Did you know that certain personality types experience bullying more frequently than others? Discrimination based on someone’s type is often insidious and confusing. We may not even be aware that we are bullying someone based on their type till we know more about type and how it plays out; particularly in childhood. One group of people that know a lot about type-based bullying are the INTJ, INTP, ENTJ & ENTP females. They make up only 6.1% of the female population in our country and tend to grow up feeling like the definitive “square pegs in round holes”.
Let’s Take a Look at the Numbers
The majority of females in the U.S. are Sensing Feeling (SF) types. They make up approximately 56% of the population. After that, Sensing Thinking (ST) females make up the next highest group, at 19.8% of the population. Intuitive Feeling (NF) females come in third at 18% of the female population. This means that at 6.1% of the population, Intuitive Thinking (NT) females are an extreme minority. In a group of 10 females, you’d be lucky to find even one NT!
How Does This Play Out in Childhood?
Our culture has generated an “ideal” version of femininity since nearly the beginning of time. Women are expected to be nurturing, sensitive, naturally empathetic, and home-oriented. Is there anything wrong with these qualities? Absolutely not! But is there anything wrong with an independent, intellectual, forward-thinking female? No. Intuitive Thinking females often grow up in environments where they are coerced, pushed, or downright shoved into a role that is more natural to a Sensing Feeling female.
“I was raised in an ultra-conservative and traditional family where women were supposed to be the nurturers and empaths. Not only were those seen as feminine traits but it was assumed that a girl would have and be drawn to only certain things because of her sensitive and emotional nature.
This never felt like it fit me and made me feel something was wrong with me.
Women leadership (and in my culture – education) was not encouraged or seen as necessary or appropriate.
Women’s roles in my culture were VERY specific and limited.
I tried so hard to force myself into roles that didn’t fit.
This was especially true being raised in a religion that taught that certain traits like empathy and nurturing were established in ALL women and part of their specific role. INTJs are likely to challenge religious constructs anyway.
Faith is possible for the INTJ girl – but mindless obedience is not.
I wish I could go back and tell myself as a young girl that I was seeing things others didn’t. I did have valid observations and that I was capable of leadership and authority.”
– Rebecca, an INTJ female
Rebecca’s story is one that many NT females will identify with. Intuitive Thinking characteristics are much more accepted in the male community, where being direct, bold, straightforward, and skeptical are considered more natural and true to their gender.
“Why can’t you be more like your sister?!”
Because Sensing Feeling types make up such a large majority of the female population, they have become the expected “norm” and anything outside of that is seen as not “quite right”. Sensing Feeling females will have a natural desire for harmony in their outer world; they are usually tactful, and they tend to have a natural desire to please their parents and make others happy. They are also more typically drawn to “feminine” activities; playing with dolls, playing house, dressing up as princesses, cooking, etc,..
Sensing Feeling females tend to have an innate respect for authority during childhood; and will often excel at traditional gender roles like nurturing, homemaking, and taking care of young children. Don’t get me wrong, there are variations within any temperament group, but statistically speaking, these are traits that the majority of Sensing Feeling females will excel at.
Intuitive Thinking females have a completely different set of strengths that can go unnoticed if a parent, teacher, or friend is too focused on what makes them different from the norm. NT girls are astoundingly logical, confident in their assertions, independent, and incredibly innovative thinkers. But too often they grow up hearing how they’re different from other girls their age. The repercussions of this are saddening.
“My sister naturally knew what would make people happy and how to make people feel good. She loved giving hugs and kisses, jumping into my grandparents laps, and telling my parents how much she cared about them. She would have all her little friends over and they’d play with Barbie dolls and paint each other’s nails. My parents gravitated towards her, and often expressed out loud their concern over my more isolated, less-feminine ways. I wanted my personal space. I wanted to dissect and take things apart and figure out how they worked. I liked wearing my brother’s comfortable shorts and big t-shirts. I spoke my mind without hesitation, and I was regularly berated for being too “blunt” or argumentative. I had a hard time making friends who understood me. Why couldn’t I be as sweet and kind-hearted as my sister? Why couldn’t I think of others before I spoke? I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I tried to stifle my natural skepticism and directness and become more like my sister; but it never felt right. I’ve struggled with depression and social anxiety my whole life, and I think a lot of it stemmed from the way other people reacted to me as a young girl.”
– Mandie, an ENTJ
The Strengths of Intuitive Thinking Types
Intuitive Thinking personality types are intellectual, logical, and constantly seeking new knowledge. They are pragmatic and excellent at problem-solving and finding innovative solutions. They are drawn to the abstract and theoretical, and try to uncover hidden truths behind every subject and topic. They are naturally hesitant to accept traditional rules, and they are skeptical of every statement until it has been held up to intense scrutiny. NTs are quick to see flaws and errors in logic that other types may gloss over or ignore. They are always looking to understand the core truth of every subject, and as a result, make excellent debaters. They are analytical, curious, strategic, independent, and complex.
