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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. I just had a very awkward moment with my ESFJ mother, asking me if I love her, my brother, grandma etc. The thing is, I'm not even sure what that word means anymore. I mean, those people are certainly people who are friendly towards me, but (with the exception of my twin brother and my dad) they aren't really like me and don't understand me at all. I would certaintly say I have frien
dship at the very least, or a family connection with these people, but is there a difference between loving someone, and merely getting on well with them, or being close friends? In my mind, I'm not sure, hence why I can't say "I love my sister" etc.

I would like to ask the other ISTPs:
1) Can any of you identify with this sentiment throughout your teenage years?
2) how do you define and experience love, within your own mind? How do you show it externally?
3) How on earth do I explain this to my mother without letting on my dislike of her, and get her to stop breaching my "inner sanctum" like she did tonight?

Just to clarify, we're talking about all four of the greek meanings for love (agape, eros, philia, storge - look them up!)
 

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Hi everyone. I just had a very awkward moment with my ESFJ mother, asking me if I love her, my brother, grandma etc. The thing is, I'm not even sure what that word means anymore. I mean, those people are certainly people who are friendly towards me, but (with the exception of my twin brother and my dad) they aren't really like me and don't understand me at all. I would certaintly say I have frien
dship at the very least, or a family connection with these people, but is there a difference between loving someone, and merely getting on well with them, or being close friends? In my mind, I'm not sure, hence why I can't say "I love my sister" etc.

I would like to ask the other ISTPs:
1) Can any of you identify with this sentiment throughout your teenage years?
2) how do you define and experience love, within your own mind? How do you show it externally?
3) How on earth do I explain this to my mother without letting on my dislike of her, and get her to stop breaching my "inner sanctum" like she did tonight?

Just to clarify, we're talking about all four of the greek meanings for love (agape, eros, philia, storge - look them up!)
1) I can identify with you in the sense that it isn't love that bonds me to them as my family, but a great respect for who my parents and my own sister are and how they act. If they betrayed me somehow, I know that they would lose my respect and hence, my "love"
2) In my mind, love (non-platonic/eros) is not a serious matter. I'm 17 and have had a few serious (to me) relationships. I find that when I meet a pretty girl, I know right away whether or not I could fall in love with that girl. (Platonically/philia) I believe that love constitutes the commitment of your emotions towards a person, that you can feel safe sharing your thoughts, feeling and actions with the person. Family doesn't automatically make someone guaranteed to receive love, it is earned, like respect.
3) I really don't know how to help you there, I just know my opinions of platonic and non-platonic love.

P.S. I'm a rather strange ISTP (I feel like) when it comes to my opinions on this subject.
 
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P.S. I'm a rather strange ISTP (I feel like) when it comes to my opinions on this subject.
That makes two of us, apparently. @hazzacanary, I agree with pretty much everything described above, and I think the common conception of love as being a warm fuzzy feeling in the heart is one of the biggest reasons for all the shitty relationships people seem to keep getting themselves into these days.

As for how to explain this to your mother, I'd try framing the discussion in terms of respect. That's the best I've got.
 

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I would certaintly say I have friendship at the very least, or a family connection with these people, but is there a difference between loving someone, and merely getting on well with them, or being close friends?

Yes.
(Speaking of non-romantic love only here.) I have two definitions of love. One is a circumstantial love and the other is a deep love. The circumstantial love applies to family and most of my friends. The deep love is more of the self sacrificing love.

2) How do you define and experience love, within your own mind? How do you show it externally?

It's not a fantasy process. It's just there. I don't think about it much. But there are moments where I just think, "This person can screw me up so badly if they wanted to." How do I show it externally? I am slower to anger. I am more inclined to do favors - not the pick their book off the floor or refill their glass favors; it's the spend three hours tutoring them in a course.

3) How on earth do I explain this to my mother without letting on my dislike of her, and get her to stop breaching my "inner sanctum" like she did tonight?

There isn't a way to explain it to your mother without letting on. But you can get her to stop intruding. Explain that it's a personal thing to you and play it according to how she reacts.
 

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With the mum thing, just tell her you love her and keep her happy. Anyway, the fact that you care enough to not want to hurt her feelings shows some sign of love at least so you wouldn't be lying.
 

