NF Types and Shadow Functions | INFJ Forum

NF Types and Shadow Functions

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by VH, Oct 25, 2009.

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  1. VH

    VH Variable Hybrid

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    I've noticed something recently that I thought I'd share.

    Beebe's theories on shadow functions work like this: All of your standard functions reverse themselves when you are stressed. This is the mind's way of adapting to not being able to solve a problem normally. For INFJs this means becoming an ENFP. Ni, Fe, Ti, Se become Ne, Fi, Te, Si.

    According to the model for how we develop capacity in any given function, simply by learning as we use them, this explains how many of us NF types have capacity in our 'opposite' functions and in proportion to them. For example, some of the INFJs here have an Ne almost as strong as their Ni, an Fi almost as strong as their Fe, and so on. I had been assuming that this was due to an individual's ability to drop to the next function when a favored function isn't working, but if that where the case, then everyone would have higher inferior function than their dominant shadow function. For example, an INFJ would always have a higher Se than Ne or Fi, and that's just not the case.

    This really lends credit to Beebe's theory that the shadow mode is the first mode an individual goes to when stressed, possibly the only mode.

    But, what this means is that over time and with enough stress, all of the NF types develop Ni, Ne, Fi, and Fe, creating an overall NF type that almost seems to defy more specific typing. There are a lot of us here who have had a lot of trouble typing ourselves due to this, and I really think this might explain it.

    Now, for the advanced logic...

    I've noticed that this happens less in the INFJs, most likely becuase their initial cognitive function set keeps them from flipping into stressed mode as often as other NF types. This makes sense because INFJs have a very solid function set to deal with the stresses of modern world (believe it or not) because their cognitive functions are designed to maintain internal harmony.

    I've also noticed that INFPs tend to have extremely balanced Ni, Ne, Fi, and Fe values. This implies that INFPs are the most likely of the NF types to get stressed enough to switch to their shadow mode, which makes sense that INFPs have the least favorable set to deal with the stresses of the modern world, as their cognitive functions are designed to maintain external harmony but internal strife - which causes them to step up into ENFJ mode much more often than INFJs let themselves loose into ENFP mode.

    What this means, ironically, is that there is a great deal of connection between INFJs and ENFPs, as well as ENFJs and INFPs. Effectively, these types are appearing to be two sides of the same coins, each being able to manifest into the other.

    But, the really interesting part of this is that once a person flips back and forth often enough, they begin to learn how to switch into the other NF types as well, making them ambiguously NF, able to choose which role they prefer for any given situation. In this regard, the INFPs have the advantage because while they have a more difficult time in life, their toils produce much faster cognitive development. But, eventually an INFJ can catch up. Meanwhile the ENFPs and ENFJs seems to be somewhere in between with respect to developing their overall NF type.

    The end result is that all NF types may eventually become an overall NF type, losing their I/E and J/P preferences.
     
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  2. Questingpoet

    Questingpoet Not Afraid to Use His Beard
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    I like this assesment and how you made it easy to follow. Thanks for thinking outloud. It helps me in my overall understanding of MBTI. I agree with your conclusions. I especially agree with your last statment. I feel more an NF type than a solid "I" or "J" at times, acting as both an ENFJ and an INFP. Good thought process!
     
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    #2 Questingpoet, Oct 25, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
  3. sumone

    sumone down the rabbit hole

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    Yes I agree too. It makes sense when you think of how often we use the word 'balance' around here.
     
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  4. OP
    VH

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    Thanks. It's certainly given my Ni and Ne something to think about today.

    The more I think about it, the more I have to admit that depending on my mood, I am more INFJ, ENFJ, INFP, or ENFP. This theory would explain all of that. The only thing not in question about my type is that I'm an NF.

    I don't know why, but despite this seeming to muddy the waters of which type I really am, I think this theory will end up helping me come to a better conclusion. I may need to figure out if I'm more ENFJ/INFP, or INFJ/ENFP. The descriptions I've read say the former, but my test results imply the latter.
     
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    #4 VH, Oct 25, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
  5. Raccoon Love

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    I can also relate to this, my Ne is so strong that It made me consider the ENFP type, as I could Ne>Fi since my Fi is so much more developed then my Fe, and My Ni is only slightly higher than my Ne
     
  6. Pristinegirl

    Pristinegirl Well-known member

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    That is so very interesting. Although from what I read the shadows are determined as the opposites of the initial type. E.g. INFJ is ESTP.

