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  1. #1
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Default How Do You Know/The Shadow Knows

    How do you know you're not the shadow of your shadow? I've been taking the MBTI for about 30 years off and on, first administered to me by a psych grad student, and I always tested out INFJ. I don't always feel like one. Sometimes I feel and react very much ESTP. How do I know which is the real me and which is the shadow?

  2. #2
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Hmmm... interesting question.

    Which type do you feel like most often?

    I know if I get really inside my own head, and am trying to get really creative and think outside the boundaries I would usually consider, and use some intuition to the best of my ability, to me that is a totally different mode of operation than my default, maybe the closest thing I could come up with if someone asked me "How would you feel if you were an INFJ?"

    Other theories I've read about "shadow types" indicate we all can emulate them when we are under stress. I don't know if I agree with that, as it just seems negative. It makes more sense to me that we can take on our shadow type's behaviors when we operate outside of our defaults because for some reason our default behaviors are not getting us the desired outcome in a given situation.

    To expand on this idea, I would venture to say that we are all capable of emulating type specific behaviors based on how we "flex" our congitive functions in the course of our life endeavors. My N/S score is about 60/40; my P/J score is about 52/48. So, on any given day I could very well emulate ESTJ behaviors, and maybe even ENTP and/or ENTJ behaviors. I do not think this is beyond the realm of possibility, but it I still identify most strongly with the ESTP type, and am not compelled to list my type as EXTX, even though I am borderline on one if not two cognitive functions.

    Cheers!



    -Halla
    --------------------
    Type Stats:
    MBTI -> (E) 77.14% | (i) 22.86% ; (S) 60% | (n) 40% ; (T) 72.22% | (f) 27.78% ; (P) 51.43% | (j) 48.57%
    BIG 5 -> Extroversion 77% ; Accommodation 60% ; Orderliness 62% ; Emotional Stability 64% ; Open Mindedness 74%

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  3. #3
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    I reckon if you're living in your shadow you'll feel very unfulfilled and constantly drained by day to day life, you won't feel "yourself" and most things will feel like a chore.

    That's just my theory.
    Act your age not your enneagram number.

    Quinlan's Creations

  4. #4
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinlan View Post
    I reckon if you're living in your shadow you'll feel very unfulfilled and constantly drained by day to day life, you won't feel "yourself" and most things will feel like a chore.

    That's just my theory.
    Hi Qunilan!

    Isn't that negative in connotation though?

    To me, there is a difference between NEGATIVE and OPPOSITE.

    In the example as listed in the OP, ESTP is indeed the "shadow type" of INFJ, and vice versa. BUT, just because they are opposites, does it mean that to an INFJ feeling like an ESTP, it is a negative feeling; and to an ESTP feeling like an INFJ it is a negative feeling?

    Can't the feeling just be DIFFERENT without being NEGATIVE?

    I'm just thinking out loud, Bro, I have no theory of my own on this concept, but have pondered on it a number of times...
    --------------------
    Type Stats:
    MBTI -> (E) 77.14% | (i) 22.86% ; (S) 60% | (n) 40% ; (T) 72.22% | (f) 27.78% ; (P) 51.43% | (j) 48.57%
    BIG 5 -> Extroversion 77% ; Accommodation 60% ; Orderliness 62% ; Emotional Stability 64% ; Open Mindedness 74%

    Quotes:
    "If somebody asks your MBTI type on a first date, run". -Donna Cecilia
    "Enneagram is psychological underpinnings. Cognitive Functions are mental reasoning and perceptional processes. -Sanjuro

  5. #5
    morose bourgeoisie
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    I think the idea that your shadow is your opposite type is a very symmetrical theory, but one that just doesn't really work in reality. I see this as a theoretical extreme, and one that most people don't reach when they are feeling stressed. Also, it invites what is always just below the surface of all typological discussions: stereotypes and prejudice. IN REALITY, ESTJ's are not the embodiment of callousness and insesitivity, and INFP's aren't 'emo' whatever the feck that means. yet when someone is stressed, they allegedly 'turn into' their shadow, thereby dredging to the surface everything they have determined they don't like about themselves, and have given to the shadow. this is perfect 'cart before the horse' thinking, since it attributes anything negative to 'the other' even if the opposite preference might in fact be good for us in many ways. So the shadow functions are demonized simply because they are opposite, without any critical thinking.

  6. #6
    Senior Member angelhair45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinlan View Post
    I reckon if you're living in your shadow you'll feel very unfulfilled and constantly drained by day to day life, you won't feel "yourself" and most things will feel like a chore.

    That's just my theory.

    You described my life for over 10 years when I was in my ISTJ shadow. It sucked!

    I've thought about it though. Wondering, am I really ENFP, could I be ISTJ and in an ENFP shadow? Of course I was miserable, unproductive, depressed, unhealthy, and making everyone else that way too when I was in the damn ISTJ shadow.
    http://bohemianextrovert.wordpress.com/
    Please excuse the long drawn out ramble above.
    I have to hear what I've said before I know what I think.

