Your MBTI Type — By You At Your Worst

Taking a more honest look at Myers Briggs typing

Typing is too often done by positioning the best attributes of types against each other. And because pretty much everyone wants to be both “creative” and “organized,” “detail-oriented” “big picture thinkers,” we run into a lot of problems.

The other reasons we often mistype is because our “unhealthy” responses to stress look a lot like other types’ healthy behaviors. And if we live there long enough, we start to believe that we are that type.

But the truth comes out when we consider the way the type acts in stress — because the type we think we are acts entirely differently under stress than how we do.

There are a remarkable number of people who misidentify as “NJ’s” — ENTJ, INTJ, INFJ and, to a lesser extent, ENFJ.

My office, for example, recently took MBTI assessments, and pretty much all of them reported being one of these four types.

But I have a hard time believing it, for three big reasons:

  1. Statistically speaking, that’s highly unlikely — only about 10% of the population is NJ, while over 40% of the population is SJ.
  2. Mistypes are quick to claim the “positive” attributes of other types, but a.) won’t relinquish their own strengths and b.) won’t embrace their desired type’s “negative” ones
  3. Mistypes respond to stress differently than how their desired type actually would…

And so, the big question for this post, in accurately typing ourselves, is this:

HOW DO YOU RESPOND WHEN STRESSED?

How does your “worst” look?

Because each type has a very consistent way of responding —a highly instinctual response to stressors — as well as a whole slew of things they don’t do.

Introverts vs Extroverts

“Why this split?”

Because of the way they respond:

Introverts all have a “hyper-introverted” mode and an “unhealthy extroverted,” “acting out” mode.

Extroverts all have a “hyper-extroverted” mode and an “unhealthy introverted,” mode.

“What if I don’t know whether I’m an introvert or extrovert?”

I mean, I’ll ask the obvious initial questions: do others energize or exhaust you?

But that aside, if you’re not sure, then read everything?

PART 1 — INTROVERTS

Please bear in mind that this entire piece is about “our worst selves.” For introverts, that’s two routes:

One “hyper-introverted” tendency (where we “get inside our heads”) and one unhealthy extroverted impulse. But these look very different across introverts.

Q 1.) When you’re in a bad place, what’s most “stuck in your head?”

When you’re at a real low in your life, what’s “looping” over and over as you “hyper-introvert?”

Do you (pick one from each pair):
Feel more sensitive/sad or critical/angry? 
Focus more on the past or the abstract/theoretical?

a.) I get critical — and ruminate on theories for logical insight
b.) I get sensitive — and ruminate on the past, reliving emotions
c.) I get critical —and ruminate on the past, seeking logical explanations
d.) I get sensitive — and ruminate on theories, or even “conspiracies”

Q 2.) What do you most actively “withdraw from” or “shut down?”

(When you do the above.)

a.) Other people
b.) New ideas / creativity
c.) Systems / objective, external measurable productivity
d.) Everyday life, “the real world,” “the present,” and taking action

Q 3.) When you ”act out” in an UNHEALTHY way, what do you do?

When you do something out of feelings of desperation or frenzy, what feeling triggered it, what do you do — and, if you’re being honest, how does it feel when it gets “dark?”

Your inclinations will feel like one of the following four:

When I “act out” in an UNHEALTHY way…

a.)
It’s because I feel:
Anxious, especially about past decisions or mistakes
I try to fix it by pursuing: New ideas, brainstorming, “a change”
But as a result, instead darkly experience: imagining worst case scenarios and all the things that could go wrong with a bad decision, feeling paralyzed about the future, seeing signs of danger or impending doom everywhere.

b.)
It’s because I feel:
Angry, mentally clouded
I try to fix it by pursuing: Love, approval, validation, attention, affirmation
But as a result, instead darkly experience: defensiveness, hypersensitivity to other people’s opinions, acting out insecurely or desperately in relation to other people; the boundary between myself and others gets blurred

c.)
It’s because I feel:
Sad, “I’m not special.” / “I’m tired of caring.”
I try to fix it by pursuing: Conventional, measurable, external systems
But as a result, instead darkly experience: inauthentic and desperate attempts to gain control of my life, coldness, sadness, and soul-crushing-ness.

d.)
It’s because I feel:
Exhausted, “I’m tired of thinking.” 
I try to fix it by pursuing: Escape in immediate, sensory experiences
But as a result, darkly experience: clumsiness and physical recklessness; overindulgence in sensory pleasures (alcohol, food, drugs, sex, etc.) on a regular (even daily) basis to “make it stop.” (And does not do the other three.)

