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Thread: The INFJ Shadow

  1. #1
    Senior Member MrRandom's Avatar
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    Jul 2008

    Default The INFJ Shadow

    This week I've been obsessed with organizing my home, artwork, computer files, music collection, etc. You see, I have a habit of collecting/saving pretty much everything that has memories and/or emotions attached to them. I can't let go. I'm not really neurotic about this collecting thing, or maybe I am... but it's not the problem. I have a lot of stuff (especially on my computer) and occasionally I get this forceful urge to organize everything better. Whenever I start organizing like this, I also feel like throwing away useless stuff to easen the burden, but it's so difficul! But at the same time it's like letting go... it makes me feel better, free.

    I tried to sum up my situation there, but I don't know if it makes any sense to you. Anyway, let's continue... yesterday I stumbled on this site:

    That chart made me see the shadow thing in a new way. Shadow personality represents itself especially when stressed, right? And it is the negative form of the fucntions, I believe. Let's have a look at my last two functions, Te and Si:

    Deceiving Extraverted Thinking: Segmenting, organizing for efficiency, and systematizing.
    YES. You betcha! Just what I'm bothered with.

    Devilish Introverted Sensing: Reviewing and recalling past experiences and seeking detailed data.
    YES! You betcha! Just what I'm bothered with.

    When I realized this... it just made perfect sense... So, whenever I'm stressed, I start to organize, clean and dwell on my past experiences. I am often very sad about time going by so fast and I get stuck with that thought. That's why I collect otherwise meaningless stuff, to remember the past more accurately... I guess...

    I'm currently very stressed out (work related). So that's why I am dwelling in the negative form of SiTe. Last time I had this strong an organizing frenzy, it was before graduation when I worked on my final thesis. I was totally stressed out back then. I threw out over twenty sacks of garbage and junk from my home. Old clothes, broken devices, etc.

    I don't know if I'm understanding this shadow thing exactly right, please correct me if I'm wrong... and let us hear about your own experiences with these shadow qualities. Is this typical INFJ behavior? I'm myself extremely happy about realizing this tendency... and how it is stress related.

  2. #2


    yeah I get in the same boat. When I get really stressed I dwell on negative past experiences, become highly critical of myself and others and see connections in situations that aren't even there. For example, if someone seems a little irritated about something, I sometimes jump to the silly conclusion that they hate me. Ne/Fi/Si. Hope that helped.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Martian Manifesto's Avatar
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    Aug 2008

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2008


    For me that's pretty typical, under much stress I tend to go into that mode.It's usually my biggest stress reaction. The point where warning bells should start ringing. (My first stress reaction is using Se too much or so on...) My whole family recognizes the organizing + past memories frenzy and makes a move to calm me down. They say that I'm not myself then, I behave strangely, as if I'm in a hyper mode.

    I do have smaller cleaning episodes when I feel I've collected too much clutter or it isn't organized enough, but it's all in the range of normal.
    Last edited by sade; 10-06-2008 at 04:52 AM.

  5. #5
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    594 sx/sp
    LII Ne


    Just to clarify, some people when discussing shadow will be referring to the fourth function (i.e., the e/i inverse and other binary pair of their primary)

    Ti = Fe Shadow
    Fi = Te Shadow
    Se = Ni Shadow

    There's also a concept called "Shadow self" where another whole "self" is set up using the four "lesser" functions that do not appear in the first four positions -- basically the same four "primary self" functions but with the i/e characteristics inverted.

    So for an INFJ = Ni + Fe + Ti + Se you get
    the Shadow Self = Ne + Fi + Te + Si = ENFP.

    This is why some people are discussing shadow function as their Se inferior and the OP described shadow function as the last two (presumably weakest functions), Te + Si.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #6
    Senior Member SuperFob's Avatar
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    Aug 2008


    Hmmmm. When it comes to doing things like taking tests in school (pretty much my main source of stress), Se tears me to shreds. Whenever I'm stressed out at home, though, I just get really lazy/disorganized and start keeping to myself/hiding from the rest of the world.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    So for an INFJ = Ni + Fe + Ti + Se you get
    the Shadow Self = Ne + Fi + Te + Si = ENFP.
    I guess that could explain my fascination with the ENFP type - well the females that is.

  8. #8
    Member LavaLucy's Avatar
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    Sep 2008


    I collect a lot of junk too and I'm generally messy until I get a sudden magical cleaning epiphany - and I'm tidy! for about 2 hours max. I'm pretty good at doing it and don't find it difficult, my difficulties arise when I start cleaning away other peoples stuff

  9. #9
    Senior Member edcoaching's Avatar
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    Jun 2008


    Using S in times of stress actually shuts down the dominant function--if you're concentrating on finding space on teh shelf for every book you might actually stop obsessing on your latest problem that needs solving.

    What's cool is figuring out 4-5 sure-fire activities that let you get in this zone and snap out of too much Ni, the kind that leads to insomnia...

    For me
    Playing the piano ('cause I'm not that good so I have concentrate fully on the score...)
    Cooking from a new recipe (the kinds where you can't improvise, like America's Test Kitchen)
    Running, although sometimes my mind still sticks on the problem it seems more productive
    I sometimes travel with a variety book of puzzles. Don't like Sudoku (too T) but a lot of the unique ones are relaxing.
    Reading absolute junk where you don't have to think at all.

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