Jung’s Portrait of the ENFJ / ESFJ Types

Jung did not distinguish between the ENFJ and ESFJ types. Instead he focused on what was common to these two types as both were dominated by Extroverted Feeling (Fe). Jung has been noted by many to be a forbidding and inaccessible writer and reading him is indeed difficult.

Jung’s Portrait of the ENFJ / ESFJ Types

by Carl Gustav Jung, first published 1921

Extroverted Feeling (Fe) in general

Feeling in the extraverted attitude is orientated by objective data, i.e. the object is the indispensable determinant of the kind of feeling. It agrees with objective values. If one has always known feeling as a subjective fact, the nature of extraverted feeling will not immediately be understood, since it has freed itself as fully as possible from the subjective factor, and has, instead, become wholly subordinated to the influence of the object. Even where it seems to show a certain independence of the quality of the concrete object, it is none the less under the spell of. traditional or generally valid standards of some sort. I may feel constrained, for instance, to use the predicate ‘beautiful’ or ‘good’, not because I find the object ‘beautiful’ or ‘good’ from my own subjective feeling, but because it is fitting and politic so to do; and fitting it certainly is, inasmuch as a contrary opinion would disturb the general feeling situation. A feeling-judgment such as this is in no way a simulation or a lie — it is merely an act of accommodation. A picture, for instance, may be termed beautiful, because a picture that is hung in a drawing-room and bearing a well-known signature is generally assumed to be beautiful, or because the predicate ‘ugly’ might offend the family of the fortunate possessor, or because there is a benevolent intention on the part of the visitor to create a pleasant feeling-atmosphere, to which end everything must be felt as agreeable. Such feelings are governed by the standard of the objective determinants. As such they are genuine, and represent the total visible feeling-function.

In precisely the same way as extraverted thinking strives to rid itself of subjective influences, extraverted feeling has also to undergo a certain process of differentiation, before it is finally denuded of every subjective trimming. The valuations resulting from the act of feeling either correspond directly with objective values or at least chime in with certain traditional and generally known standards of value. This kind of feeling is very largely responsible for the fact that so many people flock to the theatre, to concerts, or to Church, and what is more, with correctly adjusted positive feelings. Fashions, too, owe their existence to it, and, what is far more valuable, the whole positive and wide-spread support of social, philanthropic, and such like cultural enterprises. In such matters, extraverted feeling proves itself a creative factor. Without this feeling, for instance, a beautiful and harmonious sociability would be unthinkable. So far extraverted feeling is just as beneficent and rationally effective as extraverted thinking. But this salutary effect is lost as soon as the object gains an exaggerated influence. For, when this happens, extraverted feeling draws the personality too much into the object, i.e. the object assimilates the person, whereupon the personal character of the feeling, which constitutes its principal charm, is lost. Feeling then becomes cold, material, untrustworthy. It betrays a secret aim, or at least arouses the suspicion of it in an impartial observer. No longer does it make that welcome and refreshing impression the invariable accompaniment of genuine feeling; instead, one scents a pose or affectation, although the egocentric motive may be entirely unconscious.

Such overstressed, extraverted feeling certainly fulfils æsthetic expectations, but no longer does it speak to the heart; it merely appeals to the senses, or — worse still — to the reason. Doubtless it can provide æsthetic padding for a situation, but there it stops, and beyond that its effect is nil. It has become sterile. Should this process go further, a strangely contradictory dissociation of feeling develops; every object is seized upon with feeling-valuations, and numerous relationships are made which are inherently and mutually incompatible. Since such aberrations would be quite impossible if a sufficiently emphasized subject were present, the last vestige of a real personal standpoint also becomes suppressed. The subject becomes so swallowed up in individual feeling processes that to the observer it seems as though there were no longer a subject of feeling but merely a feeling process. In such a condition feeling has entirely forfeited its original human warmth, it gives an impression of pose, inconstancy, unreliability, and in the worst cases appears definitely hysterical.

The Extraverted Feeling [ENFJ / ESFJ] Type

In so far as feeling is, incontestably, a more obvious peculiarity of feminine psychology than thinking, the most pronounced feeling-types are also to be found among women. When extraverted feeling possesses the priority we speak of an extraverted feeling-type. Examples of this type that I can call to mind are, almost without exception, women. She is a woman who follows the guiding-line of her feeling. As the result of education her feeling has become developed into an adjusted function, subject to conscious control. Except in extreme cases, feeling has a personal character, in spite of the fact that the subjective factor may be already, to a large extent, repressed. The personality appears to be adjusted in relation to objective conditions. Her feelings correspond with objective situations and general values. Nowhere is this more clearly revealed than in the so-called ‘love-choice’; the ‘suitable’ man is loved, not another one; he is suitable not so much because he fully accords with the fundamental character of the woman — as a rule she is quite uninformed about this — but because he meticulously corresponds in standing, age, capacity, height, and family respectability with every reasonable requirement. Such a formulation might, of course, be easily rejected as ironical or depreciatory, were I not fully convinced that the love-feeling of this type of woman completely corresponds with her choice. It is genuine, and not merely intelligently manufactured. Such ‘reasonable’ marriages exist without number, and they are by no means the worst. Such women are good comrades to their husbands and excellent mothers, so long as husbands or children possess the conventional psychic constitution. One can feel ‘correctly’, however, only when feeling is disturbed by nothing else. But nothing disturbs feeling so much as thinking. It is at once intelligible, therefore, that this type should repress thinking as much as possible. This does not mean to say that such a woman does not think at all; on the contrary, she may even think a great deal and very ably, but her thinking is never sui generis; it is, in fact, an Epimethean appendage to her feeling. What she cannot feel, she cannot consciously think. ‘But I can’t think what I don’t feel’, such a type said to me once in indignant tones. As far as feeling permits, she can think very well, but every conclusion, however logical, that might lead to a disturbance of feeling is rejected from the outset. It is simply not thought. And thus everything that corresponds with objective valuations is good: these things are loved or treasured; the rest seems merely to exist in a world apart.

