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There seem to have been quite a few threads that involve ESFJ moms lately, and I thought the special brand of stress they can cause deserved its own thread. I'm going to refrain from speaking too much about my own mother for the moment, because well, she isn't the healthiest person emotionally regardless of her type. But others with Fe whiplash, come vent and commiserate with the rest of us lazy, alien, robotic yet emotionally volatile disappointments. *Starts making tea and preparing internet hugs*

INFPs who have ESFJ mothers they actually get along with well, what is your secret? Are they really perceptive, or have you just figured out how to coexist with them without getting your Fi singed?
 

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This is an exciting thread. I have noticed a lot of INFPs out there with ESFJ mothers as well. Maybe just because I am one such INFP. I hope people post here, I'd love to have a chance to see how the rest of you cope.

So, I'm 32 and still trying very hard to get along with my mom. I think I get about 2% better at dealing with her each year. So it's a s-l-o-w climb. Very slow. She is the person in this world who made me the most angry, caused me the most grief, has witnessed a horrible side of me repeatedly, gotten into the most fights with me and has been the reason for probably more of my tears than anyone else in this world. (that last one, just maybe). I cannot be myself around her at all. I physically and emotionally cannot. It's impossible. She doesn't know who I am, she hasn't witnessed the real me close up. It sounds presumptuous to say your own mother hasn't seen the real you, but I feel like there is so much of me that she doesn't understand or even care to understand.

I am very scared of the time when she becomes unable to take care of herself. She's in her 60's, lives alone, divorced and I'm her only child. I'm her only family member within hundreds of miles. It's going to be up to me to figure out what happens to her when she starts deteriorating. I hate thinking about this because deep inside, I really do love her and I don't want her to slip away. But I'm scared because we have such a horrible relationship to the point where most people might take their parent under their wing and let them live with them, or go visit them every day and bathe them and feed them and whatnot... I don't know if that's gonna happen with me. I feel like I've been serving her my whole life already...

Do the rest of you feel like servants to your mothers? Does you mom constantly boss you around and expect you to help her with every little thing? Does she lay huge guilt trips on you if you don't have the time to devote to all the little things she needs help with?

I lived four hours away from my mother for two years. She never came to visit me voluntarily. I found this strange because she was always emailing me, asking when I was coming to visit her. I felt like she wanted to see me. So when I would actually come visit, I thought we were going to have a good conversation, I thought she would want to hear what I've been up to, how my new life is going, etc. But my visits were always met with disappointment. Her ulterior motives for getting me to come visit her were so I could help her do chores. She needed something moved and it took two people. She needed me to take some of my stuff out of her garage. She needed help with her computer, etc. I can remember one visit, I spent most of the time sitting in her living room reading magazines while she was on the phone. She didn't care I was there. That hurt. So I wrote her a letter - a very long and harsh letter. I confronted her on why she never came to visit me and why she wanted me to visit her when all I did was chores during my visits. What was her reaction? She came to visit me right away. Just that one time. And that was it. My dad had come to visit me probably 10 times. She only came once. Because I asked her.

This is how it feels all the time. She rambles on and on about herself. Never cares to ask anything meaningful to me about my life. She assumes that everything she thinks is wonderful and amazing would be the same thing I think is wonderful and amazing. When I finally do open up or tell her something important about me, she scolds me and lectures me. If she doesn't see the value in what I value, then it's just silly. I play music as a hobby. I have CD's of my music out there. Does she ever want a copy of it? No. Does she ever ask about it? No. What does she call my music? "Little songs". Yep, she has a daughter who writes "little songs" oh how adorable and childish of her. ... anyway... you can see where this is going. My interests are silly, hers are important and noteworthy. That's always been the way it is. I have learned not to talk anymore. I just do what I'm told for the hour I'm at her house. I eat her food and say please and thank you and then I leave. That's our relationship.

What about the rest of you folks? Can you relate? I'd love to hear an ESFJ's side to this. But my guess is most ESFJs don't go to PerC to find out about themselves and connect with others. Just a guess.
 

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I know I'm an ENFP (-slips in through door sheepishly-), so I may be slightly out of place, but we are a bit similar. I might as well put in my two cents. I have an ESFJ mother and an ISTJ father. I have an ESTJ sister. My brother is an INTP. As you can see, a very SJ heavy family. My brother (the oldest) and I (the middle child) are the only ones to be NPs. However, unlike some who have bad experiences with ESFJs or SJs, my mother has done nothing but good to me.

