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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone I need help.

I'm an INFP with an ESTJ son. He's all grown up (30 yrs old), and we have had our ups and downs, but a couple years ago he joined the family restaurant business (at my suggestion), and it was nightmare from almost day one. I couldn't do anything right. I'm the mom, I tried to put that aside, take his advice, etc. Bottom line: after almost two years of working together, and him telling me he has no respect for me as a co-worker (I'm scattered and disorganized, but I have a system and it works for me, and I'm really good with customers, so, for me, I worked around my shortcomings, but it was never good enough for him), so after all this, we had a big blow up, I quit in order to save our relationship (how NF of me), and he very calmly told me on my last day of work that he is done with me. DONE.

That was February.

He is still not speaking to me.

I have given him space, gone in from time to time and waved, told him I love him. He will not let me hug him, won't respond to invitations to holiday dinners with his siblings and me.

So...

I was wondering...

Now that I've made a complete mess of everything...

How might an INFP speak to an ESTJ in his language?

We INFP's are supposed to be good at that sort of thing.

I've apologized, over and over for anything I did, it makes no difference. He says he is over the "drama," and will not have it back in his life.

Drama? Drama? And this, what you are doing to me, this is not drama?? I didn't say that to him. But I wanted to. I just want him back in my life. He's my son. I birthed him onto this planet. He's part of my soul.

Okay, so if you are still reading, and know any ESTJ's personally that you might ask, or have actually solved conflicts with them yourself, could you give me some pointers?

I've gone into a deep depression from this. I can't let him know that, because that might be seen as more 'drama.' I need help.

Thanks
 

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Wow. Welcome to the Cafe! Sorry about your trouble with your son. As a fellow INFP, I'm not sure I'll be much help.
I have a friend who is ESTJ and what we do with him is be to the point and unemotional. Tears don't "impress" him, so to speak. Being as it's your son though, how could you help but feel emotional? I hope some ESTJs from the forum can help you out. Again, welcome!
 

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While this might go better in the ESTJ forum, I'll respond nonetheless.

As much as I can understand how you "having your own system" is fine and dandy for you, ExTJs have the kind of "everything can be improved kind of view". If he was criticizing your work, he wanted to improve it (constructive criticism). When it comes to him, you really have to forget about emotions if you want to get into his head. Assuming you have him typed correctly, his functions should be: Te-Si-Ne-Fi. Feeling is dead last here, so trying to plead to emotion will just hurt the situation more.

If you have any electronic text-based methods of communicating with him (Facebook, SMS, etc), try writing a detailed message explaining WHY you are messaging him, WHY you acted the way you did, and that you are trying to understand him. As an ENTJ (similar functions), I have a hard time dealing with co-workers who have disorganized systems if the disorganization makes my work more difficult and/or less efficient. I know should probably be a bit of a foreign thing for you to grasp (same goes for me and F functions, we all have weaknesses) you should read up on how the average ExTJ goes about their work ethic, evaluate how you might have affected it, and just apologize/explain h=that you'll try your best to better understand him.

Don't give him 2 sentences worth of material, either. Make the message well though-out, and he'll really pay attention to it.

Don't. Appeal. To. Emotion. (Please)

Oh yeah, welcome to PerC!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for responding, Pink. You are right, emotion is not the way to go. That's what got me in trouble in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thanks, Alecross

I finally figured out the 'no emotion' policy with ESTJ's, but it was too late by then. So, I've posted casually on his facebook, texted him a few times, and I think they were completely void of emotion. For instance, "Hey, I think I broke our record for getting stuck in traffic the longest on the way to L.A. It took me 6 hours!" and another, "You skated through my dream last night. I waved, you nodded. Miss you!" I've gotten no response from those. So, my next question is, if I write him a well thought out letter of apology/explanation, and I don't hear any response, do I just let it go? What I mean is, should I write him again after a certain amount of time or would that be considered pushing myself on him? I am giving him so much space. He did smile at me on 4th of July, so that's good, right?

I so appreciate your T wisdom on this. I will work on a letter and then give it to my other son for editing, maybe that would work. Or maybe you could take a look at it.

I really hate being an F. Next life I get dibs on INTP. That's what I want to be.

No emotion. Promise. Argh! Oops, venting, getting prepared to do this.

:)

This is extremely helpful.

Oh, and yes, his constant argument at work was that everyone there made his job more difficult, with me at the top of the list. But I tried really hard to do all he suggested. I just could not keep up with his constant stream of demands, so I would defer back to what I knew (I'm not all that young, and I forget stuff) because I would forget the endless lists of things I was supposed to change.
 

