Jungian Shadow Function

At some point during this past summer, my attention turned to Jungian psychology.  I’ve spent the greater part of the last 7 years in libraries, reading some awesome albeit stretching-the-subject theories on human behavior.  I’ve read studies on everything from economics of behavior to jury selection, from the impact of racially segregated neighborhoods, to cohabitation’s role in divorce.  It’s been interesting.  Between all these different interests, I really developed a liking for social psychology tied in with rational economics; I could never wrap my head around statistics.  Research and any pursuit of a PhD were automatically out.  I remember coming across Jung’s works, standing next to Freud; leather and fabric bindings falling off and tattered.  I liked those books because they smell good.  I love the smell of old books.  But I would pick the volumes up, leaf through it and put it back down. never quite being fully grabbed into the material.  I liked Jung’s exploration of the spirit and soul, and imagination; the things that seem to make us human versus animal.  
I never associated Jung with Myers-Brigg; something led me to cross that line over the summer.  I revel in my personality type; I am reading up on the development of the MBTI, and the different types.  My ‘type’ not only helps me to see why people don’t like me, and explains so much about why I am serious and am off-putting.  It also allows me the freedom to figure out my strengths, to stretch the possibilities.  Perhaps a precursor to this is the VIA strengths test that was derived from Seligman[i].  However these are character strengths, and in the four years since I was introduced to this material I’ve learned that these aspects of my character are non-negotiable; these are things I choose to make valuable in my life.  On the other hand, personality – its not know for certain at what age it’s fully formed, or if its fluid.  At any rate, it’s given me pause to remember why certain things happened the way they did.
Jung also decided to see Freud’s negative view of the inner mind and made it the playground of philosophy, religion and/or mythology, and symbolic imagination.  As if its not enough to take (and retake: reliability) the MBTI, Jung gave us the shadow functions: the ones that come out to play when you’re everything that you should not be.  When the Introvert spills his emotional guts, with the Perceiver suddenly starts drawing up to do lists and time management tables.  These are the exact reversal of what we typically are and they’re there when we are stressed more than usual.
It’s not a secret that I’m an introvert, so I’m easily pliable when I’m stressed out.  People get more of a response from me than they would otherwise.  The first instance from the past month alone would be when I had two exams back-to-back; if I was asked a personal question I answered it without a second thought.  The thing with the shadow functions is they are the “what’s bad about” or negative aspects of the opposing type.  I’ll act more extroverted, but in all the wrong ways: saying things I shouldn’t; let the negativity just hang out.  Some types are by nature more free-wheeling or spontaneous; if it’s a shadow function, it’s like an impulse control disorder gone wrong – more likely to pick fights, there’s no mental filter when speaking; behaviorally it can resemble a manic episode (speeding, anyone?).  One of my shadow functions is to focus on the worst-case scenario, or the negative possibilities; I’ll try to reach out and interact with people (Extrovert), but due to the impulsivity it goes fairly badly, I’ll get to the point where I wish others could get into my head the way I usually get involved with my own thoughts when not swayed by the shadow.  Yet, my I(ntroversion) blocks that pathway against all odds; like asking someone to enter my world with a 6 foot ladder to scale a mile high barricade.  Or I don’t chase down the next project: in turning off my thoughts and introversion to just watch television (when I’ll typically write a paper and watch a show simultaneously), or buy something on impulse (a candy bar, an extra yard of fabric, or like last week, 100 tea lights).  At the core, Jung treats the shadow as the natural instinct; usually recognized as Freud’s id, which is where the similarity ends.  The shadow contains the part of us we keep hidden away, its our instinct, our negativity, our evil, although it’s actually amoral.  One’s shadow isn’t determined by natural law, its just our opposing feature: it looks unnatural and evil because it’s the contrast of what we perceive to be good in ourselves.

[i] 1st: spirituality, sense of purpose & faith (shape actions, source of comfort), 2nd: curiosity & interest in the world (nearly all topics are fascinating), 3rd: gratitude (don’t take for granted the good things), 4th:  judgment, critical thinking & open-mindedness (examine all aspects, able to change mind), 5th: appreciation of beauty & excellence (skilled performance)
*sources: One Two Three Four Five (not disclosing the forum) 


I can see how what I said a week ago can be a point of contention.  At some point in a convoluted discussion among several students and the professor I had made the comment that sometimes students may know more than a professor; the one at the bottom of the totem pole may have a better grasp on the matter than the one at the top.  Naturally, that can be upsetting to some people if they do not let the other possibilities come to mind.  However I had not expected to be called out on it this evening.
Professor comes up to me before the session began and said, “What was it you said last week? That the intern knows more than the supervisor?”  I countered with, “Well, I didn’t say it like that.  I can’t recall exactly.  Why?”  I hedged.  He’s defensive; getting into my full line of vision, dominating the physical and social space around me.   Plus, I would like to get the full context of the matter again – what exactly was it that I had said that put him on the defensive?  Was he interpreting it in a different manner than I had perceived myself as stating it?  He did not offer clarification.  He’s trying to establish order, and I can only assume that he feels that I am questioning his judgment, knowledge and experience in the field.  I did not have the opportunity because he took the pause in my words (when I’m still thinking and reflecting to come up with a response!!) to say “I’ve never had an intern that knew more than me.  It doesn’t work that way.”
Well let me tell you what does work that way.  He comes from the psychoanalytical Freudian training and paradigm.  From what has been mentioned in class he does stand behind the current paradigm of EBP (evidence-based practice) and a slight eclectic mix of other modern theories and perspectives.  However, what I had insinuated with my comment last week, and I was unable to defend, is that other fields and professions have their own perspectives and paradigms.  I’m very EBP, along with multisystemic theory, systems theory, positive psychology, empowerment and the strengths perspective.  I move within these with a lot of ease.  I see things from many perspectives; many facets.  A student or an intern may not know or comprehend more, but understand a different view or facet.  A student can appear to know more than a professor because they are not caged in the paradigm.
Professor is focused on tradition and principles, and often makes statements that draw attention to “how things should be done, and are done.”  He’s mentioned that therapeutic practices are not to differ from what everyone else is doing; well, Rogers and others broke away from the behavioralists.  Rogers disagreed that people were merely functioning on conditioning (classical, intermittent, interval & ratio), and formulated the humanistic approach that incorporated emotions and reactions; a further extension from Rogers was existential psychology.  Sometimes there has to be people who break away from the norm, the “way it has to be done” in order for there to be growth.  For my Professor, principles are not rules; rules may be broken but not principles.  I understand the concept, but support it only so far, as can be noted.
On several occasions he has stressed the appropriate need for joining professional organizations.  He has pushed local, state and national organizations.  The class he is teaching is one of the introductory courses, yet he pushes this need to professionally belong more than any of the other professors in the program.  Belonging-ness: making sure that students are not put off by him, always making nice.  At times, appearing more as a comedian than a serious professor; he’s ingratiating himself: he has to belong. 
2nd interesting link (has a spot-on humanized description) 
Kiersey’s Typology