Dominant/Tertiary Loops and Common Personality Disorders | INFJ Forum

Dominant/Tertiary Loops and Common Personality Disorders

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by Limit, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. Dominant/Tertiary Loops and Common Personality Disorders
    by simulatedworld
    -Source- With Permission from the Original Article Writer

    I wrote this article a while ago for Per-N. I think understanding the dynamics of types who overemphasize the tertiary, while suppressing the balancing influence of the secondary, is vital to understanding why some people are difficult to type and seem to appear as "hybrid" types.

    In fact, there are no hybrid types--but it's easy to get confused if you don't understand what happens when someone depends primarily on two functions oriented in the same direction.

    Here we go:

    Dominant-Tertiary Loops and Common Personality Disorders

    People often ask, why can't my top two functions both be introverted (or extroverted)? The answer is that they can, but that this invariably causes personality imbalance/disorders, and if this is the case for you, you may not be the type you think you are.

    Lately I've been noticing that a lot of typological mistakes and misreads are the result of a couple of incorrect assumptions about functional structure. I'd like to dedicate this article to describing the phenomenon known as Dominant-Tertiary Loops, where the natural secondary function is suppressed, poorly developed or otherwise not valued as highly by the individual's ego as the tertiary function.

    First let's remember that the standard function arrangements of the 16 types merely represent the ideal balances for each of sixteen different ways to conceptualize ourselves and reality. In reality, they don't always show up in exactly that order of emphasis. Let's look at an example:

    To start with I'll use my own type, ENTP. Here's our functional breakdown:
    Dominant Ne
    Secondary Ti
    Tertiary Fe
    Inferior Si

    But what happens if Ti is poorly developed? This most commonly happens because the tertiary function's common directional orientation with the dominant can make it seem more comfortable than the secondary! Our perception (obviously) relies on Ne, but with Ti not doing its job, we're forced to relinquish judgment to the tertiary (and less able) Fe.

    We end up with Ne+Fe as the most dominant attitudes. If you don't see why this is a problem, consider the significance of intro/extroversion:

    A balanced psyche requires significant influence from both internal and external stimuli--too much introversion and we retreat entirely into ourselves and ignore all outer world influence to an unhealthy degree; too much extroversion and we are not able to remain in touch with what is important to our subjective internal selves, and become far too dependent upon external conditions and attitudes of others.

    All too commonly I see people make the mistake of assuming that using T more than F automatically makes an xxTx type. In a healthy, balanced individual that's true, but when an ego becomes more dependent on the tertiary than the secondary, that's no longer the case.

    For instance, I once mistook an INFJ for INTJ because he had poor secondary Fe and relied primarily on Ni+Ti. At the time I used only MBTI sliding scales and didn't know functions yet, so since I saw primarily N and T I figured he would be an NT type. To the casual observer he would appear to be using N over S, and T over F, so he must be an NT type, right? Wrong! He is not an NT type unless his iNtuition and Thinking are oriented in opposite directions.

    One really interesting result of this confusion is that each dom-tert loop type starts to look very similar to the dom-tert loop form of the type sharing only its first letter! For example:

    INTJ: Ni Te Fi Se

    ISFP: Fi Se Ni Te

    This is exactly why many unbalanced personalities have difficulty fitting themselves into a single Jungian archetype. Unsurprisingly, if the INTJ above would improve his Te, and the ISFP would improve his Se, each would balance out the monopoly introverted attitudes currently have on his perspective and lead himself to much greater personal balance and contentment.

    For example: A certain user on typologycentral agonized over her type for months, creating numerous long threads and repeatedly changing her mind. My initial impression was ENFP, which I shared but which she promptly rejected. After reading about function attitudes she described Te and Ne as her most prominent functions--at this point I changed my guess to ESTJ, which may seem like a bizarre jump if you don't understand dom/tert loop functions, but it's really not:

    ENFP: Ne Fi Te Si

    ESTJ: Te Si Ne Fi

    So if you pick up mainly Ne and Te in someone, don't presume that he's an NT type--in fact, he's probably not. Depending on which is dominant, he is most likely either ENFP (Ne+Te with poor Fi) or ESTJ (Te+Ne with poor Si).

