Shadow functions and BPD theory | INFJ Forum

Shadow functions and BPD theory

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by Ninae, Dec 8, 2016.

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  1. Ninae

    Ninae Newbie

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    Okay, I have a theory. (Being infj, I feel like this is already fact because it feels right to me, but I still want to discuss it)

    So, as we know the INFJ functions are as follows:
    Ni
    Fe
    Ti
    Se

    So that means the shadow functions are those of the ENFP:
    Ne
    Fi
    Te
    Si

    I have been diagnosed with BPD for about 2 years now. When a friend got me into the MBTI system, I consistently got 3 different results: INFP, ENFP and INFJ.

    Eventually that wasn't good enough for me and I went looking for real answers. I started researching cognitive functions and realised that I am really INFJ, especially as I like into how I acted as a child.

    Now, when I was about 13 my family moved from Scotland to the States. this was a huge trauma in my life and I struggled intensely. I began adopting actions which were very foreign to me, and I continued to live in those actions.

    Eventually things caught up to me and things happened and voila: I have BPD. I read up on it and tried to understand, but wasn't really able to get help.

    Anyway, as I was researching these functions, I began to wonder about shadow functions. I came across the term by accident while looking up a friend's cognitive functions, and started to read about what INFJ shadow functions look like when worn too much. And that exactly described what the doctors told me was BPD.

    So, my theory is that BPD is actually a person living in their shadow functions, to some degree or other. I'd like to know what you all think.
     
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  2. charlatan

    charlatan Permanent Fixture

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    Don't get me wrong, I love the functions, but I caution about mixing them with these kinds of clinical diagnoses, because they seem to be more based on philosophical utility than on empiricism.
    The extent to which I think this is true is that "living one's shadow functions" more or less corresponds to living a strained version of yourself.

    The MBTI test is statistically validated (and valid if interpreted as continuous dimensions, not dichotomies) , and simply, the functions are not -- I still use the functions, but again, as a philosophical tool. I still think the Big 5 interpretation of the MBTI is the more empirical one (but the Jungian interpretation is, to me, even cooler!)
     
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  3. One among many

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    I myself was very curious what my mbti type was and every time I took the test, I got different results that were all somewhat similarly related. I remember believing I was an Infp, Isfp, enfp, and finally I got Infj. It seemed as if I would almost adopt all the characteristics of the type I identified as. Before discovering these types, I had suspected I had BPD, and had mentioned the symptoms to my mother who communicated my concerns to my therapist. I don't know if maybe there is a correlation between being Infj and having BPD
     
  4. OP
    Ninae

    Ninae Newbie

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    I did that too though. Every time I got a new result I would see it in myself and find ways to prove that to be true (an Ne trait), which only served to worsen the identity disturbance.

    A lot of the symptoms mirror things that are common for our type. Especially the strong emotions, how attached we can get, and how our emotions can change seemingly out of the blue because we can get so tuned in to what others are feeling and often can't tell what we're feeling ourselves. Our type does seem to have somewhat of a natural proclivity to anxiety and depression because of this as well. I've read that BPD is commonly associated with the ENFP personality type as well, so an unhealthy INFJ forcing ENFP traits would probably look very BPD even if they weren't. That's my thought, anyway.

    I ended up doing a lot of research (by a lot, I mean almost all day, every day for over two weeks so far- I have a boring job) and discovered a lot about how things came to be. I grew up with an ISTP father who pretty much instilled doubt of my Ni in me from a very young age, so I developed my Ne. My Fe was constantly under siege because he is a major projector of all of his worst emotions (especially stress. I have pretty bad anxiety because of how much stress he poured into me.) so I learned that feelings hurt and I need to take care of my own, so I started developing Fi... really badly. I got obsessed with figuring out what I felt. Because he was so thinking, I avoided it, but I still found that my Ti works now that I'm out of that environment, and I do use Se, but not Si, which is what clued me into being INFJ rather than ENFP.
     
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  5. Sandie33

    Sandie33 Love Often & Absolutely ♡
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    Thought of these...hope they are helpful.:)

    http://personalityjunkie.com/07/infj-other-side/

    On the link between early/childhood trauma and BPD
    www.nih.gov:
    Prolonged and severe trauma, particularly trauma that occurs early in the life cycle, tends to result in a chronic inability to modulate emotions. When this occurs, people can mobilize a range of behaviors that are best understood as attempts at self-soothing. Some of these attempts include clinging and indiscriminate relationships with others in which old traumas are re-enacted over time, as well as more self-directed behaviors such as self-mutilation, eating disorders, and substance abuse. Usually, these behaviors will coexist. Patients with complicated trauma histories often repetitively attempt suicide or engage in chronic self-destructive behavior, and need to address issues of childhood trauma, neglect, and abandonment, both in the past and as re-experienced in current relationships. When treating these patients, therapists must anticipate that painful affects related to interpersonal safety, anger, and emotional needs may give rise to dissociative episodes, which may, in turn, be accompanied by increased self-destructive behavior. The therapy must clarify how current stresses are experienced as a return of past traumas and how small disruptions in present relationships are seen as a repetition of prior abandonment. As part of this, it is essential that the therapist provide validation and support, and avoid participating in a re-enactment of the trauma. Fear needs to be tamed in order for people to be able to think and be conscious of current needs. This bodily response of fear can be mitigated by safety of attachments, security of meaning schemes, and by a body whose reactions to environmental stress can be predicted and controlled. One of the great mysteries of the processing of traumatic experience is that as long as the trauma is experienced as speechless terror, the body continues to keep score and react to conditioned stimuli as a return of the trauma. When the mind is able to create symbolic representations of these past experiences, however, there often seems to be a taming of terror, a desomatization of experience. As Ducey and van der Kolk found in the Rorschachs of Vietnam veterans, patients were unresponsive to outside influences (good or bad) as long as they remained in a state of psychic numbing. Faced with intrusions of past trauma in their current emotional life, patients' initial sense of being overwhelmed was mastered only when a link between past trauma and current perceptions became understood.
     
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  6. James

    James Infamy, infamy.. they've all got it infamy
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    I used to have a colleague at work (ISFJ) who was a really nice lady, but she would always tell people she was BPD. She was younger than me, and from what I could gather had really just had one bad episode/breakdown at work largely due to stress and overwork. I think INFJ can be vulnerable to work over stress but tend to rebel, whereas I think ISFJ can really be almost defenseless to unscrupulous bosses who exploit their work ethic, in her case I think to the point of a breakdown. It had happened at a previous office, so I didn't know any details of it.

    I often used to wonder, whether she really was BPD at all, she seemed fine otherwise, stable marriage 2 kids (not saying someone who has BPD can't do that). Obviously I am not trained to recognise/diagnose such a condition anyway. I just used to wonder why she seemed to want to tell people about it. Maybe that was her way of coping ? When I first did the MBTI through work, I had already done a self test at home and got INFJ. I knew before i started I would "get the weird one" lol.

    I don't think there is a connection between BPD and INFJ but I do think we are sensitive souls, more liable perhaps to get upset by conflicts etc. I had a rocky childhood but had two very loving parents. I think from what I've seen on neuro science, there does seem to be a very strong link in childhood trauma and stunted/damaged developement of the pre frontal cortex. I wonder if that's what maybe can cause a BPD issue ?

    I think the brain itself is very capable of recovery (look at stroke and accident victims etc) so I'd hope even if that was the case, that people can adapt with or without medication. It used to bother me with my colleague, as I'd see certain people look at her oddly for telling them about the BPD thing and treat her as being 'weird'. Plus in cases of dispute they had the 'she's got BPD card' to play which was very unfair on her, she was good at her job and the few disputes I saw her involved in, were largely her asking people to do their job right. She would always try not to manage staff, which was a shame, as she was very good at that, and the staff who worked for her liked her.
     
  7. OP
    Ninae

    Ninae Newbie

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    I used to talk about it a lot more. and think about it a lot more. I have a tendency to become obsessed with, well, everything. especially understanding why my emotions and my reactions have been so unstable in recent years.

    I have a full time job, so technically I'm high functioning. I struggle in relationships though. I'm less difficult in friendships, but I'll still distance myself from them suddenly when I feel hurt by someone. Romantic relationships are the bane of my existence. I try, but I'm hopelessly co-dependant, and when they end I get horribly depressed and pretty much go crazy. All the while I can see and feel their stress and fear and helplessness at the situation and I feel terrible for it, but controlling it is like trying to stop an angry toddler on a rampage when you forgot to bring your bribes. But it can feel like the BPD gives you an excuse to have emotions in this crazy emotionally constipated world, and act on them in ways you know aren't socially acceptable.

    I've been getting better. You can learn to control it and activate the part of your brain that processes emotional regulation, even without therapy (though I don't recommend going the solo route. It's really hard.) It takes a lot of study and work no matter how you do it, but it is possible. Funnily enough, it happens best when you don't think about it and to just... live. But I've discovered living with very few people close to me to avoid hurting them, so that might not count.
     
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  8. James

    James Infamy, infamy.. they've all got it infamy
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    Sometimes i think all we can do in life, is try to maintain ourselves, physically and mentally. I have been trying some CBM to adjust my thinking to be more positive (i don't think I was overally negative but why not push up the constuctive thinking is my view) I've included the link if that's possibly any help to you. I run it 5 mins a day most days. i think physical exercise is hugely beneficial to me mentally, also a creative outlet (I play guitar and write). Whatever works for the individual is how I see things.

    http://www.creativemedia.org.uk/cbm/index.php

    I am glad things are improving for you, and totally agree on the second last line you wrote. i think it's letting go of fears and worries that free's us.

    Take Care.
    James
     
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