Can NT females be nurturing, caring, and empathetic? By all means, yes. Every personality type is going to use feeling AND thinking; but NTs are going to consider the logical approach first. When someone comes to them with a problem, they will try to step out of the situation to give an objective viewpoint. Feelers tend to “step in” to the problem to see how the situation may affect everyone involved and how people might feel. By comparison, the NTs approach may seem cold or too impersonal; particularly to feeling dominant personalities. However, their goal to help is just as noble and sincere as the feelers attempt to help.
How These Strengths are Misunderstood:
I’m a firm believer that no one personality type is better than another. Intuitive Thinkers are essential in our world; without them, we wouldn’t have Marie Curie, Isaac Newton, or even Jane Austen! We also need the Sensing Feeling types, with their practical, caring nature. However, when one type is considered the ideal and the other type is considered an aberration it leads to all kinds of emotional damage in the long run.
Intuitive Thinking females are quick to see the flaws in arguments; this is why they are so great at solving problems, forming original opinions, using deductive logic, and finding innovative solutions. However, this ability to see flaws and to be skeptical is often seen as defiant, rude, or disrespectful by parents. They are often berated for asking too many questions, arguing too much, or not accepting what has been told at face value. Many NTs have to learn the hard way to stifle their natural curiosity and ability to healthily debate. You can find out more about this on my post here:
Intuitive Thinkers are not naturally in tune with the emotions of people around them; they are more in tune with logic, systems, and organizations and how things work. When there is a pre-conceived idea that as a female you will naturally be empathetic or emotionally sensitive and you don’t display those traits, parents and friends can think you are cold or unfeeling.
“Looking back, I was constantly looking at women around me, trying to be more like they were, but it always felt awkward (I’m certain most of them were feelers). I felt quite alien a lot of times (still do) and have been told I come across as bossy, cold, demanding, etc. Now that I understand my personality, it not only makes sense but gives me a place to pause, knowing the other person isn’t seeing the situation as I see it and that’s ok. “
– Shana, an INTP
“Don’t expect her (the NT girl) to be demonstrative. She views humans as too needy anyway, and isn’t quite sure she’s part of that species. Just let her be herself and don’t try to mold her. It’s impossible to understand what drives girls like us. Others think we are cold, uncaring, and dull. They have no idea that we’re trying to solve world’s problems.”
– Linda, an INTJ
“Young INTJs tend to put logic and idea exploration before others feelings. This means while they do not intend to hurt anyone’s feelings they often do without realizing it.”
– Rebecca, an INTJ
Some Tips for Parents of NT Females:
The most important thing you can do for your NT daughter is to show her that you appreciate her for who she is. Don’t try to force her into a Sensing/Feeling mold or berate her natural curiosity and directness. Praise her for her logic, her inquisitiveness, her ability to see beyond face value, and her independence.
Give your NT daughter healthy opportunities to debate and “argue” effectively. This doesn’t mean you should allow talking back and incessant arguing. It means setting up one-on-one meetings where she can discuss her concerns and questions. It could also mean signing her up for debate club, or having a family debate club where she can practice arguing her case.
Model empathy and compassion. Try to understand where your NT daughter is coming from and that sometimes when she is being very direct she may not understand that it can seem tactless. NT girls care very much about people, but they aren’t naturally in tune with emotions. You can help your NT daughter by re-phrasing comments back to her so that she can more easily navigate social situations. Let her know you appreciate her honesty and straightforward behavior.
I asked all the NT women on my Facebook page what tips they would give to parents of NT girls and here are some of their ideas:
“They (NT girls) are listening, they do care, they do understand. But they’re seeing situations in a different light, and that’s ok. I’ve often had to remind people – it’s not my job on this planet to wallow, to deeply sympathize, to get caught up into the emotional details. That’s someone else’s job. My job is to give you my very best logical solution so you can move forward in a positive light. And that’s a good thing.”
– Shana, an INTP
“The key is to provide a constant flow and access to educational opportunities. The NT girl will always ask “why” and “how.” Museums, art centers, hands on activities are the best….Don’t be surprised if she wants just the facts, and only the facts. Talking for the sake of talking is pointless. She’ll ask you questions if she has use for what you know. So surround her with intellectuals and experts from ALL walks of life. She’ll be just as impressed with how the janitor knows how to use the floor wax machine as she will be with the rocket scientist who knows how to build a space ship. She’ll bring people from different walks of life together this way. She would rather listen than talk. So be content with that.”
– Linda, an INTJ
“When we argue, don’t take it personally. It doesn’t mean we don’t respect you or your opinion; it just means we need to know if we can accept it as truth. We notice that other people don’t question things as much as we do, so we have to challenge things to define if we can accept them. But we argue with the people we love; we get confused when people get offended by this.”
– Sherri, an ENTP
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you have any suggestions for NT girls or parents of NT girls? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!