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
Both ESTPs and ESFPs typically become quieter and more thoughtful when they are in the grip, and this may either precede or alternate with becoming more emotional and/or easily angered. As was the case for Extraverted Feeling types, no positive or negative value seems to be placed on this more introspective stance. Many Extraverted Sensing types who describe becoming “more introverted” convey a sense of wonder and surprise at this change from their usual way of being.
One early sign of an impending inferior function episode is a loss of the easygoing, agreeable character of the Extraverted Sensing type. Although becoming quiet and withdrawn is by far the most frequently mentioned effect, irritability and negativity are also frequently reported. No longer are sensory data accepted indiscriminately at face value. ESTPs and ESFPs often withdraw into themselves, appear to lose contact with their habitual optimism, and appear tired and worried. An ESFP remarked, “I gradually take on too much work and too many responsibilities, then I become overpowered with negative thoughts and become very quiet and sad.”
An ESTP noted, “I start to feel that things are overwhelming, then I let them accumulate, and then I lose all motivation.” Another ESTP said he becomes “quiet and reserved and withdraws from people.” An ESFP said, “I become more contemplative, less talkative, and I’m seen by others as a serious, withdrawn person. This is not my usual self.” “I feel like I have to get control of the situation,” said an ESTP. “I avoid other people, feel guilty about it, and try to speed up everything I do.” As their hold on their dominant and auxiliary functions further diminishes, the qualities of inferior Introverted Intuition manifest in internal confusion, inappropriate attribution of meaning, and grandiose visions.
For ESTPs, tertiary Feeling aids and abets inferior Intuition in the form of imagined personal slights that are incorporated into an elaborate “theory” that proves that others are rejecting them. ESFPs use their tertiary Thinking to come up with cold “logic” to support their theory that others see the ESFP as immature or incompetent.
The comparison between dominant and inferior Introverted Intuition
is shown in Table 10.
Dominant and Inferior Expressions of Introverted Intuition
As Dominant Function of As Inferior Function of
INTJs and INFJs
• Intellectual clarity
• Accurate interpretation of perceptions
• Visionary insight
ESTPs and ESFPs
• Internal confusion
• Inappropriate attribution of meaning
• Grandiose vision
All three qualities of the negative, inferior forms of Introverted Intuition (internal confusion, inappropriate attribution of meaning, and grandiose vision) are reflected in Jung’s (1976a) description of the inferior Introverted intuition of ESTPs and ESFPs:
Above all, the repressed intuitions begin to assert themselves in the form of projections. The wildest suspicions arise. . . . More acute cases develop every sort of phobia, and, in particular, compulsion symptoms . . . contents have a markedly unreal character, with a frequent moral or religious streak. . . .The whole structure of thought and feeling seems, in this second personality, to be twisted into a pathological parody: reason turns into hair-splitting pedantry, morality into dreary moralizing . . . religion into ridiculous superstition, and intuition . . . into meddlesome officiousness. (p. 365)
Effective dominant Introverted Intuitive types are noted for their intellectual clarity—their ability to process and integrate complex information. In the grip of inferior Introverted Intuition, Extraverted Sensing types become confused by unfamiliar inner processes. An ESFP in her early twenties described being out of character when her mind starts wandering. An ESTP described herself as “flustered, haphazard, out of control, especially about details; I forget things.” Because their negative Intuition is internalized, fantasies of impending disaster and dire possibilities are typically self-referential or limited to the people closest to them. They may have overwhelming fears about fatal illnesses, forebodings about losing an important relationship, and anxiety about harm coming to a loved one.
Fears of impending psychosis can also haunt ESTPs and ESFPs. The unfamiliar internal Intuitive information appears fraught with danger and impending doom. Extraverted Sensing types may feel overwhelmed by inner possibilities, disturbing images, unfamiliar self-doubt, and loss of connection to their environment. They may question their own abilities and fear subsequent exposure as incompetent in their most important endeavors.
