VII. So What is an INFJ, Anyway? (Part Two)

Hello, dearest reader! Glad you could make it today.

This post is my seventh on this blog, and marks my first full week of blogging!

So last time we went into more of the macro scale of what an INFJ is with general traits of the personality type. Today I plan on going into the micro scale and talking about the functional stack of an INFJ. If you missed my post explaining the functional stack you can read it here. This is going to be a long post, but it will really start to uncover how an INFJ thinks. Enjoy!

The functional stack of the INFJ is composed of the following functions:

Dominant: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

Auxiliary: Extroverted Feeling (Fe)

Tertiary: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

Inferior: Extroverted Sensing (Se)

If you pay attention, there are a few things you can notice right away. Draw an imaginary line in your head between the auxiliary and tertiary function. The perception/judging functions are mirrored and inverted in relation to that imaginary line we drew. The dominant function of an INFJ is introverted intuition, which is a perception function. The other perception function, extroverted sensing, is on the bottom of the stack as an inferior function. Notice how one is introverted and one is extroverted? The same goes for the judging functions. Extroverted feeling is auxiliary, and introverted thinking is tertiary. The functions are mirrored and inverted on the stack. In other words, the INFJ stack is I/E/I/E and perception/judging/judging/perception. What that essentially means is that introverted intuition and extroverted feeling are the INFJ’s main perception and judging functions, respectively. The other two still play a role but not as consciously as Ni and Fe.

Now that we’ve picked up on some patterns, let’s talk about each function in a little more depth as it pertains to the INFJ:

Introverted Intuition (Ni): As with all introverts, the dominant function of an INFJ is an introverted function. Introverted intuition, a perception function, is all about exploring different ideas, perspectives, theories, symbols and metaphors. INFJs like to see the big picture of a situation. They take in the information from around them and try to construct why things are happening the way they are, and what might happen next. Many times they are correct, and they learn to trust their intuitive side because of this. Although it may seem like these ideas can come out of nowhere, it is really just Se feeding information from the world around an INFJ and Ni subconsciously processing the information to synthesize a conclusion. Although the process itself can be subconscious, Ni plays a role in the life of an INFJ every day. It gives them their psychic or prophetic qualities. It allows them to see through disingenuous motives, and figure out when a situation just isn’t right. INFJs often use metaphor and other figures of speech to help bring their thoughts and ideas into a more visible format for people to take in. Introverted Intuition gives INFJs the ability to look into the future, and that is often a self-fulfilling prophecy, since the INFJ’s other functions allow them to work to make that future a reality.

Extroverted Feeling (Fe): Extroverted feeling is the auxiliary function for INFJs. As Fe is a judging function, this allows INFJs to express their thoughts and opinions. They may have a hunch about something, but Fe allows them to verbalize in concrete terms what their intuition is telling them. Although INFJs are by definition introverted, most do not have a problem with freely talking about their feelings.

One aspect of Fe is making sure that others’ needs are met and that the group dynamic is running smoothly. INFJs may take an interest in moral or humanitarian concerns, but the main priority for Fe is making sure close friends and family members are taken care of. INFJs are very skilled in perceiving and empathizing with other people’s emotions. INFJs can feel other people’s emotions as if they were their own. This ability to profoundly empathize with others makes INFJs great counselors, and one can be certain that the friends and family of an INFJ will confide in them.

Interestingly enough, since this feeling function is directed externally, INFJs can have difficulties sorting out their own feelings, even though they are proficient at sorting out the feelings of others. The introverted, or internal functions, of the INFJ are intuition and thinking– not great for sorting out an emotional problem. They also may get burned out from making too many sacrifices to maintain peace in their outer world. Because of their lack of a way to handle it internally, INFJs will often go to someone they trust with their issues. This fact goes on to create an interesting dynamic. In large groups or with friends that INFJs do not consider to be close to them, they are funny and cheery, as they wish to maintain harmony in the group situation. However, with a close confidant, INFJs can be brooding, intense and pessimistic. In this mood they might seem irrational or dramatic, especially to thinking types. However, it is important for an INFJ’s psychological health to be who they truly are, and this is why many INFJs are champions of authenticity. If an INFJ feels they do not have a person they can turn to, they may become depressed and turn to their inner fantasy world for happiness. This is only a short-term fix, however, as it makes the real world that much more intolerable. Regardless, an INFJ exercising Fe in a healthy manner allows them to be a warm, endearing and loyal friend. An INFJ should just remember that they need time to recharge their batteries– they cannot give and give forever.

