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MOTM July 2012
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I'm wondering - can you all identify with this?

I've been reading the section in Naomi Quenk's book Was That Really Me? How Everyday Stress Brings Out our Hidden Personality about Ni-dominants' inferior Se as it reveals itself under stress.

She says that Se as an inferior function of INFJs and INTJs (appearing under stress, for which she uses the phrase "in the grip") demonstrates itself differently from Se as a dominant function of ESTPs and ESFPs:

dominant Se: focus on external data
inferior Se: obsessive focus on external data

dominant Se: seeking sensual/aesthetic pleasure
inferior Se: overindulgence in sensual pleasure

dominant Se: delight in the outer world
inferior Se: adversarial attitude towards the outer world

It is as if all the intensity of the INxJ being were drained out of his inner soul and poured into the experience of the outer world, so he feels fully out of his element to the nth degree, an unprepared traveler dropped into a strange, overwhelming new culture.

1. Obsessive Focus on External Data:

The outer world is an experience in which to revel, a sea of pleasure to dive into and indundate oneself with, an exhilarating watery playground...for an Se dom. An INxJ instead will feel the waters rushing on them and overwhelming them until their lives are flooded and they are drowning under its waves. Therefore, finding themselves "under the influence" of the outer world is a pleasant, relaxing experience for an Se dom, as they sit back and enjoy being smothered in its sensations; and an unpleasant, frenetic experience for an Se inf, who feels like the world is closing in around them.

Suddenly the INxJ develops quasi-OCD relative to every detail around them - maybe in their environment, maybe in their work, maybe in their appearance. Overwhelmed, they are wound up, they obsess or nitpick, or feel the need to control and re-order. As Quenk aptly describes it,

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 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..."
This really struck me. I can certainly identify with the 'cleaning' or 'organizing' binges that seem to strike when I am most stressed out and have other more pressing responsibilities...suddenly I feel like I have to get every detail of my life in order, even the tiniest, least significant details (along the line of alphabetizing CDs, lol). And I obsess over the smallest flaws in my appearance...it's like they are magnified beyond ordinary proportions or become all-consuming.

2. Overindulgence in Sensual Pleasures:

"Living in the moment" comes naturally to an Se dom ~ normalcy for them is soaking in the sensations, bathing in the aural aesthetics, breathing in the beauty, relaxing into the luxuriant-feeling cushions of life, plunging headfirst into its pleasures ...losing themselves in the immediacy of this world. While an Se dom is so familiar with this universe of sensation that he has the ability to operate like a responsible adult in this real world, an Se inf approaches it like a naive child charmed by his first taste of pleasure, living on a trip to fantasy away from the real world. An INxJ in the grip of inf Se can (but may not) throw himself with abandon into this indulgent pool of pleasure, drink in so fully that he quickly becomes drunk, then wake up in a regretful hungover slump, wondering bitterly what ever came over him...only to stagger over and fall right into the same pool again. The indulgence may take the form of eating binges, shopping binges, exercise binges, entertainment binges, lack-of-schedule-discipline binges etc., all as an escape from reality, which feels out-of-control and not necessarily even enjoyable. It's like living in a self-destructive fantasy.

Quenk writes,

Overdoing gratification of the senses is a commonly mentioned behavior for INTJs and INFs 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."
I really identify with this also...there are times when Ni's little "you know what [insert negative consequence] could happen if you do this" whisper is tuned out by Se's loud, resonant, overpowering velvet "you know how good this will feel" voice, and temporarily reality seems far, far away from the realm of my indulgence.

3. Adversarial Attitude Toward the Outer World:

An Se dom approaches the physical world with anticipation of pleasure, like a child thinks of Christmas morning...an INxJ in the grip of inf Se views the physical world with expectation of difficulty, like a driver who thinks they may have caught a glimpse of blue flashing lights in their rearview mirror. In this respect, an Se dom sees the best ("what a wonderful world"), while an Se inf fears the worst ("they're coming to get me").

Quenk explains,
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."

....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."

....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.
I can also identify with reading the worst through the lines of my environment when stressed (whether it is there or not), narrowing in on that which feels negative around me, and letting it get to me.

Can you all identify?
 

