Portrait of an ISTJ

Your Portrait of an ISTJ

Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging
(Introverted Sensing with Extraverted Thinking)

The Duty Fulfiller

As an ISTJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you take things in via your five senses in a literal, concrete fashion. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things rationally and logically.

ISTJs are quiet and reserved individuals who are interested in security and peaceful living. They have a strongly-felt internal sense of duty, which lends them a serious air and the motivation to follow through on tasks. Organized and methodical in their approach, they can generally succeed at any task which they undertake.

ISTJs are very loyal, faithful, and dependable. They place great importance on honesty and integrity. They are “good citizens” who can be depended on to do the right thing for their families and communities. While they generally take things very seriously, they also usually have an offbeat sense of humour and can be a lot of fun – especially at family or work-related gatherings.

ISTJs tend to believe in laws and traditions, and expect the same from others. They’re not comfortable with breaking laws or going against the rules. If they are able to see a good reason for stepping outside of the established mode of doing things, the ISTJ will support that effort. However, ISTJs more often tend to believe that things should be done according to procedures and plans. If an

ISTJ has not developed their Intuitive side sufficiently, they may become overly obsessed with structure, and insist on doing everything “by the book”.

The ISTJ is extremely dependable on following through with things which he or she has promised. For this reason, they sometimes get more and more work piled on them. Because the ISTJ has such a strong sense of duty, they may have a difficult time saying “no” when they are given more work than they can reasonably handle. For this reason, the ISTJ often works long hours, and may be unwittingly taken advantage of.

The ISTJ will work for long periods of time and put tremendous amounts of energy into doing any task which they see as important to fulfilling a goal. However, they will resist putting energy into things which don’t make sense to them, or for which they can’t see a practical application. They prefer to work alone, but work well in teams when the situation demands it. They like to be accountable for their actions, and enjoy being in positions of authority. The ISTJ has little use for theory or abstract thinking, unless the practical application is clear.

ISTJs have tremendous respect for facts. They hold a tremendous store of facts within themselves, which they have gathered through their Sensing preference. They may have difficulty understanding a theory or idea which is different from their own perspective. However, if they are shown the importance or relevance of the idea to someone who they respect or care about, the idea becomes a fact, which the ISTJ will internalize and support. Once the ISTJ supports a cause or idea, he or she will stop at no lengths to ensure that they are doing their duty of giving support where support is needed.

The ISTJ is not naturally in tune with their own feelings and the feelings of others. They may have difficulty picking up on emotional needs immediately, as they are presented. Being perfectionists themselves, they have a tendency to take other people’s efforts for granted, like they take their own efforts for granted. They need to remember to pat people on the back once in a while.

ISTJs are likely to be uncomfortable expressing affection and emotion to others. However, their strong sense of duty and the ability to see what needs to be done in any situation usually allows them to overcome their natural reservations, and they are usually quite supporting and caring individuals with the people that they love. Once the ISTJ realizes the emotional needs of those who are close to them, they put forth effort to meet those needs.

The ISTJ is extremely faithful and loyal. Traditional and family-minded, they will put forth great amounts of effort at making their homes and families running smoothly. They are responsible parents, taking their parenting roles seriously. They are usually good and generous providers to their families. They care deeply about those close to them, although they usually are not comfortable with expressing their love. The ISTJ is likely to express their affection through actions, rather than through words.

ISTJs have an excellent ability to take any task and define it, organize it, plan it, and implement it through to completion. They are very hard workers, who do not allow obstacles to get in the way of performing their duties. They do not usually give themselves enough credit for their achievements, seeing their accomplishments simply as the natural fulfilment of their obligations.

ISTJs usually have a great sense of space and function, and artistic appreciation. Their homes are likely to be tastefully furnished and immaculately maintained. They are acutely aware of their senses, and want to be in surroundings which fit their need for structure, order, and beauty.

Under stress, ISTJs may fall into “catastrophe mode”, where they see nothing but all of the possibilities of what could go wrong. They will berate themselves for things which they should have done differently, or duties which they failed to perform. They will lose their ability to see things calmly and reasonably, and will depress themselves with their visions of doom.

