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I've noticed that when you read any type of pros/cons about INTJs, the word "manipulative" pops up frequently enough (under cons, obviously :laughing:). 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.
 

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So why is it that manipulation can be attributed to INTJs?
I suspect, that this is due to their function being Ni. It is not controlling function, it's introspective function and its functionality is too often is beyond words. It observes internal states. Te and anything else lower can at best try to convert Ni's stuff into words. Te takes a a lead at first and is deemed more important. And possibly Fi activates earlier and decides that Te is doing shit and isn't doing justice to Ni. Due to such contradictions, person usually stays solitary, but if observed closer such person can declare way too many things, that only later are checked if they are truly okay. Immature person may let Fi overpower wrong decision and then Fi destroys all Te attempts at ding justice to Ni. Most likely some plan or some decision is already made and Fi destroys that. Therefore, such person looks weird after this process and possibly manipulative.

Another theory is that Ni dominant simply taps into stuff, that is objective and carelessly starts making it more personal (more aligned with Ni), thus later appearing manipulative after illusion of being reasonable is destroyed (Te trying to appear as reasonable and hiding Ni as much as it can).

Or INTJs are just too damn sexy and poor blokes just lose all their rationality for a while. After some time, they start to regain it and they see how they were "used". But it's really their own fault.
 

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I think it often depends on what others choose to pay attention to (or not).

My INTJ friend pretty much has a plan A and plan B going on all the time, and anyone who knows about his extracurricular activities knows work is.. well, not A. He puts up an act as the perfect employee, but his eyes don't smile then. I was his boss for a bit and knew that his capacity for working was like, a quarter of that of others. (Or less :eek:h:)

Thing is, he was always very open to talking about Plan A. You just had to ask. I'd say his appearance could be deceptive. But by no means was he trying to be manipulative - he simply understood that being a toxic whiner was not the way to go. You gotta suck it up sometimes, and make the best of it.
 

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Speaking from personal experience I give zero shits what others do just as long as I’m not involved
I have a hard enough time managing my own life let alone others
And yes above poster every job I ever had I strived to be the #1 employee only because I never wanted to hear negative feedback
INTJ strives for perfection
 

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Obviously it depends on the person if something feels manipulative. I know I have come across this way to people - primarily to S types of some variety or another, and since they are in the majority, well, there you go.

Typically there is NO intention of being manipulative (sometimes there is, but it is very, very rare, and only when someone has proven themselves to be untrustworthy or incapable of handling the truth - at all).

I've been told that I'm manipulative, or that I "bait-and-switch," or some other thing by S types I've gotten too close to. Typically, this is due to the differences in how we think and approach the world, not actual manipulation. We discuss something in the future - like next year (6-9 months from now) - and somehow they take a "we could" and "maybe" conversation and turn it into "will beyond the shadow of a doubt" in their minds.

To me, it was hashing out ideas. When I decide I didn't like that idea and (in their mind) "change" my mind, they think I've manipulated them. That is the last thing I've done, but that's how they see it.

I cannot think of a N type (even NF) who would use the term "manipulative" with me, but I have seen it with S-types a fair bit.
 

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From what I've observed of thousands of INTJs online, the mentally and/or emotionally unhealthy ones are prone to dark triad traits. Oddly, this occurs more often in male INTJs.
Can you give some examples of the characteristics of mentally and/or emotionally unhealthy INTJ's?

What are "dark triad traits"?

thanks.
 
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Can you give some examples of the characteristics of mentally and/or emotionally unhealthy INTJ's?

