Ugh, I've an ExFJ daughter who's just the same. She panicks and frets about something, then when you stand there holding out a free of charge solution for her, she seems to just want to reject it in favour of more panicking and crying. Like she's ENJOYING it or something and doesn't WANT to solve the problem... then makes the problem even worse because she won't solve it... then gets all despondent and stuff and... gahhh!!!
Actually I've been told it's a T mistake that we do sometimes, to think that when the F is upset, that they want solutions to their problems. I mean they probably do in the long run, but first off and primarily, they want empathy for their feelings. They want you to listen to how they feel and validate it, stuff like "yeah I can understand you feeling that way" or "I'd feel the same in your shoes" or "loads of people have that problem, you're not alone" and stuff like that. You've got to devote some time to neutralizing the emotional stuff before they can kick their intellect into gear to start thinking about actually solving the problem.
This is just what I've heard... I've not yet met with much success at putting it into practice...
Possibly in the case of your son, he was too focused on the panic of possibly being late and all the emotional consequences of what might happen if he's late, punishments and reactions and whatever... and in that state he wasn't able to just sorta say "oh well!" and eat his breakfast. Maybe he needed some sort of reassurance that... fuck, I dunno. I just don't know how these Fe types work
My daughter last night flew into a tizzy because she had some geography homework. All she could think about was how this stuff desperately needed to be done because the teacher was SO strict and if it was late in or of too low a standard then she'd get this punishment and that punishment and the sky would fall on her head etc etc etc., and when I was like dude, why don't you devote your energy to just doing the homework instead of panicking, then you don't need to worry at all about the consequences of not doing it? and like, dude, you don't have to worry about any of that stuff cos it's all under your control as to whether it happens or not... well, somehow, it just seemed to make her cry even more. I'm at a total loss... I don't know what I was supposed to do...
Except that I've seen a friend of mine (an INFP) sort her out when she's like this. She just sorta doesn't say anything or give any advice or anything verbally, she just gives her a hug and lets her stand there and sob for a bit or whatever, then when the moment passes she'll say "Right come on then, let's do this together" and it seems to work. I keep telling myself I ought to try that, but in the heat of the moment it's the last thing I think of doing...
Thanks Luv. Very helpful.
It's exactly the same with my son as with your daughter.
I have an INFP sister, so I know what that looks like,
though an INTJ behaving like an INFP is not the same as an INFP being an INFP.
What's nice is to know that I'm on the right track because I have done this before,
with the homework and such.
Poor thing started out the year wanting to be the valedictorian of his class!
He'll probably be in the Top 10 or 20 but talk about exceedingly high standards!
He has certain subjects that he hates, so I will sit with him and eagerly offer to research or whatever. I even let him think out loud while I typed what he was saying - because he is a great story-teller but has difficulty getting it from his mouth to his paper.
I will work on remembering to validate his feelings more.
Don't fix it. Just take the mick until either they sort it out or crumble.
Basically tease them about being all independant. Point out how they are cutting off their nose, peering in the mirror and declaring "HA!!" like they won.
ENFJs sometimes need to be brought to a dead stop to get them to look at what they're doing. One tactic is the verbal punch in the nose. Basically ignore protestations and keep going at them until they do stop (as long as they are fine with you normally then you should be "allowed" to do this without repercussions... if not ... stand back ).
My ENFJ sister once declared she would commit suicide at one real low point. After speaking to me she was declaring she'd remove my head... at which point I pointed out she seemed a lot better
My ENFJ friend went with us to Vegas and resorted to dashing off if me or t'missus lowered our voices assuming we wanted time alone. I had to argue to a standstill that if he did that without being asked then it was worse than not doing it at all. It took shouting and name calling before he stopped, realised the error and altered his course.
It's been my experience that ENFJs require as much heat as they put out sometimes. It's not for the feint of heart.
Oh and this is something that's appears to be incurrable. You can persuade them to reign it in but never stop it... a bit like trying to stop an INTJ who thinks they've got the answer....
Letting people down that we respect/care about can be exceptionally painful to us. Guilt tops the list of feelings I attempt to avoid. Validating his feelings is fine but remembering not to encourage the negative behaviors you are trying to help him mature with can be a sticky situation if you lean too far to either side. If you take a second to acknowledge yes he screwed up you will be better off (at least from my pov) then trying to pamper. It's really all you have to do I think. We can tell what you are trying to do even if you deny it. Instinct may say try to make us feel better and take care of us but for myself that is the last thing I want. He really sounds par for the course and the perfectionist tendencies will probably always be there to a degree. I kind of wish I had stayed that course. I was his age or maybe younger when I looked around one day and realized everyone was selfish. I decided that if no one else would hold themselves to such a high standard why should I? All hell broke loose then for a number of years .
This could also be as simple as not wanting to look like a sissy baby with a tippy cup of milky.