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  1. #1
    Senior Member pyramid's Avatar
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    Default ENFP with ENFJ mom -- help

    My mom and I (she raised me mostly) are constantly riding a sine/cosine wave in our relationship:
    We get along fluidly and maybe even make people jealous of how much of the same they can see in us, and then plummet to extreme values conflicts and verbally abusive arguments. :eek:

    I get very offended when my ENFJ mom slams doors in my face. I am very sensitive to "I don't want to talk about this anymore" or "I don't want to see you right now" in the middle of an unresolved, escalated situation. My Fi is shattered and I can't carry on with normal activities until it is pieced back together. She turns her Fe on and off completely to get what she wants, and when she turns it off for me, her daughter, I am crushed.

    My complacency and non-traditional learning style infuriate her. I am very smart with money but not the best at finding suitable employment and that drives her insane. She perceives me as very negative (even since I have 180ed my upbeat sarcasm and almost never use it. It's like she doesn't understand when I am serious or joking). Maybe I do other things that bother her, any suggestions?

    I stretch and stretch and stretch to accommodate my mom and her judgements. I want to use her advice but sometimes I wish she'd work on her own problems (that are SCREAMING to me and that indicate she's in no place to be schooling others) instead of trying to teach me about all of mine. I have a tendency to feel like if I listened to all of her advice I'd simply end up as a clone!

    You guys are smart. Care to shed some light on this situation?

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    Sometimes people need space when they are upset. I can understand the feeling of need and sadness that comes from unresolved conflict, trust me, I have felt that way too (mostly in romantic relationships for me but you and your mother may be closer than my mother and I)...but at the same time, I also know the feeling of just wanting to get away from someone I'm arguing with.

    In terms of dealing with her judgements, I would just weigh and evaluate what seems like useful advice and nod and smile and ignore the rest. I find this tactic works with mothers in general.

    I'd give anything to have a doorslam mom. My mom is an ESFP with a horrible temper, and when I lived with her for a year and a half and tried to get away from a bad argument, she'd come banging and screaming on my door and just make the situation worse. That's hell on earth.

    It was actually my ENFJ sister who taught me to ignore my mother when she was saying things that were bad advice without turning it into a conflict. I actually get along with my ENFJ sister extremely well, but I ignore her advice sometimes too. There is an ignore button in real life, you know.

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    Professional Trickster Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    Pyramid, I hear your anguish and I'm so sorry. But, it doesn't surprise me. I get along with most everybody, but I have a very special kinship with NFs... except for ENFJs. I've come to realize that while I seem to be very much like my ENFJ friends, there are some major sources of friction between the ENFP and ENFJ.

    One of the things that Socionics adds to the MBTI discussion is the idea that you can predict with great accuracy how any two personality types interact. In other words, two personalities have predictable communication strengths and weaknesses.

    ENFP and ENFJ pairings are Quasi-Identical relations. Let me quote the description of these relationships from one Socionics Website:

    These are relations of major misunderstanding. Quasi-Identical partners can interact with each other in a more or less peaceful manner if both partners are Thinking types. If they are both Feeling types however, they are likely to have an argumentative relationship. Also, as in the other relations, personal attraction can be very crucial to the peacefulness in their relationship. An absence of personal attraction may cause unnecessary internal tension resulting in conflict between partners. However these arguments do not often last long. After both partners have released their internal tension, the Perceiving partner is usually the first to show the initiative in reconciliation.

    A positive aspect of these relations is that Quasi-Identical partners do not underline your weak points and therefore are not viewed as dangerous by each other. Neither do they see each other as equal. Each partner sees the other as less capable than themselves, hence less talented. However, Quasi-Identicals mistakenly believe that their partner is achieving more than they are. This is perceived by both partners as injustice and may hinder the ambitions of both.

