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  1. #1
    Senior Member Jade Curtiss's Avatar
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    Default The True Purpose of the Tertiary

    Assuming each type is composed of four conscious functions/attitudes, the role of the dominant, auxiliary, and inferior functions are relatively easy to understand. The dominant is the default mindset or attitude the subject sees the world with, the filter that life is experienced through. The auxiliary is the supporting function that is the opposite of the dominant in both orientation and whether it is information gathering or decision-making. Developing proper use of the auxiliary balances out the natural dominant function, enhancing it's scope. The auxiliary is also often idealized as something to aspire to. The inferior of course is the function we are most averse to, which we avoid and which still manifests itself negatively through the type.

    However, the role of the tertiary function is often obscure, or glossed over in comparison. Despite being widely accepted today as being the same orientation as the dominant function, there is controversy over whether Jung believed this, or whether all functions including the tertiary are opposite in orientation to the dominant.

    Assuming the tertiary is the same orientation as the dominant, it's role in one part is played out as entering a loop with the dominant function ("Tertiary Temptation") so that the subject avoids having to use the auxiliary function to balance the dominant and so enters a loop of double extroverted or introverted functions, ignoring either the inner or outer worlds. Another related purpose of the tertiary is that it is thought to be a "comfort point" for the type, that "protects" the dominant function and the natural inclination to use it and functions of the same orientation. Or it is used/made manifest in a way other than how the function should be used, such as a manipulative tertiary Fe in young ExTPs, at least until the early twenties when it supposedly begins to be used properly in most people. Alternatively, I have also heard that it is sometimes ignored completely (unlike the inferior which still shows up negatively). So which is it? What is the true purpose of the tertiary?

    As for myself as an INTP, I can relate to all of these except ignoring regarding my tertiary Si. Looking back, when growing up I can now see how I was in the Ti/Si tertiary temptation loop for many years, ignoring my Ne which appeared only infrequently, and acting very rigid and specific when it came to new experiences and certain rituals I associated with past memories, which probably influenced my confusion about whether I was a J or not (I was not "flexible" in any sense of the word, which made me think I couldn't possibly be a perceiver). I also relate to the tertiary as a comfort point. I enjoy the aspects of Si that relate to past memories and a connection to previous experiences; I can be pretty nostalgic/melancholy.

    So, what is the role of your tertiary function in your experience? What do you think it's true purpose is?
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  2. #2
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    In Beebe's theory I'd relate more to the "comfort point" of Si being my tertiary (which would put me at INFP rather than ENFP). However, it's been told to me repeatedly that I exhibit tertiary Te more often in the ENFP way of being confrontational or using Te in a rather inappropriate "bossy" way instead of a logical way as a young person, like the way young ENTPs can use Fe in an inappropriate manipulative way.

    By Lenore Thomson's theory I have tertiary Te for sure [ Tertiary Te (ExFP)]: "Unfair!! I have to stick to my guns, I will not be bullied or cheated. Any number of authorities agree with me. All my friends agree with me. Everyone can see that my response is directly mandated by the situation: anything else would be irresponsible. These facts absolutely settle the matter, and there is no point in looking at it any further."

    I think the tertiary is very important to personality balance, and some people actually become imbalanced because of a Dom/Tert loop, and it can manifest itself even as a Thinker testing as Feeler if they're, for example, an ISTJ who prioritizes their Fi over their Te, though they clearly use Si/Te/Fi.

    I think people who ignore their tertiary completely are wildly imbalanced, like they seem way too much their type, like an ENFP who has no structure at all, or an ESFJ who is so Fe/Si that they can't relate to Intuitive people at all. Or the INTJ who seems to have no feelings or ethics at all. People with no tertiary are kind of creepy, IMO.

  3. #3
    ⒺⓉⒷ Eric B's Avatar
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    Well, just like the inferior mirrors the dominant (it's the function and attitude suppressed the most by the ego in choosing its dominant), then the tertiary is the mirror of the auxiliary. The aux. is the support or "parent" function, and the function suppressed from that space is what we become childlike with.

    The Puer Complex is what steps in and orients it to the dominant. Lenore didn't mention the Puer when her book was written, but does identify it now, and that's what causes the Tertiary Temptation when it usurps the auxiliary.
    Otherwise, the function might lean more towards the opposite orientation suppressed from the dominant.