“I feel like I am being enveloped in a whirling, swirling maelstrom,” said one ESFP. “I get into a spiral filled with frightening possibilities,” said another. A third ESFP said, “I cry! Everything is bad! I can be extremely creative (using my Introverted Intuition) about worrying about what could happen.” An ESTP describes feeling as though she is in a dark, endless tunnel. Another explains, “I become confused and paranoid. All possibilities are fearsome—any kind of change, anything in the future.” When the trigger for the experience is being forced to think about future plans, the reaction can be devastating, as the following example illustrates:
I am terrified that I won’t be where I want to be. Not that my lack of accomplishment will be disastrous, but that it will be dreary. If I try to project myself to where I should be, it will cut off my ability to react to the moment. Instead of exciting possibilities, I can only think of disastrous ones. The thought of future change makes me feel lonely and gloomy and dreary. It all ends up with misery. So it’s safer to stick with what is, but the possibilities in what is are also dreary. For this ESTP, negative Introverted Intuition is accompanied by tertiary Feeling so that the negative possibilities appear as emotional states—loneliness, dreariness, and gloom.
Inappropriate Attribution of Meaning
Effective dominant Introverted Intuitive types are adept at interpreting their complex inner perceptions. They are highly selective in the environmental information they process.
In the grip of inferior Introverted Intuition, an Extraverted Sensing type may, due to lack of experience, internalize random cues from the environment and interpret them as negative possibilities. If an intimate relationship is involved, there may be a foreboding that the ESTP or ESFP has done something to elicit a negative response from the other person. Or a simple request may be interpreted as a sign of disapproval or disappointment.
A young and newly married ESTP became overwhelmed by the thought that her husband, who had gone out with his friends, had left her and would never return—even though she knew that he visited his friends frequently and that the time at which he was expected to return had not yet arrived. She obsessed on the thought that she had been nasty to her
husband earlier and became flooded with anxiety and apprehension. She thereupon drove over to his friend’s house, only to find that he was just preparing to leave and return home. Extraverted Sensing types in their vulnerable phase may start reading between the lines and attributing malevolent motives to people. A feeling of unreality or disconnection from others may occur, and this alien experience of isolation may in turn lead to terror. One ESFP was pleased to have free time while her children happily spent the weekend with her ex-husband and his new wife. But when the children were gone, she became consumed with the idea that they would prefer their new stepmother to her because she was not a good mother. They won’t be my kids when they return, she told herself, so nothing is okay and it never will be again.
The visionary insight of effective dominant Introverted Intuitive types has often been noted. They have an uncanny ability to envision the distant future in an almost prophetic way. In its inferior form, this quality surfaces in Extraverted Sensing types as grandiose, often nebulous cosmic “visions.” We saw hints of this quality in the “magical thinking” that was described earlier. Because dwelling on the past or future is unusual for Extraverted Sensing types, their inferior function episodes tend to be short-lived and magical ruminations are rarely acted on. However, when subjected to extended stress, Extraverted Sensing types may search for mystical meaning in the form of an obsessive interest in unseen forces of cosmic proportions.
The omnipresence of profound meaning may stimulate the ESTP or ESFP to search for or create a grand cosmology. Events typically given no more than a moment’s thought are imbued with deep significance; unrelated chance occurrences are subjected to complex integrations and interpretations; theories about the ultimate purpose of life and humanity’s place in nature are formulated. Such ruminations may engage the entire attention of the Extraverted Sensing type, and this interest may be seen by others as out of bounds and out of character.
An ESTP who lost his business during a recession became increasingly morose and distant. He tried reconnecting with the church of his childhood but was unable to find comfort there. By chance, he saw a notice in the newspaper advertising a lecture by an East Indian guru. He attended the lecture and felt instantly “transformed by the words of this wise man. I knew what my destiny must be,” he explained. He abandoned his existing life and joined the guru’s spiritual movement. During his year of spiritual exploration, he wrote lengthy mystical poems extolling the unseen forces that shape people’s destinies. When he returned home, he started a new business with great enthusiasm and optimism and felt that he brought greater balance and breadth to his enterprise.
Although ESTPs tend to report that few aspects of life are very stressful for them (in comparison to ESFPs and most other types), when they do become vulnerable, both they and ESFPs are likely to lose their typical optimism, carefree enjoyment of the moment, and skill at solving immediate problems. ESTPs, especially women, may become emotional more readily. ESFPs can become angry and critical. “I’m less tolerant of other people, and I am just an angry person with a short fuse,” said an ESFP in his early twenties. A young ESFP woman described becoming “sarcastic, oversensitive, negative, sad, worried, and cold.” However, compared with other types, ESFPs report little work stress relative to the stress they experience in their personal relationships and responsibilities. They are likely to try to leave stressful situations if they can.