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  1. #11
    To here knows when... Odi et Amo's Avatar
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    This is extremely interesting. I'm trying to figure out if I'm Fi/Ne or Ni/Fe myself and I can certainly can relate to much of what both you and your SO are experiencing, Werebudgie. It sounds a little like you perceive Ni to be something that you experience totally outside of your own active iteration (like you are passing through it), and yet you can withdraw from it or leave its realm. You control it more, or are able to control it more, it seems like. Fi with your SO, however, is something that she herself iterates, but she is tethered to it (that which she creates) more than you are bound to Ni (that which you do not create). Just some musing...feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
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  2. #12
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    Default feeling versus emotion

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    When it was first proposed to me that I was an INFP and not an INFJ, one of the things that clinched it (one of many things) was the description on PersonalityPage that says INFPs deal with things according to how they feel about them. That's me in a nutshell, and there's nothing really more to be said. I deal with things according to how I feel about them. This is why cognitive therapy feels like bullshit to me, too -- my feelings are faster than my thoughts -- I can't override what's so immediate and so powerful. And that makes me, by definition, an irrational creature. Finally everything fell into place. What that's worth for purposes of this discussion, I don't know, but I put it out there in case it might be of use.
    I've been thinking about this comment in the back of my mind for a while, @Tiltyred, and find it really interesting! It raises a question for me. For my own clarity, I've found it useful to distinguish between feeling and emotion. been trying to do this for years (articulate the distinction) but it was only recently that I got it completely clear from reading a passage in a Malinda Lo novel of all things.

    Anyway, I'm curious to know which of these two things is closest to what you mean by feeling in your experience, related to your comment (or if there's a third way to understand it that is truer to your experience that you would add).

    Feeling for me is a sense-perception at the gut level, a response to something that's actually going on in the external environment.

    Emotion, on the other hand, is a narrative about what the feeling means, and is often not (completely) a response to what's actually happening.

    Here's the Malinda Lo excerpt in case her writing makes it clearer. The excerpt if from a scifi novel by Malinda Lo (Inheritance, the sequel to Adaptation). Anyway, in this scene an alien teacher, named Eres, is instructing two human characters, David and Reese, on how to deal with a genetic alteration in themselves:

    ...Eres sat back and looked at the two of them. "You have quite a lot of emotion inside you. It's extraordinary ... your emotions are so unordered. It will take some practice for you to learn how to present a more ordered consciousness."

    "How are we supposed to order our feelings?" David asked. "Don't they just exist, however they are? You can't control them."

    "It's true that feelings are uncontrollable," Eres said, "but emotions are not. Emotions are your brain's way of making sense of feelings."

    Reese was confused. 'What?"

    "Feelings are the physical reactions your body has to something." Eres explained. "Perhaps English isn't the best language with which to explain this, but think of it this way: Feelings are physical sensations, like hunger or pain or pleasure. These feelings happen regardless of what you think of them. Emotions are the narrative your mind creates about those feelings. So if you burn your hand, you'll feel pain, but emotionally, you could be angry or embarrassed, depending on the situation. Does that make sense?"
    And this is what I wrote to a friend of mine about my own relationship with these two things:


  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLD View Post
    I know you said in the OP that you don't want to deal with the Auxiliaries, especially with regard to comparisons of Fi vs Fe and Ni vs Ne. And I won't hold it against you if you cry "foul" on what follows. But in comparing Fi and Ni, you're comparing a judging vs perceiving function. So I'm just wondering how you experience your own judging function (Fe), in order to compare it with your description of how your SO experiences her judging function (Fi).
    Okay, let's go down this road a bit and see if it's useful. I don't want to overly limit the discussion. At the same time, I do want to keep the focus on Fi versus Ni in general. I see the shape of what you're getting at. Let's see what happens.

    Example:

    As an INFP, I identify personally with my Dom Fi (my judging function, my internal landscape), and I'm kind of stuck permanently in it. Meanwhile, my Aux Ne (my perceiving function, the external landscape that I riff on for new ideas) is a landscape that I move in and out of. It can be tough to turn off my Aux Ne at times, but I can turn it off and cease to interact with it. It exists without me being in it.

