Function Opposites


At the May 2015 BAAPT meeting, Bob McAlpine told the group that his understanding of Functions and Archetypes has led him to coming up with the idea of "opposites":

  • Dynamic Opposite
  • Opposing Personality
  • Complementary Opposite

Bob gave us a way to calculate each opposite:

  1. Start with your Type (e.g. INTJ)
  2. Change the two inner letters to get the Dynamic Opposite (DO) (e.g. ISFJ)
  3. Change the two outer letters to get the Opposing Personality (OP) (e.g. ENTP)
  4. Change all four letters to get the Complementary Opposite (CO) (e.g. ESFP)

He then did an exercise where each person looked at descriptions of their own type as well as descriptions for their DO, OP, and CO, to see where they aligned and where they were in "opposition". However, he didn't go into detail on what he expected as results, nor did he explain why he decided to change these letters.

At the June Type Talk meeting, four of us delved more deeply into this idea of "opposites". All four of us prefer iNtuition (one Ne and three Ni) and we agreed that we weren't sure what the underlying model was for these "opposite" Types. We understood how to determine each "opposite" Type, but we did not understand how the an understanding of functions and archetypes had lead Bob to his determination of these "opposites".

What makes them "opposites"?

After looking carefully at the Type chart, I wrote out the function order for each "Opposite" type. When I did this, I realized that the letter switching is just a simple shortcut. The actual underlying function order is much more interesting.

Functional Differences

Dynamic Opposite

Shortcut: Switch the two inner letters of the Type code.

Functional difference: All functions are in reverse order.
The 1st function of type X is the 8th function of DO(X).
Note that the functions are different, but the orientations are the same for each of the 8.


 Ni        Si
 Te        Fe
 Fi        Ti
 Se        Ne
 Ne        Se
 Ti        Fi
 Fe        Te
 Si        Ni

Opposing Personality

Shortcut: Switch the two outer letters of the Type code.

Functional difference: Swap the first and last quartet of functions without reordering.
Note that the functions are the same in each type, but the orientation is switched.

Hint: the 5th function is considered the "Opposing Personality" Archetype.


 Ni        Ne
 Te        Ti
 Fi        Fe
 Se        Si
 Ne        Ni
 Ti        Te
 Fe        Fi
 Si        Se

Complementary Opposite:

Shortcut: Switch all four letters of the Type code.

Functional difference: Both the function and the orientation differ.


 Ni        Se
 Te        Fi
 Fi        Te
 Se        Ni
 Ne        Si
 Ti        Fe
 Fe        Ti
 Si        Ne

Some Thoughts

One possible issue that I see in this "theory of opposites" is that, for the NT and NF temperaments, the "Opposing Personality" is in the same temperament group. For the SJ and SP temperaments, none of the "opposites" are in the same temperament group.

Types in the same temperament group are apt to feel less different than types ion a different temperament group.

How would we move things around to get an "opposite" in the same temperament group for SJ or SP? (Or, contrary-wise, two different temperament groups for NF and NT?)


Swap the 2nd and 4th letters or the 1st and 3rd. The resulting Type is in the same Temperament group (for SJ or SP).

This time the kind of function changes (from perceiving to judging). The orientation may or may not change.

The functions appear totally random here. I don't see a pattern.

 Si        Fe
 Te        Si
 Fi        Ne
 Ne        Ti
 Se        Fi
 Ti        Se
 Fe        Ni
 Ni        Te

What about the Archetypes?

ISTJ      ESFJ       
 Si        Fe     Hero
 Te        Si     Parent (good)
 Fi        Ne     Child
 Ne        Ti     Animus
 Se        Fi     Opposing
 Ti        Se     Senex (critical Parent)
 Fe        Ni     Trickster
 Ni        Te     Demonic


- Vicki

This topic: Typedia > WebHome > RefsAndResources > ProjectsAndPosts > FunctionOpposites
Topic revision: 30 Jun 2015, VickiBrown
Copyright © by the contributing authors. All material on this site is the property of the contributing authors. Please follow referenced links.
Myers-Briggs®, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and MBTI® are trademarks or registered trademarks of MBTI® Trust, Inc., in the United States and other countries.
This site is built using Foswiki. -- Send feedback to webmaster.