Beside Ourselves, Our Hidden Personality in Everyday Life, by Naomi L. Quenk

This was an interesting read. People have different personalities, how do we go about understanding people. We start with models, and MBTI personality type is one of them. You might have done the test in secondary school, the one that says you’re an ESTJ, INTP, etc.

Going over the system briefly:

First letter: E or I.

This is one’s preferred orientation of energy, extraversion or introversion. Whether we prefer to direct our energy to the inner or outer world.

Second letter: S or N

This is one’s perceiving function. We gather information either by Sensing or iNtuition. Sensing is information acquired through the five senses. Intuition, through patterns and possibilities

Third letter: T or F.

This is one’s judging function. How we make decisions. Thinking or Feeling. Nonpersonal logical analysis vs people-centred values.

Fourth Letter: J or P

Preferred function when extraverting.

Projection: Attributing to others an unacknowledged, unconscious part of ourselves. Can be positive or negative. When we complain about another person’s behavior, take note of the complaint. Can the same be said of ourselves?

Individuation: An individual’s growth towards wholeness. The major repository of new growth-enhancing information is the unconscious. Hence, the inferior function is a source of growth.

I’m an INTJ:

Dominant: Introverted intuition.
Auxiliary: extraverted thinking.
Tertiary: feeling
Inferior:  extraverted sensing.

The dominant function is what we want to devote our attention to most of the time.  My dominant function is introverted intuition. I focus on ideas and possibilities at a conceptual level. I only share ideas that are well thought out. The disadvantage of this is that I miss out on feedback that could help further shape my ideas.

Stress, illness, fatigue can cause the dominant function to become less effective. Because the dominant function does not work, a different approach, the inferior function is used instead.

The loss of confidence in our dominant function can be a source of growth, when we question the familiar, and what we take for granted.

My inferior function: extraverted sensing

Because we do not have much experience with our inferior function, it is expressed maladaptively. When I slip, I have an adversial attitude to the world. I overindulge in sensual pleasures – overeating. I obsessively focus on external data – I clean my desk, I clear my room. I need to make thing s orderly.

First half of lives – we struggle to succeed in love and work. Awareness, control and consciousness needed. We need to use our dominant and auxiliary functions. Goal of midlife and beyond is the completion of one’s personality. The neglected, undeveloped side of ourselves become more interesting.


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