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  1. #1
    Senior Member Leysing's Avatar
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    Unhappy Problems with ESFJ mother

    Warning - heavy teenage angst will follow.

    I'm turning 18 and I'm most likely spending my last year at home with my parents. The problem is that I'm having serious issues with my stubborn and bad-tempered ESFJ mother. I'm trying to tiptoe around, talk mainly about weather and engage in my own introvert activities in order to avoid fighting, but naturally we occasionally clash - and when we do, we clash hard.

    I suppose that one of the things that causes the problems is that I'm consciously trying to be responsible for my own things and slightly pull away from the other family, as I know they won't be there for a long time anymore and I'm going to have to take the more or less full responsibility sooner or later. My mother is very sociable, somewhat clingy and she values closeness and intimacy. She is also very authoritarian and conservative. I very clearly see how she absolutely hates my introvert independence and my Ne slightly-revolutionary ideas. She has started to tell me to do ridiculous things just because she says so and that I have to obey because she's my parent, like to move things that I'm using at the moment to other places without any obvious reason or to start shopping as a hobby because I'm a girl. (She also accuses me for no longer watching TV with my family. )

    She believes that she is extremely and above-average intelligent - she says that aloud. Well, she's extremely practical and sensible when it comes to everyday matters and I admire her because of that (I can't cook macaroni without ruining it) but when it comes to deeper things she's, honestly said, closer to dumb. (This is not to be taken as a generalisation, as I know several very smart ESFJs.)

    She is extremely easily angered. Last time she nearly threw a chair through our kitchen window. She can also be very mean and even cruel, and she isn't afraid of aiming at the spot where she knows it hurts. She isn't guilty after that - she has managed to make me cry several times (I don't very easily cry because of negative or bad things) but she never apologises, she just tells me to develop a sense of humour or says that she has to "let it out". A few weeks ago during a fight I forced myself to calm down and told her, along with my sister, that she can't always force others to adapt to her and that it's rather selfish. I tried to make the message softer my assuring that I value her good traits. She responded by calling me unintelligent, humourless and hypersensitive. It was very frustrating.

    Nothing is ever her fault - and the few times it is she plays martyr and melodramatically announces how she is mean and bad and can never do anything right.

    Another frustrating thing is that she blames me for our arguments and she claims that I'm always trying to make up something to argue about, though I absolutely hate arguing. I try to avoid it as much as possible and I'm constantly going out of my way to keep our relationship as calm as possible. She misinterprets a lot of the things I say. (Of course it is likely the other way around as well, and that's why I try to ask questions to understand. MBTI has also helped somewhat - our arguments have fortunately become less frequent after me learning more about it.)

    My mother of course has many very admirable traits as well (and we're not arguing all the time). I have listed only the negative ones above. I know that she's not a bad person. We just speak a very different language and we're on so different wavelengths that cooperation is often hard.

    Do you have any ideas or experiences how I/we could improve the situation? I don't deny my responsibility of the situation and I'm sure that I'm the reason to at least part of the problem. It's just a little difficult to see all the angles, and that's why I ask for feedback (and there are many older-and-more-experienced-than-me people here ).

  2. #2
    Member booya moon's Avatar
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    Your mom sounds just like my mother-in-law (who I think is also an ESFJ)
    She used to drive my ENFJ husband crazy, when he was still living at home. Actually, when I think about it, they are at each others throats every time we go to visit - which is not very often, probably due to the abovementioned incidents
    And the crazy thing is, she means well, but she just won`t get it how annoying she can be. I think that ESFJs can get along with NT and NF as long as they are equal (and relationship parent-child is not equal by default and will never be).
    So, the only solution to your problem is to move out and be independent. You can`t choose your parents and siblings, but you can choose your spouse and friends - let that be a consolation to you.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Chris_in_Orbit's Avatar
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    Hey, its OK. SJs are just really really high maintenance. It may be that the only reason your mom is acting out in the way she is is because she isn't sure how you feel about her.. at least this would be my mom's reasons.

