Meredith asked: “I have a friend who’s was a total ENFP but then he went through a traumatic experience and now he doesn’t seem like an ENFP at all. Could he have changed to an introverted type?”
Probably not, although, yes, if the trauma you’re referring to was physical head trauma, a stroke or anything that could cause brain damage and literal personality changes. However, I’m going to assume that you’re talking about something that was psychologically traumatizing.
First of all, everyone (hopefully) undergoes change in their character, and some more than others.
An ENFP who is depressed will very much likely either appear as though absolutely nothing is wrong, or will retreat into either an Fi/Si loop, or their shadow functions (INFJ).
Thus, if a damaged ENFP ends up taking the meyers briggs test, they will probably score as an INFJ, rather than an ENFP. The way to recognize them as an ENFP is to observe how their thought process regularly works, not how it works when they’re at their lowest, most vulnerable points.
ENFP in an Fi/Si loop Obsess over emotional experience and past trauma. Will either not want to let go of the past, or will pretend that it doesn’t exist and never face it (thus, will never get over it). Will spend much of the time feeling intensely their own pain. Will be more prone to procrastination, lack of motivation and will have trouble being passionate or finding meaning in life. Will neglect important tasks until the last minute, have difficulty believing in a better future and will likely appear introverted rather than extraverted.
ENFP Shadow: INFJ. Be stubborn about perceptions of how the future will be, and lock onto a vision that won’t happen (Ni). Can be quite critical and disgruntled about the expectations of the group to the point of rebellion and disengaging (Fe). May make statements or believe in ideas that are contradictory and illogical (Ti). Excessively seek physical stimulation or following the urge to do nothing; zero in on isolated details, acting impulsively on them (Se)
Individuals have varying ways of dealing with trauma. In general however, I’ve noticed that there are certain coping methods that are specific to ENFPs (though other types do all of these as well). Some of the methods are more healthy than others, but either way, here’s the list of most common themes:
- Try to live vicariously through others by serving them (often to the point that they get hurt more).
- Act recklessly and impulsively because nothing seems to matter any more.
- Rebel against society by either acting out or by rejecting standard rules of morality.
- Stop taking anything seriously, try to make everything in life a laugh.
- Become sarcastic to the point that they can converse easily with INTJs.
- Become overwhelmed by their emotions and fall into depression.
- Find a creative outlet (such as music, art etc) and pursue it with vengeance.