Warning, long post ahead...
I've been into reading about cognitive functions for a while and am still learning about different approaches and trying to pick a way of understanding things that would suit my inner mental workings best. I generally type as ENFP in different MBTI tests and I was given a NeFi asessment on Cognitive Typology, based on a video I made, and I was pretty much in agreement with typing these until I took the socionics test and it kept turning out INFp. I looked at the mirroring/inverted stacks of both types and then started to read about shadow functions and now I'm totally stuck wondering if I've lived most of my life as an unhealthy ENFp locked in the shadow or if I'm really an INFp/INFJ who is uncharacteristically happy and inviting. I would appreciate any help distingushing between the two. In my mind, when I read the descriptions of both types, they don't seem that much different at all... but I must be biased.
Okay, so I'll try to tell you about myself in relation to my view of my functions and how I operate within them.
I'm definitely an intuitive and a feeler, that much is clear to me.
I love company and feel great when I'm around a group of friends from my studies --even years after I graduated, I still am a part of the group and I still know the people who have just started studying. There is some kind of amazing unity and harmony that I feel when I'm with them, that I gravitate towards. It's like the group is giving back to everyone in it, myself included, and that is something I'm a total sucker for. It's like being noticed within a group and not outside of it, which is a rare experience for me and one that I long for.
Naturally, I love meeting my close friends one-on-one and talking for hours about a specific topic. I'm often consulted for advice by my friends and I've chosen the approach of learning as much as I can about what the person wants to do and then supporting them in making a decision to do it. I try not to impose my personal view too much. I sometimes do (usually when I'm tired of giving help over and over again) and usually don't feel good about it afterwards. Personally, I don't feel at ease with talking about my problems. I usually try to work them out alone, in me head, writing them down or talking them out loud. I can get in a dangerous loop when I have problems and don't reach out for help. At first, I don't notice a problem at all and just keep doing what I'm doing, distracting from it. I will unconsciously withdraw from people and can see just one person or two for weeks or months. I usually get sucked into a passion (like it is now with MBTI/socionics/etc. and I get so lost in my head that I don't notice it when I get to a point when I'm feeling suffocated by my loneliness. I'm then forced to confront the reality of being alone and in a bad place and scared for my life. I then cut myself out even further because at that point I don't believe anyone can help me and I don't really want help from anyone but one idealized person... who isn't there to help me anyway (I seem to always set myself up for that disappointment). To get myself out of that loop, I need a kathartic experience like talking about my feelings to someone (and them not responding usually) which kind of sobers my up and lets me get back to functioning normally, being able to work and see people etc.
When I was younger, I used to be terribly judgmental. I would be very closed off to novel ideas, other points of view and treated them as attacks on myself. I would judge everyone and for just about anything: the way they looked, the clothes they wore, the way they spoke, what they liked... I would also be quite open about those judgments to the extent that some people closer to me started telling me I was nasty and they didn't feel good around me. That prompted me to finally check what I was doing and why I was doing it. I then proceeded to work my way to being able to drop these defense mechanisms and I became much more in harmony with myself and with others. I was always conflict-avoidant but where I used to be judgmental, I switched to being a total people pleaser. I was over-accomodating and matching myself to others without question, just to make sure they accept me. I went overboard with this as well. I'm currently working on balancing myself: having the room to have my own opinions and giving myself the right to voice them when I want to, while still remaining accepting of others and their views.
Over the course of my life (I'm currently 33), I have changed my occupation many times. I studied photography and cultural anthropology. I still take photo assignments from time to time but never worked as a photographer full time. I never tried pursuing a career in anthropology. I used to be a graphic designer for about a decade (I learned everything on my own + took a course or two). Then switched to bespoke sewing for a couple of years (again, learned everything on my own + took a course). These artistic pursuits actually drained me and made me feel like an impostor, and working with demanding clients made me emotionally unstable which led to me finally hating the thing I was doing. In between, I was teaching theory of photography in workshops and was tutoring English from time to time, both of which I enjoyed immensly. Then, about a year ago, I finally decided to drop the idea that I have to be creative/artistic for a living and am currently running an online vintage shop and I think this is finally something I can do to sustain myself. Working in retail without direct face-to-face contact with my customers feels liberating and safe, and I can even work with the routine I managed to devise for myself. I normally can never do anything routinely, I get bored very easily and can never see a point of doing the same thing over and over. I work in random bursts of energy.
I'm a messy person because I'm not bothered by things being "out of place". I just somehow don't see them. I'm not detail oriented like that. I'm not great with money... was actually living with a long time boyfriend up until a couple months ago and he was earning enough that I didn't have to worry about money at all. I'm now on my own and I'm learning to manage it and am often surprised at how I can't estimate how much I need.
I often forget about my body needs, especially when I'm occupied with something that interests me: I forget to drink and eat and I don't notice that I'm sitting in an uncomfortable position until the pain is really loud. Never did any sports although I can ride a bike and enjoy it as it allows my mind to wander while there are landscapes changing before my eyes. For the same reason I enjoy hiking or just walking --I can do that for hours and never get tired. I like to experience nice things, though, I love good food (but can do without, I mostly just eat sandwiches when I'm alone because cooking is boring), I love seeing beautiful things and places, I like art, music etc. I usually attach personal meanings to things that I see, sort of like superimposing an idea over the real world, I definitely don't have my two feet firmly planted in the world.
My memory is terrible. I only remember vibes of times, I can rarely remember any details. I started keeping a diary at a young age and still write it to this day. I enjoy writing about my feelings and thoughts and it has recently occured to me that I never write about real-life occurences, even when they would appear to be important (like breakups, births or deaths in the family etc.).
When thinking about a problem or learning, I like to see as many points of view as possible at first, to recognize my options, and then to work my way to some synthesis that makes sense to me. I kind of make categories that have characteristic flavors or vibes and that's how I navigate around them. When new information comes, I check what 'flavor' it has and whether I can add it to some category I already have in my mind, or is it a new category altogether. If so, where does it fit? Which 'flavors' does it borrow from and between which 'vibes' can I place it? That mental map of feelings about things helps me easier access different things at once. I think quickly that way and can easily grasp concepts thanks to that intuitive way my mind works. It's sort of 'oh, this is similar to something I already know, so I can draw from this source to quicker grasp the new data'. It is hard for me to settle on one understanding though, and I like to add to the categories that I make in my head, expanding the whole theory.
Okay, this turned out to be super long. Sorry if it's too much. Please let me know if I can say something else to help you help me.
I made a video of myself answering some of the questions in the questionnaire I found but my phone cut it after 10 minutes. If that's not enough material, let me know, I'll upload the other part I recorded after this.
Thanks for reading and/or watching! I'd appreciate any and all questions and suggestions and answers.