Introvert Answers:

Q1.) a.) INFJ or ISTP — b.) INFP or ISTJ — c.) ISFJ or INTP — d.) INTJ or ISF
Q2.) a.) INFJ or ISFJ — b.) INTP or INFP — c.) INTJ or ISTJ — d.) ISFP or ISTP
Q3.) a.) ISTJ or ISFJ — b.) ISTP or INTP — c.) ISFP or INFP — d.) INFJ or INTJ

INTJ and INFJ Summary:

Contrary to stereotype, INTJs are more apt to get sensitive than “logical,” and really don’t get critical of others. (Though INFJs definitely do.) When really struggling, INTJ and INFJ “turn it all off” by overindulging in hedonism (drinking, food, sex, etc.) Neither gives two shits about “best practices,” “processes,” or deliberately “brainstorming new ideas” to “make a change,” and certainly don’t while trying to fix a low point.

PART 2 — EXTROVERTS

Reminder: ALL of these questions are regarding our worst “places.” Think about times when you were at your lowest in answering these.

Q 1.) When you’re in a bad place, what’s on “extrovert overdrive?”

When you’re in a bad place — a real low in your life — what do you find yourself doing?

Pick one from each pair:
Do you brainstorm ideas or take action?
Do you apply it to measurable systems or other people?

a.) I do something — regarding systems and measurable goals
b.) I do something—with others, getting opinions or validation 
c.) I brainstorm ideas — regarding systems and measurable goals
d.) I brainstorm ideas —with/about others, getting opinions or validation

Q 2.) What are you most actively “shutting down” internally?

(When you do the above.)

a.) Logic or rationale
b.) My personal feelings or values
c.) What’s worked in the past
d.) Internalized insight

Q 3.) And when you internalize in an UNHEALTHY way, how does it look?

When you think something out of feelings of desperation or frenzy, what feeling triggered it, what do you think— and, if you’re being honest, how does it feel when it gets “dark?”

Your inclinations will feel like one of the following four:

When I “get stuck in my head:”

a.)
I feel
: Un-optimistic, “Life is boring and serious. / “I don’t want to play.”
I try to fix it by pursuing: My own theories, insights
But as a result, darkly experience:
feeling cynical, gloomy, withdrawn, pessimistic, paranoid, distrusting, or negative; low confidence, charm.

b.) 
I feel: Uninspired, “It’s not worth it — the future seems bleak and empty.”
I try to fix it by pursuing: Convention, what’s worked in the past
But as a result, darkly experience: anxiety, preoccupation over tiny details, replaying or returning to the past; conservative, lack of motivation

c.) 
I feel: Ineffectual, “I fail regardless of which plan or strategy I take.” 
I try to fix it by pursuing: Personal feelings and values
But as a result, darkly experience: self-pity, personal turmoil, sensitivity

d.) 
I feel: Untrusting, “screw everyone”
I try to fix it by pursuing: Logic and reason, esp. quests to find “the truth” on a problem / person
But as a result, darkly experience: criticalness, over-analysis, accusation, seeing others as being irrational or illogical, cold or steely communication, an urge to: hurt, provoke, or “dump on” others, lay guilt trips; may imagine detailed, seemingly logical but convoluted “backstories” to explain to yourself what is wrong with other people.

Extravert Answers:

Q 1.) a.) ESFP or ENTJ, b.) ESTP or ENFJ, c.) ENFP or ESTJ, d.) ENTP or ESFJ
Q 2.) a.) ESTP or ENTP, b.) ENFP or ESFP, c.) ESTJ or ESFJ, d.) ENFJ or ENTJ
Q 3.) a.) ESTP or ESFP, b.) ENFP or ENTP, c.) ESTJ or ENTJ, d.) ENFJ or ESFJ

ENTJ summary

Contrary to stereotype, ENTJs get sensitive, not critical — about themselves, not others. (Though ENFJs do get angry / critical about others.) Neither gives two shits about “best practices,” “processes,” or deliberately “brainstorming new ideas” to “make a change,” and certainly don’t while trying to fix a low point.

ENTP summary

Some ENTPs will wanna fight me on this, but: they care a lot more about “what people think” than they realize or admit.

Proof: one of their favorite activities? Debating with other people.

When it comes to typing ENTPs, they’re just one of those types I can “feel,” even in text. They just have a broad, bullish energy to them, an expansiveness with very fuzzy edges like a furry ox. One of the number one ways I type ENTPs is a generous restlessness bordering on panic and depression. (The ESTPs are restless, too, but a lack of movement doesn’t create an “existential crisis,” and they aren’t as pioneering.)

“You’re wrong!”

No. I’m not.

“I don’t like this!”

e.g., “I’m in denial about my type!” (“and almost certainly have Ti/Fe in my stack!”)

Okay! You do you, boo boo.

“I’m still confused / I got a blend”

I’m sure you did. Many people do. If you’re still curious, do some more research on MBTI cognitive function “loops” and “grips” — you should be able to find more :)

“This explains everything!”

Yay. I’m glad.