Dark Side: The Unglued Visionary

Friday, October 30, 2015 2 Comments A+ a-

Hello there! Happy Halloween from the Cafe! Everyone ready for trick-or-treating tomorrow? My neighborhood is usually crawling with creepy activity. As soon as dusk settles in, the streets will runneth over with little ghosts and goblins and witches (and the occasional Obi-Wan). Hubby has already prepped the ginormous bowl of chocolate goodies to hand out.

Speaking of creepy, my favorite motion comic released their newest sci-fi/horror episode yesterday! Dark Moon Comic has been putting their work out on deviantArt for free, and I totally got sucked into the story. The graphics are incredible, so if you like aliens and desolate planets and gut-exploding laser weapons, get your chills on with Episode One, Episode Two, and Episode Three.

And since we're working on the Dark Side series (cue mysterious background music), let's take advantage of the creepy ambience and dive into another paragraph of Elaine Schallock's article:

Where INFJs can get particularly tripped up is in their attempt to control the Se world to meet their Ni visions. This method stands in direct opposition to the natural flow of their functional stack (i.e., letting the Se world inform their Ni visions). INFJs operating in this mode can be particularly stubborn and perfectionistic about how a plan materializes. When things don’t exactly unfold according to the Ni “vision” (and they never do!) the INFJ can become unglued. This is particularly true in situations where others may be depending on them or loved-ones are involved.
So now I'm trying to picture an INFJ becoming unglued...

...yeah, that's not pretty.

I don't know about you guys, but my Ni visions have been messing with me from day one. Nothing is more painful and frustrating than dreaming up a scenario inside your head and then experiencing a less-than-stellar reality when you try to make it happen. When I plan something--no matter how big or small--and circumstances don't allow that plan to unfold the way I pictured it, I can go completely bonkers.

Elaine gets this, and she goes on to provide an example:

For example, an INFJ responsible for planning a big 30th wedding anniversary party for her parents does everything in her power in the planning mode to make sure the soiree is beautifully prepared (Se) and others are comfortable and happy (Fe). The INFJ’s power of visualization is incredible thanks to Ni; in the INFJ’s mind’s eye she can see how the tables are laid out, the music, the mood, the invitations, etc. But when the big day comes and the food arrives late, the weather is unbearably hot, and the people are cranky, the INFJ (who of course didn’t consider a “back-up” plan – this would have been far too practical) becomes frustrated, emotional, and stressed out. There is a tendency to take personal responsibility for Se failure (bad weather, the caterer being late). The INFJ figures if she had only planned it better somehow this might have been avoided. The entire “disaster” is perceived as a personal attack on the INFJ’s inferior function, her ST “blindspots” and ultimately her ego.
Instead of being open to a modification of the plan, the INFJ holds on ever more tightly to the original vision, feeling as though this is the only way to correct the problem. The INFJ is then caught in a paradox. To sacrifice the Ni vision would mean giving up the dominant function, the very center of her “sense of self.” She is, understandably, loathe to do that. But ultimately what the INFJ must realize is that this has been an illusion. What is touted as “a commitment to the Ni vision” is really a veiled commitment to the Se outcomeOf course, the line between Ni and Se is incredibly thin (where does an object end and the concept behind it begin?), which accounts for the ease at which they (and other types) accidentally fall prey to such illusions.

Sound familiar? This has happened to me a thousand times in a thousand different ways. From family get-togethers and weddings to haircuts and blog posts, I am intimately acquainted with the letdown that occurs when reality trumps vision. It is--for me--one of the most disappointing aspects of being an INFJ. I cling hard to my fantasies, fighting tooth and claw to bring them to life, only to blame myself when things don't turn out the way I desire.

I think this is why I initially chose a programming career instead of more creative pursuits. As a programmer, I could make things look and behave exactly as I wanted them to. Need a pretty little input box here or an image over there? Crank out some code, and presto! All done. There was always a vision and always a solution.

Writing, on the other hand, has brought me back into the world of reasonable doubt. Sometimes I can make a scene come alive on the page...and sometimes I can't. Sometimes a blog post writes itself, and other times it remains in permanent draft mode. It's an emotional rollercoaster, guys, because when my vision is successfully captured, I'm on top of the world. When the vision is trumped, though, I fall flat on my face--and it can take days to recover.

Okay, so the bad news here is pretty clear: the INFJ's powerful Ni visionary skill is so instinctive and so much a part of us that we can easily come unglued when our Se world fails to live up to it. In other words, thanks to that "incredibly thin" line between Ni and Se, we can end up becoming victims of our own superpower.

Any good news? I'm glad you asked. We can certainly avoid the paradox Elaine pointed out by remembering a few key truths she gave us:

  • Our Se is meant to keep us informed. A perceiving function, the Se operates on a subconscious level and performs with amazing accuracy. But it's a source of data, not a magic wand. Just because it feeds our visions doesn't mean we can control the Se world for our own purposes.
  • Plan B is not the enemy. Yes, our visions are amazing...and our back-up plans can be equally amazing. They might feel like a betrayal to our Ni, but they're really just a logical solution in a world that--like it nor not--is ruled by reality. Over time, we can learn to embrace them.

We definitely don't have to fall prey to this aspect of our dark side, guys. Remember that as you're handing out candy, tromping around town with your kids, or dressing up for the office Halloween party. Be good, be safe, and be the awesome INFJ you were meant to be. :)

Image Credit: Halloween, Unglued Dean, (hey, I'm a poet and didn't know it), Guilty 


Write comments
Christy Haupt
October 31, 2015 at 9:38 AM delete

I recognize this for my early years, and now in my 50's and perhaps many years of working CODA steps and teaching, I not only have a plan B but a C as well. I see a comedy in the plans that go a bit side ways and enjoy just being at the party.

October 31, 2015 at 10:04 AM delete

I like that you can find humor in a plan-gone-sideways. I'm getting there. Age and experience are great teachers. It also helps being married to a business analyst who excels at creating Plan B (and C, and D, and sometimes E, lol).