xNTJs with ADHD

Amanda asked: I read your post on traumatized INTJ, which I most certainly have been. I feel I was dead inside until I developed my Fi to be a good mommy to my sweet baby boy (who is now working on his PhD). I have also endured Attention Deficit Disorder most of my life. I have read in an ADHD book “Scattered” (Gabor Mate MD) that ADD can be properly understood as a dissociative condition and ADHD as an attachment/anxiety condition. Basically, trauma responses.  I took medication for ADD for a few years, recently. The beneficial effects on my life were profound, and some of them were permanent. I’ve only recently become more interested in MBTI, and I think ADD is pretty ironic in relationship to my being a J. I’m a J, but the part of my brain that can ‘do’ J, the prefrontal cortex, was more or less off-line, forcing me to live the life of a P! It’s as if ADD made me a failed INTJ. Not quite the shadow perhaps, as I’m a solid introvert. I was just curious if you’d ever thought of MBTI in relationship to this disorder, or perhaps any of the cluster B personality disorders. (Which I don’t have, but Cluster Bs were the origin of my trauma.)

Several semesters ago, I had an English professor who is an ENTJ with ADHD, and it was a thrill for me to be a part of her class. Here are my thoughts.

Being an xNTJ will likely determine how you think about things. ADD/ADHD will not necessarily change that thought process, but it will definitely interrupt it. What I typically observe happening as a result is that you will come to conclusions the same way that most other xNTJs would, but while you are coming to those conclusions, you will be distracted by other things that wouldn’t necessarily distract INTJs who don’t have ADD/ADHD.

As a result, your behaviour may be different than the behaviour of other INTJs, specifically with regards to your Te and Se functions. Your NiTe ability to focus will be different. You will always have your eyes on your Ni goal, but your Te may not necessarily keep you consistently working towards it. Your Se may be more easily distracted by things in your physical environment. etc. etc.

I know this was brief, but I hope it answered your question.


5 thoughts on “xNTJs with ADHD

  1. ENTJ with ADHD and social anxiety. It actually took a long time for me to realize that I was an ENTJ…largely because social anxiety and highly distractible look very different from the mob-rallying and clock king CEO that the prototypical ENTJ embodies. But no other type really fits me better. INTP has the ability to get lost in schemata and formal systems (but that gives me no pleasure). ENTP is the Renaissance man (which I am not). INTJ is close, but no cigar. And I know certainly I am not a feeler type or a sensor.


  2. I’m an INTJ recently diagnosed with ADHD; trying to understand how the two manifest in me, is something that is taking some brain space for me right now. ADD impairs my ability to get things done. So I’m trying to figure out how I can accomplish the things I set out for myself and why I’m unable to do it to begin with. It’s really hard to want to do and learn so many things but never properly getting around to doing them or finishing them; Laying out a great strategy but never executing it… So I guess my struggle comes down to the J or the Te, my process and needs are those of an INTJ (my Ni works great). The J requires me to have things defined at any given moment but the ADD makes me slow to adapt fast to changes of focus, it takes forever to organize internally and create the structure to be able to act to the new situation, thus I can’t redefine things promptly so my J can feel fullfilled at any given time. Plus, I think being an INTJ might make it even harder on someone with ADD, first it will make it hard to detect, we won’t be the stereotypical people with it (some people flat out refuse to believe I have it just because I’m “smart”), so help will be late in coming and you will struggle against something that won’t make sense for a long time, which for an INTJ is quite hard. Also, INTJ take in a lot of info and try to make sense of how it all fits together, and as I said before someone with ADD is slow to get organize, meaning an INTJ brain has given a lot of extra work to the person with ADD.


  3. This question resonated with me personally so much as that I felt a need to reply even though the thought of doing so usually seems like a waste of time and relating myself to others not necessary .

    For the last six months I’ve been prescribed ADHD meds to help with inattention that I have experienced my whole life. To describe it vaguely, the world passed by me while I stared blankly at the wall absorbed in the depth of thought and considerations of my mind. Reality seemed distant. Like living in a constant daydream. At any moment the direction of my thoughts could shift drastically. Analytical until some new and more exciting thought overrode the previous.

    Skip ahead to present day after having been medicated for Inattentive ADHD and I’ve been able to harness my new found attention to grow my career dramatically and achieve great successes in many other areas of my life. Some days I take the medication and some days I don’t but the results seem to remain.

    To add on to this question:
    I have become borderline obsessed with personality tests since going to a conference for work in which we participated in an assessment of ourselves. I’ve been gathering information and researching with all my spare time since the conference and here I am. I test as INTJ. I am wondering if the medications need to be taken into consideration for the results of the test to hold true? (would personality change as a side effect of taking different medications?) Like the commmenter above expressed, I too seek external structure and unmedicated was a mess which made me feel incapable of “keeping it together” and very conscientious but now an OCDish tendency has taken care of structure. I’ve grown leaps and bounds in the last 6 months but feel as though I have so much catching up to do to do in developing my personality. (I’ve always sought ways to improve self but seemed very bad at doing so due to follow through).

    Direction or thoughts?


  4. As an INTJ w/ADHD, I would agree that this assessment is spot on. You found a way to perfectly articulate what I’ve been struggling to put into words now for quite sometime. The Ni goal is always in mind. However, the process of realizing that goal is often interrupted along the way due to physical distractions (thanks Se), or Te distractions that result in me getting things done, just things entirely unrelated to what I initially set out to do.


  5. Yeah, things like ADHD really can mask someone’s true type. With these extra factors, one may find that they lack some of the associated strengths of their type. (Or on the flipside, have strengths in the associated weaknesses of their type.) I suspect I too may have ADHD, and my outward behavior is very P-like, but I feel J-like at heart. I really seek external structure in my life. But it seems to run away from me.

    Learning disabilities can mask someone’s true type too. For example, it’s said that introverts express themselves well in writing. But if a particular introvert has a reading/writing disability, they may not feel that way. Or if an SP has dyspraxia, they may find they don’t have as great a command over their physical environment as other SPs. And someone with Asperger’s may seem more ISTJ-like.

    What was it like having an ENTJ professor with ADHD?


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