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Misplaced and/or Misdirected Cognitive Function Series | MBTI Listings

mbti misplaced functions

Central to the framework of the MBTI are the four pairs of cognitive functions, each playing a unique role in shaping how we perceive the world, process information, and make decisions. However, what happens when these cognitive functions become misplaced or misdirected?

For various reasons, individuals may find themselves grappling with the effects of cognitive functions that seem to operate out of sync or out of place within their designated MBTI type. This phenomenon can lead to a myriad of challenges, from internal conflict to interpersonal misunderstandings.

Let’s venture into the realm of misplaced cognitive functions, shedding light on how these functions manifest in more dysfunctional ways.

Introverted Thinking

The following are only a few of the ways in which the Introverted Thinking (Ti) function of a person is misplaced and/or misdirected:

– Crippling perfectionism; having high standards and aiming to be and do well with them can be great as long as it’s not paralyzing and keeping from making the necessary ‘mistakes’ to change and improve where it’s needed.
– Senseless fault-finding and nit-picking; focusing too much on what is wrong and losing sight of what is right (or highlighting what is wrong for no good reason and more often than necessary) can be both harmful and stagnating.
– Endless questioning; questioning is important and recommendable to find and create solid foundations and constructs, but if it keeps going incessantly, it can needlessly break or impair the solidity of things.
– Endless hypothesizing; hypothesizing is important and recommendable to come up with new ways to look at things and fill the gaps, but if it keeps going incessantly, it can leave no room for the facts and how things are truly like.
– Destructive and unproductive battle of wits; intellectual conflict may form doorways to exploration and clarifications, but if there’s too much emphasis on proving one’s intellectual superiority and another’s intellectual inferiority, many opportunities to learn will be lost.
– Insensitive and disrespectful prodding; it’s one thing to take interest in another person and participate in light teasing to get them to open up about matters, and it’s another to be pervasively insistent on getting someone to share about themselves (by pushing buttons and more) when they don’t want, need nor have to.
– Dismantling and reducing to bare minimum; in exaggerated efforts to be “detached” and “impartial,” stripping objects and subjects to the point where they lose their meaning and significance.
– Overvaluing intelligence and logic; believing intelligence and logic (in self and in others) are all that count and having little to no patience or appreciation for anything else not only lacks compassion – but also leads to a distorted and incomplete worldview.
– Severe distrust and negativity; not that being happy-go-lucky is always that much better, but many worthwhile people and experiences can be missed (or even tainted) if there’s a strong predisposition to think the worst of them.
– Projection; assuming they understand others when, in reality, they’re only attributing their own motives and intentions to others.


Extraverted Thinking

The following are only a few of the ways in which the Extraverted Thinking (Te) function of a person is misplaced and/or misdirected:

Overconfidence and recklessness; being bold and taking risks can be important, but it can be taken too far – to the point where much more is lost than what was ever there to win to begin with.
Over-controlling and micromanaging; people and things need time and space to work and be productive, being over their shoulder too much throughout the process may sabotage the possibility of better results.
Over-delegating and entitlement; expecting and demanding from others to take care of tasks they could and should handle themselves.
Being overly simplistic and dismissive; instead of being mentally agile and effectively reaching correct conclusions, information is carelessly processed and incorrect conclusions are believed.
Sacrificing quality to be cost-effective; while there may be instances in life where this is the wiser choice, it is not as often as it may appear. Producing for the sake of producing can be counterproductive in many ways.
Unyielding fixation on methods; learning a procedure and stubbornly adhering to it even when it shows to be more problematic and defective than others available to adapt to.
Excessive ‘pragmatism’; continuing to choose what seems easier and safer over finding creative solutions to problems.
Excessive elitism; rather than simply finding mind-mates and relatable people, looking down on and rejecting others based solely on perceived and imagined status.
Brutal and dishonest communication; under the excuse and delusion of “just being honest,” unnecessarily saying harmful and distorted things.
Projection; assuming they understand others when, in reality, they’re only attributing their own motives and intentions to others.


Extraverted Feeling

The following are only a few of the ways in which the Extraverted Feeling (Fe) function of a person is misplaced and/or misdirected:

Excessive attachment; inability to let go of others who have long ceased to be (or want to be) connected to them.
Excessive possessiveness; seeing others as extensions of themselves and feeling entitled to limit and to shape them to their own will, without much or any concern for what others truly want and need.
Excessive protection; keeping others from making decisions on their own and from living their own experiences by instilling worries and fear where they’re not due.
Lack of boundaries; meddling, intruding, giving little to no space or privacy – no matter how uncomfortable they’re making others.
Overextended service; doing too much “for others” when it was not asked of them, when they were clearly asked to stop (several times) – and then resenting others for it and expecting and demanding in return.
Overbearing pride; believing themselves to be superior and more deserving of validation on the sole basis of having better “social skills.”
Condescension; believing they know better what’s best for others when, in fact, they don’t – and forcing their views onto others.
Projection; assuming they understand others when, in reality, they’re only attributing their own motives and intentions to others.
Falsehood for unmerited inclusion; tactically lying and delivering half-truths with the intent to persuade and convince themselves and others of someone’s “goodness.”
Falsehood for unmerited exclusion; tactically lying and delivering half-truths with the intent to persuade and convince themselves and others of someone’s “badness.”

