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Thread: Common INFJ issues

  1. #491
    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    Is she under stress? Under those circumstances, the main time I would get a little "suck it up, buttercup" esque with those close to me is if I'm at the end of my string already. Detaching becomes a form of self-preservation or else you'll just break completely. Even so, I think I would probably be smitten with guilt after the fact, especially since you're a reasonable person and not someone constantly bringing up unreasonable frustrations or complaints. Could be her shadow self?

    The second possibility I thought of is that both you and the INTJ are Ts. Your mum is an F. Therefore, she may end up reading the situation as being more emotionally charged than it is (and consequently she wants to stay away from "taking sides").

    Do you think that your mum agrees with your aunt's complaints (eg text messages), even if she may not agree with the way the message was delivered and therefore doesn't want to discount them, even though she would like to be supportive of you?

    Just throwing out some possibilities...

    Do you know your mum's e type?

  2. #492
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    Question for INFJs and those who know them: Do they have an unsympathetic streak, with people they're close to? I ask because my INFJ mom has a tendency (and has had it probably since I was a preteen) to be unsympathetic and evasive when I try to express frustration or anger or any emotion that would cause tears.
    Fi vs Fe and their manifestations. Whenever she gets uncomfortable you've got to Te it to the max so you can explain in external and objective terms what you would like and why.

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    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    You also seem pretty capable to handle things EJCC, so your mum may not even understand how much you need her to listen to you. You aren't likely to respond in some of the ways that would be normal distress signals for an INFJ, so perhaps she just doesn't realize how frustrated you are and that it would be really useful to be able to discuss it. I agree with Jim that you will probably have to explain what it is that you need from her.

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    Lay the coin on my tongue Array SilkRoad's Avatar
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    I agree that this could also be the reaction of an INFJ under a great deal of stress and worried that if she has to hear more about the situation, she's going to freak out and end up making the situation worse and also end up feeling terrible because of that.
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    You have a choice! Array 21%'s Avatar
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    Fidelia said it very well. The third point about how your mom might agree with your aunt was what I thought of initially when I read your post.

    Another thing could be that if your mom is the peaceful type, she might not deal well with displays of negative emotions. I can deal with sadness, but I get highly stressed out when someone is openly angry (especially over something I think isn't worth getting upset about) My normal response would be "It's not that big of a deal. Don't let it bother you" (Because I can't agree with you as I normally would when I'm empathizing so I really don't know what to say)

    Or, another possibility is that your aunt has vented to your mom about you leaving things out, so now she is really caught in the middle.
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  6. #496
    hyggelig Array EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Is she under stress? Under those circumstances, the main time I would get a little "suck it up, buttercup" esque with those close to me is if I'm at the end of my string already. Detaching becomes a form of self-preservation or else you'll just break completely. Even so, I think I would probably be smitten with guilt after the fact, especially since you're a reasonable person and not someone constantly bringing up unreasonable frustrations or complaints. Could be her shadow self?

    The second possibility I thought of is that both you and the INTJ are Ts. Your mum is an F. Therefore, she may end up reading the situation as being more emotionally charged than it is (and consequently she wants to stay away from "taking sides").

    Do you think that your mum agrees with your aunt's complaints (eg text messages), even if she may not agree with the way the message was delivered and therefore doesn't want to discount them, even though she would like to be supportive of you?

    Just throwing out some possibilities...

    Do you know your mum's e type?
    I made a thread about it a while ago, and after re-reading it, I think she's a 1w9 -- because although she has a lot of the same 1-esque repression going on, I don't think she feels the need to be "helpful" all the time, like I do, although she is (obviously) so focused on harmony, which might be a 9 wing?

    I don't think she's ever apologized to me for detaching in situations like that; she has apologized in situations when she actually did have to play peacemaker between me and someone else, and when her detachment really frustrated me as a result ("Why can't you just say what you think???!?"), but she hasn't ever apologized for telling me to "stop working (my)self up", when I'm emotional. Meaning, she doesn't see it as a bad way to react, I guess.

