Exploring the MBTI and Myers Briggs Personality Types and applications | Personality Pathways

The Many Faces of Personality Type Development
. . . Part 2.

If you are a relative newbie to Personality Type, here's some recommended readings:

The "Faces" article below was originally written for the "Bulletin of Psychological Type" and an audience quite familiar with Myers-Briggs and Jung Personality Type Theory.

In our first part of the article on the Faces of Type Development -( go here) we introduced the concept that being "two-faced" is a normal aspect of personality development. It is a result of everyone having both an extraverted and an introverted nature, each of these natures having a unique leading mental process. Here we dive into more details on how this duality plays out.

Type Paradoxes & More about the many Faces of Personality Type Development

INFP Personality Type

Personality Type Paradoxes - An I/ENFP example
These natural changes and growth in adults account for the apparent paradoxes we sometimes observe in people of all types. Development of the NeTe face of INFPs accounts for the "coolness" and "detachment" we sometimes observe in them.

INFP mid-life changes, such as an increasing desire to organize and take charge of one's life or to stop being used as a doormat by others, are consistent with this developing outer NT. Some INFPs have become quite proficient in masking their "true feelings" with their NT face. This same facility in their ENFP cousins has them able to mimic ENTJ stereotypical behavior. They can assume control, take charge of a situation, make the hard decisions, and move on with their job. They can have masterly control over lawyer-speak, slicing careful nuances in meaning and logic. Even though they prefer Feeling over Thinking, they can become and are competent attorneys.The NeTe face on ENFPs and INFPs also explains why these two types are among the top four types having home pages on the Internet (From data on Doug Ingram's Personality Index page. The other two top four types are INTJ and INTP). While NFPs are people-oriented folks, many are drawn to latest technology and technological gadgetry of all sorts - which I ascribe to their extraverted NT face.

Let's look at the other primary I/ENFP face (SF). The SF pattern suggests a persona more consistent with the "traits" frequently ascribed to ENFPs - the warm, fun and people loving side of their personality who can very much live in and enjoy the moment. INFPs more typically keep the SF face hidden, yet it provides the energy for their participation in helping professions, all kinds of nurturing activities, and their interest in performing arts and arts and crafts work in general.

I/ENFP Type Faces
Introverted Extraverted

F

N

S

T

INFP Personality TypeENFP Personality Type

INFPs or ENFPs who have developed both their NT and SF faces can present a capricious image of contradictions. They can engage in logical dialogue at a conceptual level (NT) and then a short time later engage in actions that seem to fly in the face of that discussion (because their SF nature was engaged). Extraverts seem to be particularly adept at turning either of these faces to the outer world - depending on the circumstances. At one moment, being able to talk and make the big picture, tough decisions and at another moment be warm, fuzzy, or empathetic are two sides of the same NFP coin. Yet this can be disquieting - conjuring up the image of false masks implied by the pejorative term "two-faced."

Another example - INTJ Face - Hillary Clinton, Multi-faceted Director
While an ENFP has the basic foundation to develop a rational NT face, within each ENTJ or INTJ type is an inner Idealist (NiFi) waiting to be developed. (see the chart below)

INTJ Personality Type Faces
Introverted Extraverted

N

T

F

S

INTJ


For purposes of example, because her public persona illustrates well, let's assume that Hillary Clinton is a real life INTJ. I suspect few will doubt Ms. Clinton's progressive idealism (author of "It Takes a Village" to raise a child). Early in her introduction to the public at large (in President Clinton's first campaign) we saw her on national TV warmly and supportively "stand by her man" during the questioning about Bill's Jennifer Flowers exploits. And we have also seen her other face - tough, pragmatic, competitive, and reality focused. Her detractors will accuse her of trotting out a particular face depending upon her audience and that she is the consummate politician enthusiastically going whichever way is most expedient for her political ambitions.