    In these relations partners always have difficulty understanding each other in full. Quasi-Identical partners always need to convert each other's information in such a way that it corresponds with their own understanding. This conversion requires much energy and does not bring the desired satisfaction. Books written by your Quasi-Identical are impossible to read. The creations of your Quasi-Identical look monstrous. Conversations with your Quasi-Identical, although not heavy, do not bring any satisfaction either. One partner may think that the other partner complicates simple things and simplifies the important points, trying to deliberately confuse and mislead them. Both partners are convinced that whatever their partner was trying to say, could be explained in a different and more understandable way.

    Quasi-Identicals normally have no difficulties in finding topics for conversation or discussion. When it comes to solving problems together, Quasi-Identical partners begin to understand that they are both thinking in very different ways. Soon Quasi-Identicals may start regretting the time that they have spent together, believing that it was just wasted time. Quasi-identical relations are very fragile and normally break without regret as there is usually nothing to resist their disunion.
    My ENFJ friends and acquaintances are oftentimes very frustrating for me to be around. True, we have a lot in common. Yes, we can interact seemingly seemlessly. And yet, ENFJs have a tendency to classify people... to make snap judgments about people and pigeonhole them prematurely. Frankly, I find some of my ENFJ friends overly manipulative of people... using them to further whatever ENFJ agenda is at hand. These behaviors disgust my ENFP sensibilities and I tend to keep most ENFJs I know at arms length.

    So I would encourage you, Pyramid, to consider that these are normal, and even predictable interactions with your ENFJ mother. Given this conflict in your values, it seems like the best you can hope for is for both of your to come to a mutual understanding of these predictable differences in the way you see the world. With this understanding, perhaps neither of you will misinterpret the other's actions. That is what MBTI does, I think. It frees us from boxes we didn't even know we were in and let's us see and be forgiving of the boxes that other people are in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Esoteric Wench View Post
    Pyramid, I hear your anguish and I'm so sorry. But, it doesn't surprise me. I get along with most everybody, but I have a very special kinship with NFs... except for ENFJs. I've come to realize that while I seem to be very much like my ENFJ friends, there are some major sources of friction between the ENFP and ENFJ.
    YES

    One of the things that Socionics adds to the MBTI discussion is the idea that you can predict with great accuracy how any two personality types interact. In other words, two personalities have predictable communication strengths and weaknesses.


    My ENFJ friends and acquaintances are oftentimes very frustrating for me to be around. True, we have a lot in common. Yes, we can interact seemingly seemlessly. And yet, ENFJs have a tendency to classify people... to make snap judgments about people and pigeonhole them prematurely. Frankly, I find some of my ENFJ friends overly manipulative of people... using them to further whatever ENFJ agenda is at hand. These behaviors disgust my ENFP sensibilities and I tend to keep most ENFJs I know at arms length.
    This is how I feel inherently, but she is my mom. I want to be close with my family so we can influence one another for the better.

    So I would encourage you, Pyramid, to consider that these are normal, and even predictable interactions with your ENFJ mother. Given this conflict in your values, it seems like the best you can hope for is for both of your to come to a mutual understanding of these predictable differences in the way you see the world. With this understanding, perhaps neither of you will misinterpret the other's actions. That is what MBTI does, I think. It frees us from boxes we didn't even know we were in and let's us see and be forgiving of the boxes that other people are in.
    Yes I asked her to look into it (she has a Psych degree and I knew wouldn't object) which is how I discovered her type. She doesn't seem to place this inherent discrepancy. On a basic level, I have come to admire her J but she hates my P. I feel like if she took the time to read about my end or who I am or understand that it can be terrible raising ENFP children and she's doing fine and doesn't need to feel guilty for my problems that things would be easier.

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    To add more in a socionics sense... ENFJs and ENFPs have completely opposing values and life outlooks. They are in opposing quadras. The interaction will naturally be awkward.. it's really difficult to get along with people like that. I'm not sure what to tell you, except to just try to deal with it until you can move out. =\
    () 9w8-3w4-7w6 tritype.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCat View Post
    To add more in a socionics sense... ENFJs and ENFPs have completely opposing values and life outlooks.
    This is true. My ENFJ sister says she's more "conservative" than my ENFP sister and I.