What are "dark triad traits"?

thanks.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201301/shedding-light-psychology-s-dark-triad

Lurking beneath the surface of people who use others to their own advantage is psychology’s “Dark Triad.” Defined as a set of traits that include the tendency to seek admiration and special treatment (otherwise known as narcissism), to be callous and insensitive (psychopathy) and to manipulate others (Machiavellianism), the Dark Triad is rapidly becoming a new focus of personality psychology.
The manipulation aspect would fall under Machiavellianism.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Or INTJs are just too damn sexy and poor blokes just lose all their rationality for a while. After some time, they start to regain it and they see how they were "used". But it's really their own fault.
I know who's getting my Nobel Prize vote next year :wink:

Thing is, he was always very open to talking about Plan A. You just had to ask. I'd say his appearance could be deceptive. But by no means was he trying to be manipulative - he simply understood that being a toxic whiner was not the way to go. You gotta suck it up sometimes, and make the best of it.
Yeah, I think that was sort of what I was going with as far as not talking about what I'm up to. Either no one cares and is annoyed that I'm talking about something so far away OR the opposite, where people then constantly bring it up and/or freak out about the topic (example: why I didn't tell my job I was going to leave when I decided upon it 4 years ago) and I WISH I hadn't brought it up.

Basically not bringing it up is more for me and my sanity than to hide things from others. If people asked, most of the time I would divulge.

Speaking from personal experience I give zero shits what others do just as long as I’m not involved
I have a hard enough time managing my own life let alone others
And yes above poster every job I ever had I strived to be the #1 employee only because I never wanted to hear negative feedback
INTJ strives for perfection
I think for me, most of the stuff I'm "managing" with others is to make my own life less stressful. There is always something in it for me but it's rarely SOLELY for me. I have somehow ended up with a great number of co-dependent, indecisive people (mom, sister, employer) whose problems seems to boomerang back to me in some form or another. If anything, conducting these activities is a gift to my future self.

Also, I like to be #1 employee because I don't like being told what to do.

I've been told that I'm manipulative, or that I "bait-and-switch," or some other thing by S types I've gotten too close to. Typically, this is due to the differences in how we think and approach the world, not actual manipulation. We discuss something in the future - like next year (6-9 months from now) - and somehow they take a "we could" and "maybe" conversation and turn it into "will beyond the shadow of a doubt" in their minds
Interesting! I could see that. I feel like feelings of manipulation vs actual acts of manipulation are vastly different numbers. I feel like assumptions and misunderstandings probably fill in the remainder of incidents.

From what I've observed on the forums, etc., I have seen it notably from IxFPs - though, normally it's more of a side note vs an actual complaint. Like "btw." I also think IxFP + TJ seems to have the potential for a bit more friction in general, though more with the xSTJ.
 

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I find this interesting as I consider manipulation primarily emotional or psychological and that tends to go to Fe types given that they tend to want to make others act a certain way which reflects their Fe values. I don't want to trash a type though, so understand this is just a generality.

I started a thread about this on the cognitive functions forum a few months ago called "Extraverted Judging types and manipulation". Here's a link:

https://www.personalitycafe.com/myers-briggs-forum/1313593-extraverted-judging-types-fe-te-manipulation.html

I'm not trying to be difficult in redirection to that thread but only posting because I really don't understand how INTJs come off as manipulative at all. I simply do not have time enough to even think to manipulate someone - it doesn't cross my mind. I'm a particularly introverted INTJ and I attempt to limit my interaction with others enormously and have built my life around that.

As long as they don't attack someone I love or interrupt me reading, I'm not going to attempt to change someone else's behaviour in any way. Even those who are unhealthy, I just cut them off. Depending on how reasonable they are, I might explain why I cannot be around them, but even that isn't an attempt to control or change a person - it's just an attempt to allow them the opportunity to become aware of my own observations and experiences with them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I find this interesting as I consider manipulation primarily emotional or psychological and that tends to go to Fe types given that they tend to want to make others act a certain way which reflects their Fe values. I don't want to trash a type though, so understand this is just a generality.

I started a thread about this on the cognitive functions forum a few months ago called "Extraverted Judging types and manipulation". Here's a link:

https://www.personalitycafe.com/myers-briggs-forum/1313593-extraverted-judging-types-fe-te-manipulation.html

I'm not trying to be difficult in redirection to that thread but only posting because I really don't understand how INTJs come off as manipulative at all. I simply do not have time enough to even think to manipulate someone - it doesn't cross my mind. I'm a particularly introverted INTJ and I attempt to limit my interaction with others enormously and have built my life around that.