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I wish I knew what to say. I feel bad for you. Sounds like your son is a dick, excuse me for the bluntness. Why appeal to his shortcomings? You seem to be trying everything you can to bring him back into your life and it's not working. Tell him what you didn't say out loud (that he's being overly dramatic). From what I understand about ExTJ, they don't like being criticized but they will definitely listen to it. It could get him thinking about it more instead of being so dismissive toward you.

Other than the cliche "give him time to come around" answer, I will say fight fire with fire. Ignore him and be frank with him. It's perfectly fine to invite him over for holidays and all that. It shows that you are ready to move past any of the current crap, and it's up to him to step up and be a friggin man and communicate with you. It may tear you up inside and I'm sorry for that.

Sometimes if what you're doing isn't working, do what you normally wouldn't do. If you're being sweet, with nice little messages about waving to each other in your dream, then quit being sweet.

ORRRRRR.... continue being yourself knowing that it's his loss if he can't love you for it.

I know I'm only hearing your side of things but this whole thing makes me angry. He really isn't talking to you because you couldn't work well together? Is there more you're not telling us? Or is he really that much of a dickwad? Excuse my language.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, there is more to the story, but there is not enough internet space to tell the whole thing, plus, there is his side, which I know sounds completely different than mine. I just wish I could understand his side. And he could understand mine.

He used to thank me for how I had raised him, and he said that even though we were opposites, we loved each other. I raised all four of them on my own. Imagine the issues he must have, being an ESTJ, and having been raised by a single INFP mother.

I do not know what I did that day to cause him to tell me he was done with me. But I had to have done something really horrible, that an ESTJ would consider irrevocably horrible. He has always been a fine man, a hard worker. He had his first job at age seven, throwing newspapers in his little wagon. By the time he was nine, he told me he was making his plans to move away, somewhere more organized! :)

Does anyone know that if that temperament says they are done with you, if that means they are done? Like, forever?

I lost my mother last year and have been very depressed. My son saw my grief, but he would ask me to leave my personal life at home. That was very difficult for me to do. I can imagine that must have weighed on him, feeling all that emotion oozing out of me over my mother's death, but I was grieving.

It got to the point where he just dreaded the days he had to work with me, and I dreaded the days I had to work with him. That is why I asked my brother to replace me. I was going to get sick, I could tell. My body couldn't take any more grief. But then to add grief to grief, I lost my son as well! I can't stand it some days. The pain is so great. But I know I've got to approach him with no emotion, and repentant for whatever I did, because I am the parent, and it's my responsibility. right?

Oh, and yes, there are quite a few people who call him a 'dick,' but they are usually F temperament people. He really is quite charismatic.

He took me out for mother's day last year and we had such a great time, laughing and wine tasting. And when my sister died, he and my youngest son escorted me to the funeral and sat with me while I cried. He even went with me to help me buy a car once, and talked the guy down for hours. He showed me around NYC like a perfect host and let me stay at his apartment to visit. He's been such a great son. And I need to figure out how to speak his language. I don't know what to do. I miss him so much. So much.
 

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My heart goes out to you. I really wish I knew what to tell you that I haven't already. Good luck and best wishes. If you feel like talking, feel free to message me. It's hard to know how to relate to someone when their personality is literally the opposite of your own. It's like you have to imagine all of the things you dislike in someone... or asymmetrical alignment of values and priorities... or focus on the things you do like but are incapable of understanding or relating to as it's foreign to you... figuring all that out and then working with it.
And when you do figure it out and it still doesn't work, you might have to deal with the inner conflict of wondering why they can't work with you, why they can't meet you half-way, why is it you that has to give and give, push and pull, knowing that it's you that has succumbed to submission. Why it feels one-sided. It can leave you bitter, and lethargic, but you you will get thru by ignoring that nagging little voice and focusing on the hope that you'll be whole again. You'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you fought, and won, in the end.

That's what websites like this help you with and hopefully you'll find an answer. If not, I hope you at least find comfort.
 

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First, welcome to the forums! :D

Second, I'm not sure what help I can give. I'm a fellow INFP and have an ESTJ mother. It's almost nightmarish at times. But she knows she couldn't stand to lose me and so she'll let go of her pride at times. somtimes i do accept she may be right though. She can be the same way where tears are unimpressive...but she's come around to knowing that if I'm coming home crying then I definitely need a hug. I love that she's become more nurturing.

