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Discussion Starter #1
My older INFJ sister (age 25) is engaged to a guy that I think is an INFP, though a very immature one, and I’m really worried about their relationship.
A bit of background first: My siblings and I (there are lots of us) were raised in a fundamentalist Christian home. The crazy strict rules and the expectation to mindlessly accept everything our parents told us has had lasting negative effects on all of our personalities, but we all handled things differently. Me and (I’ll call her Persephone. She’d like that) handled it in similar ways; we both became much more timid than we otherwise would have been and both were very religious, though she always took it more seriously. She even went to school to be a missionary.
A couple years back, a bunch of us started questioning things and finally started thinking for ourselves and headed off on our own religious/non-religious paths. She converted to Orthodox Christianity. By this time I had started flourishing and actually being myself and it felt good. I was excited to see her do the same.
But then she met “Nate.” She met Nate within a month or two of all the religious questioning and dropping out of Bible school. He was her first boyfriend and she fell head over heels for him and was talking about marriage within a few months of dating. I was worried because I have more dating experience and I know how it feels to be completely 110% in love with someone and convinced you’ll marry them and then realize in a few years that you are terrible together. I think it’s really important to understand that you can feel intense love for someone, but that doesn’t mean they are “the one.”
That was concerning enough. Then we met him. He’s…nice? Ehh, not even nice. I honestly cannot think of one redeeming quality about him. He mumbles everything he says so that I have to either keep asking “What?” or just pretend I heard him and say “Uh huh...Yeah.” He’s rude and interrupts people with whatever he’s mumbling. He’s very pretentious and stupid, which is a terrible combination. He’s not good looking at all. And worst of all, he can be a bit controlling and my sister never pushes back. If everyone’s sitting around having a deep conversation, Persephone will be sharing her thoughts and he’ll interrupt and say what he feels and she’ll immediately back down and say, “Okay, you’re probably right.” Even weirder, he likes to play with her hair while we’re talking, but not in an affectionate way. He’ll sit there and run his whole hand through her hair and tug hard at tangles until her whole head is jerking back. She acts like nothing’s happening. I’d yell at my boyfriend if he did that to me!! It seems like she’s afraid to tell him no in front of us. I can understand that to some extent, but what worries me is that this is a habit of his that she obviously hasn’t told him off for even in private.
I brought up the religious past because she seems to have a lot of reverence for him and it freaks me out. It seems like she took all the devotion she once had for God and projected that on Nate. She puts him on a pedestal as if he can do no wrong. When he does really screw up she brushes it off as a little mistake he made. She seems to value him much more than she values herself. She told us once that what she loved most about him is, “The way he knows what I’m thinking even when I don’t. He explains it to me in a way that makes so much more sense. The way he councils me…”
I think it’s a mixture of reverence and pity. She definitely feels sorry for him. She knows a lot of us don’t like him and that makes her even more determined to love him. She told me one time when I was expressing my concerns, “I’m sure if we broke up, I could find someone out there who’s better for me, but would that be as meaningful?” She’s also said that it’s more meaningful to love someone who’s hard to love. I admire her compassion, but it really concerns me that she’s applying all this to a romantic relationship. It's not a good idea to marry someone you consider "hard to love." By her logic, their relationship would be even more meaningful if he abused her.
I’m really concerned about her. I know she’s got a very rich inner world, like myself, and I can see that in her. What I can’t understand is how that doesn’t lead to more independent thought. It’s like she got used to the idea of basing all her thoughts off of a book and she doesn’t know how not to do that, so she bases it off of what he says and what her new church says.
The wedding is in 16 days and I just feel so sad for her. I feel like there’s so much more she could be if she could just think for herself, but it’s like she doesn’t even know how to. There’s no way they’re not getting married at this point, but is there any advice/perspective I can get? How can I help her even after they’re married?
 

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Hi Pallas, I think perhaps all you can do is just be happy that she knows how you feel and support her in her belief that she has the strength to take this journey.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, I know I can't stop their wedding.
I'm looking for thoughts on why she feels this way and how I can get her to stand up for herself in the future. What would make her more aware of the problems, both in their relationship and the way she sees her life in general?
 

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I'm looking for thoughts on why she feels this way
I can't relate this back to MBTI if that 's what your asking, tho others might have thoughts on this.

and how I can get her to stand up for herself in the future.
All I can really add to what @Delilah said (still working out that AV :S) is support her the best you know how.

What would make her more aware of the problems, both in their relationship and the way she sees her life in general?
Well what you are referring to here is self-awareness... But how do people become self-aware? Sometimes they never do, sometimes they seem to be born with it, but mostly i'd say it comes through maturity, life experience, self reflection, feedback from others. There's already a couple of these in the mix here. Have faith! :)
 

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I'm more than familiar with the kind of behavior that your sister seems to be demonstrating, I have someone in my life that acts very similarly. It really sucks to say, but I doubt there's much that you can do to get your sister to start standing up for herself, that's something that, I believe, has to come from within. I think that the best thing you can probably do is be supportive, and encourage your sister whenever and however you can. With enough support, she may, in time, become confident enough to stand up for herself. If not, then she'll need the support even more.