    Ironically, this user's primary personality imbalance was poorly developed secondary Fi--it turned out she actually was an ENFP providing a perfect example of over-dependence on extroverted attitudes. She reported placing far too much emphasis on the approval of others and couldn't introspect enough to figure out which type was really her. Without a strong introverted function she was left a poor sense of individual self, and showed it through her dependence on the opinions of others to determine her type. She was looking everywhere but the right place--inside.

    So how does this over-dependence on introversion (or extroversion) manifest itself in each type? I believe this phenomenon is responsible for (or at least involved with) a lot of common personality disorders:

    ENTP/ESFJ: Ne/Fe or Fe/Ne--Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This type often behaves impulsively and manipulatively, needing constant approval and admiration from others, running around investing in new thing after new thing but never developing the self-confidence of a strong subjective perspective. Fe used negatively may use its awareness of the cultural standards of others to intentionally offend or upset them, in order to service Ne's curiosity about the patterns in their responses. If Ti/Si were working properly, it would give the user a balancing sense of personal, subjective importance and free him of his dependence upon the adulation and unconditional acceptance of others. (Horrible example: Patrick Bateman from American Psycho.)

    INTP/ISFJ: Ti/Si or Si/Ti--Schizotypal Personality Disorder. I see this most commonly in INTP dom/tert loops (Ti+Si), resulting in totally giving up on attempting to obtain the social/interpersonal connections that inferior Fe drives them to unconsciously desire. Schizotypal people are seen (and typically see themselves) as having such unusual thoughts and behaviors that widespread social acceptance is nearly impossible. Ti thinks, "I cannot find any logical explanation for social rituals" and Si reinforces this self-isolating, risk-averse behavior by constantly reminding the user: "Remember how badly this went last time you tried?" If Ne were doing its job, it would remind the user to continue experimenting to find a new approach. In the ISFJ version, Si becomes ultra risk-averse and refuses to try anything new or unfamiliar. If Fe were doing its job, the ISFJ would learn that some risk is necessary in order to uphold obligations to others and avoid living in total solitude. Deep down, these types really do want social connection and ritual (Fe), but have found themselves so poor at it that they simply give up trying.

    ESTP/ENFJ: Se/Fe or Fe/Se--Histrionic Personality Disorder. This tends to manifest itself in terms of exaggerated, aggressive sexual behavior and physical impulsiveness. Since reflecting the outer world is the only thing that matters, whatever will shock, impress, or otherwise affect others enough to include the user in their social rituals is what has to be done. Real empathy is rare as this type requires constant thrills or conflict--in the ENFJ version, this often results in excessive sensitivity to perceived "rudeness" or failure to respect the user's preferred cultural custom (Fe), combined with tertiary Se responding aggressively through implied threats of brute force. (e.g., Vito Corleone: "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse"--gives a surface appearance of respecting the cultural standards of negotiation, but implies that refusal to accept this "offer" would be quite unpleasant for the recipient!) If Ti/Ni were doing its job, the user would find a sense of balance and comfortability with himself, granting him the ability to discover what is subjectively important to him, rather than constantly shifting with the tide of cultural and social trends.

    ISTP/INFJ: Ti/Ni or Ni/Ti--Schizoid Personality Disorder. These types are socially incompetent for lack of trying, because they see little to no value in significant interaction with others. They live in their own abstract worlds, constantly second-guessing themselves as Ti poses a framework for a problem and Ni shoots it down as too definitionally precise. Without any real external input, these two functions will dream up all sorts of elaborate systems and implications for them, only to repeat their own self-defeating behavior, never bothering to emphasize putting any of its intense ideas into practice. Frequent disregard for rules, laws and other forms of behavioral standards is common, as no function provides any significant sense of external influence. If Se/Fe were doing its job, the user would recognize the value of connecting with others and of paying attention to their needs, preferences, habits and appearances.

