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  1. #1
    Senior Member DaRick's Avatar
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    Default Do you revert to your opposite type under stress?

    There was this site called teamtechnology.co.uk, which suggested that INTJ's, under extreme stress, acted like ESFP's, or that any personality type reverted back to their shadow type. This is an interesting theory, which (as far as I can tell) has not been presented in such explicit terms on any other website I've seen (some websites have implied the exhibition of an 'opposite' personality under stress, such as personalitypage.com, but not explicitly). I can't really tell whether this is a fair call or not. I know I probably shouldn't use myself as an example (I've done so way too many times, but I'm not really sure how else to get across my confusion about this theory), but here is what I am prone to do when under 'extreme stress':

    - Have suicidal thoughts (more often)
    - Verbally abuse and threaten people
    - Create an emotionally volatile atmosphere
    - Actively avoid or defy authority
    - Take my anger out on friends
    - I may throw objects around the place
    - I may disrupt certain gatherings (i.e - I once disrupted a party in a classroom)
    - My appetite is diminished
    - I lose my rationality completely (or get upset over nothing)
    - I become confused as to why bad things are happening to me
    - I don't care about the consequences of my actions until after I've left the 'extreme stress' phase
    - I get people asking me in a worried tone: "Are you all right?"
    - I become more negative and cynical than usual
    - I begin believing that nobody cares about me
    - I become very impulsive

    I did consider putting this in the 'What's my Type?' section, but I felt that wasn't really appropriate, since I am using myself - under extreme stress - as anecdotal evidence, in order to prove or disprove this 'shadow stress' theory, as I will term it. (I know that this all sounds vague, but I've got no better way to express my curiosity ). Besides, I am dealing with shadow types, as opposed to real types. Also, I feel that I would be hogging that section if I did.
    MBTI: INFJ (I: 100% N:58% F: 58% J: 84%)
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  2. #2
    Lex Parsimoniae Xander's Avatar
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    Default

    How a personality changes under different conditions is dependant on so many facets it's hardly surprising that there's no clear cut answer.

    According to theory under the right kind of stress you should manifest certain ESFP traits.

    Exactly how this comes out is very variable but let me put it like this, if I get seriously annoyed then I'll go for whatever it is which I want to achieve regardless of opposition. This is manifesting traits from ESFJ.

    Oh and the traits are usually negative traits according to theory though I'm of the opinion that such things depend greatly upon perspective.

    Edit having re-read your post.
    -Loss of rationality
    -Emotionally volatile atmosphere
    -Think that no one cares.

    Sounds like negative traits of an ESFP does it not?
    Isn't it time for a colourful metaphor?

  3. #3
    Pareo cattus Natrushka's Avatar
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    - Actively avoid or defy authority
    Guilty

    - I may throw objects around the place
    As a teen / child I did this. I still think about it when I get very upset, but I don't do it.

    - I don't care about the consequences of my actions until after I've left the 'extreme stress' phase
    To an extent, yes. It's more like I see the consequences and I decide I'm going to do it anyway. There are those 'life changing' moments, and if I'm very upset when they happen, I'll say "the hell with it" and plow on, knowing full well there is no going back.

    When under extreme stress I become obsessive - I've worked myself to exhaustion, I've exercised myself into ill health, I become 'consumed'. I can recognize when this is happening now most of the time and I can pull myself back.

    And I still 'shut down' if things get really bad. Shutting down is something I allow myself to do, because if I don't I'm going to fall apart.

    I've read the descriptions of the types under stress and some of it I identify with, other aspects not so much.

    This signature left intentionally blank.

    Really.

  4. #4
    Senior Member DaRick's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Xander View Post
    How a personality changes under different conditions is dependant on so many facets it's hardly surprising that there's no clear cut answer.

    According to theory under the right kind of stress you should manifest certain ESFP traits.

    Exactly how this comes out is very variable but let me put it like this, if I get seriously annoyed then I'll go for whatever it is which I want to achieve regardless of opposition. This is manifesting traits from ESFJ.

    Oh and the traits are usually negative traits according to theory though I'm of the opinion that such things depend greatly upon perspective.

    Edit having re-read your post.
    -Loss of rationality
    -Emotionally volatile atmosphere
    -Think that no one cares.

