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Thread: Consoling an NF

  1. #1
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Default Consoling an NF

    I've recently become really good friends with an INFJ. His wife is also an NF of some sort in my estimation. We've had some really good conversations and become very good friends in a relatively short amount of time. He lost his job recently for trying to be ethical and "blowing the whistle" on something he knew was going on in the workplace and he got shown the door in short order.

    I spent a good amount of time consoling him. He's really taking it hard, saying things like, "I'm not a good father because I didn't consider my children's welfare before blowing the whistle. I just pictured myself as the 'white knight' who was doing the right thing and now I'm nothing but a jobless father who didn't put his kids first." Or, "They'd all probably be better off without me."

    I mean, hours and hours of "I can't believe how stupid I am." I totally feel for him and want to be there as much as I can, but anything I say he just reverts back to "how stupid he is and he can't believe what he did".

    I'm obviously not going to snap him out of it by encouraging him, so what is the best thing a friend can do here? Just continue to listen? I told him to give me a call anytime or e-mail me if he needs support and he said he'd surely take me up on that.

    Is it just one of those things that will take time for him to come to grips with? Can NF's (or INFJ's) get into a self-condemning loop where they talk and think poorly of themselves?

    At first I tried to just listen, understand, encourage, support, and build him up. But, after seeing that it seemingly wasn't helping, I tried to teach him an NT trick: detach yourself from taking it personal. I basically said, "Take your time and grieve for a few weeks. Spend time with your family and those you love. Re-evaluate your life and what is most important and dear to you. Then begin to move in that direction. Use this as a fresh start; a new lease on life. Turn bad into good. But, don't take this so personally. You're a good man, you're a good husband and father. You made a mistake. It's OK. But whether it's right now, or in a couple weeks, or in a month, at some point you will want to put it behind you and realize that it's now a part of your past. For the sake of your family and your own sanity, you'll want to begin looking forward so that you can be productive again."

    And he'd just say, "Yeah, I just don't know."

    What else can I do here NF's to be there for this family?
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


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  2. #2
    Glycerine
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    INTPness, just be there for him. Lighten up the mood and fun with him because no matter how much you try to convince him otherwise with cold, hard facts that his perceptions are distorted, it can be a futile effort. He probably needs to work through things and figure things out for himself. As a borderline NFJ myself, I can be unnecessarily harsh on myself and have to fight my own demons and find my own epiphanies to get over things I deem as true failures and mistakes.

    It's cool that you want to help him by listening but at the same time, your friend needs to get steered away from thinking too deep into the ramifications and analysis of the situation. Ni blackhole is a bad mental space. It's all about broken record thinking, thinking in depth about every little offshoot the mind can think of, all the future possibilities and what-ifs. It's like rape of the mind to whoever becomes the sound board.

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    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glycerine View Post
    INTPness, just be there for him. Lighten up the mood and fun with him because no matter how much you try to convince him otherwise with cold, hard facts that his perceptions are distorted, it can be a futile effort. He probably needs to work through things and figure things out for himself. As a borderline NFJ myself, I can be unnecessarily harsh on myself and have to fight my own demons and find my own epiphanies to get over things I deem as true failures and mistakes.

    It's cool that you want to help him by listening but at the same time, your friend needs to get steered away from thinking too deep into the ramifications and analysis of the situation. Ni blackhole is a bad mental space. It's all about broken record thinking, thinking in depth about every little offshoot the mind can think of, all the future possibilities and what-ifs. It's like rape of the mind to whoever becomes the sound board.
    Thanks for the input. Yeah, it was kind of like the bolded part. I think my Ne humorous side is probably more valuable to him at this time than my Ti analysis or even Fe "don't worry, everything is going to work out."
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

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    Member Moxiest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    I've recently become really good friends with an INFJ. His wife is also an NF of some sort in my estimation. We've had some really good conversations and become very good friends in a relatively short amount of time. He lost his job recently for trying to be ethical and "blowing the whistle" on something he knew was going on in the workplace and he got shown the door in short order.

    I spent a good amount of time consoling him. He's really taking it hard, saying things like, "I'm not a good father because I didn't consider my children's welfare before blowing the whistle. I just pictured myself as the 'white knight' who was doing the right thing and now I'm nothing but a jobless father who didn't put his kids first." Or, "They'd all probably be better off without me."

    I mean, hours and hours of "I can't believe how stupid I am." I totally feel for him and want to be there as much as I can, but anything I say he just reverts back to "how stupid he is and he can't believe what he did".

    I'm obviously not going to snap him out of it by encouraging him, so what is the best thing a friend can do here? Just continue to listen? I told him to give me a call anytime or e-mail me if he needs support and he said he'd surely take me up on that.

    Is it just one of those things that will take time for him to come to grips with? Can NF's (or INFJ's) get into a self-condemning loop where they talk and think poorly of themselves?

