ESTJs and ENTJs
- Hypersensitivity to inner states
- Outbursts of emotion
- Fear of feeling
Hypersensitivity to Inner States
Effective dominant Introverted Feeling types use a finely developed awareness of their inner values as a reliable guide for judging themselves and others. In the grip of inferior Introverted Feeling, Extraverted Thinking types become hypersensitive to their own and others emotions, often misinterpreting comments from others as personal criticism. In their dominant approach, they typically interpret objectively offered criticism by respected colleagues as an appropriate means to promote excellence. In the grip of their inferior Introverted Feeling, they may easily take offense and overreact to such criticism.
Unaware of the Extraverted Thinking persons vulnerable altered condition, however, colleagues, family members, and friends may communicate criticism as directly as usual. Even mild negative comments may provoke hurt feelings when the Extraverted Thinking type is in this state. ESTJs and ENTJs report having difficulty acknowledging, even to themselves, but particularly to the person who has helped bring about the situation, that their feelings have been hurt. They may lash out at others instead, as the examples below illustrate. I feel that I am being criticized unfairly, said an ESTJ. I blame others for my own faults and find fault with others over nothing. I become demanding because I am in a panic about possibly missing deadlines. I watch the clock. I think lots of negative thoughts, put myself down, and feel that others dislike and reject me. My self-esteem about my abilities gets lower and lower. Note the illogical progression of his thoughts. I think I'm pretty confident about my abilities as a trainer, said an ENTJ. But when I've worked very hard preparing for a training session and am especially tired out, I am plagued with the thought that the trainees don't like me, that they like my colleagues better, especially if the colleague I'm teaching with is a Feeling type.
Another ENTJ described feeling like a victim persecuted, unappreciated, and used. I don't see things clearly and I can't seem to think. I take things personally and am hypersensitive. I will say something without thinking, then become defensive and feel threatened.
An ESTJ made this observation: I find myself taking a martyr role, alone and unloved, totally unappreciated. Then I shut down. An ENTJ described being particularly sensitive to any signs of being excluded from important roles. When that happens, I feel that my contributions are not being valued. And another ENTJ described feeling isolated or excluded and having a sense that people don't respect me, especially people I respect.
In a variation on this theme, some ESTJs and ENTJs describe situations in which they effectively apply their usual action-oriented, logical problem solving. But later (perhaps even years later), if they are in a vulnerable state, they will recall a specific incident and beat themselves up for not being conscious of other peoples feelings. One ESTJ recalled thinking, Why did I say that to Ellen at that party five years ago? How stupid and insensitive of me!
Some Extraverted Thinking types are painfully aware of the dilemma they face in dealing with relationship issues within a task-oriented setting. Focusing on others feelings inhibits their ability to take effective Thinking action, though it prevents negative feedback from others about their lack of caring concern.
Outbursts of Emotion
Effective dominant Introverted Feeling types show an economy of emotional expression. They are typically quite selective and discriminating in revealing their deepest and most cherished values and feelings. Extraverted Thinking types in the grip of inferior Introverted Feeling lack control and discrimination when expressing their inner emotional states. However, their fear of having others witness their rejected, irrational selves strongly motivates them to stay in control if at all possible. They especially worry about losing control in public, particularly at work. Avoiding a public display often results in an even stronger outburst of affect at home, directed at family members, since the emotions
have to be released somewhere. An ENTJ said, I feel lost and out of control. I know I am not myself, but I can't help it. I don't want company or to be touched. I want to be
left alone and I want to escape. I will get a headache or shoulder ache and feel really tense. I feel like crying but try to hide it. I hide my feelings inside and push them down, and then become angry, depressed, and withdrawn, recalled an ESTJ.
Both ESTJs and ENTJs report sometimes feeling suddenly tearful for no apparent reason, and crying in private. However, if the worst happens and they lose control, they may explode in public. This may begin as expressions of intense anger about others incompetence but may quickly evolve into tearful recriminations about a lack of appreciation and recognition.
