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No person in this world is perfect, and while INFJ personality types are pretty amazing, they are not exempt.
INFJs are like a purple unicorn… a rare personality who is deep, creative, logical, compassionate, and idealistic; but their environment and inability to grow as a person can compound their weaknesses, turning them into an unhealthy INFJ.
The good news is that you can work on your weaknesses and turn them into strengths, but first, you need to know what traits are holding you back in life.
If you aren’t sure whether you are a healthy (or balanced) INFJ or an unhealthy one, I’ve got everything you need to know about what an INFJ personality is like, what is an unhealthy personality, and the signs to watch out for so you can turn your toxicity around.
What Is the INFJ Personality?
An INFJ personality, called the idealist, counselor, or advocate, is the rarest personality on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
The MBTI has an overall 16 personality types, all of which is based on your favorite world (inside – introverted, outside – extroverted), whether you prefer basic info or add meaning (sensing vs intuition), how you make decisions (thinking vs feeling), and how you deal with the outside world (judging vs perceiving).
If you have an INFJ personality, you are introverted, intuitive, feeling, and judging, and feeling misunderstood is common.
You may come across as a walking, talking contradiction as you are emotional and logical, as well as analytical and creative. Not the usual personality type, right?
In general, you approach life with imagination, integrity, conscientiousness, and deep thoughtfulness, never wavering on what truly matters. You don’t fit into a box because you follow your own intuition and wisdom.
Want to know more about why you are the way you are?
Introverted intuition is your dominant cognitive function, so you follow your gut, while extroverted feeling forms your secondary cognitive function, meaning you are aware of others’ needs and find it challenging to say no.
Thirdly, introverted thinking means you mostly rely on your own wisdom and intuition to make decisions, but you can also be swayed by sheep mentality. And lastly, what’s considered as the weakest link, is your extroverted sensing, which is your ability to be mindful and aware of the world around you.
Common INFJ personality traits that’ll resonate with you include being:
What Is an Unhealthy Personality?
I don’t want you to think that because this article is all about flaws in INFJ personality types that you are an unhealthy or toxic person. There are great and admirable personality traits that we INFJs possess, and the bullet list above showcases that.
Most people (if not everyone alive) have personality traits that are unhealthy because it negatively influences their mental and physical well-being. These unhealthy (sometimes toxic) characteristics hold them back in life, contribute to chronic stress, increase their perceptibility to illness, and mean they have poor relationships with family, friends, colleagues, and even strangers.
In essence, these unhealthy personality traits are standing in the way of your health, happiness, and success.
In general, unhealthy personality traits include:
Of course, there is value in some of these traits. It’s the extedohich being X influences you and what you do that determines whether it is a healthy or unhealthy personality trait.
For example, being a perfectionist is good because it helps you to be conscientious and motivated in your drive to perform and produce work that’s flawless. However, when you are too perfectionistic, you become inflexible and unwilling to adapt because of your excessively high standards.
Just a hint: INFJs are notorious for taking perfectionism to the next level since your self-esteem is (most likely) linked to how you perform and the results or success you achieve. If you can’t do something flawlessly, you may not even attempt it at all, making you reluctant to try new things you could be really great at (or you know, practice until you get it right).
But how unhealthy your personality is depends on various factors like your environment, your childhood, and how much you like your comfort bubble (#UnwillingnessToGrow).
15 Signs of an Unhealthy INFJ Personality
It’s time to identify what traits make for an unhealthy INFJ personality.
Remember, these characteristics are holding you back in life, and you are worthy of so much more – including decreasing how stressed out you feel, fostering healthy relationships with the people you love and care about, and being happy.
Here are the main unhealthy INFJ personality traits you should be aware of:
1. Love People-Pleasing, But Resents It
People-pleasing isn’t a healthy trait, and while it’s great to want to make others happy and help them, it should never be at the expense of putting yourself first and taking care of your needs.
INFJs strive for harmony, happiness, and peace in their environment, and if you haven’t learned the power of no or mastered it, you may find that you are unable to refuse helping people, even when you mentally or physically can’t.
INFJs do take people-pleasing to the extreme, and when you go out of your way to help others and your efforts aren’t returned (#LackOfReciprocity) or the results aren’t satisfactory, you may come to resent the person you tried so damn hard to please.
You might even keep a scorecard of everything you’ve done for someone, and chances are that you get very little in return. As an INFJ, you might ignore those feelings until you either disappear from the person’s life (because you can’t keep pleasing them AND you can’t say no to them) or explode. Resentment builds until you eventually freeze the person out of your life.
