Recognizing and dealing with our shadow | INFJ Forum

Recognizing and dealing with our shadow

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  1. AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    I came across this article that describes really well what our shadow(according to Carl Jung) is and does to us. I'll post a short portion of what this article talks about and if you're interested you could keep reading from the link given. I'll be interested in further discussion if you guys are up for it.

    .

    Full article: http://www.shadowdance.com/shadow/theshadow.html


     
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  2. durentu

    durentu Regular Poster

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  3. OP
    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    Interesting response tovlo, let me try and respond some of the issues you brought up.
    In my opinion, our real shadow isn't really the ESTP, but rather the ENFP in MBTI terms. I think this because if you look closely, we share no cognitive preferences with the ENFP whatsoever. The ENFP can push our(INFJ) buttons quite easily since their orientation is faced away from each other. The ENFP will use their intuition outwards, while the INFJ would use it inwards and things as simple as what color the sky is would have different meanings for both of these types. In respect to the ESTP, yes, we are very different from each other, but instead of feeling repulsed by the way they see the world, it inspires us with their outlook in life. INFJ's weaknesses become the ESTP's strengths and vice versa. We may complement each other really well if you ask me.

    Of course, I don't have any sound evidence for this, but this theory seems quite plausible due to life experiences with these two types.
    Dealing with the shadow is quite the ride, so I don't blame you for not wanting to engage with it. But really, the shadow is the other balance of our whole self, and if we don't make it our ally, then it's going to be doing its' own will unconsciously to us. So if you're shadow side includes seeking power and aggression than you should carefully consider integrating these dark aspects of yourself and mold them with your current and conscious identity. The shadow holds considerable amount of influence on our interactions with others, even though we may not know it. It also holds considerable amount of potential that gives rise to fascinating sides of who we truly are.

    True. Watch, the next time you feel irritated with someone, notice how your body twitches and contracts due to the way the other person is attacking your ego(the part of yourself that holds ideals, beliefs and ideas) and ask yourself why is it that it is causing so much discomfort. It's a tough process, believe me, but it's fascinating the amount of information you may obtain from such analysis.
     
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  4. OP
    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    I'll give you a quick example that comes off the top of my head.

    For one, it really bothers me when people order me around. I hate being told what to do and I must feel like I need to have a decision with everything someone asks me to do. I must feel like I have free-will.

    But of course, life isn't always that charming and along the way you come up with people who do just what it bothers me the most. So the moment someone orders me to do something in a really bothersome way, I notice right away how my breathing begins to shorten, and my thoughts become really disturbed. This thoughts tell me to tell that person to shut the F### off and so on. At the sign of all these physical signs, I begin to control my breath and my thoughts until I know that my next response is mindful of what the situation calls for. If the situation demands that I obey such order, I do as I am assigned and hold no grudge whatsoever with the other person. If I feel, the request was out of line, then, with a tranquil mind and conscious of why I feel this way, I tell the person that I do not like it when people aimlessly order me around.

    So you see, I've learned why I react the way I do and now can make decisions free of resentment. I have accepted my shadow's personality and molded it to my overall conscious identity. My temper has improved a lot from knowing what makes me tick, since I know that my shadow holds opinions completely different from what I am accustomed to, but that doesn't necessarily make it bad, it just makes it more complete.

    People still make me mad but now I can know why people make me mad, so that way I'm not impulsively getting berserk with others. There are still too many aspects of my shadow that I still need to uncover. Many lol
     
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  5. OP
    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    very well put.

    Another suggestion would be to make mental notes whenever possible. This may seem boring at first but it helps tremendously. What you do is to note the mental state that you are in for that moment. For example you might be feeling tired so you make a mental note "feel tired", if you're feeling sad, note "feeling sad" and so on. The point of this exercise is to make some aspects of the shadow conscious by deliberately and detachedly applying analysis to how you're feeling at that moment. You may be holding onto something that hinders your judgment because it's not readily accessible at conscious awareness. So you forcefully push yourself to make whatever you feel and think consciously.

    Remember one thing: the shadow and your ego sees things as black and white. They have a really strong sense of duality. So when somebody says something that threatens your ego, you think bitterly of that person because you could never say or act the way he/she does. Your ego sees things in one extreme and the shadow in the opposite direction. The "shadow" is called shadow because it lurks in the darkness, and therefore you have no way in sympathizing with it because you prefer to listen to your ego instead. However, once you understand where your shadow is coming from and why it makes you upset, you begin to heal that part of yourself that for so many years remained suppressed by the ego.

