I’ve noticed some general online frustration (and had a few conversations with various ENFPs that expressed annoyance) that there aren’t really any good examples of what happens when an ENFP “goes wrong” in film.
Psychotic ESFPs? Tons of them. ENFPs? Not so much.
So what does it LOOK LIKE when an ENFP is morally questionable?
I know there’s a ton of Closer fans on tumblr, so don’t get me wrong – I love Brenda Leigh Johnson from The Closer. Love isn’t even a strong enough word. She is arguably one of the greatest TV characters since Columbo. She’s fabulous, but she is also a good example of what can happen when a FiTe decides to go “off the book” and “exact her own justice.”
Numerous times throughout the series, Brenda runs up against criminals that could get off on contingencies, or that she simply cannot PROVE did something truly heinous. Rapists, molesters, murderers, drug dealers. And, I can think of several instances where she decided to go outside the system and ensure the person was PUNISHED for their crimes, because she deemed it worthy of punishment, regardless of what the law said.
Two instances in particular stand out to me – in one, she chased a pedophile to Mexico, where she wasn’t allowed to arrest him, because he was outside of US jurisdiction. So what she did instead was got him to confess to his crime in front of the Mexican police – and because the underage girl he raped and murdered was from Mexico, they immediately arrested him (sickened at his crime, she took pleasure in telling him that Mexican prisons are much harder on criminals than State prisons – and when he begged her to take him back to the US, she refused, and left him to suffer).
In another, a man murdered several people at a gas station; the gas station was in “gang territory,” but “off bounds,” and he violated the rules. Since he had immunity for his crime (he was a witness against someone else, and the DA’s office “stupidly” offered him immunity), Brenda could do nothing about the murder – but she could drive him home, drop him off, and let the gang know about his actions, which made him a target. He wound up dead. In her mind, that was justice. He deserved to “pay for his crime,” and did.
In all these instances, her sense of moral indignation overruled what the law allows – and she didn’t care about the consequences nor the moral implications of her own actions because she saw it as “justice.” (Nor did she care about seeing them suffer for a long time; she wanted to ensure they never did it again - Te: stop them, forever.) Her Fi decided on a black and white moral code (what he did is unforgivable) and she used her Te to make it happen (in one instance, playing the Mexican criminal justice system, and in the other, ordering her subordinates to leave the man behind, ignoring their moral protests - she pulled rank on them, and forced them to commit a crime). If the law could not get them, she would let someone else do it – and in both instances, she ignored their appeals for her sympathy.
This could easily, in another ENFP character, become a villain, who is either controlling people, exacting their own form of justice, or committing morally dubious actions in order to fulfill their own sense of righteous rage – an EXFP villain is frightening, because their evil is often based in a sense of “I know what is right, and you do not, and I will PUNISH your sins” (see ESFP Daenarys in Game of Thrones as a good example; her form of “justice” is just as cruel and merciless as the slavers she replaced; she is in very great danger of becoming a tyrant).
Fi is an extremely black and white moral function; in a true villain, it can be totally immune to sympathy for its victims. Te has a habit, in any villain, of becoming a tyrannical force – of exacting their authority in such a way that it oppresses people, uses their power for nefarious ends, or is willing to sacrifice other humans either for a personal goal / gain or out of a warped sense of moral superiority and self-righteousness (bad Fi).
Unlike an ENTP villain, who wants to create chaos for its own sake “to see what might happen if I do this…” an ENFP villain will want to PUNISH – not to torture someone just to feed off their pain (that is bad Fe) but to make them pay for their sins. Te is often most interested in STOPPING something – and that may include enforcing their own moral code upon the masses (and punishing those severely who resist) or just … killing the problem.
Imagine, if you are an ENFP (or any other type, really) what kind of a villain you would be, if you acted on those enraged thoughts of moral indignation at the deeds committed in this world (someone should just kill that person…they should have every torture inflicted on them that they inflicted on that kid/animal…) – the moment of hearing about someone raping and murdering a little girl, and escaping justice. What lengths would you go to, and what would you DO about it, if you had no moral code of your own that prohibited murder and allowed your rage to fester? And what if you had the POWER to make anything happen that you wanted to make happen? Would your Te kick in and “enforce” your moral code on others… through violence?
In Ne/Te looping in particular, how would you stay “one step ahead” of the law and field off potential problems? Manipulate your way out of situations? Ensure you didn’t get caught?