    So then e.g. INFJ being ENFP is valid only (?) when looking at the functions.

    They seem contradictory as one theory suggests ESTP as shadow and the other ENFP - BIG difference! :p
     
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  7. Raccoon Love

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    the thins is that ESTP uses it exactly in the opposite way(Se-Ti-Fe-Ni) if Im not mistaken at least...ENFP is more related to us as they use their functions in the exact order as we do(N-F-T-S) but in a shadow version of INFJ's: Ne-Fi-Te-Si I think..while us INFJ's are Ni-Fe-Ti-Se
     
    #7 Raccoon Love, Oct 25, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2009
  8. Solar Empath

    Solar Empath Community Member

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    I agree, ESTP is like a mirror reflection, while ENFP is like a shadow.
     
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  9. Pristinegirl

    Pristinegirl Well-known member

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    Yea that is right, but what does that mean? Does it then mean that there are two shadows?
     
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  10. OP
    VH

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    It means one is a shadow and the other is a reflection.
     
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  11. Solar Empath

    Solar Empath Community Member

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    Also, I took the separate function test linked in another thread and I seem to correlate to your hypothesis, Von Hase
     
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  12. OP
    VH

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    Here are the shadow pairs (according to Beebe's model) where cognitive function are completely inverted with respect to introverted and extroverted:

    INFJ - ENFP
    ENFJ - INFP
    INTJ - ENTP
    ENTJ - INTP
    ISFJ - ESFP
    ESFJ - ISFP
    ISTJ - ESTP
    ESTJ - ISTP

    Here are the reflection pairs according to the model where it is assumed that people skip to the next function order:

    INFJ - ESTP
    ENFJ - ISTP
    INTJ - ESFP
    ENTJ - ISFP
    ISFJ - ENTP
    ESFJ - INTP
    ISTJ - ENFP
    ESTJ - INFP

    The assumption here is that both models have some degree of efficacy. For example, an INFJ may go INFJ > ENFJ > ISTP > ESTP when stressed but still attempting to overcome the stress, but go INFJ > ENFP when they are so stressed that they 'give up'. By stressed, I simply mean 'external or internal stressors that force the cognitive functions to work to overcome them'.
     
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  13. water

    water Newbie

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    I have a few questions regarding this theory, would it not also effect the INFJ, due to the people most often around them? - (I do believe that INFJ's do "pickup" other's traits.)

    I have noticed this within myself, as I am married to an ISTP for quite awhile now. (17 years) And I do use my Thinking and Sensing functions much more than I ever have before.

    At the same time, I was close friends with an INFP; and I started picking up those traits as well.

    My idea was that this happens "due to the Fe function" within me, that places that "other person" before me to have them feel more comfortable, relaxed and able to freely speak their mind. - My character changes to
    accommodate their tempermantal needs to open the window of linguistics. - (They rub off on me in some way.)

    Depending on whom I am around the most. I honestly could "test out" as them, instead of me.


    BTW... you did "hit the nail on the head" because I have seen and also know that I am in some serious trouble when I hit that "ISTP" threshold and have an emotional tangent, like they would under stress. At those times, I know to back off... be still... and my solution will come.
     
    #13 water, Oct 28, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2009
  14. silverismine

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    I'm usually an INFP but lately I've had this feeling of becoming an INFJ as a reaction to stress. It's very disorienting, and that's sort of why I'm here, to try and be self-aware about it and...switch back I guess, lol. No offense, I just feel like whatever internal censor I might have had before has gone away. I also think my functions are pretty underdeveloped so I don't really know what jokes are funny, or what I would perceive as awkward, things like that. I do know that I hate these stupid monkeys, but not in any kind of passionate way. My emotions think they're cute but my mind wants to smack them. Like I said, disorienting, but this thread helped me feel like there's a reason for it. :)
     
  15. IndigoSensor

    IndigoSensor Product Obtained
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    For me, I think I go ESTP totally when I have given up 100%, and have blinded myself to getting out of a hole. I have noticed I go ENFP when I am trying really really really hard to cope and make myself feel better still, although more often then not it doesn't work.
     
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  16. sassafras

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    I go completely Te when I'm freaking out. I need diagrams and logic and I rationalize everything. I get really competitive, and disorder of any kind irritates me. The perfectionist monster rears its ugly head more than ever.
     
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