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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi, im a 20 yo infp with an asian background, living in australia. i am aware that there has been a thread discussing about this, but i would like a replied response from an infp with an asian background to be sure that the advice is applicable (not being racist here, promise!). I seriously need help in dealing with this. As a sensitive, intuitive and disorganised infp, i have been driving my mum mad from waking up late (like 10am daily) and being disorganised. As an asian mother, my mum has a very high expectation on me. She expects me to wake up early, throw the rubbish, wash the dishes, wash clothes on time and be super disciplined. And according to her i am being a very ungrateful and disrespectful daughter for burdening her with all the chores (not purposely in my pov, im just laidback and i do my things on my own terms and on my own time - Fi), and her conventional thinking makes her expect things like kids are supposed to be the one serving their parents breakfast, doing the chores and blablabla. I do understand that she has been working hard as a single mother for 30 years or so, but i am slowly getting more and more annoyed with this. i have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and she does not acknowledge this. She does, only for a little while like a week or two and afterwards loses her patience and tells me that im lazy and burdening her which only makes me feel more depressed and make me 'escape reality' and sleep more - driving her even mad. She thinks that a solution is to pray for a miracle to happen to me (we come from a catholic background) which at first i do believe that i need God's grace to help me pull myself together, but at the same time im also aware that both me and her need to come into some common ground and work this out instead of just waiting for a miracle.

meanwhile my older brother is this law-abiding, super obedient ISTJ who has a stable job and unemotional. so you get where the contrast is? this makes my mum even disbelieving towards my depression.

i do not wish to trigger any religious debate or some sort, or even a debate about races, but im genuinely seeking for a solution from you guys.. i am in my last semester and i only have 4 weeks left before exams. With this depression and disinterest in my subjects (im doing commerce) its really hard to catch up on lectures, i get very overwhelmed.

thanks so much :)
 

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I'm also an INFP with an ESFJ mother, and though I do not have an Asian background, I can relate to your situation (including the anxiety & depression).

Your mother probably places a great deal of importance on the home. For her, an untidy environment is likely a depressing, irritating situation. She wants to be comfortable, and it's hard to be comfortable in a chaotic environment. Her home is also a reflection of her and her family. To have a guest over in a messy home would be both impolite to them and embarrassing for her (dat Fe). More than likely, a mess has a far stronger negative impact on her than it does on you. I know it can seem like a stupid thing for her to get so caught up on, and perhaps it is, but a little effort on your part could reap a big benefit in the end. Tidy up here and there when you can. If you see her doing chores, ask her if there is anything you can do to help. It might always feel like placating her from your end, but it really isn't that bad if you compromise a little. If you do, you might find that she lets up on you, and you will in turn feel less burdened.

If you think she will listen, try talking to her about her tone -- "I want to abide by your rules mom, but when you put me down about what I haven't done, it makes me feel like a failure. If you simply asked me to do something, I would do it. I'm trying to improve, and I want you to talk to me if there is a problem so that I can fix it" -- something like that. Acknowledge that you've not met her expectations, but shift the focus away from guilt/failure and more toward a constructive place, while maintaining respect. The past can't be changed, but you can always ask, "What can be done now?" Keep the affect positive and hopeful.

Remind her that you do not want to disappoint her, make her feel that you understand how she feels/what she wants. Maybe if you do that, she will be more receptive to how you are feeling, too. At this point, it's possible you both feel the other doesn't understand your perspective, so I'd start there. Try to bridge that gap, try to foster some understanding of feelings. It might take some forced effort at first, but some real positive momentum might develop.

Good luck.
 

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Welcome to the forums,

I can't quite match your background, but I did frustrate my ESTJ mom a lot while growing up. Fi appears like a lot of laziness (hopefully you know what I mean), and my mom is very utilitarian/hard working stay at home variety.


I don't know if I have any healthy strategies, other than maybe compartmentalizing and relating the end of my story. After I got out of the house, and especially after I found a career direction, our relationship improved dramatically.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm also an INFP with an ESFJ mother, and though I do not have an Asian background, I can relate to your situation (including the anxiety & depression).

Your mother probably places a great deal of importance on the home. For her, an untidy environment is likely a depressing, irritating situation. She wants to be comfortable, and it's hard to be comfortable in a chaotic environment. Her home is also a reflection of her and her family. To have a guest over in a messy home would be both impolite to them and embarrassing for her (dat Fe). More than likely, a mess has a far stronger negative impact on her than it does on you. I know it can seem like a stupid thing for her to get so caught up on, and perhaps it is, but a little effort on your part could reap a big benefit in the end. Tidy up here and there when you can. If you see her doing chores, ask her if there is anything you can do to help. It might always feel like placating her from your end, but it really isn't that bad if you compromise a little. If you do, you might find that she lets up on you, and you will in turn feel less burdened.

