INTJ Empathy

INTJs are known for not being empathetic. Does this mean that it’s difficult for them to understand and accept others or does this mean that they don’t feel others?

To answer this question, we first need to have an understanding of what empathy is and how it works.

At it’s core, empathy can be broken down into three main points, all concerning the feelings of another.

  1. Relating to them.
  2. Understanding them.
  3. Responding to them.

These are sometimes called somatic, cognitive and affective empathy.

But how do these relate to MBTI?

As empathy is concerned with feelings and emotions, rather than thoughts, it mainly relates to the functions Fe and Fi. For an INTJ, these are their 7th and 3rd functions (respectively).

Being Fe ‘blind’, INTJs tend to be thought of as indifferent and place little value on social harmony. In this sense, INTJs will often find it very difficult to understand and respond to the feelings of people in general. They may feel out of their depth when dealing with others being emotional and may rationalise empathy.

However, Fi is the tertiary function of INTJs and although for some, this function may be very underdeveloped, for others this can be one of their stronger. For the latter individuals, such as myself, stronger use of Fi can mean higher empathy, especially towards people who are close to them and/or have gone through similar experiences to them. This is because they can relate to them and understand what it is like to be in their position.

INTJs with strong Fi may find it difficult to express their own empotions or respond to the emotions of others, but often still relate to other people. This is where Fi empathy comes from- relation to experiences. Strong Fi-users feel deeply for others not so much because they can understands them as an outsider, but because and when they have been in that position themselves.

Hope this helps.

Damaged Empath

This video is about damaged empaths and how they can heal. Join our tribe at

Rage is an expression of despair, fear, disgust, shame, and overwhelming anger.

It is a visceral and emotional experience triggered by a perceived or real boundary violation, threat of abandonment, or threat of harm to you, someone, or something you care about.

The Key to Treating Malignant Narcissism – FRANK YEOMANS

How do you treat malignant narcissism? Frank Yeomans says the key is empathy for the patient’s sadistic pleasure, however hard it might be to empathize with someone who gets pleasure out of hurting others. A clinical example features a young woman who cuts off her own fingers.

We talked with Frank Yeomans about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and how it can affect us on a personal and societal level.

It’s Not About The Nail

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“Don’t try to fix it. I just need you to listen.” Every man has heard these words. And they are the law of the land. No matter what.

If We Had a Real Leader

Imagining Covid under a normal president.

This week I had a conversation that left a mark. It was with Mary Louise Kelly and E.J. Dionne on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and it was about how past presidents had handled moments of national mourning — Lincoln after Gettysburg, Reagan after the Challenger explosion and Obama after the Sandy Hook school shootings.

The conversation left me wondering what America’s experience of the pandemic would be like if we had a real leader in the White House.

If we had a real leader, he would have realized that tragedies like 100,000 Covid-19 deaths touch something deeper than politics: They touch our shared vulnerability and our profound and natural sympathy for one another.

In such moments, a real leader steps outside of his political role and reveals himself uncloaked and humbled, as someone who can draw on his own pains and simply be present with others as one sufferer among a common sea of sufferers.

If we had a real leader, she would speak of the dead not as a faceless mass but as individual persons, each seen in unique dignity. Such a leader would draw on the common sources of our civilization, the stores of wisdom that bring collective strength in hard times.

Lincoln went back to the old biblical cadences to comfort a nation. After the church shooting in Charleston, Barack Obama went to “Amazing Grace,” the old abolitionist anthem that has wafted down through the long history of African-American suffering and redemption.

In his impromptu remarks right after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy recalled the slaying of his own brother and quoted Aeschylus: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

If we had a real leader, he would be bracingly honest about how bad things are, like Churchill after the fall of Europe. He would have stored in his upbringing the understanding that hard times are the making of character, a revelation of character and a test of character. He would offer up the reality that to be an American is both a gift and a task. Every generation faces its own apocalypse, and, of course, we will live up to our moment just as our ancestors did theirs.

If we had a real leader, she would remind us of our common covenants and our common purposes. America is a diverse country joined more by a common future than by common pasts. In times of hardships real leaders re-articulate the purpose of America, why we endure these hardships and what good we will make out of them.

After the Challenger explosion, Reagan reminded us that we are a nation of explorers and that the explorations at the frontiers of science would go on, thanks in part to those who “slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

At Gettysburg, Lincoln crisply described why the fallen had sacrificed their lives — to show that a nation “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” can long endure and also to bring about “a new birth of freedom” for all the world.

Of course, right now we don’t have a real leader. We have Donald Trump, a man who can’t fathom empathy or express empathy, who can’t laugh or cry, love or be loved — a damaged narcissist who is unable to see the true existence of other human beings except insofar as they are good or bad for himself.

But it’s too easy to offload all blame on Trump. Trump’s problem is not only that he’s emotionally damaged; it is that he is unlettered. He has no literary, spiritual or historical resources to draw upon in a crisis.

All the leaders I have quoted above were educated under a curriculum that put character formation at the absolute center of education. They were trained by people who assumed that life would throw up hard and unexpected tests, and it was the job of a school, as one headmaster put it, to produce young people who would be “acceptable at a dance, invaluable in a shipwreck.”

