The ISFP personality is described as quiet, friendly and sensitive with a taste for adventure and physically stimulating experiences. However, that is not the whole story. As with the other MBTI types, there is a shadow side to the ISFP and that shadow happens to take the form of an ESFJ. In Jungian psychology, the shadow represents unwanted or repressed aspects of our psyche that operate below conscious awareness. The shadow is not recognized as part of the ego identity and is thus marginalized to the fringes of the mind.
Jung regarded the inferior function as being the gateway to the shadow being that it is host to much of the negative emotion, insecurity, difficulty and underdeveloped elements of our personality. Although each MBTI type only comprises 4 cognitive functions, everybody utilizes all eight. MBTI theorists propose that 4 cognitive functions constitute the conscious ego and the other 4 constitute the unconscious shadow. In the case of the ISFP, those 4 shadow functions form the ESFJ personality type. Here is a brief look at the theory of how ISFP shadow functions play out.
ISFP 5th Function: Fe Opposing.
ISFPs prefer the introverted form of feeling than that of the extraverted. Therefore, ISFPs are more concerned with being true to themselves and less concerned with catering to other people’s feelings and expectations of them. Introverted feeling places more importance on individualism over collectivism.
ISFP’s 5th function, Fe Opposing, emerges as a response to their introverted feeling perspective being obstructed or opposed by group interests or social expectations. ISFP uses extraverted feeling to defend their introverted feeling by trying to garner support from others who are sympathetic to them or their views. When ISFP feels their personal interests are being marginalized by responsibilities to others, they may use another group to justify or excuse them or otherwise try to coax or manipulate someone into covering for them.
ISFP 6th Function: Si Critical Parent.
ISFP’s Si Critical Parent manifests as a defensive response to being criticized about their recollection of facts, adherence to procedure, and handling of responsibilities. ISFPs are generally not concerned with dwelling on past experiences, comparing the past with the present or letting the past deter them from having fun and enjoying the here and now. They are much better at being in the moment and reacting to what’s going on around them. Furthermore, ISFPs prefer to improvise and rely on their instincts rather than follow a step by step process too closely.
ISFPs use their Se to teach and help others but their use of Si tends to be negative and critical. It can be very easy for ISFPs to forget things and when they get scorned for it, they may in turn become critical of others for the same thing. When ISFPs get fact checked or criticized for failing to remember names, scheduled events, procedures, or chores and responsibilities they’re supposed to handle, it can make them feel attacked. As a result, they can become disgruntled and defensive and critical of others through an Si perspective.
ISFP 7th Function: Ne Trickster.
With their tertiary Ni, ISFPs have some vision and foresight that guides them through life. They’re fond of making predictions and testing their intuitions by undertaking rewarding risks. ISFP’s Ne Trickster manifests as a response to feeling double-bound or threatened by negative possibilities and hypothetical scenarios that carry a risk of punishment. ISFPs use their Ne to deceive, deflect or diffuse tensions and perceived threats against them. They may do this by putting on an act, saying disingenuous things, half truths or lying outright just to get people off their back.
ISFP 8th Function: Ti Demon.
ISFP’s Ti demon manifests as an eruption of intellectual narcissism amid a failure in their inferior extraverted thinking. ISFPs have an underlying desire to employ good organizational skills and logistical systems for getting things done but this is an area that is typically underdeveloped in them. Consequently, their use of Te is susceptible to error and mishaps that can in effect discourage and demoralize ISFP’s dominant Fi perspective. When this happens, it can pose a threat to their self esteem. ISFPs may then resort to adopting a sanctimonious Ti perspective to invalidate the logic of other people and how their systems are organized and structured.
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