Podcast – Episode 0175 – What About The Auxiliary-Inferior Personality Loop?

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In this episode Joel and Antonia continue talking about personality type “loops.” This week they ask the question “What About The Auxiliary-Inferior Personality Loop?”

In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Car Model
  • Growing your copilot is the highest leverage thing you can do. 
  • Looping can occur when two cognitive functions are of the same attitude (introvert/extravert).
  • Driver and Tertiary functions share the same attitude.
  • Copilot and Inferior functions share the same attitude.
  • Dominant/Tertiary loop serves a specific function – defensiveness and maintaining cognitive dissonance.
  • People stay where they are comfortable and dominant/tertiary loops are comfortable because they share our preferred attitude.
  • We aren’t sure if there is a loop between copilot and inferior because it isn’t comfortable like the dom/tertiary.
  • If it is a thing, it may explain why some people avoid using their copilot.
  • The inferior function is our blind spot. We aren’t comfortable there.
  • If our copilot puts us in the inferior space, it is an interesting idea to explore.
  • We make up for the deficiencies in our inferior process by mastering our dominant and auxiliary processes.
  • Like INFPs who use their copilot to find creative solutions for systematizing their lives.
  • ENTJs who use Ni to offset their Fi blindspot.
  • ESFPs can use Extraverted Sensing to make up for their Ni blind spot by reading people’s body language.
  • We may need to build sophistication around our auxiliary function to help us overcome the blind spots in the inferior.
  • It isn’t a loop; it’s a frustration.
  • It’s not codependency; it’s a puzzle that still needs to be solved.
  • Certain types may feel like they are looping with their aux/inf.
  • The inferior may feel stuck.
  • If an INFJ has really good Fe, they recognize the difference between needs and wants.
  • If you feel like you are in an auxiliary/inferior loop, is it because you’ve ignored your inferior for too long?
  • The Personality Hacker Owners Manuals have some handy hacks for giving the inferior process attention.
  • Si inferiors can revisit old shows, music, video games, or amusement park rides.
  • Our trauma can live in the least sophisticated part of ourselves.
  • When we are stuck in our inferior, the auxiliary can be the tool we use to cut out whatever has us trapped.

In this episode Joel and Antonia continue talking about personality type “loops.” This week they ask the question “What About The Auxiliary-Inferior Personality Loop?” #MBTI #myersbriggs

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Showing 13 comments
  • Simao

    As an Exploration driver and a Memory in the 3year old, I catch myself using the Memory process in the wrong way: I catch myself using my Intuition to figure possible meanings in things from my past instead of simply recalling the past and accept that “it was what it was”. Like Antonia said. I am trying to catch myself when I do this and simply look at the past event that keeps coming into my head and extract the obvious information it gives me instead of trying to understand meanings.

  • Julie


    It’s funny, because I was wandering, as an ENFJ (8w9), if I was always doing a soul-searching when II have to write for work and thus be in an introspective state. And – ta da – here is your podcast. Great!

    I just want to say that for me, each time I have to write (I am an historian) a book or a big work, I must first deal with my past and my fears, and so and create something from it. This is how I wrote a short story, a personal interpretation of movies and a political manifesto agains exploitation in Academia. It is like, I cannot properly think without my own consciousness and inner child participating. So, if something needs healing, yes, it will come just in front of my eyes. No other possibility. No other topic or words will come to my mind. I will just devour internet and write my ideas down, make systematic drawings, take notes of my personal clues and stories, etc.

    Of course, I looks unhealthy at those moments and sometimes I am, but I finally manage to create solutions and it generally involves expression of my emotions to other people about important issues (personally or through writing,painting, etc.).

    I cry, I write poems, and I grow. Thank you

    (I am not an English native speaker 🙂

  • Devin

    Joel and Antonia –

    I have reflected on the questions you both brought in this podcast, and greatly appreciated the invitation to engage.

    Recently – as an ENFP & enneagram-6 – I wonder more and more if the defensive loop (first/third) which for me is Ne / Te, is not defending so much against my Fi, but rather the deep and visceral connection my Fi has with Si.

