The Dark Side of the INFJ Personality Type

Are you interested in the dark side of the INFJ personality? Then this guide is for you!

Introversion, intuition, feeling, and judgment combine to make a rare Myers-Briggs personality type.

If you take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator questionnaire and discover that you’re INFJ, you may be in a category with as little as 1.5 percent of the population.

Before diving into the dark side of the INFJ personality type, let’s look at some of its major strengths. Idealism and altruism are two of the qualities that make INFJ people compelling.

They’re spurred to find a purpose and make a lasting impact on the world.

They’re also known for having powerful creativity and penetrating insight into other people’s feelings, thoughts, and motivations.

If INFJ people can care deeply, behave in a principled way, and have a passionate and creative life, what’s their potential dark side?

The following are some traits to watch out for in yourself or other people with this MBTI personality. These negative qualities can be curbed or changed with greater awareness.

Perfectionism

People with an INFJ personality may clearly understand what the world should look like. They may have a detailed map of an ideal life, including career paths and relationships.

They may also have broad ideas about an ideal society that serves people well and minimizes injustice.

Life is messy and unpredictable, and plans often don’t work out. Furthermore, campaigning for societal reforms is a difficult path full of frustrations and setbacks.

When confronted with the messiness of life and human frailty, INFJ people risk falling into the trap of perfectionism.

They may get so upset with the gap between reality and their ideals that they adopt an all-or-nothing attitude: Either something is perfect, or it just isn’t worthwhile.

This attitude can result in projects getting abandoned prematurely.

It may lead to disillusionment and burnout, high anxiety levels, or a perpetual dissatisfaction that eats away at people wherever they are or whatever they’re doing.

Harshness

Although INFJ people can show tremendous empathy and care, they’re also prone to coming across as overly blunt or harsh.

Sometimes, the harshness comes from being too judgmental. When observing a situation that falls short of their ideals or principles, people with an INFJ personality may deliver an excessively critical response.

Other times, they seem harsh because they aren’t sugarcoating a situation.

They see your problems clearly and want to help by giving you advice or guidance. If they aren’t tactful enough or feel you need a harsh wake-up call, they won’t mince words.

Their assessment of a situation may make you squirm or even feel as if you’re being personally attacked.

Impracticality

INFJ people often have a big vision. Whether it’s a political campaign’s outcome or a creative project’s final result, they have lofty goals and big dreams.

What sometimes trips them up are the practical steps necessary for reaching their dreams. Every worthwhile project is full of mundane tasks.

Filling out forms, tracking expenses, and revising your work are all a part of life. Every visionary endeavor has all kinds of humdrum details to consider.

People with an INFJ personality may overlook these necessary tasks or consider them too dull or ordinary to deal with.

In some cases, they may fail to establish habits or routines that would make it easier for them to accomplish their goals in manageable steps.

As a result, they may wind up regularly feeling frustrated and disappointed. They may flit from one project to another in the hopes that something will hold their interest.

By shirking ordinary tasks, they may also upset the people who depend on them to pull their weight and get the job done.

Self-Neglecting Behavior

INFJ people have a strong desire to help others and right their wrongs. You can see them working tirelessly to fulfill their commitments and pursue their passions.

However, if they lack a sense of balance or proportion, their noble intentions may contribute to self-neglecting behavior.

They may fail to get enough sleep regularly. Their diet may deteriorate, as they skip meals or replace nutritious food with sugary snacks that they can quickly eat on the run.

They may forget to exercise or make medical and dental appointments.

Another aspect of their well-being vulnerable to neglect is their psychological health. They may ignore signs that they’re taking on too much and that their stress levels are skyrocketing.

They may downplay symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues and assume that they’ll feel fine if they simply push onward and keep working.

They may also deny something introverts truly need: time alone to recharge. Even when they love being with other people, introverts need time to themselves in a quiet space.

They spend these precious moments reading, meditating, drawing, listening to music, or simply staring at a wall.

If they’re deprived of this alone time, they tend to feel much more stressed and even resentful of other people’s demands.

Suppressed Emotions

INFJ people tend to disregard their own emotions. As they focus on providing comfort and solutions, they often put other people’s needs ahead of their own.

They get caught up in working on larger goals that make their personal feelings seem insignificant. They also tell themselves that their emotions will simply be a burden on others.

Focusing attention outwards is often worthwhile. It isn’t good to navel gaze or gets so lost in your head that you feel alienated from the world.

But it also isn’t good to consistently ignore personal feelings or keep them bottled up.

When INFJ people regularly suppress anger, pain, fear, or sadness, these feelings don’t disappear.

Sometimes, the disregarded emotions erupt in a raging outburst or a fit of sobbing. Other times, they gnaw away at the psyche, leading to exhaustion and stress.

Suppressed emotions can also lead to a loss of intimacy.

When people don’t open up about their emotions, they miss opportunities to show vulnerability and connect more deeply with another person.

Their closed-off attitude pushes their loved ones away.

People with an INFJ personality are also prone to abruptly slamming the door on somebody, ending a relationship without warning. In some situations, this is a form of protection against another person’s harmful behavior.

Other times, it’s a preventable and lamentable outcome resulting from avoiding important conversations about feelings and personal problems.

Obstinacy

Determination in pursuit of goals can be an admirable quality. Persevering through challenges also helps people succeed.

The danger is when determination becomes unjustified stubbornness or mindless inflexibility.

Because INFJ people have such a firm idea about what needs to be done, they may automatically shut out other options.

They may disregard other people’s reasonable opinions or helpful suggestions.

It can take time to reflect on a new possibility and potentially accept it.

Being able to step back, take a breath, and decompress on their own may make them more amenable to changing their minds.

High Levels of Sensitivity

In and of itself, sensitivity isn’t a negative trait. It makes people more responsive to the beauty in the world and helps them behave with insight, empathy, and tact during difficult situations.

Like other qualities, however, sensitivity may become excessive. INFJ people care deeply about certain values, ideals, and pursuits.

They may react with defensiveness if they receive even gentle criticism about the things they hold most dear.

They may shut down emotionally or abruptly lash out. They may go out of their way to avoid anybody they perceive as critical.

As a result, they miss important conversations and opportunities to reflect more deeply about their intentions and the consequences of their actions.

They lose opportunities to learn more and develop their skills.

To keep growing and maturing, INFJ people need to evaluate their emotional responses and make time for reflection.

They need to guard against inflexible thinking and excessive defensiveness.

When they take care of themselves and cultivate trusting relationships where they can open up, their lives become much better.

Can a gifted therapist help you too?

If you struggle with anxiety, depression, high-stress levels, relationship issues, or other specific challenges, one-on-one support from a therapist can help a lot.

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