Unhealthy ENFP: 23 Signs and Differences From Healthy ENFPs
by Lisa Sparrow
Of all personality types, ENFPs are some of the bubbliest and easiest to get along with. They’re light-hearted, open to new adventures, and, of course, extremely fun to be around!
But what if we told you that some ENFPs can be manipulative, jealous, and even judgmental?
While it may be hard to believe, it’s true, and those are just some of the traits of unhealthy ENFPs.
In this article, we’ll dive into the depths of the dark side of the ENFP personality type, including:
- What is an Unhealthy ENFP Personality Type?
- What Causes ENFPs to Become Unhealthy?
- 13 Unmistakable Signs of an Unhealthy ENFP
What is an Unhealthy ENFP Personality Type?
Simply put, an unhealthy ENFP is a person with an ENFP personality type that demonstrates unhealthy or toxic characteristics. What’s more, people with an unhealthy ENFP personality type can adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms, which can affect their attitudes and behavior.
In an unhealthy state, ENFPs stop relying on their primary cognitive functions and try to navigate the world using their shadow functions. Naturally, this makes them act completely out of character, as they no longer use the functions that define their personality type.
Instead, they use their weakest and most underdeveloped functions, which happen to be the same as the primary INFJ cognitive functions. As a result, unhealthy ENFPs share numerous similarities with unhealthy INFJs, such as:
- Tendency to self-isolate
- Abandoning personal needs
- Impulsive behavior
- Judgmental attitude
Like any personality type, ENFPs have distinct strengths and weaknesses. However, unhealthy ENFPs aren’t able to balance them. In turn, they tend to display their flaws in full swing, whereas their strengths become barely, if at all, noticeable.
What Causes ENFPs to Become Unhealthy?
It’s important to understand that unhealthy ENFPs aren’t born with faulty or toxic personalities. In fact, each person with this personality type can display unhealthy traits under certain circumstances.
However, this doesn’t necessarily make them unhealthy. For example, it’s perfectly natural to pass judgment on someone if they do something that goes against your values (even if you’re an open-minded ENFP!). But, if being judgmental becomes your natural response, chances are you’re heading into the unhealthy ENFP territory.
In other words, unhealthy ENFPs consistently display unhealthy behaviors and attitudes.
Now that this is clear, here are the main causes that lead ENFPs to become an unhealthy version of themselves:
- Restrictive environments, e.g., growing up with overly strict and demanding parents
- Traumatic experiences, such as the loss of a loved one, heartbreak, or abuse
- Extreme stress, including financial problems, work-related issues, illness, etc.
- Major life changes, which especially affect ENFP-T personalities
If ENFPs aren’t able to find healthy ways to deal with the above-mentioned events, they’re at a heightened risk of developing an unhealthy personality.
13 Unmistakable Signs of an Unhealthy ENFP
As long as you aren’t aware that a problem exists, you can’t solve it. As such, recognizing if you or someone you care for has developed an unhealthy ENFP personality is critical to healing.
With that in mind, let’s look into 13 signs that indicate an unhealthy ENFP personality, including social isolation, lack of self-care, indecisiveness, and more.
#1. A Guarded Personality
Innately social and optimistic, healthy ENFPs believe that all people are inherently good and can easily find positive traits in anyone. They derive joy from meeting new people and learning what makes them tick. Unsurprisingly, they tend to get along with virtually everyone, even those who are vastly different from them.
However, unhealthy ENFPs lose their trust in people. As soon as their opposing role function— introverted intuition (Ni)—takes the wheel, they become suspicious of people’s motives. That’s because Ni throws intuitive insights at them, most of which aren’t based on reality, to protect ENFPs from potential harm.
Although Ni seeks to shield them from pain, it actually does more harm than good. It makes ENFPs distrust other people’s intentions and see threats even where there are none. As such, unhealthy ENFPs are guarded, unapproachable, and, at their worst, even paranoid.
#2. Social Isolation
Since unhealthy ENFPs don’t let people get close to them, it’s only natural that they become socially isolated.
However, the reasons for their self-isolating tendencies go beyond the fact that they don’t trust people. The third ENFP shadow function, introverted thinking (Ti), tricks unhealthy ENFPs into thinking they’re the only ones who can solve their problems.