There isn't much of a secret. She has always listened to me, my interests, and gently yet sternly reprimanded me when I needed it. There have been times where I wish she were looser in some areas and tighter in others. However, nobody is perfect. My father has also been nothing but good. I am very close to all of my family members. They get on my nerves sometimes, but that is likely to happen in families. ^^

I wonder how many people actually have ESFJ mothers. Or do they simply view the stereotype (which is quite nasty) and match it up? I wonder why ESFJs are so looked down upon. Even in their healthy states, people say ESFJs are quite possibly the worst. Odd. o_O Healthy ESFJs are quite wonderful.

The area of trouble I have had with my mother has simply been where I want to keep things loose, but she wants me to be more organized. XD Well, that and sometimes I feel like some of my feelings are misunderstood. But those misunderstood feelings are the ones that I have kept deep inside me that I don't show often. So it makes sense that those would be the misunderstood ones. Not my INTP brother, not a lot of people would understand those feelings. Probably because I don't often try to explain them.

My mom, though, is very intuitive and generally understand me. She has been supportive 100%. She listens to me and treats me as an equal - not like a teenager. She has passed down her wisdom to me. And it seems every year I realize just how talented and smart and wise she is. Although she doesn't give herself enough credit at all. She is definitely perceptive. She surprised me sometimes just how perceptive she is. And I, sometimes, surprise her in just how many emotions I pick up coming from her. Sometimes I see it in her eyes that she sees something in me that I do not even see. Not just yet. But she knows it is there. And sometimes she tells me. Those moments mean so much to me. :)

