of an obsessive review of the facts and details that prove that others neglect the INTP’s needs and feelings.

Jung (1976a) touched on a combination of these characteristics as they can be seen in their inferior form:

Because of the highly impersonal character of the conscious attitude, the unconscious feelings are extremely personal and oversensitive, giving rise to secret prejudices—a readiness, for instance, to misconstrue any opposition to his formula as personal ill-will, or a constant tendency to make negative assumptions about other people in order to invalidate their arguments in advance—in defense, naturally, of his own touchiness. (p. 350)

Logic Emphasized to an Extreme

Effective dominant Extraverted Feeling types are quite comfortable making decisions that are not logical. Introverted Thinking types in the grip of inferior Extraverted Feeling may become passionately insistent on the application of logic, becoming quite emotional about their approach. As an extension of their loss of control over the Thinking function, the Introverted Thinking type begins to engage in excessively logical, unproductive thinking. There may be an obsessive quality to this thinking. One ISTP feels compelled to “prove” the accuracy of his perception of things. An INTP said, “If a problem comes up that I’m unable to resolve, I work at it anyway and can’t let go of it, even if I know I can’t solve it.”

Other Introverted Thinking types report becoming less articulate, speaking rapidly and disjointedly, and using sharp, clear, but “paranoid” logic.They may find that they forget things, misplace objects, and engage in futile projects that don’t accomplish anything and are marked by disorganization.

One INTP described becoming rigidly stuck on a false belief that at the time seemed totally supported by logic. Later, he was able to reassess his conviction as an inferior “Feeling judgment masquerading as logic.” “I am very impatient, demanding, and extremely logical,” said another INTP.“I am obsessively analytical,” said another.

Hypersensitivity to Relationships

Effective dominant Extraverted Feeling types value their relationships with others.They carefully consider the well-being of others in making decisions and devote energy and enthusiasm to personal and social interactions. In the grip of inferior Extraverted Feeling, the Introverted Thinking type experiences increasing hypersensitivity to “Feeling” areas.And just as Extraverted Thinking types struggle to maintain controlled efficiency and competency when in the initial grip of the inferior function, so ISTPs and INTPs valiantly try to hide their formerly alien concerns with being liked and appreciated. In this unfamiliar state, they overinterpret or misinterpret others’ innocent comments or body language.“I nail someone and babble forever about my feelings and all the terrible things ‘they’ are doing to me,” said an ISTP.However, to the Introverted Thinking type, the perceived slights are accurate and authentic.

Something as innocuous as someone failing to say hello upon entering a room, or briefly interrupting a conversation to greet a passerby, may be interpreted as an indicator of dislike and disapproval. ISTPs and INTPs tend to feel discounted when others do not listen to them attentively. “I tend to be emotionally hypersensitive when I’m ‘not myself.’ It’s extraordinarily different from my usual state of logical ‘emotional detachment,’” said an INTP.

Others are usually slow to catch on to the altered state of the Introverted Thinking type, as was noted earlier for Extraverted Thinking types. Distress, anxiety, and annoyance are typically expressed with minimal cues—a raised eyebrow, a distant look, or other subtle body language may be the only signal. Further, family, friends, and colleagues, who are in the habit of trusting the person’s careful, objective analysis of people and events, are likely to take the ISTP’s or INTP’s conclusions as objectively true. They have little reason to doubt, for example, that the boss doesn’t appreciate the INTP and won’t let him do a particular project. They about things may be judged irrelevant to the problem at hand and therefore as interfering with logical decision making. In contrast, Feeling types typically consider such data entirely relevant to their decisions.Their primary decision-making criteria include personal values, feelings, and consequences for important people and institutions.

Due to limited experience, therefore, Thinking types’ emotional expression lacks the differentiation and subtlety of feeling seen in well-differentiated Feeling types.When positive feelings are involved, they may seem maudlin and sentimental.

One INTP said she becomes “mushy, sentimental, very outwardly emotional, and unpredictably so.”A young ISTP said,“At times I feel really emotional when I’m by myself thinking about things that normally wouldn’t bother me.”With greater intensity, inferior Feeling comes out as raw, extreme emotion. Feeling judgment seems to become increasingly exaggerated and obsessive, reaching a point where it no longer serves a judging purpose but becomes unbridled emotionalism.

“I am ‘hysterical.’ I believe that nobody likes me and I am worthless . . . [and] have nothing to contribute to society. Whereas normally I am very happy to be alone, when I am ‘not myself ’ I seek affirmation from everyone. I call all my friends until I feel better,” related an INTP. An ISTP said, “I talk about inner feelings and show emotions. I don’t usually do that; I also express criticism toward others—I usually keep it to myself.”

When the contents of this normally unconscious, primitive function rise to the surface, they appear as a loss of control over emotional expression. There are reports of irritability and difficulty in holding back frustration and anger. In early phases, the Introverted Thinking type may become fidgety, trembling, and sarcastic, stomping around and making verbal attacks, exaggerating and accusing others. In more extreme cases, there may be physical outbursts that include breaking things and attacking people.

An INTP college student was deeply involved in a research paper when some of his friends invited him to go to a carnival with them. He refused, but they persisted anyway.When one grabbed his pen and paper and teasingly refused to return them, he began yelling at her and grabbed her arm. Both he and his friends were surprised and frightened by the swiftness and intensity of his reaction.