    Regarding the bolded: I doubt that's the case now, but I relate to that a whole lot regarding interactions between me, her, and my dad. My dad and I have gotten into discussions before that have made my mom uncomfortable enough to leave the room, even though neither my dad nor I were particularly upset by what we were talking about.
    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    I agree that this could also be the reaction of an INFJ under a great deal of stress and worried that if she has to hear more about the situation, she's going to freak out and end up making the situation worse and also end up feeling terrible because of that.
    She can definitely be like this. And her possibly being 1w9 could accentuate that.
    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    Another thing could be that if your mom is the peaceful type, she might not deal well with displays of negative emotions. I can deal with sadness, but I get highly stressed out when someone is openly angry (especially over something I think isn't worth getting upset about) My normal response would be "It's not that big of a deal. Don't let it bother you" (Because I can't agree with you as I normally would when I'm empathizing so I really don't know what to say)
    I think it's this. Because honestly, I can't think of a single time in my preteen-to-adult life when I've cried about something and my mom has been soothing and hugged me and gone "It's okay, just let it out" -- although I have definitely hugged her when she cried. But she cried about a family tragedy, and I've cried for the same reason any ESTJ would cry, i.e. frustration. 99% of my crying is frustrated crying. And if you're right, and she can't relate to it, then no wonder she hasn't been empathetic!

    I'm still confused by it, though... mostly because in her place, I would at least say "I know how you feel, that sucks, I've had to deal with that before and I hated it" before continuing on to the problem-solving phase, instead of skipping the affirmation part. But if you guys are right about the "taking sides" comment, maybe she felt like any sort of affirmation would be taking sides, so she couldn't do anything except play devil's advocate. But that doesn't explain my past experience with her. Hmm.

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    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    No, it doesn't totally explain it to me either. I think if I truly thought you were in the wrong, I would tactfully try to reframe your aunt's POV but still try to offer some comfort. That's why I wonder if she's under stress.

  8. #498
    Senior Member Array sciski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    because I guess I thought that Fe types were all about validation.
    Unfortunately, no. Fe is about helping the person to feel better (which essentially invalidates the person who doesn't feel better).
    Fi is all about validation.

    I admin an INFP forum and they taught me about validation--I hadn't realised how much invalidation I actually did until I read a site about it. The site is here (http://eqi.org/invalid.htm#Introduction) and contains lots of examples. Lots of those examples of invalidation are Fe-based... people trying to influence each other's moods and 'coach' other people to feel a certain way, at the expense of actually just listening to how the person is feeling. Invalidation can be well-intentioned, even if it's entirely inappropriate, and I tend to think that's how a lot of INFJs mean it.

    If it helps, INFJs also invalidate themselves a helluva lot, which is probably why they don't realise the impact when they're doing it to others.

    I'm a little surprised that your mother didn't respond to your statement that validation was what you needed. It's possible that she's so stuck in 'coaching' mode--as you are her daughter, therefore she is responsible for bringing you up--that she hasn't allowed her compassion (Fe) to surface. She's so busy trying to teach you how to cope that she hasn't acknowledged your feelings about the issue. It's also possible that she doesn't realise just how important it is to be validated.

    Not sure how to break through this, except possibly just to ask your mother, "Please, I just really need you to listen to how I feel and acknowledge it. That's all. I'm not asking you to agree with me, but to understand where I'm coming from. That would really help me get over it and move on." Then she won't be enabling you. The enabling factor is really important, as SilkRoad mentioned--one of the reasons I get 'hard' on people is because to just quietly listen to their problems and validate them means I'm leaving them in the same hole as I found them in, and that's just unbearable, but if staying in the hole a little longer is what is needed to get them to climb out, I can put up with it. So perhaps her knowing that the simple act of validation will help you to move on will help her over that 'enabling' hurdle.

    Also, for the times she does listen and validate you, thank her and say how much it has helped, and the ways it has helped. If she starts seeing 'validating' as an effective tool in the 'helping people feel better' arsenal, she's more likely to use it in future.

    Edit: Damn, I realised as I read over this that I went straight into coaching mode too. Sorry.

