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Personal Revelations of an ENTJ (sometimes called the Field Marshall)

OR – Why I believe the study of Emotional intelligence may be especially important for Introverted Feeling Types

© Steve Whiteford 2023

The first time I took the MBTI I self-typed as ENTJ. It wasn’t a truly certified presentation, but a thumbnail version of borrowed materials used in an otherwise excellent Conflict Management workshop.

At first, I was startled that the results suggested I had the least skill in the Feeling Function. But as the workshop progressed, I was able to notice how much control I exerted to hide my true feelings. I was stunned. It was after attending Boston University as an acting major and then progressing to NYC and LA to pursue a career, that I eventually became a trainer.  I have always been fascinated with emotions.

Subsequently, with variations on the clarity scale, my results have always been ENTJ. (Until I worked in a toxic, introverted environment where it was not safe to be myself where I tested INTJ.) Once out of there, I again tested solidly ENTJ.

The four functions are Sensing, Intuiting, Thinking, and Feeling. They are positioned in a hierarchy per type. Each function has an introverted or extroverted version. Their expressions as introverted or extroverted are determined by your type’s first letter, E or I.

*graphic-Jojo Baaa 2021, gudeiary.com

My next accelerated learning about my type happened at the MBTI Certification workshop in which I had loads of fun further discovering and acting out my ENTJ behaviors. And then more dramatically at the APT Conference in Dallas in 2008.

The 2008 Conference provided a treasure trove of opportunities for deep learning about Myers Briggs and its Jungian roots. There, in one enlightening advanced typing workshop (there were many), Hile Rutledge told a story about his ENTJ wife that had me laughing out loud and cowering with recognition. He highlighted how she usually showed up in charge, very together, and on point. However, after a day of participating in a team-building activity in which everyone assembled party favors for a holiday celebration and shared personal stories, she arrived home devastatingly insecure believing no one liked her. That’s what being out of your comfort zone can do. An ENTJ’s comfort zone would be working together on an important project and talking strategy.

I felt exposed by the story, but grateful. “Yep, that’s me!” I’m sure I raised my hand in admittance. I was grateful for a resonant example of an Introverted Feeler.

Later in the conference, I attended some sessions led by John Bebe, a renowned Jungian Analyst. In one he presented The Eight Jungian Functions. There are eight functions because Jungian Theory includes the subconscious. Four of our functions are considered conscious, and at the unconscious level they repeat the same order, but introversion and extroversion switch. You might consider that the unconscious is introverted or hidden. He also related them to archetypes. Here is the ENTJ example with archetypes listed by functional position:

Think about how the behavioral expression of the unconscious functions might look.

It struck me deeply that the eighth archetype could have a negative or positive expression: Extroverted Daemon (Angel) or Demon. This was clearly how feelings had functioned in my life. Until I had begun to understand my patterns and emotional responses, I had strongly controlled and manipulated my feelings to appear calm and confident, when I was actually hiding anxiety and vulnerability. People who didn’t know me often experienced me as aloof and unempathetic, until from all the pressure of holding feelings in I blew my fuse. This might manifest as rage or a private sob session. Whenever I courageously and empathetically revealed my feelings, people marveled and were moved. Demon or Daemon. Awareness and choice created the difference.

I imagine that the ENTJ’s lack of awareness and skill in working with feelings connects with our Introverted Intuition. We receive very strong impressions of connections, people, and situations, but without clear access to the experience of our feelings, the communication of our intuition is often cloudy. It takes us a while to pinpoint what we’re picking up, but our perception is accurate.

Looking back, it appears I’ve lived a lifelong quest of learning to work with my emotions.

I was a very feeling kid. But whether it was fear, sadness, or joy, any expression of my feeling was strongly shamed by my family. I so wanted to express and be accepted for feeling, that at nine years old, I decided to be an actor because I wanted it to be O.K. to feel. And I wanted to show others it was O.K. My shame was so deeply planted that I became good at representing feelings but not at truly having them.

Eventually, I experienced authentic love enough to notice I was just doing bits on T.V. and not fulfilling my purpose. I decided to utilize my emotional expression skills for teaching. (I had also invested in several creative therapies along the way and learned a lot.) At one point when I was considering career paths, a wise professional considered my history and advised, “Whatever you do it will need to be about feelings.”

Of course, I was thrilled when Daniel Goleman’s best-seller, Emotional Intelligence was published in 1995 and ignited society’s awareness of the importance of working with our emotions. It also legitimized most of the communication and leadership training I’d been doing for eight years. I was certified in EQi in 2003, and the MSCEIT in 2020 to continue the journey.

I truly respect that we are all different. My whole life happens to fit into a story about how my ENTJ journey illuminated the meaning of having Extroverted Feeling as my eighth function which is characterized by possibly being your savior or your nemesis. Exploring this interpretation of the eighth function may add meaning to your life no matter what your type. I suspect it’s true for all types.

For more education on the eight functions, I suggest picking-up – Introduction to Type and the 8 Jungian Functions, CPP, Inc.

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