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  1. #1
    Senior Member toast's Avatar
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    Default ENFJs... Help me help myself by helping me!

    So...
    I'm going to try as hard as I can to make this not a long ranting post so I will actually get some replies.

    I'm with / was with an ISTP. I'm ENFJ. Both very true to type. Relationship very intense but full of conflict. Bad, bad history. Things got better. Much better, to the point where we looked compatible / happy from the outside.

    But... his passive / detached / lack of any 'need' for me makes me so insecure that I end up giving too much, more than I want to, like I'm attempting to push for feedback. So I'm in love with the intensity we have, but overwhelmed by how unsatisfied & tired I am. I give too much, even though I don't want to, and then I judge how little he gives back. That's my problem with me.

    This behavior in turn makes him feel overwhelmed & anxious. He feels judged & like at every moment something is expected from him. He gets resentful when I'm upset. Then tells me to directly ask for what I want or explain my feelings without blame. I do this, then he finds blame in what I'm saying, even when it is as simple as "I'm feeling bad." Then he gets resentful & ignores me. That's my problem with him.

    Eventually I snap & my outburst 'confirms' his fears. I become judgmental, I feel entitled to more. I make ultimatums but don't focus on believing in the resolving outcome. So they come out like conclusions & make him feel that he can't change anything. He is more passive, making me more angry, and then they do become conclusions. Then he calms down & starts to feel hopeful, I calm down and feel hopeless. He gives a little. I feel a little better but can't appreciate it fully because it came so late. It gets better, we get happy, I get too intense, he pulls away, cycle continues.

    I separated from him about a week ago. I don't know what I'm doing but I have an idea. I don't want to make him unhappy anymore. I need to get out of this pattern of never taking care of myself & giving him more than he wants & more than I want to give. He is obviously scared I'm leaving him, & has freaked out a couple times, but otherwise seems to be okay. Neither of us will bring up whether or not its actually over. He is definitely avoiding it & I'm not wanting to deal with him putting in a position where he makes me decide & its all on me. Not right now. We live together, but have been extremely busy so we are seeing almost nothing of each other.

    I am afraid because I don't know whether I'm trying to heal a little & then try again or if I want this to be over. I most definitely want to be with him, but I don't know if I believe it will work anymore. Distance like this always seems to make him closer to me, but distance for me is a real love killer. I'm afraid that when he does try again & / or I feel more capable, I will have recovered by resigning myself that it would never work.

    Either way, I need some advice, related experiences, anything. I just need to talk about it. I have friends / family to talk to but they've honestly heard enough about this relationship for a lifetime I'm sure. It is just extremely terrifying that feeling better is right now correlated with feeling farther from him, especially since I keep getting pangs of emotions & drives to go back to him, but almost instinctively push myself from doing it. It's like I'm on autopilot, and have no idea where I'm going. I'm also concerned this is very unfair to him, as he might be under the impression this is temporary. (It would surprise me if he wasn't because he seems to take everything that way.) But I am very final when relationships change.

    So I failed at the ranting... sorry.
    ____________________________________________
    "In my soul rages a battle without victor. Between faith without proof and reason without charm." - Sully Prudhomme

  2. #2
    Lungs & Lips Locked Unkindloving's Avatar
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    Sometimes one of the best things you can do is show someone how you describe the situation to others. I would send him this post or the majority of it and ask for his input. It acknowledges the issues on both sides and to both people and what can be altered to make things better.

    Relationships are sacrifice. You need to reel yourself in a bit and he needs to reel himself out a bit so it's more evenly distributed. There also needs to be an understanding of time. Things don't happen immediately and people do slip up at times.
    If you try to work through it, you just need to find a different way to approach it and both of you need to be less reactant as much as possible.
    ENFJs in relationships can be difficult. We tend to give to people and not expect much or anything back, but when the person is our significant other the whole ballgame changes up. We expect a decent amount and are greatly affected by it and/or our lack of handle on it.
    I'm not sure how ISTPs are in daily interaction compared to relationship interaction so i can't comment on them, but i'm sure it can be just as interesting.

