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Thread: ESFJ m-i-l

  1. #31
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    I had to completely cut contact with my parents for a few weeks in college for similar reasons. My mom would leave messages threatening to quit paying my tuition. It's like she didn't realize student loans were a thing or something and her not paying my bills wouldn't result in me crawling back home. It mostly worked, she eventually left an apology. She tries to manipulate me still but I usually can shut it down. My sister and her husband, on the other hand, try to appease her and will argue with her criticisms, and that article is exactly right; my mom is hypercritical of my sister and her husband, undermines their authority with their kids every time she comes to their house, and generally is just a toxic presence in their lives. My mom doesn't really have any friends; they all eventually offend her with some nonsensical unintended slight. She has an unlimited capacity to be offended. It's amazing. And she still talks about shit that people did to her 40+ years ago, even though everyone in the story besides her is dead now. I don't know how anyone can maintain such negativity, it seems exhausting.

    Just steel yourselves to this woman's attempts to manipulate you. If you talk to her about this, act like you're talking about the weather. Do not betray that she has upset you, it's what she wants. Do not read into anything she says, take everything at face value, even if you think it's untrue know that's not how it's meant. State facts (it is a fact that you felt she was unsupportive, but it's not a fact that she was unsupportive). If she tries to blame you for the whole misunderstanding by saying you were being too sensitive or something, just shut the conversation down and hang up the phone ("I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, take care mom, bye"). But most importantly, act like you're talking about the weather. If you don't get emotional about things, she can't emotionally manipulate you.

    Isn't your mother an ESFJ? Maybe you don't need my advice.

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by starla View Post
    I had to completely cut contact with my parents for a few weeks in college for similar reasons. My mom would leave messages threatening to quit paying my tuition. It's like she didn't realize student loans were a thing or something and her not paying my bills wouldn't result in me crawling back home. It mostly worked, she eventually left an apology. She tries to manipulate me still but I usually can shut it down. My sister and her husband, on the other hand, try to appease her and will argue with her criticisms, and that article is exactly right; my mom is hypercritical of my sister and her husband, undermines their authority with their kids every time she comes to their house, and generally is just a toxic presence in their lives. My mom doesn't really have any friends; they all eventually offend her with some nonsensical unintended slight. She has an unlimited capacity to be offended. It's amazing. And she still talks about shit that people did to her 40+ years ago, even though everyone in the story besides her is dead now. I don't know how anyone can maintain such negativity, it seems exhausting.

    Just steel yourselves to this woman's attempts to manipulate you. If you talk to her about this, act like you're talking about the weather. Do not betray that she has upset you, it's what she wants. Do not read into anything she says, take everything at face value, even if you think it's untrue know that's not how it's meant. State facts (it is a fact that you felt she was unsupportive, but it's not a fact that she was unsupportive). If she tries to blame you for the whole misunderstanding by saying you were being too sensitive or something, just shut the conversation down and hang up the phone ("I guess we'll have to agree to disagree, take care mom, bye"). But most importantly, act like you're talking about the weather. If you don't get emotional about things, she can't emotionally manipulate you.

    Isn't your mother an ESFJ? Maybe you don't need my advice.
    My mom is an ENFP I think...like maybe an ENFp I'm not sure about the p though. She may not even have any functions other than F. She utterly lacks an internal locus of control, so she only REacts, rarely does she ever act. Her reactions are based on what she feels, not on what she thinks, and so to a person with a giant T in her personality type, her reactions seem pretty baffling most of the time.

    Really I have no idea how to deal with my mother in law. It's almost like the harder I try with her, the worse it gets.
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. -- Aristotle

  3. #33
    Senior Member Sinny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sistamatic View Post
    I googled aging narcissist parent and found a gazillion articles that are so spot on. Oh man are we in for it. I'm scared.

