INFJ “Grip Stress” sheds light on lasting trauma and chronic pain

It’s been a while since I wrote about Myers Briggs personality types though the method remains one of the most consistently useful tools I have ever used to come to deeply understand myself.

Yesterday, I happened upon a particular foible of each personality type called a “grip stress” state, something I had never come across before. It quickly became the jigsaw piece that has filled in one of the most substantial gaps in my self-understanding, ever…so I became resolved to share about it in a post. Here’s the portion of the article that really caught my attention:

“Grip stress makes the INFJ suddenly start behaving like an unhealthy, imbalanced ESTP. We lose our long-range focus, our typical empathetic nature and become focused on indulgence and sensory pleasure. We may become impulsive and reckless, seeking out thrills or enjoyment even if it’s dangerous. For some of us this means overeating, for others it means bungee jumping.” Understanding INFJ “Grip” Stress – Psychology Junkie

I think this description is all the more shocking to an INFJ personality (or anyone who knows what that looks like) simply because its all the very qualities that are most unlike an INFJ, bundled into one horror-show of a package that I can relate to having experienced for myself at certain points in my life (and, as its author continues, “it usually isn’t pretty”).

Grip states apply to all Myers Briggs types, each one being determined by whatever the inferior function of that type happens to be, but the version of this foible that presents for the INFJ personality seems to be the example most often written about because it is just so extreme (there’s a surprise; INFJs never do things by half!) and, as it happens, I am that definitive INFJ type so I can add some personal insight to this topic.

So, to start with, I intend to draw on a few of the articles I’ve found most helpful, to give you an overview. Then I will fill in the blanks of some of the things this new understanding has enabled me to garner about my own most-bewildering life experiences, which may then be of use to other INFJs who see themselves with this foible and who may have had similar experiences of acting completely out of character when the chips are down.

As I said, the foible I refer to is called a “grip stress” state (a wonderfully evocative description which conjures for me exactly how I feel in certain circumstances where its as though I am in the grip of some strange external power causing me to behave quite differently from my normal personality traits although, really, its all generated from the inside). Here’s another summary:

“When we are under pressure, we tend to fall back on, and start to over-use, our usual preferred style of operation – our leading Core Character or dominant function. If the stress is too extreme or continues for too long, we will exhaust all the energy of our dominant function and our psyche flips into the opposite Core Character – our inferior function. In Type dynamics terms, we are caught in the grip of our inferior function. That is, we are taken over by the least preferred and least practised part of our personality. People experience this process as being overwhelming, finding that they behave and feel quite unlike themselves, which often comes with a degree of embarrassment or remorse. “ Core Characters under great stress: the grip experience – The Myers Briggs Company.

So, as I mentioned, this tendency to default to our inferior function when under severe stress affects all personality types, however the INFJ has a particular version of it.

“Grip stress occurs when you, as an INFJ, have worn out your mental resources and are completely burned out. This form of stress is more severe than “everyday,” manageable stress”. When It All Becomes Too Much: The INFJ Under ‘Grip Stress’ – Susan Storm, Introvert Dear.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the Extroverted Sensing (Se) cognitive function per se (its a wonderful, useful faculty to be able to immerse fully in the moment, navigating via the thrill of direct sensory experiences), except, for an INFJ, it is our weakest skill-set and, when under extreme stress, we seem to default to a particularly archaic version of it, a description borrowed from this passage from a book on the topic by Naomi Quenk:

“As their hold on their dominant and auxiliary functions further diminishes, the qualities of inferior Extraverted Sensing manifest in an obsessive focus on external data, overindulgence in sensual pleasures, and an adversarial attitude toward the outer world….What the introverted intuitive represses most of all is the sensation of the object, and this colours his whole unconscious. It gives rise to a compensatory extraverted sensation function of an archaic character. The unconscious personality can best be described as an extraverted sensation type of a rather low and primitive order. Instinctuality and intemperance are the hallmarks of this sensation, combined with an extraordinary dependence on sense-impressions. This compensates the rarefied air of the intuitive’s conscious attitude.”Was That Really Me? How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality” – Naomi Quenk.