    As a counseling psych student, I am doing a lot of personal growth work. As I connect with my body via yoga, running, and mindfulness, my authenticity comes on line and I feel far more connected to my authenticity (MBTI) and growing inner authority (6 movement toward 9).

    I am noticing that my awareness of emotions in my body has been tethered to an emergence of shameful memories and experiences that I dismissed when I was younger. This has been hugely painful, as you might imagine, and I am learning that my avoidance of my emotions is hugely connected to my historical experiences of feeling trapped in pain, shame, and discomfort. Such an Fi / Si, connection, and I wonder if I do not avoid my inner world because for me, it houses my most physical (Fi) and young (Si) self.

  • Ingela

    I just wanted to say that I’m the one Rush fan that went “wohoo!”. 🙂

  • Amanda

    For me one of the greatest benefits of this conversation was the deeper understanding of the role that the inferior process plays for other people. As an INTJ, my Se inferior process is inherently playful – it loves activity and abandon and adrenalin. It is the part of me that says, screw it, using Ni to do the work of a PhD scholar takes too much effort right now, so I want to go drink and dance on tables until 2 in the morning (which I haven’t done in years, but the urge is there!). Given that my 3-year-old process gravitates toward activities that seem immature and uninhibited anyway, it has been hard for me to talk to other types about their 3-year-olds – as blind spots and as meaningful members of their cognitive stack “family.”

    For that reason, I particularly resonated with Antonia’s comment that every type may have their own narrative around their inferior process and what it means. The general theory as to what happens in the auxiliary-inferior loop didn’t resonate with me as a whole – I would propose that those of us with extroverted functions in our blind spots don’t tend to store trauma there and need healing from there in the same way that ENTPs and ENFPs do with Si Memory in that position. The inferior Se could be why INTJs fear losing control, or being exposed as frauds – like the id is always waiting to break free.

    As for the intimate connection between my auxiliary Te and inferior Se, I think the main result for me is that I end up trying to micromanage my sensory pleasures and experiences. I tend to obsess about exercise and food and track numbers too much (minutes per mile, miles per week, calories burned vs. calories consumed), I frequently impose different rules around alcohol consumption even though it has never really been excessive, and I crave or resist colors and textures in clothing depending on mood. These are not healthy – but I think they are part of the pattern of an under-exercised Se trying to draw attention from the front seat, and getting the Te instead of the driver. The Te tries to get efficiency out of indulgences instead of letting me enjoy external experiences. When the driver Ni turns around and uses my Se, though, I get my abilities in the performing arts. Quite a different narrative!

  • Jennifer

    A lot of this podcast resonated with me, especially the parts about how being in inferior grip often means that we haven’t developed our co-pilot enough to meet the inferior needs. Like how as an INFJ, I’ve noticed that I do the sensory indulgence thing less (for me it’s binge-playing cellphone games or bing-watching TV) now that I’m actively working on my co-pilot, because I an access what I need and look for a more appropriate way to meet it. Also a lot of times I’ll go on those indulgences because of perceived interpersonal conflict with someone, so using my copilot to resolve those would make the behavior go away. Much more effective than what I was doing in the past, which was using Ti-10 yr old to scold and try to explain logically why it was bad behavior. Ha, like a 3 yr old is going to listen to that!

  • Helen

    Great episode. I enjoyed listening to both your Ne flow. 🙂 I have experience with everything described in the episode with growing my auxiliary function (I’m INFJ, so Fe). Strengthening Fe has made inferior Se ask for attention. Now that I am aware of this, I can more appropriately respond to the Se request with, “What do I need?” A request Se has made often is desiring conversation. I would indulge with many chats however at the end of it all, I’d feel upset that I lost the time because I need to do a lot of things. Recently, I’ve been out with friends and have felt much more balanced because I time manage with physically seeing friends among the many things I need to do. This idea coupled with self awareness can be a great gauge for a status of the health of the auxiliary function.