    I hope things get sorted in one way or another. You can only sacrifice so much of yourself so do what can benefit you and what you can handle.
    Hang on traveling woman - Don't sacrifice your plan
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  3. #3
    Senior Member syndatha's Avatar
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    The way you describe it, it seems like the bad circle starts with you judging him for not giving enough, and that overwhelms him. Remember that it is not possible to make other people change, you can only change yourself, and hope that this will make them decide to change as well.

    You really need to find out if you want him, just the way he is. He's not going to be as intensely giving as yourself - he's ISTP, not ENFJ
    He has other qualities

    I also wonder if your pattern is a way to create intensity which isn't really there. No wonder it makes him nervous

    What do you want? What does he want?

    I've only had one experience with an ISTP; my second boyfriend. He was 18 and I was 14 when we started dating. We were together for almost 3 years, and it took me 9 months to break up with him. Is your boyfriend older than you?

  4. #4

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    All you really need to do is to communicate. Write him a letter telling him how you feel about all this!
    Call me Visa, please!
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast View Post

    But... his passive / detached / lack of any 'need' for me makes me so insecure that I end up giving too much, more than I want to, like I'm attempting to push for feedback. So I'm in love with the intensity we have, but overwhelmed by how unsatisfied & tired I am. I give too much, even though I don't want to, and then I judge how little he gives back. That's my problem with me.
    Can I just ask you a question? In what ways do you want him to 'need' you?

    Quote Originally Posted by toast View Post
    This behavior in turn makes him feel overwhelmed & anxious. He feels judged & like at every moment something is expected from him. He gets resentful when I'm upset. Then tells me to directly ask for what I want or explain my feelings without blame. I do this, then he finds blame in what I'm saying, even when it is as simple as "I'm feeling bad." Then he gets resentful & ignores me. That's my problem with him.
    Oh haha, this reminds me of my relationship with an ENFJ. I react to something that he has done to make ME upset. I ignore him thinking HE is the one to make amends and somehow I gauge that he is now upset and I always have to be the one apologising. But do you think the ENFJ will accept my attempts to make amends? No it's a long drawn out process.

    Quote Originally Posted by toast View Post
    I snap & my outburst 'confirms' his fears. I become judgmental, I feel entitled to more. I make ultimatums but don't focus on believing in the resolving outcome. So they come out like conclusions & make him feel that he can't change anything. He is more passive, making me more angry, and then they do become conclusions. Then he calms down & starts to feel hopeful, I calm down and feel hopeless. He gives a little. I feel a little better but can't appreciate it fully because it came so late. It gets better, we get happy, I get too intense, he pulls away, cycle continues.
    It sounds like to me that you can't communicate your needs effectively and feel guilty for doing so. This seems to be the thing you need to prioritise/work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by toast View Post

    I am afraid because I don't know whether I'm trying to heal a little & then try again or if I want this to be over. I most definitely want to be with him, but I don't know if I believe it will work anymore. Distance like this always seems to make him closer to me, but distance for me is a real love killer. I'm afraid that when he does try again & / or I feel more capable, I will have recovered by resigning myself that it would never work.
    If you want to be with him then you should try to work it out, even if you don't know if it will. You won't make peace with yourself until you know for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by toast View Post
    way, I need some advice, related experiences, anything. I just need to talk about it. I have friends / family to talk to but they've honestly heard enough about this relationship for a lifetime I'm sure. It is just extremely terrifying that feeling better is right now correlated with feeling farther from him, especially since I keep getting pangs of emotions & drives to go back to him, but almost instinctively push myself from doing it. It's like I'm on autopilot, and have no idea where I'm going. I'm also concerned this is very unfair to him, as he might be under the impression this is temporary. (It would surprise me if he wasn't because he seems to take everything that way.) But I am very final when relationships change.