My best advice is to perhaps give him more time. My family has had huge arguments to where some relatives no longer spoke and it took years to get them in the same room together. I understand he's your son, but I also trust that time will eventually heal all wounds.

Another thing you could try too is seeing if one of his siblings could talk to him on your behalf. It may be a little underhanded, but chances are he will listen to them.The only issue here is he may turn on the sibling(s) in question. That's why i'd just give him more time. :)
 
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Welcome to PerC @freeone77

I have an ESTJ husband, and he could be sweet to his mom (EsxJ). But not people of the same type are the same. Maybe you should trust his own way of doing things and respect his boundaries. But I guess your son has a attitude problem and it's not correlated to his type. Did you ever ask yourself of maybe you were interfering in his life? Te-doms are so independent and they have their own way of improving and doing things for the better. Learn to trust your son. But in his behalf, he has to respect you as a parent. When my husband yells at his mom, I quickly get angry because he is showing disrespect. But my husband's anger is only short-lived and he'll be sweet later. I know it may sound harsh as you are being a loving INFP mom, but you have to let him fly. Let him escape for a while. I'm sure he'll remember you and would show care once he figured out how important you are to him. I'll give you a poem from what I've read and from what I've heard on t.v. about parent and children, and it is very meaningful, full of wisdom.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran



Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.


You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, my mother was either an ESTJ or an ESFJ and we had a nightmare relationship. I think now, if only we had learned to laugh it off, and not take it so seriously. That is what I was trying to convey to my son, 'don't sweat the small stuff...' kind of thing, but it would just make him angrier. I think you're right about giving him more time. Siblings is not an option. Nobody wants to go there. Good idea, though. Thank you so much for the input. I have always trusted his logic. Always, his whole life. I've admired his ability to reason. So, why not now? Maybe the separation is good for us both. Maybe he is doing us both a favor by putting us in opposite corners for awhile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yes, my mother was either an ESTJ or an ESFJ and we had a nightmare relationship. I think now, if only we had learned to laugh it off, and not take it so seriously. That is what I was trying to convey to my son, 'don't sweat the small stuff...' kind of thing, but it would just make him angrier. I think you're right about giving him more time. Siblings is not an option. Nobody wants to go there. Good idea, though. Thank you so much for the input. I have always trusted his logic. Always, his whole life. I've admired his ability to reason. So, why not now? Maybe the separation is good for us both. Maybe he is doing us both a favor by putting us in opposite corners for awhile.
 

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I do not know what I did that day to cause him to tell me he was done with me. But I had to have done something really horrible, that an ESTJ would consider irrevocably horrible. He has always been a fine man, a hard worker. He had his first job at age seven, throwing newspapers in his little wagon. By the time he was nine, he told me he was making his plans to move away, somewhere more organized! :)
Please, I have to emphasize that there isn't likely one singular thing that caused this to happen. It's important to understand the ExTJs natural need to control a situation if they don't think it's up to their standard. When your son gave you a specific way to do something that would make things easier for him, he must've felt very disrespected when you went back to your old way of doing things. I resent my ESFJ mother because of this; she doesn't value logic and logical approaches, whenever I've tried giving her advice that would save her time when doing something, she'd ignore it completely.

Remember, if organization is one of the things he values the most, it would be wise to consider his views on how things should be done if you want to stay close to him.

Does anyone know that if that temperament says they are done with you, if that means they are done? Like, forever?
I've only had one situation where I cut ties with someone permanently, but it was in no way similar to this. My own situation was born out of a personal attack from someone who's very intolerant to people who are different than her.

In your case, your son probably gave up on trying to mold you into the kind of worker he thought was the best.

It got to the point where he just dreaded the days he had to work with me, and I dreaded the days I had to work with him. That is why I asked my brother to replace me. I was going to get sick, I could tell. My body couldn't take any more grief. But then to add grief to grief, I lost my son as well! I can't stand it some days. The pain is so great. But I know I've got to approach him with no emotion, and repentant for whatever I did, because I am the parent, and it's my responsibility. right?
Please, explain this to him. The situation is the same for both of you, if you try to look at it from both angles: you felt unloved and like you lost your son, he felt disrespected and that his mother might not value the way he sees things. Explain that you understand this, and how you feel about this situation.

He took me out for mother's day last year and we had such a great time, laughing and wine tasting. And when my sister died, he and my youngest son escorted me to the funeral and sat with me while I cried. He even went with me to help me buy a car once, and talked the guy down for hours. He showed me around NYC like a perfect host and let me stay at his apartment to visit.
There's clearly some hope in bringing you two closer together, then.

