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  1. #11
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CityLights87 View Post
    I just hardly ever see her smile, so I thought that her daily (doing not all the much) routine might have something to do with it. My mom smiling, not complaining, complimenting and not getting frustrated or pissed off might reflect her inner happiness. I wish for her happiness.
    Yeah, I think it's a problem if she never smiles. But I'm very smiley myself. One thing to consider is that I have heard many people say that they can't stand when other people tell them to smile or be happy. It's patronizing to them. Some people feel as though they are fine and it's frustrating to be so misunderstood just based on a mere facial expression, and others feel like they aren't so happy but they resent people forcing fake happiness on them. I think there was a thread here on that. I'll see if I can find it.

    I guess I'm kind of just rambling right now.

    Are you a writer by chance? You could write a story about your poor ISFJ Mom busting out of her boring and drab life to go onto lead this exciting and adventurous life and show it to her. She might get a good laugh.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Gerbah's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if this will help but I know an ISFJ of about the same age as your mom who is in some ways very similar to how you describe your mom. She would not describe herself as happy though and her husband doesn't show her love and affection like your dad does to your mom. Her world can also look very limited to other people, it certainly would be for me, e.g. won't step on a plane, doesn't like the unfamiliar, likes things predictable and “normal” (her version of “normal”). She really values “normality”. You can hardly talk to her about a subject that's out of her universe, even if it's just light chit chat about something non-controversial. She will not listen or just shut down and go blank. So while your mom's routine might look very boring and oppressive, for an ISFJ that predictability and limitation can be something they really want to feel secure.

    Apart from that, my two cents for what it's worth is that if you've asked your mom directly and she says she's ok, I would give her her space and not push it. She's old enough and capable enough to know what she wants and in the end, she is the only person who can make herself happy if she isn't. The ISFJ I know, for example, knows she has to make certain changes to be happier but she doesn't do it. Also, you don't know your mom's perspective or everything about her past. Maybe she has regrets but doesn't feel it's appropriate to talk to her child about it. Maybe she is working towards happiness by accepting things as they are rather than trying to recapture what she had in the past, who knows? I would just be there for her and non-judgmental and accepting so that if she does ever want your help, she'll feel comfortable to ask for it.

  3. #13
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    My ESTJ mom gets into a rut too and I can tell she isn't happy. I try to encourage her to socialize and get out more because she's way more upbeat when she sees friends.
    eNFJ 4w3 sx/so 468 tritype
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    Dramatic>Sensitive>Serious

  4. #14
    Senior Member Lambchop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giggly View Post
    Yeah, I think it's a problem if she never smiles. But I'm very smiley myself. One thing to consider is that I have heard many people say that they can't stand when other people tell them to smile or be happy. It's patronizing to them. Some people feel as though they are fine and it's frustrating to be so misunderstood just based on a mere facial expression, and others feel like they aren't so happy but they resent people forcing fake happiness on them. I think there was a thread here on that. I'll see if I can find it.

    I guess I'm kind just rambling right now.

    Are you a writer by chance? You could write a story about your poor ISFJ Mom busting out of her boring and drab life to go onto lead this exciting and adventurous life and show it to her. She might get a good laugh.
    +1 The story thing is funny!

    As an ISFJ, I can tell you that I LIKE routine in my life. It makes me feel secure. I don't socialize as much as I should sometimes because sometimes I'm content with just my family. I work every day and when I come home, I clean because I like a clean house...I usually read a book, too. Every so often, I make plans with friends -- whether it's lunch or watching a movie, etc. We are on a limited budget, so we don't have the money to do as much as we'd like. We are getting some extra money next week and my 14 year old needs a coat and we have some bills to pay that are priority. I was working on finishing my bachelor's degree...I have like 12 credits left. I was taking a Monday night class. Between that and working full time and taking care of kids and home and being a decent wife, I was overwhelmed. So I dropped the class and might go back after my kids are grown. I don't need a whole lot of socializing or excitement to be happy. I'm trying to incorporate more exercise now, because I want to lose weight I gained on my honeymoon (in June), but I can honestly tell you that I'm happy. ISFJs by nature tend to be a little serious. I can laugh hysterically at my kids or husband or friends/people at work, but normally, I appear pretty serious. I like to watch movies a lot and stupid reality shows on VH1. My life is not exciting, but I feel secure and I have people around that love me (as your mom does as well, it's obvious you love her!), I have a job that I like. I do tend to bitch a lot and I have other ISFJ friends who bitch too. Because we keep most of our feelings inside, it's nice to have someone we trust that we can complain and bitch to! Sometimes I "gossip" (I don't really see it like that, but we talk about other people) to my husband too. If someone were to push me about being happy, I would want them to get out of my face. What makes me happy might not make someone else happy. I spent years living a chaotic life as a single mother with not enough time for everything and trying to deal with a troubled teen and all the drama and chaos that goes on with that. I like that I get time to myself to think, or read or watch movies. I can even think when I'm folding laundry, which I don't mind doing. As a guardian, I like feeling like I'm taking care of my family.

    That having been said, I think I would just encourage your mom to socialize more, if that's what made her happy in the past. But instead of asking if she's happy, try saying it with a more positive spin - "Hey, you haven't hung out with so and so for awhile. I wonder how she's doing? " Or maybe ask her if she wants to have a family night, where everyone plays games? We can get stuck in a rut sometimes. I'm sure you can come up with other ideas. Get her a gift card to Starbucks (or whatever she likes and if you can afford it) and suggest she go to coffee with a friend.

    You can judge someone else's happiness without walking in their shoes. Different strokes for different folks! And you can't change people. Most of all, love her! She makes you dinner and does all the things that nobody else wants to do, tell her you appreciate her. But also, accept her for who she is...instead of who you want her to be.