    In your case, how you feel threatened by someone else's sense of judgment may be the cause that you feel troubled by strong opinions of others. Your ego may be delighted to be not that concerned about being morally judgmental but the shadow does. Your shadow may be feeling empty and its begging for you to take care of it, it's asking for balance.
     
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  6. Detective Conan

    Detective Conan Doesn't Cast Shadows

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    Okay, so I have a question for you about the little tid-bit above. What would you say about people who display no such thing? Would you find them to be rooted deeply with their shadow at all times, or too apathetic/unaware for their shadow to, I suppose, take notice? :m075:

    I'm not sure why I asked this, honestly... oh well.
     
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  7. OP
    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    To be honest, I don't know. But let me do a bit more research and I'll happily answer that for you. :)
     
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  8. Trifoilum

    Trifoilum find wisdom, build hope.

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    Anyone tried this, the journey to integrate / compromise / accommodate / cooperate with our shadows?

    I've read the article Last Dawn posted in the past during my shadowing time, and indeed it's fascinating. It appeared to me that it's related to all mechanism defenses; but mostly those three; denial, projection, suppression...
    I think it's also a bit related to Jung's anima/animus concept. Especially the 'golden shadow' part.

    Not comfortable at all (you can pull a Hannibal Lecture on yourself, if you succeeded), and the Nietszche quote "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." but it's a journey worthy of doing.

    To me, it's between one of those answers, or they're pretty good on hiding it themselves (...but potentially prone to a horrible breakdown, if that happens). If you're talking about not seeing others, tho; IMO, people don't usually able to see others' shadow....if they do, then the other people are having a breakdown, or they're too deeply unaware / in denial, that the shadow's leaking from them.
     
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    #8 Trifoilum, Jul 3, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  9. durentu

    durentu Regular Poster

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    I have. My shadow is Fe and it has nothing to do with the expression of feelings. From Jung's "Psychological Types" The Feeling preference in the extraversion attitude is about finding long patterns of beauty in the world. Stuff like architecture, statues, etc. Upon discovering my Fe, I've discovered that I find elegance is the soul of my aesthetic. Also in the discovery that coco channel is exactly my idea of elegance as well. Also, I find elegance in the kaizen principle and lean manufacturing. Other things like Shibui/wabi-sabi, japanese flower arrangements, furniture, and the avoidance of elaborate decorations from the victorian era.

    These things existed in but operated in an unconscious level. Why am I drawn to elegant things. Why do I prefer some cars over others and why do I always look for elegant solutions in my work to that of 'zen'. Why do I find wingtips, penny loafers, wedges and platforms distasteful? Stuff like this.


    On the Enneagram scale, I'm a 5w4 that tends towards 8w1. As one integrates, the wing also tends to integrate independently.


    I didn't embark on this journey because it would be a picnic or it would be fun. I did it because it's an investment in myself. Hard work, but well worth it.
     
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  10. durentu

    durentu Regular Poster

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    Taking a different look at cognitive functions:

    Cognitive functions are basically the strategies we use to survive in the world. For an INTP, the function order is Ti Ne Si Fe. This means that I used my Ti/Ne combo as an infant to make my way in the environment. With decades of practice, this has become the easiest for me and takes up the least amount of mental energy to use. While using these dominant functions, my world view is bias towards things that fit the Ti/Ne paradigm such as math, physics, analysis, axioms, principles etc. In this dichotomy, it's discovering patterns and checking against results. In the second half, It's Si/Fe which is the precise opposite strategy of how I lived my life.

    In general, the TiNe stuff I'm a wizard at, but the SiFe stuff does exist in my life. the only trouble is that I'm usually not aware of it and rationalize it as a random event or circumstantial: the SiFe events are in the shadows of a TiNe policy. Much like taboos are in the shadows of the social/government policies.

    SiFe as a dominant function exists with ISFJ and FeSi exists with ESFJ. In all probability, I'd rather hang out with the ISFJ, but benefit more by hanging out with the ESFJ. I think this is why 'opposites attract' and stick when seeking independence.

    This is also a partial reason why children from large families are generally more stable or more situated than children from an single child family. There are also differences between homogeneous siblings and heterogeneous siblings.

    In all likeliness, it's like severe physical therapy for the ego.

    The more I avoided the shadow, the more I realized that I was doing myself a great disservice by denying a part of me that has always been with me. It's a great step towards self-acceptance which leads to self-confidence. Under the paradigm of scarcity, I would never have explored the shadow in fear that I would loose myself. Under the paradigm of abundance, the exploration of the shadow now is in the beginning stages of synergy between the first half and second half. It's interesting to say the least.
     