Although ENFPs typically brainstorm solutions with their friends and family, unhealthy ones feel compelled to withdraw into themselves to organize their thoughts. While this works for Ti users such as INTPs or INFJs, this simply isn’t how ENFPs work. Once they’re left alone with their thoughts, they overthink them, which inevitably leads to analysis paralysis.
It’s important to note that ENFP-Ts are especially susceptible to self-isolation, as they don’t normally ask for help or share their feelings with people.
#3. Self-Absorption & Narcissism
Healthy ENFPs are selfless, generous, and incredibly compassionate. While they love sharing their thoughts and ideas, they find hearing other people’s stories just as interesting. Even though they have big personalities, they care about others and make it a point not to overshadow them.
However, this all changes when they develop unhealthy personality traits. Unhealthy ENFPs are so focused on their own feelings and thoughts that they become self-centered. Even worse, they believe that their problems are more important than those of other people.
Needless to say, they feel entitled to vent about their problems and don’t care if other people don’t have the time or emotional capacity to listen to them.
In fact, if you tell an unhealthy ENFP that you’re too busy or have your own problems, they’ll likely take it personally. This can send them into a downward spiral of self-pity, which only intensifies their fixation with themselves.
#4. Lack of Self-Care
Out of all cognitive functions, ENFPs have the least control over their extraverted sensing (Se), which is primarily responsible for making people grounded in the present moment. Most of the time, this isn’t much of an issue. It simply makes ENFPs a bit absent-minded and not very observant of their surroundings.
However, in unhealthy ENFPs, Se manifests as a complete disregard for personal needs. Typically, it manifests as forgetting to eat, shower, or go to sleep at a reasonable time. At the same time, they may not honor their personal boundaries and do everything to please other people, even if it harms them.
#5. Judgmental Conversations
As we mentioned, unhealthy ENFPs get intuitive insights from their third shadow cognitive function, Ni. Although they typically trust their feelings, ENFPs don’t question whether their intuition is right or wrong. On the contrary, they strongly believe it’s right.
This blind trust in their intuition makes unhealthy ENFPs quite arrogant. They disregard other people’s opinions, believing they know the truth. Without a doubt, it can be incredibly difficult and frustrating to try and knock some sense into their heads.
What’s more, Ni pushes unhealthy ENFPs to develop a holier-than-thou attitude. As a result, they become rather judgmental, cynical, and harsh. To make matters worse, they don’t hold back their criticism, which can damage their personal and professional relationships.
ENFPs love the freedom that comes with keeping their options open. Naturally, they postpone making decisions as much as possible. If they must decide, however, they’ll use their auxiliary function, introverted feeling (Fi). In other words, they’ll make a decision based on their feelings and internal values.
That said, unhealthy ENFPs often feel paralyzed when they have to pick an option. This happens as a result of two things:
- Extraverted feeling (Fe). Unhealthy ENFPs use Fe instead of Fi to make decisions. This means that they don’t filter their options internally to see what feels right. Instead, they seek other people’s validation, which makes them incompetent to make decisions on their own.
- Ne-Te loop. Unhealthy ENFPs can get stuck in a Ne-Te loop, which means they non-stop look for and analyze possibilities (Ne) and see what’s the best option (Te). However, once their Te identifies the best option, their Ne finds more possible options and scenarios of what could go wrong. As a result, unhealthy ENFPs get trapped in a never-ending cycle of overanalyzing.
Going through a traumatic experience, severe stress, life changes, and being in restrictive environments can break down the spirit of ENFPs and chip away at their self-confidence. In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to spot an unhealthy ENFP. Instead of being enthusiastic and spontaneous, they begin doubting themselves and lose their spark.
Moreover, as they begin to use Fe more and more, unhealthy ENFPs become overly focused on other people. Losing their self-confidence leads them to seek other people’s approval. What’s worse, when they notice that they’re becoming a shell of who they used to be, they tend to criticize and blame themselves instead of being self-compassionate.
There’s no denying that ENFPs are one of the most impulsive personality types. Nonetheless, unhealthy ENFPs take impulsivity to the next—and often dangerous—level.
Extremely unhealthy ENFPs can activate the full force of their most underdeveloped cognitive function, Se. This function is called their “demon” for a reason—it’s the most destructive and unconscious part of the ENFP personality type.
In unhealthy ENFPs, Se manifests as immensely impulsive behavior. They often lose their sense of self-protection and don’t care what happens to them. They want to feel and experience things at any cost.
