MBTI: Fight Club’s Narrator- ISFJ

fight

Everyone has had a job they hated. Maybe you hated it so much, you couldn’t do it for long or maybe you did it longer than you thought you could. But ISFJs could go for years doing a job they hate. The Narrator (or Jack) is a bizarre example of what happens to all those ISFJs that suppress themselves so deeply for such a long period of time.

There’s no “N” here, ladies and gentlemen- this guy is just insane.

Jack is a guy that isn’t happy with his life. If you’re reading this, you’ve seen Fight Club if not also read the book. He works the nine to five, eats his pre-packaged meals, extends his courtesies to the people he meets and watches TV. He’s living a version of the life we all do, yet showcases the side we may be the most afraid of- the mundane.

nar3

“The ‘huh?'”

Because if you’re mundane, you must not be happy and if you’re not happy, you must have failed somewhere along the way. And Jack is in his thirties so how much time does he really have left?

Sound familiar? As much as we can all relate to this to some extent or another, no type seems more familiar with this depression in work as much as the ISFJ can. It’s not that they’re too timid as a type necessarily but that they’re so serious about their work that to just quit or look for something that may make them happier seems too risky in their eyes.

A hug might help.

A hug might help.

So what to do? Keep banging away, at a job they hate, going through the motions of a routine they’re unhappy with? In many cases, the ISFJ sees that way as the only way. Jack’s proneness to this is what catapults the story forward. It is the story.

As we know, Hollywood plays with psychology the way a kid plays with a skateboard he doesn’t know how to use. He’s tries and tries, but without proper practice, he’s most likely going to just abuse the thing until he’s done. H-Town likes the idea that after being miserable long enough and not doing anything, you just *snap* and an episode of Law and Order can be written.

Chief Daniels: Whadda we got here, Hot Pants?

Detective Hot Pants: Well sir, after years of abuse from his mother, Lenny just snapped and raped his mother’s body after beating her to death with a spoon. Then he ate her. He just couldn’t take it anymore.

"Already? But we just started posing!"

“Case closed already? But we just started posing!”

This is a fun way of dealing with a criminal mind but it’s not accurate and nobody ever just “breaks.” It’s more like after years and years of abuse (or what have you), the person begins to have violent and/or sexual fantasies that if not dealt with properly, can lead to a crime of that nature being committed. It’s not as though it never occurred to the person to shoot up a grocery store until the day they did it, it takes planning for that kind of thing.

You think this happens overnight? Years, baby. YEARS.

You think this happens overnight? Years, baby. YEARS.

How does this relate to Jack and the ISFJ? Like so-

Such an unhealthy character (likable, but unhealthy) is fun to dissect, discuss and type but this character is also written as having a split personality, thereby leading ISFJs to say “Hey, I’m not like that!” while other types on forums say “He’s just like me!” No, he’s not. He’s insane. But he’s also Hollywood’s version of insane in that he has his own personality and another “full” life rather than being mentally unstable and not being able to take care of himself. So he can be typed rather than simply writing him off as crazy.

The point being, this character’s behavior and patterns reflect that of an extremely unhappy ISFJ, thus the reason for his said “snapping.” His Si tells him to work, work, work, while his secondary Fe says “This job is for everybody around me too. If I don’t do my job, they can’t do theirs.” when the way he lives is drone-like and is actually what’s killing him rather than him making a living. His American dream, degraded.

Keirsey says that while Rationals prize knowledge, Idealists value meaning, Artisans value freedom, the Guardian wants security. To different Guardians, this means different things but the generally accepted idea is a good career, a happy home and an overall sense that you’re going to be okay.

Jack is a highly screwed up version of this and this is where he becomes relatable.

He’s got the job, right? Okay that’s good, that means money. Got to have money in today’s society. He needs his apartment to live in, you’ve got to have your own place. So what do you do with my own place? It’s so empty. You need to make it feel alive, right? So buy that Yin-Yang coffee table; it’s hip, purposeful. Better get the best TV out right now. If you’re going to do it, do it right. Ooh, there’s a dinnerware set…

So it’s not simply that Jack is materialistic but he got caught up in what’s “important” like many (if not most) of us have. It’s starts off with what we need then we get to a point where we claim to be hurting for money as we pay off a hundred and fifty dollar phone bill.

And it's even got a CHORD...