    So I failed at the ranting... sorry.
    Sorry but I feel for the guy because I feel like ENFJs have these hidden expectations and then get upset at their partners for not living up to them when the partner has no idea that they were supposed to 'be that way' in the first place. To be honest, you come off a bit wishy washy now, which is understandable because you're upset, so how on earth is your partner able to know what the 'right thing' to do is when you don't really know yourself.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BlueFlame's Avatar
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    It really sounds like you're simply not getting your needs met in this relationship, so in true ENFJ form, you've been Fe-ing him to death. We tend to lead subtly and by example, and to try to woo people into meeting our needs willingly...and that's fine unless we need something someone can't easily give or we're dealing with someone who just doesn't *get* hints.

    I've never dated an ISTP, but I've dated other Ti-doms, and their independence and lack of neediness is so alluring - they're everything I think we tend to admire, and at first, it's a welcome break from the world of people who need us.

    But, personally, I've found that I can't exist like that long term. I go from admiration to mild frustration to feeling like I'm screaming at a brick wall and ripping myself into pieces to to be *happy* and keep the peace. I would never have considered myself to be needy until I dated a Ti-dom. He was an amazing person, but the dynamic exhausted us both, and I didn't like who I became with him, so we parted ways.

    I guess my point is that any pairing can work when combined with other positive factors, but the fact that you will need more from him than he needs from you. ISTPs tend to desire an independent life that meets together with their mates occasionally, I think, versus the ENFJ need to affect and be affected on a more constant basis. He is who he is and you are who you are, and you can either accept each other without judgment or move on. Such is life!

    I think a good starting point is figuring out what your expectations are and clearly communicating them to him. I think half the time we can't put a finger on what we want, but we know we want SOMETHING so we charge in blindly with Fe and then get disappointed when the other person can't figure it out either. Prime fuel for Volcano ENFJ to erupt, no?
    Anyway, if you can ckealry define what you need, he may be better able to look at himself and honestly decide if he can be that person, and you can look at yourself and see what parts of your being you're willing to sacrifice and what parts you hold onto to survive, and decide together if it's really time to let go or come back together stronger.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member toast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Unkindloving View Post
    ENFJs in relationships can be difficult. We tend to give to people and not expect much or anything back, but when the person is our significant other the whole ballgame changes up. We expect a decent amount and are greatly affected by it and/or our lack of handle on it.
    This sums up a lot that has bothered me in my relationship with him. I have definitely felt like it doesn't make sense how instantly sensitive I become in an SO relationship. Like BlueFlame said, I have never, and I'm seriously sure, felt anywhere near 'needy' in a relationship before the ISTP. I guess I got just enough emotional connection back, so naturally I never had to think about it. But it seems like my needs are exaggerated because he connects less. This seems so illogical and absurd. I keep telling myself I can treat it, feedback wise, like a friendship. But then I fail & feel guilty, like if I could fix this one thing everything would be okay, but I can't.

    Quote Originally Posted by kasabian View Post
    Can I just ask you a question? In what ways do you want him to 'need' you?
    I'm very aware that I need emotional feedback from time to time, and appreciative responses I can understand, to be happy in a SO relationship. It seems like he needs nothing more than to know that I like sitting on the couch with him, I'm not screwing anyone else & I'll feel bad for him when he's sick. He's so low maintenance that he appears to only really want the idea of being with me, but nothing that actually comes from me seems to phase him. I feel like I'm in a long distance relationship but he's right there the whole time. Like I'm just sitting in the background & he seldom considers that I'm actually there. (And I know this isn't entirely true.) So I wave my hands trying to get him to take notice of me, but because he doesn't seem to see me I wave them harder than I would with someone else.

    Sometimes I can't even believe him when he says how he feels because of how autonomous he is. Like he has said this week that if I leave him, he'll be "wrecked" and never get over it. And he's said he's "going out of his mind" but he's friggen telling me that while he's out with his friends or on his computer, or going about his day as normal as can be.

