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Thread: Unhealthy ESFJ?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Aitog's Avatar
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    Default Unhealthy ESFJ?

    Hi folks,

    OK, I will try and keep this brief. I have a female friend (ESFJ, surprise surprise) and we have known each other for some time. A while back I was unintentionally insensitive (I did not pick my words carefully enough) by making light of a situation she considers as quite serious, and she didn't speak to me for about two weeks. I felt terrible about the whole thing, apologised profusely and unconditionally, and we kind-of carried on as normal after she started talking to me again. I say "kind-of", because we never actually discussed the issue and dealt with it: I don't know if this is typical of ESFJs, but she does not communicate about past problems at all. Even though I am conflict averse myself, I fundamentally believe in the importance of communicating about problems and fixing them.

    Anyway, fast-forward a few months and she full-on shuts me out one day out of the blue. Zero communication, zero clarification, nothing. Just total excommunication. I try to find out what is wrong, but I am either ignored or receive the "I don't want to talk to you" response. She shut down our conversation for over two months before talking to me again, and I was completely mortified and devastated during the period. The worst thing a person I care about, be they a friend or a partner, can do to me is to cut me off completely. I only found out after two months that the reason for the shut-out was that I upset her with something I told her in confidence, which she misinterpreted as clashing with her internal values, and due to her complete refusal to communicate with me about it I was never granted an opportunity to clarify the misunderstanding or even defend myself.

    During this period of excommunication she at one point told me she never wanted to see me again, and inside a piece of me who cared about her died. When she started talking to me again it was nice and all, but I expected something to go horribly awry again at some point and it didn't really feel as if it mattered to me so much anymore. Perhaps it has something to do with her ability to unilaterally end and restart the friendship as she sees fit, guided by her so-called "inner values".

    I am aware of her carrying a lot of emotional baggage. I have always been understanding and supportive of this fact. However, I cannot help but conclude that she is exhibiting some seriously unhealthy ESFJ traits. Either way, unless I am misdiagnosing it, I frankly cannot bear to remain connected to this type of toxicity.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Sweet Summer Dik Dik yama's Avatar
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    If you don't want to be around her and she's being toxic, and if she's already shut you out of her life, then just try to move on I guess. Easier said than done of course. Not much anyone can do to help someone who doesn't want to be helped.
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    Junior Member Aitog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yamato Nadeshiko View Post
    If you don't want to be around her and she's being toxic, and if she's already shut you out of her life, then just try to move on I guess. Easier said than done of course. Not much anyone can do to help someone who doesn't want to be helped.
    This is pretty much my current course of action. I haven't bothered making contact with her in a while, but we may be invited to the same Chirstmas gathering. I have people on the other side of the country I have been meaning to visit, so I think I will do that instead this year.

    My question is whether or not she is an unhealthy ESFJ, or a normal one? I don't know any others, and I don't know if I would like them if they are all like this.

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    Sweet Summer Dik Dik yama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aitog View Post
    This is pretty much my current course of action. I haven't bothered making contact with her in a while, but we may be invited to the same Chirstmas gathering. I have people on the other side of the country I have been meaning to visit, so I think I will do that instead this year.

    My question is whether or not she is an unhealthy ESFJ, or a normal one? I don't know any others, and I don't know if I would like them if they are all like this.
    I would say unhealthy. Anyone who's exhibiting toxic behavior is unhealthy regardless of type. I have a close ISTJ friend who shows similar relentlessness and shutdown when he's angry about something. In high school I accidentally broke his phone and he didn't talk to me for like two years. You just kind of have to give them space and wait for them to figure it out. If you do end up going to the same party, I'd suggest not to worry too much about her presence and just don't bother her and otherwise continue on as normal for the sake of the other guests.
    MBTI: ESFJ
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  5. #5
    Junior Member Aitog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yamato Nadeshiko View Post
    I would say unhealthy. Anyone who's exhibiting toxic behavior is unhealthy regardless of type. I have a close ISTJ friend who shows similar relentlessness and shutdown when he's angry about something. In high school I accidentally broke his phone and he didn't talk to me for like two years. You just kind of have to give them space and wait for them to figure it out. If you do end up going to the same party, I'd suggest not to worry too much about her presence and just don't bother her and otherwise continue on as normal for the sake of the other guests.
    Thank you, this is insightful. *Sigh* Yes, I will have to face my social obligations...so much unnecessary drama.
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    Sweet Summer Dik Dik yama's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aitog View Post
    Thank you, this is insightful. *Sigh* Yes, I will have to face my social obligations...so much unnecessary drama.
    Social obligations are the worst. Good luck, soldier.
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  7. #7
    Musician Forever's Avatar
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    @Aitog, often times people can still shut down on you no matter how sincere your apology is, is because some (I'm not saying you in particular) do not practice active listening. You can give them flowers, pay them an all-paid expense vacation to the finest luxury resorts, pay off their mortgage or settlements and they will still not forgive you, all because of not actively listening to them. They need to feel heard.

    If this is your case, try your best to recall every detail of this thing that is important to her and recount it in a letter and empathize with her on this issue. It may occur to her of "wow, he did really take me seriously."

    Active listening is only natural to a few, we all need to practice it if we want to have more healthy and enduring relationships with anyone.
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  8. #8
    Junior Member Aitog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forever View Post
    @Aitog, often times people can still shut down on you no matter how sincere your apology is, is because some (I'm not saying you in particular) do not practice active listening. You can give them flowers, pay them an all-paid expense vacation to the finest luxury resorts, pay off their mortgage or settlements and they will still not forgive you, all because of not actively listening to them. They need to feel heard.

    If this is your case, try your best to recall every detail of this thing that is important to her and recount it in a letter and empathize with her on this issue. It may occur to her of "wow, he did really take me seriously."

    Active listening is only natural to a few, we all need to practice it if we want to have more healthy and enduring relationships with anyone.
    During the two months she didn't speak to me I approached the problem by trying to think of every single thing I could have done wrong, and what its knock-on effect may have been. It was exhausting, mentally and emotionally, and pretty darn unhealthy to be honest. At some point I gave up because attempting to divine the answer without her telling me what is wrong was frankly impossible. I wondered about whether I hadn't been listening enough, but I dismissed the possibility: listening is one of my core strengths. Most of my friends come to me with their problems simply because I am one of the few people who listen to them, and she was no exception.

    She is a wonderful person when she chooses to be: spontaneous, fun, interesting, energetic, et cetera. She is also binary, close-minded to opinions that conflict with hers, and inflexible.

    When I tried talking about the problem, I am (apparently playfully) accused of "bringing up the past". So obviously nothing gets resolved and we don't get closure.

    Perhaps ENFPs and ESFJs are just completely incompatible inter-personally. I don't know.

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    Junior Member Aitog's Avatar
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    Funnily enough, some of the people I get along with best are ISFJs.
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    Senior Member Metis's Avatar
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    Did you go to the Christmas party, Aitog?

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