Understanding the INTJ Paradox

81. INTJ Paradox

“Cold, calculated, and highly rational is what makes INTJ’s who they are…” ever heard that one before?

Well I’m about to let you in on a little secret, that’s not the whole truth.

INTJ: Exterior

Yes INTJ’s can seem apathetic and we are known to analyze practically everything through a rational mindset, but we can also be just the opposite.

Our actions, at their core, are fueled by compassion and by the things we truly care about.

Our analytical mind can become carefree, when I’m comfortable with someone I have no filter, I say the first thing that comes to mind and know there won’t be any consequences for such an act.

Our rationality can we switched in for fun, doing something out of the blue because we’re in a good mood and want to change up the routine.

This may seem contradicting, even impossible, but there have been personal experiences with this sort of thing. I’ve made a quick decision about going out, I’ve comforted my sister when she needs me, I’ve spoken things without thinking to her and she hasn’t judged me for it.

However, as an INTJ, I’ve also said things that come off as too rational, speaking honestly instead of giving the person what they want to hear. I approach personal projects the way I approach math problems, and I’ve come across as heartless to many that do not truly know me.

INTJ’s are a paradox because we truly are different people depending on who we’re around and what we choose to show others of us at that time.

This is the exterior paradox, inside there is a whole other paradox brewing within us.

INTJ: Interior

INTJ’s can seem contradicting because our minds move quickly; we are constantly noting data, organizing it, and understanding it almost simultaneously. Sometimes we’re aware of it, sometimes we’re not.

This is where the contradiction comes in: we can say one thing, and while you are explaining something to us that offers a different view or points out a flaw in our own logic we can take on the new idea with no offense and possibly end with a deeper understanding of it than you. Not to sound arrogant, but like I said we process new ideas and information more quickly than the average person.

And I’m speaking from experience with this, I’ve thought one thing and then seconds later as my mind does its thing I’ve switched entire values around and adopt the new idea with zero judgment to you or my own former beliefs.

INTJ: Adolescence and Female Norms

Now being an INTJ female also adds its own paradox. We break and bury stereotypes, people expect us to be one way and we are almost always a different way. However a certain level of camouflage comes into play.

INTJ males are raised to express their rationality and thoughts because society tells them that is what makes a man, a man. INTJ females have this same rationality, but being girls we are not always accepted enough to share those opinions. So we hide our true selves to get through the day, and only speak up when necessary.

As children it’s a similar situation because INTJ’s question everything. If we actually spoke everything we thought we’d sound far older than our actual age. As a child it was easy for me to understand “adult” concepts, if people only took the time to explain the system without brushing me off as some kid (a feat that rarely occurred).

Staying silent and not asking questions is a learned behavior, people told me I was shy and I accepted it. It wasn’t until high school that I really did notice how far I had fallen into the trap. Actually even before that, I was in grade seven when my peers finally found out I was good at math, a subject I had always received high grades in. And these were people that knew me since kindergarten, it was a small school, and yet I was just the shy little girl who was more of a twin than her own person.

And yet for years I thought they knew and they just didn’t care, math was my favourite subject after all. But it wasn’t until it actually came up in class did I realize they didn’t know, and it was because I had never expressed that I was good at math. It was shocking, but it changed me, and I think back in seventh grade was when I first started questioning this idea of being shy and knew that wasn’t the whole truth, knew that I was more, knew that I could be more.

Leading up into high school though that comfort of familiar faces ceased and I ended up staying rather quiet which lead to multiple accounts of missed opportunities and thoughts wishing you had spoken up when you had the chance.

(I know I said we speak up when necessary, but some of us haven’t completely figured it all out).

Summing it all up…

I know what I know, and I know what I don’t know.

How does this relate to the paradox you may be wondering?

Well, our paradox stems from our mind; if we’re not expressing our minds (like I was in high school) we end up creating our own stereotype. But when we’re with those close to us (like me with my sister) there are times we don’t shut up. And when those two sides cross paths people see that paradox quite clearly.

There are also different levels to our paradox. If you know us a little we only seem confusing. If you know us a bit better we end up seeming even more contradicting because we’ve opened our mind to you. However if you know an INTJ really well you understand that paradox and where it comes from. And if you do truly know us, congrats to you and your INTJ because trust me when I say they need someone that understands their paradoxical self (especially on the days that they can’t).

-Brittany

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