Family and Type

DiscussãoMyers-Briggs: All Types

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Family and Type

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Set 8, 2007, 10:27 pm

Hey. It has occurred to me that a lot of family difficulties could be avoided if people understood their own types and those of family members. Other side of the coin: what rich differences have you experienced? What are your experiences with parents, siblings, kids, etc? Do you do anything differently with your own children out of understanding their personality types? Are you and family members similar types and how does it affect the family dynamic?

I have an 18-year-old sister who is very, very different from my mother, who is most probably an INTJ. Oy! My sister relates in a very extroverted and emotional way and mother seems to think she's from Pluto. My mother is not real warm and fuzzy and thinks there's a right way to do everything: her way! Trying to get them to understand each other probably requires an NF, but I try....

Set 9, 2007, 11:21 pm

I've thought about personality types within my own family looking at Enneagram types, so maybe I should use the MBTI method.

Set 10, 2007, 11:52 am

I haven't been able to get either of my parents to take the test, so my understanding of their types is conjecture based on behavior and communication style. My mother is most likely either an INFP or an INFJ. More likely thank not, the INFP, because she utterly lacks my ability to organize & system build, but she is definitely not a "T". My father is most certainly an extroverted sensor, but the other two letters I am uncertain of. Maybe an ESFJ? Possibly. But I can say that this has caused friction in our household more times than I can count. We're all adults now, but even still there are communication issues and understanding issues, and I often feel like a referee. Dad is the only extrovert, and he's also the only sensor. A close knit family made up of an INFP, ESFJ, INTJ, and INFJ is an interesting thing to behold. None of us can understand the fact that the ES will talk to complete strangers and tell them anything personal without prompts even just standing in line. He'll share names, dates, where we live, how long, what we all do. What our strengths and weaknesses are and will talk about sujects that are, quite often, not the guy pumping gas next to you's business at all. He has little to no "N" leaning and does not intuitively know - at all - when things are appropriate or inapproriate or if he's making someone uncomfortable or offending someone. It is purely innocent on his part. He just doesn't think about it. He plows ahead and interacts and just does. None of the rest of us can comprehend it. My father can be short tempered but always gets over it quickly, and in many ways typifies the guardian mindset. My mother, when stressed, broods. Broods hard. When stressed, I revert from INFJ to INTJ and become cold, analytical, and ruthless. All the negative T attributes that I normally don't display. My brother, when extremely stressed, actually becomes less of an INTJ and more broody, seeking distraction away from the source of stress.

And neither of our parents can understand our penchant for spending long hours completely alone without seeking outside companionship - just working on stuff. For days. I honestly think the INTJ and the INFJ could probably both get along with very little human contact, just thinking about other people is almost the same as actually being with them, so you feel like hey.. I'm doing something that helps humanity, do I have to actually mingle? Mingling can take time away from helpful, productive activities, unless you are working one on one with a person who needs assistance or counseling.

I wonder what it would be like to have an INTJ parent, citygirl! Probably.. interesting. Did she ever go into her own little research world and forget about the kids for a couple of hours? Not maliciously, just.. buried in thinking? Or forget to feed you because she had a project? My brother will forget to eat if he's too busy thinking about a project and might forget to feed kids if he had any.

Set 10, 2007, 12:53 pm

I'm an INT with kids and the kids actually become your project. I haven't had time to forget myself in some book or complex game in years. When the kids are older I'll have more time to spend on myself (and my wife!) again.

Set 10, 2007, 10:47 pm

#3 seismeis. My mother was a distant parent, but I was probably a distant child. She didn't understand my emotional needs because she is quite self-sufficient in every way and expected me to be too. I've been taking care of myself in many ways for a very long time. She took care of all obvious needs: safety, food, education, socialization, healthcare to what I believe to be the best of her ability; I have never been harmed in anyway and all of my physical needs were met; I received all appropriate opportunities. She is an extremely effective, successful person who is in complete charge of her life. I didn't mind that she spent a lot of time away from me because, until several years ago, as we both evolved, she made me nervous. High performance and functionality is the expected standard and any deviation is met with immediate criticism, verbalized or not. She has mellowed quite a bit and I have gained an adult's appreciation for her struggles as a single mother for much of my childhood. I didn't understand for a long time that the way she parented me was her way of loving me. She gave me what she wished that she had received as a child. On the other side of the coin, I didn't have a mother who smothered me (as an INTJ I absolutely hate smothering.) She allowed me to spend my time doing whatever I wanted as long as it was safe and age-appropriate. She understood my need to explore certain things. She gave me freedom, especially after I went to college, to make my own decisions and mistakes. The qualifier: she wouldn't support, financially or otherwise, any action she felt was unwise. She never asked me to take care of her emotional needs or necessitated me to take on adult roles too early. She never held me back from taking any opportunity that would broaden my horizons: overseas travel, going away to college at 17. She always trusted me to not screw up too badly, and I never have. I could go on and on about my mother...but I'm sure you get the idea. Our relationship now is good, but distant. She would like me to live closer. She is helpful when asked and I believe that she truly loves me and wants the best for me. She has grown to respect me and, every once in awhile, throws an amazing compliment my way. (She's very stingy with compliments and never BSes (neither do I).) She's always trusted me with the truth, and as I grow more settled she has trusted me with more responsibility in family matters. She brags about me when I'm not around. I know that she is very proud of me. I am proud of her and consciously emulate her behavior in some areas, especially professionally. I know that if anything ever goes seriously wrong in my life she will be right there to catch me.