    You say that INFJs experience Dom Ni (their perceiving function, their internal landscape) but don't necessarily identify with it; they can be pulled out of it. So what about Aux Fe (their judging function, their external landscape): Do they identify with it? Are they stuck permanently in it?
    I myself don't identify at all with Fe-aux. As I understand it in myself, I developed it to compensate for weakness created by losing access to Se when I was a child (due to physical trauma). Fe allowed me to make sense of a world in which I felt disoriented due to loss of access to Se data to complement and serve Ni. Fe enabled me to "pass" as relatively normal in a world I didn't understand. Then I had to develop Ti to compensate (I've written about this elsewhere, not sure how much to go into it here because I want to stay on topic). Now, decades later, I'm actively shifting my use of and relationship to Fe aux. At this point, I would describe Fe-aux as a virus that's taken hold in me that I'm seeking to eradicate. I will still have Fe-aux as a function if I eradicate the "Fe virus" in myself. It will just be a different orientation or polarity (hard to describe as I am in the beginning stages of that process)

    That said, when I was relying most heavily on Fe-aux, I tended to confuse the collective nature of my organic landscape (Ni) with the Fe-aux external orientation toward shared values. It was an inaccurate mapping, and I felt much better when I finally figured that out. That said, I still sometimes get caught up in that confusion at times, and will probably remain at risk for that until I successfully eradicate this "Fe virus" in myself.

    Just to anticipate your response a bit: It seems to me (as an INFP) that INFJs identify strongly with their Fe. And in fact I find INFJs and their strong identification with Fe to be very grounding for me (as in the sense of the kite metaphor in the previous posts--my Ne leaves me floating and unsure of how I should interact with people at times). Dealing with people in the world around me can be problematic for me, and Fe is such an important function in interacting with the real world (networking, teamwork, basic daily courtesies, etc.). I appreciate the Fe-Dom and Fe-Aux types and their strong grasp of social interaction principles, and I observe them in order to learn more about Fe for my own use.
    If I'm understanding correctly, it seems like I don't fit into the pattern you've observed with other INFJs. The thing about Fe-aux in my experience is this: It is a process that assigns automatic high legitimacy to external values. I do have a strong grasp of social interaction principles - when I developed Fe-aux (in my early-mid teens), I felt it was a matter of survival for me to learn these things. It's like I had to learn how to pass as "okay" in that external system. And I got really really good at it. But that practice of passing came with a very steep cost for me.

    I suspect that this could get at a difference between Fe-aux (at least in a Ni-dom), and Fe-dom. Which brings me back to why the Fi/Fe dialogue between INFJs and INFPs often feels incomplete to me. From the INFJ side (and my perspective in particular), a lot of the Fe descriptions seem more relevant to Fe-doms, losing the nuances of what it is to have this as an aux function with Ni as the dominant.

    BTW, I would also be curious to hear more about your Dom Ni as the thread progresses. You seem to have a strong impression of it and how it works, or at least a strong ability to describe your experience of it.
    Happy to try to answer any questions that come up!

  4. #14
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLD View Post
    You say that INFJs experience Dom Ni (their perceiving function, their internal landscape) but don't necessarily identify with it; they can be pulled out of it. So what about Aux Fe (their judging function, their external landscape): Do they identify with it? Are they stuck permanently in it?
    To be honest- going on the definitions most people put forth about Fe- I don't even come close to identifying with it. If I wasn't fairly certain I was INFJ before finding this forum (and having many INFJ descriptions in books deeply resonate beforehand)*- with the way people talk about it, and the way people tend to place so much emphasis on even trace amounts of 'Fe' in someone's function stack-I would probably have a hard time figuring out which 'type' I am. Because I don't think I've ever read an Fe description that resonates for me. [And this is why I think this op was a good idea- or I think someone else also mentioned in another thread that it might be more productive to compare ENFJ/INFP and ENFP/INFJ than to compare INFP/INFJ. Something about the way it always comes back to Fe/Fi makes the discussion convoluted.]

