Tuesday, November 19, 2013

INTJ: mastermind or heroine?

So, you might have seen them around Pinterest and Facebook: Myers-Briggs charts with our favorite characters illustrating the types.
source: unknown
Star Wars.

Harry Potter.

Downton Abbey.

You guys, listen. I'm comfortable with my type. I like being an INTJ. It's one way of describing the pieces who help make up who I am.

But come on.

Seriously now, it took me three of these things to realize something: the INTJs are always the bad guys. Sure, they're smart. They're planners. They're deep.

But still.

Draco Malfoy? O'Brien? EMPEROR PALPATINE?

Are you kidding me?

I looked over the Downton Abbey chart pretty closely. Despite the way my once beloved show drop-kicked my heart and walked over the ashes of my love for Matthew and Mary (I'm feeling a bit dramatic here, I'll admit), the characters and their costumes and their shenanigans still interest me. (Well, their old shenanigans. I really don't care what happens at this point. Downton is dead to me. Do you hear me, Julian Fellowes? DEAD TO ME.)

Anyway. Forgive me, I take my fictional characters seriously. Back to my main point, once I was perusing the Downton Abbey Myers-Briggs chart I finally put my finger on what annoys me:
take the NTJ and put an "I" on the beginning: evil mastermind. Put an "E" and you get: the heroine.

Princess Leia. Mary Crawford.

This negative image of Introverts has got to stop. We are not evil masterminds. We are loveable, loyal, prone to over-thinking people who don't suffer fools and  their foolishness.

I may not be an Extrovert but I'll go toe to toe with Darth Vader if I have to, especially if he's threatening the people I love. I'll manage the family estate, I'll take care of the family (are we seeing a theme here?). I could be Princess Leia or Mary Crawford.

There may be a fine line between heroics and villainy, heroine and devious plotter. That line is not, "Would you rather go to a party or stay home and read a book?" The difference is not Extroversion vs. Introversion because E vs. I are not a moral choices, they simply exist.

Extroverts can be bad guys. Introverts can be heroes. Introverts could plot nefarious schemes. Extroverts could save the day. But those roles are never cast in stone. Extroversion is not the default, healthy psychological make-up with Introverts being twisted and in need of fixing. I don't need to be fixed or coerced into being an Extrovert.

I am not less because I am an Introvert. Only the Extroverts who run things could possibly think that. The heroes and heroines of all the stories are not all Extroverts. Sometimes they're people who would have lived quietly but have no choice to step up and make sure things are done properly. Introversion is not inherently evil and Extroversion is not inherently good. I'm sure there are folks who would rather see the world that way, but they're wrong. I'm an Introvert and I can tell you we think about this kind of thing a lot.

I am an INTJ but I am more than that. I am a free moral agent with God given strengths and abilities hindered by my own sinful nature and choices.

I stand up for the weak but I am also guilty of ignoring the needy. I'm good with words, although they often get me into trouble. I'm loyal to my family and friends and love when we're all together, but I often need to get away from them at the end of the day so I can recharge. I'm devoted to and head over heels in love with the love of my life but I often find myself annoyed by his failings (though they are small in the grand scheme of things). Please tell me that sounds more like Mary Crawford than Miss O'Brien. I'm already pretty sure it sounds more like Princess Leia than Emperor Palpatine.

Time to learn how to make some infographics myself, I guess. The only way to stop this discrimination against Introverts is for some of us who identify as such to stop being quiet.


Lisa said...

Hear, hear!

Deb said...

I'm an INTJ too. I never meet them in real life. I haven't been offended by the graphics, but mostly because I've never seen Star Wars, read Harry Potter, or seen Downton Abby. I am definitely not evil, but I don't mind if people think I'm a mastermind, because that sounds cool. My brain isn't what it used to be though.... Maybe I'm more of a middle-management-mind now?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've noticed the INTJ-bad-guy correlation in those graphics too...when I take over the world, I will ensure they are all destroyed...BUAHAHAHAHAAA!

...I'm joking.

Kind of.

- Your (Friendly. No really!) neighbourhood INTJ

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