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  1. #1
    Senior Member toast's Avatar
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    Default Oh God, being an ENFJ...

    I fell madly in love with someone who was my polar opposite. My intensity overwhelmed and pushed him away. My attempts at withholding those intense feelings made me as insecure as him. My constant probing about us made me miss the chances I had to find out what was really going on all along.

    And just when I finally figure out that he has Asperger's and that there ARE specific things I could do & say to make it work between us, I start feeling so much better but it's too late. He gives up and ends it out of nowhere, smashing me down after I've been building myself up again. Now we are right back where we started because he wants to be close to me but can't do much about it & I can't dim or control these new feelings of abandonment, anxiety, mistrust, etc. so that I can be the happy, fearless, sweet girl he liked in the first place.

    I feel like I am responsible for everything. I've known all along that "cooling down" was the only way to make it work, but I just can't. I never can for long. Even now it seems so obvious that if I could be patient and levelheaded and gentle that I could be close to him and be happy. But I try as hard as I can and then the feelings overwhelm me again. I feel like an ocean trying to keep itself calm. I'm so tired of it. I care too much to stay in control without feedback or security. I've always wanted to be close to someone like him. I didn't really ever know what "peace" felt like before him. Now, not only do I feel like its not possible with him, but with anyone who is that way at all. Anyone who has the ability to stabilize me is never going to want to handle me. And what's worse, I can't even be friends with the person I love so much. All I can do is pretend when I'm sad and try to savor when I'm feeling happy. I just want to be able to be myself without feeling selfish.

    Has anyone else ever had thoughts similar to this? I feel self-defeated.
    ____________________________________________
    "In my soul rages a battle without victor. Between faith without proof and reason without charm." - Sully Prudhomme

  2. #2
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    I dont think this is ENFJ related at all.

    Fear of abandonment, falling for your opposite, wanting what you can't have.

    This is common amongst all types I believe.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Neutralpov's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast View Post
    I fell madly in love with someone who was my polar opposite. My intensity overwhelmed and pushed him away.
    Anyone who has the ability to stabilize me is never going to want to handle me. And what's worse, I can't even be friends with the person I love so much. All I can do is pretend when I'm sad and try to savor when I'm feeling happy. I just want to be able to be myself without feeling selfish.

    Has anyone else ever had thoughts similar to this? I feel self-defeated.
    I relate to the above parts! I am intense and I don't want to be calmed down by force. the people I work well with tend to naturally accept me and somehow bring me a calming feeling without trying or let my intensity expire when it wants to. Specifically SJ's don't end up dealing well with it in my life experience. They get bossy and critical in the end of it.

    Sometimes I feel like the above is our strength but also a weakness in the end with SOME people. It may be rare to find the right persons for our intensity but I have to remember what it made me feel like to be criticized or attempted to be de-intensified in more than a reasonable way. You can't change our nature without violating it in the end.

    I get you! And I am glad someone else is saying what I have thought and felt!
    Extroverted (E) 67.74% Introverted (I) 32.26%
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    Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
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  4. #4
    Senior Member copperfish17's Avatar
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    So this ENFJ "intensity" you speak of... how does it manifest itself?
    Enneagram: 5w4 5-9-2 (5w4 9w1 2w1) sp/so

    "Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience." - Greg King
    The worst mistake people make in political arguments is assuming that the other side is not trying to do the right thing. This simple oversight makes productive conversation nearly impossible.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Neutralpov's Avatar
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    Default :-)

    Have you met an ENFJ in real life? Hard to miss it if you know them long enough or debate us.
    Extroverted (E) 67.74% Introverted (I) 32.26%
    Intuitive (N) 51.72% Sensing (S) 48.28%
    Feeling (F) 51.61% Thinking (T) 48.39%
    Judging (J) 69.44% Perceiving (P) 30.56%

    Type 1 Perfectionism |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
    so/sx/sp

  6. #6
    Senior Member TopherRed's Avatar
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    The ENFJ is an ocean of will insufficiently hidden by the surface waves.

  7. #7
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    Are there other ways you can express the intensity... maybe like some kind of psychological pressure valve... so that when you are in his presence you're not freaking out internally? My ENFJ friend seems to need to talk about things a LOT. Then it helps her to face whatever it is that seems so overwhelming to her. Do you have a trusted friend to whom you can talk about this kind of thing?
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  8. #8
    Senior Member toast's Avatar
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    So this ENFJ "intensity" you speak of... how does it manifest itself?
    Essentially, the intensity could be described this way: Happy, sad, determined, 'free, hopeful, anxious, frustrated... any of those normal feelings throughout life come in such overpowering waves and can't be processed by me without being expressed. So suppression is not an option (at least not for long) but the severity of the emotions or thoughts is usually too much to express without some kind of buffer to make the person receiving them not blown back. The buffer (how I say or present) works to a point, but the geyser inside is still apparent and can be misunderstood to make me seem too passive or too fierce. Essentially feelings and stress are so intense in me and then physically manifest themselves in my mannerisms, tone of voice, etc. Then I can only control this to a point, because I'm choosing between not coming off shocking or imposing myself onto others and finding some peace through expressing what's churning inside.