He's been such a great son. And I need to figure out how to speak his language. I don't know what to do. I miss him so much. So much.
If there's anything that you still don't quite understand, then try to hold yourself back from communicating with him. His first language is logic, so you need to understand how he sees things from a logical point of view. Once you pass this barrier, it should be much easier to "speak his language".
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dear Big Orange Screaming Man (looks just like something my son would put up there as an avatar, lol),

I am very grateful for your wisdom and cannot thank you enough for taking time to explain these things to me. It's like having a hard-line into my son's brain, which I've been seeking now for months, to no avail.

(BTW, he never took the test, his siblings and I typed him ourselves. He said he doesn't need a test to tell him who he is and refuses to take it. I was thinking he is an ENTJ, but either way, he is definitely an ExTJ).

I'm going to re-read everything here until it sinks in and I can really grasp it without wavering. This is an extremely good lesson for me to learn, to toughen up. Like most NF's, I have projected my F-ness onto him his whole life, and now it is time for me to pony up and learn how to be a real mother to him, one he can truly trust and respect.

Do you know of any book out there that would help as well, besides Please Understand Me? You know, like, "How to Understand the xT mind," or whatever.


I know he resents the hell out of me, and if you asked him, he would most likely tell you that I don't value logic. Which I find so frustrating, because I think I quite value logic. But there must be different ways to value it?

You said, "Remember, if organization is one of the things he values the most, it would be wise to consider his views on how things should be done if you want to stay close to him."

This is an extremely difficult area for me, simply because I am a chronically disorganized person. I raised my kids while reading all the books on organization, plastering notes everywhere to remind me of things, taking classes on it, counselling, you name it. I can not be organized. I am definitely better than I was twenty years ago, but I am still a mess. So his suggestions are greeted by me with enthusiasm, but I don't have the capacity to retain them. I feel like I'm in Kindergarten in the organization department, and honestly, I do not think he believes me, even though he grew up in that scattered home, I don't think he believes that I can't change. What I'm trying to say is, I will continue to fail him in this area over and over again, because it is like asking a leopard to be a zebra or whatever. No. Can. Do.

So, that needs to go in the letter?

This is really helping and I hope I am not taking up too much of your time. There goes my f-ness again. -_-

Post Script: I think my mother was either an ESFJ or an ESTJ. She talked me out of becoming everything I wanted to be, growing up, and basically smashed me into submission, then labelled me useless and told me to get a job as a government employee because they have benefits. Ha! My father was a wonderful, amazing INTJ.
 

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Do you know of any book out there that would help as well, besides Please Understand Me? You know, like, "How to Understand the xT mind," or whatever.
I can't help you there. A good start on trying to understand his reasoning would be to read up on ExTJs more. Looking up his cognitive functions can give some wonderful insight, too.

I know he resents the hell out of me, and if you asked him, he would most likely tell you that I don't value logic. Which I find so frustrating, because I think I quite value logic. But there must be different ways to value it?
"Logic" is a difficult term to define. Some people put value on what those around them would prefer, while others try to remain as objective as possible, even being objective themselves. Whether a course of action "makes sense" is entirely subjective based on a person's point of view*. While logic in a traditional sense can easily be used if your goal is emotionally-oriented, a T type generally puts less value on emotions when determining a course of actions. So while an F type such as yourself can and usually will use logical reasoning, the goal/end product might not be the same as a purely objective standpoint.

You said, "Remember, if organization is one of the things he values the most, it would be wise to consider his views on how things should be done if you want to stay close to him."

This is an extremely difficult area for me, simply because I am a chronically disorganized person. I raised my kids while reading all the books on organization, plastering notes everywhere to remind me of things, taking classes on it, counselling, you name it. I can not be organized. I am definitely better than I was twenty years ago, but I am still a mess. So his suggestions are greeted by me with enthusiasm, but I don't have the capacity to retain them. I feel like I'm in Kindergarten in the organization department, and honestly, I do not think he believes me, even though he grew up in that scattered home, I don't think he believes that I can't change. What I'm trying to say is, I will continue to fail him in this area over and over again, because it is like asking a leopard to be a zebra or whatever. No. Can. Do.