As long as they don't attack someone I love or interrupt me reading, I'm not going to attempt to change someone else's behaviour in any way. Even those who are unhealthy, I just cut them off. Depending on how reasonable they are, I might explain why I cannot be around them, but even that isn't an attempt to control or change a person - it's just an attempt to allow them the opportunity to become aware of my own observations and experiences with them.
I agree with pretty much everything you said and btw do not mind at all that you linked another thread. I don't venture too far from the INTx forums me'self :laughing: your input is always welcome and appreciated.

I am going to throw out examples of people I perceive as manipulative:

Example:

1. My former boss. She would lie or misrepresent things constantly with the objective of cultivating obedience. Fairly early on, I was getting some real Wizard of Oz "man behind the curtain" vibes because she wasn't a particularly great liar and would lie about things I knew more than her about (like computers). I started challenging her and pushing back and she would get very angry. I also saw her do it with others after I'd moved up in the company: lying to employees, telling them directives came from the owner, telling them the owner was upset with them - all while instituting a rule that they were not permitted to talk to him about things. I believe the specific verbiage was "don't go over my head." Now that she is retired and I've taken over, I'm finding out things she'd told people that I'd said, knowing people were reluctant to confront me.

What I realized, though, was that she was too sensitive about the judgment of others and never wanted people to be upset with or towards her. Towards = if she told the owner bad news that wasn't anything she could control and he was upset, she felt responsible and like he was angry with her. It was mainly to protect her feelings, not that that justifies things.

2. The most manipulative person I knew was a mooch. He was self-employed but really only worked for relatives and friends and easy targets, he always lived off of girlfriends and friends, etc. Being manipulative was his full-time job. That's how he ate, had fun, found shelter, etc. He was whatever emotion/person he needed to be in order to get what he wanted. I admit, it was impressive to watch. He failed with me and he's one of the few people I've ever given myself permission to thoroughly fuck over (not over anything serious, mind you) to illustrate to him that've been chillin' in first gear this entire time while he's been going full throttle.

Back to the point:

The common thread here is that, as you said, manipulation requires a desire to control and INTJs, at most, I think would opt to influence vs outright control a person. I agree that I don't see INTJs as manipulative; however, I've seen it said often enough that it seems like "a thing." I really am hoping to hear some feedback from other types who believe we are because I am sincerely perplexed and intrigued. With my original post, I was hypothesizing possible reasons but also noting why it actually does not satisfy the definition.

There is that saying, you can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink - that's about the most I am willing to do. I feel fortunate to be able to see the water and figure out how to get there - after that, they're on their own. Whatever they do after that is their right and their decision.
 

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Manipulative if self serving.
but, also might be called "leadership", if for the greater good of all and a higher purpose.
 
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Manipulative INTJ they are not. The self-righteous conscious Fi will never allow INTJ to do every possible way, including illicit and illegal way, to achieve their goal. Unique combination of Fi with Te and J-ness is striving for consistent structure, value, honor and funnily enough: sportmanship / fair game / meritocracy. Cheating is self defeating.

My honor is my big part of my identity. Losing my honor would feel like I don't have any compelling reason to live in this world any longer than I am still have purpose.

I could safely say that this very side of INTJ is what most P-person especially the S dom/aux type could not easily understand.
 

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Just in case you haven't read Jung seriously yet, introversion is manipulation. Introversion is the act of sacrificing reality on the altar of one's own thoughts. It's survival (or not) by habit reinforcement (and confirmation bias).

And just in case you haven't realized it's not what the MBTI measures as I but J (and poorly at that), the higher you score as J, the more manipulative you are. This excludes all the "J"s who score "P" because they view themselves as very laid back fun and permissive. And it's hard to change their mind since introversion is all about not doing it.
 