But I see both natures as genuine parts of the whole. It explains her more temperate response to the Iraq quagmire. While her inner idealist nature is as anti-war as some of the Bush administration's most strident critics, her other nature is a practical realist: the mistake was made, we are there now between a rock and a hard place, with no easy way out.There can be tension between these two natures. When they are well accommodated, you get the kind of behavior we usually associate with INTJs. When they aren't you can get vacillation - which earns the pejorative "two faced" label. Another accommodation that can be a bi-product of healthy growth is when one of the two faces dominates: producing someone who acts quite a lot like an NF type or an ST type.

The Mirror Image Faces (or Shadow functions)
By middle or later age, additional psychological growth may have produced new patterns that are the mirror image of the two primary faces. The "I" face has an "E" reflection and the "E" face has an "I" reflection - as illustrated in the INTJ Chart below. [John Beebe refers to these four mirror image functions as the "Shadow."] An INTJ is not only developing an inner NiFi, but also an outer NeFe. Thus, she begins to actually talk the walk and walk the talk. The fourth face, though largely hidden from the outer world, has risen to be more within the conscious awareness and thereby affecting more of the INTJs' conscious behavior. As this fourth face (SiTi) garners more influence, the INTJ may crave a higher degree of inner simplicity and rational order; i.e. a simpler, more orderly, less complex life. Perhaps these changes, overlaying additional faces or new archetypes arising, accounts for the mellowness that seems to frequently come with moving into our senior years.

INTJ Primary Personality Type Faces
Introverted Extraverted

N

T

F

S



INTJ Secondary Personality Type Faces
Introverted Extraverted

T

N

S

F

How can I use an understanding of Personality Type Face Patterns?

Be able to resolve apparent Personality Type Paradoxes. As adults move into and through middle age, personality growth frequently occurs. Since the theory of type is that it is constant and lifelong, these personality growth changes are reflected in the Faces. Different patterns come to the forefront and have more influence. This increasing emphasis of formerly more subtle patterns can produce "traits" and "behavior" in people that seem at odds with what the conventional type descriptions suggest. So by learning the unique "patterns" or "faces" associated with each Type, we can better understand or predict the nature of behavior changes that increasing maturity may bring.

Be guided away from Personality Type Stereotyping. Since the Face patterns include all four mental functions (with their 8 expressions), it helps us "see" more of the whole person and avoid the stereotyping we sometimes fall into . . . i.e. talking about Thinking preference people as if they have no developed Feeling side to their personality or implying Sensing preference people lack Intuition by expressing "wonder" when they demonstrate creativity.

Better Understand Mid-life Changes. The maturing Faces can also be the prime-mover behind mid-life stresses and changes people undergo, as in the cases of people driven to explore new careers and life styles. Without judging whether such changes are helpful or not, the dynamics of the Faces model will better trace instances when the roots of these "new" impulses lead back to a person's core type. This context "normalizes" the impulses for change, allowing them to be weighed and contemplated in a more evenhanded manner.

Growing Outside the Box. For some people becoming aware of type is a path towards rediscovery of the core of their self. Life circumstances may have knocked them far off their personal course so the rediscovery and reorienting becomes a personally fulfilling journey. In contrast, there are others who find the idea of being placed in one of the 16 type boxes confining. They like the idea of working outside their box. And there is some evidence to suggest that increasing maturity brings a greater desire to make such changes.The Faces model provides a pattern or road map for such development, illustrating how a person's non-preferred functions can be developed in a holistic manner.

Expand our Communication Bridges with Other Types. The maturing Faces also expand our ability to communicate with people whose type differs significantly from our own. Some people instinctively learn to use these different faces when working with people they recognize as being of an essentially different type. A consummate politician, who can connect with a broad range of people, knows when to put on which face. This is like a multi-lingual person who easily switches languages to match the person with whom he is conversing.

While many of us have the latent talent to "talk" or "listen" a different type language, we have yet to develop it for one reason or another. Using the Faces model helps demonstrate that these latent talents exist, providing both a road map and an incentive to reach across the barriers between people of markedly different types.

