Bridging psychological type and depth psychology

Editors: Carol Shumate, Mark Hunziker, Jenny Soper, Amy Evers, Christopher Ross, and Olivia Ireland (Art Editor)

Next Issue: January

Q: How Does Type Falsification Happen?

Giorgio de Chirico, "The Painter's Family," 1926Both articles in this issue discuss type distortion, and both discuss the legacy of a prevailing cultural typology—one within a family and the other on a national scale. “Type Blindness” describes one family’s experience in which the family’s very closeness, generally a psychological positive, contributed to the pressure to conform to a certain type, although there were benefits as well as costs to this pressure. “Shadow and Individuation in China” describes that nation’s struggle to return to the typology most natural to its culture amidst the pressures of historical events and economic growth. Again, one can identify both costs and benefits, but the authors suggest that eventually China must acknowledge the type of its cultural heritage.

Have you personally experienced type falsification, or witnessed it in someone else? What do you think the cause of this was? Did your family or hometown or nationality seem to have a cultural type? How did this type legacy affect you and others?

 


Header Image: Giorgio de Chirico, “The Painter’s Family” (1926)

6 Comments

    Yes, people pity you when you have broken off from family, but they don’t see how it enables them to be parasitic, or do they? Once you meet AB+C norms, you become an inquirer with an invisible fence able to answer in all traditional and approved of ways. Soul empty and ungrateful but safe, it is easier to judge from that standpoint.

  • Yes I’ve experienced Type Falsification. I was raised in a ESTJ predominant family, 2xESTJ’s, 2xESFP’s ISTP and me, an intuitive. Extended family is all S also. The type pressure occurs in two ways, intentionally and unintentionally. The intentional part is when types are continually trying to get you to go along with their plans. In my case this was continual pressure to participate in S activities that I frankly hated (there obviously is a converse to this with an S being raised in an N household, but there the issues would be of an entirely different type).

    The unintentional comes about by the constant recognizing of difference. Even while being celebrated the difference has a black sheep quality to it. Catchphrases … “We always worried about you because …”, “You always listened to your own drummer …”, “You were always quiet …” and so forth. I don’t believe this constant comment was meant negatively, per-se, but over time it builds to a cacophony of “Your weird, your different, there’s something off about you, your desires are suspect”.

    The other aspect of the unintentional is that as a child growing up in a different household, you’ll adopt the prevailing behaviors whether you like it or not. So even if you have a different set of functions which are demanding one set of behaviors, you’ll have learned a different set which leads to conflict. Psychic fatigue, angst, self confusion and the like when young, and usually a major midlife crisis when older. Ideally – one hopes – the individual discovers MBTI/Jung and can undo the damage before it’s too late. Further the benefit of “unwinding” the psychic mess is you learn a deep understanding of “nature versus nurture”, but it’s a long, difficult process.

    So, my type? INTP. There’s not a lot of material available on Type Falsification, I’ve thought of writing a book about it but haven’t done so. Glad to see you’ve got a few things here about the phenomenon.

  • I think falsification is a complicated thing to define, as we don’t know (nor is there agreement among scholars on) the extent to which various parts of type are innate (they are features of the ego, and it is hard to say the ego isn’t part innate and part there just because some coherent habit must be formed to adapt to the world). Some seem to think the introvert/extravert types are more innately built in, whereas the function-types are harder to characterize in terms of how innate they are to the person.

    As I’ve posted elsewhere, James Hillman and David Keirsey both alert us to the view that mental function types (albeit Hillman speaks of Jung’s types in general) are in the domain of categorizing psychological ideas, namely ideas whose analysis is inseparable from that of the conscious and unconscious psychologies of those who gave birth to them. Both those scholars speak of things like function-types not really being an empirical story.