I couldn't tell you the secret. Truth be told, I don't think there is one. ^^
 

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-----First of all, sign me up for the support group.
I feel like I've been serving her my whole life already...
-----My personal experience follows @ethylester, even in the specifics, to such an extent that it is uncanny. My attitude toward my mother is also very similar. It's not that I don't love and value her; it's that I cannot stand interacting with her, if it can truly be called interaction. She seems to be all take and no give. She seems to be all talk and never listen. Emotionally invalidating and intrusive, she seems more interested in controlling me than in understanding me--still.
-----The never visiting thing has always struck me as odd, too. But perhaps it is an Extrovert thing that friends/family out of sight and also out of mind. If you easily make new friends, it seems like friends have less worth and are mostly interchangeable (it's a supply/demand sort of thing). The way I phrased that is not meant to be mean--but I can't phrase it in a way that does not show my Introvert bias. Sorry. But I think the real reason my mother doesn't visit is because of issues of territoriality--and it is also an SJ thing, I think. She sees it as my duty to visit her--and not vice-versa. Also, when I do call, I usually end up on the receiving end of a two-hour monologue (that is not hyperbole, which I feel I need to point out to outsiders). Just having someone listen, with the occasional, "Oh, yeah?" energizes her (and drains me). She doesn't need any interaction in a phone call to get something out of it. See, it's my duty to listen. So while as an INFP (or maybe it's my Type-9) I am inclined to accommodate others' perspectives, once it becomes too one-sided, I detach. After all, when has she once, ever accommodated my perspective or tried to understand me? If you want me to speak in your love language, then speak back in mine.
-----ethylester, her phone calls to you to come over and help do chores are probably not-so-subtle reminders that you are supposed to be dutiful. Consider reading up on the 5 Love Languages if you haven't already. All of the SJs I know have Acts of Service as their primary love language. It's why they're so resistant to casual help or asking for casual help. It's why they only ask their closest friends for help and reject help from people they don't know well. It's hard for me to see chore-doing as love. It seems so self-serving and superficial. But they probably think the same about the other love languages.
-----I've read about various theories of the origins of personality type (nature v. nurture). The scientific conclusion seems to be that it is genetic, with the population percentages originating from an evolutionary balance. However, I can't help but wonder if who I would have been under a more supportive parent would have had a personality more closely corresponding to a different type. Of course, my little sister from a different mother, also likely an ESFJ, is an INFP. My stepmother is very kind and supportive, but she still has that tendency to freely direct and tell others who to be, what to do, what to thing, etc. But it is done in such a different way. It is tolerable and mostly reasonable. My little sister has a head start in life by comparison. But she is 15, and she is starting to rebel. I guess we'll see if the ship weathers the storm with less damage. For both of their sakes, I hope so.
I wonder why ESFJs are so looked down upon. Even in their healthy states, people say ESFJs are quite possibly the worst. Odd. o_O Healthy ESFJs are quite wonderful.
-----I wonder if the extent to which an ESFJ mother is self-aware and healthy corresponds to a positive or negative experience for INFPs who have them as parents. I wholeheartedly agree with what Julia Bell says, above. Every person and personality has value. But what happens, or what has happened for me, is that enough negative interaction with a person of a certain personality type essentially drains you of all patience for all people with that personality type. It's not fair, but it's what happens. I avoid ESFJs, but I recognize that it is because I know I cannot approach that kind of interaction positively. That's not their issue; it's mine. It only becomes their issue if they don't relent after I have explained my boundaries.
-----And, ultimately, one can end up with less and less tolerance of other personality types so that the list of people one gets along with can become quite short. Three decades into life, now, my list is quite short. I tend to get along well with other NFs, INTJs (post-college), ISFJs, and ISFPs. And to be perfectly honest, my life has been much more harmonious despite the exclusivity.
-----Unlike many Fi users, I don't view my individuality as absolute. There is a social contract. I recognize that it is reasonable to expect that a certain amount of self-restraint and limitation of expression must occur for civilization to function. However, that reasonable range is so quickly, readily, and totally surpassed (without any acknowledgment of your attempt to meet them halfway) by some people and types that I know it is impossible to get along with them, and that's fine. Yes, this country has a Constitution, but this country also has a Bill of Rights, and our individual rights are defined in terms of limitations on government (the group). The governments of the original 13 colonies refused to ratify the Constitution without a guarantee of protection of individual rights. More and more, it seems many people are forgetting that. At some point, the suppression of individuality outweighs the benefit of being a part of a group. Guess what happens then: rebellion. Having just fought with England over this very issue, the Founding Fathers and the 13 colonies valued their individual rights and realized that to survive over the long haul, the government must also respect individual rights--that the power of the group to demand conformity is limited in scope and breadth.