    ESFP/ENTJ: Se/Te or Te/Se--Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (not the same thing as OCD)! I've seen people mistake ESFPs in Se+Te dom-tert loops for ESTPs because they can be so insistent upon controlling their surroundings. These types epitomize enneagram type 8, as they are aggressive, blunt, confrontational and not the least bit afraid of hurting anyone's feelings. Inside they require the approval of others to a much higher degree than they let on, as Te insists on controlling and organizing external surroundings to ridiculous proportions, while Se pushes any naysayers out of the way with aggressive force and a take-no-prisoners attitude. Territorial and looking for any reason to display their power, these types are some of the most difficult to deal with of all dom-tert loops. If Fi/Ni were doing its job, these types would stop to consider that their actions have negative implications for others, and that aggressively taking charge is not always the best solution in every situation.

    ISFP/INTJ: Fi/Ni or Ni/Fi--Paranoid Personality Disorder. These types are your typical conspiracy theorists; they cling deeply to their personal values and can find a conspiracy to assault or attack those values everywhere they look. Chronically distrustful of others' intentions for no legitimate reason, these types are certain they are the only ones who really know "the truth." The inferior function, Te or Se, can sometimes lead to an unconscious desire to attract the attention of or lead/organize others in efforts to expose the nefarious conspiracies they invariably see everywhere. If Te/Se were doing its job, these types would be able to look around them and observe empirical evidence that most of their theories are probably not reflected in reality, but as they rely almost entirely on internal validation, Ni will go to any lengths to justify Fi's emotion-based suspicions. (I mentioned Dale Gribble from King of the Hill in a previous article--he's a perfect example.) There's also this guy Victor on typologycentral who's such a perfect example of this it's absolutely ridiculous. Click here to enlarge

    ENFP/ESTJ: Ne/Te or Te/Ne--Borderline Personality Disorder. The ENFP I described above may have been one of these types. They simultaneously desire to control and dazzle others with their extraordinary leadership and grandiose performances. For the ENFP, this tends to take the form of insisting on consistent, scheduled attention from others for his/her artistic or creative gifts, while for the ESTJ it tends to manifest itself in terms of indignation when others refuse to follow every detail of the user's "visionary" leadership style. This combination, ironically, makes the user extremely dependent upon others for meaning, never really finding a sense of internal balance, no matter how hard he works to create and delegate. While Te leads these types to desire structure and discipline, Ne continually contradicts it by insisting on impulsive displays of creative freedom. Often self-denigrating over the inability to control Ne's impulsive explorations, Te will go to any lengths to keep the user in a position of power and influence, where others must defer to his authority. If Fi/Si were doing its job, these types would recognize that what they're looking for cannot be found outside themselves--they must learn to sometimes live for themselves and only themselves, and forget about external results for a moment.

    INFP/ISTJ: Fi/Si or Si/Fi--Avoidant Personality Disorder. Often scarred by some intensely negative past experience with opening up too many of their private emotions, this type compulsively avoids social situations and interaction with others. They are fiercely sensitive and may exaggerate or misconstrue perceived negative emotional intent in the words or actions of others. They will sometimes project their negative feelings onto others (Fi), as Si tells them that if I were to behave this way, I would have to be very upset, so anyone who behaves that way must also be. These types often have a chronic problem with trusting the intentions or motivations of others, refusing to share private information with even their closest friends and family. They are so deeply sensitive that they refuse to risk being hurt by attempting deep connections with others--you'll see this a lot in ISTJs with Asperger's. If Ne/Te were doing its job, these types would maintain a heathy grip on the importance of letting go of the past and trying something new in the name of accomplishing a greater goal, but some of these remain total recluses for most (if not all) of their lives.

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    ^Side note on the above: I believe this is the case for the currently banned user JTG1984, as he consistently describes his strongest functions as Si and Fi. He identified as ISFJ, but I believe he simply assumed that using more F than T must make him an F type, which it doesn't. He displays little to no Fe, and thus is probably not an FJ type. He seems most likely to be an ISTJ dom-tert loop, Si+Fi.