    Sounds like negative traits of an ESFP does it not?
    Yeah, negativity is a very subjective term, which tends to be used by subjective individuals, from past experiences. In that regard, I don't consider any of the above I've listed (as anecdotal evidence) to be positive traits in the slightest. I always feel like a tool after the 'extreme stress' period. The traits are theoretically negative because stress is considered to be a negative, both on your current physical and psychological well-being (although stress may indeed prove beneficial from an experiential point of view, as you look for ways to avoid it the next time you are caught in a parlous situation). However, I do know that some of the traits I have listed sound like a combination of both ESFP and ESTP, but I'm not 100% on that.
    MBTI: INFJ (I: 100% N:58% F: 58% J: 84%)
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  5. #5
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Naomi Quenk put out a good book about MBTI "inferior function / flipped" selves (the original release was called "Beside Ourselves" -- but I think the title was changed upon rerelease). I recommend it, if you can find a copy.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #6
    Free-Rangin' Librarian Jae Rae's Avatar
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    It's called Was That Really Me? Highly recommended.

    Jae Rae

  7. #7
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    I think my type morphing depends on how long I'm coping with stress. I notice that I dig into Fe, then get really nitpicky and critical (Ti) and then back to an extreme version of Fe ("You should do this," "this must be done," "I have to decide on this now") Basically I give myself and others a lot of imperatives that have to happen quickly and I isolate myself from people but that doesn't happen for very long. Thankfully, I have a good bunch of people around me that know how to snap my ass back in check when I get out of hand.

    I found some interesting information on types under stress a few weeks ago.



    In Beside Ourselves, Naomi Quenk (1993) makes the case that during periods of extreme stress the inferior function takes control of consciousness and results in a person exhibiting uncharacteristic, childish, immature and archaic behavior. Quenk's model does not address the impact of stress at less than extreme levels. The Kirby and Barger (1996) model suggests that the inferior function does not take control but, rather, the person attempts to use the dominant function more adamantly as stress increases. They state that the greater the stress, the greater the effort to utilize the dominant function, which eventually results in a dysfunctional state. The stress model presented by Ware, et. al., (1994) suggests that under stress, type preferences migrate toward I, S and T.

    My research and anecdotal evidence over the past 12 years using The CommunicationWheel and a systems model of typology suggests that as stress increases, the auxiliary, tertiary and fourth functions tend to rotate into consciousness in a sequential manner (see Figure 1). That is, at moderate levels of stress a low-level, stressed-out version of the auxiliary moves into consciousness. At high levels of stress, a moderately stressed-out version of the tertiary function moves into consciousness. If the stress increases to an extreme level, the fourth function will manifest as the inferior function, resulting in the appearance of a person's "evil twin, Skippy."
    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
    Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts
    Social Penetration Theory 1
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  8. #8
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    I absolutely turn into an ISTP, but everything BAD about them. When my emotions go away, I become a cold hard beast.

    Great suggestions, everyone... I'm making a note of those right now. I've always wondered how much force the shadow exerts under protracted strain.

    EDIT: lol @ "evil twin, Skippy"...
    eNFJ 4w3 sx/so 468 tritype
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    RLUEI, Choleric/Melancholic
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    Dramatic>Sensitive>Serious

  9. #9
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Thank you, PM, that was a very informative paragraph. I hadn't run across it yet.

    I can see some of that.

    My basic response to moderate stress is to start brainstorming, looking for something positive and fun to do, options to "go around my problem / avoid the stress." This also can lead to eating, drinking, and other distractions. (Ne)

    Ratcheting it up another notch, I hunker down and withdraw. I get winsome, start reviewing the past for what worked, take refuge in better memories, looking for some intense feeling I once had to help me through. I search for the safe and familiar. (Si)

    The Fe explosion only comes if I can't see another way out / no more possibilities to explore, and if I can't get myself alone and stabilized. I become paranoid, hypercritical, oversensitive to what I perceive based on what people say/do and DON'T say/do (trying to read far too much into their behavior), and even the extreme emotional outbursts / emodumps.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #10
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I certainly don't turn into an ENFJ when stressed, even extremely so, so I've never held much stock in the "shadow theory".

    If anything I turn into an IxFP, ruled by Fi. I will be outwardly cold but furious and emotional inside, and unable to focus on anything but that emotion.

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