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Not so much the outer two things, but I've experienced inferior Se in terms of indulging junk food. >_> Oddly enough, I've never had alcohol or drugs or any of that crap. But there are days where I'll say to myself, "you only live once" as I buy some ice cream that I know I shouldn't be having. Or I'll have the occasional craving for Oreos, or something else just as icky for my health but oh so good for my soul.

Can't say I've ever experienced a need to over organize or clean, or that I've ever hated the world for anything physical. I'm not a fan of the world in general, but it's because of the inconsideration and stupidity I see in people everyday thanks to the other functions, not Se. But then, my Se really is inferior anyway. Food is where I notice it. Or even pay any attention to it.
 
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MOTM July 2012
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Discussion Starter #3
Not so much the outer two things, but I've experienced inferior Se in terms of indulging junk food. >_> Oddly enough, I've never had alcohol or drugs or any of that crap. But there are days where I'll say to myself, "you only live once" as I buy some ice cream that I know I shouldn't be having. Or I'll have the occasional craving for Oreos, or something else just as icky for my health but oh so good for my soul.

Can't say I've ever experienced a need to over organize or clean, or that I've ever hated the world for anything physical. I'm not a fan of the world in general, but it's because of the inconsideration and stupidity I see in people everyday thanks to the other functions, not Se. But then, my Se really is inferior anyway. Food is where I notice it. Or even pay any attention to it.
sometimes i wonder if flipping to our inferior function is our brain's relief valve - when the pressure gets to be too much on our dominant function, we snap out of it by opening up to what we are normally closed off to. Ni thoughts get excessively negative under stress so the brain shifts its focus away to the opposite - from the internal-sphere to the external-sphere.
 

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sometimes i wonder if flipping to our inferior function is our brain's relief valve - when the pressure gets to be too much on our dominant function, we snap out of it by opening up to what we are normally closed off to.
I can quote Quenk as well :D

Psychological opposites are a central feature of Jung's overall comprehensive personality theory, just as they are for this type theory. This opposition provides a way for our psyches to correct our natural tendency toward one-sidedness. Jung called the mechanism for correcting one-sidedness compensation.

In proposing compensation as a way to regulate and balance our functioning, Jung borrow Newton's third law of motion: Every action force has a reaction force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction. Jung concluded that: "whenever life proceeds one-sidedly in any given direction, the self-regulation of the organism produces in the unconscious an accumulation of all those factors which play too small a part in the individual's conscious existence. For this reason I have put forward the compensation theory of the unconscious as a complement to the repression theory."
Welcome to the flip side :D
 
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MOTM July 2012
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Discussion Starter #6
I can quote Quenk as well :D



Welcome to the flip side :D
thank you for that quote!!! equal and opposite reaction...that makes sense. :) i have skipped around in Quenk's book, reading the sections about which i was most curious first...and hadn't read that yet. great explanation. :D

I relate somewhat to this too. how do you know that the negative consequences isn't inferior Ne? thanks emerald sea for your insightful posts.
i'm not sure, but that's a good question...i haven't read the section about Ne yet. :)
 

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thank you for that quote!!! equal and opposite reaction...that makes sense. :) i have skipped around in Quenk's book, reading the sections about which i was most curious first...and hadn't read that yet. great explanation. :D
Oooh I'm so tempted to neglect the first introductory chapters and skip ahead to the INFP and INFJ sections... (I've already taken sneak peaks! xD ) But so far, these chapters provide simple yet very important insight to dynamics between functions. It is awesome. :3
 
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Thanks @emerald sea for bringing up Se function. I don't think this inferior function of INFJs is talked about enough, hence not understood. I've done the "flip side" so many times and relate to controlling my outside world when my inside world is falling apart. Forgetting to eat is another thing I've done (more conscious about this one, now). How to deal with it all really is tough to explain. I wish I could. It's so darn subjective. But, just know, there is another concept that can be had "balance of the seesaw".

Ex: This example is from my past: When I feel someone pulling away from me, I become clingy. I tremendously dislike when I do this! So, I beat myself up about it. I start taking control of something/anything, by organizing my outside world. Or, I'm fooling myself with control. Because, I'm really tearing my inside world down. I'd rather hurt me than hurt the person's feelings that is pulling away from me (even though, in reality it may hurt both). And on it goes, until I land on my face and there is nothing more to organize in my outside world. Seeing that ones' self is doing this is one end of the seesaw (the other end is the actual doing). The balance comes in when one is conscious of their actions and tries to work them out to create a better... putting Se where it belongs, using ones' stronger functions to ease using the weaker functions in an "overwhelming manner". Nothing wrong with being conscious of self (and that has it's own story, balance of that). I don't know if I was able to explain anything here or not.
 

