ENTJ's and game-playing



I’m a very confused INTP, and need some relationship advice, please.

I dated an ENTJ for 2+ years, and whilst we argued a lot, it was a great relationship, and I had a lot of respect for him. He moved back to USA (his home), and I was meant to be visiting him this summer for 3 months to scope it out/possibly marry him and settle there. (He was very pushy about marrying, but I wanted to check things out first, and ‘be sure.’) 3 weeks before I was due to fly (tickets bought, etc.), he told me he had met someone else, had been dating her for a while, and wasn’t sure what he wanted anymore. I asked him to make his mind up, but he dithered, and accused me of not loving him enough, because I wouldn’t marry him immediately, amongst other things. He wouldn’t talk to me face to face (he told me on IM!), took ages to answer my emails/ignored my phone calls, and carried on dating this woman, so I ended our relationship and cut all contact with him (I was heartbroken). He offered to refund my plane ticket (which was kind of him).

He got back in touch a month later, telling me he regretted what he’d done and wanted to talk. He pestered me with emails a few times, which I ignored at first, then answered, asking him to give me space. He kept emailing, on and off. Finally, 3 weeks ago, I replied, We chatted by IM a few times, and he said he still loves me/wants us to resume our relationship, etc., and wants to pay for me to fly out and see him so we can talk. I said no, I just wanted friendship (I don’t trust him anymore). Anyway, to keep it brief, I started to open up and get friendlier, wondering if there is another chance for us. Then he started acting strangely. E.g. he’ll get in touch on IM, then say he’s too busy to talk when I respond. He says he loves me one minute, then the next hints that I’m not that important to him anymore. I can’t make sense of what is going on. I asked him if he’s messing with me, and he told me he loves me and would never do that… but then carries on blowing hot and cold (or so it seems). Once very straightforward, loving, and honest, now he seems to be playing games. Is this something an ENTJ might do in certain circumstances, and if so, why? (I really don’t understand people politics or games-playing).

I’m about to cut him off for the second time, this time for good, but wanted to ask for feedback from some ENTJ’s first, in case I’m missing something…

Thank you!


My dear dfk, in your owns words, (I deleted some text and left what stood out to me) this is how you describe the relationship. My opinion is that he’s trying to tip the power balance and get the upper hand by harming you emotionally. His capricious behavior is not random at all, it’s all calculated and you are being battered psychologically. You feel confused because abusers use techniques that are intended to disorient and cause self doubt. Follow your gut and run, run as if your life depended on it. If at any point you find you are suffering from ongoing emotional distress as the result of this relationship, don’t hesitate to see a professional trained in the specialty of domestic abuse.


Thank you so much, Jayne. It hadn’t occurred to me that his behaviour could be that calculated (chilling!) - more fool me! I will, as you say, run!


I’m really glad to have helped and thanks for bringing to light how corrupted a “bad” ENTJ personality can be. (Although other types can suffer from this disorder as well). I don’t think you’re a fool, you don’t seem to be a particularly weak or vulnerable person to me. Don’t beat yourself up, you’re not at fault here. Manipulators are experts at psychological penetration. I mean they are really good and can fool anyone. We all have vulnerabilities that can be exploited, in our personal as well as professional lives. The topic of Psychopaths/Narcissists in the work place/boardroom is a hot one these days. Anyone can be targeted! It doesn’t matter how strong, happy and well adjusted you are. Besides, he wasn’t that successful, he didn’t break through your defenses completely. Your bullshit detector alarms have been going off like crazy. :smiley:



That makes me feel considerably better.

To be fair to my ex (a somewhat painful exercise right now), at his best he was very ‘good.’ E.g. his energy, work ethic, and productiveness blew me away; he was caring, even protective, without being smothering; he would defer to me in arguments without sulking if I could prove my point; he never took my blunt way of speaking personally… I’ve read these qualities are ‘typical,’ so I guess I can’t rule out ENTJ men entirely (although his worst was so awful, I have no desire to repeat the experience)! :mrgreen:

I wonder (idle thought) - perhaps ENTJ’s are the only ‘type’ with enough energy/drive/will to be capable of such extreme highs and lows…

Thanks again - this exchange has really helped,


My guess is that since high preference feelers depend on feedback from others to regulate their emotional states and self esteem, some of these folks might have tendencies toward Narcissism. Narcissists require excessive amounts of attention and admiration and are easily provoke to rage when confronted with criticism/conflict. It’s quite the opposite for the ENTJ, we lack the need for reassurance. Since ENTJs and ESTJs (and possibly ENTP) are the types most comfortable with confrontation, and our weaker feeling preference creates challenges for us in intimate relationships, some of us might lean toward the antisocial side of the spectrum. I’m only speaking out of my own personal musings here, I’m still new to MBTI so I’m far from expert. I’m gonna google around for some studies tho.

