MBTI: Walter White- INTJ
There may never be another INTJ in fiction written with the depth and moral complexity of Walter White. While the Keirsey name for the INTJ is “Mastermind” (A name many take to mean ‘born genius’, not accurate), Walt actually lives up to the name, though not by the stereotypical way of “rising through the ranks, flawlessly and untouchable.”
No, Walter White is definitely flawed, giving television one of the greatest shows ever made and majorly because of the characters. An INTJ that doesn’t just sit on his throne in the dark, cackling? *Gasp!*
Walt’s Ni should be pretty obvious to anyone familiar with Type Theory. As soon as he gets word that he has lung cancer, he immediately resorts to coming up with a solution to taking care of his family after he’s gone.
While a meth manufacturer isn’t necessarily the first thing that would come to any INTJ’s mind, Walt’s position as a chemistry genius is rare to him, but also fits the INTJ profile of being involved in not only the sciences, but doing his best to master his trade. And at the start of the series, Walt turns 50 and he’s got it down pretty well.
Walt’s Keirsey name is lived up to throughout the series in multiple ways as well, from the general premise of the show to the amazing finale that premiered last night. His long range plans are what keep him alive in many moments where death seemed certain. The entire series could be considered one huge example, but a more specific one would be his plan to kill Gale so he could be kept around long enough to eventually kill Gus. For purely business reasons, of course.
Walt’s Te is very well established, as it seems he’s only really willing to say what he already knows, responding to unexpected remarks with things that give off the impression he’s on mental track with no intention of getting derailed.
Extraverted Thinking is all about organizing and making things happen, so quick comebacks aren’t usually in the INTJ repertoire so much as curb-stomping discussion-enders are. Te deals with information already on hand rather than new, incoming information.
This, in a sense, is also what makes Walt such an unconvincing liar.
Now does he get away with so many lies? Yes. But most of his fabrications are built on the fact that the people he’s telling them to people who want to believe him in the first place or have no concrete grounds to truly suspect him of telling them otherwise. His nerdy demeanor tends to have people believe that he’s incapable of lying in many cases it seems. No one more so than his brother-in-law, Hank.
When asked an unexpected question by his wife and one that “needs” to be responded to with a lie, Walt doesn’t twist the truth or flip words around, mixing the truth and lies together- he just responds the Te way, with the “yes or no” response first and then builds his lie on top of that. When Jesse accuses him of poisoning Brock, his girlfriend’s son, Walt lies to Jesse telling that he didn’t when he did. The most convincing thing about it all to Jesse is that Walt points out that he has no reason to do that to Jesse, though their enemy Gus does.
This isn’t so much the brilliance of the lie, but it is the brilliance of the plan since Walt wanted Gus dead.
Here is an excerpt from the Breaking Bad wiki about the difference between Walt and Heisenberg’s personalities-
As Heisenberg, Walt prefers to die in a fight a leave a legacy (good or bad) instead of giving in. The argument can be made that the cancer was merely a catalyst for Walt (generally family-oriented, employable, and mild-mannered) embracing another side to his personality—the Heisenberg side, the side that is gratified, feared, ruthless, and powerful—that was there all along.
This pretty much sums up the INTJ. While having two sides to a personality could be said the same of anybody in many ways (You at home/you at work, etc.), many people mistaking Walt for an ISTJ is just a bit misguided.
While not every INTJ in real-life is a bad-ass (Gotta be honest- I imagine fat greasy nerds at a computer in many cases- Just sayin’), they still have the complexity to their thought process that, in part, makes them an INTJ. ISTJ on the other hand, has a very similar operating process, albeit much more simple.
ISTJs just do the things they mean to do in a relatively short period of time and that’s all there is to it. They may go as far in their in their career as an INTJ but they didn’t necessarily plan to; they’re just good workers. INTJs will generally lay out a plan to get to where they want to go and what they want to do. This is where the stereotypical “power lust” comes from- “Why just work for money? I want to make ALL the money I can.” An INTJ friend of mine would want to know what we were doing if we left his house. But then he would ask, “Well, what after that?” And we may or may not know.
Then, after a final question about the evening’s “plans,” He might conclude it with “No, I’ll just stay.” Then we would get a (very) short dissection on why what we wanted to do was so stupid. If it isn’t leading to something solid for them, they opt out all together rather than see what happens.
Walt’s display of emotions is similar to INTJ’s, whose Fi is third. Even before the height of Walt’s megalomania, he still displays a very weak understanding of how other people work.
Walt constantly berates Jesse when a simple explanation could do, explains few of his actions and becomes increasingly upset when he’s questioned, as his Te doesn’t want to tell you “why,” just the “what.” Don’t question them even though they just questioned you for ten minutes, just do it. He’s got a plan and it needs to be stuck to- there’s no time for your complaints nor emotions.
Much of the negative side of INTJs is only worsened by the fact that they like what’s wrong with them- “Sure, I’m arrogant, but how can’t I be? You’re stupid.” are the kind of things going through an INTJ mind and they see no reason to change just because you can’t handle it. Criticisms are tuned out or turned into compliments in their own mind, allowing them to continue on their own path, no matter how controlling and destructive it may be. This can be difficult for loved ones when their attitude is dismissive as they can’t see how your problem with them can’t be fixed by you changing.
But as Walt found out, listening to what others have to say or at the very least, respecting a different way of doing things other than his own would have done him well.