Thanksgiving is a happy time, full of family, food and fun. It is also known to kick off a season of holiday shopping, family obligations and other end of year activities that can induce STRESS. Stress is when we experience the out-of-character version of ourselves. It can cause us to appear to be irrational, out of control, unstable, and crazy. The book, In the Grip, references this behavior and is based on the personality type theory of Carl Jung. It introduces the inferior function-a usually hidden part of our personalities that emerges most dramatically during times of stress, fatigue, and illness.
Some Chronic Stress Reactions Include:
- Frequent expressions of anger
- Outbursts of emotion
- Withdrawal, avoidance of others
- Conviction that others dislike them
All types seem to benefit from a change of scene and physical exercise to get out of the grip. Additional type-specific helps and hindrances are available in the book, In the Grip,
Remember that stress doesn’t only impact us but, also impacts our colleagues, friends and family who surround us.
Recommended Responses to Others in Stress:
- Validate the concerns expressed
- Try to understand the point of view described
- Promise to think about, discuss with others, and see what you can find out about the issue at hand
- Promise to meet and discuss the issue at a specific time
Once you recognize when someone else might be in the grip of his or her inferior function, responding appropriately will:
- Keep you from making matters worse
- Help you respond in a constructive way
- Enable you to achieve enough distance to avoid triggering your own inferior function
In due time, we can learn to appreciate and use the new and unique information we gain from ourselves and others when we or they are in the grip of the other side. Knowing that these grip experiences are healthy and adaptive enables us to see them as temporary episodes from which we can benefit.