[ISFJ] Confused ISFJ gay male - Good Guy Syndrome?

Confused ISFJ gay male - Good Guy Syndrome?

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This is a discussion on Confused ISFJ gay male - Good Guy Syndrome? within the ISFJ Forum - The Nurturers forums, part of the SJ's Temperament Forum- The Overseers category; Hi all the ISFJs out there, Just want to get some input from your experience, or what you think about ...

  1. #1
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    Confused ISFJ gay male - Good Guy Syndrome?

    Hi all the ISFJs out there,

    Just want to get some input from your experience, or what you think about this.

    Recently I starting to suspect if people within the same MBTI categories could share the same childhood experience or neuro-brain wiring. Does the brain wiring make us who we are as ISFJ? And how about whether we share the same childhood? (Hehe, don't want to get into the nature or nurture debate).

    The reason I was asking is because I just been through a moderate depression and anxiety last year and now still feeling it every now and then. I am not sure how well ISFJ gel with male and gay, but I think I am going against the male stereotype that society has in mind. Before all these, I thought ISFJ explain my personality quite well, and in fact, I sort of think I am just made this way. However, some events happened last year and triggered my depression made me question myself, deep down, am I really genuinely "nice" or just putting up a facade so that I can be liked.

    Disclaimer: This could be my personal experience only and it is not my intention to generalise this to ISFJ, but would be appreciate if you can share if you have similar feelings! :)

    During this tough time (even now), I combed through my life and questioning whether my academic achievements, independence, volunteering work, being nice, everything was coming from some insecurities that were accumulated since childhood. And whether it has something to do with my shame in being gay, and all these "nice" things that I have done is trying to compensate for the guilt that I felt.

    I came across few ideas/concepts as part of this:

    1) Dr. Jonice Webb - Childhood Emotional Neglect (this is not childhood abuse but refers to the emotional connection between parents and children)
    2) Robert Glover - No more Mr Nice Guy
    3) Andrea Mathews - Letting Go of Good

    Personally I resonate very well with Andrea's book (3). I kept asking myself, why did I try so hard to be good, is this the person I really want to be? Who am I and is this the authentic self?

    I think I am reaching an age that I start questioning my life - so bear with me :)

    I have so many questions but no real answers, I am still searching for the authentic self, but at the same time, I am very afraid to peel off the masks and inspect the raw me. I am not sure whether this came from my experience with depression episode or something else, Brene Brown called them "awakening" :), I really hope so because I am trying to become a better me and try to resolve my past. See, I have done it again, trying to be good, trying to be better, but perhaps I just cannot accept who am I. Is this true?

    I would really like to hear from you, if you have similar thoughts.

    Do you ever feel distressed when you did something nice but internally you feel so fake? You put on a smile and be nice to people, but not wholeheartedly, and feel so bad afterwards, because you don't want to hurt other people feeling or being nasty to people.

    I know seeking approval, have difficulty to say no and handle criticism are common traits in ISFJ. But now, every time I caught myself doing one of this, I am stress because I kept reminding myself that I "should" be doing this and that. Quite stress indeed.

    If you have any similar experience or any guidance, I am more than happy to listen.
    teddy564339 thanked this post.

  2. #2
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    I don't know about all ISFJ"s feeling like this so I'm going to say my experience.

    I feel the same way you do and it is something I struggle deeply with. Over the years I've really pinpointed why I feel like this and I've gotten a bunch of different answers for myself. It also the main points for my social anxiety.

    I hide myself a lot too. I wind myself up in this image that its very hard for me to relax and be me. Hard to express my true thoughts and hard to get mad or be the 'bad guy' because I feel its wrong. My thoughts are "should" and "haves" for people and myself. I have to be this or I have to be that. I should do this or I should do that. I give myself these rules of how I shouldn't be feeling certain negative emotions and so on. I have to be this perfect person, no room for faults. Perfect responses, perfect decisions, perfect emotions. But, I only have these rules for me and I don't apply them to anyone else.

    I realized many a reasons why I feel this way looking back and help through therapy. Rejection and unrealistic expectations are the main two for me.

    I struggle hard with rejection and because of this I have to be this perfect person so I don't get rejection. I cant be bad because 'bad' gets rejected. When I was younger anytime I expressed a negative emotion or tired to expressed it was shut down by my parents or the people around me. I had a lot of anxiety as a child and I didn't know how to deal with it nor did my family know how to help me. It didn't help that I had a hard time making friends nor that I was a sensitive child. I felt the only way to be 'accepted' was to bury those negative feelings because they were 'unjustified' or 'bad'. That has led me down a fun rabbit hole in which I kind of "door slam" people at time because those negative feelings or anxious feelings of 'should' and 'have' become too much and the fear of rejection.

