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My mother is an ISFJ, and I was wondering if you guys experience a similar thing whilst under stress/upset.
I'm not sure whether this may be just to do with the way she was individually brought up- my mother's side of the family are all introverted as far as I know, and they struggle with repressing emotions- but she tends not to acknowledge or overtly express her feelings, but rather expresses them through actions and behaviours.

1. For example, when our pet hamster ran away, instead of accepting that it wasn't coming back and grieving for it/admitting it was dead, she immediately rushed out the next day and bought another one from the pet shop without checking its temperament or anything..

2. Also, when my ISTP brother became a teenager, he started acting increasingly moody, distant, and began misbehaving at school. As a child, he was the opposite. He and my mother were very close, and it was she who was most understanding and nurturing towards him (my ISTJ father was/is always emotionally distant and at times abusive, especially towards my brother). However, now he's a typical teenage boy and refuses to allow her to "nurture" and care for him the way he did as a child. (I've read about how ISTP are often fiercely independent and prefer to do their own thing)

So as though to make up for this, she tries to do everything for him. She makes him food, despite the fact that he refuses to eat it most of the time. She drives him everywhere, even if where he wants to go is a 10 minute walk down the road. She buys him whatever he wants. If he is punished, she allows him to negotiate the punishment (i.e if he's grounded, allows him to shorten the time he's grounded for). She even makes his bed (he's 15 going on 16).

3. Most recently, and also most upsettingly, she has become obsessed with conspiracy theories. I am going away to uni (moving out tomorrow) and it seems that instead of accepting how she feels about my leaving, as she and I are very close and spend most of our time together, she is throwing all her anxiety and negative feelings into this disturbing new obsession. She never expressed an interest in such things before, let alone with such paranoia and fanaticism. It only came on about a month before I was about to leave. When I asked her if she was anxious/upset about me leaving, she denied it and was offended; suggesting that her behaviour is a subconscious thing.

My point is that if she expressed her feelings and truly believed that it was okay to have them- I'm her eldest, her only daughter and I'm leaving home! What mother wouldn't be upset?- then she wouldn't feel the need to repress or channel them into negative things. But she thinks outwardly expressing emotion is "unnecessary". I said other students would probably be crying when their parents had to leave, and she said it was "silly". She also said it was "ridiculous" when I told her about my friends crying about a best friend leaving for uni. But expressing emotion is healthy and necessary, because we are human, Feeling beings!

I have a feeling that my mother is an unhealthy ISFJ with possible low Fe. But for curiosity's sake:

- do you ever find yourselves using actions to express unpleasant feelings?

- how do you prefer to express/deal with emotions, good and bad?
 
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My mother is an ISFJ, and I was wondering if you guys experience a similar thing whilst under stress/upset.
I'm not sure whether this may be just to do with the way she was individually brought up- my mother's side of the family are all introverted as far as I know, and they struggle with repressing emotions- but she tends not to acknowledge or overtly express her feelings, but rather expresses them through actions and behaviours.
Based on your descriptions, I definitely think your mom fits ISJ behavior. However, as I'll mention later, there's an outside chance she could be ISTJ rather than ISFJ. Most of what you're describing is very strong dominant Si, but I haven't seen a whole lot to distinguish between Te and Fe. My mom is an ISTJ, and her "love language" is definitely acts of service...which sounds very similar to your idea of expressing emotions through actions. I actually think this is more common in ISTJs than ISFJs...though ISFJs can do this too.

I also think some of what you're describing is just typical "mom" behavior that isn't specifically related to type. I think when you mix that mom behavior with dominant Si, you get some of things you're describing. Her actions are on the extreme side, but I can relate to the general notion of them to a degree. I think it strikes you as more on the crazy side because of your dominant Ne and inferior Si.

digitalceremony said:
1. For example, when our pet hamster ran away, instead of accepting that it wasn't coming back and grieving for it/admitting it was dead, she immediately rushed out the next day and bought another one from the pet shop without checking its temperament or anything..
This is a perfect example of dominant Si. For us dom Si users, change in routine or structure is extremely difficult, and we often do whatever we can to preserve the current state of affairs. I think in her case, she probably was very attached to the idea of having a hamster, and having a sudden, unexpected change was very hard to accept. So for her, it was more important to replace that void immediately than it was to find the perfect hamster.

I think ISFJs (and probably ISJs in general) are more apt to keep things the same and familiar even if they aren't optimal. We don't tend to strive for ideal situations in the same way ENPs do. We're more apt to want to maintain consistency and just "work through" the current situation, even if it's difficult.

