The Problem With Always Making INTJs the Bad Guys

an INTJ villain

Contrary to our reputation, INTJs are not the cold-hearted evil geniuses the world has labeled us to be.

Have you noticed that in many online charts and graphics depicting the Myers-Briggs personality types of popular characters, villains are frequently labeled with the INTJ personality?

Palpatine from Star Wars, The Master from Doctor Who, Moriarty from Sherlock, The Governor from The Walking Dead, Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, and even the nosey, drama-causing maid O’Brien from Downton Abbey are all said to be INTJs.

It seems that whenever a character displays even a hint of villainous intent, they are automatically categorized as an INTJ, without deeper analysis of their motivations or actions.

While these characters are fictional and their assigned Myers-Briggs types are speculative, I can’t help but worry that the constant portrayal of INTJ personalities as villains may lead to misunderstandings and even mistrust of real-life INTJs. Here are three reasons why INTJs are not necessarily villains.

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Why Labeling INTJs as Villains Is Unfair

1. We are introverted, not evil.

Many introverts have experienced misunderstandings about their quiet nature, often being wrongly perceived as rude or hating others. This same misunderstanding about what introversion really means leads to the false assumption that INTJs are villains.

Introversion simply means that we gain energy from solitude and find social situations draining. (Here’s the science behind why introverts love spending time alone.) This is why introverts often prefer quiet time and usually have a few close friends.

Just because INTJs might choose a peaceful night at home over a party doesn’t mean they dislike people. The villains mentioned are evil and show a general hatred for others, whether through killing people, attempting world domination, or causing trouble intentionally.

It might seem obvious, but having a deep-seated disdain for other human beings is not related to how someone recharges their energy. Seeking solitude to recover after a tiring day is different from isolating yourself because you loathe humanity.

That, my friends, is anti-social behavior, not introversion.

2. We are logical, not emotionless.

INTJs are Thinking types, which means we base our decisions on logic rather than emotions. Combined with our strong intuition, this makes us excellent at strategic long-term planning.

However, this trait often leads to a misconception that INTJs are emotionless. This is far from the truth. While we may be skilled at devising complex plans, it doesn’t mean we lack compassion or empathy.

Like all personality types, INTJs experience a wide range of emotions, including empathy, sadness, anger, and joy. Portraying most villains as INTJs overlooks the fact that many INTJs are actually quite sensitive and compassionate.

(Are you a highly sensitive person? Here are 27 “strange” things highly sensitive people do.)

For example, I’ve upset friends by needing to leave the room during movie scenes with intense violence or torture. I was often more affected by the character’s suffering than anyone else there, despite being the only INTJ in the group.

Our preference for logical decision-making over emotional reactions doesn’t make us incapable of empathy. The indifference to others’ feelings often shown by villains is not an INTJ characteristic; it’s sociopathy.

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3. We are achievement-oriented, not narcissistic.

INTJs thrive on tackling difficult tasks. We find great satisfaction in using our intellect to solve complex problems or complete challenging projects.

Yet, this passion for achievement can sometimes be overwhelming for us. We INTJs might feel like we’re never accomplishing enough. Our drive for achievement may stem from a desire to be intellectually stimulated, not from a craving for fame or prestige.

This distinguishes most INTJs from the villains mentioned. For example, The Master from Doctor Who leads a very public life, even becoming the Prime Minister of Britain as part of his scheme against The Doctor. Similarly, Moriarty in Sherlock is notorious for his flamboyant, attention-grabbing crimes, such as breaking into the Tower of London and adorning himself with the Crown Jewels.

Speaking from personal experience, the idea of constant media scrutiny that comes with high-profile positions or dramatic criminal activities sounds daunting. While some might argue that these villains don’t seek attention but see it as a byproduct of their plans, I’m not convinced. Just look at this clip of Moriarty and tell me he doesn’t enjoy it.

Many villains categorized as INTJs display high ambitions and a list of impressive achievements, yet they pursue these for their ego, not merely for intellectual satisfaction.

Contrary to our reputation, INTJs are not the cold-hearted evil geniuses the world has labeled us to be. Many INTJs might have the same quiet, goal-oriented, and rational nature as fictional villains, but a deeper look usually reveals that we lack the same anti-social and narcissistic traits that render on-screen villains so diabolical. Though we may appear stern and stand-offish at times, it isn’t fair to assume that we’re villainous.

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