Think of the generations of religious and civic missionaries, like Frances Perkins, who flowed out of Mount Holyoke. Think of all the Morehouse Men and Spelman Women. Think of all the young students, in schools everywhere, assigned Plutarch and Thucydides, Isaiah and Frederick Douglass — the great lessons from the past on how to lead, endure, triumph or fail. Only the great books stay in the mind for decades and serve as storehouses of wisdom when hard times come.

Right now, science and the humanities should be in lock step: science producing vaccines, with the humanities stocking leaders and citizens with the capacities of resilience, care and collaboration until they come. But, instead, the humanities are in crisis at the exact moment history is revealing how vital moral formation really is.

One of the lessons of this crisis is that help isn’t coming from some centralized place at the top of society. If you want real leadership, look around you.

The biggest political surprise of the COVID-19 crisis? Doug Ford

Don’t look now, but Ontario’s premier is starting to impress

Quick now: Which politician has impressed or surprised you the most with their competence and leadership during the COVID-19 crisis?

It wouldn’t be John Tory. We expect solid, strong leadership out of Toronto’s mayor — even while he’s in self-isolation — in part because he ran one of this country’s most important companies (Rogers), served as opposition leader at Queen’s Park, and has been mayor for more than five years already.

It probably wouldn’t be Justin Trudeau (prime minister for more than four years) or Chrystia Freeland (deputy prime minister), who impressed so many by helping to bring the new free-trade agreement with America and Mexico to a successful conclusion.

No, I think this one’s a slam dunk, actually. The answer is Doug Ford.

Ontario’s premier had perhaps the worst first year on the job of anyone who’s ever had it. His populist bombast. His constant fights with anyone and everyone. His original chief of staff, who became embroiled in a patronage scandal. Those were the lowlights of a supremely bad first year. We also have to remember that, when he became premier in June 2018, he’d had a whopping three months of experience in provincial politics — hardly enough to draw upon when the you-know-what began to hit the fan.

But, ever since the COVID-19 crisis emerged as a daily reality in the lives of Ontario’s more than 14 million citizens, Ford has performed well above and beyond most observers’ expectations.

Unlike some other leaders (yes, you, Donald Trump), Ford has never tried to downplay the significance of the crisis. He’s never said the thing would burn itself out. He’s never told us to relax, that everything was fine. Trump did all of those things and more.

Instead, Ford has taken to the podium every day during the crisis and conveyed deep empathy for the public he serves.

Trump freelanced his way through his initial Oval Office address to the nation, and the result was the second-worst single-day stock-market crash in American history. Even after that — spurred on by his fans on Fox News (one of whom has since been taken off the air for her journalistic irresponsibility) — he played fast and loose with the facts and continued to shake hands with fans at rallies.

Conversely, Ford learned from his one misstep. No doubt in an attempt to calm the choppy waters, Ford urged people to travel, have fun, and get away during March break. He quickly realized that kind of freelancing was unacceptable during a global pandemic, and, ever since, he has been on point with his advice and stewardship of the crisis.

He has also declined to take any partisan potshots at this time. He called himself “a big fan” of Freeland. In his speech in the legislature earlier today, he noted that this was no time to talk about “the blue party, the red party, the orange party, or the green party. It’s about coming together. We’re all Team Ontario and Team Canada.” The premier’s actions have matched his words.

Politically speaking, the COVID-19 crisis has also given the government another opportunity. It’s allowed the Tories to feature their better performers during daily briefings. And

  • Health Minister Christine Elliott,
  • Finance Minister Rod Phillips, and
  • Labour Minister Monte McNaughton have not disappointed.

They, too, seem well-prepared to answer reporters’ questions and have conveyed the sense of gravitas the moment requires.

Perhaps equally important, this crisis has given the government the opportunity to sideline many of the ministers whose performances have been too controversial or disappointing. Education Minister Stephen Lecce is known to be a strong performer. But his constant presence in the media over the previous months was a frequent reminder of the government’s precarious and increasingly unpopular position during negotiations with teachers. Lisa Thompson, the minister of government and consumer services, had become one of the province’s most unfortunate embarrassments thanks to her ill-fated attempts to defend Ontario’s new licence plates. Neither has seen the media Klieg lights for a while.

Things have changed so much at Queen’s Park, the premier actually said these words earlier today: “I want to thank the media. You’re playing a massive role in helping us out.” And perhaps the biggest shockeroo: “There are a lot of great articles in the Toronto Star.”

There is no media outlet in the world that has had a more tempestuous relationship with both Doug and former Toronto mayor Rob Ford than the Star. So to hear the premier say those words demonstrates just how much things have changed over the past month.

Once the crisis passes, is there a likelihood that things will go back to “normal”? Of course there is. This is politics, after all. Mindless partisanship on all sides will return. Potshots will be taken. And the relationship with the media will get more hostile.

But, for now, we should all just take a moment to appreciate this moment of unity, when Ontario’s 26th first minister surprised so many by performing so well.