The following is an excerpt from Naomi Quenk's book "Was That Really Me? How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality":
(Further types will be posted in the future.)
The Form of the Inferior Function
Younger Introverted Sensing types, like other Introverted types, report becoming more sociable, outgoing, or outspoken as part of their grip experience. This is especially true for young men and to a lesser extent for young women. “I’m more outspoken and friendly,” said a 21-year-old male ISTJ about his grip experiences. “I’m also more into people’s needs and how they feel. I guess I’m more of a ‘people person.’ ”An ISTJ young woman said, “I’m more sensitive and understanding, more outspoken and outgoing.” Introverted Sensing types often report that their increased sociability occurs in social situations in which they feel comfortable. An ISTJ is his mid-thirties said he becomes “outgoing, daring, dancing the gorilla dance, whereas I’m usually reserved and calculated.” This is stimulated by festive, comfortable occasions with family and friends. Some young Introverted Sensing types, however, report going too far, becoming loud and obnoxious in social situations. ISTJs and ISFJs of all ages also report a high frequency of becoming more withdrawn, angry, irritable, and pessimistic when in the grip. However, there are some notable differences by auxiliary function and gender. ISTJ and ISFJ men tend to report becoming angry, while women report withdrawing from others. ISTJ women report becoming both pessimistic and scattered, while ISFJ women mention becoming more irritable, emotional, and worried.
Introverted Sensing types’ characteristic task orientation and calm attention to responsibilities begin to disappear as they move further into the grip. “I feel like I’m in a fog of sand and can’t absorb details around me,” said an ISTJ. As their hold on their dominant and auxiliary further diminishes, command over dominant Introverted Sensing is lost. If this state persists, the qualities of inferior Extraverted Intuition manifest in a loss of control over facts and details, impulsiveness, and catastrophizing. For ISTJs, tertiary Feeling combines with inferior Intuition so that the negative possibilities are focused on important relationships with loved ones. The tertiary Thinking of ISFJs contributes the “logic” used to support negative possibilities regarding career, money, natural disasters, and so on. The comparison between dominant and inferior Extraverted Intuition is shown in Table 14.
Two qualities of the negative, inferior forms of Extraverted Intuition (loss of control over facts and details, and catastrophizing) are reflected in Jung’s (1976a) description of the inferior function of ISTJs and ISFJs:
“Whereas true extraverted intuition is possessed of singular resourcefulness, a “good nose” for objectively real possibilities, this archaisized intuition has an amazing flair for all the ambiguous, shadowy, sordid, dangerous possibilities lurking in the background. (p. 398)”
Loss of Control over Facts and Details
Effective dominant Extraverted Intuitive types are comfortable glossing over facts and details as they focus on the complexities of an engaging new idea. Their strength lies in emphasizing generalities; the particulars can be dealt with later. In the grip of inferior Extraverted Intuition, however, Introverted Sensing types’ relationship to details becomes problematic. As they begin to lose trust in dominant Sensing and auxiliary Thinking or Feeling, ISTJs and ISFJs have difficulty attending to relevant factual information and arriving at rational conclusions.
Dominant and Inferior Expressions of Extraverted Intuition
As Dominant Function of As Inferior Function of
ENTPs and ENFPs
• Comfortable inattention to sense data
• Flexibility, adaptability, risk taking
• Optimism about future possibilities
ISTJs and ISFJs
• Loss of control over facts and details
On the last afternoon of a difficult training session, an ISTJ imagined that a small-group exercise in which trainees practiced their presentation skills was preparation for each class member to give a presentation to the entire class. He became anxious and agitated as the time to return to the workshop room approached. He later admitted that he did not feel adequately prepared to present the material publicly and feared he would be humiliated. What he failed to recognize was that no such activity was listed on the schedule (Sensing data) and that with only sixty minutes left in the workshop, thirty-five people could not possibly make presentations (Thinking judgment). His general anxiety and fatigue at the end of a stressful day contributed to his abandonment of his Sensing and Thinking functions.
Flexibility and adaptability are assets to effective dominant Extraverted Intuitive types. These qualities permit them to manage the multiple activities and interests characteristic of their operating style. As expressions of inferior Extraverted Intuition, however, these same qualities take on an aspect of thoughtlessness and impulsiveness, not unlike the qualities ISTJs and ISFJs project onto dominant Extraverted Intuitive types. When they experience a gradual slide into their inferior function, Introverted Sensing types may become uncharacteristically spontaneous, sometimes to the point of later judging themselves irresponsible and reckless.
