Common INFJ Problems / The ESTP Shadow


The shadow side of an INFJ is the ESTP. And while the ESTP is often misportrayed an aggressive jock, INFJs in the ESTP mode are not necessarily aggressive types. Thinking and Perceiving in itself is rarely an aggressive or controlling function. INFJs under the influence of ESTP don’t turn into some sort of shadow jocks. So what really happens… when an INFJ goes bad?

There are a lot of laughingly bad articles about INFJs under the influence of extroverted sensing. A popular article basically states that “extraverted sensing” makes an INFJ binge-watch television. But, first of all, most humans on planet earth eventually end up binge-watching television at some point. Secondly, the problems are much bigger and more profound than that.

common infj problems

The influence of SP

At it’s best, SP puts us in tennis player mode, making us respond to what’s happening around us and to take immediate action to new problems. INFJs however, use SP only when caught off guard, and often, they use it only to get back on track with their goal or plan as quickly as possible. INFJs under the influence of SP are the very definition of reckless.

  • INFJs can become panicked or nervous when things are going against their plan.
  • The INFJs become easily frustrated by a minor distraction, making others want to apologise to them for no reason.
  • Sudden fear makes the INFJs make rash decisions to problems they should probably think about longer first.

As NJs are often tuned out of their surroundings and more focused on the long-term plan, they can be caught off guard easily. Keep distractions to a minimum to avoid stress on this function, and plan to account for these issues, so they won’t catch you off guard. If you become caught off guard, don’t let this function rush you into a bad decision. Try to centre before you make any big changes.

The influence of ES

At it’s best, ES types have quick reactions and are quick on their feet. They have their feet on the ground and always know their surroundings well. The INFJs tend to only use ES to scan for information that fits with their vision or perspective, ignoring everything that could disprove their theories. It’s like they pretend reality doesn’t exist and won’t come crashing down on them and that they can remain in the world of ideas indefinitely.

  • INFJs become restless and keep looking around them, even though they don’t know what.
  • INFJs appear like they’re looking for something or going around in circles.
  • The INFJs become like mimics of their environment, echoing back what everyone else says blindly.

INFJs spend most of their time inside their own heads, and comfortably so. But if the environment is toxic or uncomfortable, and the INFJ doesn’t act to fix it, they can become restless and anxious. Recognise how scattered and cluttered environments impact you and act preemptively to keep a comfortable surrounding, before this happens.

The influence of TP

Thinking and perceiving makes us concerned with what’s best or what’s most optimal in each situation. It shows us exactly what to do to turn a situation in our favour. But for an INFJ, it’s a little weird. INFJs can rationalise doing all kinds of selfish actions for “the greater good”. And often, they use this function in a highly immature way.

  • The INFJs become overly tactical and try to outmanuever you or topple you to protect their own interests.
  • The INFJs become concerned with winning over everyone else, in an ugly way.
  • And the INFJs turns greedy and think only about their own interests.

INFJs generally put everyone’s interests above themselves, but if they become too stressed out or anxious because of this, their TP reflex kicks in, and with a vengeance. Plan ahead by not taking on commitments that you won’t be able to live up to.

The influence of ET

ET is at it’s best a function that helps us survive in conflict. It makes us pragmatic, and open to evidence and facts. It helps us understand power dynamics in the room, and helps us survive attacks from others. But INFJs mostly use this state to protect themselves from being hurt by others. It’s the direct opposite of being vulnerable.

  • These INFJs appear completely cold and oblivious to everyone but themselves.
  • They don’t seem to respond or care about anything you say – they are “off”
  • They are cocky, self-assured, and always think they know best.

INFJs generally are sensitive, loyal and intense people. They have profound insight into people and tend to always just “understand”. But when they feel wronged, they often put on a cool facade. They act like you mean nothing to them and that nothing is wrong. But what’s happening on the inside may surprise you…

How Stress And Anxiety Gets The Best Of Us

Anxiety and stress are the key triggers to our dark sides. Forming strategies to avoid unhealthy stress and anxiety and recognising your issues is the key step to avoiding these bad things from happening. If it happens, it happens, however. Don’t feel too bad. We all get caught off guard at times, and we all make stupid decisions. It’s normal. And these “dark side” reflexes exist to keep us safe from already unstable situations.

A common reason we lash out with our shadow is because we’re hungry or because we didn’t get enough sleep. Most conflicts we have start because we’re hungry.

If you ended up lashing out or doing something stupid, think about what environment drove you to do it, and find ways to fix it for the future. People spend so much time trying to shut down or ignore their anxieties and their stress, but often, this just means it comes back even more strong than before. The dark side is not something to “shut down”. Feel comfortable expressing when you’re struggling and let people know about your issues, and most of all, let yourself know.

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About Erik Thor

I am an INFJ and I want to combat the stereotypes and help promote personality psychology that doesn’t limit or mistype you.