    Quote Originally Posted by kasabian View Post
    Oh haha, this reminds me of my relationship with an ENFJ. I react to something that he has done to make ME upset. I ignore him thinking HE is the one to make amends and somehow I gauge that he is now upset and I always have to be the one apologizing. But do you think the ENFJ will accept my attempts to make amends? No it's a long drawn out process.
    This sounds about right. And makes me feel like sh*t. I have actually tried to work on this but have had little luck. I think this is where our past (which was pretty nasty for me) really mucks things up. It seems like when he gets upset about something 'I' do, I'm already pissed at him for something I consider much bigger, so I feel like making amends is giving in on something larger. And I don't know if this is just him, but when I do try to make things right, he definitely takes longer to warm back up to me than I do to him when he's the one to apologize. That whole situation is one of his biggest complaints though, and I know he's right, so I'll definitely keep working on it. I've actually been thinking maybe the time I'm taking away from him can be best used to get over the issues in the past that neither of us can change, so they aren't hanging over my head all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by syndatha View Post
    The way you describe it, it seems like the bad circle starts with you judging him for not giving enough, and that overwhelms him. Remember that it is not possible to make other people change, you can only change yourself, and hope that this will make them decide to change as well.
    Oh I know it starts with me. It makes me feel terrible & inferior because all the while I'm angry at not feeling loved while what he's doing works fine for him. Its like he could run the relationship perfectly by just pretending it isn't there & I'm killing it by making it a priority. Its messed up.

    What do you want? What does he want?
    Well, I don't know what he wants. It'd probably take him 12 years to figure that out & then be ready to get back to me. I feel like he just wants a buddy with some special secret pact to always be there in case he gets the inkling to get cuddly or sexual. Sometimes, for moments, I can tell he likes the idea that he's a 'boyfriend.' Its like he wants a gf just so he can have those moments, but otherwise he just wants a friend. I'd be okay with it if he'd be there for me when I wanted to feel like a gf, but of course, he gives less of that kind of stuff than I do & I need more of it than he does.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueFlame View Post
    I think a good starting point is figuring out what your expectations are and clearly communicating them to him. I think half the time we can't put a finger on what we want, but we know we want SOMETHING so we charge in blindly with Fe and then get disappointed when the other person can't figure it out either. Prime fuel for Volcano ENFJ to erupt, no?
    Though I have asked him clearly & directly for specifics before, its true that for the most part, I don't know how to define "emotional connection" in his language. I just want to feel him feeling something for me, more than never, and I want him to do things for me that show I'm appreciated, sometimes. I want to be reminded why he loves me or even likes me, because my mind will literally come to the conclusion that we have nothing in common, he doesn't find me interesting & he's just holding on because of the idea of 'us'. Its like he spends all his time quickly analyzing meaningless details about objects around him, while he moves through internal or emotional or relationship analyzing at the speed of a turtle, making him relatively stable. While I am constantly churning those internal things so quickly that I need reassurance from him to believe in us. He doesn't believe in us any more than I do, but he doesn't get as hopeless as me when there's no evidence we are doing okay, because he's simply not looking for it. Its not about changing who he is, its about getting him to give a little reassurance / affirmation now & then to help me out. But I definitely need to keep trying to define that, because I've said about as much & he seems clueless.

    The thing that is so friggen frustrating is I am trying so so so hard to stop this judging that starts the cycle and do my part to make it work but he won't give me any support at all. He won't even acknowledge that I'm trying. He always tells me to word thing differently so they don't sound judgmental & I do every time I talk to him now, but he takes his guilt or whatever and twists it to imply that I'm still being accusative. I'll say: "I'm not feeling too good." and he'll say "why?", I'll say "I was really hoping to ... with you" or "It feel bad when you talk like that" & he's instantly just: "There you go again!" Then I'm wrong, & he can walk away from me without even considering my feelings. He has said that empathizing is so hard for him that he has to completely concentrate to do it. I seriously feel like he looks for any excuse to cop out of it. I really think if he supported me, than being with him could really help me grow a lot. I'm sure if I really felt loved by him, and more certain of our future, even once, I'd be able to live in the present with him sometimes & over analyze us less.
    ____________________________________________
    "In my soul rages a battle without victor. Between faith without proof and reason without charm." - Sully Prudhomme

