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  1. #1
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Default ENFJs and unstable childhoods?

    Can someone tell me what happens to ENFJs who have very tramatic, unstable childhoods?

    An ESFP woman and ESTP "husband" have two children-a 13yo ESFP and an 8 yo ENFJ, both daughters.

    The have been evicted from their home at least six times in the past three years, routinely have the utilities turned off. The parents go through cycles of spending all of their money on expensive toys for them and the children, then to take the toys and pawn them later. They have gone months at a time effectively homeless, living off of their mother, where the children had no bedrooms.

    The kids have stayed in the same school, in spite of all the moves, but are well known as "that family". The mom has severe uncontrollable anger issues and recently dropped off her older ESFP daughter with her mom saying "You had better take her before I beat her like the adult she almost is". This sort of talk is common and accompanied by hours of screaming. The half brother of the ENFJ, from a former marriage by the ESTP, shot and almost killed another boy in a drug deal and at 16 is in prison.

    ESFP mom cycles through local charities taking handouts and lies about a variety of things to get government aid. The ESFP is extremely manipulative, steals and lies without a second thought and shoplifts as she feels she deserves. The ESTP had five jobs in one summer, most of them door to door selling scams and is frequently unemployed.

    Oddly ESFP daughter does well in school, is on the JV cheerleading squad, plays high school basketball and baseball, and is doing okay in school. I assume if she can keep looking at the big picture and develop some tert Te, she might escape this disaster.

    However I really, really worry about the little ENFJ. I dont understand what this will do to her as she is both very sensitive, but very stubborn.

    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?

  2. #2
    Earth Exalted Thursday's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Assuring her that everything will be "ok" is not the answer. I believe this to be unhealthy. Try to highlight what this can teach her; that she is getting a look first-hand at what others only hear as a rumor. Show her not your expectations of her, but of the woman that she has the potential to become. Chances are she is soaking up all of these emotional climates and letting them churn inside of her while holding them at bay. Give her an activity that requires discipline and attention and concentration, while demanding skill. Tell her that no matter how bad her parents are and how tough this may be, there are experiences beyond her wildest imaginations that equal and surpass all that she has known in a negative light.

    I too am sensitive and stubborn to a "T" This will be her saving grace. I would love to help you long run, so feel free to message me or we can keep this thread running.
    I N V I C T U S

  3. #3
    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thursday View Post
    Hi,

    Assuring her that everything will be "ok" is not the answer. I believe this to be unhealthy. Try to highlight what this can teach her; that she is getting a look first-hand at what others only hear as a rumor. Show her not your expectations of her, but of the woman that she has the potential to become. Chances are she is soaking up all of these emotional climates and letting them churn inside of her while holding them at bay. Give her an activity that requires discipline and attention and concentration, while demanding skill. Tell her that no matter how bad her parents are and how tough this may be, there are experiences beyond her wildest imaginations that equal and surpass all that she has known in a negative light.

    I too am sensitive and stubborn to a "T" This will be her saving grace. I would love to help you long run, so feel free to message me or we can keep this thread running.
    Thank you Thursday. Your thoughts mean a great deal.

    The part about letting the emotions churn inside her while holding them at bay. I cant even recognize what that means for me, but when you said it, that is exactly what she does. From the outside it is this weird combination of being very resilient and tough but very sensitive as well, but oddly ballsy.

    I am vacillating about calling CPS on her mother. I dont think her children would be removed, but perhaps it might make the mother think twice about how she treats her kids. I dont understand how someone could say such horrible things to those you love.

    Would things like religion or sunday school serve as external sources of hope for her? I dont mean to push religion, but if it is a source of strength, I would suggest it. If I can bite my tongue and mend bridges with the mom, I might be able to spend more time with both girls, and try and take them out to do activities.

    Can you suggest any books that might be inspirational for her? That might be another way to reach around her mother, so to speak.

    I have also thought about offering to pay for her to take gymnastics lessons or girl scouts or some activity that allows her to see past the immediate family.

  4. #4
    Earth Exalted Thursday's Avatar
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    Gymnastics is a good way and if she is naturally passionate about it, all the better. Religion often serves as an escape goat too often. It is an option, but the variety of spiritual mandates are more often about giving others the power. Religion never took with me as much as self-reliance and individual principles and personal beliefs. This leads to the experiences and emotions gained from literature and art.

