The shadow is a concept that Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung developed to explain the hidden parts of our personality that we are less aware of. Each of the 16 personality types represent what would be considered the conscious ego. Over the course of its development, the conscious ego selects what it does and does not accept or recognize as part of its ego identity. Consequently, there will be aspects of ourselves that we disown and ignore.
These qualities and characteristics are what get pushed to the background of our psyche and become part of the unconscious Shadow complex. Jungian analyst, John Beebe later conceptualized The Shadow in terms of archetypal roles played by the cognitive functions not included in the personality type of the conscious ego. In the case of ESTP, these functions are Si, Te, Fi and Ne and this happens to also be the function stack of the ISTJ personality type. Here’s a look at how the ESTP shadow functions play out.
ESTP 5th Function: Si Opposing
Si opposing manifests as an antagonistic and stubborn response when ESTP’s dominant extraverted sensing is being obstructed or opposed. ESTPs have Se hero which means that living in the moment and taking life as it comes is their primary mode of existence. ESTPs are all about dealing with the situations that are in front of them and they don’t like having their freedom to do so be limited. They tend to take action without much delay or concern about the future ramifications or the past (aside from surpassing past achievements).
Additionally, for ESTPs, seeing is believing and so they tend to distrust so-called facts and statistics that don’t line up with what they’ve observed and experienced directly. ESTPs can be argumentative and impatient when their real-time instincts are hamstrung by rigid protocols and slow-moving beauracratic processes. The nature of extraverted sensing is bold, adventurous and highly reactive and this contrasts sharply with the more cautionary and memory-based character of introverted sensing. ESTPs like to keep things moving and make things happen immediately. They can easily feel obstructed by inconvenient details and rules that they view as unnecessary road blocks in the way of their plans.
ESTP 6th Function: Te Critical Parent
ESTP’s 2nd Shadow function and sixth function overall, is extraverted thinking. The sixth function is associated with the archetype of the critical parent or witch/senex. ESTPs like to maintain an openness to more information, but when it comes time to make the decisions, they utilize judgment that is objective and logical by way of their auxiliary introverted thinking. Additionally, ESTP’s auxiliary Ti provides them a sense of inner control and capacity for understanding, analyzing and solving problems.
Te Critical Parent, however, emerges in response to having their introverted thinking process negated or taken for granted by others. ESTPs can then become stern and hypercritical in their attitude about the external logic of how objects in their surroundings are organized and the standards, capabilities and deficiencies of how others perform. ESTP’s Te critical parent can be tyrannical and overbearing with a tendency to excoriate others for technical flaws, substandard quality and poor logistical planning at every turn. Sounds a lot like the abrasive TV chef, Gordan Ramsay.
ESTP 7th Function: Fi Trickster.
ESTP’s 3rd Shadow function is introverted feeling. This is the seventh function in their cognitive stack. The seventh function is associated with the archetypal role of the trickster. The trickster can be described as the often mischievous instinct for tricking and making a fool out of others who try to trap or double bind us. It is something of a deceptive defense mechanism for getting oneself out of trouble.
In the case of ESTP, this Shadow function may arise in response to a person or group trying to criticize, alienate, ostracize or socially condemn the ESTP for their conduct or perhaps being affiliated with people or organizations that are deemed bad in some way. Fi trickster compels ESTP to undermine their critics credibility by making personal attacks against their moral character, ulterior motives, and integrity. Even if there is legitimacy to the criticisms being levied against them, ESTPs can effectively and smoothly deflect the heat away from them back onto the person it’s coming from.
ESTP 8th Function: Ne Demon
Lastly, we have ESTP’s fourth and final Shadow function, Ne demon. ESTPs have inferior introverted intuition which means simply that they are much more focused on the immediate and tangible experience of the real world than the abstract and imaginative vision of its implications. The inferior function can often be a source of insecurity and embarrassment. People often overestimate their inferior function and so when they experience a significant failure that exposes their incompetence with it, the disillusionment can threaten their self-esteem and ego worth.
ESTP’s Ne demon emerges to compensate for their Ni shortfalls and does so in ways that are highly invidious and disparaging. They may attribute their Ni-related failures to the evil of others trying to destroy them. Rather than look within to find ways to improve and learn, the demon function compels us to cast blame on others and look for external causes and explanations for why we failed. Furthermore, ESTP’s Ne demon emerges when their Se hero feels helpless and vulnerable. Ne demon takes control in a rather narcissistic manner and attempts to forcefully succeed where they previously fell short by opening themselves up to a myriad of hypothetical possibilities that are highly experimental, wild and impractical.
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