And it’s even got a CHORD…

Eventually he can’t take it anymore, the life-crushing dullness of it all and just goes so berserk that he doesn’t even know it. Is this, as mentioned earlier, a direct link to the mindset of a stable ISFJ? Heeeeck no. But ISFJs tend to be the ones with the most weight on their shoulders on a regular basis, 10-14% of the population though they may be.

Subjectively speaking, I see a dire need in the mind of the ISFJ to have things a certain way but have no earthly clue how to make that happen. Not all mind you, but many. There’s a strange irony in the way the world works for them.

I can think of multiple ISFJs that have been hard enough workers to be put in management positions.

Not ones to turn down a raise and a compliment, the job is taken though they have no real desire to tell anyone what to do. Yet, now they’re in this position and occasionally must give orders at some point. Now they have to balance getting along with everyone while playing the role of boss. And when personalities clash at work, it’s to be taken up with the manager; the ISFJ that doesn’t want to hurt feelings, take sides, or challenge ideas- they want things to go smoothly. So by being so good at what they do, they’re (more or less) pressured out of their area of expertise because of it.

This may sound like a simple issue to you but whatever your problem is, keep in mind that another type would just laugh that off.

Mindblown!

Mindblown!

A person can only take so much and even if the ISFJ lives out the rest of their life unhappily, the stress is going to manifest itself in unhealthy ways, even if creating a chaotic alter-ego is off the table.

Online, many type the Narrator as an INFJ. Just no. Would an INFJ live out their life in a job they hated, buying crap they don’t need, existing as though this may really be all there is? The Narrator is originally living by figuratively slamming his head against a brick wall hoping that the wall will fall but knowing he’s going to die before it does. Any type could do this, but the ISFJ is more likely to do it out of a sense of “getting the job done because somebody has to do it and I guess everybody else is too damn lazy!

nar4

The Idealist is more interested in living on the street starving while the world passes by and nothing in their life is accomplished as long as they feel at peace with themselves. The Guardian is much more likely to surround themselves with material things and then wonder why they’re not fulfilled.

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16 Responses to “MBTI: Fight Club’s Narrator- ISFJ”

  1. I am certain that Jack(both in book and movie) shows more of a real life INFJ traits. By real life I mean how INFJs normally behave, not the internet descriptions like they are idealists. 1) Jack constantly tries to be a complete person 2) Jack wants everything in control 3) Special unique syndrome 4) Trying to find meaning 5) zone out. The lists gone on… All the traits you will find in a depressed INFJ. The first half hour of the movie is really important, all the info which Jack will recieve in the group therapy sessions will be subconciously converted into Tyler Durden. The support groups teaches him not to be afraid of pain and death, what strong men are like. All this data will be transformed into other form with the greater purpose. This is what Ni dominants do. If he was an ISFJ he would be happy with his life and never became depressed at the first place.

    • fatalfuryguy Says:

      Take it you’re a depressed infj.

    • Taylor Says:

      Well, INFJs and ISFJs are very different but on the surface you’ll find many of the same traits- quiet and meager being the most obvious. But to say that an ISFJ wouldn’t have had a problem is to dehumanize them as a type. All types can experience depression from the feeling that they’re not living up to their potential among other things.

      Attempting to become a complete person, wanting to be in control and thinking they’re special can be attributed to the human race, not just one type. Strong Feeling men will do what they can in many cases to seem like more of a man, ISFJs included.

      I speak from experience in this case, as I work with an ISFJ who is miserable with his job but feels too tied to the material side of life to make changes. Credit cards and other debts have tied him down. It seems like an INFJ would have to go WAY past their comfort zone to be caught up in that life scenario, while for an ISFJ to not realize what they’ve been doing until it’s “too late” is almost common.

      No way Durden is NF though.

      • The fiction characters are supposed to represent in such a way that most people could relate to him, so labelling them to a specific type is not possible, all we can do is match the traits of the character with personality type descriptions. I am not dehumanizing any type, I am just pointing out the distinct characterstics of a depressed INFJ which I have observed. Every fu**ing time people have to tell them to let go things and stop trying to control everything. Any ENTP with INFJ friend must agree to this. As I said before, it is not possible to assign specific type to a fictious character, I would say that Jack is an ISFJ with the negative traits of an INFJ. I hope it make sense, my English is not good.

