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Thread: ENFP: The Dark Times

  1. #1

    Default ENFP: The Dark Times

    I found this on another site-it is specific to the topic of ENFP-INTJ but the reason I found it appealing was the descriptions the enfp uses with respect to how it feels to go off the deep end emotionally as an enfp-it feels like having your mind unfolded, torn, then reannealed-but it is really messy and externally unpleasent when this happens in my experience...Finding the below quote really helped when I was in the middle of this process myself...I dont know about the jungian mechanics mentioned below, but the process is familiar...

    Does the below descriptions sound accurate to other ENFPs?

    I'd really appreciate your thoughts.

    ************************************************** *******

    A quote from a very wise ENFP:

    "I am currently having one of my 'down' moods, and I thought this would be a great time to discuss one of the parts of an ENFP that my INTJs don't seem to understand too well, and clearly want to so they can help fix it - the dreaded ENFP angst. We don't do it very often, but when we drop into that pit of despair, we go in feet first without a rope.

    Judging from the reactions and advice my INTJs have given me, I can assume that you're telling me how you would deal with such a state. I've gotten a lot of good empathy from my INTJs when I get in this mode, but I can tell it frustrates them to not be able to understand why I can't reason my way out of it eventually. I know that my INTJ friends are no strangers to feeling overwhelmed. But, I also know that it is part of your process and that eventually 'getting a handle on it' is the natural progression for you guys. It stands to reason that you assume we are the same, and is a very logical assumption at that.

    At its core this is very simply a conflict between the Perception and Judging functions. For INTJs, this is common and occurs when your iNtuitive function conflicts with your Thinking function, because pattern recognition actually defies logic. You have right brained perception but left brained reasoning that you regularly have to reconcile, making you guys quite practiced at the process. For ENFPs, it is a conflict between our iNtuitive function and our Feeling function.

    However similar the effects may appear, the difference between the causes is profound. I think this is the most important part that the INTJs are missing. As ENFPs our entire world view is tied into our ability to perceive the world intuitively, just like INTJs, but our ability to interpret what we perceive is based entirely on our idealism. Often the NF combination types are referred to as Idealists, and this is because when pattern recognition is combined with philosophical reasoning, the result is that we see the world in philosophical patterns, and these are the basis for which we form the foundation of our personalities. Normally, this very strong framework is the source of our boundless enthusiasm and drive, our optimism and our warmth. We see the the philosophical patterns of the world as they should be, and therefore move to help them stay on course when they drift, and we are more than happy to do so. It usually doesn't matter if something doesn't jive between these functions. It will. If it doesn't, then we will make it, and are astonishingly adept at doing so.

    However, every now and then there comes a rift between the P an J functions that we cannot reconcile. For whatever reason, we are unable to affect an outcome that should not have happened according to our philosophical worldview... and this rocks the very foundation of who we are because we cannot change our world view, as it is based on feeling not logic, unless we change the way we feel about the philosophical truth entirely. And this is not something that anyone can do easily, most especially ENFPs, nor is it something most are willing to do lightly. Worst of all, it hits ENFPs doubly hard, because as idealist extraverts, we feel compelled to make these things right, and have therefore failed somehow, or that the world has failed us.

    Unlike INTJs who have the ability to correct their Thinking to adjust to any new rifts in their Perception by allowing the external changes to exist, we ENFPs cannot use reason to self correct any parallax between our P and J functions. Instead of Thinking our way through it and accepting the external state as it is, we have to Feel our way through it and modify our internal architecture to accommodate. This makes the process highly emotional for us, and unfortunately anyone in the proximity. I apologize on behalf of all of us ENFPs for this, past, present, and future. But hopefully, this explains the reason for the intensity when we go through it.

    While the other NF core idealists go through a similar experience when their P and J functions conflict, the Introverts are less likely to express it so annoyingly because they are less likely to feel as if they have failed, but simply that the world has failed them. The ENFJ on the other hand is likely to become angry in the moment then stick to their guns as their J function is stronger than what they've perceived, making the process more intense but much shorter, and often allowing them to accept that something was 'just wrong' and continue to feel that way without a great degree of rift once this view is reached. However, I would greatly assume that what I've written here about ENFPs trying to reconcile their P and J functions has a moderate to large degree of applicability to the other NF types as well when the are 'brooding' or 'flipping out'.