-----Once we lost my grandfather, my mother has been the primary caregiver for my grandmother. Since then, I have been able to better see her as authentically caring when before I saw only the negative, manipulative, controlling, judgmental, and suppressing elements of her. But because she brings out the worst in me, I tend to stay away, which is easy since several States separate us.
-----I found that PersonalityPage was very accurate on this:
-----"ESFJs are warm-hearted individuals who highly value their close personal relationships. They are very service-oriented, and their own happiness is closely tied into the happiness and comfort of those around them. They are valued for their genuine warm and caring natures, and their special ability to bring out the best in others. They usually do not handle conflict well, and may tend to be very controlling or manipulative. Relationships are central to their lives, and they put forth a great amount of energy into developing and maintaining their close interpersonal relationships. They expect the same from others."
-----ESFJ Strengths
Put forth a lot of effort to fulfill their duties and obligations
Warm, friendly and affirming by nature
Service-oriented, they want to please others
Take their commitments very seriously, and seek lifelong relationships
Responsible and practical, they can be counted to take care of day-to-day necessities
Generally upbeat and popular, people are drawn towards them
Generally very good money managers
Traditionally minded and family-oriented, they will make family celebrations and traditions special events
-----ESFJ Weaknesses
Generally uncomfortable with change, and moving into new territories
Extreme dislike of conflict and criticism
Need a lot of positive affirmation to feel good about themselves
May be overly status-conscious, and interested in how others see them
Have very difficult time accepting the end of a relationship, and are likely to take the blame for the failure onto their own shoulders
Have difficulty accepting negative things about people close to them
Don't pay enough attention to their own needs, and may be self-sacrificing
May tend to use guilt manipulation as a way to get what they want
-----ESFJs as Parents
-----"As parents, ESFJs are extremely committed to their roles and duties, and contain and freely express a great deal of love and affection for their children. They expect their children to honor, respect and obey their parents, and do not tolerate well any deviance from this rule of behavior. Their Feeling preference makes it difficult for them to punish or discipline their children. If they have not worked on overcoming this issue, they may tend to punish their children in less obvious ways, such as using guilt manipulation. This is a potential pitfall for the ESFJ to overcome. It is generally more effective and more healthy to directly issue punishment when called for."
-----"The ESFJ is very service-oriented and concerned with the comfort and happiness of those around them. Consequently, their children are likely to have their practical needs taken care of very efficiently and responsibly. Their ESFJ parents will create structured environments for the children, where their boundaries will be well-defined and known."
-----"The ESFJ's tendency to be controlling, combined with their emphasis on tradition and security, makes it likely that they will be at least somewhat strict and controlling of their children. However, they will also be their children's strongest, loudest advocate. Children of ESFJ parents are likely to rebel from their authority at some point, which will cause a stressful time for both parent and child. In this case, the ESFJ natural tendency is to make their children feel guilty about their behavior. Depending on the extent of the guilt manipulation, this may cause serious damage to the relationship."
-----"Most ESFJs are remembered fondly by their children for their genuine love and affection, and for the well-defined structure and guidelines they created for their children."
-----ESFJ Relationships.
~~~~----~~~~----~~~~
-----My bias is that I see the bold in such high definition that it is difficult to see what's not bolded (the good).
 
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Surely we can just have a support group for INFPs with frustrating or mean mothers? Why must we target ESFJs and demonize a group? Can't we bring each other up and support each other without bringing someone else down?

You know, why not make a support group for anybody who has problems with their parents?
I think it's not that they think their esfj mothers are bad people but there is a certain dynamic at play that is very common they wish to address, fe-fi misunderstanding.

But I'll add the sentiment, my parents are infj and intp, and my family life is extremely difficult, for reasons unclear to me. I feel there would be problems even if we were all Fi dom or at least used Fi somewhere in there. My friend for example has an infp father and he has been primary concerned with pursuing his self-actualization his entire life and she feels neglected and resentful. Families are hard; it's hard to do it "right"... regardless of type.
 

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I think it's not that they think their esfj mothers are bad people but there is a certain dynamic at play that is very common they wish to address, fe-fi misunderstanding.
But if that was the case... why specify ESFJ, and not just EXFJ?

I see what you mean, but I don't think family relations are the best place to debate differences between Fi and Fe. The natural family dramas and issues can become estranged with intellectual theory in such discussions.
 

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Surely we can just have a support group for INFPs with frustrating or mean mothers? Why must we target ESFJs and demonize a group? Can't we bring each other up and support each other without bringing someone else down?

You know, why not make a support group for anybody who has problems with their parents?
