First of all, let’s clear up a few definitions. In the type world, the term ‘Shadow Functions,’ is regularly used to describe two different
manifestations of personality.
In some cases, the term ‘Shadow Functions’ is used to describe the functions that do not appear in a given personality type’s stacking. As mentioned before, each type is capable of accessing all eight functions, but those that do not appear in one’s main stacking will quickly drain the individual of energy. By this definition, the INFP’s shadow functions would be extroverted feeling, introverted intuition, extroverted sensing and introverted thinking—in order of how accessible they are to the INFP.
The term ‘Shadow Functions’ as we will use it in the following chapter is used to describe the reversal of one’s initial four-function stacking that occurs when a given type experiences stress. In the INFP’s case, this means they would cease to use Fi, Ne, Si and Te—in that order—and instead filter experiences through the lens of Te, then Si, then Ne and then Fi. This resembles the ESTJ’s natural stack of cognitive functions. However, as extroverted thinking tends to be underdeveloped in IxFP types, it does not manifest positively as a lead function, the way it does for an ESTJ.
The following chapter will explore the INFP’s descent into their shadow functions, as well as provide an explanation for how extroverted thinking manifests as the INFP’s lead function during times of extreme stress. It will also detail the steps involved in the INFP’s return to health, as they integrate extroverted thinking into their cognitive stacking in a healthy and well-rounded manner.