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MOTM June 2010
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Triggering A Shadow Episode​

There has been a great deal of new discussion about the shadow functions. I have been aware of the theory for some time, but continued to question how one triggers a shadow type experience. It has been only my thought until now that there must be a connection to our inferior function that causes one to appear more like their shadow type. I just ran across an article by Beebe that confirms this.

However in discussing this briefly with someone else, I think it’s important to discern a difference between a shadow type and what Naomi Quenck refers to as out “In the Grip” type. These are two different theories based on two differing schools of thought.

Quenck (a MBTI enthusiasts and author of the Step II assessment) theorizes that we use four functions and will go into a grip episode using our inferior function. As a result Quenck purports that in-the-grip we take on an appearance of our opposite type:

Type/In-the-Grip Type
ESTJ/INFP
ENTJ/ISFP
ESFJ/INTP
ENFJ/ISTP
ESTP/INFJ
ENTP/ISFJ
ESFP/INTJ
ENFP/ISTJ

Hence as an example, the type under Quenck’s system would show ENTJ behaving like an ISFP, ESFJ like an INTP, ESTP like INFJ, ENFP like ISTJ and so on.

In turn John Beebe says:
By ‘shadow’, I mean having the same function but the opposite attitude. So, for example, when the superior function is introverted feeling, its shadow is extraverted feeling, the inferior function is extraverted thinking, and the shadow of the inferior function is introverted thinking.
This makes it quite clear that the shadow types are different than Quenck’s in-the-grip types. Beebe’s shadow types will be (Note: the scale below can also be reversed):

Type (Spine)/Type (Shadow)
ESTJ/ISTP
ENTJ/INTP
ESFJ/ISFP
ENFJ/INFP
ESTP/ISTJ
ENTP/INTJ
ESFP/ISFJ
ENFP/INFJ

Thus the type in question continues to use the same function order as, what Beebe refers to as their spine (i.e. ESTJ uses TSNF), but with differing attitudes. In this case ESTJ will behave like ISTP, ENFJ like INFP, ENTP like INTJ, ESFP like ISFJ. This makes more sense allowing the function order to remain in tact.

This was always clear to me, however what has been my continued question is what triggers me to appear like an ESTJ. As I stated it seems clear the connection must be with the inferior function. This is noted in Beebe’s article here that explains:
The inferior function, in contrast, is a perpetual source of shame for most people. Acknowledging and accepting this shame with a measure of humility is a first, necessary step towards knowing oneself, finding integrity, and beginning to make a meaningful connection to the unconscious.

But because the inferior function is usually so poorly developed, especially in a young person, to be forced to use it can be an agony, and even calls forth a yelp of complaint, a cry that is often high-pitched in a man, full-throated in a woman. This sonic quality gives us a glimpse into the contrasexual nature of the archetype carrying the inferior function: the defensive, hysterical, helpless, irritated, bird-like whining in a man is the voice of the Anima under pressure, while in a woman the growl of an animal cornered, embittered and at the end of its rope, can emerge from the pressed Animus.

Despite its burden of shame, the inferior function, with its connection to soul or spirit, is also a place of great idealism in the psyche. The higher cause or mission that seizes our energy is often associated with this area of the psyche where we are ourselves rather weak and inept.

Thus, a person whose superior function is introverted thinking will often put a very high value on the goal of everyone in a group getting along together, although this person may lack any of the feeling skills to facilitate such an outcome. Conversely, an introverted feeling type may be drawn to champion the most abstruse strains of philosophy, even as he or she has to struggle to follow the more intricate twists of thinking.

The person who cares most passionately about the quality and safety of food may have superior introverted intuition and thus inferior extraverted sensation, while the person with superior introverted sensation may be the most concerned to maintain the quality of the future, for instance by acting now to reduce global warming, an extraverted intuitive precaution.
This is what I have been waiting to read from Beebe, of how we trigger episodes of experiencing the shadow type. Like INTPs, ISTPs have a Fe episode that causes them to appear as an under developed version of their extraverted cousins ENTJ and ESTJ respectively.
 

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That is a good question. I actually don't think there is just one shadow mode. I think people are able to enter several shadow personalities. My shadow modes seem to be often ENFP, occasionally ENTP, I can't say I recall feeling like an ESTP before. Judging by my own personal experience I would say depending on circumstances different shadow modes seem to get triggered, so there is no one correct answer to this.
 