This thread is a reflection of the fact that there has been a lot of talk about ESFJ mothers around here lately, and much it involves INFP offspring having similar issues. I don't see any problem with people talking about shared experiences. I have had problems with my INFP mom, but they have very little similarity to the problems that people have with their ESFJ moms. People can commiserate and offer solutions more easily if they share the same issues. It's the same reason people go to different support groups if they have different mental health issues. The people with depression are not going to be able to offer the people with schizophrenia very good advice on coping mechanisms, n'om sayin.
 

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But if that was the case... why specify ESFJ, and not just EXFJ?

I see what you mean, but I don't think family relations are the best place to debate differences between Fi and Fe. The natural family dramas and issues can become estranged with intellectual theory in such discussions.
I see your point, and yes, people do love to say "I don't get along with this guy. He must be a sensor, since they are so hard to get along with." Pin the tail on the sensor.... though the reason I think it wasn't ExFJ is cause there was a poll on the forum recently, what type is your mother, and the majority were xsfjs, and I think that sprung a discussion of that dynamic.
 

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I used to wish that I'd had an esfj mother because mine was istj and I had
felt starved for a 'real' mother.

However, after reading these threads I can see that I was mistaken - just
a different set of problems with different personality types.

Mother/daughter relationships are just so damn complex. It as though our
mothers wanted to narcissisticaly reproduce themselves! A clone of them.
I am a hyprocrite though because, unconsciously I suppose I wanted that
in my daughters.

But now I know better, I try very hard to treat my daughters, respecting
the individuals that they are. I have to get much of my ego out of the
way and be aware of any damage I may be doing.

We often think we should keep up a relationship with our mother, because
after all she's our mother, but I think there's times when we have to cut
them out or at least distance ourselves. I did that with mine and she has
more respect for me now.

I don't know what to say that could be really helpful except the usual advice
of selfing or taking care of one's self and putting your own needs first.
 

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I used to wish that I'd had an esfj mother because mine was istj and I had
felt starved for a 'real' mother.
However, after reading these threads I can see that I was mistaken - just
a different set of problems with different personality types.
Mother/daughter relationships are just so damn complex. It as though our
mothers wanted to narcissisticaly reproduce themselves! A clone of them.
I am a hyprocrite though because, unconsciously I suppose I wanted that
in my daughters.
But now I know better, I try very hard to treat my daughters, respecting
the individuals that they are. I have to get much of my ego out of the
way and be aware of any damage I may be doing.
We often think we should keep up a relationship with our mother, because
after all she's our mother, but I think there's times when we have to cut
them out or at least distance ourselves. I did that with mine and she has
more respect for me now.
I don't know what to say that could be really helpful except the usual advice
of selfing or taking care of one's self and putting your own needs first
.
-----I'm sorry for your struggle with your own mother. However, I think it is awesome that you took that experience and used it to inform your own parenting in such a positive way--to respect the individuals that your children are. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting, even wanting things that aren't positive (like wanting to see some of yourself in your children), but there is something wrong in seeking to effectuate negative wants. I'm telling you this in the hope that you can add an opinion to your vault that says you did great.
-----My grandmother is an ISFJ. As I have gotten older, I realize that she didn't understand my flights of fancy or intuitive way of looking at the world--but she nurtured those things, anyway--and she loved me for those things despite the fact that she didn't understand. I will always have a strong feeling of love toward her for giving me that gift--of life and acceptance. There's no greater gift, I think, for an INFP. It's really her I have to thank for my sanity and well-being.
-----Your advice of putting one's needs first is so antithetical to young INFPs, and yet it is a necessary tool of survival in a world that will selfishly and remorselessly stack you with its needs until you collapse. It took me most of my life so far to learn this--and I learned it the hard way.
 

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I want to keep this thread going. You can go ahead and start another thread for people with parents in general who are hard to get along with, but I like this thread that is about the INFP kid vs ESFJ mom.

I think it's interesting that many INTPs have ISFJ moms and many INFPs have ESFJ moms, according to the small polls on this forum.

I don't have a lot to say right now, I just wanted to bump the thread. :)
 

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I can relate, I think. I have Fi not Fe, whatever placement it has in my personality, and my mom is an Fe dominant.

She tends to have emotional connections to everything I do, and her reactions are scathing. It feels like she is gutting me constantly. Shes vindictive, manipulative, snide, passive-aggressive, narcissistic. Last time I visited her, I took someone with me, and she cornered the person I took with me, hissing these questions: "Crissies mean isn't she?" I sternly told her thats enough. She said "what??" with her faux innocent look. Her voice is enough to crucify me sometimes.

The time before that I was there, It was about 9pm, I'd driven 3.5 hrs, and I was hungry. After I got settled in, I asked her if the subway down the street was open. She replied "YOU'RE GOING TO SUBWAAAYYYY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?"

