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Thread: The INFP shadow

  1. #11
    Senior Member Dwigie's Avatar
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    INFP shadow...what does that look like?
    Sometimes I feel like I'm "on Mercury"-

  2. #12
    WTF is this dude saying? A Schnitzel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwigie View Post
    INFP shadow...what does that look like?
    It depends on a number of factors, such as how tall the particular INFP is, the angle the sun is shining at, and whether it is dancing funny.
    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    sheesh humans! for realz

  3. #13
    Shaman BlackCat's Avatar
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    I often blow up on people when they make my shadow come out. I'm sure you know how you find faults in everything and everyone as NFs, well all of those things that I usually keep to myself come out and crush the other person in a Te fashion. I consider my Te decently developed so I can be pretty brutal about it, it isn't a childlike outburst like most shadow function use is. I will go on and on and on until they can't take anymore if they push me too hard. This is when I get angry at someone.

    When I get sad about something and the negative feelings overwhelm me I try to rationalize the entire thing. It actually usually makes me feel better.

    I don't get angry very often at all. It's mostly just annoyed. But when I get truly mad it's very bad for both me and the person I'm getting mad at.
    () 9w8-3w4-7w6 tritype.

    sCueI (primary Inquisition)

  4. #14
    Feelin' FiNe speculative's Avatar
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    I would also like to discuss the INFP shadow. We studied Jungian shadows in a class I took years back, but not directly in relation to psychological types. We studied it in relation to the psychological causes of war, and discussed the Shadow as the opposite of the Persona. (Not sure if "opposite" is the right word here.) The Persona is the image of ourselves we create, our Ego, while the Shadow is the Id. (Hence, Pearl Jam's song "I Got Id.") Dang, I really hope I have that right, it's pretty basic but I'm not sure I remember it all so please someone correct me if I'm incorrect.

    In that sense, I would guess that as INFPs the image of what we should be is these flowery fluffy non-confrontational Gummi Bears bouncing here and there and everywhere (anyone watch that show? :gummibearyjuice: ). So, the opposite of that, the thing that gets repressed is the bad that is in INFPs. I can sense peoples' needs, so ideally I can help them, but this also means I can better manipulate them. When we disown a characteristic of ourselves such as being manipulative, it gets pushed down into the subconscious or unconscious, and becomes part of our Shadow that we are unaware of, but that manifests itself...

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCat View Post
    I often blow up on people when they make my shadow come out.
    Me too, along the lines of: i can has liting?. In fact, I did this this morning. It is not directed toward the actual person who commits the triggering offense, but relayed to a confidant. I guess this is an attempt to be "rescued?" (Maybe that is more associated with type 4 than MBTI literature, I can't recall...)
    "How can I be, all I want to be,
    When all I want to do is strip away these stilled constraints
    And crush this charade, shred this sad, masquerade"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGeq5v7L3WM

  5. #15
    Senior Member Jeremy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwigie View Post
    INFP shadow...what does that look like?
    Imagine an INFP, but so overly focused on the negative that they become fatalistic, critical of others (and even moreso of themselves than usual), and forget who they are (or at least who they perceive themselves to be).

    We use our already weak Te and Fe to make judgements about others, our wounded Fi makes negative judgements about ourselves, and we back them up with our relatively weak Ti. Our Ni lets us know that the future is bleak, and all of those Ne "possibilities" are nothing, because we've already failed in so many ways that we can't come back now. Our Si reminds us of how we failed in the past, and our Se kicks into overdrive, making us do stupid things we'd never do normally.

    It's like taking that giant bag of nastiness we always throw negative things about people and ourselves in, and letting it loose. Every negative thought, feeling, and action gets a chance to do its work. It's not pretty, but it has to happen in some form or another, or we'd explode. It's like your mind just can't handle anything else, and has to let this negativity out, one way or the other.

    We INFPs can sometimes seem sweet and overly nice, but it comes at the cost of not letting our negativity out. Of course, when the shadow appears, it's not always this extreme. But sarcasm, little critical comments, and passive aggressiveness are part of the way in which the shadow of INFP shows in day to day conversation, unless the INFP is aware and tries to incorporate their shadow functions into decisions.
    "Can you set me free from this dark inner world? Save me now, last beats in the soul.."

