Introverted – Fi (ISFP, INFP)
* Detaches feelings from influence of the external world for focus on internalization.
* Feeling is a private act and though expression may not be difficult, articulation may.
* Seems distant and uninvolved.
* Seeks internal harmony with personal ideas and values.
* Processes data internally outside detection, thus may seem slow or idle.
The inwardly focused Fi mistrusts external influences. He evaluates his feelings in private as a protection from invasive external data. Fi-s fear people will not give them the space to sort through their feelings, which they may suppress if not allowed privacy and solitude.
Within Fi-s there is an indecisiveness; there is a desire to sort through their feelings, embrace their feelings and learn what their feelings are trying to say. They do not want to be presented with choices; instead, they hope to find meaning and clarity through the exploration of their feelings. They are like a rudderless ship floating at the mercy of the wind. Instead of setting goals to get through unpleasant situations, Fi-s want to immerse themselves in the experience, they are certain that everything has meaning and they are determined to learn from it.
This immersion is more valid for INFPs. ISFPs sensing function encourages action, but without foresight or excitement. Without intuition’s ability to generate multiple ideas, or outside assistance, they recognize few options. They feel resigned to act, though often without believing their actions will lead to success—but it is better than doing nothing. Rather than rudderless, their rudder is random. They go with the flow and then make a sudden change and go with the changed flow. Because he is making a change, the ISFP defends his actions as attempts at solutions, but in actuality his need to act without first thinking or reflecting is a coping device used to avoid dealing directly with the conflicts in his life.
Fi-s desire for harmony causes them to make choices geared toward pleasing others rather than themselves. Thus their hesitancy to make choices is a fear that they will sacrifice their authenticity by putting others first. Feeling thus pressured, they may withdraw from others to protect their sense of Self, but this also creates a feeling of loneliness and isolation. They may also not be aware of their withdrawal and feel rejected.
Fi-s may seem passive—rocking the boat would affect the flow and disrupt their attempt to derive meaning from the experience. They are accepting of situations without bothering to evaluate the situation to determine whether acceptance is the wisest choice.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
They understand the Serenity Prayer, but feel it is either not their place or within their abilities to change the situation; they do not yet have the wisdom to know the difference.
Without a well-developed intuition function, ISFPs have limited ability to recognize patterns and associations. They absorb sensory information, but dismiss the information if it does not make sense to them. This may seem logical, but often they dismiss things which are rich in connections and that make sense to others. They have trouble grasping abstraction which is a trait of intuition. To grow through this challenge, they need to learn to trust the information coming from outside sources—their sensory function. In addition they need to embrace their feeling preference and allow inward reflection—something they may have neglected in building an external-world persona.
Midlife Development & Overuse: At midlife, the greater insistence of both the primary function, which may have been dormant, and the undeveloped 3˚ function, causes a feeling of entrapment. But since Fi1s go with the flow, they feel resigned; this is either their fate and they will accept it or they must experience it because it is a necessary life lesson. This thought process seems as though it embraces the journey, but it is actually a form of avoidance; the midlife call is to act while considering the consequences. For ISFPs it is to learn to recognize the subjective patterns in the objective data and for INFPs it is to consider the sensory data as relevant; this can help guide them and they will learn to recognize their best choices.
Fi-s feel that thinking, which is their inferior function, destroys the sense of wonder and simple beauty within an idea or object. Analyzing God and religion destroys both the mystery and personal experience; dissecting a flower destroys its simple and perfect beauty by separating it into cells, processes, and chemicals. Thinking, therefore, destroys the authenticity of an object or idea.
Not wanting to destroy their sense of wonder, they avoid using their thinking function. They are often overwhelmed when required to think. Their thoughts are often ephemeral, disappearing before they can process and analyze them. They may become flooded if their thoughts do not dissipate quickly. Thoughts may refuse to leave and they will spend hours in afterthoughts, reviewing conversations, puzzles, problems for how they could have responded differently.