What. The. Hell. There is just no reason to have such a screwed up emotional response to someones simple action of going to get dinner. When I'm there, she asks where I'm going, when I will be back, etc,. thing is.. I'm an adult, and typically I live like 6 states away from her where she can't monitor me all the time, but as soon as I'm there, I'm apparently a fucking three-year-old again.

The questions drive me insane. She also has this disgusting investment like anything I do reflects on her. "It would make ME proud if you.." -- So I tell her that she needs to realize that we are independent of each other, we are autonomous beings.

She likes to find a button and just press and press until you feel like clawing her face off, or breaking down and crying. She knows how to find them very well too.

She needs to get a reaction or she feels like shes not in control. I'm angry just typing this. No ones ever made me more angry in my whole life.
 

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My mom just called to say Happy Easter. We didn't get together this year because I was out of town. I was prepared for a monologue from her but I was pleasantly surprised. She actually asked me about my trip. She was very disappointed that I did not bring back any postcards or brochures for her to look at. She told me about her Easter dinner with all of her friends. Her friends are just like her. Conformist, traditionalist, Catholic, proper.

She said, "everyone was asking about you!" and when she says this, I always hold my breath a little bit because sometimes she tells her friends stuff about me that people just don't need to know about. I'm pregnant with my first kid, so of course this is what everyone was asking about. The surprising thing was that she told them something about me she probably knew they wouldn't think was funny. She actually risked having them look at her weird because of me! My baby is due Sept 12. My birthday is Dec 7 (anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor). So I told my mom that I was aiming for the baby to be born on Sept 11 so that a Pearl Harbor Day mom can have a 9-11 baby. I thought that would be funny. She told her friends my joke and no one laughed. In fact they all clammed up and looked at her confused. hahaha. Then one of them scoffed and said, "does your daughter still have those mannequin heads in her car windows?" And my mom told them that yes, she does still have those displayed in her car windows. And commenced telling them about how much i liked wigs, ever since I was little. Apparently, this made them all understand. (?)

But I must say, I was proud of her for telling her judgmental friends that she has a weird or unconventional daughter.

Sometimes I have to wonder, you know? She scoffs at me in person and looks at me disapprovingly, but then she goes and tells her friends the exact things about me that she scoffs at. And proudly! Why does she do this? She makes it apparent to me that I am being crazy in her eyes, but then she brags about my oddness to her friends. I guess it's better than ridiculing me behind my back. Just thought it was interesting...
 

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My mom just called to say Happy Easter. We didn't get together this year because I was out of town. I was prepared for a monologue from her but I was pleasantly surprised. She actually asked me about my trip. She was very disappointed that I did not bring back any postcards or brochures for her to look at. She told me about her Easter dinner with all of her friends. Her friends are just like her. Conformist, traditionalist, Catholic, proper.

She said, "everyone was asking about you!" and when she says this, I always hold my breath a little bit because sometimes she tells her friends stuff about me that people just don't need to know about.. . . And commenced telling them about how much i liked wigs, ever since I was little. Apparently, this made them all understand. (?)

Sometimes I have to wonder, you know? She scoffs at me in person and looks at me disapprovingly, but then she goes and tells her friends the exact things about me that she scoffs at. And proudly! Why does she do this? She makes it apparent to me that I am being crazy in her eyes, but then she brags about my oddness to her friends. I guess it's better than ridiculing me behind my back. Just thought it was interesting...
This sounds so much like my own mom (ISTJ? maybe ISFJ).
- she usually calls up to launch into a monologue (usually detailing the boring lives of people I don't know and implying in some way that I'm not living up to her expectations) It's very hard to get in any kind of self-revelation to her, so I feel like she doesn't really know me. We used to have better conversations when I lived with her, but not anymore. It's all her gossip or surface/trivia like the weather.

- she always tells me that everyone asks about me, and I'm always afraid of whatever it is she tells them or makes up about me because she doesn't know me and is filling it in with what she wants me to be. And she makes explainations for 'wierd' things about me that somehow appease traditional people but which leave me scratching my head.

- I was shocked when she told me she tells everyone I'm a wood-nymph (many of the people she knows wouldn't even know what that was) because so often she's making it clear she disapproves of my unusual dress and refusal to wear shoes and all that other 'nonsense'.


I'm not sure I quite understand Fe yet, but here's something that I wonder if Fe-users would do, because it seems in theory like unhealthy ones would - you'll have to let me know if it sounds right/makes sense:
(and my mom could be using Te and teriary Fi...I'm still not sure on this)
I know my mom cares about me, but it seems like her natural inclination is to only be empathetic and understanding and helpfull when you are submitting to her plans for you and her ideas about how you should feel. She doesn't instinctually try to tune-in to what another person as an individual feels and needs, but instead expects everyone to follow some set of expected reactions and beliefes that she has in her head as 'how people are' or 'the way things are' and if your feelings don't conform then she can't empathize, can't accept, can't comprehend. She thinks she is empathizing with people when she actually is empathizing with how she thinks they should feel, rather than how they actually do feel.

