The good, the bad and the ugly of Fe
So, before I delve deeper into the complexities of my most recent inferior Fe grip experience, I thought I’d go over my insights into how having to deal with (or “crutch”) inferior Fe has shaped my personality development and decision-making over the course of the last 29 years.
Over the past few years I have definitely experienced both the “positive” and the “negative” sides of my inferior function. I wholeheartedly agree with people’s description of it as childish, all-or-none, black-and-white. There are no shades of grey when dealing with the inferior, in both its good, bad and ugly forms. And since my conscious mind recently confronted my subconscious Fe with a “what the H-E-L-L were you thinking????” it has since retreated in shame back down where it belongs. The challenge for me is to find ways to integrate its most positive features while controlling its negative side.
As far as I can tell (my interpretation) all the various theories on “authentic living”, “stages of consciousness”, “enlightenment”, “meditation”, “achieving happiness” seem to revolve around finding ways to best stabilize and manage your mood, so that you are not constantly having to deal with the ups and downs that characterize everyday living. Having desires and seeking pleasures that appear to satisfy the mind (release dopamine), such as sex, love, food, addictions, affairs, obsessive behaviors, setting and achieving arbitrary, unsatisfying goals, offer only temporary relief since they serve as short-term crutches to the mind and sub-serve the subconscious mind. They simply serve to mask the stress of our everyday lives and as such give us short-term “highs” in the presence of our “desired object” as well as pretty devastating withdrawal “lows” when this “desired object” is taking away. The goal of “authentic living” or “conscious living” is to try to manage and even eliminate these temporary “stress-relievers/maskers” driven by our inferior functions, by working on the problem itself– identifying and trying to reduce the source of stress in our lives. By keeping our conscious minds safe from stress and by rearranging our lifestyles/daily activities/hobbies so that time is spent “completing the cognitive process stack” (for me, by blogging, even if no one is listening), there is no longer a need to “crutch” the inferior function since it will be used in a positive, and not negative, way. Happiness truly comes from within (keep the mind happy and bathed in the right amounts of dopamine, adrenaline, serotonin, etc and you will be happy).
It seems counter-intuitive, but for me a day watching television is way more draining than a day spent reading or working. I used to feel bad about my work-oriented lifestyle, like maybe I was “missing out” on life or something, since everyone else’s weekends were packed with outdoor activities and parties. The reality is though, that although I will occasionally enjoy these activities for the people and conversation they might bring, they are actually pretty draining on my psyche.
Ok, after my Ne-driven distraction, back to the main purpose of this blog.
INFERIOR Fe (my buried “narcissistic” self)
emotionalism– ie crazy amounts of emotions that you can’t control but must hide at all costs (usually by locking yourself in your room). Crying/being upset in response to any criticisms again your ideas (since you spent so much time on them), being upset for judgments against your character (especially if you are told you are too “cold”), deeply-felt heartbreak after the loss of someone you were close too (I guess this would apply to any close, emotionally-bonded family member, friend, lover).
obsessive-thoughts and detachment from reality– creation of a separate fantasy-world around “desirable object”, allows you to re-create those “happy feelings” you have when around the object, allows you to escape the realities of your stressful life.
expression of feelings to “desirable object”– once I’d given LO all my most cherished scientifically-related thoughts, I also ended up giving him most of my feelings towards him as well (in email). I read somewhere that an Fe user might regret? not expressing their deeply felt love towards someone– this was definitely how I felt at the time– I thought he deserved to know how he’d made me feel (and I think it helped a lot with the recovery process by relieving my mind of all those bottled up feelings).
loneliness and abandonment– especially after having a good time with “close” friends, feeling abandoned by your “desirable object”
Admiration seeking (want/need to be “the best” at your chosen profession)– Ti-Fe can get on a goal-setting, goal-achieving role where work and success can seem like your sole purpose for living (although you start to feel less and less “happy” about achieving each successive goal– characteristics of an obsessive/addictive behavior).
It is fickle and it has tunnel-vision. For instance, I love helping people that I like and am bonded to, but am very slow to offer help to strangers. It will also get pretty upset at any perceived transgression or criticism and if significant enough, this might lead me to hold a grudge for a long time or drop you entirely.
