Unhealthy INTJ (A Complete Guide)

In this guide we will be examining the characteristics of unhealthy INTJs. We will also look at how unhealthy INTJs handle stressful situations. 

Unhealthy INTJ:

In the personality community, there is a lot of emphasis on the ideal versions of the different types on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). For instance, the INTJ (The Architect) is lauded for their rationality, intelligence, independence, determination and curiosity. However, there are also a few less-than-positive qualities associated with the different personality types. These become particularly evident when an individual is under stress. 

When Unhealthy INTJs feel threatened when someone infringes on their independence or questions their competence. This leads to a number of dysfunctional ego-defensive strategies. They tend to become even more emotionally-closed off than they usually are and avoid all situations that might make them feel uncomfortable or incompetent. 

Unhealthy INTJs become excessively perfectionistic and task-oriented, feeling that they have to prove their competence to the world. They become impatient and critical of the people around them and tend to dismiss people instead of listening to them. Unhealthy INTJs can often feel misunderstood and like they are all alone in the world. 

Healthy INTJs are more accepting of people and don’t feel a need to pick at the flaws of those around them. Because they are more aware of their own flaws, they are better at accepting those in others. They don’t have a need to be ‘right’ all the time and are good at empathising with people. These capacities are lost in unhealthy INTJs. 

Unhealthy INTJs spend a lot of timing scheming and solving problems in their head, while neglecting the actual execution of their plans. They like to explore the how and why behind things, but find it difficult to act on their findings. 

Unhealthy INTJs also tend to be out of touch with reality and the sensory world. Their difficulties with their sensing function can make them lose touch with what is happening in the here and now.  This can make unhealthy INTJs neglect their physical health and wellbeing. Additionally, it can make it difficult for them to fit into their cultures.

Another issue faced by unhealthy INTJs is a struggle with emotional intelligence. In line with this, they also have difficulties with maintaining relationships. The time and effort that relationships require can be too much for an unhealthy INTJs. Checking in and reaching out to the people they are close to doesn’t come naturally to them. 

Difference between Healthy and Unhealthy INTJs:

Unhealthy and healthy INTJs are among the easiest MBTI types to distinguish amongst all the personality types on the MBTI. Nearly all INTJs are exceptionally intelligent. In unhealthy INTJs this leads to a feeling of superiority and a tendency to dismiss others. They downplay the importance of other people in their lives. This springs from an underlying feeling of insecurity and a feeling of being different from others. 

The biggest issues unhealthy INTJs feel is rooted in their difficulty dealing with their emotions and senses. Their biggest weakness is sensing. They tend to isolate themselves and escape their surroundings. They become completely immersed in their inner worlds. When it comes to emotions, the biggest fear of unhealthy INTJs is being open and vulnerable. Thus, they have a tendency to avoid their emotions. Thus, INTJs need to work through their sensing and feeling functions in order to become a more mature version of themselves. 

Other people often perceive unhealthy INTJs as arrogant and tactless. This springs from the INTJs reliance on rational thinking and avoidance of emotions. While healthy INTJs are aware of this tendency and work on it, unhealthy INTJs have a difficulty with this. 

Unhealthy INTJs have a tendency to come across as unempathetic. This is because of their proclivity to use information to hurt others and arrogance. Unfortunately, these qualities are very obvious and can push people away from them. 

Another issue unhealthy INTJs face comes from their extreme introversion. After INTPs, they are the most introverted personality types on the MBTI. Unhealthy INTJs need to learn to engage with other people in order to develop their emotional intelligence. It is also important for INTJs to practice self-care and get plenty of rest.

While healthy INTJs are confident people, in unhealthy INTJs this confidence is replaced by arrogance and conceit. Unhealthy INTJs become insecure which leads to showing off and fits of rage. They have a strong desire to be right all the time which leads to frequent arguments. 

While healthy INTJs are hard-working and motivated to succeed, unhealthy INTJs may begin to perceive their work as beneath them and put in less effort. 

Healthy INTJs have good relationships. They are able to initiate and maintain relationships as well as be good listeners. On the other hand, unhealthy INTJs view relationships as unimportant and become closed-off and emotionally-stunted. 

INTJ Shadow:

All personality types have a shadow side. This is where they go when they are under stress and exhibit a lot of unhealthy tendencies. Although this is usually temporary, if stress is prolonged they can stay on this side for a long time. The INTJ in a shadow mode is very different from their usual selves, which can shock the people around them. 

