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  1. #1
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    Default Could someone please help explain shadow functions?

    So I have been trying to correctly understand the shadow functions so let me give you guys an example and maybe you can help enlighten my thoughts.

    As a child I almost was held back a grade because of how sensitive I was. It was very easy for me to cry, for example my parents always had to fast-forward through the scene (spoiler alert) when Bambi's mom dies, it was very easy for me to take anything personally. This sounds like introverted feeling.

    Another thing was that when people would give me presents I had a hard time doing what was socially acceptable. If I didn't like the gift I wouldn't pretend to and during pre-school when I didn't like what the group was doing I would go to something else. This sounds like introverted thinking.

    So what I am curious about is since it seems the introverted thinking was conscious and controllable, while the introverted feeling was unconscious and uncontrollable would that make introverted thinking one of my four main functions and introverted feeling one of my shadows? Is it different for children than it is for adults? Or am I even wrong about the introverted thinking/feeling?

  2. #2
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    It's harder to tell for a child, because the functional preference is not as differentiated yet (or, in more popular lingo, "developed"). John Beebe, who developed the full eight function model, says all eight can be "shadow", until they begin differentiating.

    So I really cannot tell from what you have given. It could be a preference for introverted Feeling (which would also try to remain true to your values over the social expectations). So we would need to know how you would react to these things when you got older.

    Sensitivity is often associated with Feeling, but the reaction to Bambi could be either the initiation, so to speak, into an emotionally colored Fi preference, or it could be the beginning of an aversion to it, which would indicate a more likely Ti preference. In the first instance, you would grow to embrace emotional content such as that, and in the latter, you would grow to "flee" stuff like that, and find more security in logical systems.

    I was thrown off by this as well, since Ti and Ti types were always described as so "detached", making it seem like they would never be moved by emotional content like that at all. But once I saw more of the Jungian underpinnings of the concepts, then it became clear that the whole point behind "preference" for one function is the suppression of the other. So you likely do feel the effect of the function, but if you grow to constantly avoid it, it is probably a suppressed function, and it is the opposite that you prefer.

    When you're a child, it is all muddied, as you are experiencing all of them for the first times, and you preference has not manifested yet.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Lily flower's Avatar
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    I guess maybe you could think about a time another child was being emotional - did you offer support or did you want them to just shut up and quit whining? Fi would have mercy on the person. Ti would be irritated by the fussing.

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    Maybe, but not necessarily. Because the preference may not have really developed, then the products of the other functions might not be as suppressed yet. So you would simply grow more irritated with it as you get older, and focus more and more on logical stuff.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    Sensitivity is often associated with Feeling, but the reaction to Bambi could be either the initiation, so to speak, into an emotionally colored Fi preference, or it could be the beginning of an aversion to it, which would indicate a more likely Ti preference. In the first instance, you would grow to embrace emotional content such as that, and in the latter, you would grow to "flee" stuff like that, and find more security in logical systems.

    I was thrown off by this as well, since Ti and Ti types were always described as so "detached", making it seem like they would never be moved by emotional content like that at all. But once I saw more of the Jungian underpinnings of the concepts, then it became clear that the whole point behind "preference" for one function is the suppression of the other. So you likely do feel the effect of the function, but if you grow to constantly avoid it, it is probably a suppressed function, and it is the opposite that you prefer.
    This is interesting and something I've been pondering lately. Do you think early suppression can mask one's true preference? That one's surroundings can dictate how they develop if they are sensitive to their environment? Possibly meaning that one can gain a facility for a function that isn't a native preference. (Or does behavior dictate which preference is native? I don't think so.) ...Implying that a change in function preference could occur if a person were in a different environment more in harmony with their suppressed but perhaps native functions.

  6. #6
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    I often wonder about that, but I would think that the truly preferred function will still come out in the end. So you may learn to 'use' other ones, but you will grow up very unhappy, and feel you were never allowed to be "yourself". It won't make you actually "prefer" the other function, though it may become more within consciousness than normal.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
    I guess maybe you could think about a time another child was being emotional - did you offer support or did you want them to just shut up and quit whining? Fi would have mercy on the person. Ti would be irritated by the fussing.
    I remember in 5th grade that we had to stand in assembly and we stood there for maybe 15? minutes, one of the kids knees locked and he temporarily passed out where upon hitting the ground he started crying. Some of the other kids started making fun of him later and I remember thinking to myself that it was really understandable that he cried because of that momentary loss of consciousness and waking up in the way that he did, I felt bad for him.....so I guess to answer your question I must be more Fi or Fe dominant than Ti or Te.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    I often wonder about that, but I would think that the truly preferred function will still come out in the end. So you may learn to 'use' other ones, but you will grow up very unhappy, and feel you were never allowed to be "yourself". It won't make you actually "prefer" the other function, though it may become more within consciousness than normal.
    I've wondered how the effects of depression on a younger child would affect development. Of course the same can be said for any severe stressor in a child's life....what do you think the effects of this situation would be?

  8. #8
    Senor Membrane
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    I have to admit, I haven't even started to grasp the shadow. The way it should go in my case, I should have almost nonexistent Ti, but it's hard for me to admit this. Either I perceive my Te as Ti as it is somehow mixed with Fi, or I have mixed my type from the beginning and am actually an INTP. I don't know which of these scenarios makes more sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    I have to admit, I haven't even started to grasp the shadow. The way it should go in my case, I should have almost nonexistent Ti, but it's hard for me to admit this. Either I perceive my Te as Ti as it is somehow mixed with Fi, or I have mixed my type from the beginning and am actually an INTP. I don't know which of these scenarios makes more sense.
    Or MBTI-prescribed function order is crap less-than-perfect...


  10. #10
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    That's always a possibility, yep.

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