What is the difference between Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Feeling as dominant mental functions? Note that Extraverted Feeling is a dominant function for ENFJ and ESFJ personality types and Introverted Feeling is a dominant function for INFP and ISFP personalities. However this document is skewed towards ENFJ and INFP types.
Extraverted Feeling, if a dominant mental function, is concerned with connecting or disconnecting from others. It focuses its attention on surface feelings and on feelings that are easier to understand and/or sympathize with. By doing so, it makes it much easier to connect with others because it recognizes the strengths in others as well as their appreciation or gratitude. On the other hand, it tends to either ignore or harshly judge emotional desires that don't fit into societal norms, and can manifest itself through bullying or prejudice. Intimate friendships also tend to be more infrequent for Extraverted Feeling.
That said, Extraverted Feeling works to discern and adjust to the needs of others, even to the point of confusing the feelings of others with one's own. Being polite, entertaining, considerate and socially appropriate in one's behavior grow out of Extraverted Feeling.
Other normal characteristics of Extraverted Feeling as a dominant mental function include: sensitivity to and dependency on the gratitude or appreciation of others, and a preference for closure in one's relations with others, which make it easier to extricate from relational ties.
Introverted Feeling, if a dominant mental function, measures one's situations and experiences against internal values and ideals. It excels at reading subtle distinctions in the emotional tones of others even if those emotions are dark or not superficial. This makes those with Introverted Feeling good at detecting lies and insincerity, but also causes them to avoid following social expectations if by doing so they would be acting insincerely or falsely. This allows them to be more faithful to their own values and ideals but at the cost of social connection.
Introverted Feeling also provides an internal sense of the nature or essence of others. Naturally, this doesn't always encourage sympathy with others, and can manifest as intense disappointment when others don't match up to one's ideals. Though this disappointment usually remains unspoken, it sometimes results in the expression of criticism that goes beyond the boundaries of what is considered socially acceptable.
Introverted Feeling prefers intimate friendship rather than casual friendship. But because Introverted Feeling as a dominant function dislikes closure in relations with others, the loss of loved ones can be especially difficult.
I would theorize that those with dominant Introverted Feeling are not only able to recognize the subtleties of feelings in others but also in their own self. The result of this sensitivity is twofold: (1) they "feel" their own emotions much more intensely than Extraverted Feelers, and (2) they feel impelled to heal or console those they encounter who are suffering, and are better equipped to do so than Extraverted Feelers.
In conclusion, I am curious what impact Intuition has upon an INFP's dominant Introverted Feeling? I would think an INFP's secondary mental function of Extraverted Intuition would only enhance it. If that is so, then an INFP's experience of it would differ from that of an ISFP, who also has dominant Introverted Feeling.
(1) How does Introverted Feeling as a shadow function impact an ENFJ or ESFJ?
Shadow functions are mental functions we prefer not to use. For example, an ENFJ will prefer to perceive and judge reality using Extraverted Feeling rather than Introverted Feeling. An INFP will prefer to do the opposite.
Because of this our mental functions that we avoid tend to be less developed than the ones we do prefer. This is similar to a person who likes to do one kind of exercise (aerobics, swimming, etc.) and avoids another kind (resistance training such as weight lifting and such). The muscles will develop in a particular way (slim) rather than another (bulky). Similarly, a person skilled at Introverted Feeling and another skilled at Extraverted Feeling are both adept at feeling. But they will have developed the same gift in different ways.
Shadow functions are believed to emerge sometimes in times of stress. The more the shadow functions have been repressed in general by the person experiencing them, the more negatively they will be experienced when they actually do surface.
Carl Jung believed that extroverts are less likely to display their shadow functions than introverts. If that is so, extroverts may be more likely than introverts to find shadow functions to be destructive or undermining rather than helpful or supportive. In such cases, the use of Introverted Feeling can result in rage, sullenness or anxiety. It can also cause a withdrawal of all support for attitudes the person has decided are wrong, even if that seriously hurts a relationship. In short, an ENFJ (or ESFJ) would act like a worst case example of an INFP (or ISFP).
I would theorize that an ENFJ is more likely to use Introverted Feeling when alone and without distractions from their own thoughts, such as television, activities and such. If an ENFJ were able to accept, develop and integrate her shadow function of Introverted Feeling, she should find her capacity for empathy will deepen and her ability to be true to herself will grow.
(2) How does Extraverted Feeling as a shadow function impact an INFP or ISFP?
Like any shadow function, Extraverted Feeling can be a positive or negative experience depending on how developed, mature and integrated it is within the personality.
In its positive form, Extraverted Feeling can function as described in the main essay above.
In its negative form, Extraverted Feeling can result in unhealthy placating of others, acting as a door mat, prejudice, bullying, loss of one's sense of self, shallow sincerity, etc.
(3) How can a person strengthen their shadow functions?
By deliberately exercising their shadow functions in minor matters that are unlikely to have significant repercussions. Just as with physical exercise, the exertion involved can be gradually increased as the “muscles” develop more.
It is possible that an ENFJ-INFP or ESFJ-ISFP relationship (romantic or not) could be an especially healthy pairing if it enabled both persons to strengthen their shadow functions so that they were experienced as something positive rather than negative. An ENFJ might find this the easiest method since they are accustomed to mirroring the personalities of those they spend time with.
However, since we tend not to prefer our shadow functions in our own self, wouldn't we be irritated by their display in another person? Do ENFJs and INFPs (or ESFJs and ISFPs) irritate each other when functioning as cognitive mirror opposites?
The subtitle of the article was originally the only title, but I decided I needed something a bit more catchy and provocative. So I went with the emo and Care Bear theme.
It is somewhat inaccurate of course. INFP are usually reserved about their emotions and so they don't fit the stereotype of someone who is emo. Likewise, an ENFJ doesn't have fur, cute images on their tummies, magical powers and rainbow bridges, so they're not exactly Care Bears either.
But the incorrect imagery still is useful because an INFP is intensely emotional, even if that isn't obvious to those who aren't close to her, and an ENFJ is gifted in warm fuzzy connections with others, even if they aren't cartoon bears.
(Yes, I am very winky!)
Written by John Rieping (INFP) on May 17, 2011. Updated May 18-19, 2011.