We Really Need to Stop Depicting INTJs as Villains

IntrovertDear.com INTJ villain

Have you noticed that on most online charts and graphics depicting popular characters’ Myers-Briggs personality types that the villains are almost always labeled as INTJs? 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 if a character has any villainous intent, they are automatically assumed to be an INTJ without further dissecting their motivations or actions.

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While these characters are fictional and their assigned types are speculative, I can’t help but fear that the constant villainization of the INTJ personality type will only cause further misunderstanding and even distrust of real-life INTJs. So, here are three reasons why INTJs are not actually villains:

1. We are introverted, not anti-social.

At some point in their lives, most introverts have had their quiet character misconstrued for rudeness or a dislike of other people. It’s this same misconception about the true nature of introverts that causes too many people to think most villains are INTJs. Introversion refers to the fact that we get our mental energy from being alone, and social situations drain us of this energy. That is why introverts prefer more quiet time and generally have fewer social contacts. While INTJs might prefer to turn down a party invitation for a quiet night at home, that doesn’t mean we hate people. Most of the villains listed above seem to have a general hatred for others, whether they kill people, try to take over the world, or just intentionally cause other people trouble. But having a deep-seated disdain for other human beings has nothing to do with how someone recharges their mental battery. Isolating yourself to recharge after a long day is not the same as isolating yourself because you loathe humanity. That, my friends, is anti-social behavior, not introversion.

2. We are rational, not emotionless.

INTJs are Thinking types, meaning we make decisions using logic, not emotions. When you add that to our strong intuition, you get a personality type that excels at strategic long-term planning. But this leads to a misrepresentation of INTJs as emotionless evil geniuses with a secret plan to take over the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. We might excel at executing some type of world-ending scheme; however, it doesn’t mean we have the cold-hearted nature to want to do it in the first place.

INTJs, just like the rest of the personality types, can feel a full range of emotions including empathy, sadness, anger, and joy. Labeling the majority of villains as INTJs hides the fact that most INTJs can actually be highly sensitive and compassionate people. In my own life, I’ve angered quite a few of my high school friends by having to leave the room if we were watching a movie that contained a scene where someone is being viciously tortured or hurt. I seemed to be moved by the character’s pain more than everyone else in the room, and I was the only INTJ there. Our ability to use our heads instead of our hearts to make a decision doesn’t mean we are incapable of empathizing with other people’s emotions. The callous disregard for others that is found in most villains is not an INTJ trait, it’s a sociopathic one.

3. We are achievement-oriented, not narcissistic.

INTJs love to accomplish difficult tasks. Nothing feels better to us than using our minds to solve a complex problem or complete a challenging assignment. This love of achievement can get a little out of hand for us INTJs; for example, we might worry that we’re never accomplishing enough. But our love of achievement comes from an internal need to be intellectually challenged, not from a deep desire for fame and prestige.

This is where the villains on the list above differ greatly from most INTJs. For example, The Master from Doctor Who lives a very public life, including campaigning for and eventually becoming the Prime Minister of Britain before he can act on his plan to capture The Doctor. Moriarty from Sherlock is famous for his attention-seeking and over-dramatic crimes, including a plot to break into the Tower of London and dress himself in the Crown Jewels. While I can’t speak for all INTJs, I do know from my own perspective that the very thought of the constant world-wide media attention that would come from holding a high office or orchestrating an elaborate crime spree would make me want to run and hide under a rock. Some argue that these villains don’t like the attention; it’s just a side effect of their evil plot. But I don’t buy that for a second. Just watch this clip of Moriarty and tell me he doesn’t enjoy it. Many of the villains labeled as INTJs have high ambitions and a list of impressive accomplishments, but they do it for their own ego, not just for intellectual enjoyment.

In spite of 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 once you scratch our surface, you’ll find that we don’t have the same anti-social and narcissistic traits that make most on-screen villains so diabolical. Though we may appear stern and stand-offish at times, it isn’t fair to assume that our personality type is villainous.