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  7. #7
    Artisan Conquerer Halla74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nebbykoo View Post
    I think the idea that your shadow is your opposite type is a very symmetrical theory, but one that just doesn't really work in reality. I see this as a theoretical extreme, and one that most people don't reach when they are feeling stressed. Also, it invites what is always just below the surface of all typological discussions: stereotypes and prejudice. IN REALITY, ESTJ's are not the embodiment of callousness and insesitivity, and INFP's aren't 'emo' whatever the feck that means. yet when someone is stressed, they allegedly 'turn into' their shadow, thereby dredging to the surface everything they have determined they don't like about themselves, and have given to the shadow. this is perfect 'cart before the horse' thinking, since it attributes anything negative to 'the other' even if the opposite preference might in fact be good for us in many ways. So the shadow functions are demonized simply because they are opposite, without any critical thinking.
    WOW!!!!

    Bad ass response, very thorough, clear, and articulate.

    That's what I was trying to say, but you did it a whole lot better.
    --------------------
    Type Stats:
    MBTI -> (E) 77.14% | (i) 22.86% ; (S) 60% | (n) 40% ; (T) 72.22% | (f) 27.78% ; (P) 51.43% | (j) 48.57%
    BIG 5 -> Extroversion 77% ; Accommodation 60% ; Orderliness 62% ; Emotional Stability 64% ; Open Mindedness 74%

    Quotes:
    "If somebody asks your MBTI type on a first date, run". -Donna Cecilia
    "Enneagram is psychological underpinnings. Cognitive Functions are mental reasoning and perceptional processes. -Sanjuro

  8. #8
    Intriguing.... Quinlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74 View Post
    Hi Qunilan!

    Isn't that negative in connotation though?

    To me, there is a difference between NEGATIVE and OPPOSITE.

    In the example as listed in the OP, ESTP is indeed the "shadow type" of INFJ, and vice versa. BUT, just because they are opposites, does it mean that to an INFJ feeling like an ESTP, it is a negative feeling; and to an ESTP feeling like an INFJ it is a negative feeling?

    Can't the feeling just be DIFFERENT without being NEGATIVE?

    I'm just thinking out loud, Bro, I have no theory of my own on this concept, but have pondered on it a number of times...
    I've been thinking about type in terms of "energy" lately, so an ESTP feeling/acting like an INFJ might be useful or beneficial in the short term or used situationally but if you're an ESTP and you're constantly living INFJ, where are you getting you're energy from? If you're natural preferences are always being ignored, that has to be draining doesn't it? Swimming upstream maybe?

    Just some ideas.
    Act your age not your enneagram number.

    Quinlan's Creations

  9. #9
    Senior Member angelhair45's Avatar
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    More from someone who's experienced something like a shadow:

    There are ISTJ's that I know who are wonderful! Then I know some very very unhealthy ISTJ's. For over 10 years I acted like an unhealthy ISTJ.

    Also when all this was happening, I knew nothing of types. It's only looking back on it that I can see what happened. It's not like I could consciously decide to act like my shadow ISTJ type when I didn't know what an ISTJ was.

    Another theory could be that I turned into the ISTJ type not because it's my shadow, but because I was surrounded by them in my life, and pressured by them to become like them. So maybe nurture played the major part of my descent from ENFP to ISTJ, but eventually nature took over and I came back to myself.
    http://bohemianextrovert.wordpress.com/
    Please excuse the long drawn out ramble above.
    I have to hear what I've said before I know what I think.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

  10. #10
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halla74 View Post
    WOW!!!!

    Bad ass response, very thorough, clear, and articulate.

    That's what I was trying to say, but you did it a whole lot better.
    Thanx, Halla. You know I have a lot if respect for you too. See the HALLA APPRECIATION THREAD FOR DETAILS!
    Back to the thread topic...
    I want to post an alternative theory about preferences. It seems to me that there can be positive reasons to express and 'try on' the so-called shadow functions.
    Let's say I have a friend who is quite organized. I am so impressed by this person's accomplishments that I decide to become more organized as well. this might make some say that I've somehow expressed a 'J' type of function, which for me, would be one of the shadow functions.
    The net result is that i'm more organized, which may change my confidence level and make me slightly more comfortable with others, and with expressing what I want.
    My ex-wife did just this. She went from someone I would loosely characterize as directionless, to someone who is really starting to get things together. She has gone from a secretary to a medical student.
    And yes, it was stress that made her choose to become more organized and driven, but also positive encouragement.
    So is this change in her attitude a reflection of 'the shadow', or is it just her own natural evolution? Is it possible that what we call the shadow is really just unused positive fuctionality? Is it possible that the goal is not to become a 'better INFJ' or whatever you think your type is, but to try on different hats until you find a solution to existing circumstances, and thereby become well-rounded? That's what I would hope to be :to fully enhabit my senses, yet be aware of sybolism. To have logic, yet understand that there is a bigger context for that logic. to be organized, yet flexible...

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