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    #10 durentu, Jul 3, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2010
  11. bagelriffic

    bagelriffic Community Member

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    thanks for this great article. ive gained a lot of insight from only reading this last night, and it has already helped a relationship of mine that i knew had become strained, i just didn't know it was because of me denying certain aspects of myself, that were reflected in another person. thank you again, this was tremendously helpful, not just for my interraction with others, but for myself, ty! :)
     
  12. OP
    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    I'm curious, how does the other four remaining functions(Te,Ni,Se,Fi) fit in all this for you?

    From my understanding, an INTP's Fe still makes part of their conscious awareness, though weak, you are still aware that it exists. Fi would be the INTP's true shadow since it resides at the 8th level of your cognitive preferences.

    So if you don't mind sharing, how do you see Fi in your life? Is it more or less strong than your Fe?

    Hey, no problem, I'm just glad that it was helpful to you. :)
     
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  13. durentu

    durentu Regular Poster

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    It's not so clear cut. It's almost never the case that I have distinct Fi moments. If I have any Fi experience, it's almost always triggered by something else. For instance, when sharpening my dominant function or working on Fe, I do fine that the Fi comes and goes.

    Generally what happens is when my TiNe synergizes with my SiFe, all 8 functions light up.

    One such experience was when I read about a scientific discovery that when a mother gives birth, the embryo deposits stem cells in the mother's body which is later used for any physical damage in the body. It's as if the mother toils to give life to a baby in the womb, the baby gives the mother some life back in the form of stem cells.

    So that kinda lights up the whole board.

    Most frequently, and I think it applies to everyone, is music. Everyone has their favorite tune, and everyone has that one tune that will move them in a certain way. In my youth, I used to be a competition cellist, so music has a subjective, technical and performance aspect for me. Bach is among the top on the list. I'd venture to say that if there's another Bach lover, they probably are INTP as well.

    It is extremely rare that I would have an isolated distinct Fi moment, but it surfaces as bi-products of some other activation or triggering event.

    Also, the literature on the last 4 functions are diverse in the interpretations. So I tend to concentrate on the first 4 only as a practical concern. I gave up on MBTI research a while back.

    EDIT:

    for a real time visual image of how it happens:

    imagine the stereo and the bar graph it shows as music is playing. On the left is the bass and on the right is the treble. But relabel from bass to treble as dominant function to 8th function.


    Code:
    _
    _  _
    _  _
    _  _        _
    _  _  _  _  _        _
    _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _
    Ti Ne Si Fe Te Ni Se Fi
    
    Now play Barry White and watch the output. That's kinda how it would look moment to moment.
     
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    #13 durentu, Jul 3, 2010
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  14. Detective Conan

    Detective Conan Doesn't Cast Shadows

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    I've been trying to do this for the last few years. I've tried the four methods above after failing an obvious fifth (denial; it didn't work so hot for me...). Then, I tried to accommodate my shadow-self. That really didn't work out for me, because I felt like it started to cripple my own personality, values, and beliefs, which was not something I was willing to do. The same feelings manifested when I tried to compromise with my shadow functions...

    So, that led me to trying to cooperate/integrate with those functions. It was a very challenging thing to attempt, since I was used to acting like that when I was overly stressed/otherwise emotional. However, since I've started on a solid journey to integrate/cooperate with my "shadow," I've gotten better about 'controlling' it. Now, I require very little stress or emotion to use it... it helps me a lot more, as opposed to before, whereas it used to hurt me due to the unpredictable nature by which it acted...

    Really, I think accepting it as a part of me has helped me grow a lot as a person. It can be confusing sometimes, but I feel I'd be more lost had I just tried to deny that side of myself...
     
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  15. Trifoilum

    Trifoilum find wisdom, build hope.

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    Can you explain more? What kind of feelings?

    Also, it has come to mind that there seems to be two different school of thoughts as far as Shadow and MBTI are concerned;

    Code:
    1) is inverting the code >> flipping the function's order
    INFJ (Ni Fe Ti Se) >> ESTP (Se Ti Fe Ni)
    
    2) flipping the function's code but not the order
    Ni Fe Ti Se (INFJ) >> Ne Fi Te Si (ENFP)
    Both seems applicable in practice, in theory the first's more like "trying to be / do something different", while the second's more like untapped potential...

    What do you think?

    @Add : the second link gave this ;
     
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    #15 Trifoilum, Jul 4, 2010
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  16. Detective Conan

    Detective Conan Doesn't Cast Shadows

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    I'm going to try to answer your first question as best as I can, because it seemed a little vague as to what feelings you were referring to...