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Read this: 7 Secrets About Dating an INTJ Personality Type  retina_favicon1

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  • Jay Boll says:

    You left Mark Zuckerberg off the list of INTJ villains (just kidding). Great article, in the opinion of this head-in-the-clouds INTP. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  • MauricePurley says:

    In addition to the fact that we INTJs are mostly only interested in using our powers for good rather than evil, it’s also annoying that our evil plans always fail.

    Everyone knows that an INTJ’s plans always succeed…

  • njguy54 says:

    The cliches people use to describe serial killers also don’t help: “He was always so quiet, hardly spoke to anyone, was really into himself…”

  • Henry says:

    Anakin: “The Jedi use their power for good.”
    Palpatine: “Good is a point of view, Anakin.”

    Just saying…. 😉

    • I see your point but I disagree. INTJs are known to have very strong moral codes that aren’t up for debate. I personally don’t think good is a point of view and that were are clear rights and wrongs. I would say that Palpatine is acting more like a P type than a J type.

  • Mandy says:

    Thank you for stating what we have all been thinking.

  • Jay Boll says:

    You left Mark Zuckerberg off the list of INTJ villains (just kidding). Great article, in the opinion of this head-in-the-clouds INTP. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  • Johanna says:

    Thanks for this. I’m tired of people telling me I’m just one night in away from becoming a raging psychopath. All because I tend not to speak much unless around my close friends and look intensely focused when sitting still.

  • INFJ’s make the best villains and should be feared the most when in that role.

    • Natalie Muller (Feejeemermaid says:

      Absolutely, I’ve seen Hannibal of the TV series is typed as an INFJ.

    • Leah Cruz says:

      How come you accused another type for not accusing you….ughhh i thought i changed my mind for hating INTJ ..but now i really won’t…INFP’s cant really get along with INTJ’s

  • Natalie Muller (Feejeemermaid says:

    Daria is generally seen as an INTJ and being female is thus extremely rare, but a much more positive image for the INTJ.

  • Nikki H. says:

    Love this! It always depresses me when “famous INTJs” are all genocidal maniacs. Also I think that there can be a slight difference between male and female INTJs. Since female INTJs are the smallest subset of the population, this personality type is usually portrayed as masculine and opportunistic. Also, I care very much about the emotions of my close friends, and because I’ve spent a lot of time around them, I can use my intuition and thinking to predict how they will feel and react in certain situations. I think this makes us INTJs more empathetic than some other personality types who tend to be oblivious and focused on their own feelings instead of others.

  • I’ll say attention is one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t want a lot of it and mostly stay in the background, but that doesn’t mean I want my intelligence and effort go unnoticed. I think other INTJs would like their work to be regconized sometimes too.

  • Rachel Leigh Smith says:

    I’m so not a homicidal maniac. And my moral code is incredibly strong, and rooted in my religious faith. Which is a big thing INTJ’s aren’t “supposed” to have. My faith is real and vibrant in part *because* of my intellect. Not in spite of it.

  • Michael Bugg says:

    Given how many writers are E and F, respectively, it’s hardly a surprise that they see INTJs as so alien.

  • Faith Pineda says:

    LMAO as an INTJ, I can say I understand why INTJ’s are made out to be the villain. I would love to pull this off…However, not get the recognition personally for doing so. The satisfaction would be, I did it, AND I got away with it without anyone knowing. As I sip coffee in front of the fireplace watching the crime spree that went unsolved on TV. It’s much more exciting for TV if the villain gets caught. It’s written by some other personality that needs to wrap it all up in a neat little bow and deliver it to the populace in easily digestible bites. Personally, I think they are afraid that we can actually pull these types of crimes off, and they must remind us that we will get caught. But really it’s not about stealing, it’s about being able to create the perfect crime, Moriarty just wanted to wear the jewels.