    I guess that about covers it for today. If anyone wants to share their experiences with any of these or suggest a different personality disorder to associate with any group, knock yourselves out.

    Until next time,

    -Source- With Permission from the Original Article Writer
  2. This is a good description of things that can happen in unbalanced individuals, and I have suspected this of a few people before (the INFJ/ISTP case). It is sometime easy to see which functions are used, but sometimes the orientation of them is very hard to sort out, in particular in text media like this. Meerly suggesting this though can cause a knee jerk reaction, as people who think they are N, very often chain themselves to it and will not disconnect for any reason what so ever.

    I have noticed a much more curious phenomon here on these forums though, and it is a split between INTP and INFJ. I have seen many examples of people suggesting that they are one of the other, and can not sort it out. They will claim that they are INxx for sure without a doubt, but that leaves a lot of variables with functions still out in the open, it doesn't lock any in, nor does INTP/INFJ. The perceiving axis's are opposed. I think this largely has to do with an N bias. For some reason, many people are appalled at the idea that they could be a sensor. This is largely due to stereotypes, and S's are unfairly seen as lacking in creative thought or intelligence. This divide between these two types locks in only Ti and Fe. They are often certain that "I use N, but I am not sure if I use Ne or Ni, I think I could use both, I know I am an N". The problem is you can't have control over Ni and Ne. I do think this comes down to a dominant teritary loop, but its more of a quadraplex instead of a biametric system. The four set would be INFJ/ISTP/INTP/ISFJ. However, due to the individual having a heavy N bias in thesmelves that they simply do not want to see, they eliminate ISFJ and ISTP out of the equation and default down to INFJ and INTP.

    Curiously, it is actually quite hard for these individuals to sort themselves out. We have had many members get tossed (not by force) between here and INTPf trying to figure themselves out. They say that people here are different from them; the most common remark is we're too feel-y and nice. Then they go to an INTP zone and say they are too cold and uncaring, so they never lock on to either one. Yet, S is unconsidered. I think this is a huge problem with others in not considering the other two possibillities within themselves. Alas that S bias is really hard to overcome. People tend to have the idea that the third function is minimally used, further that the inferior function is despised.

    I also do have to say though, calling these "personality disorders" is a nice parallel, but saying this will likely cause people who are trying to find their type via this method will become offended.
    Limit likes this.
  3. someone was banned? when?
  4. If you'll take another look at the post, the OP mentions that this is an article that he has re-posted from another forum.
  5. Bah!
    Ok that's good.
  6. So basically if you start a bunch of threads debating your MBTI you are probably a lunatic. I have suspected this all along but couldnt put it into words. Must be my Intuition combined with my feminine wiles.
  7. Oh no I think I'm a schizoid.
  8. This makes sense...I personally relate to some of the traits of APD.
  9. me too
  10. I have a question.

    The way I ascribe to MBTI theory is that tertiary and inferior functions are typically your bottom two. What happens with the other choice supportive functions that are in between your dominant and auxiliary and your tertiary and inferior? Do they not exert some sort of mediating influence on this loop or the underdeveloped/stifled auxiliary function?
  11. Very interesting. And it does bring to light many of the issues (kerfluffles?) we've had on the board at one time or another.

    I like this, especially as it can help with the sorting process. I agree with Indigo as well - people are so hung up on "N" vs "S" that they can't help being biased when they take a test. "S" is valuable and important. So is "N". They're just different ways of observing the world, and we *need* one another to function correctly. We need all of the functions to be balanced, and we need to use our strengths (and strengthen our weaker ends).