2. Forget That You Matter, Too
Since you feel responsible for everyone’s feelings and what happens to them and you like to people-please, it’s easy to forget that you matter just as much as the person next to you.
When you feel responsible for the care and support of others' happiness, you steamroll over your own needs and feelings, forgetting to take care of you.
You should make self-care a priority, and no, it isn’t selfish to put yourself first for a change. In fact, it’s mandatory because you “can’t pour from an empty cup.” And remember, the people in your life are adults and thus responsible for their own lives, actions, and decisions. It isn't solely on you to show up and cheer up.
You need to show up for yourself, and you are more than worthy of loving yourself, being kind to yourself, and taking care of yourself.
3. Prefer to Not Deal with Conflict and Confrontation
If there’s one thing an unhealthy INFJ hates, it’s conflict or needing to confront someone (or someone confronting them). It’s just a big no-no.
Harmony is so much better, and you may think that avoiding conflict at all costs equates to harmony. It’s like sticking your head in the sand kind of situation – if you avoid and ignore it, it doesn’t exist, right?
You shut down when you have an aversion to conflict, or you leave the scene of the crime (sorry, conflict) ASAP because you can’t deal with or fix it and return to the status quo – harmony. You feel disoriented and unsettled in the midst of a conflict-ridden situation or even at the first signs of conflict.
While not dealing with conflict is bad enough, what’s worse is that you sabotage your own inner peace when you don’t deal with conflict situations and resolve whatever it is that needs dealing with.
4. Unable to Accept Different POVs
If you feel more secure and have learned how to deal with conflict, you’d be open to new perspectives, but if you haven’t, then you probably feel threatened by other points of view.
You may feel like someone personally attacks your beliefs and opinions when they voice what they think and it’s contrary to yours. And since you need to instinctively protect yourself from pain, you shut down and can’t accept a different perspective.
A common retort could be, “That’s insane. How can you think that way?” A person doesn’t need to share your beliefs, and instead of getting defensive, you should rather be intrigued by another possibility.
5. Hyper Aware of Non-Verbal Communication
Since you are highly intuitive, it goes without saying that you are probably an empath, and as a result, you're hyper aware of non-verbal communication – how others consciously or subconsciously use their body language and other non-verbal cues to communicate. This ability to read other people’s communication cues and their emotions helps you connect with them.
But there’s a dark side to being hyper aware of other people's body language. It’s so easy to misread non-verbal cues or miss a critical one because you’re too worried about what others think of you. So, a simple cue from someone can have you quickly believing that they don’t like you or there’s something wrong with you.
Plus, you are highly sensitive, so it’s only natural that you always (and unconsciously) look for affirmation or reinforcement instead of trusting yourself and being more self-confident.
6. Like to Be Loners, Avoiding Social Commitments and Responsibilities
INFJ personality types are introverts, and thus, they need me-time to recharge their social batteries. But some INFJs can take this to the extreme and become hermits, or just become loners (clinging to their safe spot), preferring to avoid social commitments and responsibilities.
This, of course, has a negative impact on your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues when you mostly or completely focus inward instead of reaching out and spending time with those who do matter to you.
7. Have Compulsive Behaviors
When you are experiencing a grip stress reaction, which is when you are completely burned out or immensely stressed, it’s easy to become fixated on sensual pleasures.
This is related to your inferior function (the weakest link I mentioned earlier), which is your extroverted sensing function that’s all about how you experience the world through touch, taste, sound, sight, and smell.
It makes sense, then, that when you are under a lot of stress, you’d “lock down” and engage in compulsive behaviors that bring you comfort, peace, or some sense of order. It’s self-medicating and a welcome distraction as you can focus on something else, and not your pain, discomfort, and the stress or anxiety you feel.
Compulsive behaviors INFJs can engage in include overeating, overspending, overexercising, binge-watching the latest on their streaming service, extreme cleaning, or obsessively rearranging everything they own.
8. Attract Unhealthy or Toxic People into Your Life
Because you are so nice and helpful and don’t “do” conflict, you – unfortunately – attract toxic people (those who are emotionally needy, manipulative, controlling, or otherwise abusive) into your life.
You allow these individuals with unhealthy personalities to bring instability and chaos (#Drama) into your life, and since you can’t say no and enforce healthy boundaries, these toxic personalities take over.
You may even happily let them do so because you sympathize with them and because of your desire to “save” and help them. You understand that they had a difficult childhood or whatever the reason for their unhealthy behavior, and your need to be “needed” means you put up with the toxicity.