When intense stress happens, we INFJs become oddly impulsive, almost as though seeking proof of life through extreme sensory stimulation (or, this is my experience). Perhaps its a case that we can no longer see that all important (to the INFJ) “bigger picture” and so we demand to find other forms of stimulation in equal proportion to the amount of thrill our awareness of the whole universe usually provides to us (again, how it feels to me). Unfortunately, this demands an excessive amount of thrill and sensory feedback and can lead straight into impulsive, inappropriate, excessive, compulsive, repetitive, destructive behaviours. The way in which Extroverted Sensing can be underdeveloped in an INFJ bears comparison with the skill-level of a child and this is a theme I keep reading about; how our Extroverted Sensing can be like a three year-old run amok.

“Your behavior will be completely out of character in the grip of extraverted sensing (Se). You may become obsessed with details about the outside world. You might start overdoing sensing activities. You try to control everything in your environment and make endless lists. You may walk through your house and become hyper aware of all the things that need fixing or that are out of place. External blame often pops up for INFJs in the grip, too. If you stub your toe on your bed, you may immediately get mad at the bed for being there (or the person who put it there)! Any activity that involves your senses can be overdone (eating, drinking, exercising, watching TV, etc). INFJ women in the grip are especially susceptible to obsessing about an aspect of their physical appearance and how they appear to others.” “What happens to an INFJ “in the grip?” Leslie McDaniel Coaching

Such a grip state can often follow a phase of being required to “extrovert” too much (when, as an INFJ, you are designed to be deeply introverted) and I can very-much relate to that as a source of profound stress and even chronic fatigue and illness. Of course, most people can probably recognise being in such a grip state at some point, perhaps especially introverts provoked by too much need to engage externally.

“When you experience grip stress, it’s because you have exhausted your normal ways of thinking and coping. You might be ill, suffering from a breakup, dealing with intense grief, or coping with physical exhaustion. All personality types experience grip stress at different points in their lives. As difficult as it is to go through, it is common, and sometimes unavoidable”. When It All Becomes Too Much: The INFJ under “Grip Stress” – Susan Storm, Introvert Dear.

The difference seems to be the degree of “grip” that an INFJ experiences…and just how rudamentary their compensatory coping skills are, because it is their inferior Se function that tries to step in and fill the breach. Hopefully this weak area improves (somewhat) with age and experience, if their coping mechanisms start to calm down or take a slightly different format (as mine have) as life also settles down. However, the legacy of earlier grip stress occurances can leave the reminant of trauma hovering, as I will touch on below, especially if the INFJ personality feels deep remorse or shame, even unresolved bewilderment, around those circumstances.

Now, it just so happens, I had to “extrovert” almost non-stop, in busy and crowded places, morning, noon and night, for three days in a row last week and am certainly feeling the deep fatigue from that extraordinary situation. Having to “extrovert” that much is very rare for me these days and even more so post-pandemic, in fact this was my first time in almost two years! Venturing away from home and being on the go all the time with chronic health challenges is always pretty stressful, even when you are enjoying yourself, because of travel, extra exertion, lack of rest and sleeping in different beds etc, so there was that too, all adding to my overwhelm load. I have certainly experienced a great deal of enhanced pain since we got back and this can often send me into a state of profound overwhelm without me even acknowledging it to myself (my obsessive behavours are often the biggest clue to how much pain I am in). So, here’s a case-study, am I currently in a grip stress state after doing too much “extroverting” a few days ago? Let’s look at the signs…

Fairly classically for this middle-aged version of my “grip” state (excessive research being a typical outlet for it), I notice that I have been deep into researching something profoundly life-altering this week (moving house!), something I would normally be quite loathe to dive into as it is just too triggering for me to contemplate moving just yet. Still, I have been oddly urgent about it these past few days and also uncharacteristically gung-ho since we got back from our trip, not to mention impulsive when it comes to how far I have actually got into “doing” things such as actually speaking to agents (rather than just passively researching). So much so, I think I may have frightened my husband into believing this is all happening rather too fast!

To be honest, I have even managed to frighten myself via how wide I have now opened this project up and a big part of me now wants to stop it. So, yes, I now recognise I have been in a version of “grip” state since our exhausting trip which, as ever, has only added to my stress to the point I feel I need to take a good long pause. Today, I don’t even know who that intense person was, researching the hell out of things that trigger me (I’ve distracted myself away from the activity by writing this blog…), and I simply long to pull back from the whole Big Idea I was cooking up, so that I can gain back my sense of centre and perspective, not to mention my intuition rather than running hell-bent towards some scary objective I became mentally fixed upon “out of the blue” for 48 hours. These two bedfellows of my psyche – the go-head, FAST part and the slow, intuitive part – can be pretty uneasy partners at times when I am most overwhelmed…adding to the overwhelm and stress.