    So I do seem to have some enjoyment of Se (particulrly lights and colors) that is not necessarily apart of the Trickster complex. (It might fit "comedic" at times, which is the positive side of the Trickster). When the Puer is constellated, then the focus becomes specifically on stored sensory data in a very nostalgic way.

    Also, I'm not sure Beebe (or Berens) calls the Puer function "comfort". It's called "relief". What you're calling "comfort" (regarding Si) might be "aspirational", which is the inferior or animus.

    Here's a new way I just thought of putting how the mirror dynamic works:

    The opposite functional perspective is always implicit in a situation, (which is what creates the mirror dynamic) because when we look at it through a function and orientation, we are in essence dividing the situation that in complete form consists of both tangible and conceptual, and technical and humane aspects, which both emerge and vary, and can be stored or set in our memory.

    So if I pick out of a situation the conceptual and emergent elements, then the tangible and set elements are implicit, in having basically been differentiated or set apart.

    This works for the shadow as well:
    I feel bound or put upon in a situation (constellating the Trickster, which is then projected outward), which also implies a form of negation (constellating the Senex). It will often involve the primary counterparts, where there aren't enough options being provided, and then Si's stored data echoing "that's life", which makes me feel reduced to like a child.
    So the part of me that feels bound by the current reality will accuse someone deemed responsible of "thinking it's funny" or "playing around", which are "bad child" projections. A bad child implies a need for a critical parent to point out and chastize him. They compensate for the presence of each other. So this simultaneously erupts, providing the authoritarian anger and blaming posture, using a conceptualized sense of a meaning of the situation implicit in view of the tangible reality I'm reacting to in the first place.
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  4. #4
    Member amazingdatagirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric B View Post
    A bad child implies a need for a critical parent to point out and chastize him. They compensate for the presence of each other. So this simultaneously erupts, providing the authoritarian anger and blaming posture, using a conceptualized sense of a meaning of the situation implicit in view of the tangible reality I'm reacting to in the first place.
    My bad child erupts when I become aware of some deficiency in my Se environment. It will suddenly occur to me that I have allowed household clutter to escalate or 10 extra lbs became 20 extra. I realize that my "favorite" shirt is shockingly threadbare (there is a closet full of not-my-favorites). My self condemnation goes beyond mild disappointment. I feel like a fool because I do not have the physical awareness that is so effortlessly natural to other adults. The Se-Fi shadow seems more like a black hole in those times.

    Back to the OP, the tertiary is a source of childish pleasure. We can indeed look foolish when we engage that function but it is not accompanied by a sense of failure or impending doom. INTP's parental Ne is able to bandage up the scrapes and bruises of Si over-exuberance.

  5. #5
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Interesting, I experience Te not as a relief, but as an embarassment, displaying my stress /loss of control for the whole world to see. I have the same embarassment as you with Se though.

    How is the tertiary pleasurable for you? And, fellow ENFPs, do you experience Te as pleasurable and how so?
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  6. #6
    libtard SJW chickpea's Avatar
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    i can see advantages to my si, like i can remember certain seemingly insignificant details about the past and they'll help me figure something out later. but mostly my use of it seems unhealthy and is spent reliving past memories and conversations and idealizing the past way too much. but that could be an enneagram 4 thing too.

  7. #7
    Member amazingdatagirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vala Faye View Post
    How is the tertiary pleasurable for you? And, fellow ENFPs, do you experience Te as pleasurable and how so?
    Since you asked... I enjoy sewing and other forms of stitchery although I don't have much time time to indulge that hobby. I also like choral singing (church choir is my ONLY regular social interaction). My painfully loud soprano is well suited to musical theater - the best example of Si silliness in my life. Reading material is usually something related to history - either fiction or non-fiction.

  8. #8
    Carerra Lu IZthe411's Avatar
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    I agree in some ways that the tert can leave weird feelings. When I exercise Fi in some instances I feel like I'm going down some path of destruction- like I'm not allowed to feel this way about this situation. I have to tell myself it's okay to feel that way.

    I don't think anybody finds it silly but you who are experiencing it.

  9. #9
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Se is fun and it's true I revert to it when I'm in the mood to cut loose, so yes, it can be viewed from a relief perspective! The comfort aspect is actually from external sources for me, when connecting with someone who's a Se dom or aux. There's a form of comfort in that connection.

  10. #10
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    The tertiary always gives you something to improve on within yourself, and thus a reason to wake up in the morning, and feel like it's possible to grow as a person, even when you're 85.

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