    This thinking led me to hold or 'bind' myself into these high expectations I only put on myself to be 'perfect'. I cant be bad or negative and that is a big fear of mine. I wear this mask out of fear and anxiety at times. Its exhausting and stressful. The only time I feel relieved is by myself where I can let everything out. Though, even by myself I beat myself up about these negative thoughts/feelings and only focus on that. I always adore my friends who can speak their mine clearly and be straight up with their thoughts/feelings because I struggle heavily on that the most. I hope to some get to that point of being comfortable expressing that.

    Though, I am working on these thoughts and feelings and I have improved over the years.

    Personality theory's, therapy, psychology, and truly trying to accept myself are my big ones.

    MBTI has helped me understand myself a lot more and come to see I'm not strange. Same with understanding other types as well. Though learning I was an ISFJ and a type 6 has helped me to understand my weakness and use my strengths.

    I'm also back into therapy and its been helping a lot. CBT and being aware of my thoughts. My therapist is also trying to get me to be more assertive and how to do that. because that is the happy medium between passive and being aggressive.

    Reading psychology has helped me because it has helped me to understand myself and pinpoint certain things I need to work on. I'm minoring in psyche and I have learned a lot through my classes about people and myself.

    Trying accept myself for who I am can be hard. Flaws and all. I cant be perfect and I don't hold these feelings toward others so why should I do it to myself? Its a struggle but, I will get there eventually. I'm horrible with math/science and I'm not witty. I don't always ready through everything and I can a bit of an airhead. I can get overwhelmed too easily and I need to be told multiple times to get something right. I'm a shit speller and I don't know roads for shit. I have a hard time conveying my thoughts and my words come out as jumble often enough. I'm innocent and naļve at times. I struggle with criticism and can get down on that a lot. But, I'm creative and optimistic individual. I do well with social sciences and I'm fantastic with my hands. I try to do the right thing and my words are never meant out of malice. I'm a hard worker and I like to help the people around me. I'm easygoing and people feel comfortable around me. When I get something down pat then I got it. I get knocked down but that doesn't stop me or my goals. There is so much more but accepting the good and the bad is a step on becoming free. To just be okay with being yourself.

    I also recommend the book: 'the subtle art of not giving a fuck'. Its a book on more so accepting yourself and how to worry less in a different view that is really refreshing. It makes me a bit uncomfortable at times but that means its working and that's what matters.

    It's a journey and a struggle. It takes time and a lot of work. But its worth it in the end.

    I hope this helps a bit! :)

  3. #3
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    Thank you so much MissDucky for sharing your experience. I know it could be very hard to share your experience and thanks for your honesty. I can relate so much on what you have said. Specifically, the black and white, good and bad thinking, also the need to be perfect, high expectations for myself and not others.

    When I make a mistake, I felt so bad that I kept apologising and felt it is the end of the world, especially when people start talking about you. I guess this is what they called catastrophising. I think this is deeply related to my fear of rejection too. I felt I need to be perfect in order to fit in and be liked, otherwise I might get abandon. This also related to my childhood where in one occasion, when my parents were moving house, they put me to live with my grandma but brought my two brothers with them. I cried all night and eventually they brought me back. I never ask the reason but I took that as the fear of abandonment. Now I am thinking perhaps my academic achievement is quite possibly a response to gain my parents love so that they won't abandon me again. The other reason is me trying to fit in because I felt inadequate, again, possibly due to my sexuality. My parents are strict but not abusive, especially my mum. She used different methods to displine us (for good intent) and perhaps this also led to my need to be perfect with my sensitivity. Over the years, I did develop resentment towards my parents and my siblings though, rightly or wrongly because due to my fear of speaking up and conflict avoidance, my brother like to "borrow" my clothes without asking, take my nice ties without asking and exchange with theirs, each of my brothers have their own rooms but me ended up sleeping in a share living room, that's because I am not tough enough to speak up, or I think speaking up is "bad". Now I have developed this wall when meeting other persons, won't let anyone in until I am sure they won't take advantage of me, how sad. But all of these I guess made me who am I, and I need to accept that. That's why those books that talk about "nice guy" resonate so well with me, and "nice guy" is not really nice, as what they said.

    Sorry for the rant and I hope I haven't scared anyone away. Again, this is my own experience and by no mean this is the same for every ISFJ. It is perhaps my unique experience that shape who am I today. At the same time, I am also curious if other ISFJ have similar experience to support my hypothesis that perhaps childhood or upbringing can significantly influence your mbti?

    Anyway, now I am slowly acknowledging the fact that this is who I am today, after years of suppressing the deep emotions. I am learning and reading on how to move on from this point onwards, remembering that self love is more important before loving others (that is what the book said :)). Loving yourself, attending to your need before others is self compassion, which I am learning.

