Skip to content →

Associations between Personality Styles and Functions

By Boye Akinwande

Abstract: In this article, I’ll attempt to provide an explanation for the associations observed between Theodore Millon’s personality styles and the Jungian cognitive processes. So as not to reinforce the mindset, I caution readers to keep in mind that while such associations may exist, the personality styles should not be treated as absolute identifiers or aspects of the functions themselves. There is a tendency to determinetype on the basis of the occurrence of a style that’s commonly associated with a function/type instead of actually identifying the function itself.

As we might expect, J types are overrepresented among styles where the standards that they uphold and adhere to are seen as valid in an objective sense. And because they’re seen as objectively right, others are often looked down upon for not adhering to the same “correct” standards.

Te and the Compulsive style

Breaking this down even further, the Compulsive style appears to be overrepresented among the more empirically inclined of t J types, Si and Te types. They are the most inclined of all the types to abiding by the established rules/laws of society. They are at pains to meet these rules/laws to fit with a sense of propriety, but with the same critical eye they direct towards themselves they may also direct others who don’t seem to be meeting them.

Fe and the Narcissistic Style

On the other hand, with Ni and Fe types, we tend to see more of an association with the Narcissistic personality style. Like the Si and Te types they too conceive of a standard held up as “objective”, but in reality that standard is more likely to be more self-derived than empirical and objective. In it being self-derived yet regarded as objective, a contrast is created between those who do meet the standard (themselves) and those who don’t, others, laying down a greater susceptibility to the Narcissistic style.

It’s been discussed more extensively why Ni is linked with the Narcissistic style, but less has been said about Fe’s relation to the style. Generally speaking, Ni is prone to Narcissistic style because it tries to produce holistic insights that they themselves derived. Of all the functions, however, Fe most seeks sentimental alignment between the self and other and is most prone to seeking affirmation from others. One manifestation of this may be seen in the overrepresentation of the Dependent personality among them in which the self aligns other. This could also include alignment of the self with others or perceived alignment of the self with others in their search for affirmation that could result in the Narcissistic Personality style (feels deserving of affirmation)

Te and the Sadistic style

One might think ETJs with their pomposity and aggressive impersonal pursuit of their goals would be more Narcissistic , but I’d argue that their unconscious Feeling function isn’t really in a position to seek out affirmation as an end in itself. In their minds, such pursuits tend to be framed as logical necessity. As I’ve mentioned before, Te/Fi types operate under the assumption that people’s interests are not aligned with their own. Therefore, between the two extraverted judgement types, it is the Te type who is more likely to feel existentially threatened and harbor more of a survivalist mindset in ordering the external environment, applying knowledge of the facts as they are having less qualms about than the Fe type about whether or not its disagreeable because it “must” be done. The relativistic outlook created by the Te/Fi axis may also makes the Te type most likely to feel boosted from the downfall of others (they are less threatening. These two qualities are why the Sadistic style is overrepresented among Te types.

The Te type is constantly under threat and feels the need to beat people down in order to maintain his position. He is not so much in the business of affirming his ego by conflating it with a collective ego (Narcissist) as much as he is ruthlessly “protecting” its existence (Sadist). The Narcissist is frequently described as more benevolent, so the personality style contrast between the Te and Fe type should make sense based on stereotypes that float around about the type.

Fi and the Histrionic Style

Fi similarly isn’t as linked with the Narcissistic style as Fe because of the similarly isolated ego that comes with the Te/Fi axis. Because Fi in itself is less concerned than Fe about aligning itself with objective sentiments, it is less in a position to feel deserving of objective affirmation. This isolation, however, can lead to a stronger need to seek out attention and battle for affirmation, a penchant that is more consistent with the Histrionic style.

Further, the Histrionic style often relies on overdramatic behavior and vulnerable affect in pursuit of self-serving goals. which also fits quite well with the unmediated Fi function, unbound to proper standards, preferring to just “do what it wants and follow its own passions” and in concordance with repressed Te, as a result unable to manage what they see as the restrictions of the real world.

Published in Boye Akinwande