Please Stop Abusing the MBTI Theory (particularly INTJs):


Often, the belief out there is that INTJs with hard lives must be like Dr. House. The belief is that an INTJ, going through a hard time will necessarily become more hardened, more cruel, and more anti-social. And yes, the ones that don’t mature as a result of their struggles are like Dr. House.

However (as I have written before), it is up to the individual to choose what they do with the traits they are given. The MBTI Theory is often abused when individuals look at their personality description and use it as an excuse for their bad habits and poor treatment of others. I hate to break it to some of you (okay, okay—I love to break it to you), but that is not what the MBTI Theory is for.

The point of MBTI is to try to learn about and improve yourself. Don’t abuse it. Now, here is a long and windy explanation for why you should not abuse it:

I suppose the heart of what I’m really trying to say is less connected to MBTI and more connected to my actual normative beliefs about ethics. Needless to say, having a chronic, debilitating illness has given me the opportunity to practice what I preach when I tell others not to blame their circumstances/personality for their fallacies.

And when I say this, I’m talking about people who are unjust, cruel, irresponsible or just plain amoral, who blame these attitudes/lifestyles on their circumstances or personality. (Socrates is sitting in the afterlife, shaking his head at those people).

To me, this means that just because I am an INTJ, pain does not have to make me a worse person. In other words, pain should never be an excuse for you to treat others poorly. Being an INTJ does not mean that you have any valid, ethical excuse to behave like Dr. House. This is a point that I have tried to get across to many a young-and-foolish INTJ as I have written this blog.

Now, I realise I am not perfect at what I preach. I have never claimed to be perfect at it. And to those people who have criticized me for not fully living every one of the principles I explicate on this blog, I would say this: WHAT IS THE POINT OF HAVING PRINCIPLES IF YOU ARE ALREADY PERFECT AT LIVING THEM?

Principles do not belong in the realm of descriptive ethics. They are—by definition—normative. I do not look at principles as something to be lived perfectly, but rather, something to be aspired toward. If people were perfect, they would have no need for principles, thus the reason that narcissists so rarely have principles.

What is important here is that circumstance and personality should never be something that outweigh principles. Just as my pain is not an excuse to treat others poorly, neither is your MBTI type.

Think about it this way. If pain were something I considered a valid excuse, I would potentially never be kind to anyone, ever. Because I don’t remember what it feels like to not hurt (backstory for new readers: I have a chronic pain condition). If I let that control me, I would not be an agent unto myself, but merely a reflection of my own pain. At that point, I would certainly not be in any way a master of myself, even if I claimed to be the most logical person in the world.



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