One way to grow as an individual is to develop one’s inferior function. During our lives, we are very far from being equal in the development of this function. As our experiences are very different, it is difficult to generalize how this function manifests itself in every person.
However, certain behaviours related to the inferior function tend to be seen regularly in people of the same type, especially during childhood. Here are a few examples. It is worth noting that if you don’t recognize yourself perfectly, it doesn’t mean that you are mistyped. Perhaps you just had the chance or the courage to develop your weak points during your life—congratulations!
ENTJs, ESTJs: Fi inferior
Your dominant function being Te, your very direct communication and your desire to always go straight to the point can make you forget who you really are. In wanting to rule the world, you often forget where you came from, the values that constitute you, what you really like and what is really important to you. You then doubt your importance, your values and whether you really are a good and moral person.
In response to this distance, you tend to take from yourself. You adopt the opposite behavior in order to seek and to reconnect with yourself, even if it means putting your needs above others.
Take the time to understand yourself, to know what you really want, to talk about these desires with others, and to admit your doubts to someone you trust. To be at peace with yourself is to be at peace with others, and in the long run, in order to succeed in everything you do, you must not lose sight of yourself.
INTPs, ISTPs: Fe inferior
Your dominant function being Ti, you look for the logical meaning of everything that happens and communicate on the basis of reasoning, often with surprising rigor. However, your understanding of yourself and others quickly reaches its limits when it is no longer a question of “reasoning,” per se. Indeed, emotions and feelings being purely instinctive psychophysiological experiences whose origin cannot be understood by logic, they appear to you as weaknesses—a failing part of yourself preventing you from making sensible decisions.
You then prefer to repress these emotions rather than face your “vulnerabilities” for fear of not being able to control them. Moreover, you may not be able to influence or control the emotional reactions of others, and you prefer to avoid human contact because of the stress it can represent for you.
Remember, it’s okay to express your feelings. Contrary to your fears, expressing your emotions is something that will give you confidence in yourself. When you express yourself, you will be much better understood by others with whom you will create authentic and enriching bonds.
ENFJs, ESFJs: Ti inferior
Your dominant function being Fe, you very frequently give priority to the atmosphere of the group and the feelings of others. In doing so, you hide and/or devalue the truth because you know that it could hurt the feelings of others (even if they don’t show it). Thus, you tend not to expose your opinions, or even tend to modify them to be in line with the common opinion.
In response to the regular repression of “your truth,” you may expose it, but often too harshly and violently, conscious that if you express your actual feelings, you will not maintain the atmosphere of the group. In fact, you believe that others may think you are seeking to destroy it.
It is healthy to express your opinion, and no one will hold it against you if you do so in a calm and well-argued manner. Additionally, , this expression is probably something that is expected from you in order to get to know you better. If you’re not sure what you think, then take the time to work on your opinions and engage in healthy debate with others to learn more.
INFPs, ISFPs: Te inferior
Your dominant function being Fi, you are very attached to who you are and your values, sometimes in a selfish way. It is difficult to communicate with others about your values because you are too personally attached to them. You take criticism poorly and find it difficult to criticize others. In addition, it is difficult for you to establish and follow effective ways of working, planning your life and maximizing your chances of success because you don’t think these plans will make you happier.
Be aware that some people don’t have the same language as you do. The criticisms you may receive are not always personal, and sometimes they are expressed precisely because others care about you. Don’t take everything to heart and distance yourself from what you are told.
There will be regular attempts to punish you because of your differences or divergent interests. Again, not taking things to heart allows you to avoid making the biggest mistake: taking these attacks personally.
Learn as much as you can about what’s going on in the world. Read non-fiction books to cultivate your truth and to be able to debate healthily with others. You will be more respected and appreciated.
ESFP, ESTP : Ni inferior
Your dominant function being Se, your need for sensory stimulation may prevent you from thinking long-term, or from building something lasting and meaningful in your life. You tend to forget that all your actions have lasting consequences, too absorbed in the pleasure of the moment. When it comes time to make a choice for the future, you will either neglect it or be afraid of making the wrong choice.
However, despite what one might say about you, you are in the best position to achieve what you want. Few people have as much energy and initiative as you do. Start with unambitious goals and work your way up. Your destiny is in your hands.
ISFJ, ISTJ : Ne inferior
Si being your dominant function, you are resistant to changing your ways of doing things, your habits and your preferences. You may then be closed-minded when it comes to experimenting with new experiences, changing the course of your daily life, or risking yourself to experiences that are not very reassuring. You may then be seen as “stuck in your ways,” and lose opportunities for enriching your life.
You can’t help but see the bad things that could happen and the mess you could create if you ever try to shift things a little.
Understand that life cannot always be orderly, and that adapting to circumstances by changing our ways is sometimes the best way to keep order in our lives. The more risks you take, the more you will realize your natural tendency to overestimate these obstacles. Appreciate and leave room for randomness from time to time—it will bring you more than you think.
ENFP, ENTP : Si Inferior
Your dominant function being Ne, you have a natural tendency to follow what has never been done or to think about what has never been thought, even if you regularly lose track of reality and the achievable. Being in action only when you feel a real curiosity, it is difficult for you to stick to a plan, or to carry out tasks that require a lot of attention. Your constant need for change often goes against the right way of doing things, for which you often pay the price. Your lack of discipline and consistency can make others doubt your reliability and lose confidence in you.
Try, even if it’s boring, to strictly respect good manners, codes, and rules. Take the time to do simple things without trying to change them, before releasing your creativity, so that you are free to do what you want afterwards. Exercise your discipline by doing at least one activity regularly, every day, that requires rigor and attention. This will build a better character.
INTJ, INFJ : Se inferior
Your dominant function being Ni, you live a large part of your life in your head, keeping a great distance from the experience of the present moment. You don’t understand how some people can take so much pleasure in living in the moment while you despise it. You cannot engage in new activities without preparation because you are stubborn, believing that the result of your actions must be as good as you imagine (even when you have almost nothing to lose). The anxiety associated with your perfectionism, as well as your lack of spontaneity, can block you. This can prevent you from acting when you need to and from making your ideas a reality.
Understand that there is no such thing as a flawless performance, that you can’t always be ready, and that your preparation will never be perfect. Remind yourself that none of this is really bad for you. Take risks, try, fail, try again and fail again until failure no longer matters. Failure is part of the path; don’t blame yourself for it. Instead, accept it and move on. That is when you will really learn from your mistakes.