I've noticed that when you read any type of pros/cons about INTJs, the word "manipulative" pops up frequently enough (under cons, obviously ). I find this somewhat intriguing, both in the smaller scope and in the big picture.
First off, everyone is capable of manipulation. Let's just get that out of the way so we don't shit up this thread with 100 people stating the obvious. I don't care if you make this statement but please not ONLY some form of this statement. I feel like the "all types are capable" point should be implicit by now. Additionally, the concept of feeling manipulated is highly subjective and I would like to possibly examine this as well, if anyone wants to share. I have thoughts.
So why is it that manipulation can be attributed to INTJs? I have a hypothesis:
I believe it's a combination of traits that creates an appearance or semblance of manipulation, specifically anything that ties in with the "mastermind" profile. I'll use myself as an example:
I keep my planning and intentions close to my vest - I admit that I can come off as secretive or tight-lipped; however, this is also due to people's general disinterest. I think this is strongly related to planning way ahead of where I, and everyone else, is at and how much people whine that I'm "already thinking about ______." Fine. Well, I'm not about to stop planning on account of you.
I am usually several steps ahead of people (because of aforementioned reason) and fairly well-versed in how they will likely react to things. I have catalogued what I view as their strengths and weaknesses and blind spots. I know how to steer their course in a subtle way. And yes, I am saying I know how they could contribute to the overall plan.
I am a sufficient persuader and can be extra likeable if it is helpful.
I am quite ambitious and really strive for a certain outcome. Once it's in my mind that something is going to happen, I put everything behind it. This requires flexibility/agility. I will try different angles. I would count persistence as a characteristic of a manipulator.
Why I wouldn't really categorize it as manipulation:
I would boil it down to "my Fi would never allow me go all the way with it." I'm not deceitful (though I am selective with my information). It's not malicious. I don't believe I have ever done it solely for my personal gain, unless you want to count seeing my plan come to fruition exactly as I imagined it as personal gain, then ok I'll let you have that one. I would never force or threaten someone into doing what I want - I would simply plan around/without their participation. I would never hurt anyone in any way to achieve my goal. I would say that for the most part, the things I see are going to happen with or without my influence so I try to move events and people forward in a beneficial, efficient, problem-free manner; however, I'm sure there are some nefarious or simply immature INTJs who aren't this way. I can't say I haven't made the observation "if I were a worse person...." because I can see those completely self-serving opportunities as well but, like I said, my Fi personal standards will not allow me to pursue that path without immense guilt.
Truthfully, if (when....) I do want to hurt someone, it tends to be more of a quick trapdoor than a drawn out Iago-esque manipulation. I want someone to see the specter of my foresight when they realize what I've done. I really don't have any interest in prolonging it and I don't have the patience or attention-span to make this another task I need maintain. It's too.... "right now." I don't spend much time in the right now.
Another curious point is that I really don't know if I can describe/relate to feeling manipulated because as soon as I suspect that that's the case, I shut it down. I understand it as a definition but not as a complete experience.
Ultimately, is it really feasible that one can "mastermind" without coming off as manipulative? At that point, you're simply and blatantly delegating, which is a completely different approach. I actually don't really love blatantly delegating, for the most part.
Why do you believe INTJs can be perceived as manipulative vs other types? Have you been called manipulative and if so, what was the experience/your thoughts on it? Have you been manipulated by an INTJ and if so, please describe. As always, I am open and looking forward to any thoughts/discussions/musings you guys have on the topic.