The John Beebe 8 function model

Before going into more detail and adding additional complexity to my explanation, I thought I’d take a «time out» and introduce you to the model I’m going to be using to organise the functions in this book. This model was introduced by John Bebee a Jungian analyst and ENTP and is usually referred to as the “8 function model”

Beebe-figure-Tails

The model is in two parts, the conscious self and the unconscious self, with the unconscious also being referred to as “The shadow” self.

The conscious self consists of your dominant function (Hero), auxiliary function (good parent), tertiary function (eternal child) and inferior function (Anima). These are the functions that you have varying degrees of control and comfort in engaging in your day-to-day life.

The dominant function or hero is the function you are the most comfortable using. Engaging it costs little energy, you are competent at using it, and feel competent while using it. If your dominant function is extraverted thinking, you most likely feel very competent when putting things in logical order, directing and marshalling resources. Think of your dominant function as Batman, he can do anything and defeat anyone.

Your auxiliary function acts as the “good parent” to your dominant function (or Hero). It will be the opposite orientation, meaning that if you extrovert your dominant function, your auxiliary function will be introverted. It’s nicknamed the good parent, because it’s supportive, we use it when we help ourselves, others and we use it to compliment ourselves. This is Alfred the Butler, always there to pull Mr. Wayne back up, trying to protect him from taking on too much and nursing him back to health when the bad guys get the best of him.

The third function (often called tertiary or eternal child) is a function where we’re comfortable messing up, being childish, and teasing others with. We’re simply not all that competent with this function, but we’re comfortable with not being overly competent at using it and we’re ok when other people make fun of us for it.

The fourth function (inferior or anima) borders on being unconscious but not quite. When we use this function, we use it in an immature or childish way and are frequently prone to over-indulging in it. For instance, someone who has inferior feeling may have an outburst of feeling or someone who prefers intuition may over-indulge in sensory activities such as eating too much or working out too much.

The shadow self consists of your opposing function, which is the same type of function as your dominant, for instance if your dominant function is extraverted thinking, your opposing function would be introverted thinking. If your dominant function is introverted feeling, your opposing function is extraverted feeling.

The next function is your critical parent, and works in the same type of support to your opposing function, but is so called because it is a critical function; it’s the one we use to criticize ourselves and others and is frequently projected at other people.

The third function in your shadow self follows the same pattern and is the “trickster”, so called because we use it to trap ourselves and others. Like the rest of the shadow functions it’s critical and negative in nature. An example would be someone who has introverted feeling as their tertiary function, may use extraverted feeling to criticize and trap others. For instance, criticizing someone else for deviating from social norms, and interrupting social cohesion while being guilty of that exact thing in that exact moment.

The final function in the model, is referred to as the demon, and is a function that is in direct opposition to our dominant function. An INTJ or INFJ who has a trademark wide, future oriented and long range vision, may be in the grip of their introverted sensing demon and lose this perspective and get hung up on details and the past.

The placement of the functions in this model is quite significant in that functions are dynamic systems that influence and change each other. Not only do the manifestations of the functions change based on their position in the hierarchy, but also based on which functions they are operating alongside.

Introverted intuition for instance, is dominant in both INTJ and INFJ. Yet in the INTJ the auxiliary process is extraverted thinking, which is quite a pragmatic, externally oriented, blunt and critical form of thinking. Whereas in the INFJ the auxiliary process is extraverted feeling, which is warm, people oriented, focused on social cohesion, social values and maintaining the values of society. This means that the INFJ is frequently viewed as warm, compassionate, counsellors (their name in David Keirsey’s system) where INTJs are frequently viewed as cold, aloof, critical and as one INTJ described it “assholes”.

Introverted intuition in the dominant position, gives a certainty of visions, which imbues INFJ and INTJ with confidence in their perception of the world, whereas for an ESTJ where the function is inferior, may be a source of uncertainty and insecurity. In an ISTJ where introverted intuition is the demon, it may make the ISTJ just as certain about their inevitable failure.

Place in the hierarchy Bebee name Colloquial name

Purpose

Focus

1 Hero/Heroine Dominant Organizes adaptation, initiates individualization Self
2 Good parent Auxiliary Nurtures and protects others, sets standard of care Others
3 Eternal child Tertiary Copes by improvising Others
4 Anima/Animus Inferior Gateway to the unconscious, creates ideals that are hard to live up to Self (Ego)
5 Opposite personality Opposite personality Defends by offending, seducing or avoiding, provides self-criticism Self
6 Critical parent Critical parent Defends by refusing, belittling and inactivating Others
7 Trickster Trickster Creates double-binds circumvents obstacles Others
8 Demon Demon Undermines self and others, creates opportunities to develop integrity. Self

Sources:

http://www.amazon.com/Building-Blocks-Personality-Type-Discovering-ebook/dp/B008RMSP0A/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385822736&sr=1-1&keywords=building+blocks+of+personality+type

http://www.jungatlanta.com/articles/winter08-evolving-the-eight-function-model.pdf

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