How Extraverted Feeling Users Can Love Properly
Carl Jung once said that “the world hangs on a thin thread.” He was speaking of a metaphysical relationship that the universe holds between tension and balance. With proper tension, the distant concept of “wholeness” can slowly be realized. For the individual soul, one can find him/herself in a synthesis of new insights, the realization of deeper truths, and perhaps even a richer existence with the application of this philosophy— one so brilliantly realized in the Buddhists’ concept of the “middle way.”
You can find the “thin thread” everywhere in nature, philosophy, biology, and within ourselves, psychologically. Yin-Yang is history’s most notable symbol for representing tension and balance. My topic is how an Extraverted Feeling user—particularly a high Extraverted Feeling user—can love properly.
Because of Yin and Yang always being held in tension together, they become indispensable to each other. You can see it in the Fe/Ti axis. Extraverted feeling always exists with introverted thinking, and vice versa. With a little reflection, it becomes clear why this is the case. Let’s begin with Fe. Fe is compassion and empathy—it is the sponge which absorbs the emotional substance of everything around it. It is chaotic and dynamic, allowing the extraverted feeling user to change their approach and disposition when rapidly shifting from person to person, and from place to place.
A negative outcome that Extraverted Feeling users experience lies in the emotional instability coming from its side-effects. An Extraverted Feeling user can become neurotic and miserable when they feel obligated to help or save those around them when they cannot be saved. This can lead to a shutdown or, sometimes, to hypervigilance—where a false and aggressive altruism takes the place of compassion. However, the shutdown will eventually prevail.
The burden that empathy obligates to oneself can become too heavy on its own. This “shutting down” shows that they have lost balance, and they must restore a proper tension.
How is this done? With Ti.
When used properly, Introverted Thinking offers a strong foundation for the Extraverted Feeling user to build a structure upon. Why? Because Introverted Thinking is concerned primarily with truth, and with what the matter of fact is. How? Because Introverted Thinking gives the tool of regulation — and offers a spine — to the Extraverted Feeling user.
This axis prevents them from exploding with too much chaotic energy. Introverted Thinking can nullify the guilt to help Extraverted Feeling users realize that sometimes there is nothing they can do to help.
Within the structure that Introverted Thinking offers, Extraverted Feeling can move and operate powerfully without falling into neurotic holes. Introverted Thinking also aligns one’s intellectual relationship with empathy in a clear, substantive way. It is this alignment that we turn our attention to briefly.
Empathy is not a virtue, but neither is it a vice.
It is, like most characteristics we possess, neutral in moral quality. Using empathy, however, carries the substance of moral quality. If different empaths can carry different moral qualities in the expression of their empathy, then this implies not only that empathy is a tool, but that it is a tool that can be used to build up and heal, or to destroy. When we feel what someone else feels, some of their deepest vulnerabilities become visible to us. It is the fight taking place over and within these vulnerabilities that ultimately determines character.
Clearly, empathy is designed to be used rather than just felt. It exists to compel action. The basis of a method to decide how to act when absorbing others’ emotions is Introverted Thinking. It is a feedback loop. We take in the emotions of others, decide what to do with them, and act out in a manner that we decide — through thinking — is appropriate.
The difficulty empaths face is the intrinsic burden accompanying the duty of empathy. When we feel the pain of others, we naturally want to make that pain go away — because their pain is our pain, and their suffering our suffering. This is what compassion is. This emotional sponging reveals the most difficult issue empaths can face.
Sometimes, the best thing for a person is not to rescue them.
When someone is in pain, making it disappear is not always best for them. This is not an advocation for prolonging unnecessary suffering, but a caution that pain does not exist only to be relieved.
What does it exist for, then? Pain operates as a signal that tells us something is wrong. If the cause of pain is not fixed (splinter, bad diet, loneliness) it will only resurface in different forms with varying intensity. Never will it resolve until the central issue is addressed. Again, this is the purpose of Introverted Thinking, this is where introverted thinking needs its “Day in Court,” as Chase says. Feeling by itself is not enough.
Another way to examine the Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Thinking Axis is from the perspective of doing what is “nice” versus doing what is “kind.” The “kind” is always the loving thing. But the “nice” is always what causes minimal discomfort and pain. It is not that being nice is incorrect, but it is incomplete. “Niceness” is Extraverted Feeling isolated without the structure of Introverted Thinking. “Kindness” is Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Thinking in a beautiful dance together.
We could look at these functions as existing on the same continuum that Aristotle used to define “virtue.” On the far left would be niceness, where feeling (and feeling “better”) was all that mattered. On the far right would be the detachment of a hyper-logical mind. Constant skepticism, criticism, coldness, potential arrogance, and likely the complete dismissal of others — these would be the characteristics of Ti on its own.
But, as we have seen, the amalgam of both Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Thinking together offers a richness and a depth —not to mention maturity —that is unfounded and utterly incomprehensible while they remain unintegrated in isolation. It is in the bringing together of Fe and Ti that moves them from the status of “vicious” to “virtuous.”
This “virtue” moves us to our last section here, with a more explicit meditation on “love.” Love looks at the past, present, and the future and, taking all into account, attempts to provide a pathway where the wellbeing of the object of that love can be brought to healing, health, and—ultimately—flourishing. Love is deeply spiritual AND practical because of the perspective that it demands we take.
Regarding the relationship between the axis of Extraverted Feeling/Introverted Thinking and love, one has to realize that making people feel better is not the primary duty of an Extraverted Feeling user. It is instead to nurture, to move the person (institution, object, ect.) towards a better place in the manner that will cause the least amount of unnecessary pain and suffering (despite what some may claim, suffering is not a virtue).
This is what a virtuous and loving Extraverted Feeling user does. They ride this balance of each Cognitive Function and learn not to let the fear of the truth overtake them. The truth is scary, especially for the extraverted feeling user, who feels what the impact of that truth will be on another. And truth is rarely painless. Yet, this courage to use truth, despite the discomfort it may cause, is the only way that the Extraverted Feeling user can express actual love.
The world is always in need of love, and it is our collective duty — and purpose — as Extraverted Feeling users to provide love through both empathy and logic, through both grace and truth. There are endless nuances within this discussion that cannot be addressed here. But the important thing is that we learn to no longer fear that which we are and grow to accept — gracefully — the responsibility and privilege that comes with being a user of Extraverted Feeling and Introverted Thinking.
Having been on a quest for some time to find something that could adequately explain my own nature, that of others, and that of the world, along with the many confusing and frustrating complexities of life, I believe I have found an integral piece of that with CSJ. I have and am continuing to become an avid student of typology, holding deeply to the belief that it is one of a few possible keys that can truly unlock the beauty, mystery, and profundity of human life and human interaction.
I write to explore these avenues for myself, whereby hoping to come across some things that will be helpful for others as well. The theories CSJ brings forth are not contradictory to centuries of hard-earned wisdom, knowledge, or philosophical insight. Rather, they are truths that must be tied together at a fundamental level. One of the tasks I aim to accomplish is to uncover where some of these realities connect, bringing forth a clearer, more well-rooted vision of all we hold and consider to be True.