I’ve met quite a few people calling themselves INTJs to justify their narcissistic behavior.
And on the other hand, I’ve seen INTJs being called narcissists for being themselves. Me included.
Now, is there any relation between the two?
Is every INTJ narcissist, and the other way around?
Let’s debunk that now.
Are INTJs Narcissists?
Now, if I had a penny for every time someone said that INTJs are narcissists… well, I’d be rich.
And I totally see why some people may think so.
INTJs can appear overly confident and even arrogant. But those are just two traits they share with real narcissists.
There’s way more to narcissism than just a few character traits. Narcissism is a disorder characterized by an excessive sense of self-centeredness. Narcissists are preoccupied with their own needs, usually at the expense of other people.
And even here, we can see the clear distinction between a narcissist and an INTJ.
For narcissists, the world revolves around them. But for INTJs, it’s more about truth and facts rather than anything else.
Or, let’s talk about taking up the leadership role.
Narcissists love being leaders. More often than not, they don’t make great leaders – but they still choose to take up the role.
INTJs, on the other hand, don’t really like being leaders. The role requires too much social interaction, which drains them up. Now, they won’t fret about taking up leadership when they’re the best person for the job. But INTJs will never choose to lead if they’re unskilled in the role.
The difference between a narcissist and an INTJ person is clear in their image.
Narcissists care very much about how others perceive them, which often causes them to create a false, idealized persona. This typically stems from their need to hide their insecurities and to appear “better than others.”
INTJs don’t really have that problem. Generally, people with this personality type couldn’t care less about what others think of them.
Because of their insecurities, narcissists take criticism to heart and can react very turbulently. INTJs, on the other hand, don’t hate criticism when it’s constructive. No one really likes being criticized, of course, but INTJs know how to take it and learn from it.
Narcissism at a Glance
The term narcissism originates from the poem Metamorphoses, which originates back to 8 AD. Metamorphoses speaks of a young man named Narcissus who was in love with his own reflection in the water. Eventually, he stared at it until his very last moment.
The whole concept of self-centeredness has been used in different art forms throughout history. And once psychology developed as a science, it became interested in the concept as well.
The thing is, narcissism is actually a personality trait – and as such, it’s not necessarily good or bad. It depends a lot on the context as well as the outcomes it can create.
However, high levels of narcissistic behavior define a condition – Narcissistic Personality Disorder. A narcissist has an exaggerated sense of self-importance and a diminished ability to sympathize with others.
So, how do people with NPD act, you might ask?
People with this order:
- Need constant admiration and attention
- Have a sense of entitlement
- Are prone to lies and exaggerations
- Rarely admit their flaws
- Get defensive or aggressive when criticized
- Project false image of themselves
- Habitually invalidate other people’s opinions
- Manipulate others for their own agenda
- Make all conversations about themselves
Now, scientists are yet to discover exactly what causes the disorder. But many studies suggest that excessive praise or judgment by parents at a very early age plays an important role. Some studies also suggest that genetics could also be the cause.
Finally, narcissism could be caused by an actual physiological factor. To this day, only a pilot study has been done on the subject, but it suggests that people with NPD may have a different brain structure.
Namely, their brains have reduced gray mass in the insular and prefrontal cortex. These areas are associated with feelings of empathy, as well as cognition and emotional regulation. Well, that could certainly explain some things.
In any case, what’s clear is that a person doesn’t have much influence on these factors.
And unfortunately, these narcissistic traits make it hard for them to see there’s something wrong with them. After all, it means they have to accept their whole image is exaggerated and false.
What if an INTJ Suffers from NPD?
Now, can an INTJ suffer from NPD?
Given that cause of the disorder is way beyond a person’s influence, it has nothing to do with their MBTI type.
And in the case of someone with an INTJ personality type, this disorder can be especially challenging.
Now, of course, dealing with narcissism is difficult, regardless of your MBTI type. But when you add INTJ personality traits into the equation, you’re in for a ride.
INTJs already have a hard time connecting to other people. They can appear distant and cold. But as narcissists, they’re also very assertive and overly confident, which others will find too repulsive.
Plus, many INTJ traits are in complete contrast with narcissism.
While INTJs don’t care about others’ approval and admiration, narcissists live for it. And when you’re both of them, you’re in constant battle with your goals and desires.
In order for an INTJ to deal with narcissism, the first step is realizing there’s a problem.
Hopefully, this is where their rational side should win, resulting in them seeking treatment from mental health professional.
NPD is not an easy disorder to treat since there’s no medicine for it. The only treatment is psychotherapy, which requires time and patience. But given how INTJs are determined and motivated by the big picture, they can have great outcomes.
Have other narcissism-related questions? Here’s a short FAQ that should solve any doubts you might have.
Which MBTI is most narcissistic?
If we’re talking about healthy levels of narcissism, that’s most apparent with the ESTP Myers Briggs personality type. People with this personality type are very extroverted, charismatic, and love being the center of attention.
What MBTI attracts narcissists?
INFPs are magnets for narcissists. People with this personality type are very empathetic to people around them. However, they can also be very emotionally vulnerable and too focused on pleasing others. That, of course, attracts narcissists. And relationship with a narcissist is very difficult to deal with.
What is the unhealthy side of INTJ?
When unhealthy, INTJs can express their unhealthy side, which can be close to some narcissistic tendencies. Namely, they can be overly dismissive of other people’s opinions and feelings. They can also be very defensive of their opinions, which makes them appear rude and assertive.
To Sum Things Up
INTJs may share some characteristics with narcissism, such as confidence and selfishness. However, they are not more or less likely to be narcissists compared to any other types. That’s something determined by biological or socio-environmental factors, not a personality type.
Narcissism isn’t an easy disorder to treat. But since INTJs value rationality and improvement, they might be able to deal with it better than other MBTI types.
Wonder if there’s any truth to INTJ stereotypes? Check out our article that debunks myths from the truth.