In general, the ISTJ has a tremendous amount of potential. Capable, logical, reasonable, and effective individuals with a deeply driven desire to promote security and peaceful living, the ISTJ has what it takes to be highly effective at achieving their chosen goals – whatever they may be.

Jungian functional preference ordering:

Dominant: Introverted Sensing
Auxiliary: Extraverted Thinking
Tertiary: Introverted Feeling
Inferior: Extraverted Intuition

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ISTJ and Stress

How can you tell when an ISTJ is under stress, particularly at work?
Some things to watch for include being very pessimistic, thoughtless and impulsive, and withdrawing from interaction with others. Other ISTJs might lack focus and appear confused about what to do next, or they might constantly present fact after fact, overwhelming others. Still others might lose their ability to set priorities, or begin to ruminate about problems.
Events that can cause this stress to appear can include people who are wasting their time talking too much, especially about personal matters. If there is no follow through on decisions that have been made, some ISTJs can get frustrated. Many of them dislike having to do things on the spur of the moment, without preparation or time to reflect on the best course of action. Few appreciate those who challenge their authority. Once they can resolve the outstanding issues, most can return to their normal style.

ISTJs tend to become excessively rigid and convinced that what they perceive as important is objectively paramount and should therefore be perceived as such by everyone else. They have trouble acknowledging their own subjectivity and believe that their principles and priorities should be the same for all and everyone should be living their lives as they do. As the pressure rises, they become increasingly intolerant of diversity and may start seeing other people as irresponsible and lacking appropriate standards and ethics. They try to take control of others and become stuck in limiting rules and regulations, afraid of change and taking any risks into the unknown.

The most extreme stress behavior for the ISTJ will be typified by catasrophizing, demonstrating impulsive and spontaneous behavior and struggling with the detailed reality of the moment. The Inferior psychological function of the ISTJ (Intuition) has been activated in the most negative of circumstances and is trying to solve the crisis.

The ISTJ may be experienced at this point by others as:
* Intensely angry
* Rigid in what they are doing
* Very outwardly critical
* Unbelievably pessimistic and negative in a global way
* Embrace fear of the future

In order for the ISTJ to regain composure three things will need to happen.
* First, they may have to exhaust themselves through this experience.
* Secondly, please take them seriously. What they are “feeling” must be validated try to understand, they don’t need criticism or to be told that everything will turn ‘ out ok!
* Thirdly, what they normally excel in, detail identification and mastery, is not working now so help them with the details.

Fearing the breakdown of a trustworthy system and dreading becoming an outcast, the ISTJ may feel like energy is being drained from their bodies. Fatigue will set in and it will be exacerbated by a loss of sleep and of appetite. Depleted of their resources, ISTJs will be unable to meet many of their obligations or fulfill their duties to their work and to others. Not being able to fulfill this basic need, the ISTJ becomes further stressed and almost incapacitated by listlessness —making it all the more difficult be responsive to others

What to do?

ISTJs need to realize their own subjectivity and the fact that their views and solutions to life’s problems are highly individual and cannot be applied to other people. They must accept their own uniqueness and learn to bring it to the world without inflexibly imposing it on others.
ISTJ’s can manage the stress by identifying those events causing each opposite reality and changing it in some way, form or fashion. Sometimes nothing can really be changed but just identifying the sources of stress can help manage stress….know who the enemy is!

-Uncharacteristically spontaneous and impulsive
-Decreased efficiency
-Blaming, accusing others

ISTJ: Under stress, become “The Dramatizer,” catastrophizing about what’s happening. Flip Side Motto: “EVERYTHING is a disaster!”

Famous ISTJ’s

Famous people/icons sharing your type

  • Elizabeth II – Queen of England
  • Evander Holyfield – Boxer
  • George Washington – American President
  • Jack Webb – Actor / Producer
  • Warren Buffet – Investor / Businessman

Possible ISTJ career choices…

  • Business Executive, Administrator, Manager
  • Accountant and Financial officer
  • Police/Detective work
  • Judges
  • Lawyers
  • Medical Doctor/Dentist
  • Computer Programmer/Systems Analyst/Computer Specialist
  • Military Leader

All rights acknowledged: Original source here

Acknowledgement to Patrick L. Kerwin, MBTI® Master Practitioner




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