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  6. #16
    Shaman BlackCat's Avatar
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    What Jeremy said. People often say we are very positive people, but on the inside we are very negative. I always try to see the positive, I strive to do what is positive etc. I like to make people feel good. But with all the negativity we filter through to accomplish this... It doesn't just disappear. We throw it in our psyche and then we let it out when no one is looking or when we can't take it anymore. We also gain an exceptional amount of negativity when helping someone, since we will take on their feelings to gain a higher understanding to help. People always tell me that I give great advice and that I'm a great listener, but it all comes with a price. It a very sadistic way of relating to people but it's how we do it. All this negativity gets let out in an overwhelming depressive mood for a few minutes to a few hours.

    But that's different from the shadow I think the OP is talking about, the one where we adjust to deal with a situation.
    () 9w8-3w4-7w6 tritype.

    sCueI (primary Inquisition)

  7. #17
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    It's like taking that giant bag of nastiness we always throw negative things about people and ourselves in, and letting it loose. Every negative thought, feeling, and action gets a chance to do its work. It's not pretty, but it has to happen in some form or another, or we'd explode. It's like your mind just can't handle anything else, and has to let this negativity out, one way or the other.
    This I can relate to. I feel as though everything exists in order to find balance; being nice all the time has a price, and I can certainly be critical and fault-finding of others in my own mind, even simultaneous to being nice in the world. Being accommodating also has a price, when the elastic band snaps back and delivers a sting somewhere else.

    I generally let negativity loose only in private; interestingly, when I was more involved with musical theatre, it would come out then too, like a diva type of persona. I had opened the door to expression, and some of these negative thoughts I kept in my own head were suddenly coming out into the real world! This happened occasionally too when I was younger - snappy, sarcastic even caustic comments would just pop out of my yap. These of course were funny, but generally at the expense of another, so I learned to slap a filter on that at a very young age, not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings.

    These days I try to express some of my feelings through writing in order to not let too much build. I also have little "griping" sessions with my hubby who kind of understands my need to let loose with petty issues from time to time. Although it probably surprises him that I can be so negative!

    I wonder how many people can sense this about me; I believe only a very, very select few. I've probably met only two or three people in my life so far who could discern some of this "shadow" ... and I only think of it as a "shadow" because the light of perfection and goodness seems so pure in comparison.

  8. #18
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Hmm...I'm thinking here and maybe I've attracted or known the 'non-positive' INFPs because each and every one of the INFPs I know (currently 4 self-identified and 1 that I'm guessing) are not positive people. I would go so far as to describe them as self-deprecating, pessimistic, serious and pre-occupied, or maybe grumpy (and that person would laugh at the 'grumpy' description.) The 5th unverified INFP is very silly and upbeat.

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'shadow' but if you mean an INFP who takes a lot and then blows up -- if that's the 'shadow' then I definitely hate dealing with that shadow.

    I don't know any individual INFP from this forum IRL so I cannot verify, but I know that the INFPs who I know when they get like this, they get SO certain of how "logical" they are being and it totally pisses me off because they turn into a bad caricature of an INTJ or maybe ENTJ and keep drilling down their point and talking down to you and not listening and are basically jackasses.

    If they actually made sense it would help, but they are being just as irrational and subjective as the next person (who is me) but they refuse to acknowledge it and focus on how "correct" they are.
    They have no interest in having a dialogue with you, they just have this over-riding need to be 'right' and not be 'in the wrong' or worthy of blame or shame or something.

    Then again, I've only dealt with this particular shadow ^^ with 2 out of the 5 I (think) I know. Maybe it only happens when you're dating them...or if you're ENFP...I don't think so though...

    This other shadow that Jeremy outlines -- yeah I've seen that in most of the INFPs I know. (As a random aside: angry INTP and INFP drunks are quiet similar.)
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

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  9. #19
    Senior Member Anja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    Imagine an INFP, but so overly focused on the negative that they become fatalistic, critical of others (and even moreso of themselves than usual), and forget who they are (or at least who they perceive themselves to be).