I also notice how intensively I’ve been researching since I got home…for many hours at one sitting yesterday, even though I am meant to be recovering from our weekend and yet I have been pushing myself as though I have an urgent deadline, driven by the intense sensations of time-pressure and stress themselves (as I know I used to be when I was a student, often leaving things until the sense of urgency was really cranked sky-high). I know I have dived into similar projects in the past when most overwhelmed by other circumstances; diverting myself into projects such as planning complex holidays abroad or purchasing large items for the home, all on a similar wave of stress-induced “grip”iness. However, in a sense, I would rather deal with this “mature” version of the trait (which sometimes has a nice outcome such as a well-researched holiday) than the version I used to flip into when I was in my youth, which would get messy and self-destructive.

Because I often come round from these “grip” phases with buyers remorse or in agony over having to live with some of the consequences of this other persona who took me over for a while; somewhat like coping with ADHD yet with rarer (but sometimes bigger, more contrasting) swings of the personality pendulum.

In my youth, a “while” of being taken over by grip could last long enough to do some real harm or create legacies of pain. Like the period of not being myself that turned out to be a whole chunk of my mid to late 20s, immediately following the unbearable stress of being raped by someone I had previously liked and trusted, having no one I felt I could confide in or process this with (Susan Storm describes a similar situation in her article Understanding INFJ Grip Stress). Or the whole year of uncharacteristically impulsive behaviour, drinking, shopping-up debts and socialising, behaving in a haphazard and even reckless way that I engaged in during the sheer terror of my divorce whilst doing a terribly stressful job I wasn’t suited to. I now recognise how those long phases of feeling so disconnected from the true, recognisable sense of “selfhood” that was my personality backbone in the earlier parts of my life left deep scars in my psyche; ones which have hung with me ever since.

Both of those phases of my life left me in such deep remorse and shame that I have never fully recovered from them and the remnant of self-loathing stays with me, still causing me to flinch when I look back. Its like those eras simply don’t match the rest of my life or the person I recognise as the the quiet, introverted, private and deeply thoughtful INFJ that is how I mostly identify. The concept of “grip” helps me to understand them, finally, so I can start to grasp why I became all about the quick-sensory fixes during those times, throwing all the deeper stuff to the wind and behaving like someone who just didn’t care. No other theory that I have tried to apply to these times has ever felt authentic but this makes perfect sense to me and allows me to process the previously unprocessable.

“Extroverted Sensation focuses on total immersion in the sensory world. It’s the function you use when you dive into the details all around you and enjoy them for exactly what they are. It’s tasting, touching, and interacting with the present moment as immensely as possible. Extroverted Sensation isn’t concerned with underlying meanings, long-term ramifications, and the concerns of Intuition — especially not at an inferior level of maturity. Because of this, if you’re an INFJ who’s in the grip of Extroverted Sensation, you tend to use it in an immature, haphazard, and reckless way that you often regret.” When It All Becomes Too Much: The INFJ Under ‘Grip Stress’

The remorse that comes from it can be overwhelming, in and of itself, hanging around so intensely you feel like you can no longer live with yourself. I can recall feeling, at just 24, as though my life was completely over or ruined to all intents and purpose (the visual I had, the morning after the rape, was of ink tipping over, pouring black stains all over my once pristine life and no chance of ever cleaning it up; INFJs also have the foible of intense perfectionism, which can lead to cut-and-dried perception of times when circumstances no longer meet the high benchmarks we set ourselves). This thew me into such intense stress that it began a cycle of repeated behaviours of excess, remorse and terrible decisions (my first marriage!), lasting a number of years. It was the birth of my daughter that finally snapped me out of it, although I had a marked relapse during the divorce era and, that time, it was my body that called “time” by forcing me to stop because of chronic health issues. Again, the remorse and self-criticism that linger, following a “grip” phase, can be extra-profound for the INFJ and feed into a poor state of health:

“Most personality types feel somewhat critical of themselves after being in the grip. INFJs are very critical of themselves after an episode because it’s seen as evidence of imperfection.“ What happens to an INFJ “in the grip?” – Leslie McDaniel Coaching

So, here’s a big question, could the INFJ “grip” state lead into chronic health conditions? Are my own chronic pain issues a form of extreme and long-lasting “grip” state (a search for intense sensations as distraction from overwhelm), or a post-traumatic reaction to prevous grip stress occurances that linger as sources of remorse, sadness and confusion?