So while I do find her behavior impulsize and impatient, and it is extreme behavior...I can relate to the general mentality behind it.


digitalceremony said:
2. Also, when my ISTP brother became a teenager, he started acting increasingly moody, distant, and began misbehaving at school. As a child, he was the opposite. He and my mother were very close, and it was she who was most understanding and nurturing towards him (my ISTJ father was/is always emotionally distant and at times abusive, especially towards my brother). However, now he's a typical teenage boy and refuses to allow her to "nurture" and care for him the way he did as a child. (I've read about how ISTP are often fiercely independent and prefer to do their own thing)


So as though to make up for this, she tries to do everything for him. She makes him food, despite the fact that he refuses to eat it most of the time. She drives him everywhere, even if where he wants to go is a 10 minute walk down the road. She buys him whatever he wants. If he is punished, she allows him to negotiate the punishment (i.e if he's grounded, allows him to shorten the time he's grounded for). She even makes his bed (he's 15 going on 16).
This is another great example of dominant Si and having trouble accepting change. I think my ISTJ mom actually went through the same thing with me...though I was a goody-two-shoes and always wanted to keep a close relationship with my mom (and I still do), unlike your ISTP brother. I think this is particularly hard for moms when it's their youngest child...they have a hard time accepting that they're growing up and "aren't their babies" anymore.

I think this is generally true for all moms. However, I think it's even stronger with ISJ moms, since once again, their dominant Si makes it hard for them to accept that things are changing.

The one aspect of this that does sound pretty ISFJ-like is her "need to be needed", which is very strong in ISFJs. She probably is having trouble accepting that your brother doesn't need her in the same way that he used to...and she doesn't know what to do now that she feels he has no need for her. This can be a hard thing for ISFJs to accept, and sometimes it makes us feel unimportant or worthless. This is probably why she's doing so much for him...she's trying to feel needed. I've heard that ISFJ moms can be overly protective of SP children (and NP children) who begin to strive for independence in their teenage years.

Again, her behavior is on the extreme side, and it would be probably be more beneficial for her to fulfill this need of hers from within rather than relying on others. However, I think the general feeling is shared by ISFJs, and like I said, not only does this probably happen with all mothers and their youngest child (especially if the child is pulling away from them), but it's particularly strong in all ISJs.

The Fe aspect of it I think kind of plays out in her sense of wanting him to still like her and her not wanting to cause conflicts and fights.

digitalceremony said:
3. Most recently, and also most upsettingly, she has become obsessed with conspiracy theories. I am going away to uni (moving out tomorrow) and it seems that instead of accepting how she feels about my leaving, as she and I are very close and spend most of our time together, she is throwing all her anxiety and negative feelings into this disturbing new obsession. She never expressed an interest in such things before, let alone with such paranoia and fanaticism. It only came on about a month before I was about to leave. When I asked her if she was anxious/upset about me leaving, she denied it and was offended; suggesting that her behaviour is a subconscious thing.

My point is that if she expressed her feelings and truly believed that it was okay to have them- I'm her eldest, her only daughter and I'm leaving home! What mother wouldn't be upset?- then she wouldn't feel the need to repress or channel them into negative things. But she thinks outwardly expressing emotion is "unnecessary". I said other students would probably be crying when their parents had to leave, and she said it was "silly". She also said it was "ridiculous" when I told her about my friends crying about a best friend leaving for uni. But expressing emotion is healthy and necessary, because we are human, Feeling beings!

I have a feeling that my mother is an unhealthy ISFJ with possible low Fe. But for curiosity's sake:
This part sounds more ISTJ-like, though. Usually people accuse ISFJs of being too emotional, and if her Fe is that low, I'd have to wonder if she's not ISTJ instead. It seems like she has a bit of a mix of both based on your descriptions.

I think this part sounds a lot like inferior Ne, though...the idea of not being able to effectively imagine factual new outside ideas, and looking for imaginary worst case scenarios.

If she is ISFJ, she might just be afraid to express emotion because she's afraid it'll make her look "weak"...and that as the parent, she's supposed to be the "strong" one. The only other thing is that ISJs often try to "suck it up" when things get tough, and just accept that it's a part of reality and it's just a part of life. So she may feel like moving away to college is just a natural part of life and that it's a part of growing up. But...again, to me that's more ISTJ-like rather than ISFJ-like. ISFJs are more likely to be sympathetic to others' pain.

digitalceremony said:
- do you ever find yourselves using actions to express unpleasant feelings?

- how do you prefer to express/deal with emotions, good and bad?

As I said, I can relate to her general feelings, but I think her behavior is quite extreme. There are probably some unhealthy aspects to it. However, I think from your ENFP dom Ne aux Fi perspective, her actions probably strike you as particularly foreign, so they may strike you are more detrimental than they might to some other types.
 
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