    Advice for dealing with your ENFP when they are in this state includes simply understanding that we're feeling our way through rather than reasoning our way through, and that it is not a blow to our understanding but an assault on our entire paradigm. Your natural understanding of how to reconcile a J and P rift can be extremely helpful to us if you reason from a perspective of how we feel about it. One of my INTJs has caught on to this, and now reflexively opens his help with questions like "How does this make you feel?" and "Why do you feel that way?" which helps me focus on my paradigm from a somewhat detached perspective. From there, he can usually help me bridge gaps of logic in my philosophical reasoning, and is especially adept at getting me to understand that what I have perceived may not be so intrinsically tied to the subject I have such strong feelings about. Lastly, he's also very careful to not invalidate any of my feelings or ideals in the process. More than anything, this makes it possible for him to help, even if there is nothing he can do, because this prevents him from making his attempts to help seem antagonistic to me while I am irritated from the foundation of my being. Gentle compassion and patience always disarms an ENFP. If you've ever tried to help an ENFP in this state and got snapped at, it was because you were not gentle enough in trying to adjust our most sensitive area which was already hurting at the time, and caused it to hurt more. Even if we do snap at you, you need to know that we greatly appreciate the help you're trying to offer, even if it really isn't helping. The worst thing you can do is mistake our reactions for anything other than us hurting and escalate the moment into a personal argument. When our paradigm is in jeopardy, the one thing that normally keeps us behaving in a conscientious manner is not available to us, and we will likely 'cut loose' on you without being able to explain what has caused the reaction or why.

    Personally, I think that the difficulty in reconciling paralax between the J and P functions is the greatest reason for INTJ and ENFP harmony, especially since we're both reconciling our N function. Of all of the NT and NF types, we are the two that are hit hardest by this conflict, and therefore rely on this process the most. The vast majority of the way we deal with conflict resolution stems from it, and when people resolve conflict in a similar way, they are much more likely to maintain relationships long term. Conflicts break or prove a relationship because how people handle them antagonizes or harmonizes the situation, and time and time again I have seen that my INTJs and I bolster rather than divide in times of stress, regardless of any differences we might otherwise have... and yet we're always surprised by it because we don't normally consider just how well we harmonize in conflict resolution due to the fact that we approach the world from such similar but different perspectives.

    I hope this helps your relationships with your otherwise beloved ENFPs."

  2. #2
    So tired... Array Amargith's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
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    Totally relate to it, especially the bolstering 'us against the world' thing that INTJ+ENFP automatically do. To me, that's what makes our relationship so strong and awesome. Other than that, yes, one of the hardest things ever to do for an ENFP is face reality and acknowledge it will never change for the better/in the way we view it could be perfect. The worst part is to then take that harsh truth and adjust *read 'lower* your standards in your perfect world. can choose not to do so and be pissed at the world forever, which costs tons of energy and leads you to flee into that dreamworld and cut ties with reality (I've been there *sigh*). The best way, and the one that costs most time and effort, ime, is where you learn to look at reality in a different way. And adjust your views accordingly.

    It's similar to what you do with selecting a partner. As a girl, many dream of meeting that Prince Charming: good looking, perfect gentleman, respectful to us, adoring, never looking at any other girl but us and telling us how special we are. Aka The Fantasy.

    Then you grow up, and learn that guys have their own set of flaws. And you learn what matters and what doesn't. You learn that even if you meet that Prince Charming, he just might not be the guy for you, as you're not compatible. And you learn what is compatible for you. Most importantly, if you find that right man, you find that his flaws make him unique. They add to who he is. And you find yourself loving him especially *becoz* of those flaws.

    The same can be done with reality. Yes, there will always be that nostalgia to forge it into the perfect world and no, it will never be that perfect world. But that's ok. You'll see other things in reality that you with your dream world hadn't even thought of, and that somehow are flawed in how it looks, but it upholds moreso than your own dream world, those ideals that you were protecting. Those flaws become unique for that world, and pure in their own right.

    It is however hard to *notice* those things when you're bitter with the world. Just like you're unlikely to notice that really great guy if you're pissed for never meeting Prince Charming and realizing you never will.

    It's a challenge to not have your dream world blindsight you for the beautiful things that are to be found in this world. The thing is, those ideals of ours are concepts. They exist in that dream world, but if we get too rigidgly stuck on how they must look, we miss what's right in front of us. Transforming those ideals into something tangible is the hardest thing to do ever. But, if done properly, it allows you to harmonize your inner world with reality. It allows you to straddle both worlds. It allows you to bring that magical vibe of your inner world into the outdoor world, and find that peace of mind you've been looking for. As beautiful as your inner world cannot stay there, unfortunately, because the real world will come knocking. Aside from that, adding that beauty of within to the outside world is like the drive of an NF, as it will improve reality for the better..for everyone

  3. #3
    Per Ardua Array Metamorphosis's Avatar
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    May 2007


    Interesting. That was surprisingly well explained.
    "You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit."

    Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office
    than to serve and obey them. - David Hume

  4. #4
    Professional Trickster Array Esoteric Wench's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009


    Very interesting. I'm going to have to process this a bit, but I think the author is on to something.

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