One ISFJ reported giving in to the urge to leave work in the middle of the day and go to the movies. An ISTJ made a spur-of-the-moment decision to buy a new computer before thoroughly researching the options. He returned the computer later, assessing the purchase as rash and foolish.
Introverted Sensing types may experience increasing lack of focus, confusion, anxiety, and even panic, even though their demeanor remains calm and seemingly unperturbed. Their uncharacteristic spontaneity, however, may come out in snappishness and terse, hurtful comments to others, or in out-of-character behavior. After being divorced by his wife of twenty years, an ISTJ dated forty different women in six months. It was as if his inexperienced Intuition went haywire and his tertiary Feeling judgment was unequal to the task of deciding among the overwhelming relationship possibilities available.
Whereas effective dominant Extraverted Intuitive types thrive on the exciting possibilities the future will bring, Introverted Sensing types in the grip of inferior Extraverted Intuition anticipate the future with fear and trembling. As their descent into the grip proceeds, they become ever more negative, less willing to tolerate the unfamiliar, and more wildly imaginative about disastrous outcomes. One ISFJ described this as “awfulizing.”
In its full-blown state, inferior Extraverted Intuition anticipates all the catastrophes that might happen in an unsafe, threatening world and focuses on dire possibilities in the future. (Remember that the other Introverted perceiving types, the Introverted Intuitive types, focus on negative realities in the present.) ISTJs and ISFJs imagine that anything not previously experienced—any unfamiliar place, any new activity—will provoke horrifying consequences. In the full grip of their inferior function, even familiar, previously safe areas may be reassessed as fraught with danger. This level of catastrophizing is the hallmark of inferior Extraverted Intuition. “I start imagining a lot of terrible things that could happen,” said an ISTJ. “If I tell anybody what I’m thinking, the usual response is, ‘you worry too much,’ or ‘don’t think about that.’ I appear emotional, not my usual controlled self. I am not being realistic, which I always pride myself on being, but borderline ridiculous,” she concluded. An ISFJ school choir director is usually in a good mood when she awakens—except when a choir performance is scheduled for that day. On such occasions, she experiences a general feeling of dread and impending disaster, even though there is no specific content associated with her forebodings.
After having knee surgery, which resulted in a good deal of pain and immobility, an ISTJ was convinced that he would never feel any better: “I couldn’t stop expressing my pessimism and was a real pain to one and all. Before that I’d always been a pretty optimistic person.” In fact, research evidence supports this ISTJ’s experience. ISTJs and ISFJs are among the types most frequently treated for chronic pain. An increase in fatigue and stress often lowers Introverted Sensing types’ tolerance and patience in the face of others’ inattention to or denial of important facts and details. A full-blown exhibition of negative possibilities is likely to ensue. One ISFJ said, “I am given to very sarcastic humor, slashing and unpredictable explosions of cold, hard statements about here-and-now reality. I get stubborn and let loose a negative barrage covering all the bad consequences of what is being proposed.”
When her work situation becomes particularly stressful, another ISFJ’s recurrent fear is that her most recent promotion will be rescinded, or that she will receive a letter from her college informing her that her degree was granted by mistake and they are going to have to take it back. One evening in May, an ISTJ returned home tired after a long day of hiking in the mountains. Distressed to discover that his garage door would not open, he immediately imagined all the possible negative effects—he would have trouble getting to work on time, he wouldn’t be able to go on vacation in the summer, and he certainly could not make it to his niece’s wedding in August!
Introverted Sensing types report having strange or paranoid thoughts when they are in this state, feeling overwhelmed and irritable and imagining that a current stressful situation will go on forever, as will their inability to handle both the stress and the situation. Alternatively, they may come up with off-the-wall, unrealistic positive possibilities when faced with unfamiliar situations. They then must deal with the extreme disappointment that results when the positive possibilities don’t materialize. For example, an ISTJ was quite attracted to a young woman he met and talked with briefly at a party one evening. He planned to get her phone number from his friend so he could ask her out. He imagined where they would go, what they would talk about, and how pleasant their date would be. On calling his friend, therefore, he was upset to learn that the young woman was engaged to be married and had left town that morning to return home to plan her wedding.
One ISFJ’s description of not being herself includes all three forms of inferior Extraverted Intuition:
I ignore facts and details—create monstrous, horrible outcomes that have far-reaching impacts (for instance, in my lifetime and my daughter’s lifetime). I dwell exclusively on these “realities.” I believe that I need to act right now, this moment (for instance, leave my husband or quit my job). Generally, I am very loyal and steadfast, however.