Maladaptive Coping Strategies: P Escapism & J Over-Compensation

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  • Alice
    Participant
    • Type: FiSe
    • Development: ll--
    • F Attitude: Unseelie

    I’ve been thinking about how different functions / personalities deal with stress, and I noticed some trends in how P and J cope with life’s challenges. Let me know if this has been touched on before, because this is certainly similar information to the “behaviors under stress” sections in each behaviorism profile.

    Starting with P, I’ve noticed that both the Pe and Pi functions tend to want to escape or deny reality when presented with an obstacle that is difficult to overcome. Pe would like to escape into a world of short-term pleasures and distractions, and Pi would like to escape into the simpler world of the familiar or controllable, whether that be the ‘good old days’ of Si, or the stereotypical and more easily manageable worldview constructs of Ni. It seems Pi likes to deny the complexity of the universe when under stress, opting out for a simpler and more digestible worldview. For example, from Si’s point of view their childhood years were so much simpler, there weren’t so many different kinds of people or life paths to accommodate or decipher. Maybe things were ‘straight forward,’ and people were ‘straight shooters.’ From Ni’s point of view, a theory that explains all of reality is easier to digest than the overwhelming multitude of variables from the entire universe, even if it is frightening or wrapped up in a conspiracy theory. It’s easier to lose oneself in information about the Kennedy assassination or a mystical, cosmic ‘truth’ than face the terrifying complexity around you. These are just two examples though, and are most likely much too simplified, as all of these examples will be.

    Pe while stressed, on the other hand, simplifies its life by losing itself in desires and meaningless distractions instead of facing what is bothering them. For Se, their hyperfocus and carnal energy lends to a disposition of losing themselves in addiction or entertainment, maybe watching TV or playing video games all day. Ne is just as susceptible to abusing things like TV or video games, but for different reasons. Ne seems to prefer larger, more varied bodies of information over the hyperfocus Se enjoys, and may lose themselves in learning everything there is to learn about specific subjects or classes of subjects, like trivia about a band, or the fandom surrounding an entertainment franchise. The main aspect of Pe’s stress response seems to be simplifying life by letting short-term pleasure encompass every aspect of daily living. Lying in bed all morning because it’s more comfortable than getting up, a beer in the shower, and smoking bowls in front of the TV until bed time, maybe skipping meals in the process if it involves any kind of preparation.

    Moving on to J, it seems that these functions cope with the stresses of reality by over-exerting control over their environments or themselves, over-compensating against the chaos of life by over-correcting anything that, in their view, has gone wrong. For Je, this might manifest as an overuse of energy or will, plowing through everything in their way, or insisting that their way of doing things is the only right way of doing things. In Ji, a reaction to stress is usually pointed inward, where they become obsessed with self-control and integrity, blaming themselves for every mistake that they’ve made.

    Je force-of-will may come across as blunt ‘bulldozing’ in Te, where the Te user loses sight of anything else but the goal at hand, willing in that moment to do anything to reach it. The complexities of life fizzle away on the outskirts of their tunnel-vision, and they feel confident and in control of reality, though all they’ve done is shrink it down to a manageable size they can control every aspect of.  They become the ruler of their domain, even if their domain is only the tenants’ union in their building, or their office. In Fe this desire for control happens in a different way, in a kind of assumption that they are the shepherd of the people around them. An Fe user may lead people down the path of righteousness or right-living, assuming wrongly under stress that those around them are willing to follow them, or that the Fe user knows best. They might boil their life down to the controllable, just like Te, but with a focus on leading people – perhaps exerting their power as the head of a family, with fear that they might lose them at any moment if they aren’t strong enough for them. Life becomes easier to manage if it is shrunk to the specific confines of what the Je user has power over.

    In Ji under stress, the Ji user might simplify the stresses of their life by over-exerting control over the one thing that they have consistent control over: themselves. They may get obsessed with quelling certain thought patterns, or making themselves or a creation perfect. Life is ‘simpler’ when the only factor to manage is the Ji user themselves. Fi might become preoccupied with sorting and honoring all the emotions that come with helplessness, becoming bogged down and overwhelmed in the process – or they might forego emotionality altogether, dissociating from all the chaos around them and living in a kind of wholly neutral fog. The Fi user becomes only able to address the outside world through themselves and their own inner experience. Ti might face reality by denying that it has any meaning or sense, and that it isn’t worth dealing with all the chaos of everything if none of it matters anyway, or they might lose the self-control that they’re used to and suddenly find themselves unable to control outbursts of emotion, while still strangely remaining somehow detached from it all. Both Ji types might fall into cynicism and doubt about their connection with life, and eventually decide that participating in it just doesn’t seem worth it, falling into long periods of isolated depression. Even though it may not be enjoyable, these depressive episodes dampen life, and make it controllable. Both types of Ji user may become both highly self-critical and/or highly critical of everything and everyone around them in order to control how much control life has over them.