    At first I tried to just listen, understand, encourage, support, and build him up. But, after seeing that it seemingly wasn't helping, I tried to teach him an NT trick: detach yourself from taking it personal. I basically said, "Take your time and grieve for a few weeks. Spend time with your family and those you love. Re-evaluate your life and what is most important and dear to you. Then begin to move in that direction. Use this as a fresh start; a new lease on life. Turn bad into good. But, don't take this so personally. You're a good man, you're a good husband and father. You made a mistake. It's OK. But whether it's right now, or in a couple weeks, or in a month, at some point you will want to put it behind you and realize that it's now a part of your past. For the sake of your family and your own sanity, you'll want to begin looking forward so that you can be productive again."

    And he'd just say, "Yeah, I just don't know."

    What else can I do here NF's to be there for this family?
    I know the economy is bad and all.... but is there a way you can help him find a job?

    This is very interesting to me, as I have lost a job due to ethics, and so has another NF i know..... fascinating....

  5. #5
    Anew Leaf
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    Is it just one of those things that will take time for him to come to grips with? Can NF's (or INFJ's) get into a self-condemning loop where they talk and think poorly of themselves?
    1- Yes. It sounds like there is a bit of a war going on with himself between the whole NF crusade (I must be ethical at all costs!) and just being a man/husband/father (I should put their needs before my own.) Both sides probably need to have their say for a bit as he works this out for himself.

    2- Yes. It's rather embarrassingly easy to do. It's a combination of subjective viewpoint combined with unrealistic expectations. For me I find the way to "snap out if it" is to externalize what I am thinking (oh the horror!) to people I trust and gather information from them.

    This is a pretty major event and while you guys are good friends, he probably needs to hear this stuff from his wife. What I would suggest for you to do as his friend is to continue to be there for him as he needs.... While providing some levity as appropriate. Maybe you guys can go get a beer together, or go to a movie, or a box social.

    Hope this helps!

    Edit: What not to do: disappear on him.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    I've recently become really good friends with an INFJ. His wife is also an NF of some sort in my estimation. We've had some really good conversations and become very good friends in a relatively short amount of time. He lost his job recently for trying to be ethical and "blowing the whistle" on something he knew was going on in the workplace and he got shown the door in short order.

    I spent a good amount of time consoling him. He's really taking it hard, saying things like, "I'm not a good father because I didn't consider my children's welfare before blowing the whistle. I just pictured myself as the 'white knight' who was doing the right thing and now I'm nothing but a jobless father who didn't put his kids first." Or, "They'd all probably be better off without me."

    I mean, hours and hours of "I can't believe how stupid I am." I totally feel for him and want to be there as much as I can, but anything I say he just reverts back to "how stupid he is and he can't believe what he did".

    I'm obviously not going to snap him out of it by encouraging him, so what is the best thing a friend can do here? Just continue to listen? I told him to give me a call anytime or e-mail me if he needs support and he said he'd surely take me up on that.

    Is it just one of those things that will take time for him to come to grips with? Can NF's (or INFJ's) get into a self-condemning loop where they talk and think poorly of themselves?

    At first I tried to just listen, understand, encourage, support, and build him up. But, after seeing that it seemingly wasn't helping, I tried to teach him an NT trick: detach yourself from taking it personal. I basically said, "Take your time and grieve for a few weeks. Spend time with your family and those you love. Re-evaluate your life and what is most important and dear to you. Then begin to move in that direction. Use this as a fresh start; a new lease on life. Turn bad into good. But, don't take this so personally. You're a good man, you're a good husband and father. You made a mistake. It's OK. But whether it's right now, or in a couple weeks, or in a month, at some point you will want to put it behind you and realize that it's now a part of your past. For the sake of your family and your own sanity, you'll want to begin looking forward so that you can be productive again."

    And he'd just say, "Yeah, I just don't know."

    What else can I do here NF's to be there for this family?
    You can only listen. Don't try to fix it or even offer advice right now. He won't hear you. I agree he has to look at this as a business thing, not personal but that is almost impossible for them to do, at least at first.

    I am very VERY guilty of wanting to fix every single thing that ever upset my ENFJ. To me, I only wanted to protect him and see to his happiness. It was my job. Oh...this was a bad move, even though it was such an overwhelming desire for me. Outside of my children, I never wanted to protect anyone else. Later on he said - I don't wish to label things I say as FYI this is only a vent. And you have to stop bringing people to me on their knees to beg for mercy like a mercenary I hired without me ever having asked you to because you think they upset me.

    hehe that was really true too. So just listen and be there. Help him rewrite his resume, send jobs he may be qualified for..ect. He will be grateful for your friendship.
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.