  9. #499
    hyggelig Array EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sciski View Post
    Unfortunately, no. Fe is about helping the person to feel better (which essentially invalidates the person who doesn't feel better).
    Fi is all about validation.

    I admin an INFP forum and they taught me about validation--I hadn't realised how much invalidation I actually did until I read a site about it. The site is here (http://eqi.org/invalid.htm#Introduction) and contains lots of examples. Lots of those examples of invalidation are Fe-based... people trying to influence each other's moods and 'coach' other people to feel a certain way, at the expense of actually just listening to how the person is feeling. Invalidation can be well-intentioned, even if it's entirely inappropriate, and I tend to think that's how a lot of INFJs mean it.

    If it helps, INFJs also invalidate themselves a helluva lot, which is probably why they don't realise the impact when they're doing it to others.
    Wow. That site is amazing. It really puts things in perspective... and it shows just how much invalidating people do on a daily basis. The thing about sitting in the hallway to cry until you calm down? Nobody ever told me to do that but I make myself do that sometimes. I guess validation is something that doesn't come naturally to people -- even INFJs -- and so it requires some practice.
    I'm a little surprised that your mother didn't respond to your statement that validation was what you needed. It's possible that she's so stuck in 'coaching' mode--as you are her daughter, therefore she is responsible for bringing you up--that she hasn't allowed her compassion (Fe) to surface. She's so busy trying to teach you how to cope that she hasn't acknowledged your feelings about the issue. It's also possible that she doesn't realise just how important it is to be validated.
    That all sounds right. Could it also, in addition to that, be that she detaches herself while coaching as a self-protection mechanism, so she doesn't get really emotional just by seeing me being emotional? She does have a strong mother-lion tendency, so maybe she feels like she has to rein herself in whenever I'm upset?
    Not sure how to break through this, except possibly just to ask your mother, "Please, I just really need you to listen to how I feel and acknowledge it. That's all. I'm not asking you to agree with me, but to understand where I'm coming from. That would really help me get over it and move on." Then she won't be enabling you. The enabling factor is really important, as SilkRoad mentioned--one of the reasons I get 'hard' on people is because to just quietly listen to their problems and validate them means I'm leaving them in the same hole as I found them in, and that's just unbearable, but if staying in the hole a little longer is what is needed to get them to climb out, I can put up with it. So perhaps her knowing that the simple act of validation will help you to move on will help her over that 'enabling' hurdle.
    That's understandable; actually, ironically enough, my mom will often ask me and/or my dad to listen and be sympathetic when she vents about a situation, instead of immediately giving advice. So I guess I should do the same thing, and say "All I want is to know that what I'm feeling is justified"?
    Also, for the times she does listen and validate you, thank her and say how much it has helped, and the ways it has helped. If she starts seeing 'validating' as an effective tool in the 'helping people feel better' arsenal, she's more likely to use it in future.
    Smart! Hopefully I'll be able to remember that.
    Edit: Damn, I realised as I read over this that I went straight into coaching mode too. Sorry.
    Not a problem at all! My frustration at the situation is gone, at present, and therefore my feelings aren't a current issue. Preparing for the next time I'm in a similar situation with my mom requires this brainstorming and conversation. You have been a great help.
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  10. #500
    thankful Array PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    @sciski: that was a fabulous post and a great link. Thanks for sharing that.

    Just a little thought extra ...

    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    That's understandable; actually, ironically enough, my mom will often ask me and/or my dad to listen and be sympathetic when she vents about a situation, instead of immediately giving advice. So I guess I should do the same thing, and say "All I want is to know that what I'm feeling is justified"?
    This is roughly how I reflect on this.

    Fe vantage point is "I feel like this, am I wrong?"

    Fi vantage point is, "I feel like this, am I right?" That's where your word "justified" comes into play. I would just leave that word out, and share with her that you need to vent in order to work through your own emotional frustration. Sometimes, you just need someone to say back to you, "Ya, that person is a big meanie and you are ok, I think you are the best!" +giant hug!!!

    Fi can generally temper itself as long as no one tries to deny that emotions have a legitimacy just by virtue of their existence. Little messengers, they are.

    That post above says it all though, really. Very nice.
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