  • Viktoria

    The dynamic that I observe in myself as an INTJ is this: I can really get into my co-pilot (extraverted thinking) and then I’m productive and goal-oriented and sometimes the driver process (introverted intuition) can’t keep up. And then I feel like I need to compensate the over-active co-pilot with indulging the 3 year old (extraverted sensing). This means that after having worked very efficiently I crave the sensation of food, wine, music, working out intensely and other sensations. But I always come out of it eventually because the driver gets hold of the wheel again (and I get “thoughty” and retreat mentally and physically). That’s why it does not feel like a loop necessarily – it’s more a momentary thing, not like the driver-10 year old dynamic which I think can go on for a long time and requires conscious effort on my part to “snap out of it”.

    What I think helps in general is to integrate the dominant processes in your work / the majority of your time and then schedule specific activities or free time for the 10 year old and the 3 year old to “play”. And I resonated with the whole reviving your childhood memories: My introverted feeling 10 year old really enjoys watching old shows I watched as a kid, especially “feely” ones.

  • Lukas_with_a_k

    I loved this podcast so much! I had several ah-ha moments as well. I believe this is the information I am in need of for the healing work I am doing currently as an INFJ.
    So, I’ve copyed and pasted my notes from your podcast below, lol.

    •Copilot/Inferior loop. Same inner or outer world. We go there for growth, and see that inferior part of us that holds a lot of pain points, trauma, or dragons we would rather avoid. Unconscious incompetence.

    •See this place as a workshop for you instead of loop. If there’s healing work that needs to be done, it’s here. Copilot parents it.

    •We figure out ways to overcome the challenges presented from our inferior by utilizing or two dominant processes together.

    •Ni+Fe provides me with insight into others unconscious minds combined with empathy while meeting people’s need so I can overcome the overwhelm associated with Se.
    For me, Se holds all of these past messages of reading body language wrongly. Assuming people were judging me and taking those subtle body language cues as messages of their disapproval (undeveloped Fe). I’m stuck in unhealthy Se patterns of thinking (others disapproval/perceived judgment) and my Fe is trying to navigate my psyche out of that trauma, but it just isn’t mature enough yet to make it.
    Growing and sophisticating that copilot (Fe) helps to mature and heal that irrational thinking pattern.
    This is less like a loop and more like a puzzle going unsolved. Just stuck. The dom/10 yr old loop is codependency (staying in preferred world and keeping outer input out).
    Se inferior is a place of over indulge food etc. This feel soothing/nurturing because Fe wants to get needs me (food is a fundamental human need!) Caught in loop of self medicating. Fe as a tool trying how to satisfy Se when caught there but not knowing how yet.
    HOWEVER, mature Fe learns that a need is not a want. A need is a need. Nourishment is a need. Junk food is a want. So, mature Fe sets boundaries with self and meets own NEEDS not indulgent Se wants. Se can be demanding. It needs indulgence in outer world. Fe is a tool used to get to that outer space and get that need met. What does Se truly, really need? Figure it out in a healthy, nourishing way.

    •Ni+Ti intimate relationship
    Fe+Se intimate relationship
    Like family dynamics. Closer to mom. Parts of family ganging up on others. No always negative. Little alliances among attitudes in our personalities. A fondness or simpatico there.
    The copilot has to parent the inferior. It will get the 3 yr old more than any other.

    •Fear may come up when we develop copilot because inferior shows up wanting attention too. And, that can feel threatening because maybe we haven’t been showing that inferior process enough attention. If a part of us in neglected then it will force itself up!

    •ESTPs make up for their blind spot of Ni ( not perspective shifting and seeing people’s hidden motivations) by getting into flow with Se (really great at reading body language in real time) and Ti (clean slicing the language of what people are saying and getting to the accurate truth of the matter at hand).
    Sharpening that Ti (it’s like a scalpel-clearing up thoughts) will heal wounds associated with calcified beliefs of cheating or harmful speculation associated with inferior Ni).

