By A.J. Drenth
In my recent post, The Type Dynamics of Acceptance/Aversion, I introduced the notion that our degree of trust, acceptance, and understanding of other personality types rests, to some extent, on the psychological functions those types display. I suggested that we tend to find quick rapport with types that exhibit functions higher in our own functional stack (i.e., our dominant or auxiliary function). At the other end of our functional spectrum, we often experience a sense of incompatibility or aversion toward types embodying our seventh or eighth functions (i.e., our unconscious, shadow functions).
One thing I failed to touch on in that post was the potential for applying an understanding of type aversions to the process of self-typing. In my view, discerning one’s personality type is best done from multiple angles. Namely, we should not only work to identify our preferred functions, but also those we feel naturally opposed to. Some of our strongest aversions relate to our shadow functions (our fifth, sixth, and especially seventh and eighth functions). In this post, I will provide some examples of how various personality types might experience such aversions toward their seventh and eighth functions.
NPs (ENTPs, ENFPs, INTPs, INFPs): Se is the seventh or eighth function for NP types. INPs, in particular, are likely to see Se as excessive, exploitive, and wasteful. NPs prefer to creatively (Ne) use and recycle existing resources (Si) rather than disposing of old and buying new.
NJs (ENTJs, ENFJs, INTJs, INFJs): Si is the seventh or eighth function for NJ types. NJs tend to roll their eyes at the conservative, penny-pinching ways of Si. NJs are generally not opposed to paying more money for high quality goods and services. It can also feel unnatural for NJs to focus on their physical health (Si) since they often feel out of touch with their own bodies. This is to say nothing of NJs’ resistance to the traditional or conventional practices/ worldviews commonly held by SJ types.
SPs (ESTPs, ESFP, ISTPs, ISFPs): Ne is the seventh or eighth function for SP types. ESPs, in particular, are oriented to concrete happenings and tend to prefer down-to-earth discussions. The open-ended, freethinking ways of Ne can be unsettling to SPs’ more convergent, Ni worldview. SPs therefore tend to resist the hypothetical, speculative, and skeptical ways of Ne whenever possible.
SJs (ESTJs, ESFJs, ISTJs, ISFJs): Ni is the seventh or eighth function for SJ types. Since Ni is an introverted function, it is really the Ni material as expressed through Te or Fe that SJs struggle with. While it is true that STJs are more apt to accept something expressed via Te and SFJs something expressed through Fe, the fact remains that the methods and products of Ni often run counter to those of Si. In this vein, NJs can seem defiant, subversive, and brash to SJ types.
TPs: Fi is the seventh or eighth function for TP types. TPs often take little interest in Fi causes (e.g., animal rights, special education). NTPs, who use Si rather than Se, may experience a particularly strong aversion to Fi causes that place inordinate demands on public resources (e.g., high dollar research / treatments for rare diseases). In sum, TPs often lack strong concern for or a willingness to help specific individuals or causes that deviate significantly from Fe norms.
FPs: Ti is the seventh or eighth function for FP types. FPs, especially IFPs, can struggle with TPs’ relative lack of concern and compassion for the objects of their Fi affection. They may see TPs, especially ITPs, as heartless or lacking in compassion, as failing to consider the many needs of the neglected or underserved.
TJs: Fe is the seventh or eighth function for TJ types. Fe types are concerned with cultivating morale and facilitating group consensus with regard to ethics and values. TJ types, especially ETJs, can be quick to dismiss such Fe aims as unimportant compared to the ETJ’s focus on utility, strategy, and rational operations. However, because TJs use Fi, they may be more open to entertaining specific Fi issues (e.g., a sick child) than any attempt to create broad Fe solidarity.
FJs: Te is the seventh or eighth function for FJ types. For reasons just described, FJs and TJs often struggle to see eye-to-eye. FJs tend to be wary of the Te impetus to generate formal rules and laws, which they see as fueling the problem of bureaucracy and red tape in modern life. Instead, FJs reason that if we could only learn to talk and listen to each more effectively than many of these Te laws would be proven unnecessary and obsolete. They feel the focus should be on improving human relations and working toward mutual understanding.