    I've been called a lion or a Titan or "scary" a lot. I've also been scolded and lectured on how I need to be less naive, gentle or passive. There never seems to be a middle ground, its always too much of one thing or another.

    Are there other ways you can express the intensity... maybe like some kind of psychological pressure valve... so that when you are in his presence you're not freaking out internally? My ENFJ friend seems to need to talk about things a LOT. Then it helps her to face whatever it is that seems so overwhelming to her. Do you have a trusted friend to whom you can talk about this kind of thing?
    Well yes, talking is what helps me also and i developed a system of getting it out before I reacted to him, but by the time I began implementing this idea he gave up on us. I talk to others now more, and you'd probably be surprised just how much an ENFJ needs to talk to be cool in this situation. I have about 5-6 people I talk to, and discussion boards like this. But he's really acting like he is done, and he handled it in such a way that I don't think there could be any starting over without confrontation about how to keep it from happening like this again. And that will likely send him running again.

    Essentially, things were going good from my perspective and everything seemed to be better than it ever was... but to him this closeness we had was stressful and he shut down and just stopped. He left for a weekend as my boyfriend and came back as a stranger. It was serious and then just not there. When confronted he just said I was still important to him but that he couldn't "handle being together". Literally a week before he was saying he "wouldn't let me go", that what we had was worth what we'd faced in the past and that there was "no reason we would ever not be able to work things out." He also said he believed in us, he's now said he doesn't. Apparently in one weekend (& it was actually just one night) he changed his own mind. I don't know how to process this. I understand why it happened, but I feel like my natural way of thinking will never allow me to process this without something from him. I absolutely can not believe that I'm important or loved as it is. Apparently this withdrawal and retreat is commonplace in Aspergers, and there is no closure when they reconnect, even as friends. It's as if the relationship was never anything more.

    So I feel like, regardless of his issues, my own nature makes it impossible to be comfortably close to him. I don't know how I can be just a friend without pining, unless there is an effective expression of these feelings of abandonment and doubt about him. If it were anyone else I would know my only option for peace would be to withdraw completely from him and not look back, but we've lived together for a while and we've known each other since we were kids. I don't even feel like I can make that call right now. I just wish I needed less or something different.
    ____________________________________________
    "In my soul rages a battle without victor. Between faith without proof and reason without charm." - Sully Prudhomme

  9. #9
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    This has nothing at all to do with you.

    1. It is not your job to change your basic nature for someone to love you.

    2. This has way more to do with his fear of intimacy than with your intensity. No matter what you do, he will find reasons to run away the more that he grows to care about you. Your attempts to change yourself are a moving target. As soon as you hit it, the goal of how you need to be different will change.

    3. He's terribly insecure and it is impossible to have good communication and an equal balance of power in a relationship with someone who is. This is an individual problem, not a couple problem. He needs to see that contentment is found within his own perspective, not from outside circumstances or people.

    4. His insecurity will cause you to edit yourself down so that he doesn't feel threatened by you. This is a terrible loss for the world and for him and it will twist your perspective, isolate you and potentially make you mentally unhealthy in the process. I've seen this happen very often.

    5. His insecurity will cause you to isolate yourself from the perspectives and the support of others. He will feel uncomfortable until you do not surpass him in anything, and any pursuit or person you love or care about cannot pose a threat. This is not healthy!!!! We all need a variety of perspectives and a support system in our lives so that the responsibility for our happiness does not lie within one ill-equipped person!

    6. Insecurity tends to retain the greatest amount of decision making clout while putting the greatest weight of responsibility/work on the partner. This is exactly converse to how it should be when one partner is weak and the other is stronger.

    7. Proximity creates emotion and feelings of love and attachment (whether to people or things). Emotion will always trump intellectual reasoning and logic. Insecure people still have extremely attractive qualities and potential. None of us are truly strong enough to overpower feelings of love and attraction, even when we understand it's no good for us. This means we have to manipulate circumstances so we do not waste important years on people who are not ready to both give and receive love as equals.

    8. Negative influences/feelings will come back if a vacuum is left. They have to be crowded out with positive people, pursuits, ideas and feelings. You will not feel better until you allow your focus to shift.

