We all have flaws. Spend time in any non-INTJ MBTI group and you will hear all about how INTJs act in relationships. How they’re insensitive trouble-shooters, they lack compassion, they’re not emotional. All of those things vary according to the individual, of course, but it made me think about how I and N and T and J (turbulent, no less) manifest in my personality and how they lead to my personal collection of flaws. Let’s look at a few of them!
First of all, I’m sensitive and insecure about my sensitivity. That lends itself to paranoia, distrust, and walling myself off. I don’t tend to put myself in situations where my sensitivity is likely to be triggered, but it can be triggered easily in environments where I feel like I’m not living up to my or someone else’s expectations. As a J and a perfectionist, failing can be hard. Letting someone down because you didn’t do a good enough job (assuming it was something you cared about) is really disappointing. Being disrespected also sucks.
I see the worst in everything. I’m a glass half-empty person, always scanning the future for possible risks. The problem is that as a turbulent Ni-dom, all possible futures are ones that lead to risk. And my mind can take it to absurd extremes. Sometimes I’m absolutely paralyzed, playing out an entire life decision in my mind as if it were the same as actually experiencing it. Inevitably, I see trouble within the scenario and it freezes me from taking any action in that direction. This can be useful if the situation is one that needs careful consideration. The thing is, you can’t really know what’s going to happen without experiencing it. When you believe that you can, and more so, that the worst possible outcome is the most likely, it leads to trouble.
That brilliant process of building a concept in our minds in order to execute it in the real world via Te can fall short when, in our heads, we can’t get the concept right and aren’t sure whether it’ll be perfect when we put it to the test. Anything less than perfection is profoundly disappointing. If we see that something won’t work (at least in our heads) or don’t see a viable option, it might stop us from trying it in the first place. I admire Ne-users who jump in and try it just to try it. For me, there’s too much risk and waste of resources (time, money, ingredients, equipment) to try things for their own sake.
I struggle with unknown variables. I don’t like them because they disable me from managing my resources. You can’t know whether you can do a project if you don’t know how much time you have, how much money you have, how much equipment or personnel you have, etc. Even in personal life it’s how Te-users operate with just about everything. If I’m working out an idea but lack vital facts about it, the whole thing is suspended and it drives me crazy. I’ll do anything to fill in the gaps short of making stuff up. I obsess, over-analyze, or dig and dig and dig. I won’t stop until I know what I don’t know and need to know.
I’m usually in Ni-mode but once I switch to Te-mode it can be hard to get out. In a healthy well-developed person, their auxiliary function (which for the INTJ is Te) comes to help with the orientation or attitude the person in question prefers the least. Te makes me effective in the outer world but my preference is the inner world of Ni, so when I do get thrust into Te-mode for too long it can be hard to switch gears again. I become more rigid, controlling, directing, and micro-managing. These things aren’t always bad, of course, but taken to excess they certainly can be. And for an introvert, too much Te can be draining.
I operate on an exclusive basis; I let things in gradually after much consideration rather than exploring new things for their own sake. I can be opinionated and decisive about things I’ve already made up my mind on. I come to quick decisions about things because I need closure. I’m not often too misguided and my opinions are never uninformed, due to the strength and insight of Ni, but occasionally I’ll look back and realize I misjudged something because I was analyzing too quickly with too little information. This often happens when meeting new people. Luckily, if new facts come in I always consider them as well, meaning my judgments and opinions don’t remain unchanged in the face of new information.
I fall into the trap of guarding the Very Important Ideas I have. I’m guilty of searching for the Truest Idea in reality and that means I’m less open to allowing for subjective truths or perceptions. I do have a tendency to believe in absolute rightness. Not necessarily in a moral way, but in an a priori truth kind of way. I find myself protecting ideas that lead to the Unified Theory of Everything rather than going with the flow and considering ideas for their own sake.
I can get pretty impatient. More times than I can count I have made a decision in the moment with what was available instead of waiting for something better. This makes me good at jumping at opportunities when they are presented but it makes me antsy if I have to wait. Sometimes I misfire altogether, pushing through to a definite answer when waiting or being patient would have been best. I can’t stand having things open-ended.
This goes without saying, but as a strong introvert I struggle with people. I find I dislike most people as a rule and feel neutral towards them at best. I know that’s pretty much an INTJ stereotype, but that stereotype is bullshit. Being an INTJ doesn’t mean you hate people…but being disregarded, alienated, disrespected, and different tends to make you bored and resentful. I end up sorting people quickly into piles of caricatures and only after spending time with them do they become more fleshed out and compelling. People are generally not interesting to me, even though I am interested in many humanities topics. Meeting new people is unpleasant, for the most part. Their presence bothers and annoys me most of the time, and I struggle to understand emotional motivations, which doesn’t help.
I suck at intimacy. Jesus, am I terrible at it. The deeper my feelings are, the more uncomfortable and restrained I feel. Getting emotionally close to people is extremely uncomfortable. I never know where to put my hands, so to speak. In a situation that requires intimacy or emotional expression, I find myself stammering or scratching my neck and reverting to boyish statements downplaying the severity of my emotions. Then I feel frustrated. And stupid. INTJs hate feeling stupid.
So there you go. There’s a sampling of some of my flaws as an INTJ, from personal experience (and from what others have told me). INTJs as a whole may have similar or different flaws, so don’t think I’m saying this is what it’s like for every INTJ. Again, it comes down to the strength of one’s preferences for each personality dimension. Enneagram type also plays a role, as well as whether one is more calm or more turbulent, measured as the Neuroticism scale on the Big 5.
Are you an INTJ? Or do you know one? If so, what are your experiences? Comment below!