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ENFJ Shadow: The Dark Side of ENFJ

enfj shadow

The MBTI is largely based on the work of Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, and each of the 16 Myers briggs personality types represent what he referred to as the “conscious ego”. Jung believed that over the course of each person’s personality development, the conscious ego will naturally determine what it does and does not accept as part of its ego identity.

Consequently, the qualities that we reject in ourselves will get pushed to the back heap of our unconscious. This unconscious part of our psyche is what Jung described as the shadow. The shadow is a concept used to explain aspects of our personality that we deny and ignore in ourselves. The shadow is not necessarily bad or evil and can actually be very positive when properly harnessed and integrated with our ego identity.

However, when we choose to remain ignorant of our shadow, it can wreak havoc and act destructively. Areas in which we are personally inferior or deficient are subject to being projected onto others by our shadow. Our shadow is also responsible for our negative prejudices about qualities we observe in others and despise in ourselves.

Because the shadow is typically not recognized or accepted as part of the ego identity, it’s manifestation often goes overlooked or compartmentalized. Jungian psychologist John Beebe later conceptualized the shadow as archetypal roles embodied by the cognitive functions not included in each MBTI type. In the case of ENFJ, these functions are Fi, Ne, Si and Te and form a kind of negative version of the INFP. Here is a look at how the ENFJ Shadow functions play out.

ENFJ 5th Function: Fi Opposing.

ENFJ’s shadow Fi typically emerges in defense of their dominant Fe perspective. Normally, ENFJs seek to adhere to external standards of conduct that dictate what is appropriate and inappropriate. They promote group harmony and tend to be more concerned with the needs and feelings of others than that of their own. By definition, extraverted feeling is very accommodating, tactful and polite.

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Under stress however, ENFJs can become stubborn about what they believe is appropriate or best for everyone and argue from an Fi perspective that reveals what they really care and don’t care about personally. ENFJs make an egalitarian effort to help and be nice to everyone but Fi opposing can manifest as a response to individuals who seem to want special treatment or accomodations from ENFJ that might be unfair to others or doesn’t serve the interests of the group. ENFJs may argue to their opposition that they are not special and denounce them as being self-entitled and arrogant.

ENFJ 6th Function: Ne Critical Parent.

ENFJs have auxiliary introverted intuition (Ni) which means they have a lot of imagination and vision. They have a big picture in their mind of what they want the future to look like, but they also have a strong sense of how things may actually turn out. ENFJs use their Ni to read people and also provide guidance. As with other MBTI types,

ENFJs can take for granted the knowledge and authority associated with their auxiliary function. When ENFJ feels that their Ni interpretations are being negated or dismissed by others, they can become cranky, disgruntled and critical through an Ne perspective. When this happens, they can become especially clever in how they find fault, blame and point out flaws and holes in other people’s ideas.

ENFJ 7th Function: Si Trickster.

Si trickster emerges as a response to feeling trapped, oppressed or backed into a corner by inconvenient facts or past events. ENFJs don’t like to dwell on the past in general or be held prisoner for their past mistakes. When ENFJ feels that someone is trying to ruin their moment by bringing up negative, or unnecessary details that could get them in trouble, ENFJ may try to turn the tables by bringing up details of their own.

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ENFJs may try to double bind someone trying to get them into a bind. They may resort to petty trolling and distortion of facts just to get them off their back. Ultimately, the aim is to invalidate the other person by either exposing their hypocrisy or making them look like a fool for even making an issue of something that they probably view as unimportant.

ENFJ 8th Function: Te Demon.

Lastly, we have Te Demon. The demon function acts as a negative voice that criticizes the dominant function through the inferior function and then tries to overcompensate with the 8th function. The demon poses a threat to the ego’s integrity structure and it emerges when experiencing feelings of helplessness. In the case of ENFJ, they may sometimes run into problems for which their dominant extraverted feeling may prove ineffective. Because of their inferior introverted thinking, ENFJs may face difficulty making sense of certain technical problems or situations. Te demon urges them to overcompensate by instituting external technical order for the sake of restoring or preserving the harmony that the dominant Fe perspective so desires.

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Jetta Moon

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