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Inferior Function

16973 Views 53 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  Casus Belli
How do you experience your inferior function? Is it a blindspot? A weakness? Your preoccupation when unhealthy? Or simply an area of life you don't care much about?

Si causes problems for me...stuff like getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising,'s just time I'd much, much rather spend I put it off until it seems stresses me out.

But, when I consistently address Si concerns, I feel great!...until it starts to block time for Ne and Fi...and then I snap back.

Sometimes Si is also the only introverted function I can really get to work...for example, "eating my feelings" (Fi is out of balance, so Si compensates.)

I don't know how to define or apply meaning to any of this...I just know that my inferior function causes me problems, so I thought I'd ask and see how you guys deal with your own inferior functions.
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I think its important to point out that inferior function and shadow are not 'bad' in and of themselves. Just not what you generally see yourself as. Different or other would be better ways to look at it. Because the inferior function is the conscious expression of your shadow (all of the parts of yourself that you are generally unaware of) matters related to the inferior function will seem foreign and often projected onto other people as something they are doing and not you. Sometimes this takes the form of a pet peeve where the thing you are accusing others of is the very thing you yourself are guilty of (think of the Thinking type husband who accuses his Feeling type wife of being hypersensitive -- in reality its probably the husband who has the issue with dealing with his emotions).

The inferior function is not necessarily the least developed function just the least conscious function. So it doesn't mean that, for instance, if you are an Introverted Feeling type you will have no Te. Just that Te will be the opposite of the process you would turn to. Inferior function is probably the most important function though because it represents the fulcrum point between the conscious and unconscious parts of ourselves. If we do not properly assimilate our inferior function we cannot really grow as individuals and become more complete because we will never truly accept the sum total of who we are only the nicely dressed up veneer (generally expressed with dominant function and our personas).

But we cannot, as Von Franz says, just hop in the bath of our inferior function for a minute or two and hop out and think we are individuating. It is a major process to endure to come to grips that Dr. Jekyll does indeed have a Mr. Hyde. Many people do not get that far, even in the latter stages of life, they may still project all of their ills or pet peeves rather than own their own dual natures. As a result the inferior function is also the language of the demagogue. If you ever want to get people riled up, the easiest way to do it is to appeal to their inferior function because it is largely not under conscious control and thus very raw and primal. Jung used the term archaic and primitive. Lacking in nuance. Always filled with emotion, typically expressed in all-or-nothing platitudes and hot and cold episodes.

So when we are talking about someone's type as Extraverted Intuitive or Introverted Thinking type this is somewhat of a half-truth. The person consciously is an Extraverted Intuitive or Ti-type, but they are also Introverted Sensation (in the case of Ne-dom) and Extraverted Feeling (in the case of Ti-type) as well. I always use the analogy of two riders on a see-saw where you can only see one rider, the dominant function, but the influence of the other is still present. The Ne-dom is just as influenced by his Introverted Sensation function as he is Ne, but he is just largely unaware of this influence in many cases and consciously tries to downplay it, but of course the more you try to repress something the more you empower it. Introverted Sensation types have the stereotype of sticking to what they know and being worriers, but this isn't because of Si expressly but rather because of their inferior intuitions throwing out negative possibilities. The Extraverted Feeling type might stick to established norms and rituals only because it pains him to have to consider things logically for himself (inferior Ti), they'd rather stick to making value judgments based on how they feel.

So once you learn to see dominant/inferior as two sides of a coin and not only pay attention to "What type am I?" but rather "what am I also trying not to be?" you begin to develop a clearer picture about who you are. Many analysts, including people like Marie-Louise Von Franz often only typed people by inferior function because it was much easier to spot someone's weak spots and touchy areas and work backwards than the nicely packaged personas and impression management strategies people often try to put forth (which sometimes is the only thing metrics like MBTI or Big 5 can truly measure). The trick is to learn to see the bigger picture of who you are so that you can individuate or 'become yourself,' but you can never do this if you are not even aware of the possibility that there may be more to you than you generally pay attention to.
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