As such, unhealthy ENFPs can make rash decisions and jump into things without a second thought. Since they seek thrills, they may engage in dangerous activities, such as reckless driving or experimenting with illegal substances.
#9. Jealousy and Negativity
Have you noticed that an ENFP in your life comes back at you with snarky remarks when you share your triumphs? Well, there’s a high possibility they’ve become unhealthy.
ENFPs are little bags of happiness, and they wouldn’t miss a chance to celebrate your success. However, this is something that you couldn’t say about unhealthy ENFPs.
When they’re unhealthy, ENFPs are prone to becoming jealous and negative. Since they don’t realize their potential, they become frustrated when they hear about other people’s accomplishments. A passive-aggressive attitude, cynicism, and downplaying your achievements are all dead giveaways of an unhealthy ENFP personality.
ENFPs know they’re charming little creatures, but unhealthy ENFPs often use their charm against other people.
As we mentioned above, unhealthy ENFPs can be rather self-centered. As such, some of them believe that their needs and wishes are above everyone else’s. If this happens, they will use their natural charm to manipulate people into doing favors for them.
However, it isn’t just charm that enables ENFPs to successfully manipulate people. They’re also known for their empathy. Unfortunately, it allows unhealthy ENFPs to know exactly which buttons to push to get people to meet their needs.
#11. Lack of Creativity
Nonetheless, unhealthy ENFPs lose their creative powers. Considering that they don’t use their primary cognitive functions, it comes as no surprise. After all, it’s their Ne that helps them come up with unique ideas and solutions to problems.
It goes without saying that feeling uninspired can take a serious toll on ENFPs’ self-esteem. They pride themselves on being unique and authentic, so losing inspiration equals losing their identity.
#12. Not Trying New Things
Healthy ENFPs are driven by ideas and their wish to experience life to the fullest. While not all ENFPs make their dreams come true (yes, we’re talking about you, ENFP-Ts!), most people with this personality type are always open to new experiences.
That said, unhealthy ENFPs lack the self-confidence and drive to try out new things. To some of them, this happens as a result of a general apathy toward life. For others, Fe is to blame, as they become too preoccupied with what other people think of them.
So, if you want a definite answer as to whether your ENFP friend or loved one has become unhealthy, recommend a new hobby or an exotic meal to them. If they don’t meet your idea with their usual enthusiasm, take it as a red flag.
The last tell-tale sign of an unhealthy ENFP is rather paradoxical. Why, you ask?
In short, unhealthy ENFPs become obsessed with facts, logic, and rationality. This all boils down to their use of Ti, which makes them focus on cold hard facts. However, ENFPs don’t have much control over this cognitive function, so they get lost somewhere in the process of trying to make sense of things. In turn, their behavior becomes irrational and puzzling.
For example, unhealthy ENFPs may misinterpret your words, take them out of context, and use them to prove you’re wrong—even if you didn’t try to prove anything in the first place!
10 Key Differences Between Healthy and Unhealthy ENFPs
Now that you know the typical signs of an unhealthy ENFP, here are 10 major differences between healthy and unhealthy people with this personality type:
- Open-mindedness. Healthy ENFPs are always interested in hearing different points of view, even if they don’t agree with them. Unhealthy ENFPs, meanwhile, become short-sighted. They’ll nitpick your arguments and start fights.
- Adaptability. Unlike healthy ENFPs, unhealthy ones feel uncomfortable with change. They may react equally dramatically whether you’ve canceled a movie night or unexpectedly moved to another country.
- Reliability. While healthy ENFPs keep their promises, unhealthy ENFPs won’t feel bad about breaking them.
- Asking for help. Healthy ENFPs easily reach out to their friends and family when they need support. Meanwhile, unhealthy ENFPs will outrightly deny they need help.
- Exploration. Healthy ENFPs thrive on new experiences and love traveling more than anything. On the other hand, unhealthy ENFPs would rather stay home.
- Level of interest. Healthy ENFPs are engaged and enthusiastic but respect other people’s boundaries. Unhealthy ENFPs go to extremes, so they’re either apathetic or completely obsessed with people.
- Selflessness. Healthy ENFPs are generous and supportive. Unhealthy ENFPs either prioritize other people’s needs and abandon their own or become self-serving.
- Thrill. Healthy ENFPs crave excitement and look for healthy ways to get it (e.g., escape rooms, rock climbing, ziplining, etc.), whereas unhealthy ones disregard their safety in pursuit of an adrenaline fix.
