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  1. #1
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Default Harnessing your inferior

    I had a great conversation earlier with my INFJ friend Kate (giving false name here to avoid cumbersome linguistic issues later) about how we could, when stressed, use our inferior functions to get ourselves back on track, rather than letting them control us and make idiots of ourselves.

    It started because we realised that our dominants and inferiors are sorta the same but not - she has Ni/Se while I have Ne/Si. We thought about how this manifests in our behaviour, and realised that when she gets stressed, she pigs out or gets drunk or gets an urge to do something stupid just to prove she can be spontaneous. Meanwhile I tend to run around panicking, looking for some authority to tell me what to do, to counsel me and tell me the proper procedure so I can feel safe in following it. Then later, when we've calmed down, she feels stupid and guilty for her irresponsible and self-destructive behaviour, and I feel strangled by the routines, schedules and rules that I imposed on myself (or allowed others to impose on me).

    Then we talked about how we could use these for positive results rather than the negative ones, if we decided to grasp onto the inferior function and the urges it creates in us, and use it, rather than let it use us.

    I've recently realised that if I get stressed, it's usually because my Ne is so dominant that it's led me too far and too fast even for me to keep up with, my Ti has thrown its hands in the air and said "No way mate, not even I can analyse what you've got yourself into now - you lost me about where the cheese knife got connected to the cholostomy bag!"

    And that's when Si starts rearing its ugly head (not saying Si is ugly, just when I use it!). But what I can do instead of looking for an authority and rules, to try to put a choke chain on my Ne, is to just sit down and think about and 'plug myself in' to what's eternal, what's good and worth keeping, worth doing, having etc, what works, what's real and stood the test of time, and then use this to direct my Ne, rather than subdue it. Not only that, but it gives me a route into Feeling, and helps me to realise what I value.

    Similarly, Kate realised that a lot of her stress comes from overactive Ni, making her paranoid, distrustful, suspicious and her Fe throws its hands up and says "I can't tell people my problem and ask for help, cos Ni won't let me, it has its foot on my throat and keeps telling me I can't give people ammunition against me and that they don't really care anyway!"

    She realised that, rather than letting Se control her and send her off to the liquor store and weed dealer, she could use it to plug herself into reality and look around her, use her senses to look for actual evidence, to see if there really is any reason for this paranoia, any proof or evidence beyond her own intuition, of these awful conspiracies and stuff that she fears. And using Se to critically examine her surroundings has also given her a new route into Thinking.

    So I just thought I'd share that, and see if any other ENTP's or INFJ's can relate or add to any of that, and also if other types can think of how this process might work for them.
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

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  2. #2
    Senior Member indigo2020's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    I had a great conversation earlier with my INFJ friend Kate (giving false name here to avoid cumbersome linguistic issues later) about how we could, when stressed, use our inferior functions to get ourselves back on track, rather than letting them control us and make idiots of ourselves.

    It started because we realised that our dominants and inferiors are sorta the same but not - she has Ni/Se while I have Ne/Si. We thought about how this manifests in our behaviour, and realised that when she gets stressed, she pigs out or gets drunk or gets an urge to do something stupid just to prove she can be spontaneous. Meanwhile I tend to run around panicking, looking for some authority to tell me what to do, to counsel me and tell me the proper procedure so I can feel safe in following it. Then later, when we've calmed down, she feels stupid and guilty for her irresponsible and self-destructive behaviour, and I feel strangled by the routines, schedules and rules that I imposed on myself (or allowed others to impose on me).

    Then we talked about how we could use these for positive results rather than the negative ones, if we decided to grasp onto the inferior function and the urges it creates in us, and use it, rather than let it use us.

    I've recently realised that if I get stressed, it's usually because my Ne is so dominant that it's led me too far and too fast even for me to keep up with, my Ti has thrown its hands in the air and said "No way mate, not even I can analyse what you've got yourself into now - you lost me about where the cheese knife got connected to the cholostomy bag!"

    And that's when Si starts rearing its ugly head (not saying Si is ugly, just when I use it!). But what I can do instead of looking for an authority and rules, to try to put a choke chain on my Ne, is to just sit down and think about and 'plug myself in' to what's eternal, what's good and worth keeping, worth doing, having etc, what works, what's real and stood the test of time, and then use this to direct my Ne, rather than subdue it. Not only that, but it gives me a route into Feeling, and helps me to realise what I value.