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MOTM June 2010
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Discussion Starter #3
That is a good question. I actually don't think there is just one shadow mode. I think people are able to enter several shadow personalities. My shadow modes seem to be often ENFP, occasionally ENTP, I can't say I recall feeling like an ESTP before. Judging by my own personal experience I would say depending on circumstances different shadow modes seem to get triggered, so there is no one correct answer to this.
Which is how it should be. Your opposite type is ESTP (Se-Ti-Fe-Ni), but your shadow type will have the same function order (N-F-T-S) as your type. Beebe calls your four ruling functions (Ni-Fe-Ti-Se) the spine, and the other four functions (Ne-Fi-Te-Si or ENFP) the shadow of your spine.

But when we speak of our shadow functions, we are not alluding to our top four that we may use in various ways. My Ni is as strong if not stronger than many ENJs if they focus too much on their extraverting function (Te or Fe). On the other hand since I do have an affinity toward introversion, I generally skip over my Se and use my Ti-Ni, so the average ENJ may have better use of their Se than I. Contrary to some theories, this is normal and the reason Jung chose not to describe the types beyond the dominant function is he because he says the number would start at 256 types and go up due to the infinite number of function and attitude combination.
 

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So you're using "shadow" to mean "inferior function" here? Not the "other four functions" outside your main four?
 

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MOTM June 2010
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Discussion Starter #5
So you're using "shadow" to mean "inferior function" here? Not the "other four functions" outside your main four?
The shadow functions are always the four functions outside of the four we use.
 

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Also, the "spine" is not the first four, but only the dominant/inferior tandem. 5/8 then would be the shadow of the spine.
Since they will all be the same mode (judgment or perception) of function as the dominant, the spin is called "rational" or "irrational".

The other functions, (aux/tertiary and their shadows) are the "arms".
The spines tend to focus on the ego's relation to self, while the arms deal with the ego's relation to others. At least the archetypal complexes that associate with them do.

The first four are called "primary" functions, with the others being the "shadows". In the older four process theory (Quenk, etc), the inferior was considered the shadow. Beebe elsewhere clarifies it by point out the shadow is any unconscious function, so it could be all eight (like in a really young person).
 

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Facinating. Thanks Functianalyst! I've noticed I do not revert to an ISTJ with stress, usually. I'm more like an INFJ as I draw inward, but don't become overtly critical or controlling. I still remain concerned about relationships and other's feelings, but may not be able to engage people in an extraverted way.

However, I find when I get to the point of anger, when there is a severe ongoing problem and unrelieved stress related to an individual, I can become critical, decisive and logistical. "Everybody better do this right now!" "That's a bunch of crap." "I'm not buying that " "I don't care what you think, feel etc." "Throw it all away!" "Just do it!"

I'll organize everything and throw a lot away, wanting to 'clean out' my life of this person. Usually, if I use a firm voice for effect, my kids will laugh because they know it isn't too serious, but they know when I have reached my limit with stress.

It's extremely rare for any of the above words to come out of my mouth. People will say, "You sound just like____." (An ISTJ.) I hate myself at those times. I appreciate the functions are a strength to ISTJs but they are twisted in an angry ENFP.
 

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Facinating. Thanks Functianalyst! I've noticed I do not revert to an ISTJ with stress, usually. I'm more like an INFJ as I draw inward, but don't become overtly critical or controlling. I still remain concerned about relationships and other's feelings, but may not be able to engage people in an extraverted way.

However, I find when I get to the point of anger, when there is a severe ongoing problem and unrelieved stress related to an individual, I can become critical, decisive and logistical. "Everybody better do this right now!" "That's a bunch of crap." "I'm not buying that " "I don't care what you think, feel etc." "Throw it all away!" "Just do it!"

I'll organize everything and throw a lot away, wanting to 'clean out' my life of this person. Usually if I use a firm voice for effect, my kids will laugh, but they know when I have reached my limit with stress.

It's extremely rare for any of the above words to come out of my mouth. People will say, "You sound just like____." (An ISTJ.) I hate myself at those times. I appreciate the functions are a strength to ISTJs but they are twisted in an angry ENFP.
YES! Me too! I'm just like how you described when i'm stressed!
 

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Earlier this year I came to the realization that I often had the mindset of an ESTJ at times. Very often however, this would result in destructive, repulsive behavior and I could never understand why. ESTJ personalities, in my mind, were always the organized, leader types which I aspired to and never realized that living my shadow was actually having a negative effect.

