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Thread: INFJ perfectionism and stress

  1. #1

    Default INFJ perfectionism and stress

    My INFJ Mom is under a lot of stress. She works doing organizational work, and some other non-professional jobs (estate sales, for instance). She comes home exhausted, and complains bitterly about pretty much everything that isn't perfect.

    She vents alot, and then complains. She exhibits lots of regression - whining like a little kid, almost tantrums, generally erratic behavior (mood swings). The thing is, most of the stress seems pretty unwarranted. For instance, She might work all day, and than insist that she HAS to clip coupons because she is going shopping later in the week.

    Keep in mind she is frantic about doing this. I try to explain to her that (based on receipts I've seen, or being at the checkout with her at the store) the amount of stress she's putting on herself isn't worth the about $4 she'll save. We aren't poor. It would be much more productive to relax, de-stress, and have a clear head for working the next day, where she may figure out a way to simply make an extra $10. She looks at me like I'm insane.

    Thanksgiving was very weird. We had two guests. She did not sit down at the table once. She just RAN back and forth from the table to the kitchen. Everyone was telling her to just calm down and take a seat, that everything was fine, but she just couldn't. It was really uncomfortable for everyone involved.

    I'm worried she's going to have a mental breakdown soon. How do I get her to relax her standards a little? It's not full blown OCD, but it's definitely compulsive behavior. And is this a common INFJ problem?
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array MonkeyGrass's Avatar
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    She sounds like she's under a lot of stress, and is exhibiting ESTJ shadow behavior. It takes a lot of stress to do that, poor lady! The coupons are likely her way of trying to keep her fingers dug into the non-abstract world and make sense of it all/keep control.

    Her jobs are my definition of hell, honestly. They'd kill my soul. Does she enjoy what she does?
    I think I think more than you think I think.

  3. #3

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    Isn't the shadow ESTP?

    I'm not sure if she enjoys it. I've helped her work. It's a giant flurry of nervous energy. She does a good job of cleaning things up, though. She's also does personal shopping.

    She's always been very high strung, but it's getting worse.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

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    Aspiring Troens Ridder Array KLessard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboo View Post
    Isn't the shadow ESTP?

    I'm not sure if she enjoys it. I've helped her work. It's a giant flurry of nervous energy. She does a good job of cleaning things up, though. She's also does personal shopping.

    She's always been very high strung, but it's getting worse.
    I feel sorry for her, and she isn't her natural INFJ self. I am nothing like this. I can be pretty phlegmatic about those concrete things. Are you certain she is INFJ? She does sound like ESFJ or ESTJ.

  5. #5

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    She has taken the test from the book Please Understand Me and a short online test, both INFJ.

    Edit:
    She is almost certainly NOT ESTJ. ESFJ is a stretch. ISFJ I could imagine, but she just doesn't seem like an S type to me.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

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    Aspiring Troens Ridder Array KLessard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboo View Post
    She has taken the test from the book Please Understand Me and a short online test, both INFJ.
    She must be under a lot of stress... Close to shadow function, I guess.
    Could you sit down with her and ask her to explain the reason she feels that way? Get to the root of the problem and invite her to talk about it? I think that would help me if I were her.

    Get her to laugh with a funny and intelligent movie, maybe? I like intelligent humour. I watched about a dozen of André Sauvé's sketches on youtube the other day (one of our humorists here in Québec), and laughed my head off all evening. That sure made me feel better and taught me to laugh at myself a bit and not take things too seriously. I was feeling quite depressed at the time.

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    Iron Maiden Array fidelia's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like she is not in a line of work that is energizing her (those things don't sound at all appealing to INFJs). I think also the venting is sometimes a way of trying to cope with stress. It's not so much complaining but trying to drain off the excess emotion that makes it impossible to get on with solving the problem or doing the job. That can be unpleasant though for the people around. I get all weird about dumb little jobs too when I am under big stress. Suddenly those kinds of minutia seem really important and urgent. Talk with her!

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    Fail 2.0 Array BlueScreen's Avatar
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    I always find the personal growth pages give some insight with this stuff.

    INFJ personal growth

    Obviously you can't solve all problems with MBTi, but I agree with all the INFJs here. She seems pretty stressed and it isn't normal INFJ behaviour. The job choices might be causing it or something else.
    Freude, schöner Götterfunken Tochter aus Elysium, Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! Deine Zauber binden wieder Was die Mode streng geteilt; Alle Menschen werden Brüder, Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bamboo View Post
    My INFJ Mom is under a lot of stress. She works doing organizational work, and some other non-professional jobs (estate sales, for instance). She comes home exhausted, and complains bitterly about pretty much everything that isn't perfect.
    ...

    I'm worried she's going to have a mental breakdown soon. How do I get her to relax her standards a little? It's not full blown OCD, but it's definitely compulsive behavior. And is this a common INFJ problem?
    Show lots of care and express your worry that she is burning out. Tell her if she is worried over you, that you are big enough and can take care of yourself but please, that she does not have to drive herself so hard. If she cannot switch to a less stressful job or one that is more fulfilling, at least, get her to go on walks and reconnect with nature...Best wishes.

  10. #10

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    Ok, so we talked at some point. I asked her if she liked her work, she said she likes it - she get's to "disconnect" from her body and just go. She admits though that she sometimes gets too frantic and freaks out.

    She calmed down after a day or two.

    Thanks for all the responses.

    PS She used to work as a hospital chaplin, still works for various charities, visits the sick, all that INFJ stuff too.
    Don't know how much it'll bend til it breaks.

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