From the world of the S’s practical emotions, we move to the world of the N’s intuitive and secretive emotions. Theirs is the inside world, where inside information receives dominant attention. This further complicates the N’s rich emotional life. Emotions are still a response to the world. However, in the case of the N, it is the world inside their own minds, embellished at times by imagination, that is shaping their lives.
Secretive Emotions Are, Though Virtual, Real
It’s a real world, even if it is only a virtual world. And to the mind of the N, it is as real as the world outside of the mind — the one that most of us are all too prone to label as the only “real world.” Remember, it’s well known that the N can run into an object like a chair and, while lost in their virtual world, exclaim that they never saw it.
So intense is their focus on the inner world that the sign on the freeway goes by unnoticed the reason for going to the store is lost. Or the name of the book is forgotten as they strain at the colossal task of experiencing and processing their mental meanderings and all the emotions they produce. Just because they live in their thoughts and feelings does not mean they experience less or feel no emotions from their thoughts and feelings. In fact, just the opposite.
These Secretive Emotions Can Create Feelings of Being Very “Different”
Rob can’t remember how many times he has had to endure a stern reminder of things he has not observed or remembered with the same clarity as his “S” wife’s well-practiced observational skills. He knows it reinforces his feelings of being very different. In the face of her charges, he feels he is reminded of his inferiority. Note the word “feels”. It’s the emotional response he has to what she says, not the lack of remembering, that stirs him. He tells me that when his wife forgets something and he reminds her, she brushes it off with an excuse. She seems unaffected by the momentary loss of her native skill. Her emotional response is minimal.
The emotions produced in him and her for the same failure feel like opposites. And they are at least very different. It’s not just that failure to register what their physical eyes see affects the Ns more . It is how not noting what they see affects them that creates the different emotional response.
Ns Often Suffer from a Lowered Self-Esteem
The N is troubled by the loss of respect in the eyes of the S and the lowering of their self-esteem, which is always a main touchstone of happiness for them. An over-indulged sensitivity also brings on the feeling of being judged. This “thin skin” can be hard to thicken. Some achieve it and some don’t. The solution is not always the obvious attempt to be less sensitive. Rather, it is to strengthen their self-image. A low self-image is always the breeding ground of blossoming, negative emotions.
Their Sensitive Emotions Are Also Enjoyable to Them
The N’s sensitive emotions are actually enjoyable to them. At times, the S can’t fathom why. They don’t see these secretive, internal emotions. They have little knowledge that the feeling of low self-worth can, with the same gift of sensitivity, be changed in an instant into feelings of pleasure. The N’s imagination can change anything at any time.
Their Secretive Emotions Can Create Any Kind of World They Like
Their inner world can change as fast as the outer world, but the change can’t be observed by others. Living in their minds also means they can create any kind of world they like, regardless of the conditions of the world outside. They can feel and sense the pleasures of anything that is imagined vividly enough. So vivid is their imagination that it is hard for them to detect at times whether the experience was limited to their mind or actually experienced in real life. The emotions are the same.
Secretive Emotions Can Imagine a Dark World
They can also imagine the darkest world of self-blame, a world where they and life itself is worth nothing, where utter despair is no phantom passing in the night but a nightmarish monster.
Whether Bright or Dark, Thoughts Are Equally Vivid and Powerful
Imagination does not discriminate. Bright or dark thoughts are equally vivid and remembered with equal power. If only the S would understand this and not berate the NF, in particular, for their long struggles at rising from their feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, and hopelessness. Rise they will, if not clinically depressed, and even then they will also rise if hope glimmers again. The NF is particularly vulnerable to the dark emotions that plague our souls.
Hard to Detect
The emotions of the N are, of course, hard to detect unless they choose for them to be displayed. And that do not very often. Sometimes the N can successfully hide emotions from all those around. When they do emerge later due to some unbearable internal pressure, people will express surprise at why these emotions surfaced at a time unrelated to any event that might have prompted them.
“Why don’t they live like us?” the S puzzles. “Be an open book; let it out.” The N either does not want to be so open. (Hidden is safe). Or they can’t face the potential hurt. Their emotions can tangle them in a web of embarrassment — real or not — and they fear their exposure with a passion. Just being misunderstood is a form of hurt for the truly sensitive among them. They have adopted private lives since they knew from the beginning that they are vulnerable to hurt.
Ns Can Fear Their Own Emotions
The Ns can even fear their own emotions because they are so powerful. If they allow emotional expression, they know the emotions can escalate and create all kinds of havoc. Such emotional eruptions can dominate their minds in an instant. Later, they will probably regret such ill-chosen displays. Depression can also be just this: being taken emotionally captive.
“Outer” for the S and “Inner” for the N
Simply think “outer” (the physical side of life and the contentment with stimulation from the outside) for the S. Think “inner” (mental musings, looking behind the facts to the meanings) for the N. Then you will understand their emotions most of the time. The S and the N produce divergent life experiences.
Harder to Differentiate Between the NT and NF
It’s harder to draw a precise line between the emotions of the S and the N since both have an inner world and live also in an outer world. It is also difficult to understand all Ns in all cases. This is because the NT and the NF, as we will see later, have very different responses to the invasion of emotion. The difference between the S and the N, to generalize, is largely a matter of degree and a matter of how they experience their emotions. However we see it, it makes a huge difference in how they live their lives.
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