It’s inferior position makes it hard to find people I’m interested in pursuing a friendship with. Usually they have to be intelligent, witty and capable of carrying on a good conversation (and appear to like the conversation I have to offer). If not, in my interactions with strangers/acquaintances I probably appear “cold”, “detached” and “uninterested/bored”.
If people don’t show interest in continuing the friendship/don’t respond to an email, I won’t repeatedly attempt to contact them to keep the friendship alive.
I get bored with people very easily. I find my mind far more entertaining at times.
It’s very self-centered (I’ll be helpful only if it makes ME happy– I guess dominant Fe users are happy helping EVERYONE)
Emotional neediness (a need to show love and be loved)– although consciously seeking independence and freedom, deep down I know that I crave at least one other closely-bonded person in my life (at all times….). Because of this, I effectively haven’t been single (in my mind) for 11 years.
Empathy– this is good and bad, since at times people’s emotional outbursts can really affect you and cause you to feel similar emotions. This happened when LO broke down and revealed a previously hidden emotional/sentimental side. He seemed truly upset that I was leaving, and this ended up strengthening the bond for me and making the whole thing even more upsetting.
Although Fe confers empathy it does nothing in terms of giving us any innate abilities to express sympathy. I have absolutely no idea what to do when confronted with someone who is crying. I’d want to be left alone, so I usually project that on the person. I also can’t for the life of me “conjure” up the right emotion or know how to make someone feel better. Being around emotions stresses me out and I usually get up and leave.
Not being able to feel “love”– For instance, I don’t think I’ve ever felt what it’s like “to love”, rather I only consciously realize that I’m “in love” when I perceive some interest from another person. I always feel like I’m falling in love with someone who fell in love with me first (explains some of my bad choices)! I’ve therefore never had the– “that guy is intelligent, funny, well-adjusted– I’m going to ask him on a date” moment. Neither do I ever feel attracted to men, unless there is some emotional-bonding first. I’ve realized that my actions let me know when I truly love someone.
Passionate outbursts– Fe can lead to some pretty interesting and potentially misinterpreted outbursts that come with a lot of emotion, especially when people are discussing topics that you’ve thought about a lot and hold close to your heart (especially if you think people are wrong in their opinions). These are usually “speaking before thinking” moments.
Almost instant identification of someone you could be friends with (rare, but it happens).
Empathy– allows you to understand other people’s emotions (especially if you’ve felt them yourself). You may also begin to “feel” like they “feel” (ie I can easily get depressed or in a bad mood if sitting next to a depressed person.
Allows you to carry on a pretty interesting conversation especially if it’s a topic that interests you or something related but that you’d never thought of. And especially if there appears to be some interest on the other end.
Innate “emotional bonding” behaviors– food sharing, eye contact, smiling, ability to tell jokes, teasing, laugh at other people’s jokes, gossiping, hugging, flirting, sharing thoughts/ideas/feelings (although I find all of these very INTENSE and when expressed (or returned) come with a lots of positive emotions and “meaning”)
Allows you to express your love for someone with “actions” rather than “words”. For instance, I enjoy doing chores around the house just because I know it frees my busy husband from having to do them.
Any compliments about your intelligence, work, focus and even appearance will make you feel really good, especially if you like/trust the person giving them (even if you consciously don’t think you need/like compliments and never know how to respond, usually saying something self-deprecating in return).
Allows you to participate in organization or activities that indirectly help people (and it may even prompt you to take on some leadership positions, especially later in development).
Any other experiences with inferior Fe?
edits 5 July 2012– (good or bad?)– an affinity for cheesy, simple popular music (love songs, heartbreak, etc) movies and novels (especially when in love or experiencing heartbreak). I guess unless one of your main interests is music. I just can’t be bothered doing the added research unless someone suggests something interesting to me (same with novels).
(very ugly)– an ability to get your sense of self/self-worth tied up in another person that losing that person leads to a great sense of despair/depersonalization. Until you realize how stupid you are for giving that person too much power over you and you start to build yourself back up again (slow process!!!)