Podcast – Episode 0173 – Can Your Personality Loop Be Helpful?

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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the challenges and benefits of the Driver / 10 Yr Old (dominant/tertiary) loop that can emerge from our personalities.


In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Car Model
  • Does anything positive ever come out of the dominant/tertiary loop? (aka Driver/10 Yr old)
  • The loop is a phenomenon where a person finds themselves going back and forth between the dominant/tertiary processes and bypassing the copilot. Like a loop – Driver and ten yr old – back and forth.
  • Specifically, a phenomenon where someone is caught. It isn’t a conscious choice. They are stuck in this loop.
  • There is a technical word called attitude. The attitude determines where your preference lies – introverted/extraverted.
  • An Introvert would have an introverted attitude.
  • An Extravert would have an extraverted attitude.
  • Our copilots are always the opposite attitude of our preference.
  • So, an introvert would have an extraverted copilot. And an extravert would have an introverted copilot.
  • This keeps us balanced. It gives us access to outer and inner worlds.
  • The 10 yr old is the opposite attitude of the copilot, which agrees with the attitude of the driver.
  • We get caught in this loop because we favor whatever attitude is our dominant. Introverts caught in the loop get to stay in their inner world. Extraverts caught in the loop get to stay in their outer world.
  • Our loop means we get to avoid whatever may make us uncomfortable.
  • In the loop, an introvert gets to believe whatever they want without the interference of the outside world.
  • Extraverts may be facing some cognitive dissonance, and their instincts may be trying to communicate that, but the extravert doesn’t want to go there, so they find solace in the outer world.
  • Can there be positive side effects to this loop?
  • This loop is not sustainable. It won’t bring balance or happiness. Someone in the loop misses valuable feedback.
  • It is a defensive position to be stuck in the loop.
  • We want to honor our 10 yr old function, but if you are stuck and you can’t get away from it, it becomes our ruler rather than a helpful tool.
  • It is only over time that this loop starts to create unhappiness and a lack of fulfillment.
  • Sometimes the world rewards this loop, but it brings discontent in the long run.
  • Amazing things can come out of the loop if it is a choice and someone can get out of it at will.
  • Introverts often create their greatest art in this loop because they go deep inside.
  • Don’t get stuck in the loop though. Stuck means you can’t go to the copilot.
  • As an INFJ, let’s say you are in a social interaction, and you haven’t done the hard work of creating boundaries, so you fall back on Ti as protection and get hyper-critical or biting.
  • The loop is comfortable. Only when the pain of being stuck in that loop becomes greater than the comfort of staying with it, does someone even consider taking charge.
  • We can get attached to our loops if we have established strategy around using them.
  • But magic starts to happen when you take control of the loop. You don’t lose the loop, you can still visit your tertiary, but it will be healthier if you choose when to slip into it.
  • Some people stuck in the loop use their copilot but only in service to the 10 yr old. It is never adding wisdom or guidance, but just serving the loop.
  • None of this happens in a vacuum. The other functions are still showing up, but they aren’t used correctly.
  • The way to shift this is by using the 10 yr old to serve the copilot instead of the reverse.
  • The loop provides a tourniquet situation in a stressful situation. It’s defensive. It is meant to get us out of a stressful situation. But most people today stay in that stressful situation.
  • The loop is there to provide a momentary defense strategy against something that feels like an assault. You don’t want to stay there though. You need to shake it off once the stressful situation passes. Get back into the state where you are your best self.
  • Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers book
  • How have you gotten out of the loop?
  • What does the loop look like for you?

In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the challenges and benefits of the Driver / 10 Yr Old (dominant/tertiary) loop that can emerge from our personalities. #MBTI #cognitivefunctions

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Showing 9 comments
  • Liz

    As an introvert (INFP), I think I find myself in my loop in social situations. I’m overweight and slightly socially awkward, always have been, and many of my close girlfriends are extroverted and skinny and beautiful (inside and out). If I’m feeling particularly vulnerable and I’m aware of that feeling, I begin to feel like I’m back in high school amongst the popular crowd. I want the girls around me to accept me, but I feel like the odd ball out. My Exploration process would show me how they’re including me in the conversation, but I clam up and don’t participate because of my loop. Does any of this make sense?

    I believe I’m also an Enneagram type 4, so that could be playing into this example too.

  • Sara McLain

    I am an ENFJ and discovering I might be in that loop. How do you pass through and get past the barrier to what you are avoiding….. Help.

    Love your stuff!

  • Gabriella Fritz

    Welp one good thing that came of a a loop was that i discoved MBTI. in an Ni-Fi loop as an INTJ I Couldn’t understand my bevavior and thought I’d cracked. Then a forum on Ni-Fi loop described me so accurately I cried like a melting glaciers, stuffed more forums in my brain and cried more out of relief, finally someone could explain what was going on. After that I believed whole heartedly in MBTI and have studied it ever since.
    I loved your discussion.

  • Jennifer

    Please talk more about this issue! As an INFP I live in my loop and suffer great desperation trying to escape!

  • Isabel

    Hi! I wanted to ask the same question as Katheleen E. Is it possible to get into a co-pilot – 3-year-old loop? I have introverted driver and 10-year old process. Especially in specific social situations when I feel very nervous or overwhelmed, I feel like (in retrospect of course) I get into this weird extraverted loop and I act totally out of character. At least that’s how I feel afterwards about it. Could it be a behaviour connected to childhood reinforcement, similar to what Emma was talking about?

  • Kathleen Erickson

    Is the copilot and 3-year-old also in a loop?

  • Emma

    I appreciate this talk so much. I am an ENTP and have a long history of Ne-Fe looping. I grew up in a traditional household and my step-mother would constantly remind me that women must always be kind and submissive to be valued. It was never directly stated that way, but it was reinforced through her behavior and attitude towards other women. This attitude was replayed throughout my small blue collar town. When I engaged with my Ti as a youth I was constantly called out for it by my peers, family, friends, and teachers. I became known as “that girl.” We all know that girl; no one talks to that girl. I learned to shut down my most of my Ne and all of my Ti in favor of Fe because I was so lonely. I gained some friendships and felt less isolated when I did this. It felt great to finally have friends but it wasn’t very rewarding. I was like this for most of my teen years. And it was reinforced by everyone around me. Constantly hearing things like “you are so much easier to be around, I am so glad you matured, and Everyone loves you because you are so nice” really messed up the vision I had of myself and wrote a narrative of someone I could never be. My self-esteem, while on the surface seemed so genuine and bubbly, was completely non-existent to the point that I wouldn’t believe people when they said I was smart and lived with constant imposter syndrome (I even decided against going to a prestigious college because I believed I was just charismatic, not actually intelligent). When I got to college and dropped most of these superficial relationships, and learned that my Ne-Ti was highly valued, I finally got out of this grip. For the most part I am past this but I find that I still use Fe when my brain deems a situation too similar to my youth. My Si, which is connecting a present issue to a past experience, seems to be yet another pathway I need to heal my Ne-Fe loop even though I am years past the meat of it. I guess my comment is that your inferior function could also have an impact on how you can get out of a loop or into one. Loops can also form unhealthy coping habits even if you are healthy and mature outside of that. It may behoove others to be aware of this on their journey.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for sharing, Emma! I totally agree. No matter how far we mature, we can still slip into old habits. The only saving grace is that we are aware enough to recognize it when it is happening and do our best to get out of the loop instead of getting stuck there. I’m glad you have found a place where your strengths are valued. 🙂

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