The Nemesis, the Demon’s Advocate
The Nemesis function causes us a lot of discomfort. Introducing worry to an otherwise confident Hero makes us feel like every choice we make, thought we have, value we hold, or experience we store is insufficient. It is frustrating to have the use of your Hero consistently thwarted by the seemingly conniving, ever-worrisome Nemesis function. But the Nemesis serves a purpose.
What is the purpose of the Nemesis function? Through Cognitive Orbit, we know the Nemesis exists to balance the Hero. It is the adversary, the “nemesis” to the Hero which provides it with challenge so that it can grow. But, that is not its primary purpose.
We may be tempted to believe the Hero’s growth is the Nemesis’ primary concern, but that is only because we have an innate bias for our own Ego. Our Ego is our home base that we view the world from. But the Nemesis is a doorway to a different perspective of the world.
The Nemesis’ Concern
We have two Egos within our mind. Our main Ego, our “home base”, is where we feel most comfortable. The functions in our Ego are the tools we are naturally competent with and rely on. But we have another Ego in our mind.
The Superego is the challenger of our Ego. It pulls at the Ego constantly in an attempt to overtake it. It’s motivation? To be accepted as a part of ourselves. The Superego will settle for the role of a consultant if only our Ego was willing to offer it. It is through respecting the Superego as its own Ego that it will eventually exert its power in our aid.
But what about the Nemesis? Where does its concern really come from? Sure, we know it as the “other half” of the Hero function, but, more importantly, it is the Inferior function of our Superegos.
For every type, our Nemesis is the same function as our Superego’s Inferior.
So why does the Nemesis create so much worry, fear, and pain in our Ego? The Nemesis is constantly petitioning for our attention. There is no better way to get an Ego’s attention than by resisting the Hero function. Because the Ego naturally avoids the Superego and represses its Hero — the Demon — the Superego has to “send” a messenger that will speak loud enough for the Ego to hear.
Out of all the functions in our Superego, we are most aware of the Nemesis because it is the gateway into Shadow, and the 5th slot in our Cognition (as opposed to the 8th slot of the Demon). The Superego funnels its needs through the Nemesis. It does this so that its own Inferior can be taken care of.
Remember, the Superego has needs too, and vulnerabilities. Until you start to pay attention to the warnings of the Nemesis, the Superego will perpetually stir up fear in your mind. But, if you do pay attention to the Nemesis, it puts you on a path to garnering the power of two Egos, and all eight functions of human cognition.
What the Nemesis Reveals
In the same way that the Hero is tied to the Inferior through Cognitive Axis, the Nemesis is tied to the Demon. What passes through one passes through the other. Anything that the Demon is trying to communicate the Nemesis will also carry. And anything the Nemesis carries is shared with the Demon. Accessing the Nemesis leads us to the Demon’s repressed message. We will not find peace until we listen.
The reason the Nemesis causes fear and worry is that it understands that you are extremely vulnerable so long as you are over-reliant on your Ego. The more you rely on your Ego, the more blind spots you have. And because the Nemesis is tied to the Hero, is it especially concerned about you over-relying on your Hero. Over-relying on our Hero is a default mistake we all naturally make.
The Nemesis reveals our vulnerability.
What is your Nemesis saying?
- Ne Nemesis — Ne Nemesis is telling the INxJ, “You are worried about the future and others’ intentions because you are unprepared for them.” Their Si Demons KNOW that the INxJ lacks the life experience — lacks the Si — to have faith that they can endure anything. Ne Nemesis carries Si Demon’s message to put in effort in order to be prepared for whatever may come.
- Ni Nemesis — Ni Nemesis is telling the ENxPs that, “You won’t get what you want until you learn to perform.” Their Se Demons are aware that their freedom of choice will be jeopardized so long as they continually make people uncomfortable and remain unable to perform. Until the ENxP learns to value the importance of the shared present moment, and improving their own performance, their Ni Nemesis will continue to create fear for their future.
- Se Nemesis — Se Nemesis is telling the ISxJ, “You can’t perform because you don’t let yourself want anything. Good performance stems from desire, and you refuse to want anything.” Se Nemesis is trying to get the ISxJ to want something with their Ni Demon. When they give themselves the freedom to express desire, it creates a proactive pursuit of performance where their desire burns away their fear of giving others a bad experience.
- Si Nemesis — Si Nemesis is telling the ESxP that, “Your lack of effort makes you undesirable.” ESxPs are worried that they will not have good experiences. It is their undesirability (Ne Demon) that creates their fear of having a bad experience. Developing their capacity for effort, discipline, and taking the consequences of their actions into account will make them more desirable, and ease the fear of having a bad experience.
- Te Nemesis — Te Nemesis is telling the IxTP that, “You will not be able to teach people better ways of thinking until you know what is worth teaching.” Te Nemesis is trying to communicate that by providing a variety of well-researched, alternate perspectives with others, value is created. Te Nemesis understands that most people’s thinking will vastly improve when they are given the right perspective and the right context on a topic or event. The Fi Demon wants the IxTP to weigh out different perspectives, knowing that many of them will not be valuable, but some of them will be essential to improving others’ thinking.