    The only way in which I think I might 'identify' with Fe is that I get impatient with having a truckload of abstract emo fragments dumped on me without having some outline in which to place them. It's just "blah blah blah" to me if I don't have some skeletal framework in which to place them as they're incoming. And I think it's because underneath everything (in Ni), there's so little structure that emo fragments will literally just blow away (and seem totally not important) if I'm not given some framework to nail them down.


    *eta: I actually almost always test as INTJ. Even in the 'official' mbti test, I was right on the cusp. But it was in reading a few different books on the types (not on functions- which I never paid attention to until participating in this forum) that I decided INFJ was a much better fit that INTJ. I'd read through some INFP descriptions and they didn't even begin to resonate, so it was never in question for me.
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  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odi et Amo View Post
    This is extremely interesting. I'm trying to figure out if I'm Fi/Ne or Ni/Fe myself and I can certainly can relate to much of what both you and your SO are experiencing, Werebudgie. It sounds a little like you perceive Ni to be something that you experience totally outside of your own active iteration (like you are passing through it), and yet you can withdraw from it or leave its realm. You control it more, or are able to control it more, it seems like. Fi with your SO, however, is something that she herself iterates, but she is tethered to it (that which she creates) more than you are bound to Ni (that which you do not create). Just some musing...feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
    A couple of tweaks for accuracy:

    1. Not quite "just passing through" for me - I can act in the Ni landscape, so I'm more of a participant than your description suggests. But I and my actions are very small in relation to the landscape itself, and if I wasn't there it would still exist.

    2. I never ever want to withdraw from Ni. I can get pulled out of it by external forces, and I can make choices (like developing Fe-aux, per my previous comment that pull me out. But my organic desire is to move in the Ni landscape, it's home to me. From this perspective, it's as much a liability as a strength that I can move between landscapes. When I'm pulled out of the Ni landscape, I can get disoriented and/or disconnected from my most organic perception. It's not fun.

    I find your description of Fi as a tethering interesting as well. My partner seems to feel Fi's landscape setup as more liberating than tethering, in that she can travel anywhere and always have her "home" with her.

    That said, I would not choose Fi over Ni if I had a choice. I truly love my Ni landscape and the experience of moving within it. (But that's to be expected with a dominant function, I'd imagine).

    I wonder if how you see the two setups holds some sort of key to whether you're Fi-dom or Ni-dom. Though I don't quite know how to get at it if so.

  6. #16
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    To Werebudgie & Z Buck,

    Interesting answers. Okay, so you don't identify with Fe. But do you feel "permanently stuck" in it? (@Z Buck: IOW, the "tier mechanism" is always in play, whether you want it or not.)

    BTW, I don't particularly identify with my Fi in the sense of liking it, and in fact I fight it all the time. I find it woefully behind the curve, IOW, made up of old fairy tales and personal biases that I've since moved past. I'm constanly doing a reality check on it and finding it lacking. That's part of why I work so hard to develop Fe, IOW, to get access to a more "real-time" Feeling function. Mainly I'm just "stuck in" my Fi.

  7. #17
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLD View Post
    But do you feel "permanently stuck" in it? (@Z Buck: I.e., the "tier mechanism" is always in play, whether you want it or not.)
    I think my point was that- if I go by descriptions usually presented about Fe (taking in external values is probably the main one)- I never feel stuck in it. I may notice external rules going on around me and use those rules to interact with those individuals (from whom I've collected the 'rules'), but they are never really mine. The more someone's 'rules' inherently jive with my own, the less work it is to interact with those people because their rules inherently make sense to me- in that way, I suppose, I identify with some underlying Ti principles that ultimately make things either make sense or not. That's something I can't really ever let go of, so I'd be willing to say it's an immovable part of 'me'. I actually think the 'tier mechanism' is more Ni/Ti in the sense that it isn't a conscious decision, it isn't about choosing- it's about discerning, figuring out why I feel the need to distance some people on a very deep and visceral level.

