What does an unhealthy INTP look like? What are the INTP dark side traits?
INTPs are probably the smartest of the sixteen types. In some measures of intelligence, such as the IQ test, INTPs often come in at number one (or close to it). An INTP on a forum once wrote that “INTPs are smarter than INTJs, but INTJs get more stuff done, which makes them appear smarter to others.” That’s probably true.
I have a lot of respect for INTPs. I feel like they are our introverted equals in many ways. INTPs share many of the same traits as INTJs: we both tend to type as Enneagram Type Fives; we are both loners; we are both rationals (NTs); we often pursue similar professions; and more. INTP females are also very rare–almost as rare as the INTJ female, and they can struggle in society due to their logical thinking and introverted nature.
Some of the most brilliant mathematicians, philosophers, or scientists who ever lived have been typed as INTPs. MBTI practitioners or hobbyists have typed Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln (people tell me I look like Abe), and David Keirsey (the author of Please Understand Me) as INTPs.
However, in this video, I’m going to talk about the INTP dark side. You’ll probably notice that some of their dark side traits overlap the INTJ dark side traits.
INTP Dark Side
First, INTPs can struggle with social anxiety. Like INTJs, INTPs tend to be loners and socially awkward. INTJs and INTPs are the most introverted of the sixteen types. Being highly introverted, INTPs can withdraw from social situations and risk isolating themselves too much, which can lead to feelings of loneliness.
They can also become misanthropic, hating society and people. INTPs may feel as if people are stupid or annoying, which is common dark side trait among NT “rational” types. INTPs in the dark side can also get a bit snarky. They can be vicious in debates, and may even become antagonistic like ENTPs in the dark side.
INTPs can also become nihilistic, feeling as if their life is utterly meaningless. This feeling of emptiness can lead to struggles with depression.
INTP Personality Disorders
INTPs may be at a greater risk of being diagnosed with disorders such as ADD or Asperger’s Syndrome. Robert Chester wrote an article in the Journal of Psychological Type in December 2006, and he concluded that “In terms of functional pairs, NT is more likely than ST to be seen as having Asperger’s Disorder” and that “I_TPs appear to be at a greater risk for being diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder than any other type.”
INTP Relationship Struggles
INTPs also struggle in relationships. Developing friendships can be difficult for INTPs due to their social reluctance or awkwardness. INTPs also have the ability to project a certain “persona” to people, playing the chameleon while hiding their true feelings or beliefs. Furthermore, maintaining friendships can also be problematic due to the INTP’s tendency to disappear or withdraw for lengthy periods, often without warning or explanation.
INTPs also struggle with romance, especially the male INTPs. According to one study, partners of INTP males had the lowest marital satisfaction of all types (Marioles, et. al). INTP guys: you need to pick up the pace with your women! Buy your woman some flowers. Build some romance and excitement in your relationships!
INTP Perceiver Struggles
Most INTPs struggle with issues like paying bills, never getting anything done, laziness, being disorganized, etc. That’s because INTPs are perceivers. Their judging function, Introverted Thinking (Ti), takes place in their inner world. Therefore, INTPs spend enormous amounts of time filing information away in their minds and making logical connections between concepts and facts. So, their brains are highly organized and hardworking, but their outer worlds—not so much!
Here’s another interesting fact about INTPs: Despite their intelligence, one study found that they are one of the types most likely to have trouble in school (Roberds-Baxter & Baxter, 1994). INTPs may struggle with the social aspect of school, as well as staying organized for assignments or suffering from boredom. However, they didn’t have the lowest GPAs–that title belongs to the ESTPs first and ENTPs second.
INTP Drug Use
Another dark side trait of the INTP is drug use. I’ve read threads of INTPs talking about this issue. They can turn to drugs like alcohol or marijuana to cope with the darkness or depression. One study found that out of all of the sixteen personality types, INTPs were the type most likely to do drugs (Provost, 1985).
I’ve known one INTP who is addicted to marijuana. He smokes it many times daily, and it has really affected his life in a negative way. He’s a smart guy, and he even runs his own business designing sprinkler systems for companies. However, pot is ruining his mind. Unfortunately, he seems to think that marijuana is a miracle drug that can cure cancer and has no negative side effects.
Here’s a piece of advice: Stay away from drugs. Even if life seems hard and you are struggling with things, avoid drugs. They will only amplify your troubles in the long run and provide no real solutions in the short term.
INTP Under Stress
Under mild stress, INTPs will go into hermit mode. They will begin to withdraw from people, much like the INTJ. They will become irresponsible and may fall behind on bills or schoolwork. They may become more abrasive or debate in a more “ENTP” aggressive style. They can also become scatterbrained or fight off feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness.
The Fe Grip
Under severe stress, INTPs might become more like their shadow type, the ESFJ. As their Introverted Thinking (Ti) and Extroverted Intuition (Ne) go into overdrive trying to find multiple logical solutions to things, their inferior function, Extroverted Feeling (Fe), can begin to take over.
INTPs “in the grip” of Fe will become whiny and very sensitive to criticism or rejection. They might absorb other people’s emotions and confuse them with their own. They will argue from emotion rather than reason, and they may become more talkative or social than usual.
Chester, R. G. (2006, December). Asperger’s syndrome and psychological type. Journal of Psychological Type, 66(12), 114-137
Marioles, N. S., Strickert, D. P., & Hammer, A. L. (1996). Attraction, Satisfaction, and psychological types of couples. Journal of Psychological Type, 36, 16-27.
Provost, J. A. (1991). Tracking freshmen difficulties in the class of 1993. Journal of Psychological Type, 21, 35-39.
Roberds-Baxter S. L., & Baxter, W. D. (1994). Student MBTI type-characteristic behavior: Correlations with the Adjective Check List and teacher and school psychologist judgment of social acceptance and emotional health. In Proceedings: Orchestrating Educational Change in the 90’s–The Role of Psychological Type, 305-319.