The Coldest Human

This week’s nosedive into the -20s inspired today’s post…

If you’ve read much about personality types, you’ve probably come across at least one article that paints INTJs as emotionless. Since we comprise only about 2% of the world’s population, we are frequently misjudged, particularly our tendency toward silence and reserve. The interwebs are full of memes about us rare but heartless few. For example:


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They aren’t exactly wrong. INTJs don’t ‘do’ emotions well. But it’s not because we’re unfeeling. Far from it; we feel very deeply. Those who have close relationships with INTJs know how empathetic, warm, and passionate we can be. We just don’t show that side of ourselves to everyone.

The challenges many of us experience with emotions has to do either with their intensity or their context, and the fact we subject them to the same rigors of analysis we would anything else.

As an INTJ, I am driven to understand the hows and whys of things, and so analysis (Thinking, Judging) is my preferred mode. If I experience a strong or incongruous emotion, I will stymy myself trying to understand why I feel as I do. And, chances are good, once I understand why I’m not feeling the way I expected, I’ll ruminate on that for a while.

The majority of the time, the steely look on my face has nothing to do with anyone else. Rather, I’m lost in tought, or, it’s a reflection of which way the wind is blowing, and how much energy I have to expend to hold it all together.

Oh…today I’m going to be weepy and bump into everything?

It’s more than irrationality that gives INTJs pause when it comes to emotions. First, it’s how permanent, how immutable emotions feel when you’re feeling them, whether they are good or bad. It’s also the fact they can be misleading, that they can lie.

For example, mood disorders like depression create intense states of feeling which are not necessarily in keeping with the sufferer’s reality. Emotions like hopelessness and worthlessness have real-world consequences on a sufferer, even when they don’t reflect the truth.

But, it doesn’t take a mood disorder to lead people emotionally astray.

Because I value truth, logic, and reason, I do not wish to act on misinformation. So, if I had to describe my relationship with emotions, I’d say it’s like being that depressed person… always having to decide which emotions are genuine and which are merely situational or biochemical. It’s this disconnect between my inner and outer realities that gives me so much pause. My brain is constantly trying to decide what is relevant and what I should act on, so, instead of expressing emotion, I shut down. That’s where I feel like I’ve been for the past four months.

It doesn’t help that I’m INTJ and someone who suffers depression and anxiety, BUT my INTJness has actually helped me in this regard. Because I absolutely have to learn the how and why, I have acquired a whole host of skills to better manage my condition. I still have to do the deciphering when it comes to my mood states, but it’s easier when I’ve already addressed a lot of the variables and contributors on my own.

The last thing I’ll say about us coldest humans – for now, anyway – is what happens to us when we come under ‘grip’ stress. This is anything that has drained us of the internal resources we require to operate calmly and rationally. An INTJ experiencing grip will be emotionally volatile, impulsive, childish…basically anything but robots.

I’m pretty sure anyone who’s spent enough time around me prefers the cold, steely version to the absolute shit-show of INTJ melt-down.

I know I do!



5 thoughts on “The Coldest Human

  1. Sean D. Layton says:

    Interesting read.Thanks for sharing the insights.

    I’m not as up on personality types so had to Google INTJ. Hmm I wonder what type I am? I can be reserved at times and some have thought I was haughty but one person eventually remarked still waters run deep.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sean D. Layton says:

        Possibly. I should look into it. I’ve always had deep feelings, but the emotion could be draining, so I prefer to keep them hidden under a veneer of humor and goofiness because it’s just easier to deal with. I remember when I was 12, my mom used to play I Am a Rock by Simon and Garfunkel, and I kind of adopted that as my anthem.

        Liked by 1 person

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