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  1. #1
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Question The mom of an ENFJ has a question for other ENFJs

    I need some help understanding my son so I can help him.

    He's 22 years old, just got a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, going back for his Masters, but he's living at home with me for the summer.

    He says he suffers from "flare ups" of "anxiety" but he can't define what he is anxious about, or worried about, or afraid of.
    To deal with this anxiety, he stays awake until 4 AM and he's "dead tired" so he won't "think" when he's going to sleep. He also "stress eats".
    He's highly functioning because he finished college with a 3.8 gpa.
    He says he's been like this for about 6 years - his dad passed away 7 years ago.

    I have become concerned because a few days ago, he was all ready to go hiking for a couple of days and sleep out in the woods overnight, but when I got home from work, he was still here. He said his anxiety had flared up and he spent the last 8 hours in the living room chair.

    I would like to understand this better so I could be more helpful when it happens again.

    Do any of you suffer from this? Can you explain it to me? Do you have any advice that I could offer my son if he's open to listening?

    Thanks in advance!

    EDITED TO ADD: Do any of you have any "trick" that works for you as far as going to sleep without your mind going a million miles an hour and stressing you out?
    I personally have a trick for keeping *my* mind turned off... I listen to an innocuous British sitcom on dvd in my room; thankfully I sleep alone, so I can do that. I practically have all 67 episodes memorized now (it's As Time Goes By, for the curious), but it helps keep my thoughts light so that I don't start obsessing. But my son didn't like that idea.
    When he was young he used to read and I think I might suggest that, if I get a chance.
    Last edited by INTJMom; 06-24-2016 at 04:16 PM. Reason: Ad a Question
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  2. #2
    breaking out of my cocoon SearchingforPeace's Avatar
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    Sounds like he is hitting the battle between Fe and inf Ti. At some point up to and around 25, ENFJs go through a quarter life crisis.

    Inf Ti is awful. It is like a supervised depression. In order to get out, Se is his friend.

    And because no type suppresses internal feelings more, he sounds like he never really dealt with his father’s death, and thus get anxiety.

    Ultimately, he needs to spend time feeling those repressed inner feelings to find peace. Therapy could help....or how developing a spiritual practice of some type...

    Just love him and validate him. Help him love himself....
    “Orthodoxy means not thinking--not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

    “It is clear that thought is not free if the profession of certain opinions makes it impossible to earn a living. It is clear also that thought is not free if all the arguments on one side of a controversy are perpetually presented as attractively as possible, while the arguments on the other side can only be discovered by diligent search.”

    ― Bertrand Russell, Sceptical Essays
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  3. #3
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Thank you. I appreciate your insight.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTJMom View Post
    I need some help understanding my son so I can help him.

    He's 22 years old, just got a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science, going back for his Masters, but he's living at home with me for the summer.

    He says he suffers from "flare ups" of "anxiety" but he can't define what he is anxious about, or worried about, or afraid of.
    To deal with this anxiety, he stays awake until 4 AM and he's "dead tired" so he won't "think" when he's going to sleep. He also "stress eats".
    He's highly functioning because he finished college with a 3.8 gpa.
    He says he's been like this for about 6 years - his dad passed away 7 years ago.

    I have become concerned because a few days ago, he was all ready to go hiking for a couple of days and sleep out in the woods overnight, but when I got home from work, he was still here. He said his anxiety had flared up and he spent the last 8 hours in the living room chair.

    I would like to understand this better so I could be more helpful when it happens again.

    Do any of you suffer from this? Can you explain it to me? Do you have any advice that I could offer my son if he's open to listening?

    Thanks in advance!
    Yes. I can totally relate. I even had the 3.8 GPA and similar horrible sleeping pattern. I suffered/still stuffer from severe anxiety but have gotten significantly better in the past year. What seemed to cause a lot of my issues, besides past trauma, was burying and suppressing my intense negative emotions until they bubbled over. I would guess he needs an outlet to express and acknowledge his emotions, even if it's just to himself. Sometimes therapy helps, but just allowing himself to feel his emotions in a constructive manner could be equally beneficial.

    Also, maybe he could try to incorporate a routinely-scheduled physical activity such as the gym, running, hunting. I think the body sometimes needs to rid itself of excess energy to relieve some of the anxiety.
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  5. #5
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    That sort of thing happens with me all the time- the "random" anxiety and stress. In my case, it was largely caused by Bipolar II disorder which I am now medicated for. Even so I still get those feelings now and then. It seems to be caused by experiencing something stressful, then dissociating from it mentally. It sort of comes back as a feeling with no thoughts attached, and it's very confusing.

    Edit: the fact that he sat in a chair for 8 hours doing nothing is concerning to me, as that doesn't seem like a garden variety stress response. I would suggest he speaks to a psychologist, as at best he would be able to talk things out and develop management tools.

  6. #6
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Thank you.
    He does work out but during the school year he didn't have as much time as he would have liked.
    Do you know of any constructive outlet for expressing his emotion or un-burying the intense negative feelings?
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Kheledon's Avatar
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    A 22-year-old? Is he dating someone or in a relationship? If not, I'd say he needs to get out more and find the love and companionship (plus an audience for his performances) that he needs.

    That said, it seems unlikely to me that an ENFj would major in computer science in college, but stranger things have happened.
    MBTI: ENFJ
    M/B Functional Stack: Dominant--Fe, Auxilliary--Ni, Tertiary--Se, Inferior--Ti
    Ego (Jungian): FeNi
    Socionics: EIE-Fe, Beta
    Socionics Functional Stack: Program--Fe, Creative--Ni, Role--Te, PoLR--Si
    Enneagram Type 1
    Tritype 136
    Big Five: SCOEI - sxO|E|i
    Alignment: Lawful Good
    House: Slytherin (the "ethical teacher" type, i.e. Severus Snape)
    Color Code: Blue (intimacy-driven)
    Soul Type: Educator

    Sentio ergo sum.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTJMom View Post
    Thank you.
    He does work out but during the school year he didn't have as much time as he would have liked.
    Do you know of any constructive outlet for expressing his emotion or un-burying the intense negative feelings?
    1. Socializing with friends
    2. Being physically active. Either through working out, running, sports, etc.
    3. Having constructive projects. Whether it be an art project, bulding project, etc. Something to focus on and create that is satisfying.
    4. Planning out events that are fun. Plan to do something at least once a week (ideally with friends). Some regularity with this (such as a weekly meeting to go swimming), can also be helpful.

    Again, I would strongly suggest he schedule an appointment with a psychologist in addition to the above. He will have to want to though. What you have said here is call for concern, and I think you are right to be concerned as well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    @Hard
    Yeah, it worried me too.
    He was on his laptop the whole time, either working (he telecommutes) or playing games.
    He had awakened with a headache but he acknowledged that he should have gone hiking after it went away.

    Thanks for confirming that you have "random" anxiety, too. I figured it was probably an ENFJ thing but I can't personally relate to it.
    When I have stress or anxiety it's usually something I am presently worrying about.
    Sometimes I don't realize I am worrying! It takes a gargantuan effort sometimes to figure out what is wrong.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kheledon View Post
    A 22-year-old? Is he dating someone or in a relationship? If not, I'd say he needs to get out more and find the love and companionship (plus an audience for his performances) that he needs.
    Yes he does, but she was out of state for a few weeks.

    That said, it seems unlikely to me that an ENFj would major in computer science in college, but stranger things have happened.
    I know, right?! I don't get it either. It's like other people's feelings take TOO MUCH of a toll on him.
    He loves writing code. It's logical and doesn't tax his emotional resources.

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