  8. #8
    Lungs & Lips Locked Unkindloving's Avatar
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    Hm. I'm going to paraphrase a sentiment that Fuzzcrossed threw my way. He was telling me that others will give and show love when you are being more dependent on yourself. With less expectation, they will be more prone to showing more. The discussion was based on friends, but it does apply to relationships.
    You're focusing on your ISTP and relationship so much that it's taking what you need for yourself. It's likely why you need so much more back from him/why it is so damaging to not see it returned. If a person loses their grounding then a relationship can become even more unbalanced. You do need to take a breath, shake it off as much as you can, and regain your ground with yourself.
    This doesn't mean don't communicate your thoughts and feelings with your ISTP, but try not to invest so much of yourself if it causes so much damage to do so. The stronger you are, the more you can invest without stumbling. Hopefully, as you build your own strength he will view it as more welcoming and provide more. If not, then you are stronger and still gain from it.

    I've been trying to come to a conclusion about T vs F emotions and handling situations. Your mention of your ISTP going about his daily business while telling you intense feelings that don't match up is a potential example.
    I'm under the impression that Thinkers are amazing at compartmentalizing their feelings and tasks. They separate both and don't tend to take them both into account unless absolutely necessary, thus they aren't frequently impeded in their actions.
    Feelers (especially ENFJs) are bombarded by taking both feelings and tasks into account at the same time and, when we compartmentalize, feelings and tasks are paired up and sectioned off. It impedes us a lot and can cause us to look at Thinkers narrowly when we are involved and get tripped up.

    I'm dealing with it from my INTJ friend and it twists my insides up when i know she is functioning perfectly well. It twists it up so much that i can forget how she really works and internalizes things.
    If you agree/disagree definitely share.

    Another thing- it is daunting to decipher yourself as an ENFJ. It's daunting when you do decipher what you're thinking and feeling for other people and they want you to break it down even further. You should communicate that if you think the same. I view it as another thing you're giving that you might not even see. We're a type that is built up when people can figure out what we are saying. While it may be sparing his feelings to tip-toe around certain phrasing, it could be more draining and damaging to you to do so frequently.
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  9. #9
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    First realize that your values are different, he wants only fun, while you want depth, which is a huge gap to cross. Second, he's going to express himself differently than you, which can be easy once you realize this is how he cares. Your challenge is going to be that you are going to have to let him have his way from time to time and see if he reciprocates. If not, then he's not paying attention to you and doesn't really care.

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    You don't say how old you are or whether you have kids, but assuming you have no permanent commitment or children together, this is my advice: I think you need to ask yourself why you want to be in a relationship which makes you unhappy. The intensity you describe, combined with the obvious incompatibility and unhappiness you describe, suggests to me that you are playing out deep seated emotional conflicts/ childhood history/ ingrained mythology.

    I had this problem when I was younger and was drawn to two unhealthy relationships in a row: INTP and ESTP, probably, the types, but more importantly the men and my relationships with them were severely dysfunctional and yet I would not let go. I also felt magically, mysteriously and intensely drawn to them. I recommend you maintain as much distance as you can handle while doing some serious inner work. In particular, since you are an NF like me, I recommend you get ahold of a book called Personal Mythology by Stanley Krippner and David Feinstein which will help you work through the unconscious mythologies which are controlling your life and choose more consciously the mythologies you want to live. I have been happily married for 15 years to an ISFP who I felt drawn to as I was undergoing the process of transforming myself. You may find that if you are healthier you would rather not be with this guy after all, or you may figure out how to make it work from your end.

    If you do have kids together, then I think you may need to work counseling and couples counseling into this process.

    I wish you the best of luck.

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