    I am open to any constructive comment and please don't worry about how your comment will make me feel, as long as it is constructive and not abusive :). The worst thing is no one tell you everything until it is too late. I think someone once said "it is better if someone give you some feedback or criticism, because they care. ".

    Thanks for reading, I have a long way ahead to do some inner work, but it is well worth it, I hope!

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  5. #4
    ISFJ - The Nurturers


    I've gone through a lot of the same stuff you have over the years, and I think as I've gotten older I've become much more comfortable with who I am and I've achieved a lot more inner peace. It's been a long process, but I think I've grown a lot in that regard.

    I think one of the biggest things I've finally learned to do is to just trust myself and do what feels right to me. I used to care so much more about how others perceived me and what I felt like I was SUPPOSED to do instead of what felt right to me inside. I used to feel so guilty because I felt so pressured to do things that I didn't feel like I naturally wanted to do.

    And to be honest, as I've gotten older I've just cared less and less about what other people think. In some ways I've become more selfish in that aspect, but to be honest, it's made me a much happier person. I now don't feel obligated to do every single little thing to make everyone else happy. I think I've put more responsibility on other people for their own happiness and focused more on my own.

    So that's the biggest thing I can say...and that's to only do "good" things if they come from the inside. If they don't, don't do them, and don't feel guilty about it. It's not your responsibility to save the world or to make every single other person happy. Pick your battles. If you don't feel something in your heart, don't feel guilty about it...just don't do it just because you feel like you're supposed to.

    If you're like me, learning to let go of a lot of that will make you feel much more liberated and free to enjoy your life the way you want to.
    brownbear and MissDucky thanked this post.

  6. #5

    "One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.

    The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn't see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.

    Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the brushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.

    "Hellooo Mr. Frog!" called the scorpion across the water, "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?"

    "Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?" asked the frog hesitantly.

    "Because," the scorpion replied, "If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!"

    Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. "What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!"

    "This is true," agreed the scorpion, "But then I wouldn't be able to get to the other side of the river!"

    "Alright then...how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?" said the frog.

    "Ahh...," crooned the scorpion, "Because you see, once you've taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!"

    So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog's back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog's soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.

    Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog's back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.

    "You fool!" croaked the frog, "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?"

    The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog's back.

    "I could not help myself. It is my nature."

    Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.

    Self destruction - "Its my Nature", said the Scorpion..."
    teddy564339, brownbear and MissDucky thanked this post.

  7. #6
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    Quote Originally Posted by teddy564339 View Post
    I used to care so much more about how others perceived me and what I felt like I was SUPPOSED to do
    Thanks Teddy for sharing your experience. I echo with what you said above, and that is exactly one of my many problems. I care too much about what others think. In the office, if I overhead any negative comments about me, I will become so stressed that I want to find out more and make sure whoever that complained about me are happy or the comments about me are somehow resolved. If I was working on a team project and it turned into a disaster, I will automatically felt guilty and blamed myself, or frantically trying to fix things, because I guess I care too much about what others think - or "try" to be a hero.

    I am not sure if you can relate to this. For example, people said in a work interview, you are supposed to show confidence, and that is my guideline for an interview. But deep down I am quite timid. So most of the time, in the interview, I have psyched myself up, and answered the questions in a confident manner (because this is what I was SUPPOSED to do in an interview), did small talk, etc. This could impressed people in short amount of the time, but I did find myself feeling "artificial" for putting up the "show" in an interview. When I was offered the job, eventually when my real personality showed, sometimes, it could create some discrepancies from what people perceive from the interview, compared to who am I in real life.

    Also, over the years, I pretend that I am ok with all the angry comments that I got from people on the surface (being nice), but what I was doing was pushing down/suppressing the anger and resentment. Then eventually, when I grew older, I felt like I am slowly losing myself, in terms of my identity, kept asking who am I? Am I somebody that just do what makes people happy? Without their expectations ("Supposed to do"), who am I and what am I going to do? A bit lost really. In some way, I felt like a chameleon, do what people want or say what people want to hear because that makes them happy and show I am a "nice" person. But little did I know, I get further and further away from myself....
    teddy564339 thanked this post.

  8. #7
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    Thanks Tripwire_Desire for the fable. To be honest, I did google and see what is the actual message in the fable, and apparently, there are many different viewpoints about the message in this fable. I could relate to both frog and scorpion. With frog, I see the self-sacrificing behaviour in ISFJ. Although initially cautious with the scorpion, but the frog wants to do good before understanding the actual nature of a scorpion. Someone was talking about me with another person (without realising I was listening), and they described me as "doormat", I guess there is some truth in it, although I was quite hurt by that (my sensitivity!). Sometimes I am quite angry with myself because I can't help myself but fell into the trap of being used, and although I can see that is coming, I still didn't say a word and let the behaviour continue (shame on me).

