October 31, 2008

Understanding Personality Typology: Function Dominance (part IV)

Ok, first take a deep breath. This round isn't going to be as rigorous as the last two, so just relax. I know I'm going over a lot. A major point for this series is to have something for me to reference in later posts, so I'm trying to get everything out there. Besides, this is the last post explaining how the system works, so just enjoy and take your time. The fifth post might take me a little longer anyway.
Well, at least that's what I thought when I originally wrote this. I recently had my wife review this post, to see if there was anything I needed to improve. Well, there was. She got very lost. She advices to anyone who may read this post, please review the former posts before reading this one. There isn't a lot of new content, but it does pull together what was spoken about before.
As I mentioned before you have a Perceiving Function and a Judging Function. However, both functions don't operate with the same level of significance. One function dominates over the other.

Actually, to be a little more accurate, everyone has four functions, a intuitive, a sensing, a thinking, and a feeling function. The two functions mentioned in your profile are your two strongest, and, in fact, are the one's which are really influential in your personality. I won't even mention the lesser two in the next post. The various strengths, and what this means towards your health as an individual, is what this post is going to be about.

The Function Hierarchy

Everyone has four functions, and, in each person, these functions are as follows:

  1. Dominant: Very simply, this function is the one that has the most effect on your personality. It is what is easiest for you to do, and it is what you enjoy doing the most. It guides your whole personality, so to speak.
  2. Auxiliary: The word 'auxiliary' means "giving support or aid". The auxiliary function is what backs up your dominant function, helping your personality to be balanced and healthy.
  3. Tertiary: The word 'tertiary' literally means "third". Not very technical. This is simply the third thing that you are good at. It often rounds out your personality in latter years (See here).
  4. Shadow: This is what you are the least proficient at. Often you just don't get people that are dominant with your shadow function. However, often if one goes through something traumatic, one might loose all trust in one's dominant function, and begin to rely on one's shadow instead. However, one is usually terrible at it and it comes out in a perverted form. See link for examples.

Determining Dominance

Up until this point, we've learned how to interpret your profile using the Lifestyle scale. The Lifestyle scale tells you which function is extroverted and which function is introverted. However, we have yet to look into the Attitude scale. Now we shall.

Very simply, the Attitude scale tells you which function is your dominant function: your introverted function or your extroverted function. As an example, let's take my personality profile: ENTP. The P tells us that my Perceiving function, iNtuition, is extroverted. So I am extroverted iNtuitive. This leaves my other function, Thinking to be introverted, and thus introverted Thinking. The E then tells us that it is my extroverted function that dominant, leaving the introverted function being auxiliary. So my dominant function is Ne and my auxiliary function is Ti. Hmmm... let's see if I can make that simpler.

Take out a sheet of paper and write out Dom. and Aux like this:

Dom: __ Aux: __

We're looking at ENTP. The E tells us that the extroverted function is the dominant. So put a little 'e' after the Dom, and a little 'i' after the Aux, like so:

Dom: _e Aux: _i

Now look at the Lifestyle scale. That tells us which function is going to be extroverted. In this case, the P tells us it is the Perceiving Function, which is the N. So put an N in front of the 'e', like so:

Dom: Ne Aux: _i

So, we've used the E, the N, and the P. That just leaves the T, which naturally goes in the last spot. So we have:

Dom: Ne Aux: Ti

Ok, so do you have that?

Now, there are also the two other, less influential, functions: the tertiary and the shadow. To know what these are, we start by figuring at the shadow. Just remember what you are worst at is the opposite of what you are best at. Therefore, your shadow is the exact opposite of your dominant. Likewise, your tertiary the opposite of your auxiliary. Therefore, since my dominant is Ne, and the op piste of iNtuitive is Sensing, and the opposite of Extroversion is Introversion, then my shadow is Si. And since my auxiliary is Ti, and the opposite of Thinking is Feeling, then my tertiary is F (tertiary doesn't get a direction. Basically, it is so irrelevant, no one's been able to tell if it has a direction. A moment of silence for all of the tertiary functions). So, if you would add this to the chart above, with Tert for tertiary, and Shd for Shadow, you would first fill in the Shd with the opposite of the Dom, so Si.

