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August 27, 2004
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Dr. Dorothy McCoy Maintaining Your Mental Edge
with Dr. Dorothy McCoy

Psychopath or an INTJ who's gone to the dark side (Part 2)

Last time we began the series on psychopaths. If you simply follow the checklist (below) you may have a poor scholarly, professor-type, the INTJ, by mistake. Although INTJs (Myers-Briggs personality Type profile) share some of the same characteristics as the psychopath, the appearance of shallow emotions and an idiosyncratic value system, especially as it applies to sexuality, they are not normally psychopaths.

Whereas, psychopaths have very sallow emotions, INTJs appear to be unemotional. Actually, they can be hypersensitive on some levels, especially with the few people about whom they care. They are not as responsive to praise or criticism as some of the other personality types. They show the world a veneer of calm self-confidence, which can be mistaken for arrogance (I am being generous here).

INTJs tend to be introspective, more at home with theories and principles than human relationships. They have an endearing tendency to look at one over their glasses or raise one eyebrow to show disapproval. They make up about one percent of the population. INTJs are quite often highly educated, successful individuals, because they can be unusually intelligent. Though, they are not particularly interested in accumulating wealth. Let's compare the two, psychopaths and INTJs:

The INTJ:
  • Doing things to excess (i.e., exercising, dieting)
  • Can have a idiosyncratic value system, especially around sexuality (They may use sex to humiliate themselves or to show profound caring)
  • Act impulsively, especially under pressure
  • Very Sensitive to Criticism (at times with certain people)
  • Pursue Ideas that are unrealistic
  • Appear cold and shallow
  • Appear unsympathetic
  • Enjoy change, challenge, and variety
  • Single minded, stubborn

The Psychopath;

  • Selfish
  • Callous
  • Accomplished liars
  • Con artists
  • Remorseless
  • Irresponsible
  • Inflated sense of worth
  • Unstable
  • Shallow emotions (though they may try to appear as if they have genuine emotions)
  • Risk taker
  • Diviant lifestyle
  • Parasitic
  • Anti-social
  • Unrealistic goals
  • Needs excitement
  • Promiscuous
If you look at the two lists you will notice many similarities. Some similarities are in appearance only. INTJs can be very caring people, yet appear unsympathetic. When you bring the "coldness "to their attention, they seem to be surprised. One of the most caring individuals I know is an INTJ physician (Hello, Curtis).

Why is it important to understand which type you have? The psychopath will come into contact with the criminal justice system because he or she is impulsive, amoral, opportunistic and irresponsible. INTJs are impulsive under stress. However, they are more likely to shoot themselves in the foot (figuratively speaking, folks) than shoot their maiden aunt to acquire her fortune. Remember, most INTJs are not dazzled by material possessions. Though, I have seen a few who liked their toys. They may quit their job when their feathers are ruffled, without wondering how they will pay the bills. INTJs can also be highly insulted if someone dares question their ideas or principles, because they are convinced of the "rightness" of their beliefs. Yawn. Nonetheless, they probably will not bury their Nemesis in the backyard. It is much more likely that crimes will be committed by psychopaths.

To tell you the truth, sometimes I have trouble deciding to which category a person (usually a male) belongs. To further complicate matters one can belong to both categories. There is no law that says a psychopath cannot be an INTJ. However, I would be surprised if that were the case. INTJs are normally boringly responsible individuals. Consequently, if you have someone with a spotty employment record, he is probably not an INTJ...start wondering about psychopath. Be cautious, one trait does not a psychopath make.

Try to learn about the individual in several areas. Learn his/her history, this is especially important in making a "diagnosis". You may want to ask for help from your psychologist or an ENFP. An ENFP is brilliantly perceptive and will spot a phony a mile off. Unfortunately, she will then fall in love and try to rescue him. My advice? Use male ENFPs. Kidding, only kidding, please do not write to me. You have your checklist--use it. The traits I have listed for INTJs are a gross generalization. INTJs are individuals with unique characteristics; none will conform exactly to the list. The idiosyncratic sexuality value system is seen in a small minority of INTJs. I can only think of one who exhibits that characteristic from the numerous professor types I know. Let me suggest that you take the test and learn your Myers-Briggs Personality type and what it means.


Next Month: The Interrogation

About the author

PoliceOne columnist Dr. Dorothy McCoy has been in private practice as a clinical counselor for 10 years. She is a diplomate with the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and a law enforcement consultant. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (in North and South Carolina).





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