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There's a theory in personality typing that in times of stress our shadow side comes out. Similarly, if we are not well-developed, our shadow reveals itself. Shadow doesn't necessarily mean opposite. Rather, it's how even our potentially good traits will devolve in the face of extreme stress.

I ask partly because it has been a time of stress for me--- death of one of my closest friends, a hurtful dating experience, and falling out with another friend/roommate.

Despite all of this stuff---I do have some great new job prospects, and I know I'll work through it. But I think I see my shadow coming out a bit and wanted input on that. Here's what I see:

1) I typically have to have someone to talk to and receive comfort from. When I lose that source and am under extreme stress, I may be inappropriately frank and drama-spilling with strangers--- as in this example. Fortunately, I am at least trying to keep some anonymity.

Downsides of this trait: a) When the first thing we tell someone is the negative, we may scare off people who don't get to know all of the good and balanced stuff. b) Predators see that we are vulnerable and exploit that. Thus the hurtful dating experience. c) We invite in opinions from strangers who we don't know are reliable, insightful, and positive sources of advice and encouragement.

2) I have noticed that I will cling to some forum or website in times of extreme stress.

Downsides: a) See above. b) It can be unproductive.

Upsides: If I can turn it into something constructive, I wind up being my own best adviser and comforter in the writing I do.

3) Are we more prone to stereotyping others in times of stress? I am wondering if I try to too quickly categorize someone as safe or unsafe rather than just taking some of the good and some of the bad and taking my time getting to know people?

4) Shyness- We may be more shy in public in times of stress?

5) Haywire in response to conflict? Do we grapple with a variety of responses which are unproductive?

6) Lashing out- I am pretty tempted to lash out at the person who has hurt me when I have been hurt badly. But I'm uncertain whether what I call lashing out is necessarily what others would call lashing out because a lot of it is simply confronting them with what I think is happening. The problem is that the confrontation can happen in an angry fashion.

7) We start questioning all of our behavior and flagellating ourselves? Case in point?

Are these our traits in stress? Do we have others? How do we diffuse them?
 

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If it is really bad stress I will start to act very un-EFJP, I stop caring about other people's feelings at all, get very emotional and start shouting at people at the least provocation.

Luckily that amount of stress has only happened once or twice before, the guilt trip afterwards is simply frightening and I spend days apologizing repeatedly to everybody who will listen.

Lesser levels of stress tend to make me more bossy and at those times I will railroad people into doing what I think is right. I can also get quite depressed ("I am always doing the wrong thing", "nobody likes me" etc.).

I am wondering how are other people coping with that? Do you have some tips how to avoid turning into a small dictator (no matter how benevolent and how good the outcome)?
 

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Depending on which expert you're consulting, ENFJ's shadow modes are either ISTP or INFP.

According to the stress approach, the mind adapts to stress by temporarily switching which function is dominant. Depending on how deeply we go into our adaptation indicates how many types we regress through. When we get somewhat stressed, we can put our Ni first and seem a lot like INFJs. When we get more stressed than that, we begin to lean on Se and can seem a lot like ESTPs. When we get extremely stressed, we begin to lean on Ti and can seem like ISTPs. The best part about this theory is that when we are stressed, we are forcing our minds to develop our non-dominant functions, which is ideal in helping us become fully actualized thinkers. I would highly recommend to all ENFJs developing your Ni, Se, and especially your Ti as much as possible.

According to the shadow approach ENFJ's shadow functions are Fi > Ne > Si > Te. Shadow functions are generally considered to be the functions that we don't normally use. These functions are the ones that are the most difficult for us to master in ourselves and relate to in others. This lack of mastery can cause friction between types that use our shadow functions when there is friction between personalities. This is one of the reasons why it is a good idea to try to develop our shadow functions to a familiar level, so that we can at least relate to others who are using them, as well as provide ourselves with some degree of cognitive balance. Si and Te are the two most difficult functions for us to develop, but honestly the most valuable compliments for our standard function set. Te compliments Fe exceptionally well by allowing us to see relevance and reason beyond our clear sense of how things should be, and therefore gives us the ability to modify our perspectives more fluidly making us better at helping others. Si helps our Ni by giving us a greater depth of recognition for our Ni to draw upon when filling in the blanks.