I would, however, also encourage you to have a little more faith in your sister's judgement. Perhaps there's a side to this guy that you simply aren't seeing. I know that when I feel shy or awkward, I don't always give off the best impression, maybe this guy is in a similar situation. The reason I bring this up is that I have been in a situation before where I've cared very much for someone, only to have others in my life express their concern that she wasn't a good match for me. I understood and appreciated what they were saying, but at the same time, I knew that they were wrong. Sure, the girl in question had her faults, and we could really get into it from time to time, but, in the end, I knew that she was a wonderful person, and that we brought out more good in each other than bad. The thing was that I just didn't quite know how to express these feelings to others--I had no way of making them understand that this girl wasn't as bad as she may have appeared. Now I'm not trying to say that your sister is in a similar sort of situation, nor am I trying to accuse you of being too critical. I just want to encourage you to keep an open mind, and try to see the things that your sister sees in this guy. Who knows, he may surprise you.
 

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I also have a friend who has a completely unlikable girlfriend that he sees no wrong in. I told a story about her on here using the nickname we gave her, Medea. I'm guessing by your username and your sister's "name" that you studied Classics also?

I think the help you can give her after they marry is that you be there for her when the marriage fails. Judging from your post it seems your sister is still in the "homeymoon" phase years or months on. It's what me and my friends did when my friend's last relationship ended. And it's what we'll do when he realises Medea is a manipulative cunt. We just wait out the shit storm and go in to rescue our friend when the smoke clears. My friend will meet another nutcase, repeat to infinity... I really hope your sister is smarter than my friend.
 

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Yes, I know I can't stop their wedding.
I'm looking for thoughts on why she feels this way and how I can get her to stand up for herself in the future. What would make her more aware of the problems, both in their relationship and the way she sees her life in general?
You seem to care about her, but I resent your controlling attitude.

What gives you the right to think that you know best for her? Perhaps she has a whole side of her that you know nothing about, and it's highly likely that her relationship with this person and their connection occurs in private where you can't see.

My family tried to get involved in my long-term relationship with an INTP because they are sensors and only saw what was on the surface, and what we projected to "others". They didn't see what happened in the privacy of our relationship, and they didn't see that it worked on many levels.

I would and did cut my family out if they tried to intervene in my relationship and my choices. And, I'd think that you will lose her if you don't change your attitude. Start supporting her, respecting her choices, and loving her, instead of trying to impose your opinions onto her. If you don't, it's very likely you will lose her forever to this person.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm more than familiar with the kind of behavior that your sister seems to be demonstrating, I have someone in my life that acts very similarly. It really sucks to say, but I doubt there's much that you can do to get your sister to start standing up for herself, that's something that, I believe, has to come from within. I think that the best thing you can probably do is be supportive, and encourage your sister whenever and however you can. With enough support, she may, in time, become confident enough to stand up for herself. If not, then she'll need the support even more.

I would, however, also encourage you to have a little more faith in your sister's judgement. Perhaps there's a side to this guy that you simply aren't seeing. I know that when I feel shy or awkward, I don't always give off the best impression, maybe this guy is in a similar situation. The reason I bring this up is that I have been in a situation before where I've cared very much for someone, only to have others in my life express their concern that she wasn't a good match for me. I understood and appreciated what they were saying, but at the same time, I knew that they were wrong. Sure, the girl in question had her faults, and we could really get into it from time to time, but, in the end, I knew that she was a wonderful person, and that we brought out more good in each other than bad. The thing was that I just didn't quite know how to express these feelings to others--I had no way of making them understand that this girl wasn't as bad as she may have appeared. Now I'm not trying to say that your sister is in a similar sort of situation, nor am I trying to accuse you of being too critical. I just want to encourage you to keep an open mind, and try to see the things that your sister sees in this guy. Who knows, he may surprise you.
Maybe, and I hope that's the case. I really have been trying to get to know him better and learn to like him. That's my mindset whenever I see the two of them, but honestly, every time I hang out with him I like him less. I keep reminding myself that I'm not the one marrying him...I guess I just have to give it time and hope that both of them mature a bit.

You seem to care about her, but I resent your controlling attitude.

What gives you the right to think that you know best for her? Perhaps she has a whole side of her that you know nothing about, and it's highly likely that her relationship with this person and their connection occurs in private where you can't see.

My family tried to get involved in my long-term relationship with an INTP because they are sensors and only saw what was on the surface, and what we projected to "others". They didn't see what happened in the privacy of our relationship, and they didn't see that it worked on many levels.

