Guest post by Danielle, INTJ
Factors to Keep in Mind: Clinical Depression
Ni: With a passion for folklore and imagination, Rowling aspired to be a writer since she was 5 or 6 years old. She has scores of stories in mind, willing to wait years to write all of them. She mentions that once an idea pops into her head it floods her mind. In her account of creating Harry Potter while on a train, she described it as “an explosion of color, and… could see lots of detail about the world.” She hates small talk, preferring to learn about others’ differing opinions and feelings on important issues. In her interviews, Rowling admits to having a voice-like premonition for her first book series, telling her the hardest part would be publishing; “if it’s published, it will be huge.” She has a healthy outlook for the future, though sometimes tends to believe in the worst. In her first week of stardom, she overanalyzed the fleetingness of fame and feared she’d become poor again, despite evidence to the contrary.
Fe: Rowling has a self-proclaimed need to please. In her interviews, she mimics the interviewer’s body language and/or mood to create a harmonious atmosphere. She loves children and values helping others in need, abhorring indifference to people’s suffering. This passion spurred her to create and support multiple charities for orphaned children, multiple sclerosis, and more. Her stories include strong themes of social injustices. She demonstrates great loyalty to those she loves, as showed by her ongoing depression over her mother’s death and difficulty ending her relationship with her now-estranged father. She believes “love is the most powerful thing of all.”
Ti: An intelligent author, Rowling’s writing style shows attention to the minute infrastructure of her fictional worlds. The plots are intricate, and to keep them organized, she uses a detailed scene list to outline her rough drafts. When stressed, she detaches herself from others with the mentality that “she has to do everything herself”. She is responsible with money due to her time in poverty. To balance her need to control her finances with the need to help others, Rowling created a trust to fund charities in a structured manner.
Se: Rowling is well-dressed with a love of shoes. She enjoys kooky words and daydreams in car rides. She describes satisfying her senses as an all-or-northing ordeal: “I can’t smoke. With me, it’s 40 a day or nothing.” Instead of living in the moment, Rowling tends to overanalyze unexpected situations, such as her initial reaction to fame. She claimed a near-phobia of public speaking until her popularity as a writer forced her to practice. After her mother’s death, Rowling spontaneously moved to Portugal, married, had a baby, divorced, and moved to Scotland in two and a half years—a clear sign of Se in the grip.
Author’s Note: There are arguments that Rowling is an INFP, INFJ, and ISFJ—which I ruled out, due of her preoccupation with imagination vs. reality throughout her life. She is a clear Fe user with a concern about how society should feel about certain issues (I recommend watching her interview with Oprah to see the mirroring dynamic between an INFJ and ENFJ). The main argument for an Ne-Si user is her obsession with her mother’s death. But Rowling noted she had clinical depression with such tendencies since youth. Depression is an emotional preoccupation with negative emotions—including past regrets—due to a chemical imbalance that can affect people regardless of MBTI type.
Rowling’s uncharacteristic choice of going to an exotic country to find a new life is an unhealthy use of lower Se. Plus, she gives so much information on Ni that I couldn’t include all of it. After researching her interviews, she always has something new and passionate to say about her imagination, about the epiphanies that flood ideas and new stories into her head. Her relationship to these ideas last decades before she writes them. These descriptions are Ni, not Ne.