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that is news to me! do you have time to explain? :)
I am sure it's talked about the book I recommended for you.

The idea is with Se being inferior in Ni doms.. That pertinent physical information , data and clues take a split second longer to reach the conscious mind or sometimes not until much later , that when the conscious mind receives the data it can come with the sensation of discovery as though this little bit of information was waiting for the Ni dom to observe it.
If the lead function is always focusing on what isn't there, what hasn't happened and what might happen.. How does it react to something that has happened. That is already there? It goes "Ah ha"! You now have something concrete to back up your abstract thoughts and impressions.
The instinct comes first then the proof follows.
 

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MOTM July 2012
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Discussion Starter #13
I am sure it's talked about the book I recommended for you.

The idea is with Se being inferior in Ni doms.. That pertinent physical information , data and clues take a split second longer to reach the conscious mind or sometimes not until much later , that when the conscious mind receives the data it can come with the sensation of discovery as though this little bit of information was waiting for the Ni dom to observe it.
If the lead function is always focusing on what isn't there, what hasn't happened and what might happen.. How does it react to something that has happened. That is already there? It goes "Ah ha"! You now have something concrete to back up your abstract thoughts and impressions.
The instinct comes first then the proof follows.
thank you for explaining!!! i appreciate it!! i haven't finished that book yet...:)
 

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It is as if all the intensity of the INxJ being were drained out of his inner soul and poured into the experience of the outer world, so he feels fully out of his element to the nth degree, an unprepared traveler dropped into a strange, overwhelming new culture.

The outer world is an experience in which to revel, a sea of pleasure to dive into and inundate oneself with, an exhilarating watery playground...for an Se dom. An INxJ instead will feel the waters rushing on them and overwhelming them until their lives are flooded and they are drowning under its waves. Therefore, finding themselves "under the influence" of the outer world is a pleasant, relaxing experience for an Se dom, as they sit back and enjoy being smothered in its sensations; and an unpleasant, frenetic experience for an Se inf, who feels like the world is closing in around them.

Suddenly the INxJ develops quasi-OCD relative to every detail around them - maybe in their environment, maybe in their work, maybe in their appearance. Overwhelmed, they are wound up, they obsess or nitpick, or feel the need to control and re-order.
...
This really struck me. I can certainly identify with the 'cleaning' or 'organizing' binges that seem to strike when I am most stressed out and have other more pressing responsibilities...suddenly I feel like I have to get every detail of my life in order, even the tiniest, least significant details (along the line of alphabetizing CDs, lol). And I obsess over the smallest flaws in my appearance...it's like they are magnified beyond ordinary proportions or become all-consuming.
...
Can you all identify?
Yup. For me this basically describes my phases of being stressed with some small changes. I wonder if it's because my Se is so underdeveloped? :( I like the first two phases mostly, because mostly good stuff comes out of them.

Phase One. Everything must be perfect and controlled. Not people in my life or other people's things, but things I identify as mine. To the amusement of my friends, suddenly having my closet organized by various shades of grey and blue ombre is a life and death situation. Not fun to go through at the time, but after yay clean stuff.

Phase Two. I don't really see "Overindulgence in Sensual Pleasures" but definitely "live in the moment". This helps with decision making, especially when I've been putting it off. What I bolded above from the OP about being in a strange new world totally applies. Everything is loud, but it gives me that edge to finally do what is needed. For instance, finally buying a new pair of shoes after I've been wearing shoes with holes for half a year or telling someone something in a relationship is really bugging me even though I'm really worried it won't be a win-win conversation.

Phase Three is when I know I've been stressed far too long or I've not used Phase Two or One to get me back into normal. "Adversarial Attitude Toward the Outer World" applies I think. It takes a very long time of me being consistently stressed and overburdened to get there. I'll have to have voiced my concerns multiple times and have been hushed, but once I get here my fuse is gone. At this phase all that overtaxing myself to keep things normal-ish implodes.