9. Think You Are Wiser Than Others
Yes, we INFJs are quite unique, and that means we sometimes believe we are smarter or wiser than the other people in the room. Do you also think that some other people in your life are underachievers, harsh, or too close-minded?
I get it. We are inherently thoughtful and have a deep intuitive side that does make us seem like we are wise, but that doesn’t mean we are the wisest or wiser than everyone else. Plus, it may feel like you are “talking to a wall” because those who are less insightful just don't get what you are trying to say.
But maintaining this approach to life, that you are somehow superior, only makes life more challenging – at home and at work.
10. Cut People Off and Keep Grudges
The INFJ door slam is real. The door slam is when you cut people out of your life, often without addressing the underlying issue or resolving the conflict. You quietly disappear from the person’s life, cutting off all forms of communication. It’s pretty much like you are ghosting them.
You’ve been hurt or betrayed, or you finally reach the end of your rope with how much you are resenting a person to whom you keep on giving, only getting scraps in return (or most often, not even that). And so, it’s bye-bye to the person who has wronged you in some way, while you keep hold of the grudge against them.
INFJs typically don’t do the door slam as a last resort; it’s a primary means of dealing with issue-filled relationships, and this can be very unhealthy because if only you stuck it out and talked to the person (like a mature adult), you’d realize how wonderful they are and how much they could mean to you.
11. Don’t Have Boundaries
Sadly, unhealthy INFJ personality types allow other people to use and exploit them, and this all comes down to a lack of healthy boundaries – guidelines that are a form of self-care and stipulate to you and others what you allow, what you are comfortable with, and what you need.
INFJs who don’t have boundaries will “take one for the team,” canceling going on a date because their toxic boss asked them to finish the project (with no overtime) or “happily” continue to house-sit for you even though it’s an inconvenience. Unhealthy INFJs are people-pleasers with an inability to say no (and do what’s right for them for a change).
12. Don’t Let People In
Since INFJs are introverts, it’s not easy or always natural to open up to others and let them in. Fearing judgment (because they know they are different), unhealthy INFJs close up completely, refusing to allow anyone in.
They take being private to the extreme, but we are made to connect and belong, and you can only do that when you allow other (healthy) people in.
As a result of being loners and refusing to open up, people with an unhealthy INFJ personality feel lonely and unhappy.
13. Set Unrealistic Expectations
It’s quite typical for unhealthy INFJs to set unrealistic expectations in all areas of their life, from their romantic partnerships and friendships to their career and family life. They are highly idealistic, and if they have a perfectionist streak, only the best will do. Anything other than perfection simply won’t.
The people in an INFJ’s life struggle because they have to live up to these high expectations, and sadly, we are all just human and prone to making mistakes.
So INFJs regularly face being disappointed when people simply don’t match up, or they can become depressed when they constantly fail because they can’t achieve their very lofty goals and dreams.
14. Take Things Way Too Personally
If you have some unhealthy INFJ traits, one of them could be that you take things way too personally.
If your colleague disagrees with you, it feels like they are personally attacking you. You feel like a cornered wolf with every correction and disagreement, even those that are diplomatic and from people who love you.
Because you take stuff personally, you become resistant to constructive criticism and any type of feedback, making it difficult for others to communicate openly with you.
15. Too Worried About What Others Think of You
Unhealthy INFJs are also too concerned with what others think of them. You are aware of your every move, the other person’s words, tone, and body language, and with this over-awareness and overthinking everything, you look out for signs that someone is judging you, that they are making fun of you, or that they don’t like you.
You expect the worst because you know you are different, and so you’ve probably felt like a freak or outcast one time too many. Every bit of information passes through that filter of “they’ll think I’m weird.”
Final Thoughts on Unhealthy INFJ Personalities
Being an INFJ is wonderful because you see the world in a way that others don’t. Unfortunately, because you feel misunderstood, it’s a breeding ground for unhealthy personality traits… like being too perfectionistic, worrying about what others think, not having boundaries, people-pleasing, and forgetting that you matter.
But it’s essential that you identify your weaknesses and work on them so they won’t hold you back any longer.
Curious to learn more about your personality type? Why don’t you check out our article on 14 INFJ strengths and weaknesses.
And if you're looking for more resources on personality types, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 13 Subtle Signs an Introvert Doesn’t Like You
- INTJ Stare: A Guide to Understanding This Behavior
- 11 Introvert Networking Tips That Won’t Make You Feel Exhausted
Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.