  7. #7
    Glycerine
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    I have a strong feeling that he is going to poo poo anyone's suggestions until he's good and ready regardless whether it's his wife or INTPness. Sometimes, it's actually easier to listen to people that are not as close to you. I am basing this off the interactions between me (eNFJ) and my INFP confidante.

  8. #8
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    I agree with just listening, and maybe be a fun distraction, a positive aspect in an otherwise difficult life period. The thing with INFx types is we often know what we need to do, so being told what we should/could do feels a bit condescending & it's just not necessary. Getting over the feelings is the real hurdle, and no one can force you over it until you're ready (it's like telling someone to just get up & run when they've broken their leg; it's gotta heal first).

    Personally, I do like to be told my feelings are valid and/or that I am capable of solving my problems. Sometimes I know what I need to do, but I don't feel able, and it's the lack of confidence & the fear that is stopping me. I can have my perspective reframed by outside input also, which can then affect how I evaluate something, but the shift in what I see as important has to be my own (it's a matter of FiNe here). For example, don't tell me that something is not so bad at it seems, because "bad" is my evaluation of it. Instead, put it in a context (and NOT by comparing it to starving children in Africa or something equally irrelevant - the "other people have it worse" argument), by pointing out possible good options available, what good came out of something that has happened, etc. Let's say I lost my job, then telling me I have X years of good experience that will prove useful for getting a new, possibly better job, is a good thing to hear. Even if I know it, it reaffirms the real context for me, which I may distort into "hopelessness" when I'm down. Telling me losing my job is not such a big deal in the long run is not something I'd like to hear though, as it trivializes my feeling.

    My INFJ doesn't like advice when he knows what to do either, but he especially doesn't like anyone to reframe his perspective for him (I think being Ni-dom, perception turned inward, only he can do that for himself). Sometimes reminding him of what has value & what does not helps (whereas that can be a bad method to use with me), because a Fe type often likes consensus/feedback on what is important. It's not about defining for them what is important, but reinforcing what they've expressed in the past or how something meets or doesn't meet a value they've communicated to you before. Reaffirming he made a good decision is helpful, but in regards to your friend, if you think it was a mistake & cannot do this, then stay quiet there. What's done & done, and if it proves bad in the long run, then he'll learn the lesson. If you do not regard his action as a total mistake, or not totally at odds with his family responsibility, then focus on that angle with whatever feedback you give. For example, you could point out he has set an ethical example for his children, which is as important for a parent as providing materially. This can help him to reconcile two values, see how he upheld both in some capacity, when he felt he chose the wrong one (the work issue over family).

    Right now he also probably needs to know he is capable of making a move that is good for his family, that fixes the problem before him now. He may know how to do it, but he likely feels immobilized by fear & self-doubt. When he vents, just telling him you know he'll work it out is more than enough. It seems like you're doing a lot of this already, so patience & time is really the key.
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    I keep looking at this thread in ispy and seeing "Controlling an NF" lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    I've recently become really good friends with an INFJ. His wife is also an NF of some sort in my estimation. We've had some really good conversations and become very good friends in a relatively short amount of time. He lost his job recently for trying to be ethical and "blowing the whistle" on something he knew was going on in the workplace and he got shown the door in short order.

    I spent a good amount of time consoling him. He's really taking it hard, saying things like, "I'm not a good father because I didn't consider my children's welfare before blowing the whistle. I just pictured myself as the 'white knight' who was doing the right thing and now I'm nothing but a jobless father who didn't put his kids first." Or, "They'd all probably be better off without me."

    I mean, hours and hours of "I can't believe how stupid I am." I totally feel for him and want to be there as much as I can, but anything I say he just reverts back to "how stupid he is and he can't believe what he did".

    I'm obviously not going to snap him out of it by encouraging him, so what is the best thing a friend can do here? Just continue to listen? I told him to give me a call anytime or e-mail me if he needs support and he said he'd surely take me up on that.

    Is it just one of those things that will take time for him to come to grips with? Can NF's (or INFJ's) get into a self-condemning loop where they talk and think poorly of themselves?

    At first I tried to just listen, understand, encourage, support, and build him up. But, after seeing that it seemingly wasn't helping, I tried to teach him an NT trick: detach yourself from taking it personal. I basically said, "Take your time and grieve for a few weeks. Spend time with your family and those you love. Re-evaluate your life and what is most important and dear to you. Then begin to move in that direction. Use this as a fresh start; a new lease on life. Turn bad into good. But, don't take this so personally. You're a good man, you're a good husband and father. You made a mistake. It's OK. But whether it's right now, or in a couple weeks, or in a month, at some point you will want to put it behind you and realize that it's now a part of your past. For the sake of your family and your own sanity, you'll want to begin looking forward so that you can be productive again."

    And he'd just say, "Yeah, I just don't know."

    What else can I do here NF's to be there for this family?
    your friend is INFP, not INFJ
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