cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life's morning;
for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the
morning was true, will at evening, have become a lie.
important to acknowledge that type is not a "static" model. It
is a developmental model. An INFJ at age 15 will look dramatically different
from an INFJ aged 50.
One reason for this is due to what Jung named "individuation."
(Others prefer the simple term "growth.")
simply means is that we go through different stages throughout our entire lives,
indicating that we are naturally developing one function progressively after
another. It's all about a process of maturity. As we cultivate each
of the functions, we unconsciously seek out "tasks" that will help us
to engage and exercise the developing function. It is important to note that not everybody develops according to
the pattern or according to a precise timetable -- the stages of development
suggested below are an idealized perspective of what development would look like
in a "classic" candidate.
dominant function for an INFJ would be introverted iNtuition. It normally develops from birth until
about the age of 12.
Think about your own life during this
time period. What
behaviors do you remember that might prove this to be true? It may be
helpful to make some notes. I remember very little about this period of my
life. I know this is when I read a lot --
especially fairytales and mythology. I didn't care about playing outdoors
or making friends. I was always in my head or in my room, which drove my
mother crazy. My favorite place in the world was the public library, and
we have several family stories about that.
Here is how
Harold Grant describes INFJs at this stage:
period - 6 to 12 years (Introverted Intuiting)
preference you were drawn in childhood to develop your imagination and
creativity. Perhaps you created an imaginary playmate, or several, with
whom you secretly lived while your parents wondered about your dreamy
silence. Only a favorite friend or two, or a wise and gentle parent, was
permitted to share your world of make-believe. Teachers frequently had
to remind you that you were not paying attention. It is hard for you to
remember the details of this period, especially as details did not engage your
interest. But you do recall the general atmosphere, whether of
happiness, sadness, pain, or pleasure.
auxiliary function, extraverted Feeling, usually starts to develop around age 12
and continues until about age
Think about your own life again. Did you or are you
behavior that might bear out this development? Again, you may wish to write
some notes. This was when I discovered Feminism and became more vocally
opinionated. I became interested in socially-sanctioned achievements --
such as getting high test scores, making the Honor Roll, and winning membership
in National Honor Society. I started sewing because I cared about my
outward appearance, and became highly
extra-curricular activities, especially acting. I was always a very
expressive actress, unafraid to display emotion and "let it all hang
out." (My mother says she thinks I
enjoyed experiencing what it was like to BE other people.) I had some
boyfriends and began to notice how "out-of-step" I was with my peers.
I held down up to three jobs at a time and tried to give my mother money to
pitch in for living expenses.
Grant's description of INFJs at this stage:
period - 12 to 20 years (Extraverted Feeling)
continuing to perceive in a predominantly intuitive way, you now become aware
of a desire to give expression to your life of feeling. Sensitivity to
your own feelings and compassion for others became characteristic of you, and
because you were led to manifest these qualities others came to know you
predominantly through them. You perhaps surprised yourself by becoming
more outgoing, in contrast to your previous shyness. You became more
aware of ways in which you could help others, especially the poor, the
suffering, the underdog, and you may have joined groups committed to the
service of others. You may have found it difficult to find time for
yourself in the process of obliging others.
tertiary function, introverted Thinking, typically develops when one is between
ages 20 and 35.
Does this hold true for you? What are you now or have
you experienced in the past that verifies this to be true? This was the
stage when I left a relationship that felt like it was stifling me instead of
empowering me, and I went about it very badly. I began navigating the
freeways of Los Angeles by myself in my own car. I became a computer consultant and took on
the trappings of a "professional businesswoman," feeling comfortably
presentable in a variety of settings. I became a director of a computer user
group, and helped that group flourish. I got deeply interested in database
designing and taught myself several software programs and integrated them.
I learned money
management techniques and bought a condo.