- Ti Nemesis — Ti Nemesis is telling the ExTJs that, “You are not as smart as you could be because you don’t consider what is good for other people.” Every Ti user learns that their intelligence is linked to how helpful they can be to other people. If ExTJs took the time to consider what is actually good for other people, they will unlock the power of their Fe Demon. When they do this, their Ti Nemesis’ capacity to think clearly and verify their stored information will grow exponentially.
- Fe Nemesis — Fe Nemesis is telling IxFPs that, “You are not as caring as you could be because you don’t know what actually helps people.” Ti and Fe are linked together because what is TRUE is what is most HELPFUL. “The truth will set you free.” Until the IxFP consults the power of truth, their “healing process” will be one of perpetually nurturing an infected wound without digging past the surface to kill the infection.
- Fi Nemesis — Fi Nemesis is telling the ExFJ that, “You are not as useful as you could be because you don’t understand the processes that runs the world. AND your opinion is of low quality because you don’t consult others’ perspectives.” Fi Nemesis realizes that the value it can invest in other people is extremely limited by the knowledge they have gathered. Having quality information makes them useful. Further, usefulness is inseparable from efficiency, and until the ExFJ learns and develops efficient processes, the value they can contribute to others will be severely limited. Their Te Demon must be consulted for them to provide value.
Using the Nemesis
Our frustration over the Nemesis’ incessant worry-mongering can be overcome when we understand that its fear is caused by the Superego’s deepest vulnerability. Our Inferior is just as needy as the Superego’s.
Like our own Inferior moves from anxiety to competence, our Nemesis can grow from the state of a helpless infant to the mouthpiece of the Superego. The Nemesis then becomes a worthy Ally for our Hero. It only requires that we let go of the pride in our Hero that says, “I can do it all on my own!”
Your Ego is not sufficient to deal with the totality of reality and possibility by itself. And until you accept that you need the functions in your Superego to become a complete human being, your fear will be endless and your suffering immense. All the Nemesis and Superego want is your acceptance. Is that too big a price to pay for integration?
Another great article.
Appreciate it (:
I don’t understand the Te nemesis part. Can you explain it to me?
Te Nemesis is worried that others’ thinking is poor, without sufficient research, and not thoroughly thought through. But Ti Nemesis needs to understand that helping someone’s thinking includes giving them the RIGHT perspective on a topic. If you ask the right question and introduce a more valuable context, most people’s thinking will improve right away. In other words, for Ti Hero’s to get over their Te Nemesis’ fear of others’ thinking, they have to learn to use their Fi Demon, and understand that other people aren’t stupid, they just don’t have the most helpful way of seeing a topic. Sharing quality (Fi) reference points (Te) is one of the best ways to improve someone’s thinking.
So cool! Thanks.
With Ne Demon, how does an ESFP’s undesirability (perhaps because of neglecting Si Nemesis) make for a fear of getting a bad experience?
If no one wants you, no one wants to give you a good experience.
Are you sure this isn’t really just two types that are the same in a relationship of some sort that are trying to project their golden pair into each other?
You can forget this comment I got my thoughts mixed up and it isn’t really relevant to where my head was. After writing out my thoughts I kind of answered my own question.
Though the article is just talking one’s own type, being with another compatible type often relieves the Demon’s needs through the other person.
So then wouldn’t it just make sense to find that compatible type then? Wouldn’t even need the superego. This is where it confuses me. If I’m with someone compatible then we feed off each other’s energy. If I’m with some one more incompatible cognitively speaking, then there is tension and stress and my brain sees the solution as getting away from them. As soon as I’ve learned the in depth of all of this and then compared to life experiences, I am like locked into my ego now. I can’t “consciously” go to the other sides unless there is a Ti reason, which usually only happens when someone from outside hits it to bring out the superego. This is where I’m confused and could really use some elaboration.
So why not just be with a compatible type and there is no need for the superego?
Being with super compatible people works for a bit, but then our individual psyche’s inevitably break through. Have you ever met couples who are together because they NEED the other person? Over time, there’s so much pressure on maintaining THAT structure of the relationship, that it cannot transform. But healthy relationships require malleability. Chris Taylor believes we are drawn into relationships, in part, because that person can be a part of our own growth. As the needs of growth change, so must our relationships.
To answer your question directly: We cannot become whole entities without the Superego. If we just had an Ego, it would be like having a half a circle. Have you met people who, for some reason, seem like there’s “MORE” to them? Deeper, wiser, etc.? The Superego’s development plays a big part in our own deepening.
If human beings were simpler creatures, then just being in compatible relationships would be enough, forever. But we are conflicted, and we still carry the weight of a self, no matter how compatible the relationship is. We don’t disappear completely — and why should we want that, even if we could?
Seems like it could kinda be the same logic (although a bit adapted) for the critic/trickster relation, doesn’t it ? Like if I take the example of an ISTP :
Since I have no concept of the future and what could happen (Ne), I don’t see why I should provide that much effort (Si).
Does that make sense to you guyz ?
Yes that makes sense, though I would reverse the order. It’s more like the Ne Trickster believes any future is possible but, until their Si Critic gathers more and more experience, Ne Trickster will be left in the dark as far as accurately predicting the future. It’s like Ne Trickster is telling Si Critic: “Hey, the future is a mystery! Go and experience everything you can!” But Si Critic, being cynical, absolutely does not want to do that — at first. The more experiences Si Critic has, however, the less of a blindspot Ne Trickster becomes.