If you think she will listen, try talking to her about her tone -- "I want to abide by your rules mom, but when you put me down about what I haven't done, it makes me feel like a failure. If you simply asked me to do something, I would do it. I'm trying to improve, and I want you to talk to me if there is a problem so that I can fix it" -- something like that. Acknowledge that you've not met her expectations, but shift the focus away from guilt/failure and more toward a constructive place, while maintaining respect. The past can't be changed, but you can always ask, "What can be done now?" Keep the affect positive and hopeful.

Remind her that you do not want to disappoint her, make her feel that you understand how she feels/what she wants. Maybe if you do that, she will be more receptive to how you are feeling, too. At this point, it's possible you both feel the other doesn't understand your perspective, so I'd start there. Try to bridge that gap, try to foster some understanding of feelings. It might take some forced effort at first, but some real positive momentum might develop.

Good luck.
thank you so much for this. i guess at one point she tried to instruct me softly but due to my inattention i procrastinated on her orders which drived her mad :/ thanks for the reminder, i do really appreciate it. Not trying to probe or get personal, but how did you grow up with depression and anxiety with your mum? How did you communicate to her about this? And how did you get your needs met (emotional, me-time (alone time + creativity), sensitivity, etc?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Welcome to the forums,

I can't quite match your background, but I did frustrate my ESTJ mom a lot while growing up. Fi appears like a lot of laziness (hopefully you know what I mean), and my mom is very utilitarian/hard working stay at home variety.

I don't know if I have any healthy strategies, other than maybe compartmentalizing and relating the end of my story. After I got out of the house, and especially after I found a career direction, our relationship improved dramatically.
haha thanks for the video mate! :) I can picture the utilitarian ever-disciplined ENTJ mother you have. What is your current career direction if I may ask? *currently at the point where I am looking for one* inspire me if you would.
 

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haha thanks for the video mate! :) I can picture the utilitarian ever-disciplined ENTJ mother you have. What is your current career direction if I may ask? *currently at the point where I am looking for one* inspire me if you would.
I'm studying (actually done with classes, I'm just waiting to student teach) to become an elementary teacher. I was in accounting, but quit from enough jobs to learn it wasn't for me. My wife teaches, and when we moved to a remote city I had no other palatable avenues but to be a TA (teacher's assistant). I loved it, and ran with it.

It's not for everybody. The political part of public education sucks (and private schools pay less and have problems of their own). But nothing in accounting was ever as rewarding as watching kids learning and growing. And their candidness and imagination energize me.
 

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thank you so much for this. i guess at one point she tried to instruct me softly but due to my inattention i procrastinated on her orders which drived her mad :/ thanks for the reminder, i do really appreciate it. Not trying to probe or get personal, but how did you grow up with depression and anxiety with your mum? How did you communicate to her about this? And how did you get your needs met (emotional, me-time (alone time + creativity), sensitivity, etc?
Don't feel bad. Misunderstandings happen, and it seems obvious reading your posts that you really want things to get better. I think if you just give yourself a chance, you'll do just fine.

Well, my parents were divorced when I was young and I lived primarily with my father...so I didn't live in my mom's house really. I can't offer a ton of insight there.

But, I think one thing that helped me was accepting that my mom and I would always be different in how we saw things. Once I stopped waiting for something to "click" between us and accepted that she won't ever deeply understand the maelstrom of Fi that I experience, I felt relieved. That's not to say that I didn't learn to communicate better with her, it's just that I grew into a peaceful acceptance at the way things are, or at the way we are as two people. Longing for us to be be more alike was a pipe dream, and I was happier once I let go of that. I learned that I could get the understanding I needed from other important people in my life, and it was perfectly OK that my mom wasn't the person to do that for me. She shows her care for me in other ways, in her ways -- and that's good. I can appreciate that. The best thing you and your mother can do for each other is be accepting of yourselves and each other. You may never see eye to eye, but you can still love each other for the flawed, wonderful human beings you are.

Another thing that helped me was boundaries. I need more "space" than my mother does, and I learned that it was fine to assert that need. It's not easy for ESFJ moms to "let go", but in time they will adjust. Moms generally want what is best for their kids, keep that in mind. INFPs have a hard time drawing hard lines, but if you do so, you'll be happier in the end. Take the space and time you need for yourself. Do not feel guilty for needing what you need. What one person needs and what another needs may be very different, and that's fine. Don't worry about anyone but yourself. You have to take care of yourself first.

I hope my ramblings could be of some help!
 

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I have an ESFJ mom too, and even though I'm an INTJ I can still relate to you a bit. I have an ISTJ brother too and he's pretty much a paragon of perfection, so I know what you have to deal with there. I'm not much for cleaning either, but for my mom house chores are very important to keep in check. It's as if it's the basis of stable life, and it kind of is.

Like soya said, you can get away with being a little lazy if you try to show your mom that you will and want to help out, even if it's not on ESFJ level of commitment (let's face, that just won't happen ^^). Find that sweet middle ground and work from there. ESFJs don't need much improvement to notice that it's there.
 