Here's an example from my highschool days: to my mom, being different means you are asking for attention (in a rebellious way). Now, she cares about me and worries that I feel a need for attention and that's why I'm 'acting out' in this way by being different. She wants me to feel accepted/appreciated so I don't need to be anti-social to get attention and really wants to help me get past this. That's great, that's nice, her care is sincere..... BUT she's trying to adress a problem that isn't there. I don't dress wierd or say I like 'geeky' things because I need attention. I don't want much attention, actually I'd like less of it from most people aside from my few friends. But when I tell her this she just gets upset and never believes me. She can't seem to feel sympathetic about the plights of simply being different, she can only be sympathetic with the need to draw attention to oneself. So her caring is directed toward a feeling I'm not having, and she has trouble caring about the real feelings I have. I'm not down because no one is noticing me, I'm down because people can't just leave me alone and have to actively pick on me for my differences.

Now my mom does know and understand that people are individuals and need to be treated that way, and she really tries to do this with her students at school. She's smart, she's knowlegable, she's willing to work outside her instincts, and she's GREAT in comparrison to a lot of moms out there, but in moments when she's not paying attention and trying, her natural inclination is to disregard the individuality of people and not be empathetic if they are not conforming to her expectations. She can be really caring/helpfull when she's on the same page as you, but she has a hard time identifying with other perspectives. I'm really appreciative that she has gotten fairly good at respecting other perspectives, but I can see how her tendancies could be really hard for me to deal with if she wasn't as....self-aware/learned/mature in this area.
 

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Fuck, been there. Parent's divorced when I was four. Mom naturally got custody. Fight between the two over financial bullshit goes onto this day (I'm 21, little brother is 19). I can't even spend a weekend at her place anymore without getting into a fight and storming out, thank god for having my own car. It's been hard to tell her type but as my understanding of MBTI has grown I can safely place her in ESFJ.

You know. The type of mom that is completely entitled, financially driven, and senseless to other people. Her most repeated quote is "Who cares what happens, you're never going to see them again anyway. Fuck them."
 
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Sometimes I have to wonder, you know? She scoffs at me in person and looks at me disapprovingly, but then she goes and tells her friends the exact things about me that she scoffs at. And proudly! Why does she do this? She makes it apparent to me that I am being crazy in her eyes, but then she brags about my oddness to her friends. I guess it's better than ridiculing me behind my back. Just thought it was interesting...
I actually typed my mom because I couldn't get along very well with her and wanted to understand why she was doing some things. She came out as ESFJ, one of the things she does is that which you mentioned there. In front of other people she will reverse the things she will say to me in a negative way. It's how Fe operate, I've seen ENFJs do this sometimes too. I can't say I completely understand it, but I think they sort of project the acceptance they want for them from the outside world to their kids as well, so they try to make us look great...Generally Fis don't really care that much about what other people think, because we have our internal set of values. (or at least I don't care that much) Plus, the extra attention in a group can make me withdraw, like I've been to these amazing events lately, she will bring that out in a family meeting where I'd want to keep the mystery or say it in my own words...or not make it sound like I'm bragging or whatever. But that's Fe I guess...I've seen the reverse, like for example ENFJs bring up awkward things about others or themselves when they are present, just to let the secret out so we can all laugh about it, Fes can be open about a lot of things with people (except the things that are really personal or had some sort of powerful impact).

The fact that she said that thing in front of her friends and made it sound good I think it means she loves you and wanted you to look good in front of her friends.

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It's been hard to tell her type but as my understanding of MBTI has grown I can safely place her in ESFJ.

You know. The type of mom that is completely entitled, financially driven, and senseless to other people. Her most repeated quote is "Who cares what happens, you're never going to see them again anyway. Fuck them."
Sorry, but what you described has little to do with being ESFJ. My mom is not financially driven and she is definitely not senseless to other people, she is quite the opposite and not just with us, her family but also at times with strangers. What I bolded sounds more like a Thinker to me, an INTP/ENTP type, if we were to use typism here, but to be honest, to me it sounds more like an unhealthy person, regardless of what type she really is.
 

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I don't know what type my mom is. but she needs to be needed to feel good about herself. so often she'll insist on talking about my problems, or she'll try to rescue me from myself everytime I come home. Like she'll insist I'll call up the "friends" I dislike as I'm spending too much time alone. or when I was a teenager and had bad skin she would make my bad skin her personal project :p

Hence I have huge issues with people trying to help me. I find it harder and harder visiting my hometown every year, as I'm stronger when I'm away from her.

but she is really smart and kind of a rolemodel in many ways :). so it's not all bad
 