In recalling one such incident, an ESTJ said, I am normally not an emotional person; at least I don't show my emotions. I am a very steady person externally. My outburst was quite unlike me. One ESTJ said she is more emotional and not calm I'm irritable, can easily snap at people. Another ESTJ woman commented, I get so emotional I can't stand myself.
As is the case for all the inferior function expressions, anger is a commonly mentioned response for both ESTJs and ENTJs. This is as true for women of these types as it is for men. ESTJ and ENTJ women list emotionality as their most frequent grip reaction, and although men of these types mention this much less frequently, they often report episodes of emotionality in describing inferior function experiences.
An ENTJ minister worked hard over a period of five years and saw his church grow from a few hundred to more than a thousand members. Throughout this stressful time he managed all facets of his work calmly and effectively. But one day at a church board meeting, he broke down sobbing, lost all control, and was unable to function in his job. It took him several months to recover completely, during which time his grateful and concerned church officials carried on his work for him.
Extraverted Thinking types may be on shaky ground in situations that call for expressions of feeling. One ESTJ described her difficulty with intimate relationships this way: I'm normally gregarious and outgoing with people. But if I get into a one-on-one relationship that's significant, especially romantically, I can't express what I feel or what I'm experiencing. Eventually, I blurt out some really exaggerated emotion at exactly the wrong time. I feel childish and silly and don't want to ever do that again.
Fear of Feeling
Talking about innermost values, feelings, and concerns is quite difficult even for dominant Introverted Feeling types. Jung (1976a) observed that the very fact that thoughts can generally be expressed more intelligibly than feelings demands a more than ordinary descriptive or artistic ability before the real wealth of this feeling can be even approximately presented or communicated to the world (p. 388).
Effective dominant Introverted Feeling types accept the nuances of feeling they experience as natural and welcome evidence of their own inner complexity. But feelings and emotions intruding into the consciousness of an Extraverted Thinking type who is in the grip of inferior Introverted Feeling are experienced as so alien and overwhelming that
they are inexpressible. From a Thinking point of view, the eruption of illogical, uncontrolled, and disorderly feelings is like being at the mercy of strange and overwhelming forces that threaten a persons equilibrium, if not his or her whole existence. As a result, Extraverted Thinking types are rarely able to communicate their distress to others, often maintaining their typical controlled demeanor while fearing that they will lose control of their emotions. In extreme instances, they may be terrified that they are going crazy.
To fend off the feared result, initial attempts involve maintaining cool and detached effectiveness and objectivity. Casual observers will not detect the intense inner battle for control. More careful observation, however, may reveal uncharacteristic silence, withdrawal, moodiness, or flat and depressed affect. Men and women of both types typically report becoming uncharacteristically quiet and withdrawn. An ESTJ described feeling a swirling in the pit of my stomach and a desperate attempt to figure out why and to define my reaction logically.
Because the Extraverted Thinking type has few resources for communicating what is going on inside, potential helpers may remain largely unaware of any distress, even when the person is in serious trouble. The despair, sense of isolation, and feeling of worthlessness may become so extreme that the person may become severely depressed, sometimes requiring medication or hospitalization. Acquaintances and colleagues may be surprised to learn that such an episode has occurred because until final control is lost, the ESTJ or ENTJ may appear fairly normal. I'm calm on the outside, in control, very logical, solve problems, yet it ties me up inside, said an ENTJ. This manifestation of the inferior is an exaggeration of the dominant Introverted Feeling types economy of emotional expression.
Two Extraverted Thinking types described their experiences with their inferior functions in these ways after their episodes had run their course: I became overly sensitive and tried to cover it with biting sarcasm. My energy was focused inside and I felt shaky. I wanted to be alone. I put on a front of being a strong soldier, but it was really only a protective shell to hide my vulnerability. I was different in being very negative. Everything appeared bleak. I was disoriented and aggressive. I talked to myself more. I got emotional (angry or sad, tearful or despondent). In very bad cases, I even contemplated suicide.