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  1. #1
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Default My ENFJ Mother! :)

    My ENFJ mother is one of the very best friends in the world that I have. I have been fortunate to get to know her as an adult and have found that she is similar, yet different from me and the perfect person to bounce ideas off of. In most cases, I fairly instinctively understand her. There is something I need some ENFJ input on though.

    I find that she feels terribly guilty about ever resting (she's 67 and does the work of eight women put together). Not only that, but since I've moved home in the last year, she insists on doing my laundry, making all the meals etc. Even if I want to make her a birthday meal, she ends up in the kitchen. I believe that she cares about the job being done right, but even moreso feels guilty if I do what she perceives as being her responsibility. She's worried I'll cut my hands in the kitchen (I'm a musician, but I HAVE lived alone for 15 years!). When they left for a week and I was looking after the plants, she insisted on taking down a couple of the hanging planters because she decided it was too risky for me to climb onto the brick ledge to water them (although she does it every day). I have tried explaining that in her efforts to help, it makes me feel like she doesn't trust me to do a good job. In most cases when my dad or I do something, she'll have had a better way to do it (and yet it seems to be sincere, not in an effort to belittle etc. She just wants us to know for next time). I sort of feel though that at the beginning of a job you make all the specifications you want to, and after that, don't keep coaching. As a result, I've quit doing a lot of things that I might and I feel bad about it.

    What is going on here? Every now and then, she'll just go ahead and do something far too big on her own without even notifying me, but then when I say that she should have told me, she acts like the work needed to be done and we weren't around so she just did it (even if we checked earlier on in the day and agreed on a general time of day to do it).

    I'm probably super-sensitive to this after being with an ESTJ who constantly was trying to explain the one right way to do everything or who didn't trust me to do even the smallest task for him.

    Is this an ExxJ thing? Is it that she doesn't feel like her needs matter? She is almost creating people's dependency and then every now and then feels frustrated that she has to make all the decisions.

    Any insights you ENFJs have would be most welcome!

    EDIT: I should add that she isn't needy or manipulative and isn't the kind of person who just stays busy to avoid looking at the bigger problems in her life. I do know that she has a lot of things she's sad about right now (and feels rejected by some family members for completely unrelated reasons to her), but I don't know how that would impact this.

  2. #2
    Glycerine
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    I think it might be the sense of losing control of knowing that you are getting older and that you might not be as efficient or as good at things as you used to be. As a result, she might be overdoing things as a way of proving to herself that she's still efficient, helpful, and can still be of use.

    I think EXXJs can be a bit like that when they are afraid of not being efficient and will tend to overdo things to be make sure that things are efficient.

    Also, when I am stressed about the future (or pretty much anything), anxious, tired, or under any other major emotional distress, I end up making constant suggestions to improve something and end up bulldozing people without realizing it (smothering other people by trying to help them out a lot instead of focusing on what's really bothering me). "Maybe you can do this..... or this.... or this... or this... or this". I hate when I get like that but that's the main cause. I guess you can say it's some sort of facade of external control for something that might be bothering me on the inside.

    I bet if you can figure out some possible stressors (like you moving back home to help her which might make her feel vulnerable?) and find ways to alleviate it, then she won't do it quite as much.

  3. #3
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    No, I didn't move back home to help her. Circumstances just made it seem like a mutual satisfactory option. However, there have been incredible stressors with both my brother and sister who are blaming their problems (with badly chosen and unhealthy spouses) on her (because they know that she is the most stable person in their life and she will still love them.). My sister is just coming out of 20 years of a really bad situation (still in the marriage but taking more charge than she once did. Her husband hasn't worked for their whole marriage and they have three kids and live in a very expensive part of the country at his insistence). My brother has 10 children who will be very negatively affected by the move that his wife is insisting on to another very expensive part of the country, despite the fact that he has not had work for months and they would be highly dependent on and indebted to her volatile and alcoholic father. As a result, my siblings have at different times decided to cosy up to my mum's sisters instead who will tell them they are doing the right thing, rather than someone who may ask some questions especially when it involves the long term well-being of the grandkids (safety issues, informing the kids of what's going on, living in a very isolated way etc). My dad agrees with her, but is very passive, so doesn't get the brunt of it. Yep, she's got lots of reasons to feel stressed.

