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
Some Extraverted Feeling types mention becoming uncharacteristically logical and analytical, with a tendency to think before they speak, when they are in the grip of their inferior function. Such experiences of Introverted Thinking are not generally seen as either positive or negative— merely as strangely different. Perhaps the prevailing societal favoring of Extraversion over Introversion makes Introverted forays into Extraversion (note the comments for Introverted Feeling types and Introverted Thinking types) more appealing to Introverts than the converse experience of Introversion for Extraverts.
For Extraverted Feeling types, the more obviously distressing aspects of “losing” their dominant Extraverted function seems more prominent. Falling into the grip for them is preceded by a diminution or an absence of characteristic Extraverted Feeling qualities. General optimism, enthusiasm, and interest in people give way to low energy, pessimism, and depression. Uncharacteristic withdrawal from usual activities and becoming highly critical of others are consistent responses for male and female ESFJs and ENFJs. “I’m different in being Introverted. I don’t make contact, call friends, go to social events, meetings, the theater. I may accept an invitation, but only if someone urges me. I get concerned about my health. I have no plans, no vision, the future is bleak. I am numb, without feeling or zest for life,” said an ESFJ. An ENFJ said, “I am quiet and withdrawn and want to be alone and reflect on what is happening.” Commented another, “I feel phony and uncomfortable, like a fish out of water. I am unable to be my usual spontaneous self.” Another ENFJ said, “I don’t make eye contact. I can’t share what is going on inside me. I feel tight and negative.” An ESFJ said, “I want to be alone—I’m uninterested in anyone else.”
Jung’s (1976a) comment on the inferior function of Extraverted Feeling types touches on all three of these features:
The unconscious of this type contains first and foremost a peculiar kind of thinking, a thinking that is infantile, archaic, negative. . . .The stronger the conscious feeling is and the more ego-less it becomes, the stronger grows the unconscious opposition. . . . The unconscious thinking reaches the surface in the form of obsessive ideas which are invariably of a negative and deprecatory character. (p. 359)
Tertiary Sensing and Intuition serve to support the negative judgments that are made. The tertiary Intuition of ESFJs generates vague, negative “hypotheses” that affirm their convoluted “logical” critical stance about themselves and others. ENFJs bring their tertiary Sensing to bear by coming up with negative past and present “facts” that support their complicated and largely illogical critical judgments. As energy continues to be withdrawn from the dominant and auxiliary functions, inferior Introverted Thinking intrudes in the form of excessive criticism, convoluted logic, and a compulsive search for truth. The comparison between dominant and inferior Introverted Thinking is shown in Table 8.
Dominant and Inferior Expressions of Introverted Thinking
As Dominant Function of As Inferior Function of
ISTPs and INTPs
• Impersonal criticism
• Logical analysis
• Search for accuracy and truth
ESFJs and ENFJs
• Excessive criticism
• Convoluted logic
• Compulsive search for truth
Effective dominant Introverted Thinking types critique ideas, products, systems, and methods. The inferior Introverted Thinking of Extraverted Feeling types appears in the form of a sweeping condemnation of people. In the grip of inferior Thinking, ESFJs and ENFJs may “dump” on other people, slam doors, yell, make biting comments, and say terse, blunt, or even cruel things to others. They often become physically tense, grit their teeth, clench their fists, and appear visibly agitated. Both Extraverted Feeling types frequently mention “laying a ‘guilt trip’” on those closest to them as responses to being in the grip. An ESFJ said that her automatic response to anyone’s “excuses” about his or her work is to state emphatically, “Well, it’s not good enough!”
A hostile, negative atmosphere can elicit sharp, biting, even vicious comments from Extraverted Feeling types. They seem to dig in their heels, becoming impervious to either logical or feeling arguments. As one ENFJ described, “I become cranky, judgmental, and angry. I mistrust myself and others. Normally, I instinctively trust everyone. I am different when I am not acting from trust. Often this occurs when I feel I am not trusted or understood, or when there is conflict and tension around me.” An ESFJ reported becoming steely and caustic; another described herself as being coolly objective when her strongly held feelings were violated. One ESFJ was convinced that everyone took advantage of her good-natured, helpful ISFP husband. She persistently berated him for his weakness and loudly condemned his family and friends for their rude behavior.