/sigh. It's not pretty. It's embarrassing. I've learned to try to remove myself from situations or re-frame them so it very, very rarely happens. The weird part is people might not even know I've gotten there. I can still be pleasant on the outside until even accidentally provoked. So it must seem like I've gone all crazy on them outta nowhere. I sometimes feel being pleasant on the outside still is phony considering how stormy I am internally, but that feeling is overridden by the fact that I don't like to inflict it on people I like for things they didn't do.

It's not always in order, but typically it is. Cool stuff! I need to get my hands on this book.
 

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I have a copy of Quenk's book. It's pretty good, although something about her prose style, and also the examples she gives, just don't always 'click' with me.

I think my experiences with Inferior Se look something like this:

*Always needing a plan for things, almost to the point of paralysis. If not a plan, at least some time to think things over a bit, try to see what could be possibly coming down the road at me. This was much worse when I was younger; I've learned to 'go with the flow' and live in the present more now that I'm older. I've even taken a few 'impromptu' (well... not really) road trips and the sort to help me feel more 'loose.' And if the plans are changing, give me some time to adjust my expectations as well.

*"Stuff", and the environment, frustrates the hell out of me sometimes. I just hate it. I'm also extra careful not to create disorder or break something. I'm just ultra-vigilant about my surroundings getting the better of me in situations that might be unfamiliar or 'dangerous.' I want everything to be perfect, and remain perfect forever, so when something happens to screw up this ideal, like, let's say that glass I was worried might get bumped and break, gets bumped and broken, I feel defeated and angry. It's such a disproportionate reaction...it was just a glass!... but sometimes it's uncontrollable. I get pissy and moody after that, thinking "I knew that was going to happen!" and lamenting why I didn't act differently to stop it. Again, these tendencies have softened with age. :)

*Overindulgence -- this can range from stupid junk food, to alcohol, to spicy food, watching TV, etc. People have asked me why I'm eating something so spicy I can't even taste it--how can that be enjoyable? Fortunately, none of this 'abuse' is not so excessive that I have any disorders or addictions... I'm usually pretty temperate the rest of the time. Alternatively, if I am working or engrossed in something, I forget to eat whatsoever. In fact, I'm pretty sure if I was single, and not set in a routine with friends/family, I would skip most eating rituals altogether, as I've always found them to be exorbitant wastes of time, rather than enjoyable activities.

*Getting caught up in the details in stressful situations. The most obvious example I can think of regarding this is when I was new in my career, and was putting together a comprehensive annual report for publication. I was so concerned with the minute details of the text, like punctuation, consistency issues, etc., that I completely missed including one of the reports! Huge, huge oversight, but I was under a lot of stress, and somehow I felt it was more important that each period have only 1 space after it, throughout all the reports, than it was to double check that I'd included all the content. xD I still find myself sometimes getting over-concerned with details in stressful situations.

Ways I've found of compensating for Inferior Se is to force myself to let go, embrace the moment and enjoy my surroundings, like going to the beach and relaxing, just watching the ocean waves, feeling the breeze on my face and sand between my toes. Also, I really enjoy photography, which requires close attention to details in my surroundings, like lighting, angles, distracting background objects, etc.

Maybe other Ni Doms can relate?
 

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Some people think seeing with dom Ni and inferior Se is magical. What is so magical about realizing things a million years later out of no where? It sucks. I feel so slow sometimes.

And yes, I've always related to the descriptions having to do with inferior Se unfortunately :( lol. The obsessive part is a little bit more emphasized in me maybe because I'm a type 1. But I guess it also has to do with inferior Se too.
 

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Some people think seeing with dom Ni and inferior Se is magical. What is so magical about realizing things a million years later out of no where? It sucks. I feel so slow sometimes.
i know what you mean ~ do you ever say something and wonder where on earth all that came from - as in, how it all synthesized into a coherent whole out of nowhere, even though you had never consciously put all those ideas together before? i find Ni rather inexplicable sometimes.

or you ever walk down the same hallway you've been walking down for months on end, and suddenly notice something on the wall that had been there for all those months, but you were too caught up in your thoughts to ever notice it? it's like discovering a whole new world when Se is engaged, although when we're under stress, it's a lot more like a crash-landing onto a new planet with a lot of taxing demands.
 