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I think there's only one love and it grows over time when things are going well. For example, I've gotten along with certain members of my family almost constantly since I was born and I love them the most. Other people I have known for shorter periods of time or perhaps have had conflicts with them and I don't love them nearly as much. I don't think love is a constant thing, it needs to be continually maintained through compassion and understanding or it will slowly die out. As for experiencing love, I'm not exactly sure, but it's usually a blend of feeling like I'm able to trust someone, to depend on them, and to feel accepted by them for being who I am. I show people that I love them by coming to their aid if they need help, by being honest and not misleading with them, and by sharing my resources and myself with them.

Also, if you feel like you don't love your mother and she's prodding you about it, tell her why so you both have a chance to make things go smoother. I know my mom can seriously get on my nerves and I try to be vocal about my distaste for her behavior so she realizes that when she acts that way she loses some of my love.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
With the mum thing, just tell her you love her and keep her happy. Anyway, the fact that you care enough to not want to hurt her feelings shows some sign of love at least so you wouldn't be lying.
I hate lying though, even if it would "make things better", to the point of being untactful. In a way, living a lie is even worse, IMHO.

btw, thankyou everyone for replying!
 

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I would like to ask the other ISTPs:
1) Can any of you identify with this sentiment throughout your teenage years?
2) how do you define and experience love, within your own mind? How do you show it externally?
3) How on earth do I explain this to my mother without letting on my dislike of her, and get her to stop breaching my "inner sanctum" like she did tonight?
1) I had to come up with my definition of love separate from the common idea.
2) I usually gauge if I love someone or not by whether I'm willing to do something for them. I'm so self-sufficient that I'll only ask for something if I'm really connected with a person and I expect others to be the same. If I'm asked to do something, like drive someone because they're too lazy to walk, and I don't love someone it's not gonna happen. But I'll drive out of my way for a friend or family member. Thus, I love them.
3) Not sure, others are giving some good advice though. Good luck! :)
 

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I have not defined the words "I love you." Its a work in progress. Its a term that is used way too much in my opinion and really does not have a meaning any more. People say to people they hate just to keep some peace in a bad relationship. They say it for wanting sex or other favors. It is something I fail to understand and I have tried to understand.

I prefer to use the term "I care for you" or "I care about you" as a more accurate term to describe how I feel at any given time. Some friends I care about and some I don't, same goes with family. My mom was harping on me because I never say "I love you" back, my brother as well. When asked why I don't say it? I replied that I haven't defined the term and I am still working on it but I care about you. That seemed to satisfy them but also got the comment of "at least you care."
 

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1) Can any of you identify with this sentiment throughout your teenage years?

I don't know how many times I've tried to analyze love... I do love my family in the sense that I'm fiercely protective of them, and I would do anything to keep them from harm. Msuhy feelings? Nope. For my parents, it's more like begrudging respect. But both my ISTJ mom and my ENFJ sister like to hear "I love you" so I say it almost to keep the peace.

2) how do you define and experience love, within your own mind? How do you show it externally?

Love is a combination of commitment + chemistry + attraction (not in that order, exactly). That fuzzy, thought-consuming, logic-murdering infatuation teenage girls experience is not love. It's infatuation. I guess my ISTPness shows there because even when I was caught up in "being in love" I knew that the person I loved wasn't going to be the one I spent the rest of my life with. Some people don't understand how you could date/hang out like that with someone you knew wasn't going to work. I blame it on hedonism. It's like, we both knew from the beginning we weren't a match, we were just enjoying each other's company.
(wow, rant...)

3) How on earth do I explain this to my mother without letting on my dislike of her, and get her to stop breaching my "inner sanctum" like she did tonight?

Wait, do you actually dislike your mother? I think if you explain to her that questions like that make you uncomfortable, she should stop. If there's any respect there.
 
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1) Can any of you identify with this sentiment throughout your teenage years?
no. in my teenageyears i hated everyone.

now i am 30 and i have no idea if i love my brother and mother. they don't annoy me which is good. i respect them. my brother and I back each other if everyone else fails us. not because i'd especially like him, but because he never failed me and i owe him the same loyalty he's offering. i am fascinated by my mother's ability to care for people and love them even if she's absolutely unable to understand them.
i feel obliged to be loyal as long as i'm not (ab)used. i don't understand them enough to feel more.

i have my chosen family to compare. 6 people who are sometimes annoying, sometimes stupid and always demanding. but i love them and if they decided to get rid of me, they'd have a bloody tough job with it.

