Many INTJs (and even INTPs, ISTJs, etc.) wonder if they have some mild form of autism, and it’s not uncommon for others to label INTJs having Asperger’s syndrome. I saw a funny internet meme once featuring Laurence Fishburne from The Matrix movies, and it read, “What if I told you that INTJ is really just short for mild Asperger’s Syndrome?”
Interestingly, one of my sisters has two sons: Her younger son has been diagnosed with autism, and her older son is an INTJ. She seems to think that her INTJ son has Asperger’s. In fact, she has told other people that I have Asperger’s, too.
Do INTJs Have Asperger’s Syndrome?
The first thing you want to keep in mind is that the two are not mutually exclusive. Some INTJs have it, and some don’t. Since starting my YouTube channel, several male and female INTJs have indicated that they have been diagnosed with Asperger’s. You’ll find forum posts on the INTJ forums discussing this issue exhaustively. However, there are differences between the two.
MBTI is an assessment that helps you determine your personality type based upon Jungian theory. There are no “good or bad” types. Each type has a different attitude of energy (introvert vs extrovert), a different way of perceiving the world (intuitive or sensing), a different way of judging the world (thinking vs feeling), and the different attitudes toward the external word (judging or perceiving). In addition, each type has a specific stack of cognitive functions.
In contrast, Asperger’s Syndrome, which is now part of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is classified as a developmental “disorder.” It’s considered to be a “high functioning” form of autism. So, one is a personality temperament—a type, and the other is a developmental “disorder.” That’s a big difference. Neither means “stupid, inferior, or broken.” Both INTJs and Aspies will have their challenges, as will the other 15 personality types (or other “disorders”).
I think a lot of the confusion between these two lies in the fact that there are many overlapping traits, as well as some ambiguity surrounding the actual signs for Asperger’s. This happens a lot in medicine. For example, let’s consider two conditions: Crohn’s disease and the stomach flu. Crohn’s disease is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease, whereas the stomach flu is typically short-lived and caused by a viral or bacterial infection. However, both conditions can cause stomach cramps, low-grade fever, diarrhea, nausea, etc.
Similarly, Asperger’s signs and INTJ traits do overlap:
•Difficulty engaging in social interaction
•Having a narrow group of interests
•Robotic speech or mannerisms
•Talking at great lengths on topics of interests
•Sensitivity to excessive lights, noise, or touch
•Dislike changes in routine.
However, there are also numerous differences:
•Lack of eye contact or having one-sided communication.
•Motor problems or poor ability in sports
•Awkward movements and mannerisms
•Inability to understand emotional responses in others
•Having trouble distinguishing sarcasm or jokes.
In summary, my opinion is that the INTJ type and Asperger’s syndrome share many similarities, but there are some distinguishing characteristics.
Interestingly, Robert Chester wrote an article in the Journal of Psychological Type in December 2006, and he concluded that “there is inadequate discrimination between normal type development and the disordered state.” He also wrote: “In terms of functional pairs, NT is more likely than ST to be seen as having Asperger’s Disorder” and that “IXTPs appear to be at a greater risk for being diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder than any other type.”
So, INTPs are perhaps even more confused as being an Aspie as compared to the INTJ type.
Read the PDF version: https://www.capt.org/jpt/pdfFiles/JPT_Vol66_1206.pdf
I found many articles and forum posts of extroverted types discussing their struggles of living with Asperger’s Syndrome.
What if You Have Asperger’s Syndrome?
What if you’re an INTJ, INTP, or other type, and you’ve been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome? You shouldn’t view yourself as handicapped, dumb, inferior, or anything like that. People with autism or Asperger’s have incredible gifts and talents to offer the world.
My autistic nephew, for example, used to have some developmental problems. However, he has gone through social skills classes, which has greatly improved his small talk and socializing skills.
My advice would be to make a list of your greatest struggles, and work to improve those weaknesses. Read books, watch videos, or even join a social skills class or seek social therapy that can help you improve. We all have weaknesses. I know I do. Look at Asperger’s not as a “disorder,” but as a challenge to overcome.
INTJ videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIBYJ7DLNOlMNPbxmmQsWvg/videos