    Similarly, Kate realised that a lot of her stress comes from overactive Ni, making her paranoid, distrustful, suspicious and her Fe throws its hands up and says "I can't tell people my problem and ask for help, cos Ni won't let me, it has its foot on my throat and keeps telling me I can't give people ammunition against me and that they don't really care anyway!"

    She realised that, rather than letting Se control her and send her off to the liquor store and weed dealer, she could use it to plug herself into reality and look around her, use her senses to look for actual evidence, to see if there really is any reason for this paranoia, any proof or evidence beyond her own intuition, of these awful conspiracies and stuff that she fears. And using Se to critically examine her surroundings has also given her a new route into Thinking.

    So I just thought I'd share that, and see if any other ENTP's or INFJ's can relate or add to any of that, and also if other types can think of how this process might work for them.
    OMG, it's like you got inside my head. All of it. Except I don't use drugs or drink anymore but I act out in other ways (self-destrctive behavior) and my head tells me the same exact thing! (paragraph 6)
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Blackwater's Avatar
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    And that's when Si starts rearing its ugly head (not saying Si is ugly, just when I use it!). But what I can do instead of looking for an authority and rules, to try to put a choke chain on my Ne, is to just sit down and think about and 'plug myself in' to what's eternal, what's good and worth keeping, worth doing, having etc, what works, what's real and stood the test of time, and then use this to direct my Ne, rather than subdue it. Not only that, but it gives me a route into Feeling, and helps me to realise what I value.
    Do you ever meditate?

  4. #4
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackwater View Post
    Do you ever meditate?
    Yes, often.

    Sometimes when I'm very stressed out and panicked, I forget to though. But it's rare that I get that bad. These days it doesn't take long before I realise what's going on, and make a mental date for as soon as possible, to meditate and reconcile my Ne/Si.
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
    I will kill you if I must
    I will help you if I can" - Leonard Cohen

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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    So I just thought I'd share that, and see if any other ENTP's or INFJ's can relate or add to any of that, and also if other types can think of how this process might work for them.
    I agree with what's been said above. As an INFP, my inferior is Te, which turns me into a hyper-critical, fault-finding, control freak when I get stressed out. That's a bad way to go in the workplace in leadership roles; I've seen other INFPs who have also had this problem in leadership positions.

    Simply to be aware of the problem helps a lot. I can kind of anticipate the point at which I'm going to get stressed; and I can simply put someone else in charge for a bit and walk away. When I get my composure back, I can try to use my inferior Thinking more positively, or use it as a way to tune in my tertiary Si a bit and look at the situation in terms of details, realism, and attention to essentials.

    Same in relationships. When I get too worked up and bull-headed, I can use that as a signal that maybe it's time to take a break and look at the situation from a new angle, or maybe even let the other person win that particular point at least temporarily (figuring that a win on their side is going to be more rational and fair-minded than a win on mine). [Edit:] And that situation of yielding (when I would much rather seize control and impose my point of view) often gives me a period of de-stressing and clarity where I can sit back and inventory why the relationship is important to me, and also why it may be important to let the other person have the win on that occasion.

    FL

  6. #6
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Fe can be hard to deal with. What happens is that personal and public commitments start to strangle me, and then the emotional commitments get mixed in as well -- and since emotional factors are not nearly as precise and clear-cut, then I cannot make nuanced evaluations of what is going on. It gets very muddy, very confusing, and I start feeling resentful and manipulated and enslaved and my clarity begins to dissipate...

    At that point, I either try to isolate myself (to win back a sense of freedom) or disengage from as many commitments as possible... and if someone won't let me and puts pressure on me about my obligations, it is very very easy for me to lose my temper and go on a mini-rampage saying exactly what I think.

    As I am sitting thinking about it now, I suddenly realize that Fe is not just a set of obligations imposed upon me for everyone else's benefit, it also is a set of structures that is supposed to protect ME as well as everyone else. I might have a responsibility to others, but they also have a responsibility to me -- and I can use a clearer sense of Fe to help me get past any unwarranted guilt I might be feeling and justify where I draw lines.

    For example, I have a primary relationship with my family, and I can tell anyone to "shove off" (in a nice way) if their demands in that lesser relationship impact my primary family relationship. Every relationship is prioritized.

    And I can also factor "myself" in there -- if something is important for me to remain healthy and keep functioning (so I can fulfill my other obligations), then I can justify doing it without having to feel guilt about it... no matter what someone else tries to tell me.