2) how do you define and experience love
i don't define. doesn't work anyway.
experience: crush/new love: adrenaline, oxytocin and dopamine ... that's a mix you can't ignore.
love: less adrenaline, less dopamine -> less exciting. there's a lot of stuff connected to love... like trust, sympathy, some extent of devotion

3) How on earth do I explain this to my mother
ungh. i guess i'd just shut up and say nothing. probably not the best idea though.
 
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First off, I'm sorry you're stuck with an ESFJ mother. They understand us like a child understands quantum physics. They think we should just be like them, and it ain't happening.

Love, to me, is different towards everyone. But, there is one common factor, I would miss them if they were gone. That's really all there is to it. If I don't love someone as a friend, family member, girlfriend, etc. I really wouldn't care much about them going away. If it was tragic, I may think "Fuck, that's pretty awful." But if I didn't love them, I would just forget about it. I realized this when my drunk, wife beating, overly critical grandfather died. I felt bad for my Dad, but I honestly never think about the guy. I don't miss him. I didn't love him.
 

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Love... All I see when I look around is hormone-ridden teenagers convinced that, after 3 whole months of meeting up behind the bikesheds, they are indeed in love.

...what people don't understand is that giddy, omg-so-happy-I-could-fly-up-into-sky-penetrate-through-the-clouds-and-wind-up-in-sweet-sweet-heaven feeling you get when you first enter a relationship is probably the furthest from love which you can possibly be. You see when we first enter a relationship our brains like to pump our bodies full of chemicals, chemicals which promote bonding...

...bonding which encourages us to stay together in order to raise any young, hence increasing their chances of survival and carrying the genes for the bonding chemicals on :) Sorry, by all means enjoy that feeling, just don't expect it to last.

I guess love for me completely transcends my normal perception of my own feelings... when my personality runs perfectly in sync with someone else's; a feeling which is far less potent than what I mentioned above, yet still burns so much brighter... other than that, I can't really describe it with words. It's just an intuitive feeling I guess :)

And yes, it is completely seperate from the love which I feel for my family: I do love my family, it's just I'm not in love with them. That doesn't mean that I care about them any less however.
 

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I would like to ask the other ISTPs:
1) Can any of you identify with this sentiment throughout your teenage years?
2) how do you define and experience love, within your own mind? How do you show it externally?
3) How on earth do I explain this to my mother without letting on my dislike of her, and get her to stop breaching my "inner sanctum" like she did tonight?

Just to clarify, we're talking about all four of the greek meanings for love (agape, eros, philia, storge - look them up!)
1. Yes. In my teens I was quite sure that I was unable to love anyone or have any deep feelings towards anyone. It caused me a lot of frustration, feelings of alienation etc. I kind of thought that there was something seriously wrong with me, that I was more like a robot than a human being. When my grandma died I was sad - but I felt I wasn't sad enough or long enough.. and so on.
2. In my teenage years I decided to define love as the combination of caring, respect and will to understand. Not everyone can understand me, specially not at all times, but if someone really puts in an effort, it should count. (For experiencing, see #3)
3. I solved this dilemma by thinking that one loves his or her family members per definition. I know that there is the will and wish to analyze everything to pieces, but as others won't really understand it, it is unnecessary to explain it to them. The family will be there for me whatever happens - I do not need to be with them all the time, I don't need to meet them for half a year and still, if I need them, they'll be there - and vice versa. Only good friends and family do this. If the people want to call this love, and if it helps them that I, too, use this terminology, why not.

Actually, in my mind I re-define words a lot. Yeah, I guess I have a lawyer's mind..

P.S. Of course, it's easier for me, because I only have one crazy aunt that talks about love and tries to hug people. Everyone else avoids the word and behaves like normal, rational people!
 

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I don't know, it took me five, maybe six years to realise that I do indeed love those 5 people I call my friends. They're like the family I chose. I have never truly missed anyone before, but when we all split for university I did actually miss them and 'have a moment'. Usually it's out of sight out of mind, but not when it came to them. I find myself wanting to call just to find out what's going on in their lives. I don't do that with anyone else, cause I just don't care.

It isn't the same feeling I feel towards my family though. With my parents its more like I respect and am grateful towards them for everything they've done for me. I KNOW I must love them, in some way, but it's definitely not the same as what I feel for my friends. But then again my family isn't very emotionally demonstrative, so I've never had to analyse or talk about this with them.
 
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