James Fallon: Confessions of a Pro-Social Psychopath


Great link - thanks. I’m also new to MBTI, so can’t comment with any authority, here, although I’ll lay out some half-baked thoughts, from my own INTP perspective… :blush:

INTP’s likewise have a low feeling preference (our “functional preference ordering” matches ENTJ’s, albeit introversion/extroversion is reversed - hope I got the jargon right!), but we avoid confrontation (the theory holds true for me). Speaking personally, whilst I’m largely disinterested in social norms, and struggle to sympathize with/feel distanced from most people, I am easily able to value other people’s motivations/perspectives (when I’ve finally understood them - takes a while!), and can find ‘reason’ even in the seemingly irrational/unreasonable (e.g. the twisted logics of my ENFP best friend!). The thing that has struck me most in my readings on ENTJ’s, however, is their supposed need to control people and environments, and a (related?) lack of empathy/understanding in less mature individuals of this ‘type,’ and presumed monopoly on ‘rightness’ (or ‘rationality’). As such, some ENTJ’s might struggle to value other perspectives/‘truths’ - a potentially ‘dangerous’ characteristic if out of hand…!

Another thought: I came across the Enneagram recently, and I’m convinced my ex is an 8. Certainly, if ENTJ’s do overlap with enneagram type 8, we might see anti-social behaviour in the lower levels. You probably know this already, but just in case:

enneagraminstitute.com/TypeE … KapkOOTuS8 [scroll down]

Note - this site elsewhere suggests E. 8 corresponds with extraverted intuition (ENTP/ENFP?), and extraverted thinking (ENTJ) corresponds with E. 1, which undermines my theory (but doesn’t ring true to my mind - need to think more!)

I hope this make sense! Let me know if you turn up anything interesting in your google search!


About the Type 8, interesting. I haven’t delved into Enneagram much and my intuition is giving me an uneasy feeling about the Type 8 description of an 8 gone wrong. I suspect it’s not a broad enough consideration, there could be multiple type factors in play. But let me know if you see it differently.

We know that these disorders are related to childhood neglect. A percentage of kids who didn’t have their needs validated move into adulthood with their social/emotional development stunted and stuck in early childhood. I have a hunch that this is all related to feeling preferences. I read something about when parents consistently mirror a child’s emotions, the child is able to grow and develop a healthy sense of self. The stable sense of self is what people with PD’s lack.

Could the at risk types be those known for least empathy and being most comfortable with conflict/debate?
ENTJ, ESTJ, possibly ENTP?

Are the inferior feeling preference types at particular risk?

Or could it be a larger group like those of us with either inferior feeling or tertiary feeling preferences?

How about all introverted feelers?

Also the type of the parent could possibly play a role.

lol, I’m just throwing my ideas out in random Te style. Sorry if I’ve repeated anything. :smiley:



Just adding that a prevalent feature of of PDs is a skewed cynical belief system. ie:

  1. Believing you are unlovable
  2. That true love doesn’t exist, isn’t possible
  3. All close relationships end in disaster
  4. No one can ever be trusted, everyone will betray you eventually
  5. Belief that the fragile psyche would be unable to cope with being hurt/rejected and the flood of childhood pain that will be triggered
  6. People are either bad or all good, nothing in between, etc.

These conclusions are formulated in early childhood and would become values on which future decisions are based on. Feeling preference = values? How am I doing here? :slight_smile:


One thing that did interest me about the Enneagram was its consideration (albeit brief) of parental influence:
enneagraminstitute.com/TypeE … ND3O4mLKS8
(scroll down to the parental orientation section)

I enjoyed your speculations! My hunch would be to go for your no. 1 option (low empathy + comfort with conflict/debate) combined with no. 3 option (Fi). I think the difference between Fi and Fe could be important, with Fe linked to greater empathy:
personalityjunkie.com/functions- … e-fe-se/2/

Inferior Fi = ENTJ, ESTJ (both terrifying if you get on their wrong side!)
Tertiary Fi = ISTJ, INTJ

Compare this to Inferior Fe (INTP, ISTP) and Tertiary Fe (ESTP, ENTP) …this makes it sound like a J/P issue, which I’m sure it’s not!

Your sum of PD ‘features’ makes me think of this book:
amazon.co.uk/Whos-Pulling-Yo … 0071446729

  • and especially the section on how manipulator’s view the world: black/white; win/lose, which in relationships translates to victim/controller; sense of entitlement (bad childhood/world owes me/I’m special) + lack empathy; self-fulfilling projection…

If I’ve got it right, introverted feeling function (Fi) = independently formed values (as opposed to more socially-derived/influenced values as in Fe).