    And Fe, I don't know. It feels more like a tool than an actual appendage- and to 'identify' with it would be like mistaking an ax or a hammer for my actual arm. I pay attention to the way people do things so that I know how to 'play along'.

    eta: The part I actually 'identify' with, or feel unequivocally 'stuck' with- is some underlying principle that tells me whether I should keep 'playing along' with it or not. And according to definitions, it's not Fe helping me to discern this.

    more eta: *And* I think I might be able to relate to feeling 'stuck' in my dominant function when I just can't decide whether or not I can go along with someone else's train of logic. I can get stuck in a sort of "just because it doesn't make sense to me doesn't mean it doesn't make sense" limbo, where I want to wait for 'more information' (there's never enough information to feel secure in my assessment).


    /can't speak for all INFJs
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  8. #18
    To here knows when... Odi et Amo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Werebudgie View Post
    A couple of tweaks for accuracy:

    1. Not quite "just passing through" for me - I can act in the Ni landscape, so I'm more of a participant than your description suggests. But I and my actions are very small in relation to the landscape itself, and if I wasn't there it would still exist.

    2. I never ever want to withdraw from Ni. I can get pulled out of it by external forces, and I can make choices (like developing Fe-aux, per my previous comment that pull me out. But my organic desire is to move in the Ni landscape, it's home to me. From this perspective, it's as much a liability as a strength that I can move between landscapes. When I'm pulled out of the Ni landscape, I can get disoriented and/or disconnected from my most organic perception. It's not fun.

    I find your description of Fi as a tethering interesting as well. My partner seems to feel Fi's landscape setup as more liberating than tethering, in that she can travel anywhere and always have her "home" with her.

    That said, I would not choose Fi over Ni if I had a choice. I truly love my Ni landscape and the experience of moving within it. (But that's to be expected with a dominant function, I'd imagine).

    I wonder if how you see the two setups holds some sort of key to whether you're Fi-dom or Ni-dom. Though I don't quite know how to get at it if so.
    I am now immensely intrigued by your description of Ni as a vast, somewhat impersonal expanse, because it is the complete opposite of my own perception of it. I have always envisaged Ni as narrower, convergent, holistic, and that is how I feel when I use Ni -- I am armed with this feeling of convergence and totality and I feel everything recombine. When it clicks, I feel as big as Ni itself, feeling as though I have swelled to the size of Ni, combining bits and pieces to achieve a singular clarity, but when it doesn't, it seems like I'm missing parts of the whole. Ne is what seems huge and impersonal to me.

    Fi, to me, is a similar feeling of oneness, but it is a far more singular and deeply individual feeling of oneness...
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  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLD View Post
    To Werebudgie & Z Buck,

    Interesting answers. Okay, so you don't identify with Fe. But do you feel "permanently stuck" in it? (@Z Buck: IOW, the "tier mechanism" is always in play, whether you want it or not.)
    I mentioned my Fe-virus metaphor - I'll expand on that and say that what I've really identified is Fe as a "root virus." As I use it in this metaphor, it means fe has been functioning like a meta-virus that's penetrated deep into the core of my operating system (so to speak). From that perspective, Fe is very sticky in me. As for whether it's permanent - well, I do have a pretty good bead on, and some initial progress in, eradicating Fe as a root virus. It seems at this point that Fe-aux will remain in me if I am successful in eradicating its current configuration, and I will need to negage it in a different way. This is all very much in-process for me, though.