    Fe also gives me some established protocols I can use when I interact -- a common language that frees me up from having to emotionally figure out everyone I come into contact with. Even silly things like passing someone in the hall at work and saying, "Hello" and asking about the weekend or the weather, then feeling able to excuse myself -- now that I have shown my positive feelings towards that person by doing the prescribed behavior -- all of those things are good for INTPs, since getting involved directly in the emotions is often confusing for them. This way, they don't even have to "feel"; Fe provides an "intellectualized emotion system" in a way, and they can just go through the prescribed movements and comments and thus maintain the bare bones of social relationship that will benefit them later.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Kyrielle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    Similarly, Kate realised that a lot of her stress comes from overactive Ni, making her paranoid, distrustful, suspicious and her Fe throws its hands up and says "I can't tell people my problem and ask for help, cos Ni won't let me, it has its foot on my throat and keeps telling me I can't give people ammunition against me and that they don't really care anyway!"

    She realised that, rather than letting Se control her and send her off to the liquor store and weed dealer, she could use it to plug herself into reality and look around her, use her senses to look for actual evidence, to see if there really is any reason for this paranoia, any proof or evidence beyond her own intuition, of these awful conspiracies and stuff that she fears. And using Se to critically examine her surroundings has also given her a new route into Thinking.

    So I just thought I'd share that, and see if any other ENTP's or INFJ's can relate or add to any of that, and also if other types can think of how this process might work for them.
    Yes, I do do what Kate does when she's upset. It's very hard to calm Ni down in order to think calmly and rationally or even tell someone how I feel without overreacting and getting hysterical. What I've found is that I tend to just tell someone how I feel anyway, because the feeling usually bothers me enough to make me feel like I'll go crazy if someone doesn't know my position at the moment.

    I feel like people, especially those I care about, should know where I stand emotionally at the time, even if it's just telling them that I'm upset and I don't know how I'm really feeling through all the emotional mud. I do it because I'm really saying, "Help me! I'm drowning in confusion and unhappy assumptions! Where is the truth! I can't find it!"

    And yes, I do look at past and present evidence to guage if I have any reason to feel so hysterical. 90% of the time, my paranoia, fear, or disappointment is unwarranted.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    At that point, I either try to isolate myself (to win back a sense of freedom) or disengage from as many commitments as possible... and if someone won't let me and puts pressure on me about my obligations, it is very very easy for me to lose my temper and go on a mini-rampage saying exactly what I think.
    So the dreaded INTP need for autonomy is an outgrowth of stressed-out inferior Fe?

    That would make sense. It would explain why you INTPs hate to be told or even asked to do something, but don't mind being manipulated into the same obligation. IOW, INTPs accept the concept that they have obligations to society, but they want the obligations communicated in a way that isn't going to stress them out and activate their inferior Fe.

    Hence the utility, for example, of using humor with INTPs to get them laughing and de-stress them a bit when they're getting burnt out from too much human interaction or forced extraversion.

    Is that how the INTP's "need for autonomy" works?

    FL

  9. #9
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    She realised that, rather than letting Se control her and send her off to the liquor store and weed dealer, she could use it to plug herself into reality and look around her, use her senses to look for actual evidence, to see if there really is any reason for this paranoia, any proof or evidence beyond her own intuition, of these awful conspiracies and stuff that she fears. And using Se to critically examine her surroundings has also given her a new route into Thinking.
    You mean like going through the spouse's wallet/purse and cell phone records? I must have better developed inferior functions than I thought.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  10. #10
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Well, I was thinking more along the lines that our stress comes from when our dominant functions become too dominant, causing us to ignore the other things there are to life and and overwhelm the other functions and their needs, which is what causes our inferiors (the opposite of the dominants) to kick in and try to pull us back to some semblance of moderation. But because we're so useless at using our inferiors, this often gets us in an even worse pickle than before.

    Like, for INTP's, it could be that too much Ti activity has led y'all into overanalysing everything to death so you've lost all sense of meaning, value and feeling, you've gotten cynical and jaded and cold, so maybe Fe sends you out screaming your objections to people and demanding that they support you, to try to inject a bit of warmth into your life, but only achieving further alienation.

    So how could you actually use Fe to balance you out, rather than trying to counteract or limit the damage that ill-use of it causes to you and others?
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
    I will kill you if I must
    I will help you if I can" - Leonard Cohen

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