INFJs as codependents/narcissists


#1

Hey, So recently I’ve been reading up on relationships between codependents and narcissists. And came across a thread that said that maybe INFJ is just a fancy word for codependent! http://nowfixyourrelationship.com/codependent-behavior-of-the-visionary-striving-style-intj-infj/
This has given me an explanation for the dissociative tendency that I have felt in the past as well.

On the thread it says that visionary types - INTP and INFJ - are faced with this the most because of the tendency to live in our heads. But this leaves me confused because the description for narcissist/cover narcissist/codependent all seem to fit the INFJ bill. Which one is it? I’m starting to find this psychological equation rather fascinating. Just wanted to run it past here so I could see what the experts say haha


#2

I have strong codependent tendencies which lead to a major crisis in my late 20s. I was being taken advantage of by my former best friend, we had bought an apartment together as neither could have afforded to on our own. But within weeks of moving in, she caught some nasty virus and was sick for weeks. She never fully recovered and was eventually diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Skip ahead three years and my situation had become intolerable. The housing market had collapsed in the late 80s so our flat was worth half what we paid. At the same time interest rates had soared so the mortgage repayments had doubled. And my friend had not worked since her illness so could not pay her share of the mortgage.

I was working two jobs just to keep up with the mortgage plus doing all the shopping, cleaning etc as she claimed to be disabled. But was she grateful? Hell, no! All she did was sit on her lazy ass all day and criticise me for not doing enough (as apparently I was also supposed to spend what little free time I had listening to her tales of woe and meekly offering her my condolences on her misfortune…)

By then I couldn’t stand the bitch and spent as little time in her company as possible! But I was still working myself into exhaustion for someone who didn’t give a shit about me.

Anyhow, I knew something must be askew with my own behaviour to have gotten into this nightmare and thanks to my dad found out about codependency. He’s a recovered alcoholic and during his drinking years I was in my teens and had to become the responsible adult to support Mum and look after my younger brother. Thankfully we pulled through as a family, but experiences like this invariably lead to emotional wounding to the affected children. So I had unknowingly been set up to play the “heroic rescuer” role whenever a friend or relative was hurt or troubled. Fe as a function is prone to this role too, especially in the auxiliary position.


#3

-from the article-
Visionaries assume that people who are complaining about their lives really want to do something about it and may be surprised when their suggestions are rebuffed.

Nailed it for me, but if they don’t I won’t play craptacular games about it. A lot of the article rang true- minimizing problems, avoidant, withdrawing, eat when tired, sleep when hungry. I have gotten sucked into caretaking for people when they frame things so I have compassion for them.

It’s my understanding that narcissists do not handle solitude well which would not be the case for most INTXs. I can keep myself entertained quite well and am content for days without attention or much interaction with others. I think INFJ in particular can have the knack to emotionally manipulate people, but this partly because they have empathy which again contradicts the definition of narcissism (low or nonexistent empathy and awareness of others as separate beings). I think co-dependent more likely than narcissist for INFJ, if INFJ is a manipulator they’d internally believe it’s for the person’s own good or for an ideal rather than grandstanding for attention.


#4

I myself definitely have a tendency to be both codependent as well as narcissistic. And then feel ashamed about both these things in turn! Haha never a boring day though… in this endless loop.

But I think that it is far more likely for a judging type to be narcissistic or codependent than a perceiving type? This might be very off base (I’m only just got on the MBTI bandwagon) but I think if someone is a planner rather than a go with the flow type - it is far easier to get stuck in these visionary loops that come with such codependent-narcissistic relationships. What do you think?


#5

Thanks for posting about this @abhaya ! I was thinking about similarly asking what the maze thought of the differences between INFJ and covert narcissists. There’s a ton of overlap and I happen to have dated a woman that was actually both! This lead to a shit ton of reading and researching on Cluster B personality disorders for me and it’s been a huge topic of interest for me within the last year.

I think it all boils down to the fact that one with Narcissistic Personality Disorder has little empathy, lacks theory of mind, object permanence, on top of having an extreme lack of sense of self. Keep in mind, that narcissists are codependents as well, as they rely on other people to provide them narcissistic supply to feed their fragile ego.

Although this attached image comes from someone who has Borderline Personality Disorder, another Cluster B personality disorder, a lot of the same things still apply. There is typically a shit ton of overlap among all Cluster Bs.


#6

10 question covert narcissism quiz.
http://academics.wellesley.edu/Psychology/Cheek/sensitive.html

I got a 31. Will respond to your post tomorrow @abhaya


#7

Exactly 31 here as well.