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This sounds so much like my own mom (ISTJ? maybe ISFJ).
- she usually calls up to launch into a monologue (usually detailing the boring lives of people I don't know and implying in some way that I'm not living up to her expectations) It's very hard to get in any kind of self-revelation to her, so I feel like she doesn't really know me. We used to have better conversations when I lived with her, but not anymore. It's all her gossip or surface/trivia like the weather.

- she always tells me that everyone asks about me, and I'm always afraid of whatever it is she tells them or makes up about me because she doesn't know me and is filling it in with what she wants me to be. And she makes explainations for 'wierd' things about me that somehow appease traditional people but which leave me scratching my head.

- I was shocked when she told me she tells everyone I'm a wood-nymph (many of the people she knows wouldn't even know what that was) because so often she's making it clear she disapproves of my unusual dress and refusal to wear shoes and all that other 'nonsense'.


I'm not sure I quite understand Fe yet, but here's something that I wonder if Fe-users would do, because it seems in theory like unhealthy ones would - you'll have to let me know if it sounds right/makes sense:
(and my mom could be using Te and teriary Fi...I'm still not sure on this)
I know my mom cares about me, but it seems like her natural inclination is to only be empathetic and understanding and helpfull when you are submitting to her plans for you and her ideas about how you should feel. She doesn't instinctually try to tune-in to what another person as an individual feels and needs, but instead expects everyone to follow some set of expected reactions and beliefes that she has in her head as 'how people are' or 'the way things are' and if your feelings don't conform then she can't empathize, can't accept, can't comprehend. She thinks she is empathizing with people when she actually is empathizing with how she thinks they should feel, rather than how they actually do feel.

Here's an example from my highschool days: to my mom, being different means you are asking for attention (in a rebellious way). Now, she cares about me and worries that I feel a need for attention and that's why I'm 'acting out' in this way by being different. She wants me to feel accepted/appreciated so I don't need to be anti-social to get attention and really wants to help me get past this. That's great, that's nice, her care is sincere..... BUT she's trying to adress a problem that isn't there. I don't dress wierd or say I like 'geeky' things because I need attention. I don't want much attention, actually I'd like less of it from most people aside from my few friends. But when I tell her this she just gets upset and never believes me. She can't seem to feel sympathetic about the plights of simply being different, she can only be sympathetic with the need to draw attention to oneself. So her caring is directed toward a feeling I'm not having, and she has trouble caring about the real feelings I have. I'm not down because no one is noticing me, I'm down because people can't just leave me alone and have to actively pick on me for my differences.

Now my mom does know and understand that people are individuals and need to be treated that way, and she really tries to do this with her students at school. She's smart, she's knowlegable, she's willing to work outside her instincts, and she's GREAT in comparrison to a lot of moms out there, but in moments when she's not paying attention and trying, her natural inclination is to disregard the individuality of people and not be empathetic if they are not conforming to her expectations. She can be really caring/helpfull when she's on the same page as you, but she has a hard time identifying with other perspectives. I'm really appreciative that she has gotten fairly good at respecting other perspectives, but I can see how her tendancies could be really hard for me to deal with if she wasn't as....self-aware/learned/mature in this area.
Yes, those monologues that I get are often about her friends and what they are up to. "Well, Dottie is putting her mulch out again this spring..." (yawn!) Or she calls and complains about all kinds of little things. Like her microwave door won't open all the way, so my husband must come over and fix it, urgently. She seems willfully ignorant a lot times. Things she could fix herself if she just thought about it. But she'd rather call me up and harass me or my husband to come fix it for her. And then she repays us with food. That's her favorite way of getting us to come over. Complain that something is broken and if we come over and fix it, she will make us dinner. And if too much time goes by and nothing is broken, she will go out and buy food in bulk and make some giant pot of something and then call me up and say I have to come over and eat it or it's going to go bad. Those are her tactics. ... although sometimes, I admit, she does invite me over and just say "I want to see you" without all the complicated reasoning surrounding it. But not always.

I think your interpretation of Fe vs Fi makes sense to me. I'm not that informed about the functions, but from what I've read, that makes sense.

Your wood nymph story is interesting. It's good she sticks up for you in front of her friends, even though labeling you a "wood nypmh" is sort of simplifying your ways in a belittling manner. I remember in middle school, I was friends with this girl Julie. I was just starting to get into rock and roll and I tried to get Julie to get into it with me. Apparently, she told her mom that I was a "headbanger" and so her mom called up my mom, in all seriousness and said, "Did you know your daughter is a headbanger?!?!" Like my mom was supposed to know what that meant and be shocked by it. My mom stood up for me, though and said I get good grades, I don't do drugs, I'm a good kid, who cares if I'm a headbanger, whatever that is. That story always made me happy. Even though she doesn't understand the music I like, at least she stands up for me when other people try to tell her I'm freaky.
 
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