    I'm pretty sure I've just waded into the territory of #4 in this article about things a narcissist will never do: https://narcissistfamilyfiles.com/20...will-never-do/
    I actually haven't looked into narcissistic mothers in great detail, or ageing ones.. But your article seems accurate, and so I'll probably hit google for more.

    My mom had a tough upbringing, no doubt about it - but she chose to deal with that by going down a dark path into self pity & narcissism. Some other people possess the ability to overcome obstacles in life and still retain their humanity and humility... but not all.

    All I've ever heard off my mom all my life is how "hard done by" she is.

    She's always said that one of my aunts was very "lucky" to have had a stable marriage all her life and to of had the financial and emotional support that comes with a dedicated partnership... and she's always bleeted about how hard it's been to be a single mother (despite numerous medium term boyfriends over the years).

    This always baffled me, how she always attributes my aunts marriage down to "luck", I should imagine that it was more love, hardwork and dedication. Something my mother knows little about. As for being a "single mother", she droves her decent boyfriends away via her indecency. As for "raising" us kids, my aunts helped in the early days and then I took over the rest from a very young age whilst she was out getting drunk... which is how she remained up until a few years ago.

    My brother was born prematurely with a cleft lip and palate, but all we've ever heard off her over the years was "I was back and forth from that hospital with your brother", like he or we owed her something for that. She neglected his appointments in later life, and today his surgery is still behind schedule.

    The minute I left school (16) she was charging me rent with the threat of kicking me out permanently , and making me chose between satisfying her lust for money (spent on booze), power & control, or maintaining my education (which I was excelling at) like any other "normal" teenager.

    16 because that's when the government says she can legally kick me out. Also where the government says you have no recourse to social support -leaving you out on your own, to fend for yourself. I'd try to reason with her and tell her that I only needed a roof for as long as it took me to get through college and set up with University. Of course in her narcissistic world of self centeredness, patience and reason didn't enter the equation, it was "When I was 16 I was working and renting my own place" - yeah mom, back in the 1970's you could do that shit, today you can't

    Once when I was young, maybe 10 or so we were standing in a queue at the local shop when I noticed £15 on the floor, I picked it up and in my innocence I brought it to the attention of the shop keeper so he could reunite it with it's rightful owner. He was pleased and gave me a quid out the till. I was so chuffed with myself, doing the right thing and being rewarded for it. I walked out of the shop with my mom and I was expecting some praise but the next thing you know there was a big "whollop" as she clouted me round the ear and sneered "Whatcha do that for?! you should have given it to me".

    And that about sums up my mothers mothering... and that is why I have so much sympathy for my brother, who is evidently mentally sacred from years of trauma. I wasn't half as responsible/sympathetic as a teenager as I am now and I know he could have used a better sister.

    To this day, my mother still takes no responsibility for her exceptionally bad parenting and out right neglect. I also know that she feels unable to forgive herself and so it's a vicious cycle.

    (I get a sense that she's always wanted a grandchild so that she can "try again".. I'm giving her that opportunity because she's nearly 3 years sober, though if she had of still been drinking, I would have cut all contact, no ifs or butts about it - I wouldn't expose my baby to such a demon)
    Last edited by Sinny; 02-20-2019 at 06:56 PM.
    Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

    ~ Robert Jackson, Statesman (1892-1954)


  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sistamatic View Post
    It's almost like the harder I try with her, the worse it gets.
    Bingo! She knows her tactics are working if you're trying to appease her. Just stop.

    My mom has decided that I'm "principled". I guess it's her face-saving explanation for why I don't act the way she thinks I should. She hangs up on me more often than I hang up on her now, lol!

  5. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by starla View Post
    Bingo! She knows her tactics are working if you're trying to appease her. Just stop.