#8

So is it not possible to be N INFJ and be none of those things? Because unless I’m in my grip function I don’t seem to display any of these tendencies - and as far as people go, nobody is perfect and it is completely alright to be selfish when you need self love in my opinion.
I got a score of 24. Looking forward to your response @geneva

And since a rather large part of being a narcissist is not being able to accept what you’ve done wrong - isn’t the self awareness that INFJ’s have kind of countering that?


#9

And as far as object permanence goes - I think this wouldn’t affect codependents or INFJ’s in particular because they’re so attached when they do make those select few connections - through years and through distance


#10

I’m confused on what your question is here / what you’re trying to say?

This is ultimately what empathy is at the core. Being able to put oneself in another’s shoes. You’d be right, people with NPD don’t have this.

I guess that’s kinda fair to say. Like the image I posted, people with Cluster B personality disorders simply FORGET you exist without a cue. (unless you’re in their idealization phase, basically). It’s legitimately the phrase “out of sight, out of mind”.

I’d say that narcissistic codependency and “regular” codependency are two completely different types.


#11

Sorry about that! I was trying to say - can being INFJ be mutually exclusive with being either codependent or narcissistic. Lots of articles, like the one I’ve mentioned above, seem to state that being an infj is synonymous with being one of the above. Same is true for enneagram type 3 enfj or entjs.
Like when you said above that an ex was both infj and a covert narcissist did you mean this was like a double whammy because Infjs don’t do well with relationships either or that Infjs are prone to being covert narcissists?


#12

I see the stereotypical grandiose narcissist: attention junkie, show-off, drama inducing, boundary pusher type as a tendency for ESXP, which certainly doesn’t mean all ESXPs are pathological narcissists. INFJ could have some correlation with co-dependent/covert narcissism, but definitely not inevitable. The caveat is NF types crave a high degree of intimacy and can suck the soul out of partners who like space to do things like practice the piano, build terrariums, and obsessively research weird stuff. Either they need a soulmate who can match them for high level symbiosis or some other creative or humanitarian outlets for all that romantic idealism.

I also wish the dysfunctional sorts would stopping screwing things up for those of us who really have reclusive tendencies. If I tell my partner I want to left alone for a bit when I come home after a stressful day at work or that it’s fine with me if he takes off and does his own stuff on a Saturday afternoon, it’s really just that and not a mysterious, feminine cue that I’m pissed off and want attention.


#13

Another thing - a therapist once said to me that being dependent on your environment could also be a sign of narcissism. He probably wasn’t the best therapist, but giving him the benefit of the doubt - this could be true of an infj. Since we tend to be able to meld with the environment this could definitely be a possibility.
I definitely feel you @geneva! Women always seem to be unknowingly typed the NF way by most people.
Glad to know you also think it isn’t an inevitability, maybe just one of the many many layers of all types


#14

You might have to help me understand that one. You mean like their mood and even personality might seem to change depending on their surroundings? I think that’s just part of being human. Some level of narcissism and self promotion is healthy and INFJs and especially INFPs can also tend to be too self effacing and blend into the woodwork.


#15

No like she was definitely a genuine INFJ who just had a massive victim complex and when I would call her on her bullshit she would gaslight and be emotionally abusive. She legitimately thought she did nothing wrong, ever.
On paper the INFJ looks kinda like a covert narcissist and there is a lot of overlap in some of the qualities, but I think theres a lot of qualifiers for one to have a full blown personality disorder.


#16

The essence of narcissism or codependency is looking for things you lack on the inside on the outside, isn’t it? So he was saying that being dependent on you environment to feel good or bad based on where you are is also a sign of narcissism. For example INFJs and even INFPs have strong opinions of how a work place environment should be. And can get easily depressed when things don’t fit that idealistic definition. But I agree, it is just part of being human and something we would all feel with a healthy amount of idealism as well


#17

Oh I see what you mean. I definitely have a massive victim complex as well haha. Things just get so confusing with INFJs where they could probably play out a toxic relationship all by themselves in a cycle of being the narcissist and being a victim.

It’s kind of a funny thing


#18

Yeah, like they may be writing a story with such characters who have a very Jekyll/Hyde tendency to boot. We got a 34. Damn. Are we surprised? No, we are not.


#19

Hahha do you mean we could just make it up?


#20

Yes we can! Brutal and tragic. Tears and terror. Desire and defecation. Swinging from one end to the other. George, George, George of the jungle, watch out for that tree!