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Thread: Unhealthy ISFJs

  1. #21
    Obsession. Lethe's Avatar
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    The background:

    I think my ISFJ mother qualifies as a person who happened to be extremely unhealthy for valid reasons. She had a combination of constant anxiety, incredibly low self-esteem, an unhappy childhood, issues with divorce... you know, the whole enchilada. And not to mention, I had my world crashing on me, including the constant marital & financial problems my INTP father caused. What didn't help was how she started taking on everyone's problems as hers, and my own rejection of outside support caused my mom to become even more intrusive. I simply needed massive breathing space when I'm at my worst, and the involvement of other people drains away my energy, or stirs more trouble and distress.

    There was too much sharing, and not enough trust in my home-life. My thoughts were the only things I could exercise control over, without having it to be "we". So it felt like she was cutting my entire life-support when she micro-monitored my every mood, idea, and decision to make sure everyone she knew was "ok" with them. My ISFJ sister and ESTP brother had an easier time ignoring, or adapting to her ways than I did. I'm a special case in requiring high amounts of independence and solitude at a very young age. This behavior seemed unusual for my ISFJ mom and by the standards of her experiences, as she shared everything with her family. We both didn't know how to effectively communicate our needs and wants to work together.

    Yeah, it was a rather dysfunctional family. And everyone had a role in it. Type (or personality), more or less, influenced those decisions within that role. No one was any more responsible for creating those family burdens than the next participant.
    "I cannot expect even my own art to provide all of the answers -- only to hope it keeps asking the right questions." -- Grace Hartigan

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    Quote Originally Posted by OneWithSoul View Post
    Looking into the eyes of a [Ni user] is like peeking through a portal into a parallel universe.

  2. #22
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe View Post
    My post won't be as informative as I would have liked, but here are some basic ideas before I crash from today's exhaustion. I'll expand on them in three days or so, if you still have questions.

    1. Don't try to get her to see things from your point of view. The chances are, she's scared stiff of everything you symbolize or value. It is very apparent that you two have a diametrically opposed style of functioning.

    2. If someone's starved for something, they won't care about anything else until that need is met. [Or in a humorous way -- it's like sending graduate textbooks to a group of impoverished children in Africa. They'd appreciate it more if you help build their shelter.] In this case, it's her self-esteem and desire for security. Work through the major barriers first before you introduce your issues.

    3. Fully listen to her. And take the time to understand her concerns. Agreement isn't necessary, but acknowledging and validating them makes a huge difference. (See number 7.)

    4. Encourage her to take time off for herself. This may include activities where she 'nurtures' other people. ...Outside her family.

    5. If you can't beat them, then join forces with them. Anything Te-induced will bounce right off her radar, so your advice must appeal to her SiFe sense of values, priorities, motivations, fears, etc. If you've been playing therapist (or the best friend) as I suggested above, this should go hand-in-hand with that role.

    6. Avoid speaking about anything that's not a point or two away from being traditional or security-oriented. They will eventually move out of their pessimism, yet this isn't something you could do all by yourself. However, you can at least introduce her to optimism with some skillful usage of concrete evidence. More S, less N. Each time she puts your ideas down, back it up with a familiar, proved-and-tried method. Or an undeniably convincing fact.

    7. Constantly reassure her, and get others involved. From living with several ISFJs, I think they tend to crave the personal approval of everyone in their immediate circle.
    I think these are great suggestions.

  3. #23
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Oh and if you have even a small entrepeneurial idea, just avoid mentioning it to an ISFJ and do it yourself, otherwise they'll be ready to shoot it down unless it's something super traditional and mega secure. Esp. if it's about "immaterial" stuff (internet, finance, etc.).
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

  4. #24
    Senior Member Snow Turtle's Avatar
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    People in general won't respond to things (Te or any other function) when they don't accept the situation of their life. Nor will people respond well to any action that seems like conversion (especially Si). These habits formed by low self-esteem can be within anybody, although it doesn't seem to be quite a common thing with ISFJs. Looks like many of us can be prone to perfectionism wanting the best for everybody so when we don't measure up to our high standards, we eventually defeat ourselves.