Harold Grant's description of INFJs at this stage:
period - 20 to 35 years (Introverted Thinking)
you experienced a tendency to become more independent, more your own person,
and became critical of your previous habits of submission to the wishes of
others. Because this development was taking place in an introverted way,
you were not fully able to explain to others your new determination to become
more autonomous; hence others may have been offended or baffled by the change
in you. At the beginning of this period you probably felt you were
handling the transition badly, but your conviction that it was right helped
you to persevere and grow. The solution to your occasional ineptness
was, you believed, in going forward toward assertiveness, not back to your
The INFJ's fourth
function is extraverted Sensing. Since it is opposite the dominant
function, people sometimes make dramatic shifts in their personality -- what is
sometimes labeled a "mid-life crisis" -- during this phase of
may become radically different persons from how they were in the past, although
this will not necessarily be so if has been able to embrace change along the way
individuated previously in a healthy fashion. The fourth function usually
develops sometime after age 35.
timetable currently describes you, what behaviors are you now or have
you previously exhibited that bear out that you are developing your fourth
function? I'm in this stage of life now, so I have a hard time saying --
but I daresay getting married at Stonehenge may have been an expression of my
extraverted Sensing! I'm also beginning to take more pleasure in delicious
foods, enjoy developing websites, and being a clotheshorse. Ebay has
become a dangerous place. I enjoy
interior decoration, architecture styles, and art museums. Sightseeing has
become one of my favorite activities. I enjoy taking
cruises with my husband, and we are quite the pair when we go out swing dancing.
In a funny way, I feel as if I'm just "waking up" to what life is...
Grant's description of INFJs at this stage:
period - 35 to 50 years (Extraverted Sensing)
point you begin to experience a call to develop your least acknowledged gift,
your sensing. Now you began to notice the details of life around you,
which previously, in your basic preference for exploring the possible, had not
engaged your interest. As if for the first time you took pleasure in the
exercise of some or all of your senses. You probably became keenly
interested in such things as doing things with your hands, playing a musical
instrument, taking up a craft, or collecting and classifying objects; and you
engaged in this type of activity with a precision which contrasted strongly
with your previous vagueness about the life of the senses. Now in fact
you became somewhat impatient with inexactitude, daydreaming, and disorder in
yourself and in others. Your preference now was for engaging in the newly
found life of the senses in company with others, not in solitude. You
liked to have someone with you as you attended concerts or visited museums; and
your companions were struck with your attentiveness to the fine details of
of these stages varies with the individual. Some develop their dominant
and auxiliary functions clearly and reliably by their early twenties; others may
find it a much slower process. Some will reach the traditional midlife
period and find that they have not, for various reasons, developed one or both
of their preferred functions.
people, midlife transition takes place between 35 and 50 years of age.
However, some are plunged into premature midlife reassessment by a divorce, job
loss, serious illness, or the death of a relative or friend. Some people
don't seem to go through a midlife transition, but rather experience a burst of
growth toward the end of life.
Once all four
of the main functions have developed (or "individuated"), it's anybody's
guess what happens next. Some people believe we proceed back through
the pattern "backwards," while others say we start over at the top but
in the opposite attitude and work from there.
way it works, the consensus appears to be that, if we live long enough, we will
eventually develop all eight of the processes and become fully individuated.
people first learn Jung's theory, they get the idea that it would be ideal to
develop all eight preferences with equal facility to achieve "perfect
balance." Some people brag about re-taking the MBTI over and over in
order to achieve a perfect "XXXX" score, as if it represents a
wonderful accomplishment. According to Jung, however, development does not
work this way. If a person tries to develop both ways of perceiving
equally, for example, then neither Sensing nor iNtuition will receive the focus
of energy and attention necessary to become fully reliable and
trustworthy. Likewise, Thinking and Feeling are opposite ways of making
decisions; developing a reliable decision-making function requires directing
most of one's energy to one side of this dichotomy and therefore taking it away
from the other.
functions tend to pull in opposite directions: Sensing, to the reality of
the present; iNtuition, to the possibility of the future; Thinking, to decisions
based on objective logic; and Feeling, to decisions based on subjective
values. People who do not establish the leadership of one of each pair of
functions are inconsistent in their behavior, pulled first in one direction and
then another. They are unpredictable to others and to themselves and
remain what Jung termed a primitive personality. Because Jung's
theory is one of opposites, directing attention and energy to all of the
functions equally ensures that the leadership of one will not be developed and
the resulting perceptions and judgments will be inconsistent and unreliable.
The goal of
type development, then, is not equal development and use of all the functions,
but rather the ability to use each mental process with some facility when it is
appropriate. The developing individual thus gains the ability to call on
the less-preferred functions to accomplish the purposes of the dominant
function, bringing more balance to the tasks of life.
and excellence in the use of the dominant function to provide purpose and
well-developed auxiliary function to provide balance and support
ability to use the tertiary and inferior functions when appropriate
* * *
Image to Likeness: A Jungian Path in the Gospel Journey by W.
Harold Grant, Thomas
E. Clarke, Mary
* * *