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Introverted Feeling

The following are only a few of the ways in which the Introverted Feeling (Fi) function of a person is misplaced and/or misdirected:

Championing a lost cause; being invested in a cause that, realistically, is too much for them to be able to help move forth or that’s simply not viable given the conditions and circumstances.
Unreasonable moral standards; having excessively rigid and/or high “moral standards” which are, in many cases, nearly impossible to reach and/or doing so comes at the cost of much that’s of equal or more importance.
Unreasonable indignation; being easily and visibly displeased by anything less than “perfect” according to their own personal values.
Immoderate self-centeredness; more than being personally concerned with only themselves for some time, being so to the point of egotism and conceitedness – believing much outside themselves that they haven’t earned or deserve should be for them, at the cost of others and against others’ will.
Inflated sense of uniqueness; believing themselves so different and special that it must automatically mean they’re more significant and valuable than most others.
Poor self-reflection; not taking the time to truly reflect, get to the root emotions of their views and beliefs, and rearrange their inner world for the better.
Romanticizing suffering; while suffering might enhance wisdom and empathy, this can be taken too far and be done for too long, leading to detriment and stagnation – or worse.
Holding on to what should be let go of; remaining with someone or something that is mostly bad or wrong for them by fixating on the tiny bits that make it feel worthwhile, hoping things will change even though they continue to show no signs of this.
Projection; assuming they understand others when, in reality, they’re only attributing their own motives and intentions to others.
Excusing and justifying the inexcusable and unjustifiable; searching for ways to bend and twist perceptions to make the wrong seem right.


Extraverted Sensing

The following are only a few of the ways in which the Extraverted Sensing (Se) function of a person is misplaced and/or misdirected:

– “Refined and sophisticated” taste; it may be impressive to be able to sense harmony and subtleties within given compositions, but this is not to be confused with being closed and narrow-minded by fixating on acclaimed standards of “beauty.” Embracing some variety and rawness is necessary to truly get to experience and know the physical realm.
– Overindulgence in pleasures; it’s okay to indulge for we’re not meant to spend our lives only in sacrifice – the problem lies in overindulgence. Overindulging so much to the point that it is later regretted (out of one’s own conscience or due to its backlash) or not even enjoyable in the moment (as it’s not worthwhile) defeats the purpose of pleasure. Not to mention more unreasonable forms of it.
– Reckless risk-taking and thrill-seeking; what may seem reckless to one person may not be to another who’s more able navigate and thrive in danger, but don’t completely ignore the consequences of your actions and consider those affected by them.
– Abrasive and forceful behavior; there may be a time and a place for everything. Being aggressive or even violent doesn’t always have to be suppressed, but it also doesn’t have to be active at all times. There are fighting, dancing and other intense activities that can be participated in instead of constantly disrupting quieter and calmer places and people.
– Volatility and reactiveness; becoming aware of surroundings and of what is happening before responding is at times much more beneficial than being impulsive.
– ‘All that glitters is gold’ mentality; if it looks too good, maybe it’s not. Not to devalue everything, but to be watchful of illusions that grab attention of convince of something that’s not.
– Mindlessly conforming to and depending on current trends and easy “fixes”; being at the mercy of circumstances rather than impacting, improving and/or overcoming them makes little use of natural potential. It’s often fine to join in and appreciate what’s actual before it’s gone or to cope in the short-term with what’s available when necessary, but it’s wasteful to be reduced by this.
– Selfish opportunism; making “the most” or “the best” out of things sometimes has its costs and comes at the expense of others. Taking advantage of situations is not necessarily malicious or terribly self-serving, but it can be.
– Lacking direction and going in circles; not all change and movement mean progress. Let and have actions amount to something greater.
– Carefreeness verging on carelessness; worrying (on its own) doesn’t solve much, but neither does pretending problems don’t or won’t exist. There’s a difference between keeping it light and being indifferent.

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Introverted Sensing

The following are only a few of the ways in which the Introverted Sensing (Si) function of a person is misplaced and/or misdirected:

– Remembering things as worse or better than they actually were; in some cases, it’s okay to see things in a different light to be able to honor some sides of them or to be firm in not repeating them, but be watchful not to believe these versions as indisputably exact.
– Having memories jumbled up inside, blended and confused; without taking the time to sort them out and appropriately group them, their sources, dates and more can be lost.
– Assuming that a few similarities signify total sameness; while it’s definitely important to take note of certain signs to know and understand what we’re facing and dealing with, being too quick to judge can lead to many overgeneralizations.
– Holding onto and investing in something mostly or only because of familiarity; it’s fine when it’s truly valuable or not too problematic, the issue is in tolerating and enduring for too long what one could be better off without.
– Expecting and demanding more consistency than is reasonable; not everyone is going to be as consistent as one would like them to be (not everyone can, should or has to). And in some cases, some simply do not care enough to and you’d only be driving yourself crazy and wasting your time (or other resources) trying to make them.
– Dismissive skepticism toward ideas and visions; believing ideas and visions without enough proof that they have any merit can be naive, but keep in mind that many things that once seemed impossible are now evident. Skepticism can instead contribute, for better or for worse, to clarifying, fleshing out and polishing ideas and visions.
– Being closed off to anything new or different; be it out of fear, pride or something else, it might be too terribly prolonged and keep one in the dark or even deteriorate their health.
– Refusing leaps of faith or steps toward the unknown; not that leaving the comfort zone and taking risks must be done 24/7, but sometimes it’s worth it. You can move forward and still be wisely cautious.
– Hoarding possessively and/or with disregard; there may be collections of personal value that are well guarded and venerated, but be careful not to fail to see their worth or how they burden you. Decluttering and minimizing is at times essential (and so is proper treatment).
– Failing to check for or see the relevance of facts; speculation and taking things at face value can only go so far, this function is to be accessed, among other things, for veracity.


Extraverted Intuition

The following are only a few of the ways in which the Extraverted Intuition (Ne) function of a person is misplaced and/or misdirected:

Blowing matters out of proportion; exaggerations have their time and place for worthwhile effects and can be quite comical and illustrative, but it’s a different case when something important is at stake.
Taking matters out of context; finding similitudes between differing areas can be clever and even brilliantly illuminating as long as it retains veracity or is at least made clear that fiction is heavily at play.
Insensibly filling the gaps; guesses and approximations can push us to discover, to find out what is missing and what else is or could be there, but there isn’t always an invitation to throw in whatever we can think of.
Changing and believing versions significantly removed from reality; seeing beyond what is apparent and searching for alternate ways to look at things can be honorable and admirable, but it can also be disastrous when done without sense.
Emphasizing possibilities to the detriment of positive potential; becoming enthusiastic and/or cautious of what might be may serve growth and more, but mindfulness and restraint may be required to bring forth and protect the better of it.
Extracting and highlighting pieces and patterns in a manner that distorts and/or debilitates; there’s much to everything and what’s selected from it can greatly, for better and/or for worse, impact things.
Repeatedly going in circles and/or attempting to follow too many tangents at once; broadening and revising perspectives aids clarity and grants wisdom, but some amount of focus and direction may be necessary for this to be fruitful.
Overwhelming to exhaustion and suffocation; being quick-witted and bursting with ideas is a valuable talent that can be relieving and enlivening if it leaves room for and helps breathe.
Sacrificing depth and quality for the sake of multitasking; sometimes slowing the pace and committing to only a handful of tasks can be more productive and fulfilling.
Selfish and obsessive fascination and discussion of subjects; being curious and exchanging knowledge can be rewarding for everyone involved if reasonable boundaries and privacy are respected.

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Introverted Intuition

The following are only a few of the ways in which the Introverted Intuition (Ni) function of a person is misplaced and/or misdirected:

Superiority/God complex; it’s tempting to believe that having easy access to the overviews and undercurrents of situations places someone above others, but this may only be delusional and foolish – wisdom comes with humility.
Everything must be part of a calculated scheme and/or further an agenda; while it may be grand to not let time and other resources go to waste, to see everything fall into place and become something greater than the sum of its parts, not everything can or should fit into a vision – some things just have to be allowed or let go of.
Extreme tunnel vision; keeping focus and avoiding distractions may be necessary, particularly within certain situations that require it, but taking it to extremes in some instances might turn into no more than narrow-mindedness, stubbornness and ignorance.
Deceit and/or lack of explanation; as a non-verbal process, it may be difficult to communicate and make understandable. However, this does not mean that deceit is more favorable nor that one shouldn’t at least make an effort to illustrate when necessary.
Demanding profoundness and greatness in all; it’s fine to look for the extraordinary and to also see the extraordinary in the ordinary, but sometimes appreciating (or at least tolerating) the simplicity in the simple things is what can get us through the day.
Distanced disconnection; detachment and non-attachment may serve well for clarity and impartiality, but too much distance and disconnection might reduce and diminish important matters.
Apathy due to perceived “sameness’ and “predictability”; believing nothing matters because everything can be stripped down to the same predictable patterns misses the fact that there’s much more, composing all, that can be looked forward to.
Assuming knowledge and understanding; being able to immediately grasp a concept or the essence of something can seem like a quick absorption of all that it’s made of, but this may be far from being the case and instead only vague knowledge and understanding are reached.
Erroneous connections and synthesis; just as correlation does not equal causation and outcomes don’t necessarily imply intention, combining and summing up information may result in erroneous assessments when appropriate discernment is not practiced.
Reactively trusting intuitive callings without insight; learning to hear what hunches are truly trying to say takes introspection and contemplation – without this, inner and outer conditions could get mixed up and be inaccurately read.


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