    I have an ESTJ mother so I can seriously relate to most of the stuff you are sayin' (except for not being able to make macaroni, come ON woman )
    Usually its easier for me to get upset with my mom, look for someone to agree with me that the woman is borderline insane but I know that really doesn't help. You don't get to pick your parents and no matter how difficult they may be, you should love them anyway.
    You don't have to agree with anything she says but you shouldn't argue with her either. I find it easier to just say "OK" to whatever silly thing my mother is accussing me of (somehow this works???) And when I disagree with her or I feel she has done something to upset me I voice my opinion, but I never let it turn into an argument. When you argue with an SJ parent....you lose.
    I'm glad that you see some good in your ma though, just remember she may be scared that you will be leaving soon, who knows. Once you get your independence things should definitely get easier for the two of you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Kora's Avatar
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    Argh. I can relate very well to what you're saying, since my mother is an ESFJ too. In my case she's more likely to play the victim role, as I'm the 'coldhearted and unemotional' one.
    I could tell you how to 'counter-attack' her, but that would only cause more trouble (and for sure you know that an ESFJ mom angry is not very nice).
    I just recommend you to not show that she hurts you. Or actually laugh at her 'jokes', and simply show that she has no greater power over you. She's just trying to re-assure that she's the one in control, so rebelling is hard.

    On a second thought... Have you ever thought that she might have some issues? That is not a healthy attitude. Maybe she's trying to deal with something, and since you're under her 'control', she projects that on you.
    You could also simply wait until you leave... but she will always be your mother, and you can't just run away.

    Sorry, I'm not very helpful, but anyway, good luck on that.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mlittrell's Avatar
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    Tell her how much you appreciate her, give her respect, and count down the days to when you move out lol.
    "Honest differences are often a healthy sign of progress. "

    "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."

    "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

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  6. #6
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    My dad wants to be cremated and dumped along the highway when he dies. He told me he won't old me to it (even though he's not married and I'm his eldest son) because he knows the family EFJ Trimaverate (his mother, his aunt, and his sister) would crusify me. Poor dad, funny thing is the first two actually are quite intelligent.

    Edit: As for the OP, I agree with mlittrell. Find a good solid escape route you can take and take it when the time is right.
    Dreams are best served manifest and tangible.

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    I accept no responsibility, what so ever, for the fact that I exist; I do, however, accept full responsibility for what I do while I exist.

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  7. #7
    No moss growing on me Giggly's Avatar
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    This is not a type thing. You are turning from a Princess to a Queen. And there can never be more than one Queen in a single castle. This is making you two clash. The same is true for boys who turn from Princes to Kings. There can never be two Kings in one castle.

    So you have to just grin and bear it, until you are able to leave and find a castle of your own to be a Queen.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bella's Avatar
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    That's lovely, Hmm

  9. #9
    にゃん runvardh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hmm View Post
    This is not a type thing. You are turning from a Princess to a Queen. And there can never be more than one Queen in a single castle. This is making you two clash. The same is true for boys who turn from Princes to Kings. There can never be two Kings in one castle.

    So you have to just grin and bear it, until you are able to leave and find a castle of your own to be a Queen.
    +1
    Dreams are best served manifest and tangible.

    INFP, 6w7, IEI

    I accept no responsibility, what so ever, for the fact that I exist; I do, however, accept full responsibility for what I do while I exist.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10
    Senior Member Leysing's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for the responses. I've been reflecting on them a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kora View Post
    On a second thought... Have you ever thought that she might have some issues? That is not a healthy attitude. Maybe she's trying to deal with something, and since you're under her 'control', she projects that on you.
    I have thought about this. She's generally a very anxious and limbic person and is often very stressed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hmm View Post
    This is not a type thing. You are turning from a Princess to a Queen. And there can never be more than one Queen in a single castle. This is making you two clash. The same is true for boys who turn from Princes to Kings. There can never be two Kings in one castle.

    So you have to just grin and bear it, until you are able to leave and find a castle of your own to be a Queen.
    Extra thanks for this.

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