But a change comes over the picture when the importance of the object reaches a still higher level. As already explained above, such an assimilation of subject to object then occurs as almost completely to engulf the subject of feeling. Feeling loses its personal character — it becomes feeling per se; it almost seems as though the personality were wholly dissolved in the feeling of the moment. Now, since in actual life situations constantly and successively alternate, in which the feeling-tones released are not only different but are actually mutually contrasting, the personality inevitably becomes dissipated in just so many different feelings. Apparently, he is this one moment, and something completely different the next — apparently, I repeat, for in reality such a manifold personality is altogether impossible. The basis of the ego always remains identical with itself, and, therefore, appears definitely opposed to the changing states of feeling. Accordingly the observer senses the display of feeling not so much as a personal expression of the feeling-subject as an alteration of his ego, a mood, in other words. Corresponding with the degree of dissociation between the ego and the momentary state of feeling, signs of disunion with the self will become more or less evident, i.e. the original compensatory attitude of the unconscious becomes a manifest opposition. This reveals itself, in the first instance, in extravagant demonstrations of feeling, in loud and obtrusive feeling predicates, which leave one, however, somewhat incredulous. They ring hollow; they are not convincing. On the contrary, they at once give one an inkling of a resistance that is being overcompensated, and one begins to wonder whether such a feeling-judgment might not just as well be entirely different. In fact, in a very short time it actually is different. Only a very slight alteration in the situation is needed to provoke forthwith an entirely contrary estimation of the selfsame object. The result of such an experience is that the observer is unable to take either judgment at all seriously. He begins to reserve his own opinion. But since, with this type, it is a matter of the greatest moment to establish an intensive feeling rapport with his environment, redoubled efforts are now required to overcome this reserve. Thus, in the manner of the circulus vitiosus, the situation goes from bad to worse. The more the feeling relation with the object becomes overstressed, the nearer the unconscious opposition approaches the surface.

We have already seen that the extraverted feeling type, as a rule, represses his thinking, just because thinking is the function most liable to disturb feeling. Similarly, when thinking seeks to arrive at pure results of any kind, its first act is to exclude feeling, since nothing is calculated to harass and falsify thinking so much as feeling-values. Thinking, therefore, in so far as it is an independent function, is repressed in the extraverted feeling type. Its repression, as I observed before, is complete only in so far as its inexorable logic forces it to conclusions that are incompatible with feeling. It is suffered to exist as the servant of feeling, or more accurately its slave. Its backbone is broken; it may not operate on its own account, in accordance with its own laws, Now, since a logic exists producing inexorably right conclusions, this must happen somewhere, although beyond the bounds of consciousness, i.e. in the unconscious. Pre-eminently, therefore, the unconscious content of this type is a particular kind of thinking. It is an infantile, archaic, and negative thinking.

So long as conscious feeling preserves the personal character, or, in other words, so long as the personality does not become swallowed up by successive states of feeling, this unconscious thinking remains compensatory. But as soon as the personality is dissociated, becoming dispersed in mutually contradictory states of feeling, the identity of the ego is lost, and the subject becomes unconscious. But, because of the subject’s lapse into the unconscious, it becomes associated with the unconscious thinking — function, therewith assisting the unconscious thought to occasional consciousness. The stronger the conscious feeling relation, and therefore, the more ‘depersonalized,’ it becomes, the stronger grows the unconscious opposition. This reveals itself in the fact that unconscious ideas centre round just the most valued objects, which are thus pitilessly stripped of their value. That thinking which always thinks in the ‘nothing but’ style is in its right place here, since it destroys the ascendancy of the feeling that is chained to the object.

Unconscious thought reaches the surface in the form of irruptions, often of an obsessing nature, the general character of which is always negative and depreciatory. Women of this type have moments when the most hideous thoughts fasten upon the very objects most valued by their feelings. This negative thinking avails itself of every infantile prejudice or parallel that is calculated to breed doubt in the feeling-value, and it tows every primitive instinct along with it, in the effort to make ‘a nothing but’ interpretation of the feeling. At this point, it is perhaps in the nature of a side-remark to observe that the collective unconscious, i.e. the totality of the primordial images, also becomes enlisted in the same manner, and from the elaboration and development of these images there dawns the possibility of a regeneration of the attitude upon another basis.

Hysteria, with the characteristic infantile sexuality of its unconscious world of ideas, is the principal form of neurosis with this type.

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