    When I tried to accommodate/compromise with my shadow functions, I didn't feel like I was acting like myself because my brain wasn't working the same was as I've become accustomed to. Another way to put it is that I thought I was hiding behind a mask because such a shift in thinking started to shift my personality, making me feel like I wasn't myself...

    And, as to the second bolded part, I'm sure you realize that these alien cognitive functions typically manifest under spikes in emotion or unusual amounts of stress, right? Well, normally my shadow cognitive functions wouldn't manifest without some significant amount of stress or intense emotion (which could, admittedly, lead to stress). These little (okay, HUGE) shifts in my personality/thought structure never went unnoticed, especially by myself. I took notice on what exactly made what cognitive function flip and I've kind of learned to control it.

    Sorry, it's really difficult for me to explain, and my level of concentration at the moment is at a -1234232222135...

    As to your second question, in my personal experience I've come to wholeheartedly believe that the second theory (flipping the function's code, but not the order) is the right theory. Only because it feels like I'm tapping into something new, something different that helps me out when I have a problem in life that's hard for me to deal with...

    Again, sorry if my responses are so-so, my concentration has been shot all day and I promised myself to reply to you today. Might edit this tomorrow/reply to your reply to this if my concentration rebounds soon.
     
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  17. durentu

    durentu Regular Poster

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  18. VH

    VH Variable Hybrid

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    This would imply that I'm an ISTP because ESTJs tend to make me the most nuts.

    However, I think there is a more simple theory at work here, which is our shadow is whatever functions we don't have well developed, and when we see them in other people it irks us. I think type is commonly associated with this due to the way we develop our functions, but this principle needn't always be tied to type... just functions.

    For example in the typical development progression, a less developed INFJ could have this effect with ESTPs if they have not yet developed their Se and Ti. Later in life once they've mastered these functions well enough, they will begin to see ENFPs as antagonistic when they are developing their Ne and Fi. Later still, they will find ESTJs to be their shadow as the INFJ finally hones in on Te and Si.
     
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    #18 VH, Jul 5, 2010
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  19. Morgain

    Morgain defective wisdom
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    so interesting!

    so in my case my shadows would be:
    TeSi --> ESTJ
    FeNi --> ENFJ
    SeTi --> ESTP

    I think I have developed my TeSi very well. It is like I have to modes of action: the FiNe mode and the TeSi mode. In the TeSi mode I'm very well in organizing, remembering stuff, making lists and graphs, preparing my experiments with a lot of care and performing them without making mistakes. While in FiNe mode I'm a mess in the lab. It is the mode in wich I can relax, ponder on things, being creative and observing life in all possible angles. I don't like to be in TeSi mode. Although it gives an energy boost it also feels like I'm an other person, my mind works in overdrive and I can not stop the train of thoughts

    FeNi is for me the golden shadow. I admire ENFJ's, the way they are always there for others, always concidering others. They give off so much warmth for people. I wish I was more like that but whenever my Fe is at work it has a negative twist. Most of the time I use Fe to ensure my position, to find out what I have to do for others to be accepted and loved, to become a part of the group and it is my feeling of "not being good enough" that twists my Fe. But when I do feel good and loved then I can use Fe in a positive way, to really help others

    it is SeTi that really freaks me out. Maybe I have a wrong image of ESTP but to me these people have no sense of morality, they manipulate people for there own benefit. They can be nice to someone not because they like the person but because they need something from them. It makes my bullshit meter to go into alarm: "fake smile, fake smile" :D. When I find out someone is only nice if and when they need me I get so discussed by that person that I really don't have any respect for them anymore. Because you never know what to expect from these people. They can be nice one day and stab you in the back the next without even blinking. I don't have that kind of problem with ESFP's. I think because there way of manipulation is so obvious and done with such an elegance that I find it charming. It is not as cold and calculated as the ESTP. The ESFP normaly realises that I see right true it and it becomes a funny play between us while the ESTP becomes very defensive and even more agressive manipulating when they realise I see true it.

    So I don't know what this says about me. It clearly is my shadow mode but does that mean that I also have these aspects in me? the manipulation and using other people for my own benefit? That would be so disgusting and disturbing! Maybe indeed I do but I feel guilty when I do or I try to deminish the negative effect by making it transparent.
     
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  20. OP
    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    So pretty much you're saying that all your other functions still have a mixture of your dominant function integrated in them? For example, when your Fi lights up, it's still under the dominance and perspective of your Ti?

    Correct me if I'm wrong
     
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