“I’ve shown you what I can do.
I’ve cut loose all those people, all those little problems.
Even thirty million quid just to get you to come out and play.  So take this as a friendly warning, my dear.  
Back off… I’m going to kill you anyway someday.  I don’t want to rush it though. I’m saving it up for something special…
If you don’t stop prying I will burn you. I will burn the heart out of you.”
Jim Moriarty, BBC’s Sherlock

“The Moriarty Fear” is the textbook phobia of INTPs that if anyone is better than they are in the area in which they specialize, that they will not only be outshined, but rendered meaningless, worthless and obsolete.  IP’s are the specialists, loving detail and preferring depth over breadth, but this means the areas in which they sink all their time and energy are very precious to them.  INTPs especially tend to get the most inside their own heads as they love to use their minds to explore the world by themselves, using abstract thought to find solutions to problems.  For them, smart often becomes a moral thing and the only battleground worth winning.

But, especially if they let that battle make them arrogant and self-righteous about the areas in which they specialize, pretentiously believing that they are the only ones that can know the things they know, an INTP can end up overlooking important details outside themselves and someone with a wider scope of field can end up surpassing them even in their own area of expertise.  Rather than recognizing that they need to learn more, an INTP can dig in their heels and instead insist on beating down their “usurper,” making sure they rise to the top again, not by self-improvement, but by being the last man standing.   Even if they are able to weed out the competition, an INTP at “the top” will constantly be watching their back, waiting for the day they secretly fear will come, when others will see their gaps in wisdom and knowledge, call out their weaknesses and that they will have no recourse.

But if an INTP instead seeks for improvement for its own sake, rather than as a competition, they indeed can be exceptional in what they do; in fact an INTP can’t truly excel in the ways they are needed unless they stop comparing and learn again for its own sake.

Syndrome, The Incredibles (leading my INFJ to want to call it “Syndrome Syndrome” instead 😉 )
Ross Geller, Friends
Vizzini, The Princess Bride
and so many more…

Click here for an in-depth look at INTP “The Alchemist”!