Volume 1, No. 3
Have a question about Personality Type or Carl Jung's Theory of Psychological Type? Send them to Lenore at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will respond in this ongoing "Dear Lenore" column.
Subjects Addressed in the answer to Eric B's questions:
Beebe's model links the functions to instinctual life
John Beebe's model links the functions of each type to complexes formed in the process of developing a conscious ego-identity. I suspect that my interpretation of his model is different from his own, but I'm going to venture it anyhow.
As far as I'm concerned, Beebe's model is a very good one, but only if it's clear that it's talking about complexes. Complexes are the way in which instinctual energies become available to consciousness. The model, in this respect, doesn't show us how the type functions operate. Rather, it tells us what happens in the psyche when we borrow instinctual energy from the unconscious to further our ego-based choices.
To put this differently, the archetypal Hero (the ego identity) who has successfully established a sense of self and assimilated the good, supportive aspects of a Parental figure will be compensated, in the unconscious, by what's been rejected as not part of this self.
The Demon and Trickster, in this respect, don't tell us how the two least conscious functions normally operate behaviorally. As complexes, they're so far from the Heroic self-image that they're more like intrapsychic messengers from the unconscious. So they tend to compensate our conscious choices largely when the ego has reached its limits -- that is, when the ego is too fragile to maintain its conscious position, or when the ego has developed as far as it can and the person is ready to individuate.
For example, under a situation of physical abuse, as in a war or a dysfunctional family, the ego can be overwhelmed. The Trickster may thereupon step in to defend the ego's integrity -- by splitting off the damaging content that can't be borne and narrowing the person's conscious framework. The result is a form of psychological denial.
The Trickster is called the Trickster because its defensive operations always create a double-bind. The ego is preserved at the considerable expense of full participation in life. What this looks like, however, depends a lot on the function a type has differentiated.
Let's use an Introverted Intuitive with a Thinking auxiliary as an illustration. If the ego is threatened by serious damage, the Trickster will take the form of Extraverted Feeling. So what you're likely to see is a person who mirrors others' intentions negatively, expecting to be hurt. The person yearns for intimacy but can't get close to anyone without screwing up the relationship. The behavior, in other words, will reflect a defensive use of Fe.
It should be noted, however, that this is not an ordinary situation, and it has no bearing on how well the average INTJ comes to terms with the aspects of life that require an Fe standpoint. The model is simply telling you what the Trickster looks like when it becomes active in defending a fragile ego.
The Trickster also steps in when the ego is ready to grow -- flooding consciousness with paradoxes that have no solution within the framework the ego has established. Coming to terms with this complex ultimately relativizes the ego, which is simply the center of conscious life. The center of both conscious and unconscious life is what Jung called the Self, which gradually assumes its rightful place as the guiding force of the personality.
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Lenore Thomson is author of "Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual" and the former editor of the Jungian Journal Quadrant and a lecturer with the C.G. Jung Foundation in New York City.
A layman's guide to understanding Personality Type and the theory of Psychological Types originally proposed by C. G. Jung. Lenore Thomson was the former editor of the Jungian Journal Quadrant and a lecturer with the C.G. Jung Foundation in New York City.
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