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  1. #1
    Senior Member substitute's Avatar
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    Default NT neutrality & family

    Actually, I've just thought of another spin on the 'neutrality towards people' thread - how about when it comes to family? Because I've just realised that all my posts here, I'm talking about the way I am with most people generally, but it's just occurred to me that nobody really behaves with their family as they do with non-family.

    I often find it quite odd, the huge disparity between the way friends see me, and family. Personally, I feel that my family barely knows me - I don't think I can think of anyone in my family who I'd really want to spend a week with on vacation. In fact, even just thinking about them visiting for a couple of hours makes me feel the stress-o-meter go through the roof, even though I can meet all kinds of other challenges in life with total calm!

    They often say things to me, thinking they know me really well, and I just think dude, how can you say that? Don't you know me at all??

    I also seem to find that my family (meaning parents, siblings etc) bring out the worst in me, and I find myself behaving in ways with them that I wouldn't anywhere else, and sometimes half way through I'm kinda looking at myself from the outside and thinking 'Dude, what are you saying? Why are you reacting like this? This isn't you!'

    It's as if being with them instantly 'throws me back' to a 'former me' that I used to be, as if all the personal evolutions and all the work I've done on myself since I lived with them or spent any deal of time around them, disappear and I'm plunged back to the mentality I had way back years ago, as a pain in the ass teenager.

    Part of me suspects that this could be because, though I've changed a hell of a lot, not only do they not realise this, but they actually haven't changed much at all. So they behave to me in the same way they always did, and I therefore react to them in the way I always used to. Even though nowadays, with other people like that, I don't react that way at all.

    Do other NT's find that, like me, that the lack of attachment or the 'neutrality' they feel towards others extends to family as well? Do you find it has different effects? Does it cause you more trouble than with non-family? Do you find that the pressure to appear attached and the reproach/disgrace for not doing so are much worse? How do you deal with it?
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  2. #2
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    My father is also an NT and we always enjoy talking to each other. It's because neither one of us are interested in talking about our feelings or about all the stupid pointless things that have happened since we last talked. We mainly communicate through email which I think is perfect for both of us. And we only see each other in person once every month or two, usually when we have so many ideas to share that we can no longer keep up on them with emails. Our relationship is mostly intellectual, or least that's how it is from my point of view.

    My mom and my brother are cool, but I can't really have an interesting conversation with either of them. I just do what I can, I suppose I don't feel super detached from them when I'm with them, it's just that I go weeks at a time without thinking about contacting them. That's when they get sad and start worrying about me. My whole family is afraid to come over or call me because they seem to think I'm a Scrooge, but I'm not!

    I like taking my brother to family gatherings because he actually cares about people more than intellectual stimulation. So he is my ticket to knowing people's names and he starts conversations with people I'd rather avoid.

    I don't think my family knows me that well, either. But I try, and so do they. It's not a big deal. Sometimes I adopt the "Fake it til you make it" approach concerning seeming attached. It's just a matter of getting it into my mind because it's usually not a priority.

    I am really good at manipulating my own mind...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    They often say things to me, thinking they know me really well, and I just think dude, how can you say that? Don't you know me at all??
    That is how I felt, with my mom having to deal with my "leaving church." I have not really changed that much in my beliefs over the years, I just never voiced them because I was trying so hard to not disappoint her or cause conflict. And some of the things she and my dad say, I am just like, "What on earth are you thinking that for? I've NEVER thought that." My dad has his opinions on why I left church and was trying to offer his support... and none of the reasons he believed were the actual reasons I had stopped going... and worse, I had already TOLD them in writing why I stopped going, but they still did not understand.

    Because what I wrote apparently did not mesh with the "me" they were hoping and thinking I was. *sigh*

    I also seem to find that my family (meaning parents, siblings etc) bring out the worst in me, and I find myself behaving in ways with them that I wouldn't anywhere else, and sometimes half way through I'm kinda looking at myself from the outside and thinking 'Dude, what are you saying? Why are you reacting like this? This isn't you!'

    It's as if being with them instantly 'throws me back' to a 'former me' that I used to be, as if all the personal evolutions and all the work I've done on myself since I lived with them or spent any deal of time around them, disappear and I'm plunged back to the mentality I had way back years ago, as a pain in the ass teenager.
    YES.

    Isn't it funny -- like a "Wayback Machine"? My childhood was like surviving a battlefield, and I do not much like the "me" that came out of that environment. For a long time, I would find myself reverting back (just like we revert back to our high school selves when attending a reunion!), and hating being around them because of that. Because I was fighting against behavioral ruts and old fears. It was the only way I knew to relate to them.

    And now that many things in my life are changing and coming out, well, it is STILL very hard. Like being under an evil magical spell. I get around them and feel bewitched and ensorcelled, no longer the "free me." It takes a lot of determination and emotional/mental preparation to go back into the lion's den and not be transformed back into the weak, hurting victim whose only defense is to detach.

    Do other NT's find that, like me, that the lack of attachment or the 'neutrality' they feel towards others extends to family as well?
    I wanted to say that I generally have a "doesn't matter who you are" policy in terms of evaluating someone's behavior. If my children do something dreadful, that needs correction, they will be punished just as much as I would want to see another child doing the same thing punished. There is no "Get out of Jail Free" pass just because someone is my relative. And the same goes for good things, I expect them to be rewarded for the same things everyone else is.

    So family might determine my priorities and how I spend my energy/time, but it doesn't really impact how I evaluate someone's behavior. If my parents are acting beastly, then that's how I judge it and respond to it. They don't get extra sympathy just because they are my parents.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by LucrativeSid View Post
    Sometimes I adopt the "Fake it til you make it" approach concerning seeming attached. It's just a matter of getting it into my mind because it's usually not a priority.
    So you admit that you're not really, genuinely attached?


