I was talking to DevilDoll on facebook just now (we're RL friends), and what we were talking about gave me a really neat mental image I thought I'd share. (For once I'm not going to delete this personaliztion that my inferior Se makes me type before I get to the meat of things...) Ni seeks the answer. However, when Ni gets stuck, we switch to Ne which looks for possibilities (as it is our dominant shadow function). I think this is the mental equivalent of getting a car stuck in the mud. When Ni doesn't work, we switch into Ne and spin the tires to try to get enough traction to get back to our Ni. In other words, we start spinning through possibilities to find a new track that our Ni can run on, because our current set doesn't include a solution that we can see. Since we're not especially good at Ne, however, we can get more stuck because we don't know when to quit, just like how a tire can end up even deeper in the mud if you keep spinning it. This is how we can start running down tangents like "maybe I'm this other type, or how about this one, or I could be one of these..." When we let our Ne go too far, we lose sight of our ability to use Ni. In these instances, it is so important for us to take a break from it and get as much distance as our Ni needs to come up with the answer, which will just hit us out of the blue. In the analogy, we need to let the mud dry until the car has traction.