New Series Intro: The Dark Side

Thursday, September 03, 2015 4 Comments A+ a-


Morning, guys! The Cafe opened a little early today, mostly because I couldn't sleep. Too much on my mind. The past few weeks have been super tough. There's light at the end of the tunnel, though, and I'm heading for it. Sprinting, actually, because I've been waiting so long. I have a feeling that stepping into it will feel like King Theoden waking from Saruman's spell. I'll look up, see Gandalf's wise and grizzled face, and hear his raspy voice:
"Breathe the free air again, my friend."

And my gypsy soul will unfurl its wings and flutter away, seeking new adventures. :)

Before I unfurl anything, though, I'd like to introduce our new series. It's not exactly unicorns and rainbows. In fact, I'm calling it...The Dark Side...and I hear that just the way Darth Vader would say it. Deep, breathy, ominous. LOL. Anyway, I've often compared INFJs to Yoda, but we can be equally Darth-like if we don't achieve wisdom and functional balance. There are a few troublesome spots that could tempt us into walking a darker, more negative path.

And yes, I realize we just went straight from Lord of the Rings to Star Wars. What can I say? I'm a geek.

Okay, the article I'll be reviewing is called The "Other Side" of the INFJ and was written by Elaine Schallock. She's an INFJ herself and well aware of our weaknesses. Our personality type has a very mysterious and unearthly reputation, but we're still human. We have shortcomings. Elaine's intention, as she states in the first paragraph, is to highlight a few of those areas lying in the shadows of our perceived "otherworldly" persona.

The first thing she notes is that the very nature of the INFJ can be viewed critically by others:


Most other criticism of the INFJ, particularly if the INFJ is acting authentically and not in the grip of the ego, is subjective distaste from the observer likely resulting from that observer’s lack of preference for any of the INFJ’s predominant functions. In other words, it wouldn’t be fair, or even accurate, to claim that a negative aspect of the INFJ is that they use too much introverted intuition (Ni), since this is their dominant function! What other choice does the INFJ have?

I've noted this personally in my own behavior and that of my youngest son (who tests as INFJ). We base the majority of our decisions on intuition. We're driven by gut feelings, and there are times when other people think we're crazy for doing that. They can't figure out why we choose intuition over logic, and they don't understand that--in most cases--our intuition IS our logic.

But I can also see differences in my son and me. He's young and hasn't had the same exposure I've had to the world. His gypsy spirit is as strong as mine, but hasn't yet been tempered by life and society and rules. It's hard to watch him bump against the hard corners of adulthood, time and time again, only to rage against the corner instead of correcting his path. I did the same thing at his age and, quite honestly, still fight that tendency. So I can relate to his behavior. But it's easy to see why other types shake their heads and sigh.

So is Introverted Intuition (Ni) a bad thing? No. It's a skill, one inherent to the INFJ, and like any skill, we can use it properly for positive results...or improperly for negative ones:

It would be more appropriate to criticize a particular abuse (i.e., user error) of Ni than to call Ni in itself inherently “negative.” With that said, for those INFJs who are early on in their individuation process, who haven’t figured out how to balance the inferior functions with their dominant ones, or who don’t wield their dominant functions with humility, negative traits absolutely emerge.

I believe what Elaine is trying to say here is that as the INFJ seeks to define and understand himself, he must also learn to balance what he intuits with what he learns about the world. No, those corners don't always make sense, but at some point the logic of going around them will supersede the pain of bumping into them, and an internal adjustment will be made. Soon, he'll be able to anticipate the corners and choose his response--wisely, or maybe not so wisely, depending on age and experience. I think the negative traits probably emerge in those who either haven't made the internal adjustment yet, or those who can see the logic but choose to stand there and scream at the corner anyway.

Do I like the corners? Not really. I'm sure they were put there by non-intuitives, and they can really tease out my inner Darth. But I don't scream at them (anymore). Instead, I channel my Yoda and find ways around them...or better yet, a path that avoids them altogether.
INFJs...always battling within.

So where are you in your INFJ walk? Are you longing to be more like Yoda, or do you prefer the allure of the Dark Side? Whatever your choice, we're going to be diving into a lot more stuff in the weeks to come. Get ready for some major self-exploration.

Stay tuned. And may the Force be with you. :)

Image Credit: Gandalf,  Aliens, Yoda vs Vader

4 comments

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Lauren
AUTHOR
September 4, 2015 at 12:16 PM delete

I am longing to be more like Yoda. I am working on it. Thanks for another very specially wonderful post. It really resonates with me. I wish you all the best in health, strength and happiness always on your journey.

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Meridian
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September 4, 2015 at 1:53 PM delete

Thanks, Lauren, and likewise. Have a great weekend! :)

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Christy Haupt
AUTHOR
September 6, 2015 at 12:17 PM delete

For me to deescalate, I need space and a low pressure environment, so I do yoga outside or go for a walk. Talking about "it" just puts me in sensory overload and incredible-green-hulk comes out which I soon regret and feel mortified over. I do kinda like this side because we can be kick-ass when needed! Even though others are taken back, blown over, when the usually warm, fuzzy creature pulls out the granade launcher!!!

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Meridian
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September 8, 2015 at 7:37 AM delete

Funny...I recently came across a Yoda/Hulk image, where Yoda represents the INFJ and the Hulk represents INFJ Rage. Ha, you nailed that one. Our kick-ass side is one of our best traits, if you ask me...and knowing our weaknesses can help us determine which team we're fighting for.

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