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.

12 thoughts on “Please Stop Abusing the MBTI Theory (particularly INTJs):

  1. For the first time, I have read posts that describe INTJ without stereotyping – accidentally or otherwise. I, identify as an INTJ and relate to your content better than most.


  2. Harry Potter died for a reason: To save his army and allies. He also came back for a reason: To assure the world that not everything has to be sacrificed.
    It wasn’t done that well on the writer’s part, but I think that’s what JK Rowling wanted to convey. I always took it that Harry never really died, even when I read the Deathly hallows the first time, I knew he’d come back. I just assumed that the horcrux would only get killed.
    P.S: Everyone in Harry Potter died for a reason…
    Even Hedwig and Dobby.


  3. Hmm,

    People abuse mbti all the time. It’s why, l got into several arguments with them. But, it happens. It’s not an intj thing, but an everybody thing. We all need to grow up that’s pretty much what it’s about. It’s what an older intj told me. Well, he told me to grow up and l told him to make sense.
    Well anyways, long time no see. I see that you got figured out now. Yes, no one is perfect. I don’t recall what it was about way back then.
    Just wanted to directly say sorry even though too much time has passed and no longer has any meaning to it. But, your the better person and that’s what matters. I was just being childish at the time or 3 times to be more specific.


  4. You see, the problem with “hurting people” is that it is all a matter of perspectives.
    There are lots of people out there who believe in themselves and their convictions SO STRONGLY that even when what they do is pointed out as hurtful to others, they still won’t back down. And I’m not talking about terrorists and suicide bombers or narcissist/abusers (these are the extreme). I’m talking about the ordinary stubborn and shortsighted everyday wo/man.

    People are responsible for what they do, ultimately. I don’t think anyone has the ability to put themselves ABOVE the crowd and be the judge of who is/does Good or who is Bad. This would be totally pretentious and very hypocritical, in my view.

    If anything, people who consistently lay out negative actions will also collect negative returns. Justice is in the balance of Nature. No need for wo/men to try to add upon it.


  5. ooh, this is good. too many people (myself included) blame their circumstances or personality for their shortcomings, and use them as an excuse to not correct their mistakes.

    makes me think of the 11th doctor’s ” Good men don’t need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many”.


  6. As embarrassing as it is to admit (due to how “look I’m a mysTERIous UNicoRN!” it sounds) I am an INTJ female, whose ENTJ (recently diagnosed sociopath) father took a socially unacceptable liking to her as she matured.
    If I was a movie character, that’d be the perfect backstory for a lovable yet homicidal, black widow.
    But in reality it leaves me a weird combination of an INTJ, who spots an errant strand of emotion and quickly sucks it back into the vacuum before anyone notices, but will feel compelled to fix people when they seem down because it keeps her occupied and feeling useful even though it drains her in the process.
    A character that accurately depicts this combination is the Owl Witch, Macha, from Song of the Sea. I felt like I agreed with her intentions, even if they were misguided.
    The reality is that kindness is less linked to personality and more to emotional maturity. People are just as likely to come out of a negative experience strengthened rather than hardened.


  7. Excellent post.

    And I hope you are feeling–well, not “good,” because that’s probably not realistic; but I hope you are feeling as well as can be reasonably expected. I’ll definitely be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.


  8. I feel like this should be common sense by now, but thank you for making a post about it! It was a lovely read, and I agree with just about everything you had to say in this post. A person is not what happens to them; therefore, what happens to them should be no excuse for how they choose to treat people. I’m a firm believer in “Treat people how you want to be treated.” Hope this comment finds you in good spirit. And before I start to ramble, have a lovely day as well! :)


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