How can the inferior function be identified when it's introverted? I'm sure it's easier in moments of stress. Thank you.
Nice timing on this question, in light of the previous submission I just posted (yours came in first ;).
The inferior function is your weakest point, that which you’re most insecure about, and what hurts the most when other people poke at it, regardless of it being introverted or extroverted. If you’re brutally honest with yourself, you KNOW that’s a weak area for you, that you can’t compete in that area with others who have a certain function higher in their stack.
Since you asked specifically about introverted inferior functions, I’ll address them – I’ve discussed all the functions in depth other places, but extroverted inferior functions can indeed be easier to spot, since it produces strangely extroverted behaviors in otherwise introverted people (hey, remember the time ___ got up on the table and started dancing in front of the crowd?).
(These are inferior functions at their worst; but even healthy types struggle.)
For a Ne-dom, inferior Si is their total inability to retain or focus on details, even forgetting the most essential information or being incapable of pulling up specific examples to support their Ne-dom hyperbole. This means their beliefs are wildly inconsistent and self-contradictory, framed in the ideas of the moment rather than on gathered experiences or knowledge. (This is why it HURTS when people point out that you’re being inconsistent in what you said before.)
For a Se-dom, inferior Ni is failing to perceive the larger picture, or in being prone to action without thought of the long-term effects, consequences, or results of your action in the present. This means they often are forced to deal with unforeseen problems built up from short-sighted behavior. They can either refuse to consider reading between the lines, or become fixated on an irrational singular dream for their future that isn’t possible. (This is why it HURTS when people point out, “You should have thought of that before you…”)
For a Te-dom, inferior Fi is a lack of emotional intelligence in yourself and for other people; not knowing what you want, how to care for your feelings, how to deal with your emotions, or being able to consider other people’s emotional needs in your decisions. You may dismiss feeling-based decisions entirely, or neglect emotional self-care, which tends to alienate you emotionally from family and friends and lead to conflict over your lack of “understanding.” (This is why it HURTS when people assume you don’t love them or care about them at all.)
For a Fe-dom, inferior Ti is a failure to have consistent logical beliefs and to analyze situations with detached efficiency; your tendency is to use emotional intelligence (Fe) to assess people and situations and assume this wisdom makes you more logical than you are; but your logical center can reveal flaws or crack under pressure, when a thinker type bears down hard on you. (This is why it HURTS when other people point out inconsistent ideas in your thinking or challenge you as being “irrational.”)
For a Ni-dom, inferior Se is the desire to act within the world but an inability to do so with any kind of consistency, often leading to a passive lifestyle of contemplation ahead of actually working for the things you want. It means you’re incapable of adaptation in the moment, which often means you miss opportunities and/or epic fail when you try. (This is why it HURTS when people call you lazy or unmotivated.)
For a Si-dom, inferior Ne wants to be multi-faceted and creative with bigger possibilities but struggles to grasp larger pictures, is not good at reading between the lines, and can often visualize “worst case scenario” thinking, in everyday affairs (we’re all doomed). (Since inferior Ne fears it isn’t unique, innovative, or creative enough, this is why it HURTS when people point out your creative faults or shoot down your ideas as irrational or unlikely.)
For a Ti-dom, inferior Fe wants to express itself in appropriate ways and connect emotionally to other people, but feels increasingly out of its depth when interacting with emotionally-charged people or situations. Its tendency to be erratic and explosive leads to feelings of shame or vulnerability after a public meltdown, because of an intrinsic awareness that they should have better emotional intelligence. (This is why it HURTS when people call you unfeeling, inconsiderate, or selfish.)
For a Fi-dom, inferior Te wants to be productive and take action in the outside world but struggles to know how to implement their plans or turn a profit, and can feel overwhelmed in situations requiring bottom lines, extensive logical frameworks, or “selling” oneself or one’s product to the masses. As a result, an inferior Te often winds up angry that the world isn’t helping them succeed, while failing to take affirmative action to attain success. (This is why it HURTS when others call you undisciplined, irrational, or unlikely to succeed.)
Hope that helps.
- ENFP Mod