    It's mildly amusing and really stupid that we can dream and want a bright future but at the same time be pessimstic about it actually happening... meh.

    Counselling would be a good idea. The first step is for her to acknowledge that she can be overly pessimistic and that it affects everybody in the household. The development of Ti within an ISFJ can usually help counter that as people become more aware of what's really there.

    The other thing is just to lead by action. This one might be more difficult but it's essentially you becoming more positive yourself and continuing to get her to slowly change her perspective. It's the whole "Be the change you want to see in the world" idea.

  5. #25
    Obsession. Lethe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    I think these are great suggestions.
    Thank you for your feedback. It's good to know that after hundreds of failed 'experiments' resulting in heated arguments, one has finally found something that works -- even if it offers modest results. I'm still working on the ISFJ-INTJ negotiation, and there is still a great deal of blind-folded shooting involved. I would love to discuss this openly with my mom, but the existing communication barriers and her lack of self-awareness makes it literally impossible to do at this point in time. Perhaps it may not be in the distant future.

    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Oh and if you have even a small entrepreneurial idea, just avoid mentioning it to an ISFJ and do it yourself, otherwise they'll be ready to shoot it down unless it's something super traditional and mega secure. Esp. if it's about "immaterial" stuff (internet, finance, etc.).
    In my case, I generally avoid discussing entrepreneurial ideas with SJs outside the teaching profession or Generation Y. The reason being is that they're inclined to place a higher emphasis on what is (or was), over what will be. And I also agree the said person should execute their concepts themselves, and then show the SJ those results.

    The excitement for me lies within the process of planning and conjuring new thoughts, but I suppose for some, this is not their way of keeping satisfied. Because I interact with sensors on a day-to-day basis, I appear more hard-headed and grounded than I feel internally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kai View Post
    The other thing is just to lead by action. This one might be more difficult but it's essentially you becoming more positive yourself and continuing to get her to slowly change her perspective. It's the whole "Be the change you want to see in the world" idea.
    Action and thought should go together, yet many times it is a matter of figuring out what your audience values, and then showing them that particular behavior, before the introduction of the other. For instance, what appeals to my ENTP uncle (deductive reasoning) does not usually apply to my ISFJ mom (practical measures). People do often judge you on your actions, but since my method vastly contrasts hers, my ISFJ mom misses the defining moments I think are important, and hounds me on the insignificant details.

    The Bottom-line: Figure out their "code". Learn how to sync theirs to yours, so that your thoughts and actions share the same (impersonal) meaning with someone else's interpretation of them. Much of verbal and nonverbal expressions, I believe, are determined by the type of relationship you have with him or her. The less you know of your audience, the more likely miscommunication will occur due to different receptions of an idea. Your meaning now becomes lost.

    Examples: "Inside" jokes told to a friend versus a stranger. Casual language spoken at the bar versus the work place.
    "I cannot expect even my own art to provide all of the answers -- only to hope it keeps asking the right questions." -- Grace Hartigan

    Enneagram: Tritype - 1w9, 5 (balanced wings), 2w3; Overall Variant: So/Sx
    SLOAN: rCoa|I|
    Functional Preferences: Ni, Te/Fi, Ti, Se, Fe, Si, Ne


    Quote Originally Posted by OneWithSoul View Post
    Looking into the eyes of a [Ni user] is like peeking through a portal into a parallel universe.

  6. #26
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lethe View Post
    Thank you for your feedback. It's good to know that after hundreds of failed 'experiments' resulting in heated arguments, one has finally found something that works -- even if it offers modest results. I'm still working on the ISFJ-INTJ negotiation, and there is still a great deal of blind-folded shooting involved. I would love to discuss this openly with my mom, but the existing communication barriers and her lack of self-awareness makes it literally impossible to do at this point in time. Perhaps it may not be in the distant future.
    You're welcome. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you.

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