How to Get out of the Grip

“Would you please do a post on how to get out of the grip of your inferior functions?”

Hmm, funny. I was going to do a post on this independently of your question (great minds think alike). Actually, forget I said that. Great minds pride themselves on thinking differently.

There are multiple ways you can pull yourself out of your grip functions, but heres the basic method.

#1 Accept that you’re in the grip

It goes without saying that if you don’t accept that you have a problem, you cannot fix that problem. (I’m assuming that you’ve already accepted this though, since you’re asking how to fix it –mostly this step is just for people who don’t see the need to get better). Denying the fact that you are in the grip of your lower functions can only exacerbate the damage that you are doing to yourself by remaining in their grip.

Self-control is difficult regardless of personality type, but acceptance is always the first step to disciplining yourself. You have to not only logically accept that there’s a problem, but you need to put your will into solving the problem.

#2 If possible, eliminate the catalyst for your grip

I’m more than aware that it isn’t always possible to remove stress or circumstantial problems from our lives. However, in the case that it is possible to remove the catalyst behind your grip problem –DO IT. (I cannot stress that more).

If you don’t know what’s causing your stress, definitely find out. Try to confront your problem if it needs confronting, and avoid it if you need to stay away from it.

If anything, stress management can help (though stress isn’t always the cause for grip experience).

#3 Focus on trying to engage a higher function

If you’re in the grip of your lower functions, your basic problem is that you’re relying only on them, while neglecting your upper functions. Here’s a basic guide for how to engage your upper functions.

Si: Think about your past and try to recall details and information. Don’t try so hard to avoid hard things that happened to you, but rather, face them, allow them to teach you something. Do things, revisit places that you loved as a kid, or that remind you of fond memories. Be aware that your Si memory is subjective to your internal interpretation of events, and not necessarily a strict record of what actually happened.

Se: Notice the physical world around you. Don’t restrict your impulses so much and take time to enjoy life in the moment. Do more physical activities –anything that forces you to be completely in your body and aware of it’s movement in your environment.

Fi: Don’t repress your feelings. Think about them, process them. Form silent friendships with others. Strive for a consistency between your choices/actions and what you authentically believe. Aim for individuality and self-assurance in your beliefs. Pay attention to what you love or hate and ask yourself why they do.

Fe: explore emotional character arcs in movies and books. Try to connect emotionally with other people and spread compliments like pollen. Practice talking about your feelings and sharing your interests with other people. Don’t bottle up your feelings or be passive aggressive when others are not acting according to your standards, but rather, confront them gently about the problem. Talk through your emotions with them.

Ni: Visualize and plan for your future, then work toward a specific set of goal. Narrow your focus and zoom in on an idea, project or concept to understand it in-depth, fully and completely. Look for meaning and symbolism in every day life. Pay attention to hunches and suspicions about people and situations. Pay attention to patterns of behavior and try to figure out how outward patterns connect to people’s inner lives.

Ne: When watching movies/ reading books, look for patterns of behavior, plot, and creative ideas. Expose yourself to a wide array of genres and don’t limit yourself to strict ideas –fill yourself with ideas. Try learning how to mind-map (that seems to help Ne idea-production). Try to make connections between seemingly disconnected subjects and things. Look for symbolism and meaning in everyday life. Do anything creative, be it art, music, writing –whatever it is you like to do that’s creative, and try to make it new. Stop following instruction manuals so much and try to figure things out on your own. Open your perspective on people and ideas so that it’s broad and non-biased.

Ti: Figure out how things work. Practice metacognition (analyzing your own thought process), and strive for a consistent thought pattern. Ask questions where you don’t understand. Look for the why behind everything. Why do I do what I do? Why does this machine work the way it does? etc.

Te: Organize everything –your desk, your books etc. Write lists and cross things off as you complete them. Set deadlines and discipline yourself to meet them. Try to aim your efforts toward creating something that is useful or on improving systems that are not up to par. Aim for efficiency. Speak directly to people, and learn how to delegate and organize people to accomplish something. Practice leadership, if you must.


6 thoughts on “How to Get out of the Grip

  1. I haven’t seen recent comments on this blog, although I haven’t checked every post at all. I’m thoroughly, thoroughly impressed by the articles, and how they deeply understand the makeup on an INTJ – and expressed so eloquently and tastefully. As an INTJ female of 22, I’m used to being grossly misunderstood and judged, so I find this blog to be so refreshing and encouraging – as well as containing accurate and new, deep information.
    Yesterday, I discovered, through being forced to spend 24 consecutive hours with an INFP in emotional crisis, that I have been stuck in the grip of my lower functions. After 24 hours, I was completely overstimulated. That is was led me to realize that for years, in an effort to make other people feel cared for, I had been forced to resort to functioning from my third function, Fi. Ouch.
    I’m really enthralled by this incredible option to not have to feel everything. I can really process the world through my mind! I find that to be so therapeutic as it is how I feel most naturally comfortable to function. Also, then I don’t have to feel hurt all the time!
    I’m so glad that this blog deals with these obscure happenings in the land of Ni… Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    My only question is really how to integrate the Fi into my life. While I’m so excited to use my higher functions again (after almost a decade) in regards to how I experience something, I don’t want to lose my Fi functioning that was developed.
    However, my method of using Fi until now, with hardly any Te to process it, was not a healthy development either. I want to know how to integrate… I would love to hear what you say Arvid!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. After several months of learning about Myers-Briggs I have come to the realization that I was in the grip of my lower functions.

    The stressor that I believe triggered it was loneliness due to one of my very good friends moving quite far away along with several other factors. Not a good mix, and it progressively got worse. Unfortunately I knew nothing about Myers-Briggs or Jungian functions at the time and not for a long time after that either. It has taken me 5 months of studying (with the help of your blog) to actually figure this out, and my mental state has greatly improved since the beginning of that :P

    One thing that is especially awful is when you have tertiary Fi attempting to act as an upper function, because you. feel. everything. That was the worst part of it and is not something I ever want to do again. It really, really sucks.

    I do not think that I am completely free of it yet, but I can look back and see how much better it is now compared to a few months ago.

    One thing I do need to work on is engaging my Ni more. Of the times I do use my intuition (or it just pops up in the background…) it’s fascinating to me what it comes up with and how correct it is. It is slightly weird though, when you know something but have no idea how your brain managed to come up with that particular answer.

    So, you can get better and hopefully you have learned something from it along the way.

    It is true about great minds; they don’t think alike, they think of the things that only they can.


  3. Thank you for this article! I needed this! I’m a disillusioned infj trying to be a much more positive person. 😊


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