I really don’t know enough about this, these random thoughts are my Ne spiraling out of control! :wink:


Haha no worries dfk, I love a good brainstorming session. Whos-Pulling-Your-Strings looks like a good read, I might get it. Sorry I haven’t replied, I’m being very perceiver, been mulling over this off and on. :slight_smile:

How are you doing since you first posted? Have you gotten past the embarrassment factor? It’s a biggie, it always is for me anyway, and I’ve run into a few. Remember that authorities in the legal and health care system are routinely duped by these people. Codependence, learned helpless, and other labels that are applied to targets just don’t explain the enormity of this phenomenon and aren’t really fair, imo. (Notice I use the word target instead of victim)

This video was interesting.



Robert Hare Ph.D. is on the board of the Aftermath, Surviving Psychopathy Foundation. He developed the Psychopathy Checklist (PCL) and Psychopathy Checklist Revised (PCL-R), widely used to diagnose psychopathy. I hope this quote helps relieve you of any lingering self doubts you have.



Ha! I’m the worst offender when it comes to mulling things over… I’ve made an effort to overcome the ‘P,’ this time, although it makes me nervous to commit thoughts in writing without digesting them thoroughly first. Oh, to have the supreme confidence of an ENTJ! :wink:

Thanks for the two links; also for using the word ‘target,’ a great (empowering) alternative to ‘victim’ or ‘dupe’ (my initial choice!). I’ve been reading quite a bit on psychopathy and other mental disorders since I first asked my question/you kindly replied, and I’m getting a better picture of what my ex was and was not (emotionally abusive with a personality disorder, I’m pretty sure; but not, thank god, a psychopath - he is too controlled to meet the ‘impulsive’ criteria, in fact he has his life mapped out ad nauseum). The embarrassment /pain has faded (well except for the occasional twinge). I’ve even finally accepted I will never fully ‘understand’ his motivations and that I didn’t ‘deserve’ what happened (in the sense that I couldn’t have predicted his behaviour and thus countered it) - hard things for an over-analytical INTP to accept.

I continue to feel awe that such manipulative people exist and prosper… I still get the odd, shameless email from him saying he misses me and to please reply, etc. Even knowing what I now know, I feel like a total bitch ignoring him, which I ruthlessly do (he sounds so genuinely unhappy and lost). Still, one massive plus point is this whole experience has raised a fascinating area of study on personality types and disorders… a whole new playground of theory! :laughing:

Again - thanks Jayne for all your input/advice… This conversation has really helped, plus (big bonus) I’ve learned a lot. :slight_smile:


He sounds dumb… However, if I’ve come to a conclusion regarding mate/friend that I’m done, I am done. I never look back or restore.


Ha - I stumbled across this thread because I’m an ENTJ and have been accused of playing games. I see exactly what is happening here. And I know that this is from 2012 - so I’m going to respond to it like it is now in case anyone else out there is struggling with a similar issue.

One thing that is difficult for ENTJ’s is emotion and empathy and it sounds like after you turned him down on the marriage thing, he fell into the grip of his inferior function (Fi). I’m an ENTJ who is also an 8 and has dealt with rejection – which is what he got from you. You see, for us, when we make up our mind about commitments like marriage, we don’t do it lightly at all. We are also the type that want to get from point A to B to quickest, and don’t waste time. When you rejected him, he likely didn’t know how to handle it and instead started calculating other options and choices – but he never dealt with his feelings that he had for you because we usually don’t take a moment to sit back and self-reflect when we fall into the grip of Fi. So he began a new relationship in an effort to not face his own emotions, that didn’t work out, those emotions likely popped back up for him and in his mind the logical next step was to pursue you again. You asking him to give you space probably felt like further rejection to him. He started acting strangely again because it’s a difficult thing for an ENTJ to be in love and deal with rejection – so he’s on the fence between just dropping you completely, maintaining a relationship with you, and protecting his own heart. The reason things seem so hot and cold to you is because, and I am super guilty of this, when we process information and try to determine what is best for us in terms of relationships, if we don’t know where we stand it’s a battle of the head and heart. Head tells us run for the hills and abandon the illogical emotions, heart tells us to forge through and make things work. I can absolutely guarantee you that he’s not playing games – he’s just stuck in the grip of Fi and to him, you’re the one playing games where he feels like he has to be on the defensive and consider all possibilities of how you could further hurt him. We like it when things are just straight forward because we are decisive creatures and if we get indecisive like he is, it’s usually due to emotional turmoil.

I’ll include some resources to help better understand ENTJ’s.


I don’t suggest this suggestion because of anything you guys you have said about his personality or yourse but maily because the state of you guys relationship and it seems like you two seem just too confused about how you guys feel about each other and what yall want from each other to be considering a relationship at this point. Take a break from your dramas I know you guys have had a dramatic breakup but you guys haven’t taken a real amount of QUALIY time to come up with the best solution to your problem from what youved explained so do that