    Of course, I guess that's one way of putting it, but she really isn't conservative at all in terms of politics or lifestyle. A stranger would have no idea what the hell she meant by "conservative" I'm telling you, but strangely it makes some weird sense contrasted to her two ENFP siblings. It's just her overall approach is so Fe...I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    Sometimes people need space when they are upset. I can understand the feeling of need and sadness that comes from unresolved conflict, trust me, I have felt that way too (mostly in romantic relationships for me but you and your mother may be closer than my mother and I)...but at the same time, I also know the feeling of just wanting to get away from someone I'm arguing with.
    I'm all about respecting other's space, especially physically, but I don't always know what to do about intellectually or emotionally. She has a tendency to develop amnesia after quickly changing the subject or ending it prematurely. The problems seem to never get resolved.

    In terms of dealing with her judgements, I would just weigh and evaluate what seems like useful advice and nod and smile and ignore the rest. I find this tactic works with mothers in general.
    However on some level I know she will point me at very good things I might not ever consider, but only after we get past these tense topics. Gah!

    I'd give anything to have a doorslam mom. My mom is an ESFP with a horrible temper, and when I lived with her for a year and a half and tried to get away from a bad argument, she'd come banging and screaming on my door and just make the situation worse. That's hell on earth.
    That's what her boyfriend is like. She often would take his side without evidence. Yeah, the forceful enforcer is the most frightening thing to an ENFP kid. On the other end I psyched myself out hard on the amount of distance I felt between me and my mother when she cut me off, physically & emotionally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCat View Post
    To add more in a socionics sense... ENFJs and ENFPs have completely opposing values and life outlooks. They are in opposing quadras. The interaction will naturally be awkward.. it's really difficult to get along with people like that. I'm not sure what to tell you, except to just try to deal with it until you can move out. =\
    hehe, we don't live together. But she has banished me from speaking with her and this is the longest we've ever gone without contact (?3 months).

    **also I will say that who I am appreciates that the relationship isn't easy to develop. To me that indicates more depth and reward. We are just stuck in a vortex!! Right now I am giving the whole situation a healthy dose of time.

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    Senior Member Malkavia's Avatar
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    Well my life must be an abnormality from socionomics. My best friend is an ENFJ and we get along incredibly well. We live together without any problems.

    We have similar outlooks on life however which I assume helps.

  10. #10
    Professional Trickster Esoteric Wench's Avatar
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    Pyramid, let me suggest a way to proceed here:

    Become your own center of gravity. One of the strengths of being an ENFP is being able to tailor one's approach so that the people around you feel comfortable and emotionally connected to you. But in this situation, your strengths are liabilities. In other words, you need to shift your focus from your mother to yourself. You can't control her, but you can control you. If you define your success as your mother coming around, this makes your happiness dependent on what she does. What she does is ultimately out of your control.

    Being P versus J means that you prefer to stay in information gathering mode. You like to sit back and soak it all in. But here again, I'm going to say that this is not the best approach here. You've done your research, you've sought the advice of people on this board. Perhaps it's time to turn your thoughts inward and focus on shoring up your own defenses. It is understandable that you want a good relationship with your mom. But that may not be in the cards right now. So move forward with taking care of yourself. (Easier said than done when you are getting no maternal approval that it's OK to be who you really are.)

    Once you understand your mother's view of the world, don't stay stuck in the "understand" mode. Make a decision that it's OK for you to have a differing value system and stay firm on this.

    You can still check in with her periodically to see if she's ready to change. She's going to have to be willing to recognize the intelligence and skill P spontaneity takes... as well as appreciate your other unique ENFP gifts. And, she will only do this when she's ready.

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