Cognitive Dynamics at Play
Now that I reflect on this situation, I can see how the Essential Motivator stressors
triggered some inappropriate use of my preferred Jungian Cognitive Processes. In the
Cognitive Dynamics lens, the eight mental functions described by Carl Jung play
different roles in our personality. As someone with INTP preferences, my Leading Role
process (also known as heroic process) is Analyzing what is going wrong (or right) in a
situation (introverted Thinking). My Supporting Role process is Interpreting emerging
patterns (extraverted iNtuiting). So I thought I was being helpful by seeing emerging
patterns, then analyzing what I thought was a leverage point for ‘fixing’ something. I
often make important contributions in this way, but sometimes that analysis and
interpretation isn’t welcomed or even needed. In the case of the difficult conversation,
this was part of the dynamic and as I put forth rather strongly the insight I had, it was not
only not welcome, it was the wrong time. I didn’t read the situation correctly and engage
the process that is my least frequently engaged of Noticing (extraverted Sensing). Instead
I went with what I recognized as a pattern in this person’s behavior, so I trusted my
‘relief’ role information of Reviewing (introverted Sensing).
In the INTP Cognitive Dynamics pattern, Connecting (extraverted Feeling) plays an
Aspirational Role. Using this process is what I aspire to but often don’t use well. And in
this case, I certainly didn’t use it well. I didn’t connect with what the other person was
experiences nor did I express anything positive at the moment of anger. So now, I had
one more way to be incompetent and not meet the core Theorist needs. It just heaped
coals on the fire going on in my consciousness as I realized what I had done.
Since I was really stressed, I didn’t notice this until later after flipping into the Devilish
Role process of Valuing (introverted Feeling) and in that space, I felt thoroughly justified
in expressing my frustrations and feelings even if they are not appropriate. This was truly
a dark shadow response and that is what happened in that difficult conversation.
So my lesson learned is to notice the context and become more attuned to the responses
of others before I speak. Cognitive Dynamics gives me some clues as to what my brain is
doing and then some practices to use when I’m caught up in not getting my core Essential
Motivator needs met.