One of the more unusual (and oftentimes controversial) sides to the INFJ personality type is that, as well as including the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela*, INFJ also plays host to the darker figures of Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden and Robert Mugabe (among others). This seems to bring with it waves of disbelief and incredulity from some factors of the INFJ community who consider us to be holier-than-thou, unicorny, ‘speshul’ snowflake types that are beyond such atrocities. The fact that Jesus himself (factual or otherwise) is thought of as INFJ certainly doesn’t help to quell such notions.
I have touched upon the seemingly contradictory, all or nothing nature of INFJ in a couple of other posts (8 life and work issues of an INFJ and 10 contradictory traits of the elusive INFJ male…) and the general consensus seems to be that many of us are wired this way – we do things passionately or not at all, rarely traversing the middle ground and instead alternate between polar opposites. Is it no wonder then, that our ‘type’ includes famous historical figures that lie at both extremes? The fact is, whether perceived as good or evil, both factions can be seen to be behaving passionately (however misguided it may seem to us), for a cause that they believe is good, true and just. Something that I’m sure many of us can relate to.
One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” ~ Carl Jung
However, that aside, I’d still like to delve a little further into the murky, dark depths of the INFJ personality type. INFJs love to go deep (innuendo intended of course) and a consequence of this means we venture to depths that rarely see the light of day, depths that are held back due to societal ideals and depths we are aware of but choose to hold back. Personally speaking I feel my dark side stems from witnessing injustices, from seeing people/animals/children bullied and seeing plucky underdogs being put down and ridiculed. There’s nothing I like better than to see karma being enforced somehow, and often have extreme visions of giving it a helping hand… a hero complex of sorts? Note: is this why so many of us are interested in the idea of Batman? (Another one pegged as INFJ, although I still have a soft spot for Superman). I even go so far as to imagine and visualise stories unfolding and playing out from a particular circumstance, scenario or event I’m involved in… even in apparently banal situations such as sat quietly at a cafe people watching. Internally creating a short action movie where these perceived ‘bullies’ get their come-uppance. I suppose I secretly relish the day that someone does overstep the mark and gives me that excuse to step in and ‘deal’ with them… suppressed anger and frustration built up over the years?… Perhaps. As for what goes through my mind when picturing these acts of karma being doled out, let me point you to a one minute extract from the film ‘Mean Machine’ with Jason Statham as the ‘Monk’ (apt for some of us male INFJs). This is pretty much me administering mental karma to imaginary bullies (Yes, I do realise how ridiculous that sounds)…
This to me typifies the INFJs often calm, non-emotional (resting bitch face?) exterior that belies the seething mass of emotions and thoughts being played out internally. We may look meek, vacant, uninterested, even dim at times… but believe me, nothing could be further from the truth. I’ll also admit freely that given the right circumstances, I could quite easily kill, and with zero remorse (note: being a father helps immensely here).
Now, reading the above couple of paragraphs I’m thinking many may be ready to call the authorities and have me committed, although I’m hoping some of you will relate. There again, I’m pretty sure some of you will have even darker thoughts that you’d almost never act upon… but still, we should all at least acknowledge and accept them as part of us. In my 39 years on earth, I’ve only ever been in one fight (punched a school bully), and since then I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid any confrontations, and although I have visualised many, I’ve never seen them through. I know the potential is certainly there, but also that there is an insanely high barrier/level of patience for me to snap and go there. But I know when I do, it won’t be a pretty sight. Indeed there have been several times that I have been expected to ‘go there’ by friends/family who have witnessed perceived injustices against me and they have been surprised by my calmness in such situations.
Btw I’ve just noticed that these acts of retribution (mental or otherwise) are often a result of injustices imposed on others, rather than myself. I guess because whatever happens to me I feel is a direct consequence of my own choices, so any resulting outcome that may seem unjust to others, to me feels more like a lesson to be learnt.
When we must deal with problems, we instinctively resist trying the way that leads through obscurity and darkness. We wish to hear only of unequivocal results, and completely forget that these results can only be brought about when we have ventured into and emerged again from the darkness. But to penetrate the darkness we must summon all the powers of enlightenment that consciousness can offer. – Jung
Extracts from the ‘vengeance’ section of the INFJ Dating Bible post:
I have an INFJ friend, who is someone I would never EVER want to piss off, I’ve seen him angry only once in my life, and he goes all out then, lashing out to the point that it’s fearsome and it takes nearly an hour for him to cool down… it would start with him just suddenly becoming quiet and very isolated and then bam! If ever in a war, that dude is on my side as a general!
I do think that’s one of the main features of the INFJ type, vital even: a strong sense of right and wrong; they can’t tolerate wrongdoings of any kind. But at the same time, I’ve observed that INFJ’s attitude over their sense of morals comes in two variants; Jesus-like ones that say “turn the other cheek”, and the badass Kenshin ones that punish wrongdoers.
We go through great efforts to keep everything civil, friendly, and harmonious, and we even allow people a certain amount of “buffer space”. But once you’ve overstepped that boundary or pushed things too far, then BAM! Tactical. Nuclear. Strike.
I won’t delve into it too much (perhaps in another post) but I’ve found the darker side of INFJs can also traverse into the arena of sex… I do know that many of us are ‘Hopeless romantics with a dirty mind’ and we seek a depth of connection that enables us to express that side of ourselves fully and passionately… and without ridicule, embarrassment or negativity. No wonder therefore that I’ve see many INFJ/INFJ romantic connections being developed over the years, often after a long term relationship with someone of a different type. I suppose given our somewhat already extreme natures coupled with idealistic love and animalistic, carnal desires, they’re one of the few that we can truly let loose with.
To live without the creative potential of our own destructiveness is to be a cardboard angel. – Sheldon B. Kopp
*Although Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela have been typed elsewhere as non-INFJs they are indeed listed as INFJ on 16personalities. The other figures referred to can be found on CelebrityTypes.