Introverted Thinking (Ti): Introverted thinking is the INFJ’s tertiary function on the stack, and their secondary judging function. It helps refine the results generated from the other functions, adding logic into the mix of feelings. Less developed INFJs may not see a need to grow and advance their use of this function, relying completely on Ni for their answers. Because of this, Ti can cause some problems in less developed INFJs. Since Ti naturally questions the results that Ni produces, it can cause self-doubt. INFJs should be careful of what is known as the Ni-Ti loop, where the Ni function feeds the possibilities into the Ti function, the Ti function feeds its results into the Ni function, and so on. This cycle can go on for a very long time if an INFJ is not careful, because it is all focused internally. This is why many INFJs report problems of overthinking. However, honing their Ti can help INFJs objectively classify their ideas and theories, allowing them to rival even INTJs in academia.

Extroverted Sensing (Se): Extroverted sensing is the INFJ’s inferior function on the stack, and their secondary perceiving function. Even the most developed INFJs can have trouble accommodating their dominant Ni with Se. In order to feel fulfillment, an INFJ seeking personal growth must learn how Se manifests itself in their personality.

First, INFJs (alongside INTJs) tend to feel a disconnection from their own bodies more than any other personality type. An INFJ may see their body as a physical vessel for their consciousness or soul, but not actually a part of themselves.

Second, although INFJs are one of the most abstract thinkers of all of the personality types, they still curiously have a desire for material comforts and physical thrills. INFJs may feel the need to purchase expensive cars and opulent homes. INFJs also like experiences alongside the material goods, like vacations, fine food, and music. An INFJ must be careful not to fall completely in the grip of their Se and lose control with destructive habits such as excess alcohol, drug or food consumption.

Third, INFJs crave stability and security when it comes to finances. INFJs can tend to worry a lot about losing their jobs or not having enough money.

Lastly, INFJs can be extreme perfectionists. They feel a strong desire to take the ideas their Ni generates and transform them into Se reality. This, however, can come at the cost of an INFJ’s own health and sanity. Because of this, an INFJ’s sense of perfectionism can be destructive if left unchecked.

Conclusion:

It takes a great deal of personal development for a person to harness the positive benefits of the tertiary and inferior functions. Although it takes a lot of work to do so, a more mature INFJ will be able to use them to their advantage.

I hope that this helped you either understand an INFJ more, whether that person is a friend, a family member or yourself. As always, please send me your comments, feedback and suggestions. I’d love to hear from you. Talk to you all soon!

Seize the day!
Ryan
15 October 2016 12:24 PM

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4 thoughts on “VII. So What is an INFJ, Anyway? (Part Two)

  1. This post was really detailed and informative. I could understand some parts of it and yes they are true for me as well. I have a question here, can I INJF live without people? I mean, if I talk about myself, I’m someone who’s longing for a perfect relationship or a perfect friend who would understand me. And it’s because of my over-expecting that nobody stays long, or maybe I push them away. If we don’t find anyone who is worth it, will we be able to survive alone?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your comment, it is much appreciated 🙂

    I understand where you are coming from with your sentiment, I really do. To answer your question, I do not think INFJs can live without people– not in a healthy way, at least. Our secondary extroverted feeling function will continue to drive us to make connections, and if we don’t, then we are cutting off a part of who we are as people. I think we can be the happiest when we are consoling others, as long as we know how and when we need to recharge our batteries.

    Ironically, I find I make friends best when I’m trying not to. In other words, when I have zero expectations, people are drawn to me more. When there is someone I really want to get close with, I tend to think and plan out my moves. It’s not natural or spontaneous.

    So in summary, INFJs do need people to be happy, it just might be better if we lowered our expectations of people a little bit (or at least be more willing to make compromises). I hope that helped 🙂

    Seize the day!
    Ryan

    Liked by 2 people

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