    9. Only when you face futility and have your tears over it, can you adjust your behaviour to find a productive solution. Otherwise you will continue doing what doesn't work, which creates aggression that will be turned inward on yourself or outward towards other people. Accept that no matter what you do, you do not have the power to change his behaviour or how he feels about you.

    10. I've found that as I've gotten older and know myself better, I can appreciate someone with qualities I wish I had, without assuming that I should date/marry those qualities. As we become more balanced and shore up our weaknesses, we are less likely to go for someone with whom we have very little in common. You need some shared traits to work from, even if you both have some different strengths.

    Again, dearest toast - This is not about you. It's about him. You will feel rejected and responsible. He is not a bad person, but his insecurity will be toxic to both of you until he deals with it on his own.

  10. #10
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    Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. I am new to the forums but have recently become interested in typologies, and I must say that reading through some of the threads, this one definitely caught my eye.

    I am a raging ENFJ myself, and a nearly identical experience happened recently with my boyfriend. He was very much a polar opposite to me in personality type as well, so much so that it got to the point where we were constantly arguing and having miscommunications, almost every day and oftentimes for hours straight. They were simply unresolvable. The problem was that I cared far too much about every tiny detail of our relationship, and any time he said something that in the slightest way hurt my feelings or dragged me down, I couldn't refrain from getting upset and letting out all of my frustration. Not because I had any intentions of making him miserable, but for the sheer sake of expressing myself and releasing all the emotional baggage. Being an introvert and very much a "peacekeeper" (though in reality he was only making it HARDER for me), he does not deal with conflict very well, and as a result could not handle my "intensity," as you very accurately described it.

    When we first started dating, everything seemed so perfect. He was everything I was looking for in a guy -- we both had similar goals, values, etc. He had a great sense of humor, but he could also get serious so that we had very meaningful and interesting conversations. But as time went on, we discovered we just couldn't understand each other and that no amount of talking or reasoning EVER worked out our problems. He kept telling me how much he loved me and that I was the most amazing girl he'd ever met, but in the course of a few days that all changed. He decided he had simply had enough, broke up with me and basically refused to come see me anymore for fear it would just "make things worse." He told me that he still really cared for me and had feelings for me, but that he just didn't think things could ever work. It's been a few months since then, and we have been talking and trying to just be friends, but even THAT is almost an impossible hurdle to get over because he doesn't feel like I treat him like a friend. I can tell he doesn't even enjoy talking to me anymore because he is overwhelmed and fed up. I try so hard to change, to calm down, to improve our communication, but I still must be doing something wrong because nothing ever works (and aside from that, he claims that he doesn't want me to have to "change to make a relationship work"). I know there is nothing I can do, and it is so frustrating and discouraging because I miss him so much. He can't handle my drama, and I can't handle his lack of emotion because it feels like my personality is being suppressed.

    He left for a weekend as my boyfriend and came back a stranger.
    I know exactly how you feel. I've been trying to cope with it for months now because it hurts so much. It is as if there was never any relationship at all. He won't even have normal, friendly conversations with me like we used to because he is afraid I will get emotional about it and it will all end in another fight. It seems he has lost all trust and emotional attachment to me.

    I don't know what advice to offer, because I've been trying to figure it all out myself, too. But just know that you are not alone in this experience. Try to find those friends who will bring out the best in you, who will let you rant for hours and be okay with it (at least that's what I've done and it's the only thing that even remotely helps). But whatever you do, don't go to him with these feelings. Don't even bother trying to do it calmly and rationally like he would, especially right now when you're still drowning in emotions. I've made this mistake far too many times. I know he's the one you desperately want to talk to and that you think he MUST still care, but talking to him about it will only make matters worse. Find other outlets. If you try to pull him back to you this soon, it will only cause him to run even faster in the other direction.

    Guys like this do not handle confrontation very well, so don't try to confront it. Don't apologize for anything, don't say you can fix it. Just don't. Leave him alone for a long while and then eventually come back as friends and just try not to make the same mistakes anymore. It's your best bet. I don't know what will work, but I've seen what won't...haha. And it's definitely a stab in the heart.

    Most importantly, I just want to say that I'm feeling the same way and the guilt tends to pile up on my shoulders, too...so know you are not alone and try not to blame yourself for it. It's NOT your fault.



    EDIT
    Also, I think fidelia is right. He may be a wonderful guy, but he probably has some insecurity issues that he needs to deal with. I know that that was sort of an issue in my relationship. I'll admit that we were both a bit insecure - I was too sensitive and he was too distant. Basically, he had too much insecurity already himself that he couldn't take on the extra stress of our relationship.

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