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  1. #1
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    Default Dear ISTJ, how can I support you when your heart is broken?

    My brother-in-law of 29 is an ISTJ. He's just been dumped by his ENFJ girlfriend of 25. They've been together for 7 or 8 years, living together for 3 years. He was very comfy with himself and their relationship, she wasn't. She apparently needed more passion in every sense of the word.

    None of the family have really been able to speak to my brother-in-law since the break up (3 weeks ago). We can't reach him, he won't pick up his phone, won't call back, won't reply on e-mails. He seems to have imploded completely. He's a typical 'boys don't cry' person, but it's obvious that he's very hurt. Complicating is that his now ex-girlfriend is an easy talker, so we know a lot from her (the reasons for the break up, the fact that he's hurt even though he doesn't show it) and I'm worried that he might be angry for us talking behind his back (this might just be my INFJ-ness).

    Anyway. I wouldn't mind of he really doesn't want to talk about it (although I find it a bit unhealthy, but we can't force him). I would just like to know how we can support him. In whatever way. So ISTJ's, how would you like to be supported by your family if your heart was broken?

  2. #2
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    You know the drill, forum ISTJs!

    First, I really would dislike all that talk "behind my back," even if it weren't meant in a harmful way. I have a big thing against that.

    More generally, sad to admit, I get really defensive when I'm in moods like that, and if family mentions that they're willing to listen and stuff, I might "lash out" at them verbally with a sneer if they keep pushing. I believe in talking these things out...but let the situation sink in, allow some time to organize thoughts first. Usually I will go reclusive for a bit, but I will seek out people to talk about it, later.

    Maybe it's one of those, "Do something to get his mind off of things" situations, I think that seems to be a good format. Though at the very beginning, just want to be alone.

    1. Leave me alone
    2. Find some activity to do to forget about it
    3. I'll talk to friends/family about it (may come sooner, you just have to let it happen on its own)

    Obviously, this advice is very personal. I hope someone else can share how it works for them.
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your reply @Cimarron ! Seems my hunches about this situation were right (note to self, trust INFJ-ness, even if others disagree with you). I feel so sad for him.

    I've only talked about this with his ex-girlfriend, because she's become a friend of mine, and with my husband (his brother) of course. And that was before the actual break up, because they had problems and she was seeking advice. But the rest of the family is surprisingly less discrete. I think his fear that contacting us will inevitably lead to having to talk about 'the situation' is pretty logic (and correct) as well.

    I'm thinking, maybe if we contact him (e-mail, text, whatever, something he can read in his own time) and tell him we just want to do some fun activity with him and that we don't need to talk if he doesn't want to? Or shouldn't we even bother explaining that we don't necessarily want to talk? What would be the best way to reastablish contact? My goal is a fun evening playing computer games on the Wii and drinking a beer or two.

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    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    If it were me, I would just not mention "why". He'll probably be able to figure out why, anyway, especially if it's something you guys don't normally do. Sometimes, even that gets me cranky--I recognize that they're only doing it because of my situation, when I don't want more attention drawn to it. But that varies on the person, on the family, on the circumstances, on mood, etc. Anyway, I think it's a good idea.
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

  5. #5
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    I am not an ISTJ but I just wanted to say that I think it's really kind of you to want to support one who is heart broken.

    One thing I can think of is that your ISTJ may be thinking of (or questioning) where everyone's loyalties lie. In other words, he may think that because you are friends with the ex-gf, he does not want to say too much to you, not because he's angry with you, but, rather, because he doesn't know if he can trust you not to repeat anything to her and he's trying to cut all ties with her (the ex).

    It might be too soon after the break up to get him to talk, but I think you should keep in contact with him and when you do contact him, don't even talk about or bring up the break up, not even to say "We don't have to talk about the breakup". Just tell him that you miss hanging out with him and ask him do something fun with you. You can also introduce him to other women. In time, if he feels like it and trust you he'll talk but don't force it. Just be a no pressure friend.

    (PS - if the ISTJs think I'm wrong about this feel free to correct me and shoo me away)

  6. #6
    Senior Member Habba's Avatar
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    When I was heart-broken, I didn't want to discuss about it with anyone. I needed the time to figure it out myself (that's what ISTJs generally do when facing personal problems... leave the heard to fix the problems and only then return). It felt uncomfortable to share my feelings with anyone. And whenever the issue was brought up, I wanted to dismiss it as quickly as possible, because it caused emotional overflow.