Conclusion: A New Gestalt is Needed
In teaching type, it is current practice to break down the Gestalt of personality type into the individual elements of the functions and attitudes and examine their influence independently of one another. For younger people, whose patterns have not evolved, perhaps this has the most value. Yet for maturing adults, we need to give more emphasis to the interactions of the four functions and in particular to the constellations-the patterns of the developing faces- that are an integral, but changing part, of the Gestalt of Psychological Type.

Afterword
The Type Faces model evolved as a means of explaining the observed patterns of behavior in people that seem not directly drawn from the four letters of their type. I coined the term, Type Faces, because I was unable to find an existing model that incorporated the interaction of mental functions in their respective attitudes. Most type literature discuss the functions as individual elements or the interaction of functions without respect to the attitude (E or I). Yet consider that among Jung's most influential contributions to general psychology is the E/I concept and the importance of gestalt. Some Type practitioners, in attempting to communicate with a world trained to trait psychology and to the practice of examining the parts rather than the whole, have slipped further away from Jung and Katherine Briggs who viewed the 16 types as representing 16 different paths to development.

Appendix:Charting the Patterns of Myers-Briggs Personality Type Faces
The following tables may help readers unfamiliar with the hierarchy* of mental functions determine their own Type Face patterns. Lower case "e" refers to an Extraverted Orientation; lower case "i" indicates an Introverted Orientation of the mental function.

Consult the following table to determine the hierarchy of the four functions for a particular type.

Hierarchy or Order of Preference

Myers Briggs type

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

6th

7th

8th

ENFP

Ne

Fi

Te

Si

Ni

Fe

Ti

Se

INFJ

Ni

Fe

Ti

Se

Ne

Fi

Te

Si

ESTP

Se

Ti

Fe

Ni

Si

Te

Fi

Ne

ISTJ

Si

Te

Fi

Ne

Se

Ti

Fe

Ni

ENTJ

Te

Ni

Se

Fi

Ti

Ne

Si

Fe

INTP

Ti

Ne

Si

Fe

Te

Ni

Se

Fi

ESFJ

Fe

Si

Ne

Ti

Fi

Se

Ni

Te

ISFP

Fi

Se

Ni

Te

Fe

Si

Ne

Ti

ENTP

Ne

Ti

Fe

Si

Ni

Te

Fi

Se

INTJ

Ni

Te

Fi

Se

Ne

Ti

Fe

Si

ESFP

Se

Fi

Te

Ni

Si

Fe

Ti

Ne

ISFJ

Si

Fe

Ti

Ne

Se

Fi

Te

Ni

ESTJ

Te

Si

Ne

Fi

Ti

Se

Ni

Fe

ISTP

Ti

Se

Ni

Fe

Te

Si

Ne

Fi

ENFJ

Fe

Ni

Se

Ti

Fi

Ne

Si

Te

INFP

Fi

Ne

Si

Te

Fe

Ni

Se

Ti

tri Click Here to Print out the Hierarchy of Myers Briggs Preferences for your reference.

*Hierarchy Explained

Some educators use the a numbering system and the term "hierarchy" to refer the arrangement of the functions with respect to one another. This sometimes implies a normal developmental sequence or an ordering of mastery of the functions - which is a conclusion that early proponents of the 8 Function model, like Beebe and Grant, would not agree is the case. To avoid this leap of logic, it may be more instructive to visualize the functions in their attitudes arranged in a circle, like a clock or a compass. What is #1 in the "hierarchy" should be placed due North; its opposite, #8 in the hierarchy, should be placed due south. #2 in the hierarchy can be placed at the Northeast point; its opposite, #7 in the hierarchy, would be placed at the Southwest point. #3 could be placed Northeast and its opposite - #6 placed Southwest. #4 and #5 would be placed East and West respectively.

The top half of the compass would represent the more conscious mental functions; the bottom the more unconscious functions. Those on the East-West axis are in the gray area: semi-conscious. Most buried in the unconscious is the mental function lying in the 8th position.

redFor More on Carl Jung's Theory of Psychological Types, See "Lenore Thomson on Personality Type & Carl Jung"

redTYPE FACE DIAGRAMS for all 16 Personality Types
spacerSee our article THE PATTERNS OF PERSONALITY TYPE type faces

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