- Self-compassion. Healthy ENFPs are gentle with themselves when they make a mistake or have a bad day. Meanwhile, unhealthy ENFPs judge themselves when something goes wrong.
- Independence. Healthy ENFPs are self-reliant, but they still welcome other people’s help and opinions. Unhealthy ENFPs are either self-righteous and dismissive of other people or overly dependent on others and their opinions.
In other words, healthy ENFPs are open-minded, altruistic, and flexible individuals who are enthusiastic about life. Since they see life as an exciting adventure, they try to make each day of their lives count. They are also forgiving toward themselves and others, which is something most unhealthy ENFPs struggle with.
4 Steps to Becoming a Healthier ENFP
Let’s be honest—realizing that you have an unhealthy ENFP personality isn’t fun. The good news is that you can heal and become a healthier ENFP!
To do so, follow these 4 foolproof steps:
#1. Seek Help From a Professional
While it’s possible to work on yourself individually, it’s always easier with the help of a professional.
So, if you’re struggling with unhealthy ENFP traits, the best option is to get in touch with an experienced therapist or another mental health professional. Their help, expertise, and support will help you quickly become a better version of yourself!
Not to mention, unhealthy ENFPs have a hard time reaching out and asking for help. As such, this shows your determination and is a positive first step toward self-improvement!
#2. Educate Yourself on the Topic
Both admitting that you have an unhealthy ENFP personality and reaching out to a professional are great steps to becoming healthier. Still, you also need to do your homework.
For this reason, try to research the topic of unhealthy ENFPs. Reading articles (like this one!), watching YouTube videos, and joining support groups on social media sites are great ways to gain more knowledge about the topic.
Most importantly, avoid blindly taking in the information. To get the most benefits, think and analyze how the things you’re learning relate to you.
#3. Be Open to Working on Yourself
We won’t deny it—working on yourself is no easy task. Still, if you want to improve, you need to be open to it. On top of that, healing and becoming a healthy ENFP isn’t linear, which means you’re bound to experience ups and downs on your way.
As such, it’s important that you strongly commit to becoming healthier and don’t lose your motivation along the way. Remember to celebrate small victories and be kind to yourself when things don’t go well. It’s natural! The key is to focus on the big picture instead of clinging to details.
#4. Open Up to People You Trust
As an ENFP, chances are you have a strong support system—even if you don’t believe that. After all, you probably have lots of friends and family members you’ve pushed away during your unhealthy episode.
Luckily, being open and honest can help you mend broken bonds AND get you closer to being a healthy ENFP! So, don’t hesitate to reach out to your closest people, even if you left them on read for the last 8 months. More likely than not, they’ll be happy to hear from you!
FAQs About Unhealthy ENFPs
#1. What does an unhealthy ENFP look like?
In short, an unhealthy ENFP looks nothing like a healthy one. They’re barely recognizable! Unhealthy ENFPs are detached and either self-obsessed or self-sacrificing. What’s more, they can become manipulative, passive-aggressive, jealous, and negative.
#2. What are ENFPs insecure about?
Most often, ENFPs feel insecure about not living up to their own expectations and potential. They want to experience everything that life has to offer and have so many ideas that one lifetime isn’t enough for them to realize all their goals and dreams.
That said, like all personality types, ENFPs can be insecure about anything—from their looks to skills.
#3. Do ENFPs get angry easily?
No, most ENFPs don’t get angry easily. While most people are bothered by others having opposing views, ENFPs welcome all points of view. Not to mention, they naturally look on the bright side of life, which makes them less likely to get frustrated.
However, immature or unhealthy ENFPs can be rather impulsive and thus get angry very easily.
#4. Are ENFPs narcissistic?
No—unless they are unhealthy, ENFPs aren’t typically narcissistic. Quite the contrary—they tend to be generous and compassionate, prioritizing other people’s needs as much as their own. They also try to look for solutions that benefit all parties instead of just them.
And there you go—that was everything you need to know about unhealthy ENFPs to recognize them. Even better, now you know how ENFPs can become healthier!
The takeaway is that unhealthy ENFPs look nothing like your typical free and easy ENFPs. They’re reclusive, have low self-esteem, and refuse to explore new things. Luckily, being an unhealthy ENFP isn’t something that can’t be fixed!