    The worst about the break-up for me was the feeling of betrayal. I felt as if all the time we'd spent together was a lie that she knew all along. I despised her with all my heart, every feature in her. I'm glad I didn't have to see her almost at all after the break-up.

    If I could time travel back there, I'd probably try to reach myself by sharing my own experiences through similar situations. That way we wouldn't be talking my feelings, but feelings of some unrelated people I can still relate to. I think it lessens the emotional burden to more bearable levels. At least it helped me later on when I began to realize that I can't logically solve this. What I needed to understand is that emotions come and go, and some people rely on them more than others. On her part, it appears that emotions died along the way and she decided to move on. I also realized that break-ups aren't THAT big thing. Yes, your life will change forever, but then again... only change can bring you a better life.

    It's hard to say what you should do in his situation, but I'm rather sure that ISTJs universally value people who are willing to support them at times of troubles. They just generally are slow to admit that they need help. (but what we really hate is someone being too curious).
    "The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine."
    -Nikola Tesla

  7. #7
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    @Habba

    Those are great ideas!

  8. #8
    The Iron Giant
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    Great posts throughout this thread. If I were in his position, right now I might be thinking something along the lines of:

    I am hurting right now, a lot. I can't talk to my family, because they'll want to talk about this, and if they bring it up, I won't be able to contain my sadness, and that will be embarrassing. Worse yet, they may tell me I was wrong in this, and whether I am or not, I can't stand the idea of being told that I'm bad when I already feel so incredibly horrible. I don't want to be dramatic, I don't want to be pitied, and I sure as hell don't want to be laughed at. I need time to figure out what to do with myself, because a routine that I established over the course of the last 7-8 years is now broken.

    I think I'd want someone to contact me and tell me that whenever I'm ready to talk, they're ready to listen. I'm on the fence about being invited out to do something. Last time I was in that position and someone did something like that, I was very resistant but I went and had a good time, and it turned everything around for me, though...

    Good luck. I think it's awesome that you care this much. He's very lucky to have people like you in his life.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Habba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    I am hurting right now, a lot. I can't talk to my family, because they'll want to talk about this, and if they bring it up, I won't be able to contain my sadness, and that will be embarrassing. Worse yet, they may tell me I was wrong in this, and whether I am or not, I can't stand the idea of being told that I'm bad when I already feel so incredibly horrible. I don't want to be dramatic, I don't want to be pitied, and I sure as hell don't want to be laughed at. I need time to figure out what to do with myself, because a routine that I established over the course of the last 7-8 years is now broken.
    I could see myself thinking quite much like this.

    The problem here is that even though ISTJs don't naturally have the need to reflect their feelings with other people, and they'd rather figure it out by themselves, they always have their limits. And even after problems exceed their capability to solve their problems, they keep them to themselves. Until they implode (or in some cases, explode). Sometimes there needs to be an emotional intervention to help the ISTJ to sort out the thoughts.

    The emotional intervention is a very tricky thing. It must not be intrusive one, and sure as hell not public. I think "mentoring" might be an apt term for it. I find that ISFJs and INFJs have the greatest chances for that, because they both share very similar "code of trust and discretion".

    I wouldn't mind of he really doesn't want to talk about it (although I find it a bit unhealthy, but we can't force him).
    ISTJs aren't actually that resistant to forcing, at least if they feel it comes down from someone "superior". I wouldn't be surprised to hear that some ISTJs are even actually hoping to be forced into doing something they don't like. I think it works for me atleast. ISTJs are soldiers, good at taking orders, bad making decisions themselves..

    But then again, I can't tell anything for sure in this particular case.. ISTJs come in so many varieties. Hope it gets better though...
    "The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine."
    -Nikola Tesla

  10. #10
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen View Post
    I don't want to be dramatic, I don't want to be pitied, and I sure as hell don't want to be laughed at...
    I feel that quote.

    We are pretty picky when we're glum, I guess.
    You can't spell "justice" without ISTJ.

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