Although expression of anger is common, especially in younger ISTPs and INTPs, often there is increasing self-pity and a sense of feeling neglected, unappreciated, and even victimized.With greater loss of control, Introverted Thinking types can burst into tears with no warning. One wrong word can trigger an emotional outburst accompanied by rage, crying, and rising emotionality. Some describe feeling as if all their emotions are all mixed up, released with uncharacteristic spontaneity.“I start to notice my own feelings and become moody and impatient; I deny to others that anything is wrong, but all the while I feel like I am drowning in emotions,” said one ISTP.Another described being “very emotional and unable to keep my reactions to situations under control.”

Not only are their own emotions problematic, but so are the emotional reactions of others. Some Introverted Thinking types say they cannot truly understand something in the Feeling arena if they haven’t actually experienced it. As a result, when they are in the grip of their inferior function, they find that emotions from others are upsetting and only intensify the magnitude of the situation. The three manifestations of the inferior function typically appear together. One INTP feels martyred and cannot help snapping, whining, and complaining to people. She reports becoming very emotional and a little irrational, unable to organize or problem-solve with her usual efficiency and competence. Another INTP describes feeling numb, frozen, or enraged, as well as exhausted and unable to concentrate.

Some describe an inability to keep their emotions to themselves, even though they wish to reveal little of their internal processes. In this state, said an ISTP, “I act out my displeasure rather than keeping it to myself as I am inclined to do. The actual acting out is usually brief, but feeling stressed out about it may last longer.” An INTP described the shame she associates with experiencing extreme feelings; she also described blaming others for not appreciating or loving her enough. Paramount is a sense of being misunderstood, with no way to correct the misunderstanding. Other ISTPs and INTPs report similar reactions.

Lengthy Episodes in the Grip

The types of episodes described above are experienced by the ISTP or INTP as temporary states during which they are vulnerable to the three forms in which their inferior function is expressed. However, when an Introverted Thinking type is chronically in the grip of inferior Extraverted Feeling, inferior function behavior may become habitual. Both the individual and others are likely to believe that angry, emotional accusations, somewhat outlandish and complicated explanations of others’ behavior, inefficiency, and poor use of logic are part of the natural makeup of the ISTP or INTP. Others may assume that the individual has always been hypersensitive, hypercritical, and overly emotional. 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 to be unaware of what, in retrospect, will be recognized as a radical alteration of personality.

The Introverted Thinking type will appear to be a rather exaggerated, poorly developed Extraverted Feeling type, as illustrated in several of the stories in the next section. However, there are also occasions when a lengthy period in the grip of inferior Extraverted Feeling can stimulate new awareness and positive growth toward completion and individuation. The last story is an example of what Jung meant when he described 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, equilibrium is often restored rather dramatically after an intense expression of emotion. However, when more short-lived experiences of the inferior are involved, Introverted Thinking types find that changing activities can aid the normalization process. What is most important for both ISTPs and INTPs is spending time alone, including exercising primarily alone. Introverted Thinking types need to be alone and physically separated from others, doing something they find enjoyable or relaxing.“I need alone time, to remove myself from the situation and to think about the problems, and then I need a close friend to help me analyze it,” said a young ISTP woman. Trying to identify the problem and wrestling with its solution are typical approaches for Introverted Thinking types, who find that reframing the cause of the distress is often helpful. “I need time to think through the issues,” said an INTP. “Others can help by affirming that my response is okay because the situation I’m in is unreasonable and stressful.They should not ask if I’m okay.”

Light problem solving that engages but doesn’t strain their Thinking, such as reading a mystery novel, can be helpful. Both types agree that they require time by themselves, that others need to leave them alone, and that it is most unhelpful for others to try to help them in any way, to ask how they feel, or to try to minimize their distress. Often there is little that others can do. Internal acceptance and calm are what is needed most.

Others can help most by staying out of the way and forgiving the out-of-character
behavior.A trusted person’s physical presence is not intrusive, but psychological space should be respected. It is also helpful if someone close to them can gently encourage them to talk about their feelings after sufficient time has passed. However, many Introverted Thinking types report that the very worst thing someone can do is ask them how they feel about things.

ISTPs’ auxiliary Sensing can be helpful in encouraging them to perform a reality check on the stressful situation. This occurred when Carl, the ISTP businessman, discovered that his doctor recognized his distress This made his situation real and forced him to deal with it. Some INTPs can calm themselves down by playing unusual games of solitaire that don’t depend on luck for success. Such games engage their auxiliary Intuition. The repetitive handling of the cards (tertiary Sensing) also has a calming effect. One INTP said that it helps to get engaged in a project he enjoys, and others describe engaging in distracting, absorbing forms of recreation.

Being excused from usual responsibilities and having someone else deal with the outer world helps Introverted Thinking types achieve equilibrium. Like many other types, ISTPs and INTPs find physical activity of some kind, especially hiking, to be a good way to detach themselves from a grip state.


In the grip of inferior Extraverted Feeling, Introverted Thinking types have difficulty functioning at their typical level of cognitive acuity, are hypersensitive to relationship issues, and can be touchy and emotional. Equilibrium is often reestablished via their auxiliary Sensing or Intuition. ISTPs acknowledge one or more important realities bearing on their situation; INTPs find a new idea or perspective that interrupts and modifies their exaggerated sensitivity or emotionalism.

As a result of important inferior function experiences, Introverted Thinking types can acknowledge the importance of the “illogical and unexplainable” and accept their vulnerability to their own and others’ emotional states.They may then have access to and be able to express the depth of their feelings for others.

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I hate to bump, but, well, bump :). Good to have all of these in one place.
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