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Thread: ENFJs and unstable childhoods?

  1. #11
    Senior Member Array Sparrow's Avatar
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    May 2010


    Quote Originally Posted by Glycerine View Post
    That sounds a lot like my ISFP friend (I am not saying anything really MBTI related). She pours so much love and attention into her animals! . She is the "responsible" one in her family.
    Awe bless her heart :*)!
    Fe | Ni | Se | Ti ... 3w4 ... Lawful Neutral ... Johari -Nohari

  2. #12
    Senior Member Array Meek's Avatar
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    Apr 2011


    I have an Enfj boyfriend who had a really horrid past. He was raped at the age of 7 and his mother abused him, and also physically hit his dad in front of him.

    He's had friends who used him and his whole family is inbred- not kidding. He was made fun of in school for having a different shaped lip because of the cleft palate he had when he was born, then having surgeries for it. He had cancer in his ear so they had to take his ear drum out. Now he's deaf in his left ear, completely. He is still going through family issues but I Hope to work my ass off to help the both of us move away from his family for good. I want to take him away from the childhood memories in this town and his screwed up family.

    The enfj women I've known are all very histrionic and usually demand attention. Though, I think the enfj may grow up to blame herself over and over for being treated so badly. Even when things are not her fault, she might. She needs to be reminded that things are not her fault, that she is loved and does not deserve to be neglected. My enfj is suicidal often, often contemplating it because his life never gets better. He always gives in to people who hurt him but when I came along, I showed him just how abusive people were being toward him and perhaps this little Enfj needs one good person in her life, to make up for all of the wrong the bad people have caused her

  3. #13


    I have been a bit overwhelmed the last few weeks but just reread the thread. Thanks you all for your thoughts and taking the time to give me feedback and suggestions.

  4. #14
    hyggelig Array EJCC's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    173 so/sx


    EDIT: This post was totally unnecessary! Everyone had it covered, probably. Wow -- whoops! Hope this is all helpful, anyway:

    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    How does this sort of nightmare of a childhood impact and ENFJ and what coping skills will she need to develop to escape it? What are things that can be done to help her, especially when surrounded by some really selfish FPs?
    Based on anecdotal evidence from the ENFJ friends I've known, she will bounce back and grow up to be an incredibly strong and vibrant person, as long as she can separate herself from her family (to a degree) and remind herself that her family isn't "normal".

    One of my very best friends -- the friend I can talk to about almost anything -- is an ENFJ (enneagram 3), whose mom has borderline personality disorder, and who was essentially rescued by family friends who adopted him. His mom would still visit him a lot, and would occasionally abuse him (e.g. throwing plates and other objects at him in a blind rage). Both of his younger siblings developed personality disorders, but he remains healthy and well-adjusted. Currently he's in grad school, training to be a therapist, and very happy with the direction his life is going.

    Initially, when his life wasn't as good as it is now (i.e. when he wasn't having as much success separating himself from his mother), I'd say his coping mechanisms involved
    - Becoming a PCA at an independent living facility (and doing other things relating to nurturing and caretaking)
    - Some unhealthy habits (including binge eating) that he has given up since moving out of his family's house, and
    - Being incredibly charming and nurturing to everyone he meets. (Which isn't a bad thing, and is probably what the ENFJ in question will do too.)

    Also, he had a tendency, for a while, to make friends with (and enter romantic relationships with) people with psychological issues, who he could nurture and care for. HOWEVER, what got him out of this cycle was gaining a circle of friends (including me) who were able to nurture HIM instead, and show him gently that he deserved better than what he got, and what he was giving himself. So, to answer the last part of your question, I think the skills he gained to get himself out of it weren't so much skills, so much as revelations and bits of wisdom. You know -- realizations. He had the skills all along, but all he needed was the motivation to use them.

    So, in the past couple of years, he has made a remarkable transformation. He went from being an awkward, overweight kid in a terrible family situation (and also a terrible hometown situation; he was a gay Catholic in a very small and conservative town), to a fit and healthy young adult ready to benefit society and make the world a better place. He's moved somewhere more accepting, made more accepting friends, lost weight, gained confidence, converted to Episcopalianism, accepted and embraced his homosexuality... I could go on and on. All in all, he's a success story

    You know, it's strange; the INFJs I've known who grew up in bad situations have grown up to be immature, codependent, passive aggressive and generally unhealthy and in need of therapy. But the ENFJs I've known have done just the opposite. I have high hopes for the ENFJ in the OP; as long as she makes good friends and has people in her life who love her and nurture her, she will probably end up just fine.
    and it's nice enough to
    make a man
    weep, but I don't
    weep, do

    ESTJ - LSE - ESTj (mbti/socionics)
    1w2/7w6/3w4 so/sx (enneagram)
    lawful good (D&D) / ravenclaw or gryffindor (HP) / boros legion (M:TG)
    conscientious > sensitive > serious (oldham)
    want to ask me something? go for it!

  5. #15
    Senior Member Array sciski's Avatar
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    Jan 2008


    Quote Originally Posted by Marmie Dearest View Post
    She needs a strong adult role model to cling to outside of the family.
    This cannot be emphasised enough, especially for an ExFJ.

    I don't know anyone personally like this, but have read many stories written by grown-ups who had unstable childhoods, and what got them through was the consistent caring and substitute parenting (providing kindness and a stable and safe place to go, as well as making sure they do their homework, enforcing rules, etc) from another source. One story that stuck in my mind was a kid who grew up running with gangs, but for some reason was taken in by the old shopowner at a chinese takeaway shop. He'd go there for his takeaway and the no-nonsense owner would make him do his homework and help him with his math. The kid got through school, cleaned himself up and became a doctor.

    Sparrow makes a good point about her possibly trying to take on the parenting role. This little girl needs an adult figure around so that she knows what a functional family relationship is like--where parents look after the kids.

    I just read that you've been overwhelmed lately... don't go it alone if possible. Maybe you can get other people who care to share driving duties, and have a consistent roster system? At any rate, good on you for thinking about this girl and having the willingness to do something about it.

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