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Just in case you haven't read Jung seriously yet, introversion is manipulation. Introversion is the act of sacrificing reality on the altar of one's own thoughts. It's survival (or not) by habit reinforcement (and confirmation bias).

And just in case you haven't realized it's not what the MBTI measures as I but J (and poorly at that), the higher you score as J, the more manipulative you are. This excludes all the "J"s who score "P" because they view themselves as very laid back fun and permissive. And it's hard to change their mind since introversion is all about not doing it.
It seems your description of 'manipulative' is rather ... pejorative. The Te and J is definitely want to shape (or manipulate, if you will) their external environment, as opposed to the Ti and P who don't pay bother too much with the externalities as long as their 'internal safespace' could go unhindered under the hood.
 

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darn these quotes for not working.


I've noticed that when you read any type of pros/cons about INTJs, the word "manipulative" pops up frequently enough (under cons, obviously
).
this is pretty surprising to me. of all the insults, that isn't one i've heard much; unless you count men choosing to see any display of emotion from women as an attempt to 'manipulate'. personally i don't think it does count because i don't think those kinds of men pick and choose types when they've got griping to do.

So why is it that manipulation can be attributed to INTJs?
idk. the main thing i've noticed personally is that people mistake my intentions around certain things. i'll tell them stuff so they'll have the information, but some people seem to assume the only reason to tell people things is to secure a certain outcome. it can be frustrating, when what i actually want them to do with the information is the exact opposite.

it could be that these are just people who are inherently more results-based than me. so most of life falls naturally into a results-oriented framework for them. idk; it's not like after the misunderstanding takes place i feel cool about asking their type. it's just an awkward kind of thing that happens.

i like the idea of looking at this from the perspective of information, actually. either information withheld when the critic feels that it shouldn't be, or information given when the critic thinks that it should be withheld. i'm not sure what else qualifies as 'manipulation' b ut maybe i'm missing something.
 

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It seems your description of 'manipulative' is rather ... pejorative. The Te and J is definitely want to shape (or manipulate, if you will) their external environment, as opposed to the Ti and P who don't pay bother too much with the externalities as long as their 'internal safespace' could go unhindered under the hood.
That's why TI is TE and vice versa. I is always I and E always E. Am I being pejorative, or are people being minorative? All I know is that our five biggest enemies lie within. Namely I, S, T, F and J. When either of those drive the personality, problems pile up. So rest assured, introversion is just 1/5 of why we're in big trouble.
 

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The most manipulative character I can think of in history was Niccolò Machiavelli. He is rumoured to be ENTP type 3w4.

INTJs can be type 3w4 or have type 3w4 in their tri-type just like any other types.
 

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The most manipulative character I can think of in history was Niccolò Machiavelli. He is rumoured to be ENTP type 3w4.

INTJs can be type 3w4 or have type 3w4 in their tri-type just like any other types.
Not Henry the VIII? hehe.

In all seriousness though. Something @lilysocks said reminded me ... I have had some troubles with people maybe thinking I'm asking a loaded question or something? I don't know why it comes across that way, but when someone gets defensive and is like "I dunno, what do you ask ... ::shifty:: ?" I usually just explain why I asked and then the person is like relieved that I didn't mean something else.

What that something else is I'd love to know one of these days lol.
 
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Not Henry the VIII? hehe.

In all seriousness though. Something @lilysocks said reminded me ... I have had some troubles with people maybe thinking I'm asking a loaded question or something? I don't know why it comes across that way, but when someone gets defensive and is like "I dunno, what do you ask ... ::shifty:: ?" I usually just explain why I asked and then the person is like relieved that I didn't mean something else.

What that something else is I'd love to know one of these days lol.
Henry the VIII is a good one. He is rumoured to be ESTP, although the arguments for him being ESFP do shine up a bit.

https://www.personality-database.com/profile/773/henry-viii-historical-figures-1500s-mbti-personality-type

However manipulation may be more related to the enneatype or tri-type imo.
 
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