    I am really good at manipulating my own mind...
    Oh yeah... haha... yes. Yes, yes, yes. How long on average does it take you to realise that you've done this? Do you often find yourself suddenly saying 'Hang on, I didn't actually feel that did I? I was just pretending to for so-and-so... ah shit, I thought I felt it for a minute there...' Do you find yourself ever having done things that you just don't understand why you did them and wish you didn't, then realise that it was done out of a feeling you only manipulated yourself into thinking you felt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    And now that many things in my life are changing and coming out, well, it is STILL very hard. Like being under an evil magical spell. I get around them and feel bewitched and ensorcelled, no longer the "free me." It takes a lot of determination and emotional/mental preparation to go back into the lion's den and not be transformed back into the weak, hurting victim whose only defense is to detach.
    Yes again. It's just like that... I sit there having to really bite my tongue and saying to myself 'don't react, just don't react, don't say anything, just let them finish their coffee and they'll go home and that'll be that'. But inevitably, they'll say something that I find really gets to me - and then I'm angry that I let it get to me, because I know that from anyone else it wouldn't.

    It's weird - there's this odd dichotomy between the fact that I'm not attached to them particularly, so I don't tend to do things/feel things/think things/say things purely out of genuine attached-style caring for them. I do try my best to be reasonable and considerate, but no more than I do towards anyone else. But then, by the same token, when they piss me off, it's almost always because I figure "But you're my mom! You should know better than that! Why don't you know? Because you don't make the effort to find out! Why? Because you don't really care!"

    And then only later, with much shame, I realise that I'm a total hypocrite, because I don't really care either...
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

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  5. #5
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    I dont think it's neutrality as much as it is AUTONOMY.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sakuraba View Post
    I dont think it's neutrality as much as it is AUTONOMY.
    Autonomy from family, or from people generally?

    I do feel pretty autonomous from my family; I could honestly quite easily never see any of them again and I know I wouldn't miss them. I've never missed them before, I've never found myself thinking "You know, I'd really love to see [some relative] right now, I wonder how they're doing?"

    But people generally... no, I'm not a 'don't need nobody' type of person. I do need some people. Just all the people that matter to me... none of them are related to me...
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

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  7. #7
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Don acts somewhat different with me than he does with his family of origin. He is sillier with them, but it is often highly evasive silliness. His mother complains that she can't get a straight answer from him about anything. I used to feel kind of sorry for her (even though she hasn't been particularly subtle about disliking me) then I figured out there is a reason for the way he acts toward her. I still kinda feel for her, but I don't blame him. If he didn't act that way he wouldn't be able to have a relationship with her at all. She's just too controlling and doesn't even realize that she is.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
    ~ John Rogers

  8. #8
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    An idea has just come to me - this isn't my opinion, just an idea. Tell me if y'all think there might be anything in it.

    If NT-ness is, as is often claimed, often the result of neglect/abuse/general poor family relationships, perhaps this has some correlation with NT's typically being detached and uninvolved with people generally. This could also have a knock-on effect of making us somewhat callous, not understanding how it feels to be attached to someone or how it can affect a person to have someone they care about 'being mean' to them, we don't treat those who care about us any different from those who don't, since in effect, they all fall into the same category for us of people who, generally, we don't really care about?

    And might it also be the case that the bad experiences with family/parents that could've made the whole NT detachment in the first place is still there, resentment etc for it, in adult life, are what's making it difficult for us to sweep under the carpet all the pain of our childhoods, just because now we're adults and everyone's being all nice to each other?

    In a way I think being with my family accentuates the detachment I feel... it's as though I'm aware that I have this big problem of attaching to people that's caused me trouble all my life and is even now causing problems in my relationships with other people. And when they're there, it's like I'm suddenly aware that it's THEIR FAULT that I'm this way, that if mom hadn't abandoned me, if dad hadn't beaten me and yelled at me, if my elder brother and sister hadn't bullied me so bad, if I hadn't been so neglected, then I wouldn't BE this screwed up, so they've got a nerve now expecting me to just look past it all and be pally with them now just because they want to play at happy families. Perhaps in a way I'm punishing them by subconsciously wanting to force them to face the consequences of what they did to me.

    But in another sense, maybe I'm punishing myself, out of all the guilt I feel about not being able to attach to people, how it makes me feel like I'm a shitty person... because other people tell me it means I am a shitty person...

    Arghghghgh it's all coming out now! Whatever made me think it'd be a good idea to lie on that couch when I typed this! LOL
    Ils se d�merdent, les mecs: trop bon, trop con..................................MY BLOG!

    "When it all comes down to dust
    I will kill you if I must
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by substitute View Post
    If NT-ness is, as is often claimed, often the result of neglect/abuse/general poor family relationships
    Just to comment on this part...

    ... I still don't think it's part of a "bad family" script per se, because our REACTIONS to a bad family (neglect/abuse/etc.) are not just created by what is acting on us, but who we already are.

    IOW, the same situation can be foisted on different people, and they will react differently to it.

    So really, the bad family upbringing could sometimes be said to make us more what we already were, unfortunately....

    have to run, would write more otherwise!
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #10
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    If I don't see them for months, I don't "miss" them and feel the need to see them. However, when they're there I'm happy to see them.

    We have pleasant conversations. They're generally interesting to talk to and I have good talks that I don't have with many other people. They're all pretty darn smart.

    I'm pretty open with them too and can talk about many things.

    I don't really have the time warp thing. Sure, I've changed - but not drastically. I can't take the same role I would in other groups. It would simply be rude. I think they know me quite well though.

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