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i know what you mean ~ do you ever say something and wonder where on earth all that came from - as in, how it all synthesized into a coherent whole out of nowhere, even though you had never consciously put all those ideas together before? i find Ni rather inexplicable sometimes.

or you ever walk down the same hallway you've been walking down for months on end, and suddenly notice something on the wall that had been there for all those months, but you were too caught up in your thoughts to ever notice it? it's like discovering a whole new world when Se is engaged, although when we're under stress, it's a lot more like a crash-landing onto a new planet with a lot of taxing demands.
Yes, except that happens to me more when I write (usually poetry). I throw words together and I'm not worried about it making sense because I know by the end of it - it will some how come together and make perfect sense like it always does. I allow my subconscious to guide me.

Yes, and it's funny because I did not think I did that until I started trying to catch myself doing it and it's amazing at the things I initially miss in my physical surroundings all because I'm so focused on what's going on inside my head.
 

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I've been trapped in this hell for a few years now. I think it started when my ex-girlfriend withheld something from me. I still don't know what it is because she has shut down every conversation about it to keep her happy delusional self image (ENFP). I knew at the time she was holding something back because of the manner in which she expressed the "truth" (affected assurance). Her body language and behaviour were probably telling me everything I needed to know, had I not already begun to distrust my instincts.

I don't even have any attachment to what I'm writing now by the way, I'm just trying it on to see how it fits.

We broke up eventually while I was doing a horrible masters and I now I've been trapped in this data/sense reality, trying to make sense of what happened, for at least 3 years. The irony of that article saying that I'm apt to obsess about data, in an attempt to explain my world view, wasn't lost on me. Drink, drugs, food, panic attacks, exercise, learning, relaxing, stressing, therapy, yoga, thinking, meditating, talking, listening. It's like I've tried every connection point a human has with the world and there's just no information being exchanged.

I feel like I'm doing all the things I would normally do, but it's not me doing them. I have no drive, desire, instinct, Ni, Fe, whatever you want to call it. Nothing I do is ever for any reason other than that I know it's the kind of thing I would do. I'm not even posting this with any sense of why. I used to have a wonderful, indulgent relationship with Se. I would engage it for sex, hugs, laughter, dancing, sport. When I would play music I would disappear into a sensual reality and it made me a better musician. It was sacred to me. It was like a drug.

It's like I've forgotten how to drive and now I'm looking everywhere for the manual. I'm cut off from both healthy sensory indulgence and my core self. I fear now, after 3 or more years, that I will never get back.
 

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I've been trapped in this hell for a few years now. I think it started when my ex-girlfriend withheld something from me. I still don't know what it is because she has shut down every conversation about it to keep her happy delusional self image (ENFP). I knew at the time she was holding something back because of the manner in which she expressed the "truth" (affected assurance). Her body language and behaviour were probably telling me everything I needed to know, had I not already begun to distrust my instincts.

I don't even have any attachment to what I'm writing now by the way, I'm just trying it on to see how it fits.

We broke up eventually while I was doing a horrible masters and I now I've been trapped in this data/sense reality, trying to make sense of what happened, for at least 3 years. The irony of that article saying that I'm apt to obsess about data, in an attempt to explain my world view, wasn't lost on me. Drink, drugs, food, panic attacks, exercise, learning, relaxing, stressing, therapy, yoga, thinking, meditating, talking, listening. It's like I've tried every connection point a human has with the world and there's just no information being exchanged.

I feel like I'm doing all the things I would normally do, but it's not me doing them. I have no drive, desire, instinct, Ni, Fe, whatever you want to call it. Nothing I do is ever for any reason other than that I know it's the kind of thing I would do. I'm not even posting this with any sense of why. I used to have a wonderful, indulgent relationship with Se. I would engage it for sex, hugs, laughter, dancing, sport. When I would play music I would disappear into a sensual reality and it made me a better musician. It was sacred to me. It was like a drug.

It's like I've forgotten how to drive and now I'm looking everywhere for the manual. I'm cut off from both healthy sensory indulgence and my core self. I fear now, after 3 or more years, that I will never get back.
In a sense (no pun intended), you're using Se right now. Writing it out with a figurative manner (see bolded). ;)
 
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