XXVII. Are INFJs Manipulative?

Hey there, dearest reader! I’m glad you can be here today.

It’s a question I’ve asked myself quite a lot: Are INFJs manipulative?

Although I think every type has the potential to manipulate and cause pain to others, I think the INFJ has a very acute awareness of how their actions can affect other people (Ni-Fe). We have a knack for figuring out what others want, and what inspires them. We have an equal understanding of people’s fears, too. With all of that knowledge comes a lot of potential for misuse. As easily as we can build people up, we can also just as simply tear them to ribbons from the inside out.

Luckily, I would say that most INFJs would find this morally reprehensible. I don’t think many INFJs lust after power for its own sake, even if we could easily take it.

But that’s not to say there’s no grey area. I have good intentions, and I want to help people in the world. Is it possible to do that without having influence over people? If I “manipulate” someone into doing something that ends up benefiting them (aka suggesting they evaluate any unhealthy relationships they are in), is that a bad thing?

I don’t know. The whole idea of power simultaneously disgusts and intrigues me. I don’t really want power in its own right, but I don’t want others to be mislead by the powerful people that abuse it.

What do you guys make of all of this? I would love to have discussions with all of you about power in the comment section. Talk to you all soon!

Seize the day!
Ryan
18 January 2017 7:46 PM

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11 thoughts on “XXVII. Are INFJs Manipulative?

  1. Hello there! I think that’s a very tricky question for sure! I love to help out and give advice, but there’s a fine line between knowing whether someone has simply come to appreciate and validate our conclusions and whether you actually manipulated them into thinking a certain way. That’s why I always tell my friends that what I am saying is what I make of what I understand from what they told me and what I know about them. Then, I say I am trying to find the best outcome, but that the decisions are always theirs to make and that I’ll stand by them whatever they choose to do. Especially when it’s about relationships.

    But I guess then that to me, manipulation is a little bit different. I feel there’s something sneaky about it. For example, helping someone make a decision because that decision would actually favour you and not only them; or making sure someone feels like they are worthless and therefore must have you around. It is not always conscious, and when it’s not, you can always be more understanding. Real manipulation, however, is, I am sure, quite a conscious act and that’s when you hurt people the most, especially when you have your best interests in mind and not theirs. I feel that happens a lot with seduction and love.

    Thank you for sharing! Have a lovely day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey there! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

      I hear what you’re saying loud and clear. Intent is definitely a big factor that distinguishes influence and manipulation. I would never consciously “use” someone, but I wonder how many times it’s happened on an unconscious level.

      Truthfully, even though I wouldn’t even intentionally manipulate someone, I’ve always been curious about what I could do with it if I tried to. I recognize that it’s just fantasizing, though. As Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

      Thank you for your in-depth comment! I love having these discussions with people. Take care!

      Seize the day!
      Ryan

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the difference between influence and manipulation is intent. As an older INFJ, I think my empathy wins out in most situations, so my intentions are generally well meaning. When I was younger, and still figuring out that I had influence, I might have been a little reckless…still not intending to seek power or to manipulate, but unable to see that it could play out that way…if that makes any sense.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your comment, it is much appreciated! 🙂

      I agree about your statement that empathy tends to win out in situations where we could potentially manipulate someone. My guilt would eat me alive if I intentionally used someone.

      I appreciate your insight as an older INFJ. I am on the younger side myself, and just now realizing I could really rock the boat if I wanted to.

      While you’re here, I have a question for you: Were your emotions turbulent in your younger years, and if so, have they mellowed out as time progressed?

      Again, thank you for the comment. I hope to see you around again!

      Seize the day!
      Ryan

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Ryan, yes, my emotions were and still are turbulent…I am a passionate person, some say intense. But I filter myself much better in my forties than I did in my twenties. I have also learned how to be more comfortable with my intensity, how and when to articulate it (and when to keep my mouth shut), how to wait things out some, and how to not feel like I have so much to prove, so it feels less turbulent. I had a knee jerk reaction to this original post because my whole life my family has insinuated that I am a manipulator. I have never felt like a manipulator and the label hurts me. I think INFJ’s can look like manipulators from the outside because we are thinkers and planners and feelers. But I think it is a misunderstanding, and when people actually try to get to know you, and not assume they have you figured out, they’ll see it. Because honestly, who has ever figured out an INFJ, lol! Take Care ❤

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you for that! It gives me hope that as I mature things will mellow out at least a bit, or I will have better control of my own intensity. 🙂

          To clarify, this was not a post accusing INFJs of being manipulative! This was a post exploring my own potential to influence people, and asking others to share their stories.

          Thanks again for your insightful comments. Take care, friend! 🙂

          Seize the day!
          Ryan

          Liked by 1 person

  3. For myself well, yes, I think it would be a much better world if everyone would just do things my way. However…in my experience even those who specifically ask for my advise really just want to be heard. We can only each walk our own path.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with everything you’ve said. I find it amusing when people say that they want my advice, and it turns out they really just wanted someone to affirm their beliefs. That’s why I just try to be a good listener and only tell them what I think if they want to hear it.

      Seize the day!
      Ryan

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I appreciate you being vulnerable on here man! I’ve heard when an INFJ goes dark they actually look like a broken ESTP. It’s called ‘Shadow.’ Have you heard of this? Supposedly every type has this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, it is much appreciated! I’m glad you enjoy the vulnerability. I think our bunch tends to be quite reserved, so I wanted to create a place where people could go to learn more about some of the things we don’t exactly say out loud.

      I have heard of the shadow types, and I do think there is some truth to the theory. However, I have heard it that the shadow is composed of the four inferior Jungian functions. Since INFJ’s main four are Ni-Fe-Ti-Se, the shadow would be Ne-Fi-Te-Si (ENFP). Obviously, since they’re our inferior functions, we aren’t going to use them as effectively as an actual ENFP would.

      Here’s a really great article that goes more in-depth if you’re interested: http://www.psychologyjunkie.com/2016/08/19/infj-darkness-understanding-infjs-shadow-functions/

      Thank you so much again for the comment! Please let me know if you have any more questions or have more comments–I love discussing these things with people! Take care. 🙂

      Seize the day!
      Ryan

      Liked by 1 person

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