  5. #15
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Maybe you could do some of the less important/detailed cleaning and rent/buy a movie that you think she might enjoy. Tell her you appreciate all she does and ask if there is anything you can do to help. Rub her feet. Cook supper (and clean up after).

    I'm trying to think of things my ISFJ s-i-l seems to like . . .

    It won't really fix anything, but it would show her how loved she is. INs don't always think of these things and it sounds like at least half of her family are INs.

    Great answers, BTW Giggly and Lambchop!
    “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

  6. #16
    Junior Member CityLights87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lambchop View Post
    +1 The story thing is funny!

    As an ISFJ, I can tell you that I LIKE routine in my life. It makes me feel secure. I don't socialize as much as I should sometimes because sometimes I'm content with just my family. I work every day and when I come home, I clean because I like a clean house...I usually read a book, too. Every so often, I make plans with friends -- whether it's lunch or watching a movie, etc. We are on a limited budget, so we don't have the money to do as much as we'd like. We are getting some extra money next week and my 14 year old needs a coat and we have some bills to pay that are priority. I was working on finishing my bachelor's degree...I have like 12 credits left. I was taking a Monday night class. Between that and working full time and taking care of kids and home and being a decent wife, I was overwhelmed. So I dropped the class and might go back after my kids are grown. I don't need a whole lot of socializing or excitement to be happy. I'm trying to incorporate more exercise now, because I want to lose weight I gained on my honeymoon (in June), but I can honestly tell you that I'm happy. ISFJs by nature tend to be a little serious. I can laugh hysterically at my kids or husband or friends/people at work, but normally, I appear pretty serious. I like to watch movies a lot and stupid reality shows on VH1. My life is not exciting, but I feel secure and I have people around that love me (as your mom does as well, it's obvious you love her!), I have a job that I like. I do tend to bitch a lot and I have other ISFJ friends who bitch too. Because we keep most of our feelings inside, it's nice to have someone we trust that we can complain and bitch to! Sometimes I "gossip" (I don't really see it like that, but we talk about other people) to my husband too. If someone were to push me about being happy, I would want them to get out of my face. What makes me happy might not make someone else happy. I spent years living a chaotic life as a single mother with not enough time for everything and trying to deal with a troubled teen and all the drama and chaos that goes on with that. I like that I get time to myself to think, or read or watch movies. I can even think when I'm folding laundry, which I don't mind doing. As a guardian, I like feeling like I'm taking care of my family.

    That having been said, I think I would just encourage your mom to socialize more, if that's what made her happy in the past. But instead of asking if she's happy, try saying it with a more positive spin - "Hey, you haven't hung out with so and so for awhile. I wonder how she's doing? " Or maybe ask her if she wants to have a family night, where everyone plays games? We can get stuck in a rut sometimes. I'm sure you can come up with other ideas. Get her a gift card to Starbucks (or whatever she likes and if you can afford it) and suggest she go to coffee with a friend.

    You can judge someone else's happiness without walking in their shoes. Different strokes for different folks! And you can't change people. Most of all, love her! She makes you dinner and does all the things that nobody else wants to do, tell her you appreciate her. But also, accept her for who she is...instead of who you want her to be.
    Thank you Lambchop - Greg

  7. #17
    loopy Ulaes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saslou View Post
    Ohhhh, i can imagine that would be a little conflicting at times.
    and how!
    im the reverse, my mother is isfj and frequently makes me want to pull my hair out.

    i have the same problem as the op but it's for health reasons. my isfj mother is overweight but i have to fight her to get her outdoors and moving. it's tough and the state of her health terrifies me. what is the secret to dislodging isfjs from their shells?

  8. #18
    Was E.laur Laurie's Avatar
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    ISFJ step mom here (raised me from 7+)

    I suggest you compliment her at what she does. Show that you think she is awesome and you really appreciate all the hard work she does. What you are doing now isn't really encouraging for an ISFJ, you might be making it worse for her. You might be surprised how she reacts to you acting like she is the best mother ever.

  9. #19
    Senior Member bighairything's Avatar
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    ^ +1

  10. #20
    Senior Member bighairything's Avatar
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    Also, the way you are feeling right now almost certainly is affected by the fact that you are currently living with her. It's hard, I know, but it will get better when you move out. It's inevitable that to some extent you're going to drive each other crazy, but remember that this is difficult for her as well as for you.

    For me probably the hardest thing was that my (ISFJ) mum has a very short temper and that she likes to bitch and gossip a bit as a way of venting her anger. I have got quite good at not pissing her off, but for her it is important to be able to get things off her chest even when it is someone else that makes her angry (usually her sisters), and I was never able to make her understand how much her moods affected me.

    For her part I know she felt I took her for granted sometimes, and although I don't think that I did, like all people it is important for ISFJs to feel that they are appreciated. And if your mum is anything like mine, there is so much to appreciate in her. From your post it is clear that you feel the same way about yours, so make sure you keep reminding her.

    This is harder to do when you are constantly in close proximity, but just hang in there and things will improve. Even if, as is likely, the issues that you have with your mum are not the same as those I've had with mine, I strongly suspect that this, rather than the fact she doesn't get out enough, is the true source of your frustration.

    And accept her for how she is. Trust her when she says that she is happy, as others on this thread have argued. I think there can be a slight tendency among N types to look down on S types, as if they are somehow unfortunate. This is grossly unfair, and in particular when this attitude is applied to a parent, the parent can quite justifiably feel that they are being patronised. People are just different, and you have to find a way to engage her on her terms.

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