INTJ personality and emotions

The INTJ personality type is perhaps the most enigmatic and controversial of all. Idealistic visionaries, unemotional robots, brilliant strategists, socially awkward geeks, fearsome debaters – these are just a few examples of the numerous labels that INTJs seem to be able to get.

There is usually little middle ground with strong expressed INTJ personalities – other types either find their quirkiness mysterious and attractive, or feel uncomfortable and get offended. The INTJs themselves are either proud of their traits and wear them like a badge, or see themselves as eccentrics and do their best to mimic the behavior of other people, trying to blend in. These attitudes soften as people grow and develop, but they tend to be very black-and-white at a younger age.

The Achilles' heel

One of the most significant sticking points is the INTJs’ handling of emotions. Most INTJ personalities pride themselves in remaining rational and logical at all times, seeing most emotional displays as a sign of weakness and irrationality. As people with this personality type also tend to be very honest and straightforward, it is no surprise that they are often seen as insensitive. Some INTJs may go even further, claiming that they have no feelings or emotions at all, and that anyone who does is weak and irrational.

INTJ emotionsIronically, INTJs can be just as emotional, if not more so, than any other personality type. Everything depends on how we define and handle emotions – for instance, there is a world of difference between breaking down in public and simply being thoughtful or amused. For most INTJs, public displays of emotion are outside of their comfort zone and consequently they will do their best to restrain themselves. However, this does not mean that INTJs have no feelings – rather, they tend to be good at channeling their emotions and using logic to keep them in check.

Why all the shields?

One of the reasons behind the cold exterior is that people with the INTJ personality type tend to be very proud of their knowledge and abilities – revealing emotions or even acknowledging that they exist may be a frightening prospect, especially if the INTJ in question is younger and secretly not as confident as they would like to be. In such cases, the INTJ will shield themselves with coldness and rational arguments, allowing their Thinking trait to act like a protective big brother to the weaker, less developed Feeling trait.

Second, logic and rationality play a dominant role in the INTJ decision-making process – feelings usually only come into play when their Thinking trait cannot come up with a rational solution to a difficult problem. To give an example, if an INTJ is upset, they will not need to tell everyone around them that they are upset – on the contrary, they will focus on identifying why they are upset and then coming up with a logical solution to their problems. Alternatively, they will channel that energy into something productive.

Emotions will always influence the decisions that the INTJ is making, at least to some extent – it is impossible to separate the two, even though most people with the INTJ personality type try hard to make decisions and solve problems without involving their feelings.

How we process is also how we feel, and how we feel is also how we process – this applies to INTJs as well. However, people with this personality type find it quite easy to deal with those emotions internally, without exposing them to the outside world, and this is why they may radiate that aura of logic and detachment.

So, to summarize – INTJ personalities can be very sensitive and have very deep feelings. Even though these emotions will be shielded from the public view by their Thinking trait and will (usually) not be the deciding factor in the INTJ decision-making process, this does not mean that INTJs should be seen as, or should aspire to be, cold-blooded and insensitive geniuses living by the mantra that emotions are for the weak. This is not the case and is not going to happen.

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Marko Polomčić
Jul 24, 2014 08:20:55
I think Sheldon Copper might be an INTJ. He is a emotionless robot and has a mind almost as good as mine. P.S. he is from the big bang theory. Type it online.
Jul 18, 2014 15:09:49
Being an INTJ, i feel like i do have emotions but do not let them overpower me and become my main source of motivation. I do not hide them from people but i think their is no point in sharing. I tend to solve my problem myself and if i need help, i would just ask for it rather than create an emotional drama and trick people into offering help. Also, i do not feel any kind of happiness or whatever good stuff people feel while sharing emotions. Sometimes i think people tend to over-exploit emotions. I do feel certain emotions like sadness but never felt empathy or sympathy . I tend to divide emotions into valid or invalid, people crying, whining, shouting, screaming and jumping over nonsense issues gets me so bored. But when i see actual problems i do understand them.
Jul 08, 2014 22:03:43
I often get labeled as "insensitive" because I rarely show my emotions. As a result, when I do, people say I'm overreacting even though it's nowhere near the response anyone else would have.
Maria Gerarez
Jun 28, 2014 23:59:06
I think that I'm often too insensitive so I try to fake my empathy and sympathy for people so that I appear less like a cold-blooded sociopath. I've found that sometimes faking and putting on a smile actually tricks my mind into feeling a little less apathetic than I was before, which is absolutely fantastic for me. I encourage all INTJs to try this strategy and see if it works for you.
On a separate note, I have a question for other INTJs out there. Do you sometimes suspect that you might have Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (not to be confused with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)? It seems to me that I have this condition, but I am not sure if it is simply my personality or if it is serious and I should be concerned.
Jun 19, 2014 16:12:20
Im confused on why some see this as a bad thing. Being like this is amazing it makes you strong. I love being like this it is awesome.