      • Why you have assumed that INFJs dont get caught in this life scenario? I say, that these control freaks(of their own lives) are more prone to get in this scenario than any other type. My ex is an INFJ and I have never seen a person who can be such a dick to his ownself but cant be to others lol. You need to widen your premises for concluding his type. And also the way he narrates is absolutely Ni. The only type he can incline towards other than INFJ is INTJ, but he lacks Fi.

  2. fatalfuryguy Says:

    Makes no sense at all.

  3. Oh come on! Edward Norton is clearly an INFJ and Tyler Durden is your typical rebblion ENTP. Meet some 25 yo INFJ guy and I bet you’ll delete your whole post and write it all over again.

    • em bee tea eye Says:

      Edward Norton in real life is an INFJ and I am pretty much convinced that the character in the movie is too. Though its hard to say that Tyler is an ENTP, he shows many of the traits of an ESTP also. A mixture of an ESTP and ENTP

    • Taylor Says:

      Armi, Anon and Atif? Wow, there’s no way you guys know each other. I’ll just answer all of them in one comment.

      Atif-
      It’s not solely an INFJ trait to want everything controlled, it’s simply a “J” thing. All Guardian type, ENTJ, ENFJ, etc.; that is the description of Judgers- to want to control the external, outside world. But an INFJ knows when they’re unhappy and is more likely to do something about it.

      Anon-
      How do I need to widen my premise on concluding his type? I wrote a thousand words explaining the idea. If anything, saying that it’s much less likely for an INFJ to be caught in this dead-end situation is credit to the INFJ and a discredit to the ISFJ. Are you really going to to jump in front of that bullet?

      There’s no “assumption,” it’s just reality- INFJs (Actual INFJs, not everybody just claiming to be one) make it a life priority to find out the deeper meanings behind things while it only hit the Narrator in his adult life that’s he’s hollow. An INFJ may feel hollow but it wouldn’t take them that long to realize that they need more in their life. Question what your friend is and read about other actual INFJ characters on the site. Maybe you should widen your idea of ISFJs.

      So yes- it’s much less likely for an INFJ to be in that situation. Now if you’re arguing that INFJs are just as likely to be some kind of psychopathic badass who leads an underground anarchic rebellion because he just decided to? Well, I don’t really care to argue that anyway.

      Narrating in Ni fashion doesn’t really make sense to me unless you’re speaking of his ability to plan. Which he doesn’t particularly showcase.

      Armi-
      I’m fine with Durden being ENTP, that was the point of writing two articles solely questioning his type. But as far as re-writing a sound article based on somebody you know that you think is INFJ because they act like this schizophrenic protagonist of a movie you like? Nah, that’s not happening.

      I’ve met all types and saying that “I know someone who acts like this” is fine, but it’s nowhere near proving any point. Proof can hardly be given for one’s type but examples are pretty friggin’ necessary. Keep it coming!

      • fatalfuryguy Says:

        …can I buy you dinner? Maybe a movie? We can end the night with your knickers around my head

      • Your argument is invalid. Ni is not about planning or controlling. You have to prove that Jack uses Si, to conclude his type as ISFJ. I see that you are only picking one part of the movie i.e “Jack get caught in the dead end situation” which you have made your premises to type him. I suggest you to observe his behaviour in the movie and tell if he is Si dominant or not.

        • Taylor Says:

          My argument is invalid? There can be no proof, only examples and theory. Hence, type theory. And while I’ve given more examples of ISFJ other than “Jack is caught in a dead end situation,” that is the character. It’s his entire reason for losing his mind.

          The entire point of Si, and the way dominant Si users operate is by comparing incoming information to what they’re familiar with. This often leads to routine and doing things the same way. Which, coming full circle, is what Jack’s problem is- his life has gone nowhere.

          Ni plans for the future and is planning itself more or less. Nothing about Jack’s life leans toward dissecting difficult information into easily understandable patterns as Ni does. His Si leans toward the average, everyday things. He sits on the toilet while ordering IKEA furniture and he’s excited about it. He knows what day it is because of the tie his boss is wearing. He talks about being close to being complete because of having the right sofa and stereo. This is INFJ to you? Heck, he even hates Marla the outsider at first as SJs do even though he’s as guilty as her in claiming false diseases as well as complaining that he was “left out” of Project Mayhem- not seeing the big picture or grand scheme but just wanting to belong.

          There’s the details and the big picture, either one of them pointing to over-protected ISFJ.

  4. Bogoris Says:

    Nice analysis. Thank you.

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