So, that needs to go in the letter?
If I can give some advice in regards to a personal experience relating to organization, one of my pet peeves is consistency. If someone is consistent with how they do things, then I'll still be able to plan around something that could normally make my work less efficient. If you have a tendency to, for example, place things where it would not make sense to him, then he would be a lot less angry about it if you always placed things in the same place instead of being random about it. I understand that you might not be aware of such details, but it can drive a guy like him insane, especially if he plans things out a lot.

This is really helping and I hope I am not taking up too much of your time. There goes my f-ness again. -_-
Not at all. If I can help an F type in understanding a T type to better communicate with him, I'm all for helping.

Post Script: I think my mother was either an ESFJ or an ESTJ. She talked me out of becoming everything I wanted to be, growing up, and basically smashed me into submission, then labelled me useless and told me to get a job as a government employee because they have benefits. Ha! My father was a wonderful, amazing INTJ.
I don't get along too well with ESFJs myself, they're too sure of themselves in situations that call for logic when they refuse to use it. But, being supportive and then destructive? Now that just seems unhealthy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Dear Alecross

May I post the letter I just wrote to him? I haven't sent it to him, because I need someone to look over it. You don't know all the details, but maybe you can tell me if it sounds okay, like, if your mother had written it to you. If not, that's okay, but I'd like to know if I'm on the right track or if I'm way off and need heavy editing. Let me know. Thank you so much.
 

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Dear Alecross

May I post the letter I just wrote to him? I haven't sent it to him, because I need someone to look over it. You don't know all the details, but maybe you can tell me if it sounds okay, like, if your mother had written it to you. If not, that's okay, but I'd like to know if I'm on the right track or if I'm way off and need heavy editing. Let me know. Thank you so much.
Please, go ahead. You may way to send it as a private message, though. Your call.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just tried to private message it, and I don't have enough something built up, so here it is, first draft, edit away. Thank you so much. The names have been changed to protect the parties involved...

Dear M

I have been thinking about writing you for some time now, because I want to explain several key things that I think will help get us back on track. If not, at least I will have told you my side.

First and foremost, know that I love and respect you, even if my words and actions sometimes defy logic. You are absolutely correct when you say that we are utter and complete opposites and have little in common. But what we do have in common is love and respect as mother and son.

Having established that, I would like to apologize for my lack of consistency and organization at the restaurant. Looking back on your childhood, you can honestly say you were raised in an extremely disorganized environment. I read books, took classes, went to counselling, made lists, did everything I knew to do, to learn how to become more organized. I could not learn it. So, I learned to live with my disorganized nature, even though I know it is a huge flaw.

When you came to work at the restaurant you brought in many great ideas, helped streamline the place and brought production way up. I was very happy to meet your suggestions with enthusiasm. But my nature being as it is, I could not retain the wealth of information you were putting out there. I felt like I was in Kindergarten all over again, trying to relearn something I had already taught myself (albeit, the wrong way).

As far as organization and consistency go, I see myself as dyslexic. I have learned to compensate over the years. The people around me have suffered. I do the best I can. This is not an excuse, it is an explanation.

The main point I want to get across to you is that I really and seriously appreciated all of the things you were trying to teach me. If I came off as disrespectful of you or unappreciative, I am so very sorry.

Then there is the issue of your brother and sister (Sam and Kate). I want to clearly apologize to you for bringing my burdened psyche in to work each day. Please let me explain.

As you know, we have lost quite a few key people in our family over the last five years. When Grandma died last July, that hit me really hard. Then the house got taken away, all the stuff in the garage had to be gone through, Sam, Kate and Nathanial were on the street, I was running as fast and as far as I could, it was a big sloppy mess. Being the person I am, someone who does not process emotion as well as others, I was in a crisis. But I still had to come to work every day. I appreciate your patience with me during that time, and I am sorry for oozing all over you. My head was spinning. In reality, looking back, I should have quit in October, and gotten my head straight. But I do not see things clearly in a crisis.

In addition to that, I look up to you as a very wise and logical person. I should never have asked your advice on what to do about Kate and Sam. You were there, so I asked. Again and again. That was not my place, and I am sorry. It was clearly wrong of me to do that. From my perspective, what it did was drive a wedge between us all, especially between you and Kate, and I am very sorry for that. I thank you for your suggestions and I am sorry I didn't follow your advice.

You are a very responsible, wise man and I value you and your opinions. I never meant to devalue you in any way. I got angry and said things that should never have been said, and I didn't mean them. I was feeling attacked, and you were probably feeling overworked and under appreciated.

Please, accept my apology. Can we talk? I'm out of here early Friday. Please wish me journey's mercies.

I love you with all my heart

Mom
 
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