The thing is, INFJ is not the dull-librarian of a personality type that some may regard it to be. Its inner workings are extremely fast moving and intricate, like white lightning running along wires of awareness as complex and unfathomable as a meadow full of overlapping spiders’ webs, covering everything in sight. Its ponderings get into everything, all imaginable topics of consideration, all pretty-much conducted on the inside. My interests certainly poke around into a whole spectrum of life queries and are deeply metaphysical a their core, nosying into all the corners of the universe and tirelessly seeking connections. No topic is “just” simple, isolated or singular as all things are regarded as part of an over-arching pattern and this is where my personality dwells; you could say, its happy place and natural state.

However, when stress pushes me too hard, something in me flips and all that energy, that entire modality, now turns inside out and begins to look to the outside for the same degree of “kicks” as it got from the inside before…only, the outside world, where senses dominate, is far from my speciality area, being the consumate introvert. In other words Extroverted Sensing (Se) is my weakest spot.

Suddenly, I need my fix from sensations and that can (and has) led to times in life when I have become the unleashed consumer in every sense of the word; spending impulsively (yes) but also gobbling up sensations, thrills, encounters, even danger, in fact everything I could lay my hands on, especially in my younger years, as already mentioned. Following the sexual trauma that I had no way of processing adequately, I not only behaved in ways that I didn’t recognise as being me but which attracted people who thought that persona really was me (a far more extroverted, larger than life, spontaneous, dare-devil person than I really am) when it really wasn’t. That factor has bewildered both me, and them, for years. Who was that? Who am I now? Why have I (seemingly) changed and become so boring, more insular and naval-gazing, than they ever recall me being? Loss of continuity of selfhood, and of friendships, has only added to my stress load over the years.

It was all too easy, given my relative youth at the time, for me to assume that this other chaotic version was the “real” me and that this was who I had grown up to become, if a rather sad and cynical outcome for the deep-thinking and sensitive girl I was before so, for a time, I invested in it further, as though there was no other choice. Now, looking back, I can regard it as just a sizeable blip in my life, compared to the person I am now, who is a steady continuum of the person I was as a child and young adult. One of my closest and most lasting friends is someone who knew me as that very young adult and who recognises me still; from the time before all that grip-causing trauma happened and, as luck would have it, we weren’t so much in touch during that other era when I was behaving oddly, so she skipped all the confusion and I’m glad of that. Other friendships, made during my “grip” phase, have fallen by the wayside, along with the old life I no longer recognise. The stress of this disjunct life led directly into chronic health issues…perhaps, unsurprisingly given a sense of continuation and a need to deeply know, trust and respect myself, are so very important to me. I felt lost to myself, for a pretty long time and that was the worse thing in the world to go through as an INFJ, to whom sense of self is literally everything and far more important than anything material.

During the confused phase, I began to doubt the version of self that had seemed so very rock-solid until that point. If that solid sense of self had been so easily dismissed by a single event then who was I really, what was real, was I even loveable (by anyone else or even myself) or just another fickle personality driven by base urges, the kind of person I had never really understood? Why was I so driven by sensations, suddenly, when I was used to diving for something much deeper and more profound?

Here lies a clue to my health. Chronic health certainly calls in intense sensations…pain of every variety, which is what I still live with daily. Is there a layer of myself where my brain thinks it is “saving me” from worse excesses by sending me these sensory distractions to consume my sensory attention constantly? There have been times that I have wondered something similar to this before, but it is realising about INFJ grip stress that has got me far closer to understanding it.

Here’s another important factor: I see now how I do get carried away by excitement, the kind of exitement that converts pretty easily into a fixation with the thrills of extroverted sensing, when it is not otherwise taken up with more abstract yet, to me as an INFJ, engaging matters. When I am internally focussed, that perpetually excited person is who I am and there’s nothing wrong with that per se, plus its not at all dangerous to get excited by ideas and abstractions. I get excited about a lot of things that other people might consider to be abstract or obscure but, to me, they are everything, making life worth living, bringing me constant entertainment and joy. My innate excitement about “human consciousness”, “nature”, “the universe” and everything in it has carried me though many a dark time when other people might feel as though they are bored rigid or that all the lights have been turned off because their focus is on their immediate, physical environment. Mine is “out there” somewhere cosmic, looking at the vastly bigger picture and gaining its thrill from far more reliable sources of thrill; ones that are far less conditional, always available. This is why I gain so much intrinsic pleasure from my spiritual perspective; without it, its as though all the colours are turned down to monochrome.

