Ah, the Fi loop… Many an INFP’s undoing. It allows us to hold onto unhealthy, damaging ideas and emotions long after they have reached their expiration date and have lost their nutritive value. After going through one recently, I did my best to pick it apart and analyze it. Any thoughts, insight, or observations are welcome.
First, what is the Fi-Si loop? With me, it gets invoked when something happens that causes the world to become morally or emotionally inconsistent. It creates a dissonance that I am compelled to explore. After my Fi based views of the world fail to create understanding, I retreat into Si mode and analyze the situation and relive my old emotions in the hopes of uncovering something new. Those Si-based emotions and memories then get fed into Fi, and the Fi-Si loop is born.
External Input -> Fi -> Si -> Fi -> Si.... etc etc.
What are additional components of the Fi-Si loop?
First: emotion. The more powerful the emotion, the more powerful the loop. Without the emotion, why even bother?
Second: some sort of deficiency. Either I am missing key information, or my internal model is outdated.
The problems of the Fi-Si loop:
Problem number 1 with the Fi-Si loop is that it requires less energy to enter and maintain the loop than it does to break it. This isn't readily apparent to others, but this is why INFPs can get stuck in these loops for 10 years at a time.
Problem number 2 is that each iteration of the loop causes a slight corruption of information. Each recollection of emotion is based on whatever Fi generated, and that emotion becomes the stimulus for the new Fi loop. Can you see how this could cause an INFP to become more and more divorced from reality over time?
So how does one fix it?
Ultimately, I believe the Fi-Si loop is a lowest-possible-energy-expenditure attempt to heal a wounded dominate function. In English, that means my moral or emotional views of the world have been betrayed, and I can't rest easy until I can understand it again. I can handle all sorts of emotions, as long as I have understanding. That's how I cauterize the wound.
So to get out of it, I have to expend energy. Damn.
One solution is Deus-Ex-Ne. That is, Ne swoops in at the last minute, and in a sudden flash with a choir of angels singing, comes up with a new way of looking at things, which leads to new potential answers. Aha! Epiphany! There is my answer!
Sadly, that rarely happens.
The harder solution is chipping away at the loop with things like 'getting out there', 'doing stuff’, and 'researching information'. That’s Te, and it’s not very fun compared to the Fi-Si loop. It's slow and laborious for me. However, my most recent Fi-Si loop was cured when I stumbled upon a piece of information that allowed everything else to click into place. With that understanding, I no longer saw any point in investing emotional energy into the situation (Fi making a judgment call), and I was able to break free.
Barring that sudden flash of information, it's chipping away at the Fi-Si loop rut until I am finally able to get out of the track and break free. In some areas of my life, I’m still working on that.
So, anyone make it through that? If so, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic.