top of page

The Extroverted Intuitive

photo by Eloise Christensen

Looking into more specific traits of the intuitive function is done by classifying individuals into extroverts or introverts. For example, the extroverted intuitive focuses on the external world for intuitive information and possibilities. People, objects, opportunities all entice the assessment of possibilities. The extroverted intuitive has a strong sense of what is new and interesting. The outside world inspires a discovery process. These individuals can be highly creative and successful if well disciplined and the flow of unconscious inspiration is integrated with the other functions. The extroverted intuitive type is important to business and culture because of the capacity to recognize talent and facilitate development (Jung, 1971/1976, p. 369 [CW 6, para. 614]).

There can be an underside to the extroverted intuitive function which manifests in many ways. Clinically relevant to psychotherapy an unbalanced intuitive function can be demonstrated through a fickle style and inability to implement ideas, loose moral structure, neglect of the body and responsibilities, too much focus on others rather than the self, a tendency to project, and impulsivity and willful nature (Jung, 1971/1976, pp. 369-371 [CW 6, para. 614-616]). To follow is a closer examination of the presentations of an unbalanced extroverted intuitive function.

The extroverted intuitive’s interest in discoveries can run hot and cold without much explanation (Jung, 1971/1976, p. 368 [CW 6, para. 613]). Because of this passion for interesting things, there is always another potentially exciting prospect ahead. As a result, the extroverted intuitive may show little regard for others or himself. An adventurous spirit rules his sense of reason.

If the intuitive function of the extroverted intuitive is not well situated in moral standing, it can be quite problematic (Jung, 1971/1976). The moral compass is devised from his own sense loyalty and an ambiguous compliance to authority (pp. 368-369 [CW 6, para. 613]). Just as this type can be beneficial to culture and society, the shadow manifestation can easily exploit people. If their morality is not well situated, this type can objectify others and situations because of the lack of society based principals and driven passion for new ideas (Jung, 1971/1976, p. 369 [CW 6, para. 613]). Many powerful business people and entrepreneurs are extroverted intuitives. For example, someone with a dominant extroverted intuitive style can put power and greed before the welfare of others, or tend toward having affairs. Civilized structures are not as important to the unbalanced extraverted intuitive who becomes mesmerized with the abilities of intuitive insight. As the capacity to see potential creates enthrallment, the unconscious pull of the intuitive function supersedes the implementation of moral practices. They become inebriated with the capacity to sense opportunity.

The intuitive’s morality is governed neither by thinking nor by feeling; he has his own characteristic morality, which consists in a loyalty to his vision and in voluntary submission to its authority. Consideration for the welfare of others is weak. Their psychic well-being counts as little with him as does his own. He has equally little regard for their convictions and way of life, and on this account he is often put down as an immoral and unscrupulous adventurer. Since his intuition is concerned with externals and with ferreting out their possibilities, he readily turns to professions in which he can exploit these capacities to the full. Many business tycoons, entrepreneurs, speculators, stockbrokers, politicians, etc., belong to this type. (Jung, 1971/1976, pp. 368-369 [CW 6, para. 613])

Another difficulty for the extroverted intuitive can be the integration of the sensate function through the practice of self-care and mundane responsibilities. Access to this faraway knowledge can leave a body neglected and everyday life untended. It is the implementation of the ideas that is difficult and tedious for this individual. Brilliant prospects are far more captivating than following up with the demands of executing them. Interpretatively, both von Franz (1971) and Jung (1971/1976) did not seem to have too much faith in the extroverted intuitive’s ability to master the integration of the intuitive function with the capacity to follow through with ideas.

A disadvantage of having this as the main function is that the intuitive type sows but rarely reaps. For instance, if one starts a new business, there are generally initial difficulties: the thing does not work immediately; it is necessary to wait a certain time for it to become profitable. The intuitive very often does not wait long enough. He starts the business, but that is enough for him; he sells out and loses on it, but the next owner makes a lot of money out of the same business. The intuitive is always the one who invents but who in the end gets nothing out of it. But if he is more balanced and can wait a little, and if he does not dissociate completely by identifying with his main function, then he is a person who can store up new things in all the corners of the world. (von Franz, 1971, p. 31)

As the ideas become conscious, excitement follows. Implementation tends to deflate the excitement with obligation and responsibility. The intuitive likes the high of potential, so the process of bringing something to fruition can be tedious. There is a tendency to “dissociate” from responsibilities in the attempt to access the intuitive function, making a completed accomplishment or reaching goals quite obscure for the extroverted intuitive.