    •INFJs make up for their blind spot of Se (not being observant, not getting into action, not being in their bodies in real time and reading body language) by combining Ni (perspective shifting into others minds and seeing the etymology to why they do what they do) with Fe (absorbing emotions, empathizing deeply, creating boundaries, healing conflict, and meeting needs as they come up).
    Building up, tendering up like a nursemaid (I think of Dr. Quinn) will help heal wounds associated with calcified beliefs in inferior Se around harmful assumptions that others are disapproving of me.
    Basically, I can love and nurture myself. Meet my needs of good self love (positive self talk and clean food intake) by setting boundaries. My Fe gets clear on my wounded needs and meets them as they come up like I do for others.

    • Helen

      I appreciate your notes, Lukas!

  • Midgee

    It’s interesting that Antonia said the thing about trauma living in the youngest part of us. Is it possible that these cognitive functions are actually -based- on our weaknesses? I wonder if it’s trauma related to a certain cognitive function at a young age that -pushes- us out of that space and into the opposite attitudes, etc. Anecdotally, I test as an ENTP and I can tell you that I use Ne to -avoid- dealing with the trauma of having a wildly unstable childhood. Si for me is suspect at best, a blatant enemy at worst. Another example: my INTJ husband has struggled with getting stuck in the grip of Se his entire life. But that might not be surprising because his physical needs were ignored and he was exposed to pornography as a very young child. Also, he wasn’t allowed to deal with the exposure to sex in a healthy way because his “Christian” household wouldn’t tolerate conversations about it. Would it be surprising for a kid in that situation to retreat hard into Ni? Is it possible that this is the very reason we can’t get an accurate reading on kids?

    • Stacey


      This is a really interesting comment. My (now ex) husband is an INTJ (from my own observation, as he is not interested in using the functions for understanding at this point), and he had similar experiences as your husband. He strongly values effectiveness (Te) and when he uses this function, he brings extraordinary value to the table (particularly in the work/professional environment), but I believe he is so locked into his Ni, that he holds onto erroneous and irrational beliefs about others and the world. His inability to trust and “give the benefit of the doubt” has made him incredibly cynical. Knowing that cynicism can be a turn-off to many, he does filter it some, but having lived with him, I know that his cynicism runs very deep. I am an INTP, and have plenty of my own issues. I have tried to be open to his feedback about my weaknesses, but at some point the cynicism became too much for me. His Ni and my Ne (which he would probably consider to be “head-in-the-clouds” optimism) just cannot seem to come together. I care for him deeply, and highly respect him for his strengths, by the way.

      Concerning my inferior Fe, I have always vascillated between a desire to be accepted and an attitude of “I don’t care what other people think of me.” I grew up with a single mom who is an ENFJ (self-admittedly with an unhealthy Fe for much of her life) and I always thought I was supposed to be like her (yet I am completely different in many ways) so I feel as though I have spent much of my life living in Fe-Si mode (which of course are my 10 year-old and 3 year-old functions), and have not lived up to my potential. My only way out of this has been using Ne to expand my world-view and learning that it’s okay to utilize and “celebrate” my dominant Ti, which I have all but ignored for most of my life (though it was of course working unconsciously in the background all along). Understand, I will be 49 this year, and I have made most of these discoveries in the last 6 months. I am now working to re-build my authentic self, and to discover how I can become the “best version of myself.”

  • Denzel Mensah

    As an ENFJ, I am yet to experience the aux-inf loop to my knowledge…but I have discovered recently that the more I developed my Ni (I laser focused on that too), the more my Ti naturally developed. It’s funny because I used to want to major in Philosophy because I was attracted to the logic and “intelligence,” but I eventually grew sorta bored or it got a bit too much for me and I switched to my current major; Communications, which I am now thriving in. However, when I later discovered MBTI and about how Ti was my inferior function, that whole transition made sense and as I developed Ni, although I never focused on Ti to develop, many have told me I have great Ti for an ENFJ. One INTP even commented it on one of my YouTube videos the other day, so I was really hype lol. Anyway, I guess I am saying that I firmly believe and agree with you both that your inferior will naturally develop with more time in your auxiliary. So we should just always continue focusing on that perhaps. ?

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