Over a year ago I started doing a series about the fears of each personality type. My goal was to survey thousands of individuals and find out if there were any particular fears that some personality types had that others didn’t. My findings were pretty interesting, at least to me, but I never finished writing the series because I had a baby and it got time-consuming trying to survey hundreds of people.
Over the last few months, I’ve had several requests for a post about INTJ fears. I went back to my excel sheet and found that I was really close to 300 responses, so I worked on finishing that up this week.
Here’s what I found out:
There were definitely variations in the major fears of each personality type. I made it my goal to get responses from at least 300 people of each personality type before writing a blog post about their fears, that way I wasn’t working with such a small group that the answers wouldn’t mean much of anything. What I discovered is that there were some universal irrational fears (spiders, heights, snakes) but that aside from those, the fears varied drastically according to type. NT types, for example, greatly feared mediocrity. SJ types mentioned insecurity and financial ruin. NF types tended to have more existential worries about meaninglessness and the afterlife.
There Are Always Variations
I definitely saw differences in the majority of fears that each personality type chose, yet there are exceptions to each of these fears. For example, a huge number of INTJs mentioned old age as a major fear, but there were several who said this fear didn’t really bother them at all. There are always going to be variations within a type, so all this post is going to show us is what the majority mentioned. The top 10 fears in this post are based on the number of votes that I got from INTJs I spoke with in forums, Facebook groups, and one-on-one in real life.
The Top 10 Things That Terrify INTJs:
Lack of Control / Being Controlled
As one of the most independent personality types in the Myers-Briggs® system, INTJs especially hate the idea of being controlled by anyone else.
INTJs are always considering the future, trying to see things from many perspectives and uncover knowledge. Dealing with mental struggles and being unable to have control of one’s own mind was a major source of fear for most of them.
Not Meeting Potential
INTJs are major perfectionists and they tend to have big goals and visions for their lives. Getting to the end and realizing they failed to meet their ambitions was a major worry for many of them.
Many people fear Alzheimers, but I noticed that for NTs this was mentioned a lot more than it was for other types and temperaments. For the NT types, Alzheimers was always in the top 10. They hate the idea of losing their ability to function independently, to recall the possibilities they had once dreamed of. If it’s any help to any readers here, you can always check out this article I found, How I Overcame My Fear of Alzheimer’s Disease.
INTJs are one of the most future-oriented Myers-Briggs® personality types. As a result, old age holds more fear for them possibly than many other types. When there’s not much time left to anticipate and predict for the future, does life hold less happiness? That’s what many of them wondered.
I almost didn’t include this because it felt more like an annoyance than fear, but after speaking with more INTJs I realized it should hold its position. The idea of being surrounded by stupidity or being stupid was a major fear for INTJs. One INTJ said, “I hate the idea of thinking I’m smart only to find out I’ve spent my whole life making horrible decisions. I hate being around people who are making stupid decisions that will affect my life or their own, because I love them even if they’re idiots. This is a fear I face on a weekly basis.”
I know what you’re thinking…isn’t everyone afraid of death? Well, surprisingly death was NOT the #1 fear for many of the types I’ve surveyed! In fact, it didn’t even show up on the top 10 for certain types. For INTJs what was interesting wasn’t so much that they feared death (I really do think nearly everyone fears this), but the reason they feared it. They weren’t so scared about pain as much as they were the end of knowledge, the end of learning, the end of curiosity. Some were afraid of the endlessness of death, or the unknown that lies after death.
Not every INTJ fears public speaking, but enough did that it made the top 10. INTJs generally prefer one-on-one conversation rather than dealing with large groups. One INTJ recommended the Toastmasters training to overcome a fear of public speaking, while others said that initially, they were afraid until they just pushed through their fear and did it enough times that they became used to it. One INTJ said, “Just remember that everyone watching you would probably be terrified to be you. Turn that nervous energy into excitement and own it.”
INTJs are generally slow to trust others and let them into their lives, so the idea of betrayal by someone close to them hit especially hard. Once INTJs let people into their inner circle they are usually extremely loyal, so it’s very important to respect that loyalty and never give them a reason to regret it!
This one wasn’t a surprise to me, as literally every NT group I’ve surveyed has listed this as a major fear. For the NT, competence, pushing the boundaries, innovating, and making a difference are all important. The idea of just “blending in” and getting through life without making a real improvement or impact was depressing.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you agree or disagree with these fears? Share your opinions with other readers in the comments!
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