With the ability to see possibilities and potential in external world, focus can easily be drawn to developing others rather than himself. “Naturally this attitude holds great dangers, for all too easily the intuitive may fritter away his life on things and people, spreading about him an abundance of life which others live and not he himself” (Jung, 1971/1976, p. 369 [CW 6, para. 615]). The extroverted intuitive is much happier seeing potential in the external world, therefore relationships can take precedence over their own accomplishments and security. In the addiction world, this characteristic can be a trending toward co-dependency, a pathological focus on the well being of others.

Another psychological challenge for the extroverted intuitive is a predilection to project onto others, and the inability to discern reality from the projection. This challenge can cause paranoid or false ideations of the external object, clouding the accuracy of intuitive information. Because intuition is the dominant function, reason and thinking take a minor role in processing impressions. Therefore the grip of the intuitive function manifesting through projections can lead the extroverted impressions astray.

When the intuitive lets things come to such a pass, he also has his own unconscious against him. The unconscious of that intuitive bears some resemblance to that of the sensation type. Thinking and feeling, being largely repressed, come up with infantile, archaic thoughts and feelings similar to those of the countertype. They take the form of intense projections which are just as absurd as his, though they seem to lack the “magical” character of the latter and are chiefly concerned with quasi-realities such as sexual suspicions, financial hazards, forebodings of illness, etc. The difference seems to be due to the repression of real sensation. These make themselves felt when, for instance, the intuitive suddenly finds himself entangled with a highly unsuitable woman (or man) because these persons have stirred up the archaic sensations. This leads to an unconscious, compulsive tie which bodes nobody any good. (Jung, 1971/1976, p. 369 [CW 6, para. 615])

When caught in the undertow of the unconscious, the intuitive’s behaviors can become compulsive (Jung, 1971/1976, pp. 369-370 [CW 6, para. 615]). They can misread potential and get caught on faint glimmers of hope. Because of sensed possibilities, some real, some not, there is little restraint and a surge toward freedom. Rational judgment is not relied upon in decision making or to slow down impulses. The impressions are skewed by the intuitive possibilities being processed.

He exempts himself from restrictions of reasons only to fall victim to neurotic compulsions in the form of over-subtle ratiocinations, hair-splitting dialectics, and a compulsive tie to the sensation aroused by the object. His conscious attitude toward both sensation and object is one of ruthless superiority. Not that he means to be ruthless or superior—he simply does not see the object that everyone else sees and rides roughshod over it, just as the sensation type has no eyes for its soul. But sooner or later the object takes revenge in the form of compulsive hypochondriacal ideas, phobias, and every imaginable kind of absurd bodily sensation. (pp. 369-370 [CW 6, para. 615])

The grip of the unbalanced extroverted intuitive function manifests in an arrogance and assurance because of past successful readings of situations or unguided faith in the current of the intuitive function. Therefore it is hard for the extroverted intuitive to know when the assessments are projections or fantasies.

Finally, when the when the intuitive function is out of balance the repressed inferior sensate function lurks (Jung, 1971/1976). The confusion and uncertainty of intuition can cause a compensatory response from the sensate function to mitigate the over-wrought intuitive function which is tending toward being misleading. A split occurs between intuition and body, and the physical world becomes alien. Compulsive behaviors or physical ailments are the only way to try to ground and stabilize the unruly intuitive function.

The examination of these negative manifestations of the extroverted intuitive function infer how difficult it is to manage opposing functions and find balance between the two. This researcher suspects recovery from addiction involves the balancing of the intuitive function as many addicts display the above psychological attributes. This results of this research illuminate that many describe addressing much of what was just explained, as seen in the results section of this dissertation. It may be beneficial to conduct studies on the typology of addicts to explore if there is a tendency toward extroverted intuitive styles, particularly in consideration of their relationship to their bodies.

Featured Posts
Check back soon
Once posts are published, you’ll see them here.
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
No tags yet.
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page