The functions of unhealthy INTJs change. Usually INTJs rely on the introverted intuitive function. However, in their shadow mode they switch to extraverted intuition. This means that they begin to lose their usual faith in their own intuition and struggle to find other sources for answers. This usually happens when someone challenges their intuitive capabilities and they try to find alternative means of proving themselves. 

Additionally, they stop relying on their extraverted thinking function and switch to introverted thinking instead. They overthink and analyse things more than they usually do. They become more skeptical of the information they receive. 

Unhealthy INTJs also switch from introverted feeling to extraverted feeling. While healthy INTJs (who use introverted feeling) are usually confident and sure of themselves, unhealthy INTJs become defensive and blaming. They find it hard to accept responsibility and have a tendency to make excuses for themselves. INTJs are not usually concerned with what society thinks and march to the beat of their own drummer. However, unhealthy INTJs begin to doubt themselves and begin to rely on societal conventions and rules.

Lastly, the unhealthy INTJ switches from the usual extraverted sensing to introverted sensing. This hampers their usual objective information processing. They begin to view their past in a purely negative manner and begin to see themselves in a bad light. They find it difficult to move on from negative experiences. 

This switch to the shadow side usually happens when INTJs are under stress. It can also happen when their usual beliefs and information is questioned which makes them distrustful of their normal processes. 

Usually INTJs are confident and self-assured people who trust their own intuition and judgement. Crippling self-doubt is a characteristic of unhealthy INTJs. This self-doubt makes them search for answers outside of themselves and in those around them. 

Strengths and Weaknesses of INTJs:

In a discussion of unhealthy INTJs, it makes sense to cover their strengths and weaknesses. In unhealthy INTJs the weaknesses become particularly prominent. 

Strengths:

  • Rational – View all situations as opportunities to develop their knowledge and thinking skills. 
  • Informed – Rely on research and analysis rather than guess-work. 
  • Independent and Self-sufficient – They dislike conformity and prefer to do things their own way.
  • Determined and Focused – Dedicated to their goals.
  • Curious – Open to new ideas, as long as they are based on rational thought. 
  • Versatile – Their curiosity and motivation help them succeed in a wide range of pursuits. 
  • Confident and self-assured
  • Intelligent 

Weaknesses:

  • Arrogance – The self-assurance of INTJs can lead to arrogance. This closes them off to useful input from others and makes them obsessed with being right all the time. 
  • Avoid Emotions – INTJs emphasize rationality so much that they ignore or undervalue emotions in others as well as themselves. This can cloud their judgement and hamper their relationships. 
  • Hypercritical – INTJs have a lot of self-control when it comes to feelings and impulses and tend to become critical of those who don’t. 
  • Argumentative – Since INTJs dislike following anything they don’t have a reason for,  they often spend excessive amounts of time arguing with others about rules and regulations. This can often lead them astray and into conflicts with authority figures. 
  • Difficulties with Romance – Their emphasis on rationality can make INTJs a little awkward when it comes to romance. This makes it difficult for them in the initial stages of relationships. Additionally, if their relationships are hampered by this difficulty with romance, INTJs can begin to question their already shaky confidence in love and relationships.  

Conclusion:

In this guide we examined unhealthy INTJs. We looked at their basic characteristics, coping skills and other aspects of their personality. 

FAQ on ‘Unhealthy INTJ (A Complete Guide)’:

Are INTJs dangerous?

INTJs are clinical and viciously efficient. They will do whatever is necessary in a situation to prevent danger to themselves. 

Are INTJs manipulative?

INTJs rely on logic, and often use this to persuade others. They usually like to be open, but if they are in an environment of manipulation they may use it as a tool, although not as well as some other types. 

Why is INTJ so rare?

INTJs and INFJs are so rare because of their introverted intuition function, which is a function most people find difficult to understand. INTJs make up only 2.1% of the general population. 

How smart are INTJs?

INTJs pride themselves on their intelligence. They are analytical people and enjoy gathering and understanding information. 

What makes INTJs happy?

INTJs are happy when they are given freedom. They are confident in their own abilities and dislike other people telling them what to do. 

Which personality type has the highest IQ?

The personality types with the highest IQ include, INTJ, INFJ, INTP, INFP, ENFP and ISTJ. 

References:

https://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2018/08/20/the-unhealthy-coping-mechanisms-of-every-personality-type/

https://www.16personalities.com/intj-strengths-and-weaknesses

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.

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