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I can't help with the Asian background part but I have an ESFJ mother who has high expectations for all of her children. I think she struggled equally with me and the INTP.

I don't want to rehash the very good advice you've been given already, so I'll try to come up with some other things.

1. You're never going to stop being her baby. I'm quickly nearing 30 and every time I visit she's always doing my laundry and buying me things and trying to give me advice on how to live my life. Turning her down only works sometimes; in fact I still get into trouble for doing chores "wrong", but somehow she hasn't made the connection between her constant criticisms and no one wanting to do anything around the house. XD The only thing you can really do is adjust your own attitude a bit. Accept that to her, she will always be a mother and therefore it will always be necessary for her to look after you. For her to go against that is as painful as it is for us when we go against our Fi. So trying to be a bit more tolerant of that, while drawing up a few boundaries so that you're not being drained all the time, is probably the way to go. I understand it's harder while you're living at home but once you move out, it will get better.

2. Unfortunately, she's not going to believe you know more about her than mental illness. She's the mother and you're the child. She does so much for her children and you repay her by doing nothing. So she's going to think you're making excuses. Again, I know, I've been there. :-/ I don't know about your mum but mine has her "gurus", basically various health practioners who she goes and sees and they become experts of everything. So I wonder how it would be if you could get her to talk to your psychologist/doctor/whoever it is you're seeing about your anxiety and depression? You might find that she takes it a lot more seriously if it's an expert telling her these things. But then maybe there's a cultural aspect here too; if she's not open to psychology or stuff like that it might make things harder.

3. I don't know what your mum's motivations are but mine kind of lives through us a bit. Like she regretted choices she made when she was younger, so she pushes us to achieve and to not give up, and deep down I think she takes our successes as proof that she's a good mother. I still find it humiliating when she brags about me to other people (especially when I'm standing right next to her)!! But there's not much I can do about it. Most people just put it down to her being a proud mum... not that we ever saw that side of her at home, when she'd be yelling at us for not doing enough piano practice or studying hard enough or whatever else. :p If you can figure out what's driving her to push you guys so hard it might make things a bit easier to tolerate. It might be something as simple as her needing to be seen as a good mother who gives you all the opportunities you need in life.

4. Regarding your studies: if you are this close to graduating, I'd suck it up and do it. Last minute panic was the only thing that would move me when I was depressed and studying. Heck, last minute panic is still the best motivator even when I'm not depressed and studying. XD But what are your plans for after graduation? Do you want to work for a bit, while you figure things out? Or do you want to go back and study something else? (I did the first thing, but I know others who took the second option.) I'm not much of a long-term planner but I do like having a short-term plan. Mostly so that I know how I'm going to escape a shitty situation. It's what gets me through them.

Going to stop rambling now. Feel free to ask if I was unclear about something! I wish you all the best... I really feel for you. <3
 

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i do believe that i need God's grace to help me pull myself together, but at the same time im also aware that both me and her need to come into some common ground and work this out instead of just waiting for a miracle.
Perhaps tell her exactly this. Also maybe start with an apology that you have been burdening her and that it's not what your want (not that I think you should be sorry) and that you need some help right now. In the form of baby steps and more communication.

I'm not Asian but I'm aware that in many Asian households it's a very different dynamic from White, Med. or Black households. From what I've seen, less open communication and lot of guilt over career path. That compounding with your depression and anxiety...I don't envy you. :-(

Hope you find a way to pull through exams.
 
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Yeah this is a pretty classic situation. I'm also Asian, my mom is ISFJ (and my dad is ISTJ). I was also diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 19, but hid it for a few years from them because I knew my mom wouldn't believe it/accept it/agree that I see a therapist.

I went to the therapist anyway and fought with my mom about it. I guess for her it's partly the stigma, but also partly because she doesn't think that there's anything wrong with me. She thinks therapists are only for people with serious "crazy people" disorders. She doesn't even sympathize with people who commit suicide. Now you can either interpret her denial as the ultimate form of either rejection or acceptance. But to her, the solution is "simple": if it's something that will bring you down, you have to fight it and win the battle (against the trials of life, or against your demons, using the power of faith or whatever).

Of course it's actually not that simple, but there are some truths in what she's trying to make you do. Imagine if you have no family to take care of you, and you're suffering from this depression. You still have to do chores, go to class, maybe even live paycheck to paycheck or on a massive student loan. Basically your mom is trying to train you because life is hard and unforgiving, so you need to function to a certain extent no matter how sad you may be.

I get that you may argue with her endlessly, trying to make her understand your situation, but don't hope that she ever will. But just because she doesn't understand, it doesn't mean that she doesn't care about you. I think it's best if you can find someone else to talk about your feelings with, because it's also not healthy to just repress it, and you need help dealing with it from someone who understands what depression is and can empathize. It's just that that person will not be your mother, because chances are, she just doesn't get it.
 
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