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Thread: INFJ & eating disorder

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array 2XtremeENFP's Avatar
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    Jul 2008

    Default INFJ & eating disorder

    First things first, do you believe that different personality types handle 'addictions' in different ways? Do they manifest themselves differently? Do these types reach sobriety in different ways?

    That said, I am friends with an INFJ that is struggling with an eating disorder. I believe that I have recently been 'doorslammed' by her and I am trying to get back into her life to help her. We used to be best friends of 10 years, and within the last year I have been pushed out of her life.

    I want to know what's going on inside of her head. She is a smart girl and I can't grasp how this could happen. I am familiar with eating disorders but I am just wondering if it affects personalities in different ways and what could be going on with this particular INFJ that I should be aware of. Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Moonstone3's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    9, 5


    My friend is an INFJ, as well. She struggles off and on with her weight. She'll go through phases where she gets absorbed in it. We've talked a lot about personalities and types. She says she cares how other people see her too much and I think she compares herself to the people she's around. She has door slammed me before, although it goes back and forth. My advice is definitely don't let her know you want to help her. They don't like to be the center of attention, especially in a pity way. That's how she will see it. I say get close to her again, but don't dare bring up her disorder, or she will slam you again. They seem to look at what people really mean and second guess themselves a lot. I would say be close to be close, not to help, although they will end up going hand in hand. In the end, you will be helping with this, and hopefully after some time has passed you will show your appreciation for her enough to help her feel more secure and in control of things. Take it slow, if nothing else. When's the last time you spoke? I would try to break the ice by offering up a really good memory and telling her you don't want to end it like it has been. Or, break the ice by offering some news-not gossip up about something you were both interested in.
    What is normal to one, is incomprehensible to another.

    ALL anger in this world stems from a lack of control.

    All of reality bows to the illusion of life and death.

  3. #3
    Aspiring Troens Ridder Array KLessard's Avatar
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    Apr 2008


    Borderline Personality Disorder or Depressive Personality Disorder can lead to self-destructive behaviour such as anorexia or bulimia and it can be found in unhealthy Type One INFJs. Do you happen to know your friend's enneagram type? This personality matrice tells you which personality disorder corresponds to the most unhealthy version of the type. Here's a link to a Type One description, maybe you'll recognize your friend in it:
    1 - Enneagram Type One: The Reformer

    In my darkest moments, I lose appetite and I know I have often fasted telling myself it was for spiritual reasons (to seek God), but there was a part of me that was doing it to punish and purify myself. I only realized it after I read the book "Lost in the mirror" about BPD. I don't have BPD, but in depressive, stressful times, I feel and act like a mild BPD. Destroying relationships by overreacting and acting out on painful experiences is also a part of BPD. It might be what you call the "doorslam."

    Wikipedia has good descriptions of each disorder's symptoms:

    Borderline personality disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Depressive personality disorder - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  4. #4
    Member Array kccrush's Avatar
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    Apr 2010


    I'm an INFJ and confess that I had an eating disorder for several years that started in high school and went on through my 20' disappeared as soon as I came out and admitted to being gay. I tend to think it was all tied to that, but who knows for sure. I still battle with my body image and although I look good, and I'm in great shape, I still fret whenever I feel like I might be gaining weight. As for your friend, I suggest just being there for her and not bringing anything up. I remember when I was not eating, and then eating too much, the last thing I wanted to do was talk about it. I figured it out all on my own, but it took a long time. I found it hard to admit to having problems even to myself for such a long time, and it was only when I had the courage (or really got so tired of pretending to be something else) that everything in me got quickly untangled. Of course, if you see something getting serious, you should bring it up with her. At that point, I think, if something is serious then the girl (?) with whom you're friends is looking for help.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array tibby's Avatar
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    Nov 2008


    I don't think you are going to find an easy solution to this issue with her, as you wouldn't with anyone. Without knowing her it's very hard to say what's going through in her mind, but I will say that I think INFJs (and introverts in general?) tend to withdraw when they're stressed. I know I do. I might stay there for months, if I need to. Does she keep in contact with her other friends?

    An eating disorder is so much more than what it is on the surface. I am sorry to hear your friend has to go through this. It's hard, and might take a long time to come out of it. It's very nice of you to want to help her, I think anyone appreciates gentle nudges and acknowledgements, but if I would advise on anything, don't be pushy. Just let known you're there and that you care.

    Do you know at all what might've pushed her away from you? If there's no external reason you can think of, it might be just that she's going through tough times and is withdrawing herself from everyone. If you guys were close before, it might just seem harshier to you, as she's putting up walls.

    She might be processing everything and problem-solving the situation or she might be depressed and in actual need of help. If I were in her shoes I would just appreciate the person who could be able to "take it" and not pass judgements, who could understand and accept it's the way I deal and be there for support.

    I want to know what's going on inside of her head. She is a smart girl and I can't grasp how this could happen. I am familiar with eating disorders but I am just wondering if it affects personalities in different ways and what could be going on with this particular INFJ that I should be aware of.
    I'd go as far as to say eating disorder is just one minor part of a bigger issue. It's def. complex. Is there something else big stressing her out in her life right now?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array ubee0173's Avatar
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    Sep 2010


    she will become more introverted and impossible to reason with as she withdraws. anyone with an e.d. will withdraw- trust me, i registered as an infp for quite some time. advice? read up on it- she knows what shes doing is illogical and its not a matter of eating or not. its not her pushing you away, its the fucked up ideas in her head consuming her thoughts. be patient, but firm with her. dont pity or condescend- the reactions of others is a huge reason to withdraw further. when i was doing tht shit i didnt want to be around anyone i knew because i didnt want to hurt them. if it was something as simple as attention-seeking, she would stop when she got that attention, or advertise her eating disorder. encourage an open dialogue about it so its not the elephant in the room (poor choice of words, i know- but you know what i mean). dont force her to interact, but dont sit idly by while she goes off the deep end. i would encourage you to read "Wasted' by Marya Hornbacher. that will give you the best insight into what she is going through, its the only book about eating disorders i didnt throw across the room. seriously, that book is a fucking godsend. i really hope you are able to help, and im sorry you have to go through this!
    I will buy you a drink and I'll tell you what I think, and tomorrow, in the morning, I won't be sorry that I didn't sleep.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array MrRandom's Avatar
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    Jul 2008


    I usually want to avoid stressful thoughts. For example, when I apply to a job, I don't want people to start asking me about it. It's not up to me at that point anymore. I want to forget all about it until they answer me. My mom calls me every day just to ask if there are any news about the job and that really really drives me crazy. I don't want to deal with the issue and wallow in it until I've gotten an answer myself.

    Maybe with such a difficult subject as eating disorder she doesn't want to face the truth. Maybe, like me, she gets super-annoyed by everyone asking about it when she doesn't want to talk about it. My advice is to be there for her, not for her disorder (which makes people worried and thus the only thing they see). You should focus on the positive, because otherwise there are two options:
    1) You talk about the difficult subject, get doorslammed, end up not being able to help her.
    2) You avoid the difficult subject, end up not being able to help her, but you'll be friends.
    The latter is definitely better, because you'll be able to be there for each other for other things. I don't think there is a miracle cure for such a condition, it takes time and she needs to realize things by herself.

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