    That’s all I got off the top of my head – do ya’ll agree with any of this? Have you thought of this before, or has someone written about it before? I’d love to hear your views or concerns about these trends!

    • This topic was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Alice.
    Cedar
    Participant
    • Type: FiNe
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    @alice I’m glad you wrote something up. These are strange times and it is interesting to see what “stuff” we are made of when a crisis of this magnitude and duration occurs.

    I’ve noticed a trend in my neighbors who identify as Fi leads; they are getting depressed and shutting down. Their bodies are slumped and they are barely keeping themselves afloat emotionally. They have communicated feeling overwhelmed and their brains being unable to process and prioritize life. I have an Se lead neighbor who is a paramedic and he’s just fine, super clear thinking, knows what does and doesn’t matter…doing great. An Fe neighbor is doing well also, though is refusing to social distance…so there’s some denial there. A Te neighbor has never had a better looking yard 😉

    I wonder how much of this has to do with mental wellness and how much is due to cognitive functions. They are obviously both at play. It would be nice if this could be teased apart a bit…

    For me, I’m fulling aware of what I do and don’t have control over. Our household minimizes interactions, take our supplements, eat healthy, get fresh air, have a very restricted media diet, find and communicate gratitude, etc. and so far things are going well. My husband communicated that if I were to not stay focused, calm, clear-headed and emotionally strong, he would fall a part. It is clear that I’m the leader of the emotions in my home and sometimes that responsibility becomes isolating. Isolating because I have to be my own rock and hold things together for the sake of him and my stepson who has emotional difficulties (ASD + extreme anxiety + ???). I feel really solid though. I’ve always been good in a crisis since childhood. It will be interesting to see as time goes on if this becomes challenging and I’ll look out for what you wrote above.

    How have you seen yourself during this time? Do you feel a combo of Fi and Se or one more than the other?

    Alice
    Participant
    • Type: FiSe
    • Development: ll--
    • F Attitude: Unseelie

    Mental health and wellness is certainly a crucial factor!! It is certainly possible for any type to overcome their natural response to stress, and instead project a kind of archetypal virtue through their strengths. In the past, I’ve dealt with isolation and dissociation via Fi, and addiction through Se. These days though, I am remaining responsible and socially distanced, as well as sober (beyond a few beers now and then or a little weed, but I keep an eye on my intake). My partner and I talk our emotions and concerns out with each other, and we’ve remained relatively stable even after being isolated at home with each other for 16 days straight at this point.

    I think Fi can become a rock in trying times if it can master feelings of overwhelm and remain present, and my partner and I have both been each other’s rocks, as well as our own. Fi’s natural domain is the emotional or (for lack of a better term) deeply meaningful, and I think that if the Fi user can become comfortable enough in their own ability, they can meet and healthily process their own emotions, even if they are extremely difficult, as well as guide others on how to do the same.

    The range of behavior belonging to each function is truly amazing!!

    Alice
    Participant
    • Type: FiSe
    • Development: ll--
    • F Attitude: Unseelie

    I went ahead and changed the name of the thread, I had the idea to brainstorm and discuss the more mature coping strategies of each function in a separate dedicated thread!

    Cedar
    Participant
    • Type: FiNe
    • Development: lll-
    • F Attitude: Seelie

    Thank you for sharing how this is impacting you and your partner’s lives. I am lucky that I have never felt overwhelmed in a crisis. It’s the long-term triturating of stress that does me in. It grinds me down and makes me feel overwhelmed. But then again, it’s only certain stressors that get to me. This is my 7th week of socially distancing and being at home. I can count the moments of overwhelm; one was when the state parks were closed and we wouldn’t be able to go to our favorite places for short escapes (I love nature!) and the second was when my stepson was having intense anxiety for several days. I guess I’m doing pretty good considering 😉

    You seem to have your finger on the pulse of Fi and I have lots of questions. Maybe I could pick your brain at some point? I really want to pull apart what is humanity and/or Fi/Fe. They can’t all bleed into each other because then there wouldn’t be a need for the distinction.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Cedar.
    Alice
    Participant
    • Type: FiSe
    • Development: ll--
    • F Attitude: Unseelie

    I’m mostly picking stuff out of the air, but I’d love to answer any questions you might have through private message!

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