xxTJ? Or when it’s Just Your OCD Talking

Laurie asked: I’ve always considered myself (and been described as) INTJ, but I also have OCD, and you said in a post that every person with OCD will score as a TJ. I know that you can’t just magically type me without knowing me, but I would really like to find out if I *really* am an INTJ, or it’s just my illness that makes me act in a certain way (though I always recognized my thought process as that of an INTJ, not my actions necessarily). How do you go about typing characters who have mental illness? I know you always try to “separate” the two things and recognize the real type that might be hidden by the illness – are there particular questions I might ask myself, or things I might notice in my actions/thoughts etc.?

I know I shouldn’t give to much importance to my type – I myself use it more as a very useful tool to write plausible fictional characters than anything else – but recognize who I really am might help me overcome things and thought processes that are not “mine” but come from my condition…in a way, I believe I simply don’t want to be defined by my OCD, but recognize who I truly am, in spite of everything else. Thank you!

I don’t know the exact nature of your OCD, so I’m going to do the best I can at a generic, but applicable response.

I would suggest trying to pay attention to what you’re like when you’re less affected by your OCD (if possible). The particular function that tends to be associated most heavily with OCD is the Si function, simply because it likes to pay attention to minute details that intuitive upper functions don’t.

But it sounds like (because you’re an INTJ rather than an ISTJ) what you really want to evaluate is your Te function.

Questions to ask:

(Ni): When I think about possible negative ways that events could develop, am I thinking about it with the aim to adapt to the most likely way the event will develop (Ni)? Or do I think about it in terms of all possible ways it could go wrong, no matter how unlikely (not Ni)?

(Te): Do I organise my time efficiently (Te)? Or merely out of compulsion (not Te)? In other words, do you organise to get things done quicker, or because you like it done a certain way?

(Te): Am I direct in my communication style (Te)? Even if not blunt, Te users usually communicate directly.


3 thoughts on “xxTJ? Or when it’s Just Your OCD Talking

  1. The problem with OCD is that the person may understand the irrationality of the compulsion and even that of the fear they obsess about, say in a situation when the execution of the compulsion is indeed triggered by the possibility of an extremely unlikely event , yet the inability to switch off the obsession mode makes them nevertheless repeat the compulsion in order to relieve this obsession, at least temporarily. Both ‘Ni’ and ‘not Ni’ may realise both their fear and the corresponding reaction (compulsion) are irrational, which is almost exclusively the case, but cannot help it, because OCD is indeed a disorder and virtually impossible to control. I would also argue that if one aims to adapt to the most likely event it would entail a normal reaction, ie without the following obsession, which should be true for people without OCD.

    I am inclined to think that analysing the chain of events through the lens of normal cognitive functions is inconclusive as the response is not a normal response and lays outside of MBTI patterns, the person may well respond differently in any other situation when OCD is not triggered. Having said that, compulsions may be more likely ‘unhealthy’ reactions in judging types merely because of the tendency to always be in control, but then again, it is just as scientific as the MBTI itself.

    I would think, if it matters to you to identify with a certain type, when self-typing, try not to make reference to situations when your OCD is triggered and observe yourself in all other ‘normal’ settings and situations.


  2. From my understanding, OCD is actually a manifestation of inferior Se. If you think about Se as being natural physical impulse, then inferior Se would be negative physical impulse (obsessions). I can see why you’d think that Si would be related to OCD because it’s all about being super on-point with detailed information but that, unlike OCD, is a natural healthy inclination. The sorts of habits that Si develops are natural and healthy. The sorts of habits that OCD develops are very unhealthy.


    • In some cases your explanation could work, but on a large scale, Se is not simple enough to be defined as “natural physical impulse.” And no, not all habits that every Si user develops are “natural and healthy.” It depends on the person.


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