    BTW, I don't particularly identify with my Fi in the sense of liking it, and in fact I fight it all the time. I find it woefully behind the curve, IOW, made up of old fairy tales and personal biases that I've since moved past. I'm constanly doing a reality check on it and finding it lacking. That's part of why I work so hard to develop Fe, IOW, to get access to a more "real-time" Feeling function. Mainly I'm just "stuck in" my Fi.
    I'm trying really hard to take this in, since m INFP partner is really extremely comfortable with her Fi and I can't imagine her trying to develop Fe or even seeing it as valuable the way you do. I do wonder two things

    1. Is it painful for you to be fighting your own dominant function like that?

    2. Why is Fe your solution? Meaning: I wonder, is there is any other way for you to balance Fi other than trying to develop Fe? I feel like working with Ne-aux has come up somewhere in my online travels as a possible balance for Fi (or Fi-Si) closed-ness in INFPs, and @Southern Kross has written a bit about her experience integrating Te-inf, another approach that might speak to your concerns and goal.

    I know I saw my INFP partner stuck in a Fi-Si loop when I was first learning about cognitive functions, and I wonder if that's any part of what you're describing and struggling with.

    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    /can't speak for all INFJs
    Just want to say I'm really really appreciating your participation in this thread.

    (And while I'm at it: I also appreciate @cafe and @fidelia's interest and comments, just don't have anything to add to them at this point in time - but please know they are in my field of vision)

    Quote Originally Posted by Odi et Amo View Post
    I am now immensely intrigued by your description of Ni as a vast, somewhat impersonal expanse, because it is the complete opposite of my own perception of it. I have always envisaged Ni as narrower, convergent, holistic, and that is how I feel when I use Ni -- I am armed with this feeling of convergence and totality and I feel everything recombine. When it clicks, I feel as big as Ni itself, feeling as though I have swelled to the size of Ni, combining bits and pieces to achieve a singular clarity, but when it doesn't, it seems like I'm missing parts of the whole. Ne is what seems huge and impersonal to me.
    Even though the layer of reality I associate with Ni is a vast impersonal expanse, I perceive it from my specific location within it. Meaning: I don't have the birds-eye view of everything, I perceive it from where I "stand" in the landscape. I would guess that Ne is more like a birds-eye view of all sorts of things rather than the specific in-depth view from a particular position. Does that clarify?

    I've never felt like I've swelled to the size of my Ni landscape, though. I am always a small piece inside of it, in my experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Werebudgie View Post
    [...]I'm trying really hard to take this in, since m INFP partner is really extremely comfortable with her Fi and I can't imagine her trying to develop Fe or even seeing it as valuable the way you do. I do wonder two things

    1. Is it painful for you to be fighting your own dominant function like that?

    2. Why is Fe your solution? Meaning: I wonder, is there is any other way for you to balance Fi other than trying to develop Fe? I feel like working with Ne-aux has come up somewhere in my online travels as a possible balance for Fi (or Fi-Si) closed-ness in INFPs, and @Southern Kross has written a bit about her experience integrating Te-inf, another approach that might speak to your concerns and goal.

    I know I saw my INFP partner stuck in a Fi-Si loop when I was first learning about cognitive functions, and I wonder if that's any part of what you're describing and struggling with.[...]
    1. No, it's not painful or difficult at all to be fighting my Fi. Nor is it part of an Fi-Si loop. My situation is that I'm 57 years old and retired. I was married to another INFP for 10 years; I've also been on a couple INFP-only message boards. So I know the limits and failings of Fi all too well. I don't hate my Fi; I'm mainly just wary of it. I know how easily it steers INFPs wrong (moods, histrionics, misguided crusades, etc.), so I'm always double-checking it against other functions.

    2. Again, I'm 57 years old. My Ne is excellent. Also my Te is very strong as a result of 7 years in the Marines (Vietnam vet) and a lifetime as an executive in a big international bureaucracy. I have those functions down pretty well, so now I'm playing with other functions.

    Fe has always been a point of grief for me; no matter how much I work at it, it always remains difficult for me. I have to be pretty conscious and deliberate at it. Meanwhile, as I said, I'm very aware of how important it is in the world. Having poor Fe really held me back in the working world in many ways: Networking and all that. So even though I'm retired now, playing with Fe still remains a challenge and a source of fun: A skill that still remains to be conquered.

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