    For me, the major issue is that functions are not, like the introvert/extravert categories, truly psychological attitudes. They are mental processes giving expression to psychological attitudes. Things like a dreaminess/not-down-to-earth attitude are real attitudes, i.e. they describe a psychological readiness. But not equivalent with the function of intuition being prioritized.
    I have seen a trend of sort of sloppily assuming these things are the same, and it isn’t proper use of the functions concept they way I can tell: the mental output is separate, and the psychology behind it is different (they interact – hence why introvert/extravert psychological attitudes produce different outputs even through the same function, e.g. why we can call introverted sensation so different from extraverted sensation).

    It’s kind of fruitless to pin attitudes on functions – functions are just so multifaceted, they interact and combine, and so forth. An aesthetic attitude can correspond to intuition, yet so can a highly morally oriented attitude. Hence, can either of these be viewed as a “consequence” of being an intuitive or an intuitive-feeling/intuitive-thinking type? Unlikely. I think being morally or aesthetically oriented is its own psychological feature, at least in part, and one takes on the functions which can give expression to one’s attitudes rather than our attitudes being “determined” by functions. Or at least, the two are in dialogue: the elemental aspects of our attitudinal types must be in dialogue with possible functions we can apprehend reality through, and some match hopefully occurs which is rewarding against the circumstances. The differences among the functions is apprehended by the individual with his/her set of unique psychological biases, and a combination suitable is selected (hopefully).

    Falsification to me doesn’t really exist (hopefully read on, as this is more of a nitpick than anything radical) much except in terms of someone basically hallucinating – otherwise, the way I define what others commonly refer to as falsification is a non-optimal combination of different facets of personality finding expression, that does not allow the natural expression of all preferences, some being sacrificed for others.
    For instance, say someone really wants (either consciously or unconsciously) to pursue something that would exercise the feeling function, but is encouraged into thinking. It is a real facet of their personality that they don’t fight that situation. Some would fight it, others would seek harmony with their surroundings, that being an inherent need.
    The optimal combination would be if they both can have harmony and exercise their feeling function.

    This sort of thing definitely happens, and to reiterate, how I explain it is circumstances are not meeting one’s innate disposition with an easy way to pursue what optimally meets one’s needs/gives one’s inclinations a chance to prosper.
    One then has to psychologically evaluate and find which of one’s natural inclinations to fight, so as to attain the most desirable balance, and doing this is no joke, often full of subjectivity, and so forth. Some cases are less debatable than others, of course.

  • INTP here. Just wanted to say that the term, “Type Falsification”, doesn’t seem to quite capture the intended concept. “Type Negation” strikes me as a more fitting term. But perhaps I misunderstand. 🙂

  • You certainly are an INTP, with this extraordinary attention to precise terminology. It is the Baynes translation of Psychological Types that uses the term “type falsification”:

    “As a rule, whenever such a falsification of type takes place as a result of external influence, the individual becomes neurotic later, etc.”

    Von Franz uses the term “type distortion” (1971, p. 4).

    But I’m not sure I would agree with you that “negation” is better. How could someone’s true type be negated? that sounds like nullification or cancellation. The true type could be hidden or repressed, but negated sounds too strong to me.

  • I do think “distortion” is the best term, simply because we’re talking of a pattern that isn’t quite native to one’s preferences being “blotched” on top of the more innate preferences.

    As I said though, I think there’s something to be said that Jungian type is just one aspect of capturing you, and there’s a lot of temperament-related and other factors which influence selection of the dominant function. I certainly don’t think of the functions themselves as orientations, and I’d have to hear a really convincing argument from someone to convince me otherwise there – rather, they are types of consciousness which abstractly characterize the nature of how our psychological aims are carried out. The actual motives, temperament, and so forth do not seem to belong to functions theory, and I generally discourage an over-association there, and tend to think this over-association is the product of the same attitude which assumes Jung’s book is about his Chapter X. I think what is true is the types of consciousness are natural to realizing certain kinds of abstract aims, and a falsification/distortion/whatever is mainly when the psychological aim is not being realized through an optimal distribution and interplay of types of consciousness.

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