    Love this article. It really gets me thinking about how some type prejudices may form, and it shows ways to combat 'em.
  12. :eek: My god... this is so scary... Before I learnt about the MBTI, from the age of 16 I went on a voyage to find out what was wrong with me- I wanted to know why I was so different. I studied psychology, going through all the possiblities. I related a bit to Schizoid Personality Disorder and it scared me that it was a strong probability for me. But as you explain it, it was me growing from Ni>Ti teenage alienation and depression to a more developed and extroverted person, with Fe always burning under the surface, my unconscious desire urging me to connect with and help other people.

    Again, an amazing article!
  13. Some of the caveats I would like to state regarding my opinion of the above post (as posted by simulatedworld) is that often enough we aren't caught in our archetypal personality and that these archetypal personality loops are quite situational. It would require an incredibly destructive event for these to become established personality traits when the personality engages and secondarily that the loops can have positive consequence as well as negative.

    However, it is very difficult to include all of those aspects whilst writing a detailed typology article so I can understand that these points were never fully addressed. Regardless I do not accept anyone on a typology board attempting to classify another into any of the above archetypal definitions of disorder based upon some loose discussion on a typology board.
  14. For those who want to know about Schizoid PD, there is a very clear explanation here:

    While some of these things describe a very introverted INFJ, there are a few things that should be noted that differentiate a Schizoid afflicted individual with your typical Ni-Ti shyNFJ.

    - Does not crave social/intimate relationships even with family.
    - Interests are very technical oriented, does not enjoy 'romanticized' solitary pursuits such as walking on the beach in the moonlight
    - Not interested in sexual relationships with others
    - Indifferent to praise and criticism with other people.

    Sounds like a robot to me. :)
    #14 Zero Angel, Dec 13, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
    just me likes this.
  15. It's an over-active left/under-active right brain-hemisphere thing, or at least it is according to the book on brain hemisphere differences I'm reading right now.
  16. Wow. This explains a lot about why I appear to be things other than an INTP. I seem to have developed my Ti and Si at a young age, leaving my Ne and Fe on the wayside. It wasn't until recently that I have started to develop my my secondary and inferior functions (Ne mostly. Fe just recently kicked in and it's just budding). Since I am focusing on developing my Ne is it possible that is why I come off as an ENTP?

    I was also brainstorming with a friend as to what could cause this type of instability and he noticed a trend. Our friend who suffered abuse as children all ended up developing their introverted functions before their extroverted. Now, does this mean they are Introverts? Or could an Extrovert fall back on their secondary and inferior function due to the situation?
    purplecrayons likes this.
  17. ESTP/ENFJ: Se/Fe or Fe/Se--Histrionic Personality Disorder.

    I experienced this kind of behaviour first-hand in my last relationship. She was an ENFJ whose behaviour led me to believe she had some kind of personality disorder. The above discription fits: she thrived on conflict and was grossly insensitive to other people, yet she displayed a hypersensitivity to perceived insults that weren't even being made. If you did not do things her way, one was met with brutal threats or acts of impulsive violence - mainly the throwing of kitchen items, furniture etc at the head of said writer. Most stressful period of my life. Remarkable really how long I put up with it.
  18. hmmm, sounds familiar! every time I encounter a new situation especialy new social situations I think "jeaj something new (Ne)" and then imidiately "I will possibly fail (Si)". And then i get stuck in the Si Fi loop. I will only get out if I kick my Ne's ass and make myself remember that new things are fun. This loop thing also explains why I understand ISTJ's very well and feel somehow connected with them.

    also the NeTe loop of ENFP's sounds very familiar :becky:

    I have question for you Limit. What about the inferior function. can there be something like an dominant/inferior loop as well. I read somewhere that the inferior function kicks in when a person finds himself in a stress situation and the dominant function is not able to resolve the problem.

    edit: I read it on this site:

    the dominant/tertiar loop sounds a lot like what lenore explains as the tertiary temptation
    #18 Morgain, Dec 15, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2010
  19. I think Tertiary temptation is the short-term impulse (as in, one time occurrence...or one-matter occurrence), while the theory stated here are more...state of being. General personality.
  20. It could be but both theories mainly say the same thing, that the Tertiary function takes over when the secondary function stays inactive right?

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