Here is a link to a PDF that shows each of the functions and how it applies to ENFJs using Beebe's theories.

http://www.vtwellness.net/assets/self-exam_ENFJ.pdf
 

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Oh, hey, I just realized something about this post. In another thread, I was talking about how it seems like ISTP's are into adventure sports, and that I'm into those. Then someone said that's not very ENFJ.

I hope that means that I am nurturing my shadow in an appropriate way. :)
 

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My shadows are:

INFJ [my Ni and Fe switch] - but I'm a very positive INFJ because my Ni is just as developed as my Fe. I use them equally and in a balanced way. I love ... absolutely love being alone ... therefore introverted and extroverted is pretty much equal for me.

The trouble starts when I start going into INFP mode. That's when I become troubled, reclusive, overly empathic and mistrusting at the same time.

Also, my worst mode is the Ni-Ti loop [which is surprising because that usually happens to INFJ's.]. I over-think, over-analyze, get extreme premonitions etc]

I've never been in an Fe-Se loop mainly because I've never had the opportunity. But I do have a highly addictive personality.

I used to become more like an ESTJ / ENTJ than an ISTP when it came to holding on to my morals and obligations and when I tried to repress my feelings. My rage didn't involve getting too involved in details - but rather seeking an over-arching purpose to my existence and sticking to it almost absolutely. Too loyal to a fault regardless of whether the situation or people were good to me or not. I became either overly reliant on my intuition or completely incapable of relying on it and just tried to pull up regrets of the past and made even worse decisions based on that. That's where I became suicidal.

Overall, I'd say that I could potentially fall into any of the potential shadows of MBTI. Most frequently though it's INFP, ENFP or ESTJ.

I can be a healthy Ni user - [all 4 types] because of my chameleon-like personality. I can take on another person's traits and mimic them .. as long as they involve Ni in some way.
 

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To me the whole shadow thing makes a lot of sense psychologically. If you're not happy, it means that shit is going on in your life that isn't good for you, so, at a certain "breaking point" (probably where you've gone through combinations of all of your functions and still haven't come out of it) you become unhealthy, and your brain goes "And now, for something completely different", proceeds to flip the table, poop in the corner, and next thing you know, you're jumping out of a plane, (hopefully with a parachute) actually enjoying yourself. Though maybe nobody else around you is.

Or something like that.
 

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I never understood the "shadow" stuff, but now I think I'm starting to understand. The "stress" theory makes sense to me because when I become super stressed I can see me being like an istp who is stressed.

"When they are affected by stress, an ISTP will often…
• Develop a firm and unwavering focus on logic
• Respond poorly when others provide helpful ideas
• Become overly sensitive to how other people perceive them
• Feel alienated from the people around them
• Use a tone that is underlined with complaining or sulking
• Under excessive stress, express emotions through outbursts of anger or tears


An ISTP can reduce stress by…
• Evaluating the facts in a situation to gain new insight
• Participating in independent activities that diverts their attention from the stressor
• Focusing on what they value
• Spending time on their own to reenergize
• Ignoring their concern of how other people perceive them"

http://students.usask.ca/current/life/employment/PDFs/ISTP.pdf

The tips about how to handle stress as an ENFJ, along with these tips made for the ISTP, seems like it would be really helpful for me to try.

Also this website said that:
"Under extreme stress, fatigue or illness, the ENFJ's shadow may appear - a negative form of ISTP. Example characteristics are:
being very critical and find fault with almost everything
doing things to excess - e.g.: eating, drinking or exercising
asking for irrelevant information
ignoring others' feelings"

http://www.teamtechnology.co.uk/myers-briggs/enfj.htm

This is true too!
 
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