“I am like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” said an ENFJ, describing his reaction to extreme stress. “My humor becomes inappropriate, meant to shock people. I’ve even been known to throw things while in this frame of mind.” An ESFJ said he becomes “angry, out of control, critical, responding too quickly to others with impatience, cutting a person off when they speak.” “I’m critical rather than seeking harmony, self-protective rather than ‘giving,’” said an ENFJ. As their Extraverted energy further diminishes, their criticism is internalized, resulting in self-deprecatory judgments. Turning the criticism inward encourages depression, low self-esteem, and guilty embarrassment at revealing what they view as their alien and unacceptable side. An ENFJ related the following story, which illustrates a natural progression from using dominant Extraverted Feeling to projecting inferior Introverted Thinking onto others, then to turning that judgment on herself, and finally returning to reasoned Extraverted Feeling judgment.
“When my father died, at first I thought I was okay. I was buoyed up by all the support I was getting from others. Also, he’d been sick a while. But then I had a delayed reaction. First, I started finding petty little faults with everything and everyone around me, like people on the subway. But then I became very self-critical. As an example, at the time, I was taking a facilitation workshop, in which I had to be videotaped. I was so sure I’d bombed that I cried in the bathroom after the taping. When I finally (reluctantly) watched the video, I saw that I actually had done pretty well.”
In the grip of inferior Thinking, the Extraverted Feeling types’ attempts at logical analysis take the form of categorical, all or none judgments that are often based on irrelevant data. A highly idiosyncratic “logical” model may be developed internally, but the resulting conclusions may violate good logic. In describing this quality, Von Franz (1971) stated that because
Extraverted Feeling types’ Thinking is neglected, “it tends to become negative and coarse. It consists of coarse, primitive Thinking judgments, without the slightest differentiation and very often with a negative tinge” (p. 45).
“My thinking becomes rigid and I insist on solving problems alone, with none of my typical sharing,” said one ENFJ. “I maintain a front, even though I feel unworthy. I am verbally critical, organize more, and become rigid, perfectionistic, and angry. I want the world to go away.” Another ENFJ described being “inside my head analyzing—adding two and two and getting five and knowing its right.”
Elaborate, logical “plots” may be developed by the Extraverted Feeling type in the grip of negative Introverted Thinking. These take the form of complicated and improbable scenarios for dealing with or eliminating the distress or disharmony in question. ESFJs and ENFJs frequently describe making up “stories,” the goal of which is to explain some upsetting event or solve some nagging problem. An ENFJ recalled that at the age of twelve, she was required to participate in a field day of sporting events. Convinced of her lack of skill in this area, she wanted to avoid embarrassing herself in front of her peers. She plotted various ways to break her leg or ankle, such as falling out of a tree or being run over by a car, but she abandoned her plans, reasoning that she would probably suffer more than minor injury. She also recognized that a lot of pain could be involved. Ironically, her forced participation resulted in her placing third in the broad jump.
Often the source of the problem stimulating the “story” is meanness or criticism directed at the Extraverted Feeling type or a close associate. An ESFJ with a long commute to work was frequently distressed by other drivers’ rude, inconsiderate behavior. He found himself “making up a long and involved story about one particular rude driver, in which I imagined the kind of work he did, his family relationships, the daily events that affected him, and the possible mitigating circumstances that caused his meanness to me.” The imaginary explanation served to restore harmony and allowed the ESFJ to retain his positive valuation of people.
Compulsive Search for Truth
Dominant Introverted Thinking types value truth as the criterion for judgments and decisions. They use logical analysis to arrive at the most objective truth possible. For Extraverted
Feeling types in the grip of inferior Introverted Thinking, seeking absolute, ultimate truth can become an obsession. Many report turning to experts for advice but requiring them to have the “real truth,” or at least the latest knowledge and thinking on the subject. When an expert is not immediately available, they may attempt an internal logical dialogue, often ending up recognizing that their logic is convoluted. This may make them feel frightened, out of control, and despairing of ever extricating themselves from their negative logical conclusions. An ENFJ said:
I become stuck on an idea and don’t have any perspective about it. The devastating truth of my conclusion is overwhelming. I try to think my way out of this tight box I’m in, but there is no escape from my conclusion. I feel compelled to find someone to tell me what to do.
Instead of searching for a specific person who might provide them with needed answers, many Extraverted Feeling types report turning to lectures or books relevant to their current problem; these types are often avid readers of self-help books. ESFJs and ENFJs agree that when stress occurs in some area of their lives, they search bookstore shelves for answers. One ENFJ had a wall full of books in his office. His colleague wondered how he could possibly have read all of them. The ENFJ reported that when under pressure to solve a big problem, he virtually devours the books, having many of them open at once, searching for expert advice on the problem at hand.
When a stressful area is chronic or serious, Extraverted Feeling types tend to be attracted to support groups. In the company of others having similar experiences, they can find validation for their perceptions, as well as the latest expertise and thinking about the problem area.