    My mom has decided that I'm "principled". I guess it's her face-saving explanation for why I don't act the way she thinks I should. She hangs up on me more often than I hang up on her now, lol!
    I assume I can expect some kicking and screaming before it she lets go. I'm game. I mean it's not like she doesn't kick and scream anyway, right? What do I have to lose?
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. -- Aristotle

  6. #36
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    My wife is an ExFJ, and my mom is definitely a narcissist of some sort...ENTJ? they draw fire from each other. You might just need a third party who is more threatening to her ego, lol.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by oxyjen View Post
    To be devil's advocate on this, if this is true, then why does your ESFJ in law's actions still bother you?
    YES THIS! Precisely why I am thinking/talking about it

    I think I stepped on some sort of landmine here because I think it would take some time to fully understand the reactions to this post. I mean I can guess, but I don't want to make any assumptions or step on any more land mines. As far as I'm concerned, everyone else's pov is perfectly valid and makes perfect sense from where they are standing. I accept that my post was poorly written if it did not convey the intended meaning. Understanding the point of view of the audience is clearly not a step a writer should skip.

    Spoiler: my peanut gallery post was about me...I retcon it here to make that clearer


    I am mostly talking about me here because other people's posts are making me see my situation in a different light. I mean I can't claim it is 100 percent all about me since I obviously am building on other stuff I saw, but I promise I really don't have everyone else's situation in mind when posting this because (and I'm embarrassed to admit this) I haven't really got a clear idea of what everyone else's situation is. I don't have a clear idea of who even posted the stuff that got me thinking because I've just been popping into individual posts off the live feed...little bites of threads, haven't made a meal of them. What I did was tangent off of a couple of out of context individual posts that I had a vague sense may have been building off of stuff in this thread (probably an egotistical thing for me to think in retrospect) but that I hadn't actually read in depth enough to know the whole story. Since my thoughts were purely tangential and I hadn't bothered to dig for more context, I thought the peanut gallery seemed right. In retrospect, posting in this thread would have been better. I'm not going to lose sleep over it though. If this is the most socially awkward thing I do all week, I'll call it a win.

    In my initial iteration I definitely "Royal You'd" the fuck out of this. I went with the royal you because I am talking variously about my own parents, my husband's parents, and about myself and my husband in leadership roles and in parent-like mentorship roles, and about myself and my husband in our role as people's children and mentorees and to a much smaller degree a whole bunch of other people that I know well and in passing in their various roles as my own internal examples that I wouldn't feel right sharing with the group. It was just easier, and perhaps a bit lazy. In retrospect, there are undertones to some of the other posts that led to my thoughts that I should have picked up on.
    Anyway, without further adu, the rewrite:

    On the subject of validation:

    I saw this quote from the Tao Te Ching right after I read some observations on validation from family members in various places here and it got me thinking about my own issues with respect to my own family members.

    The best leaders value their words, and use them sparingly.
    When they have accomplished their task,
    the people say, "Amazing!
    We did it, all by ourselves!"
    and I reimagined it like this:

    "The best parents value their words, and use them sparingly.
    When they have accomplished their task,
    their children say, 'Amazing!
    We did it! All by ourselves!'”

    And this is what mine and my husband's parents can and should expect a child to project to the outside world (also my brothers with their kids, and me with my nephew and nieces and students). No matter how much time and money and effort is put into a kid, if a parent/leader has done their job well, their kids should have a sense that they themselves own both the good and the bad consequences of every decision and action they perpetrate on the world around them. And when their kids (or students or mentees) themselves grow to be leaders and parents they too will watch as the fruit of their efforts become independent entities that will, themselves, also bear fruit. The only external validation a leader or parent should need is seeing that their efforts are working/have worked. And that applies both to my parents/in-laws and to the people I have mentored in my life.

    Of course a young child is going to need validation from his caregivers...I mean that's feedback. I learned what is acceptable and what isn't from watching the reactions of the people around me as a child and I know from both ends of the experience how skimping on the positive feedback can stunt progress in positive directions even if you also manage to halt certain negative behaviors through negative feedback.