I would and did cut my family out if they tried to intervene in my relationship and my choices. And, I'd think that you will lose her if you don't change your attitude. Start supporting her, respecting her choices, and loving her, instead of trying to impose your opinions onto her. If you don't, it's very likely you will lose her forever to this person.
I hardly see how thinking someone is making a bad choice and being concerned for their well-being is controlling. I respect the fact that she can choose to marry anyone she likes, even if I dislike him. But my disliking him is beside the point. My concern is not that she marries someone that I don't like, my concern is that she doesn't stand up for herself, especially when it comes to sharing her deep opinions, but then backing down and saying he's probably right as soon as he speaks up. That and the complete reverence she has for him is very concerning.
 

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I hardly see how thinking someone is making a bad choice and being concerned for their well-being is controlling. I respect the fact that she can choose to marry anyone she likes, even if I dislike him. But my disliking him is beside the point. My concern is not that she marries someone that I don't like, my concern is that she doesn't stand up for herself, especially when it comes to sharing her deep opinions, but then backing down and saying he's probably right as soon as he speaks up. That and the complete reverence she has for him is very concerning.
So be concerned, and live your own life and let her live hers. So you are concerned - so what! You are making this all about YOU. She is 25 years old...she's an adult and you should back off.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So be concerned, and live your own life and let her live hers. So you are concerned - so what! You are making this all about YOU. She is 25 years old...she's an adult and you should back off.
Wanting to help someone = making it all about me? I don't follow.
I came here because I wanted help understanding her and was wondering if other INFJs could give me some insight. I'd also like to be a positive influence on her and help her think for herself. I'm not trying to control her. It's one thing to say "I don't like this guy, how do I get my sister to break up with him?" but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about helping her with behaviors that are without a doubt unhealthy. I want her to be happy and I don't see her being happy with him if she lets him have his way all the time.
 

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Wanting to help someone = making it all about me? I don't follow.
She doesn't want your help. She has ignored your "help" to date, and she has ignored your grievances about him. Thus, you wanting to impose your (superior) knowledge and 'help' upon her is arrogant and it assumes it's your right to do so.

She's 25. Not 5.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
She doesn't want your help. She has ignored your "help" to date, and she has ignored your grievances about him. Thus, you wanting to impose your (superior) knowledge and 'help' upon her is arrogant and it assumes it's your right to do so.

She's 25. Not 5.
And you mocking my "help" and (superiority) isn't arrogant at all.
 

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And everyone else managed to do a much better job of it and much more respectfully :proud:
I disagree/don't care. Everyone failed to tell you how annoying it is as an INFJ to have others think they know best and intrude upon our lives. It is very vital information.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I disagree/don't care. Everyone failed to tell you how annoying it is as an INFJ to have others think they know best and intrude upon our lives. It is very vital information.
Okay, but there are nicer ways of saying so. Now that you mention it, yes, I can see how that's something she's particularly sensitive to and I should definitely keep that in mind and be more respectful of that. But you can explain that about her without accusing me of being a selfish control freak for wanting to help my sister whom I love very much.
 

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Okay, but there are nicer ways of saying so. Now that you mention it, yes, I can see how that's something she's particularly sensitive to and I should definitely keep that in mind and be more respectful of that. But you can explain that about her without accusing me of being a selfish control freak for wanting to help my sister whom I love very much.
I'm sure you love her, but again, you are making this all about you. It's not about your sensibilities or if you took offense to it. I'm trying to give you *actual* info here, not offend you.

As an INFJ one of the *worst* things my family (as well intentioned as they may be) can assume they know what i want better than i do, and *intrude* upon that. Seriously, it's why I cut my family out of my life. I have lots of experience with this. And it *is* arrogant to assume you know best, all you can do is be there (if) she needs you to be. That's all you can do. Anything else is going to push her further into his arms and potentially distance herself *more* from her family.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm sure you love her, but again, you are making this all about you. It's not about your sensibilities or if you took offense to it. I'm trying to give you *actual* info here, not offend you.

As an INFJ one of the *worst* things my family (as well intentioned as they may be) can assume they know what i want better than i do, and *intrude* upon that. Seriously, it's why I cut my family out of my life. I have lots of experience with this. And it *is* arrogant to assume you know best, all you can do is be there (if) she needs you to be. That's all you can do. Anything else is going to push her further into his arms and potentially distance herself *more* from her family.
I would love for this not to be about my "sensibilities" or taking offense to things, but that's rather hard to do when you keep saying offensive things to me. Your second paragraph is decent advice. Why couldn't you just send that without repeating that I'm supposedly making this all about me? I'm sure people can do damaging things when they're just trying to help, but that doesn't mean that wanting to help is bad in and of itself. So go ahead and give advice on how I can help (even if that means stepping back and not helping), but yeah, I do find it really incredibly offensive for you to call me selfish and controlling just for caring about someone else. It is arrogant to assume I have bad intentions just because I might naturally want to handle a situation differently than you would.
 
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