Why are INTJs always the “bad guy”? Although they may wear different masks, capes, motivations and agendas, some of the best loved and most feared villains of fiction all share the same dark, twisted core: the INTJ personality type. [Imagine dramatic “dun-dun-dun” sound effect here]
Magneto, Voldemort, Moriarty, Hannibal Lechter, Tywin Lannister, Emperor Palpatine, and Rumplestiltskin are all Myers Briggs INTJs and – let’s be honest – pretty fantastic villains. Because of their intuition and introverted feeling coupled with extraverted thinking, INTJs tend to process their deep, intense emotions privately while only sharing their logical, rational thinking with the rest of the world. The result is that they are frequently misunderstood – a misfortune that is enough to drive anyone to the dark side!
Since they rarely let people in to their inner world of deep feeling, INTJs can come off as “cold, calculating masterminds” and “are defined by their tendency to move through life as though it were a giant chess board… always assessing new tactics, strategies and contingency plans, constantly outmaneuvering their peers in order to maintain control of a situation while maximizing their freedom to move about.” It’s no wonder authors love to use us as their antagonists!
As an INTJ myself, I can confirm that we are intensely logical, rational and cerebral. I am a strategist, and I truly do view the world as a chessboard. But I also feel everything, deeply and personally. In my experience, INTJs manage to simultaneously be the most hopeless of idealists and the bitterest of cynics.
We have the capacity to be some of the most vicious, cut-throat villains because of our brilliant minds, flawless logic and masterful strategizing. But simply having the raw capacity to be bad-ass villains isn’t enough to drive us over the edge to the dark side. Just because we are capable of both envisioning and executing the perfect crime doesn’t mean that we are inherently evil. I hold to the fact that the reason most villains are depicted as the INTJ type – and the reason so many of us “go bad” – is that we are widely misunderstood by society at large.
Both authors and the characters in their story lines are confounded by INTJs. We are the second rarest personality type in general and the rarest among females. We come off as stoic and emotionless since we tend to keep our deep, intense feelings beneath the surface. We do this either because a) selfishly, we realize that showing our emotions can result in vulnerability, or b) selflessly, we know others couldn’t handle the intensity of our emotions.
In X-Men, Magneto originally wanted to use his powers for good. He was a hurt little boy in Holocaust Europe whose parents were murdered by anti-mutant humans. In Harry Potter, Voldemort was an orphaned boy who was frequently picked on by bullies and therefore, eventually become one himself. In Once Upon a Time, Rumplestiltskin was rejected by his own father in favor of power and youth. All three suffered pain, loss and rejection, and that poisonous, damaging concoction resulted in their turning to the dark side.
Note that the few famous “good” INTJ characters were created by authors who were either INTJs themselves or close friends with a known INTJ – for instance, Mr. Darcy by Jane Austen and Gandalf by Tolkein (friend of C.S. Lewis).
INTJs are inherently influential and tend to rise to positions of power. Think of the influence Mr. Darcy had – quietly; discretely – over the Bennet family’s collective well being. And imagine how differently the Lord of the Rings trilogy would have turned out if Gandalf had “gone bad.”
What is my point? Be nice to INTJs. Actually, be nice to people in general. Within all of us, we hold the power to use our gifts and talents for good or evil. Help INTJs choose the Light by keeping from giving us a reason to move toward the Darkness.
Basically: Hug an INTJ and save the universe.