However turned around to face the external/sensory field, that excitement can quickly carry me away into the realms of inappropriate behaviour, being or doing too much, too impulsively, just (basically) “too much” everything because, in the world of the physical, we have to set limits and boundaries, we can’t dive all-in. In my younger days, lack of grasping this is what got me into trouble, like the night I was sexually abused, which began as a night when I was quite over-the-top exuberant with the thrill of life and wanted to share it with the world, spilling my own edges with enthusiasm and thus completely off my guard. I, quite simply, didn’t see it coming and my usually pivotal intuition had completely left the building (excessive alcohol always did that to me too, so, when excitement led to more drinking there was a double effect). All these factors added to my self-blame and remorse after the event and I spent many years, unconsciously, wary of my own excitement states afterwards.

I realise now, that kind of excitement can be both uplifting and contagious but it can also (in the world as it currently is…) lead to liberties being taken. Something similar happened last weekend when my husband and I were reunited with our daughter and the three of us must have been beaming joy and excitement to be together as we sat outside a cafe chattering away, enjoying all the sensory thrills of being in a lovely place with good food and each other. This excitement attracted the attention of a character who, in hindsight, I would have avoided quite utterly based on my pure instincts…but, here’s the thing, turned inside out by my sensory excitement, my instincts (usually my greatest super-power) were dialled way down low and I let this guy get a foothold into our family circle since he insisted on talking to us, asking personal things he had no business demanding to know about each of us.

It quickly turned dark and uncomfortable, like a kind of daylight robbery of the energetic variety, making my daughter feel very ill-at-ease since he targeted her especially, and I regret now that I didn’t step up to my full power to close down his attempts to bother us (in the end, we curtailed our stay there and walked away; in hindsight, that didn’t feel assertive enough and I was annoyed at myself). This is what happens to the INFJs strongest traits when they are dialled down to lean more concertedly into our lesser ones; yes, we can seem big or magnetic in our enthusiasm or “light” energy because of how expansive we naturally are (which draws attention) but this is often simultaneous with loosing our foothold with the very skills we normally navigate by. Instead, we are left to our weaker “tools”, similar to when a left handed person is forced to use their right hand or vice versa.

I have also noticed that, because social situations aren’t my forte as an INFJ, the energetic depletion I experience in socially demanding situations because of that weakness (which has only grown more profound over the years) leaves me vulnerable to this kind of wrong-footed scenario, where the very skills that normally serve me so well are too off-centre to be of use when I most need them. Chronic fatigue syndrome has only added to this effect, making me a walking target if I am not careful about avoiding overwhelm or drawing boundaries.

What am I left with from all this new realisation? Is there any point to knowing about it? Well, just as I have always found profound value in exploring the Myers Briggs method, I have found the same to be true of any system of enhancing self-awareness so that we can see what might otherwise be off to the side, sat squarely in our blind-spot, completely out of sight though it potentially affects our behaviour or our health every day of the week. Awareness sheds light on our unconscious traits, not so we can judge them but so that we can come to understand them rather better and this is, in a sense, a super-power that we then acquire, becoming more valuable to us than to not have the trait or foible in the first place. In a way, we can reach the point of saying “I am glad that I have this trait…now that I see it and understand it, because it helps me to know myself better”.

I recall when I did my first deep-dive into Myers Briggs, gobbling every book and resource I could on the topic, I learned that our weakest trait is usually the one we tackle or master the latest in our lives out of all the four components of our personality stack, perhaps in our middle years or beyond. Until that point, it can remain the one thing, the Achilles’ heel, that constantly causes us to flounder or trip up. Facing up to it makes me think of a mid-life crisis of sorts although, as with every midlife crisis, as we hit up against that one thing that has been bothering us for years, now eyeball to eyeball with it, there is always the opportunity to grow from the close encounter. Perhaps that is what my health crisis has been for me and realising so much about this sensory component, via the “grip” state, could be a big clue to how and why it happened to me.