Dom: Ne Aux: Ti Tert: _ Shd: Si

And then fill in the Tert with the opposite of the Aux, minus the direction.

Dom: Ne Aux: Ti Tert: F Shd: Si

Ok, now, let's do an exercise. I'm going to list off five personality profiles and, if you want, you can figure out what is dominant, auxiliary, tertiary and shadow, complete with direction. It'll be fun! At least, I find it fun...... Anyway, the answers are to the left of each profile in the background color, so just highlight it to see the answer.

ISFJ Dom: Si Aux: Fe Tert: T Shd: Ne
ESTJ Dom: Te Aux: Si Tert: N Shd: Fi
INTP Dom: Ti Aux: Ne Tert: S Shd: Fe
ESFP Dom: Se Aux: Fi Tert: T Shd: Ni
INFJ Dom: Ni Aux: Fe Tert: T Shd: Se

Seeking A Healthy Personality

As far as personal health is concerned, it is all about balancing your dominant and auxiliary functions. In an unhealthy personality the dominant rules over the auxiliary, forcing it to support its inclinations. However, in a healthy personality, the auxiliary function is used to keep the dominant function in check: to make sure it does go to far.

For instance, let's take an ENTP (yup, me again. I know it best). The Dominant is Ne, which means that the person is constantly seeing great ideas of what to do around them, and constantly wanting to see those ideas expressed. The Auxiliary is Ti, which means that a person is maintain a consistant inner world of thought and order. In an unhealthy personality, the person will only use their Ti to try and bring their ideas into fruition, or to develop them. However, in a healthy personality, the person will use their Ti to determine whether or not they are living up to their responsibilities, and actually achieving things in the real world by these ideas.

Another example. Let's take an ESFJ. The Dominant here is Fe, which means that the person will primarily want to help, support, and better the people around them. The Auxiliary is Si, which means the person has a deep repository of personal memories through which they understand their place in the world. An unhealthy personality will use their deep memory of experiences only to support and amplify their opinions about the people around them and what's best for them, often holding insurmountable grudges. However, a healthy personality would use their memory as a check on their own sense of morality, and judging the concrete effects of their actions.

Therefore, it is good to think about what your auxiliary function is, so that you can learn how to keep yourself in check, and watch for exaggerations.


bethyada said...

Okay, so I can't have an Ni and Ti, they have to be opposite. And they are defined. So my INTP (if that was my profile?) is Dom Ti Aux Ne.

I guess I could cope with Ne, though I do think I could be Ni. I don't find integrating new contradictory material stressful though (Ni). I don't think I act immediately either (Ne).

This system does seem quite complex.

Interestingly my wife mentioned to me today out of the blue that she wanted to do this test. She vaguely knew of it, we haven't been talking. Is there one online you think is reasonably valid?

Jc_Freak: said...

Yes, this system is complex. I'm Dom Ne, so I love it :).

Also, if your auxiliarly is Ne, it won't be as evident as your Ti. So you still may be Ne. My last post will deal with looking at how your personality functions as a whole, probably the kind of format you are more used to.

As far as taking it, you'll get a similar profile if you take either a Kiersey or a Myers-Briggs. I took mine through seminary, but you might be able to find a Kiersey Temperment sorter on-line. However, it is a slightly different system, and is very different as far as interpretation of personality is concerned. The Myers-Briggs is also more consistant since it is a long test, but I dont think you'll be able to find it online. If you want, you might want to start with the Myers-Briggs Foundation which I used as more sources for this post.

Based off of your comments, and what I see at your blog, my guess is that you are Ne. Though Nes act impulsively, they act impulsively about understanding things. An Se is likely to suddenly decide to sky-dive; an Ne is likely to suddenly want to write an essay, or read a new book. They have a kind of scholarly demeanor, espeically one that also has Ti.