I’ve been talking about the Myers-Briggs stuff lately, and the problem of suppressing one’s dominant function in favour of tertiary and inferior functions.
To recap, the INFP functional stack is introverted Feeling (Fi), extroverted Intuition (Ne), intr. Sensing (Si) and extr. Thinking (Te).
In temperament terms, the FiNe combo is Melancholic. The SiTe combo is Phlegmatic. Therefore I’m Melancholic-Phlegmatic.
My Phlegmatic side is all about drawing on past experience and following the rules. So when I ignore my Fi or my Melancholic idealism, I end up just trying to “fit in” to my own detriment.
But what happens if ignore not only my Melancholic idealism, but also my Phlegmatic past experience and rules?
The result would be suppressing both Fi and Si, and relying on Ne and Te.
An NT combo is what we would describe as Choleric. Ambitious, goal-oriented, astute. But you might notice something a bit awry in a NeTe combo.
They’re both extroverted.
The theory I’m relying on is that the perceiving (N and S) functions and the judging (F and T) always go together in complementary pairs.
That is, we need to combine a perceiving function with a judging function…but we also need to combine an introverted function with an extroverted function.
So when I tried in the past to ignore past experience and aim for something totally new, yet still without engaging my ideals, I inadvertently suppressed both my Fi and my Si.
I ended up trying to function out of Ne and Te, and the end result was really really weird.
First, I felt totally calm. My mood was great. It was like I just couldn’t feel anything.
I couldn’t feel anything because I was operating in a purely extroverted mode. I was thinking “life is all about achieving outcomes”, I was pushing myself to write without ceasing, and I was ignoring all the spiritual and philosophical ideals that had held such meaning for me.
This was all new to me, which is why Si had no role to play.
It makes a weird kind of sense to me that my body would start to rebel – that the completely suppressed Fi would emerge in the form of severe inflammation and physical pain.
…and it also makes sense that the “cure” for my illness began by allowing myself to feel terrible about a life without ideals.