  4. #4
    Glycerine
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    Sorry to hear about the situation. :\ Yes. Those types of stressors can definitely have that effect on an ENFJ. It's the classic "I have internal chaos so I need external stability from going insane".

  5. #5
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    How can I best help her? I do the footrub thing and we talk a lot. Sometimes I buy her little treats that I know she likes or carry water from the back so she's doesn't have to lug it to water all the plants and flowers in the yard.

    There are some areas that I just can't cover for even if I'm trying to make up for what else is going on, but she is also reticent to ever say what she needs or be a little bit indulgent or selfish. She usually won't allow me to take them out to supper or order in pizza. Occasional, she's been pleased when I've cooked, but she often might end up doing just as much work to. I try to buy groceries or household items that she might not normally get or look for things that we are running out of etc, but she always clucks about me spending too much (although I think it does help make her feel cared for).

  6. #6
    Glycerine
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    My suggestion would be make her know that she is appreciated (which it sounds likes you are doing a fabulous job).

    Also, sometimes it helps when someone helps to bring order to my internal chaos by lovingly and slowly rationalizing what's going on, what will most likely happen in the future, what is in my power to help the situation, etc. After awhile, if I can do that, the emotion tied to the situation fades and I accept reality. In other words, it's the element of closure.

    Third, time might help but at the same time, giving too much time gives her time to brood (which is never good when it happens to me).

  7. #7
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Alright, sounds like we're on the right track. I feel so bad because she of all the people I know doesn't deserve to feel like this. She's a pretty amazing person.

  8. #8
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    not ENFJ, but just want to chime in and say my ESFJ mom is very, very similar. i also have an ENFJ friend who is a bit like this too, though younger.

    they both seem to appreciate when i encourage / affirm them in doing something totally for themselves, and to place taking care of themselves higher on their priority list. my mom was kinda resistant about this until she found friends to do it with, and now she loves it

    i'm still trying to figure out these things with my mom, too. i usually just help do things for her because i'm pretty sure she likes it more than she doesn't. like the dishes/cleaning the kitchen, etc. she'll always go back and fix up my imperfect job, but i feel like the sentiment always means a lot, and it feel like it's better than her having to do all the work with no support. and over time i tend to pick up her way of doing it - i'm 100% go on things like the dishes, lol. when we both just take turns (not strictly, just whoever it's convenient for) do the dishes and the laundry, that seems to work the best. or if we cook meals together, etc.

    she also always says that what i can do to help her, is mostly to take care of me. so i try not to send any stress her way from me, and she seems to appreciate it... not that i'm always good at it though...

    anyway she is one of my best friends too, yay for moms

  9. #9
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pitseleh View Post
    Also, sometimes it helps when someone helps to bring order to my internal chaos by lovingly and slowly rationalizing what's going on, what will most likely happen in the future, what is in my power to help the situation, etc. After awhile, if I can do that, the emotion tied to the situation fades and I accept reality. In other words, it's the element of closure
    i think i have participated in processes akin to this without even realizing quite what it was

    yay Te?

    the funny thing is ENFJ can do the exact same/opposite for me with bringing order to external chaos by slowly and supportively rationalizing it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sparrow's Avatar
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    Your post reminds me of my mom! There was point where we would go out to eat and she would de-bone all the fish and put little pieces of meat on my plate, made me feel like a little kid! She also never let me pay for anything. I told her how I felt and she understood, she doesn't cut my meat for me anymore thank god . I think she was just excited to feel like a mom again, I lived out of state for a long time. She explained why she wouldn't let me pay for anything, so I understand now. She figures she wants to help me out while she still has money, she knows that I will be the one to take care of her when she is old and cant work anymore. Our moms take their jobs as moms seriously, thats what they feel they do best, what they live for maybe, plus they might be trying to lead by example . They do all they can because they want to, just keep on being a great daughter! Keep giving her props and love, I think thats all they want . If something reallllly bothers you just talk to her about it, Im sure she would understand!
    Fe | Ni | Se | Ti ... 3w4 ... Lawful Neutral ... Johari -Nohari

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