Let us explore the relatively inferior personality functions. While the dominant and inferior functions exist in order to complement rather than solely to stand in tension with one another, when inferior functions predominate, they tend to produce more psychologically immature and primitive responses.
In such cases, the tendencies of such an individual become unrealistic and childish. For example, the Thinking type, when he imagines being in love, may engage in an unrealistic, fairy-tale-esque conception of love.
Individuals can become “high” on their inferior function, so to speak, and it can function to produce certain obsessive-compulsive or addicftive tendencies and behavioral characteristics. Becoming too ‘involved’ with this function may make us pathologically irrational or self-indulgent. Basically, over-indulgence in the inferior function constitutes a tendency to resort to more psychologically primitive and regressive behavioral characteristics.
Furthermore, the inferior function becomes an element of the individual’s personality that can be easily irritated. To “offend” the inferior function causes us to resort to extreme and primitive psychological defense mechanisms.
Interestingly enough, predominance of the inferior function may be responsible for certain misdiagnoses. The INFP who is over-indulging in his inferior function may resemble either an INFJ or an INTP. This is because his inferior function is Te, as opposed to her relatively ignored (in this case) dominant Fi function.
Relative priority of the implemention of an individuals functions, relative to his personality type, is an important element of psychological functioning in this model. Each function must be used to some degree, but the dominant functions must remain dominant and the relatively inferior functions must be less commonly used.
Nevertheless, the usage must be integrated rather than characterized by internal conflict. For example, the ISTP must, on the one hand, successfully integrate Fe, their inferior function, to some degree, within their personality, but they cannot become utterly abandoned to it, or they will oscillate from their ordinarily logical selves to the opposite extreme of primitive idealism, self-pity, and all sorts of childish negative emotionality. Thus, we must come to accept our dominant function as dominant, rather than allowing or attempting to cause the inferior functions to gain control.
This is articulated in terms of two essnetial life phases of personality development:
Phase 1 – This period spans from early childhood to the late adolescent period, and is characterized by the differentiation of one’s dominant function. Co-ordinate with this emergence is the repression of relatively inferior functions. These latter functions become relatively unconscious, with dominant functions becoming more predominant. This dominant function becomes the seat of consciousness, and becomes our primary means of navigating reality.
Phase 2 – At a certain point, the relatively unconscious, inferior functions begin to attempt to subvert the dominant functions. This subversion is co-ordinate with the repression of the inferior functions, causing a major personality polarization. This results in a loss of connection with this part of ourselves.
This bipolarization, which results in a radical loss of, or alienation from, our inferior function, causes us to oscillate radically and irrationally become mature, dominant function functioning to relatively immature and primitive states characteristic of our inferior functions.
Basically, we end up oscillating from mature, adult-like reality to primitive, delusional, immature childishness, in which we exhibit primitive expressions of our inferior function.
Phase 3 – Finally, we eventually (if we are fortunate) come to a point in our lives in which we have successfully integrated dominant and inferior functions, and can function as mature human beings, sometimes engaging in our inferior functions in order to achieve balance, but allowing our dominant functions to predominate. Phase 3 is after we have sowed our wild personality oats, so to speak, and are ready to settle down.
Drenth, Dr. A.J. (2014-01-08). The 16 Personality Types: Profiles, Theory, & Type Development (Kindle Locations 84-86). Inquire Books. Kindle Edition.