Was That Really Me?: How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality

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9780891061700: Was That Really Me?: How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality

In Was That Really Me?, Naomi Quenk has provided the next giant step in applying Jung's model of development in healthy personalities. That step is to understand, accept, and learn to handle our hidden personality responsibly.

Updating the classic Beside Ourselves, Quenk has given us a way to understand this part of ourselves as well as a practical guide for turning what appears to be negative into a positive awareness that enhances our growth and effectiveness. People typically find this to be a surprisingly freeing experience.

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About the Author:

Naomi L. Quenk, PhD, is a clinical psychologist in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has been writing about and conducting workshops on various aspects of the MBTI nationally and internationally for many years and is actively involved in research, theory, and applications of the instrument. She is a past president of the Association for Psychological Type (APT), former Director of Training for the APT MBTI Training Program, and a member of the Board of Directors of the MBTI Trust, Inc. Dr. Quenk is the author or coauthor of many MBTI computer reports, guides, and other MBTI support materials.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

PREFACE

In the nearly ten years since BESIDE OURSELVES, the first edition of this book, was published, I have learned a great deal more about how and when our hidden personality emerges in daily life. I now have a much greater appreciation of out-of-character episodes as essential to our general well-being as well as to our continuing growth and development. I continue to be awed by the overwhelming evidence that we are born with everything we need to become effective and complete human beings.

In this new edition, the notion of stress is central. Stress is broadly defined as any external or internal event that lessens or depletes the energy we typically have available to conduct our daily lives. I use this expanded definition of stress to explain and illustrate the ways in which stress is a necessary and sufficient stimulus for bringing out our hidden personality. My goal is to help readers arrive at an enlightening and helpful answer to the question "Was that really me?"

I have often been asked just how and why I became interested in individual differences in healthy personalities. As with many of my colleagues, my earliest interest in psychology was in psychopathology. However, psychological problems--difficult childhood experiences, trauma, deprivation, and so on--seemed pretty easy to explain. Accounting for psychological health seemed a much more challenging enterprise. It was therefore fortunate that I was introduced to psychological type in 1960 on my first day of graduate school in the psychology department at the University of California at Berkeley. I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator(r) (MBTI(r)) personality inventory along with a number of other personality tests. At the time, the MBTI inventory was a little-known personality instrument used only by a few researchers. Later, when I received my test results, I was surprised that the description of type, INFP, was so positive. Despite my interest in health rather than pathology, !

I had expected results that pointed out the negative and pathological.

Over the next several years I learned more about the MBTI inventory through the creativity studies at Berkeley's Institute for Personality Assessment and Research (IPAR). I used the instrument in my dissertation research, although it was not my central focus. I was impressed with its potential as a vehicle for exploring normal, healthy human behavior, which continues to be my focus as a researcher, psychotherapist, teacher, and participant in all other aspects of life.

A major influence that eventually led me to write BESIDE OURSELVES was my reading of C.G. Jung's book PSYCHOLOGICAL TYPES. Over the course of several years I read most of Jung's writings, and my depth and breadth of understanding vastly increased as I came to understand the overall Jungian context within which typology exists. I have included a discussion of the inferior function, or hidden personality, in most of the introductory MBTI workshops I have taught and have developed workshops that focus specifically on this puzzling, yet readily understood, aspect of our everyday personality.

Since the publication of BESIDE OURSELVES in 1993, a great many people have become familiar with their own and others' inferior function experiences through reading either the book itself or a booklet-length version called IN THE GRIP (1996, 2000). Hundreds of people have attended workshops and shared their experiences and insights, which has formed the basis for this revision.

This revised edition has a simpler explanation of type dynamics, type differentiation, and type development than the previous edition and includes a discussion of what each type finds particularly energizing in the workplace. It focuses in part on expressions of the inferior function that persist over time. Using our broadened definition of stress, this may be the result of daily stresses, fatigue, illness, or other disruptions to our available energy. Work stress is used as an example of the kind of long-term, persistent stress that may keep a person chronically in the grip, and a new section describes what each type finds particularly stressful at work. In addition, the large amount of new information from individuals and groups permitted expanded discussion of the influence of the tertiary and auxiliary functions on different aspects of the inferior function experience. Gender differences are included where sufficient information was available.

New "stories" about people in the grip of their inferior function have replaced some of those from the first edition. Each of the eight inferior function chapters contains at least one story that describes the effects of persistent stress and the chronic grip expressions that occurred. The new stories, as well as the new quotations from different types that are sprinkled throughout the book, were obtained from the responses of hundred or workshop participants, psychotherapy clients, and others who answered questionnaires or volunteered to contribute stories for the book. I was fortunate to have questionnaires provided by a sample of several hundred men and women in their early twenties whose training program included learning about psycholoical type and verifying their MBTI type. In addition, research data dealing with stress, coping with stress, and health and illness behavior were available from studies conducted for the revised MBTI MANUAL that was published in 1998. Readers who would like detailed information that covers both research results and anecdotal data on the inferior function will find it in summary form in the second edition of IN THE GRIP.

The information in both the first and second editions of this book is rooted in Jung's many insights, especially his notion that people are naturally oriented toward becoming their individual selves as completely as possible. Such an effort on the part of individuals requires understanding and accepting the seemingly "negative" parts of ourselves as necessary, healthy, and productive. I hope that reading this book will encourage people to appreciate their innate and omnipresent capacity for self-knowledge and growth as individuals, in relationships, and as members of society.

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