    We use our already weak Te and Fe to make judgements about others, our wounded Fi makes negative judgements about ourselves, and we back them up with our relatively weak Ti. Our Ni lets us know that the future is bleak, and all of those Ne "possibilities" are nothing, because we've already failed in so many ways that we can't come back now. Our Si reminds us of how we failed in the past, and our Se kicks into overdrive, making us do stupid things we'd never do normally.

    It's like taking that giant bag of nastiness we always throw negative things about people and ourselves in, and letting it loose. Every negative thought, feeling, and action gets a chance to do its work. It's not pretty, but it has to happen in some form or another, or we'd explode. It's like your mind just can't handle anything else, and has to let this negativity out, one way or the other.

    We INFPs can sometimes seem sweet and overly nice, but it comes at the cost of not letting our negativity out. Of course, when the shadow appears, it's not always this extreme. But sarcasm, little critical comments, and passive aggressiveness are part of the way in which the shadow of INFP shows in day to day conversation, unless the INFP is aware and tries to incorporate their shadow functions into decisions.

    OK. These last few posts are helping me out.

    Yes, my shadow is tall, very dark, depending on how much sun I am allowing to shine on me and . . . Oh heck, I dance funny either way.

    But it does have to do with judgementalism towards others and myself. That's probably where the shame factor comes in.

    I do want to say though, Jeremy, that we do have more options other than holding it all in or exploding. And that's a lucky thing but it takes some practice. And I suppose it takes recognition of our shadow side so that when it is growing we can see that for ourselves and take care of it before we reach the exploding point.

    The way I do that has been to learn the cues for when those negative things are building up and to release them in small amounts. In order to do that without resorting to passive-aggressive expression or other uglies, I've had to learn how to be assertive.

    That took recognition, education and then lots of practice. Work, in other words. But after a long period of learning not to be afraid to express what I think of as my uglier sides to people in a healthy way, after learning it's okay to have an "ugly" side, and getting comfortable with dealing with it, it does become a natural habit.

    A lot of what I think of in myself as "the uglies" is just normal human reaction. It's a distortion of my values system that makes them seem ugly to me.

    Then, with confidence and practice, I won't startle people by allowing it to grow so big that it pops out and screws things up in one big, childish, illogical tantrum!

    I do remember those deal-breakers. Heh. And I really try to keep my anger bag emptied to keep my more uncomfortable feelings manageable.
    "No ray of sunshine is ever lost, but the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout, and it is not always granted to the sower to see the harvest. All work that is worth anything is done in faith." - Albert Schweitzer

  10. #20
    half-nut member briochick's Avatar
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    My shadow? *evil smile* I kinda like her. She's the one who, when someone has pushed me too far will get up in their face and say "wanna try that again?" Who will turn to the person ranting about how sometimes I find morally devious I'll turn and say, "You're wrong. No, don't argue, there's no point. You're wrong, and I'm disgusted someone would say that." She's the one who suggests I go take a run when I want to punch my hand through a wall. She is the one who allows me to list out a massive amount of facts and sequencing (stuff I didn't even knew I knew) to support a point I feel strongly about. I try and use all my inferior functions on a pretty regular basis. But that could be because I don't endevor to be the best INFP I can be, I endevor to be the most *well rounded* person I can be. :-,

    That's not to say that I go around doing these things often, I don't. I used to bottle up that stuff and try and stuff it inside, but the jugementalism (ness?) ended up doing that Freudian melancholia thing where it turns inwards and yeah, badness resulted. I think a lot has been learning to get angry without "loosing it". Sometimes my students piss me off, but it's about accepting that I'm angry, that I have a reason to be angry, and then dealing with it. As for judging and shame, that's still a process. I find that internally I expect perfection of everyone. This is something I'm still learning. I can use my T quite well in some areas of my life but I'm almost entirely F in others. I'm still learning.
    Last edited by briochick; 02-09-2009 at 11:21 PM. Reason: because I thought of more to say
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