Introduction To The Super-Ego Block
The second row of Model A (functions 3 and 4) is called the Super-Ego block. The individual's free and spontaneous use of the Ego block functions implies limitations on the use of these functions, which are a kind of rejected alternative to the Ego block. Each type tends to believe that his own Super-Ego functions are meant to be used only for the purposes established by the Ego functions; that is, their application is limited to serving the Ego block's interests. When a person's own interests are not sufficiently developed and people around him pressure him to be more competent with his Super-Ego functions, distress and disappointment result. The psyche is not able to channel energy through the Super-Ego functions long enough to achieve lasting results, which leads to disappointment, guilt, and even neuroses if the individual believes that the development of these functions is the measure of his worth as a person.
The Super-Ego functions are the source of much self-consciousness. When among strangers or critical onlookers, people tend to suddenly become aware of the possible inadequacy of their Super-Ego functions and often respond in one of two ways: (1) demonstratively act through these functions to create an illusion of confidence, or (2) demonstratively state their complete incompetency or rejection of these areas.
The Super-Ego functions are in the mental ring and thus describe things that the individual tries to mentally formulate for himself. However, in contrast to the Ego block functions, the Super-Ego functions almost always keep their conclusions to themselves. Any information which is shared in these areas is meant for abstract discussion, rather than actual advice or criticism.
These functions are prone to inflexibility and tend to reject new information unless it comes from first-hand experience or sources that they already respect. These functions have great difficulty producing confident and creative responses in unfamiliar situations.
People rarely appreciate direct commentary and analysis of their Super-Ego function behavior except by highly trusted friends. Otherwise, they tend to automatically suspect ill will towards them. Criticism of these aspects of a person's life can produce long-lasting animosity. The person may either vehemently defend himself (too vehemently given the nature of the criticism) or close up and ruminate about the situation for days. Outright praise, on the other hand, produces an unexpected self-esteem boost.
3. Role Function
When a person is actively using his base function, the role function is essentially turned off. The two cannot both be "on" at the same time, because they represent two opposing approaches to similar things. Because of this opposition, the more one gets carried away with one's base function, the more the role function is ignored or suppressed. People are generally somewhat aware of this suppression and perceive it as a personal weakness that needs to be "worked on" in order to meet other people's expectations and achieve something in society. It is typical for people to periodically work on their role function in order to correct imbalances in their life and improve their weak areas. However, these attempts are generally sporadic and are forgotten as soon as the perceived problem begins to go away and the person once again becomes carried away with their usual lifestyle which is dominated by their base function. Thus, development of the role function is more like patching up leaks than building a complete, self-sufficient structure. Often individuals wish they could build up their role function and become "supermen", but an excessive focus on this unreachable goal brings disappointment, because the base function always wins anyways.
When people are criticized for their lack of attentiveness to their role function, they are often irritated because they are already well aware of the deficiency and have already tried and failed to correct it. When problems arise with the role function, energy flows away from the base function, the individual brings his usual activities to a halt, and tries to pick up all the tasks he had been neglecting. Directing energy through the base function is effortless; working with the role function requires effort and concentration. Thus, people's concept of self-development is often centered on development of the role function and the Super-Ego block in general.
Compared to the vulnerable function, role function criticism is easier for a person to respond to or dismiss, since they believe that it has some value, in theory. The role function is triggered situationally, when individuals are met with situations that oppose their base aspect of reality. The base function only accepts information relating to its information aspect, and other information cannot be produced into new data with the creative function.
4. Vulnerable Function
The vulnerable function is also called the Point or Place of Least Resistance (PoLR) or sensitive function. The element in this function creates a feeling of frustration and inadequacy. A person does not understand the importance of this element entirely, and it can easily lead to painful consequences if not adequately considered.
However, to directly engage this function creates feelings of insecurity and distress. One reason why the vulnerable function is so difficult to engage is because three other conscious functions come before it, making this one the most difficult to comprehend. Often an alternative approach may be found from the view of the mobilizing function. Because of the psychological disincentives to using the vulnerable function, people usually try to ignore information related to it, and in extreme cases do so even in situations where it is most relevant. Even with a theoretical understanding of how this element works, it is difficult to turn it into practical norms of behavior. One can "develop" the vulnerable function by recognizing that it is actually important in certain real-life circumstances. Even if the subject recognizes this, he will still usually try to avoid taking responsibility for it himself, or develop a minimalist or non-traditional approach (possibly using other functions) that is enough to satisfy one's own needs. The presence of a dual usually dissolves any concern there might be about how to approach matters of the vulnerable function.
- A type with Fe PoLR does not see the point of activities revolving around excessive displays of emotion or behavior that does not reach a concrete or tangible outcome. They would rather keep conversations serious and to the point, for he/she is overwhelmed by such emotional expression, making it quite difficult to express themselves. In social interactions they will make a serious effort to reduce their level of emotive expressiveness such as being too joyful or sad, believing that showing these signs will make them vulnerable to be influenced by others. They don't hold quite a high standard for how people as a group feel about something (even if outnumbered by many when making a personal decision), and instead value situations where they can speak their own subjective opinions and feelings freely.
- A type with Ne PoLR has a difficult time understanding ideas that seem new or novel, especially when it has no tangible effect on their lives. Leaving little to chance, they are able to plan out their lives for years ahead of time. This results in difficulties handling unexpected problems in their lives that put a halt on their usual pursuits, and they tend to fear all the possible "what-if's" when those problems prevent them from seeing a clear future. When unsure about something, these types can either avoid making any changes at all or making too quick and reckless of a decision, either of which resulting in missed opportunities. *
- A type with Si PoLR has little patience for sitting back and focusing on how they can physically better themselves in the moment, especially if they are involved in what they view as a very important matter. They would much rather try to act on their long-term priorities instead of their physical comfort, resulting in problems such as an inability to be aware or care about present realities, failure to realize the physical or mental strains they are placing on themselves, and being generally unable to relax and take the focus off of their long-term pursuits.
- A type with Te PoLR tends to reject facts given from a source which they are personally unfamiliar with, firmly believing they can make their own decisions that are solely based on their own perspective and reasoning about it. They will tend to become defensive when questioned about their rationale or efficiency, pointing out that there is no such thing as objective "fact". Also, these types experience a significant level of stress in tending to day-to-day must do's and responsibilities in life (like routine maintenance or working productively), manifesting itself as a general laziness or hyper-diligence.