    With scorpion, I can relate to the behaviour where I am showing an image that everybody likes to see in public, and the "true nature" of myself is always hidden and only reveal when I was with my close friends/partner. People around me didn't really have the opportunity to see the real me - including my sexuality.

  9. #8

    Quote Originally Posted by brownbear View Post

    Also, over the years, I pretend that I am ok with all the angry comments that I got from people on the surface (being nice), but what I was doing was pushing down/suppressing the anger and resentment. Then eventually, when I grew older, I felt like I am slowly losing myself, in terms of my identity, kept asking who am I? Am I somebody that just do what makes people happy? Without their expectations ("Supposed to do"), who am I and what am I going to do? A bit lost really. In some way, I felt like a chameleon, do what people want or say what people want to hear because that makes them happy and show I am a "nice" person. But little did I know, I get further and further away from myself....
    Perhaps you are at the point in life where you are at crossroads with yourself. And that's a good thing.

    When you start questioning yourself and your identity, it is a signal that you are ready to change the old and become something new.

    Your questions of "Who am I" and "What am I going to do" are the key things to pin point on.

    1) Who am I?

    Well, who are you? What defines you? Are you a push over? Are you an arrogant person? Are you one who likes to read? Or likes to travel? And so on.

    You are many things and nothing at all. You are an individual with gifts and flaws just like any other random person on the street. The real question is, are you comfortable with how you current act in various situations, your think patterns, your likes, and dislikes? If not, what are you going to do about it?

    2) What am I going to do?

    Well, what are you going to do? You can do nothing or something. You can go up or down or even sideways. You have a choice in your decision. You can ignore to do something or you can focus onto something. The beauty of this is that you are the one solely responsible for you.


    We are all individuals and we are allowed to make our own choices and decisions in life. Being an ISFJ, we are more prone to be more self-sacrificing and accommodating to others, however, when you reverse the roles, not many people are willing to go the same painstaking efforts that we do for others.

    And that is wrong.

    My suggestion for you is to start letting go of the notion that you have to be "perfect" and "please everyone". Because other people ain't sure as hell trying to please you. Now, you don't have to rude or hangry when dealing with those type of people, however, check yourself out of their way and do your own thing.

    Part of self-growth for an ISFJ is start putting your own needs front and center as well. Doesn't mean you have to be selfish and make it all about you all the time, but you should start loving yourself and make sure you are emotionally and physically well.

    And sometimes, that means not caring about what other people think. It's hard, because we are ingrained to try and get along with people via Aux Fe, so a goal for you is to start developing your own personal boundaries on what is okay with you and what is not.

    For me, mutual respect is my thing. If someone is not respectful to me, as I am to them, then I will put an end to that. Politely, of course.

    As we age, we have less time and energy to deal with those unimportant, whose opinion aren't worth paying attention to because they are not coming from a place of growth, and those who can't give you the same as you give to them.

    Learn to drop those people and seek inner peace with your strengths and flaws. If you aren't sure what they are, dive deep down and think about what you are good at and what you aren't.

    To be an ISFJ, building confidence is rather difficult. My tip for you is to start spending a little time regularly to "treat yourself" briefly, whether it's a smile to yourself in front of the mirror, having a dessert, or a bubble bath. Loving who you are and celebrating the positive things you bring to the world is what helps build confidence.

    This won't happen overnight, by the way. It takes time, but that's okay. With each small step, it will build up and eventually, you'll look back and think, "Gee, I was silly to care about what these non-important people said about me".

    My mom always told me, "Don't cheat anyone, but don't let anyone cheat you either". Basically, it means that you should be nice to people, but don't be a doormat and let others walk all over you. And in order to prevent that, you must have personal boundaries when dealing with people.

    With the whole frog and scorpion story, look at the scorpion's last line, "It's my nature...".

    People use "that's who I am" or "it's in my nature" to excuse their bad behaviors when they aren't willing to take responsibilities for their actions.

    The scorpion used the excuse of being a "predator" to sting the frog. This points to a lack of self-control or the unwillingness to address their bad habits or lacked the ability to reflect upon themselves and see if their actions are positive or not. The frog paid the ultimate price, as they were nice enough to believe the scorpion.

    We will meet a lot of scorpions in our lifetime. People who will drag us down. As the saying goes, "Misery loves company". Instead of being a frog that gets bogged down by the venom from those who continues to stew in their own poison that they created themselves, spread your wings and become the bird that takes flight into the skies.

    Cultivate your own life and bring positivity and joy into it, while shunning those who seek to undermine that happiness. Seek out those who give as much as they take, who is willing to be a mature adult, and able to provide a safe environment for personal growth (no cults, please).
    brownbear thanked this post.

  10. #9
    ISFJ - The Nurturers

    Wow, thank you so much WindChime for your suggestions. I really appreciate all the comments.

  11. #10

    Thanks for sharing


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