I have been all-too aware of having hit upon such a “maturity challenge/opportunity” throughout most of my years of chronic health journeying. I am certainly not the same person who first embarked on the trek and would not choose to go back to the beginning, for anything in this world. How am I doing? The jury is still out but I can now look back at my younger self with compassion, if not always full understanding (that is a lifetime’s work) though that is now getting there in leaps and bounds.

This new information about grip stress adds a very large portion of the missing understanding in one go because, to me at least, it makes total sense. Turned inside out, so (in a sense) my innards pointing outwards, I would be a lose canon on deck as the same rules don’t apply in the physical world as in the universal “field” where I have always chosen to dwell and which is my more-familiar place. Do I learn from this that ranging too far, taking anything to excess (even on the inside…), is not such a healthy state for our physical-human form? It can certainly prove to be seriously ungrounding.

I can also start to become more aware of the signs that I am slipping into a “grip stress” state. What can I do to divert or defuse that when it happens, before it takes over? How can I teach myself rules of engagement for those rare times I turn my focus to the sensory more so than the intuitive, so that I don’t overdo it or lose my power? How can I make the sensory realm a healthier place to be, by (I’ve already done much of this work over the last 10 years) seeking my sensory kicks from being in nature rather than immersing in human-devised methods of sensory titillation. I can watch myself for signs of joining in with behaviours that aren’t really mine (defaulting to the dominant “norms” in social settings, in order to blend in…that old foible of mine) which only ever results in me depleting my innate guidance skills and personal power. I can pace myself to avoid getting carried away, whatever my “grip” outlet happens to be on a particular day (such as manic research, impulsive decisions, overdoing some activity or other, over indulgence, compulsive spending, worrying or ruminating obsessively, writing too many words, talking too much or generally oversharing in ways I later regret, spending too long on technology, even taking too many photographs).

I can ask myself “what has got me into this grip?” then use all my tools to let go of its squeeze upon me, liberating myself with breathing and mindfulness, visualising softness coming into any tension points that I happen to become aware that I am holding in various parts of the body (increased body awareness can be another route out of a “grip” state). I can acknowledge the inner child in me that is feeling completely overwhelmed and offer her other outlets (I’d been doing that work anyway). I can bring myself back into the present moment, into gratitude, as a means of anchoring in my body, where stress can’t get to me so very much because I am fully present and aware of my senses here-and-now, not needing to go off in search of them by means of over-stimulation. I can explore the posibility that pain is just an invitation from my body to stay more present with my actual sensory awarenesses, without needing to venture off in search of even more of them beyond the scope of my tolerance levels as a highly sensitive being.

Finding the source…as in, the REAL source…of the stress is the very key to the door, so that it can be looked straight in the eye and dealt with face-on, before it develops or takes over.

So, this has been, for me, a gigantuan piece of the jigsaw of self-realisation and I would expect that whatever Myers Briggs personality type a person happens to be, the same could be true for anyone interested in how they respond to being under intense stress, perhaps causing them to flip towards using their very weakest traits (their Myers Briggs inferior function) to handle their biggest crises, which is a bizarre turn of events when you think about it. Imagine how many of us potentially default to our weakest, least evolved, tools when pressured and the combined effect this has upon the collective when there is a whole lot of stress going about in the world. For my husband as an INFP, for instance, his “grip stress” state is to find himself thinking through all the logical details of life too much during periods of the day (or night!) when he should be chilling-out or using his personal values and emotions, being his dominant function of Introverted Feeling (Fi), as his main guide, as he generally does when not so stressed-out. This is his inferior Extroverted Thinking (Te) function trying to take over in a crisis (and is his absolute nemesis…he loathes to spend time over-thinking and seldom does!) and can quickly lead to panic, overwhelm, lack of sleep, huge amounts of self-criticism and loss of self-confidence (thankfully, he seldom gets overwhelmed as he has such a calm-demeanour, thus I don’t get to see him in this state very often).

So, as you can see, each type has its own “grip stress” foible to be explored, by looking into the inferior trait and noticing if this sometimes becomes the default mode, in lieu of your dominant function, in times of severe stress. Seeing it in the clear light of day can defuse the grip stress state and lead to far better understanding of how to evolve the inferior trait, enabling you to move through the stress in a new and far healthier fashion, something we could all benefit from learning in these high stress times which are, nontheless, loaded with evolutionary potential if we but dare to do the inner work.

Related post (addressing INFP “grip stress” and chronic illness) – The healthy INFP: What might that look like?

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