Nearly every ENFP who responded to that thread had suffered a hang-up!I think I'm really curious about (this ENFP) being hung up on someone else. Is this common with ENFPs? Believe it or not I've had this response from many different woman I've asked out. They just can't seem to move on from past relationships.
I think it has to do with our Ne-Fi relationship. Our Fi is regulated by our Ne, so if we fall for someone, we are usually convinced that falling in love was a good idea in the first place. We've already prodded the situation's potential, tested the litmus of limerence, and decided that This Love is Real and Worth Committing To. Our Fi goes into free-fall. Te often enters the scene too late to assess the situation without being subject to the bias of the Fi, and our Si is useless; it's probably already slavishly committed to wedding theme colors, baking cupcakes, and learning how to sing.
If we are lucky, the person we fell in love with was A Good Idea. If we are unlucky, we eventually go through the Traumatic Breakup. The Breakup, which contradicts our Ne-Fi expectations, is something which many of us struggle to comprehend. Like I said, our Te is already subject to our Fi bias, and so we continue to Feel Feelings for this person despite having no reasonable reason to do so.
Here's when the hang-up happens. Because our Fi is regulated by our Ne, we have to understand where we went wrong before we can turn off the feelings. Which means we have to rewind the history of the relationship, examine the evidence with a fine-tooth comb, rehash all the particulars, reconcile all the possibilities, and know exactly why and how the relationship soured. How did this happen? What did we miss? Why Can't It Work Out?
But our Fi is so scary and inchoate that we often don't go there. Or if we do, our Te is so biased by the Fi that it can't make sense of the truth and we end up Neing ourselves in circles, making doughnuts on our brains. Then, we call ourselves intractable soul mates with that person, read Jane Austen's Persuasion, and sing the Dido song.
But really, this is not healthy. If we are stuck in the fantasy of our past, we can't actually see the opportunities for love and connection which are right in front of us! Opportunities which might actually help us make the most of our unique and beautiful potential!
The ghost of our ex-lover haunts our thoughts, our dreams, our very existence with its destructive force--we become sad and quiet, push away fascinating suitors, despair of happiness. And, often, we feel unable to make it stop--we've tried to forget, we've tried to expunge, we've even taken a surgical scalpel and scratched out our own hearts, to no avail: it grew back with greater vengeance.
Here are some things that helped me overcome the endless spiral of grief:
1) Drop the Torch. Of course I still love him. I love everybody. But I have reconciled myself to the truth, which landed resoundingly against the soundness of us ever rekindling our relationship, and freed myself to fall in love More Successfully.
The feelings will likely persist until we can get some proper feeling-cide treatment...
2) Ne it. Instead of trying to avoid that painful topic of thoughtful exploration, I finally let my Ne go wild with it, explore every particular, track down all the possibilities, consider the relationship from a fractal of perspectives. It helped me open myself up to the possibility of having been wrong--consider several theories of Why Things Didn't Work Out.
3) Consult the local Ni. Fresh eyes, I told myself. INFJs or INTJs are able to Ni-pinpoint the reality of the situation--the problematic reality, not the romantic fantasy--to ENFPs in a way that makes sense--and with startling ease. Over and over, they were telling me the same thing--this was the problem, and it was a Deal Breaker. I didn't want to believe it, but I listened with my Ne and allowed their "theory" to carry some weight. (If you consult an INTJ, you are extra brave because, while extra accurate according to their Te, their truth-telling won't be tamed by the civility of the F.)
4) Allow Te to inform Ne and Fi. It doesn't mean Te wins. Merely that the Ne and Fi will be better informed without bias to the emotional interests of the case. For me, this was a painful experience--it put me square into the grip of my inferior functions for at least a day--because it was so traumatizing to admit to myself that my Ne had been wrong in the first place. But the pain passes and, rather than the Ne losing its credibility, I found that it gained deeper and more meaningful perspective.
Honestly, I don't believe that love is ever wasted--not when love is true and sincere--but I think we can waste a great deal of time on fantasy love. Sometimes True Love--being committed to someone's greater good--means that we have to let them go and move on. That sort of love is ultimately stronger and more real than endless White Flagging.
Of course, then, perhaps the relationship Really Was Meant To Be. But, if so, it begs the question: why didn't it work out?