    Books are a great way to alter someone's perception in a positive manner, I suggest " The Power of One" by Bryce Courtenay. Has an ENFJ in a parallel situation. Also, there is a novel called "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery

    Just realize that she will have a defined "dark-side" that the ENFJs are so famous for having after this, but it serves as a wet-blanket to check enthusiasms and idyllic feelings that are unrealistic and reckless. But sarcastic humor is a great way to incorporate such a thing in a healthy way.

    As such, tell her she is not responsible for other's actions, and that what is most important is her Re-action to the situation. Tell her to listen to her gut and intuition, and don't get mired in her thoughts and feelings too much. Tell her to accept and observe and feel them, but do not do anything based upon that fire. A journal would be a good release valve for this. Give her a quote book from business people and proverbs from china/japan - easy to get off the web and print.

    Perhaps going to the authorities in person would provide and exclamation mark and grant expediency to your cause and her well being. It is beyond doubt that the responsible authorities should be contacted.

    Thank you for this. On my behalf and hers, she will have the power of love so strong because of your concern. Provide her with plenty of hugs.
    I N V I C T U S

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orobas View Post
    Can someone tell me what happens to ENFJs who have very tramatic, unstable childhoods?
    My ENFJ sis had a very tramatic childhood; courtesy of ENTP. She's doing just fine now. I think she's stronger and wiser.

  6. #6
    Senior Member copperfish17's Avatar
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    Every single ENFJ I have ever known has a pretty dark past... In the end, I somehow concluded that it's their traumatic experiences that actually shaped them into ENFJs; I think the source of ENFJs' strong empathy/maturity is their own pain. I can't really prove any of this, and I'm willing to accept that my conclusion may be wrong/invalid. These ENFJs have grown into capable, sincere, and empathetic adults now, and I deeply care for each of them. They're all my good friends.

    In any case, it's very kind of you to try to reach out to the ENFJ. I think the only things you should be careful of is stepping into her boundaries and/or forcing anything onto her. Besides that, I think you're good to go. Most ENFJs, IME, appreciate it a lot if you listen to their stories attentively and just spend lots of time with them. Verbal affection works well, as do hugs. As for compliments, as long as it's sincere and well-deserved, I'm sure the ENFJ will soak it up.
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  7. #7
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    She needs a strong adult role model to cling to outside of the family.

    It sounds like her mother has Borderline Personality Disorder.

  8. #8
    Glycerine
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    She will most likely either strongly withdraw or rebel against if she doesn't have at least one stable person in her life.

    Withdrawn: stuck in fear, become a doormat, conflict avoidant, very reserved, emotionally conflicted (detached vs. engaged), laissez faire.

    Rebel: become combative, emotionally explosive but not really aware about how she feels, master manipulator, reckless behaviour, engages in forms of escapism.

    There can often times be a mixture of the two.

    The best thing that you could probably do for her is not FORCE her to open up but help her redirect her emotionally energy (activities to get her mind off of things, quality fun time to help her not miss out her actual "childhood") elsewhere because repressed emotional trauma that is unleashed can be quite intense.

    Church didn't do much for me either. I think it actually made me a bit more fearful (hearing about heaven, hell, and sins because it made things seem so "black and white") with the slightly moderate amount of childhood trauma I have endured. If she chooses and willing wants religion in her life, it can provide a sense of hope and comfort but if not, it can come off as "forced, being judged" causing further confusion on what to think about her family even with the good intentions. Religion can be quite helpful but one should be careful using it when trying to help others. IME, for some people, it has been the saving grace and, for others, they become hostile to the well intentioned act of bringing religion in.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Sparrow's Avatar
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    The ENFJ girl might also try to take on the caretaker roll since her parents aren't all there 100%, not healthy for a child! This will probably make her codependent in her future relationships, she might also become an adult/child who is a little emotionally immature since thats all she knew growing up.

    Poor thing, she needs to be a kid and not worry about all that crap . That is really sweet of you to care! She definitly needs better role models in her life.
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  10. #10
    Glycerine
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
    The ENFJ girl might also try to take on the caretaker roll since her parents aren't all there 100%, not healthy for a child! This will probably make her codependent in her future relationships, she might also become an adult/child who is a little emotionally immature since thats all she knew growing up.

    Poor thing, she needs to be a kid and not worry about all that crap . That is really sweet of you to care! She definitly needs better role models in her life.
    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.

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