One of the most common stereotypes around Myers-Briggs® types as they relate to the world of fiction is that most villains are NT types. Not all of course (I even have a whole post about the comparatively rare NF-type villains), but it does seem that an unusually large percentage of bad guys in fiction have an NT personality type. Specifically, we see the INTJ “Mastermind” filling the ranks of villains probably more often than any other type. ENTJs might come close, but they’re less often stereotyped as the villain. Maybe they just have better PR teams.
Magneto, Voldemort, Moriarty, Hannibal Lechter, Tywin Lannister, Emperor Palpatine, Rumplestiltskin, The Master, Saruman, Light Yagami, Lex Luthor, Scar, Maleficent, Jaffar — they’re all iconic villains from fiction who are typically typed as INTJs or ENTJs. When taken to a villainous extreme, these clever, calculating personality types can be absolutely terrifying. I even included one villain on each of my lists 7 Fictional Characters You’ll Relate To If You’re An INTJ and 7 Fictional Characters You’ll Relate To If You’re An ENTJ because they villainous versions of these types are such an integral part of fiction.
Casting these types as villains makes for some of the most calculating, clever, and creepy antagonists in fiction. But what (if anything) does it tell us about real-life INTJs and ENTJs? Are they secretly as evil as their fictional counterparts? Or do we stereotype these personalities as “evil” because we simply don’t understand them?
Every person has the potential to use their talents and gifts for good or evil; to choose the light or the dark. This holds true for INTJs and ENTJs, and we do them a great disservice if we assume they’re evil or treat them as the villain without getting to know them as they truly are.
There some great posts out there (like this one from Introvert, Dear) combating the whole “INTJs are villains” thing. Today, though, I want to take some of those villainous stereotypes and see if we can use them to learn something about the real-life INTJs and ENTJs in our lives.
They want others to see their gifts
Most real-life INTJs and ENTJs aren’t trying to get attention in a showy, over-the-top “I need recognition or I’ll take over the world and then they’ll have to notice me” kind of way. But they do want recognition for their gifts. It hurts INTJs and ENTJs when people assume they’re bossy or rude when they try to share their perspectives. Their mental wiring gives them a unique take on the world, one that is often far-seeing and extremely practical. They would love for people to recognize how valuable those gifts can be when used for good.
They’re highly rational
In villain characters, an INTJ’s or ENTJ’s rational personalities are often portrayed as a bad thing. Choosing logic over emotion makes them dangerous because they don’t care about how many people get hurt. In real-life xNTJs, though, their commitment to rational thinking is actually one of their greatest strengths. Healthy versions of these types make decisions based on impersonal facts and they also take into account a deeply held and highly developed value system. The INTJs and ENTJs I know are compassionate, sensitive people who care deeply about doing what is good and right. They just don’t put that side of themselves out there for everyone to see at first.
They have a low tolerance for stupidity
INTJ and ENTJ villains often lament the fact that they’re “surrounded by idiots” (to quote Scar from The Lion King). They’re often the smartest person in the room, they know it, and they have a low tolerance for the failings of lesser creatures. Real-life INTJs and ENTJs don’t typically have a villain-sized ego (in fact, many are hiding a deep insecurity), but they can also struggle when trying to communicate or connect with people who don’t process thoughts the same ways they do. They’re often starving for intellectual conversation and may get frustrated with people who don’t “get” concepts that seem logical and obvious to the xNTJ.
They want to fix the world
If you’ll look back over the list of INTJ and ENTJ villains at the start of this post, you’ll see several that have a vision for how they think the world should work. Magneto wants to fix problems with the way mutants are treated. Palpatine thinks he’d run the galaxy better than anyone else. They go about their goals in ways so twisted that they become villainous, but if their drive to improve things had been directed another way they could have been powerful forces for good. Real-life INTJs and ENTJs often have a deep desire for efficiency, practicality, and sustainable improvements that can change the world for the better. And that’s something we should appreciate about them.
They like to achieve goals
One of the things that makes a Mastermind-type character such a great villain is that they often have big, impressive goals. Watching their complex, ingenious plots gives us a thrill, as does watching the hero try to figure out how to defeat them. In real-life, INTJs and ENTJs are also driven to achieve (non-evil) goals. Most love a challenge, and we need to make sure we don’t treat that as a bad thing.
What are your experiences interacting with or living as an INTJ or ENTJ?
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