    But if I depend on external validation from my relatives, I hand them a puppet string. It's an exploitable weakness and they will use it to force me and my husband down paths we would not choose for ourselves. Which is not to say I cannot benefit from parental emotional validation, but it would be wise for me to divorce myself from needing it unless my parental figures deserve to have that kind of influence over me. In otherwords, if seeking emotional validation from my various parental role figures causes me to be a better person, then I should seek away. But if seeking emotional validation from my various parental figures causes me to feel like a failure who can never be worthy or to feel like I can never become what I want to become, I should let go of that puppet string and go do me. If the rest of the world thinks I am amazing, they'll be proud even though I did everything "wrong," even if that's only because they want to take credit.



    Addendum: If I could fully implement my own wisdom in anything to do with the situation with my mother in law, this tangent would never have occurred because I wouldn't have even needed to think about it in the first place. None of the things that caught my eye and got me thinking would have caught my eye and got me thinking. Sorry for the confusion, but I assure you that it is MY situation that I'm losing sleep over, stressing over, and obsessing over.
    Last edited by Sistamatic; 02-23-2019 at 09:01 PM.
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. -- Aristotle

  8. #38
    So, my m-i-l fell and hurt her neck and needs physical therapy and lots of help ... none of which is on me, they are loaded and have plenty of resources for all that...but here's the rub:
    My husband forgot to tell me about it, so I had all these conversations with her and never once asked how her neck or injury was doing because I didn't know about it, and she never brought it up because she'd told my husband about it and she assumed I knew and probably now assumes I just don't give a shit.

    At this point the whole entire mess is just funny to me. I mean with this little piece of data, her behavior makes more sense. A once vibrant and beautiful rich narcissist who is losing the ability to manipulate events due to disability and aging and empty nest without a single grandkid is grasping for puppet strings. All I have to do is follow starla's advice of not emotionally engaging with this behavior and the string won't stick. I'm sorry she's hurt and that she's losing the qualities that once defined her.

    I've got some aging and some medical issues my own self and I empathize with how hard it is to lose the ability to exhibit the character you've worked to become your whole life.

    In her case, it's loss of power that comes with being the one who insists on doing everything for others in return for their gratitude and obeisance and status. In my case I'm losing the physical strength and endurance that has allowed me to almost never need anyone's help to do anything.

    And we both have ourselves to blame. In my case, the loss is due to an accumulation of injuries acquired by not asking for help and refusing to accept limitations that makes maintaining my athleticism impossible. In hers, it's a lifetime of self-imposed limits, including a pathological aversion to eating any food, and the avoidance of sweaty plebeian activity like hiking or running or heavy lifting, that makes her so fragile and lean that she hasn't any reserves with which to deal with illness and injury.
    Insults are effective only where emotion is present. -- Spock, "Who Mourns for Adonais?" Stardate 3468.1.

    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. -- Aristotle

  9. #39
    Senior Member Sinny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sistamatic View Post
    So, my m-i-l fell and hurt her neck and needs physical therapy and lots of help ... none of which is on me, they are loaded and have plenty of resources for all that...but here's the rub:

    My husband forgot to tell me about it, so I had all these conversations with her and never once asked how her neck or injury was doing because I didn't know about it, and she never brought it up because she'd told my husband about it and she assumed I knew and probably now assumes I just don't give a shit.

    Rev's always doing this.
    Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

    ~ Robert Jackson, Statesman (1892-1954)


  10. #40
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    My wife is ESFJ. My nickname for her is Deanna Troi from Betazed. She's crazy good with people. It's her super power.

    You're never going change your MIL or rationalize with her. It's all emotionally driven. My advice would be give her small gifts. Give her some holiday cards. Let her know she's appreciated. Tell her your feelings that you have for her. What you like. Be genuine.

    But also, lay the fucking law down. They'll respect Authoritay. You don't want her to ever call on the weekend. Say so. You want her to buy your book. Tell her the trouble you had to go to get an how no one else asked for special treatment. Make her feel guilty.

    Reasoning with her will most likely be a waste of time.

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