Actually recognizing when the shadow is taking over has allowed me to "pull back" and think hard before engaging in otherwise negative behavior.
 

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MOTM June 2010
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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the posts and responses folks. I think there remains some ambiguity in how our shadow types behave. Referring to ZaRocks, I don't think we necessarily become destructive in our shadow type mode. Instead it could be simply our alter-ego side of us coming out. Like you, I notice when I am appearing more ESTJ-ish, but I actually get a lot accomplished during those periods and find myself organizing my outside world. I think the point here is we should know whether we behave more like our opposites (.ie., ENFP=ISTJ or INFJ). It would probably do everyone some good to look at descriptions of the types that may be considered shadow, to determine which you believe you may resort to when under extreme stress.
 

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My Ne causes me to act like an ESTP. First I get uncontrollable thoughts of negative possibilities. Then, I use my Se an indulge in unhealthy sensory experiences. And then I use Ti by having a disregard for the rules and structure and doing only what makes sense to me. I become really obnoxious and loud to the people around me like a stereotypical immature ESTP. I don't know about Fe and Ni.
 

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MOTM June 2010
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Discussion Starter #14
My Ne causes me to act like an ESTP. First I get uncontrollable thoughts of negative possibilities. Then, I use my Se an indulge in unhealthy sensory experiences. And then I use Ti by having a disregard for the rules and structure and doing only what makes sense to me. I become really obnoxious and loud to the people around me like a stereotypical immature ESTP. I don't know about Fe and Ni.
Frannyy makes a point that I was going to come back a rewrite. This is just my thoughts but someone, for example ISTJ can actually enjoy using their reversed function order (i.e., appearing like ENFP) to enjoy themselves. This is natural in my opinion since the functions being used are the make-up of an ISFJ as well. However too much use of that function order, or if called upon to use the functions in that order when the ISTJ does not want to, could trigger a grip episode. On the other hand , an ISTJ may find themselves behaving like their alter-ego ESTP if circumstances calls for them to be on the spot in making decisions and deploying tactical intelligence instead of logistic intelligence. Under these circumstances, an ISTJ may behave similar to an under developed ESTP, but find the results necessary to accomplish a certain goal.
 

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This makes sense, when you consider what functional stress relief really attempts to do: preserve the dominant orientation/perspective. This will usually occur during pressure from the 2nd and 4th functions, your functions of opposite orientation with respect to the dominant. In tertiary temptation with INTPs for example, negative experiences regarding the Ne perspective forces the mind into the Si perspective to preserve the introverted orientation to the world and "protects" Ti. When inferior Fe attempts to intrude on the mind and you go into shadow, your mind is trying to preserve your dominant worldview, which for ITPs is impersonal rationalism.

I've always had an interest in the shadow functions. I will always, always naturally prefer Ti to Te, Ne to Ni, for example, however I'm far more able to accept the Te and Ni perspective over either S and F perspective. But I'll never really naturally fall into those perspectives on my own.
 

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This is quite interesting. I am an ENFP and when I get nervous or feel uncomfortable, I don't talk and I start to become much more planned and less spontaneous. In addition, I want to try new things less and less, and feel the need to go with the same thing. I tend to take on characteristics of an ISTJ. I really would like to learn more about shadowtypes.
 

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MOTM June 2010
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Discussion Starter #19
how would it accomplish a goal? I hate being my ESTP alter-ego. I become self-destructive.
Can you give some examples of how this occurs? I know that when I find myself appearing more ESTJ I don't necessarily take other people's feelings into consideration, but I am in a mode that gets things completed and organized. The act is an energy drain, but things gets done then I go back to my laid back ways. Again these are my thoughts, but I do want to hear from others on how they see their shadow types working. Do you consider yourself more inclined to appear more ENFP-ish even when not under stress, or ESTP-ish? Don't answer that, I already know the answer :wink:.
This is quite interesting. I am an ENFP and when I get nervous or feel uncomfortable, I don't talk and I start to become much more planned and less spontaneous. In addition, I want to try new things less and less, and feel the need to go with the same thing. I tend to take on characteristics of an ISTJ. I really would like to learn more about shadowtypes.
Are you actually taking on an ISTJ behavior or INFJ? People make the assumption that Ni is a spontaneous function. Berens says that Si and Ni are both linear with a beginning-middle and end in mind.
 

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Do you ever take other people's feelings into consideration even as an ISTP??


Like I said- ESTP. I put myself through unhealthy sensory experiences, and I have a disregard for the rules.
 
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