Set 18, 2007, 1:15 am

Hmm. I was a very independent-minded and bookish INTJ girl, which was rather difficult for my ESFJ mother (who found it hard to believe that all that solitary book-reading could be healthy!). We definitely saw the world very differently at times, and I sometimes felt pressure to be more like her - more outgoing and spontaneous. (She was the sort of person who could instantaneously befriend anyone she met.) All the same, she was a very loving and attentive mother, and as an adult I did eventually realize that most of the happiness in my childhood was due to her efforts.

In contrast, my father was ISTJ, and distant, and the only emotion he seemed really able to express comfortably was anger. (He had his own childhood issues to deal with.) Of course, since my father and I had introversion and thinking in common, not to mention bookishness, we spoke a similar language; so in some ways and at certain times I found him rather easier to be around.

In the long run, though, it was my mother's warmth and unaffected emotional generosity that I came to treasure the most. She died four years ago, and although I knew I'd miss her greatly, her absence has been a staggeringly painful thing to come to terms with.

And this is one reason that I really appreciate people with strong extroversion and feeling; the world would be a much chillier place without them!

Set 21, 2007, 10:59 pm

I have two sons who are very different from each other. As it turns out, they are complete opposites. My older son is an INTJ; the younger son is an ESFP. I always tell them that the older son was so easy to parent that I therefore was tricked into having his brother. (I am an INTP.)

Set 21, 2007, 11:05 pm

sisaruus, can you relate some of the challenges you faced parenting the ESFP and how you overcame them? Information like that might help me with my mother and sister. :-)

Set 24, 2007, 7:32 pm

Hah! It's like that with my sister and me. She's ENFJ, I'm INTP. Add a -4.5 year age difference, and you have... well, I'll leave it to your undoubtedly discerning and intuitive imaginations.

Unless you're an XSXX. In which case, the sentence should read: "...your undoubtedly discerning and sensitive imaginations."

Out 24, 2007, 6:49 pm

My parents are deceased and also a brother is deceased(I have one living brother). None took the test, but I highly suspect they were/are all SJ's (guardians). I am an INFP (idealist). They all went from sheltering me to shaking their heads in complete confusion, thinking I'm "from Pluto," as citygirl said.

Out 24, 2007, 7:51 pm

Sounds lonely, Theresa. *hug* (See, I'm learning from Fs.) How'd you cope? And did they ever understand you, even a little?

Out 26, 2007, 3:45 am

It *was* lonely (hug appreciated). I dealt with it by staying in my room and reading and writing, or doing art. There were also problems because daddy was a heavy drinker. As a result (My mother worked night shifts), I was literally alone a lot of the time. When my parents were home, there was a lot of turmoil, so I hid a lot.

It taught me to be self-sufficient and to rely on my own devices in order to be entertained. I am never bored and don't mind being alone, although I think it is healthier for me to get out and about (which I do because my husband is an Artisan!).

I loved my parents (and there were a few good times; they did love me, too), but they were very unhappy, so I retreated into my imagination a lot. That's good for me now, because I'm a writer!

Out 26, 2007, 10:06 pm

Theresa, you are very inspiring. I had a difficult time growing up , but for much different reasons. You seem extremely authentic, which I think really shows an inner strength of character. More hugs.

Out 28, 2007, 2:13 am

I'll take all the hugs I can get. Giving you a hug too, mpramanik and citygirl. It has taken me a long time, but I am in a good place now. Writing has helped me to deal with life's confusions.

Out 28, 2007, 10:15 am

I spent much time alone growing up, too. I was a lonely child and my imagination helped a lot. I bet a lot of us were lonely kids.

Out 28, 2007, 12:35 pm

Theresa, I'm glad that writing has helped. Your description of your childhood struck some chords with me. My parents, too, fought continually when they were together, which made "home" a place to get away from for much of the time, rather than a place of comfort. Alcohol wasn't a factor in their case, but things were hard enough. I'm glad that you've emerged from your experience whole and strong.

citygirl, yes, I was a lonely child too. Luckily I was able to take refuge in imagination, and especially in reading. I remember borrowing 10-12 books a day from the library during the summertime, devouring them, and returning them the next day to take out another dozen. (Fortunately the library was within walking distance ;-)

Thank goodness for libraries, books and writing!!

Out 28, 2007, 6:14 pm

My childhood was vastly improved by the library! In the summer my sister and I would walk twice per week to the "Bookmobile" which was a mobile library. It stopped at a shopping center near our home. The Librarian was great, she let us take 10 books each and we usually read them by the time the next stop came around. Reading was the single most powerful influence on my childhood. In a large family (8 children) - there was always much unrest and dischord (read as everyone yelling most of the time!) a peace-maker among was a little too loud for me. I found many places to hide with a stack of books (trees, window wells, garage, under the table...)

I'll echo your sentiments with all my heart, thank goodness for libraries and librarians, books and writing!

Ago 29, 2008, 8:52 am

In a last ditch effort to save our marriage my ex and I saw a shrink who typed us. I came out almost dead center of the grid, but still an ESFP. He came out on the extreme outer fringes as far as you can go INTJ. She took one look and said, "Well, it's no wonder you two can't get along". Not particularly helpful. Then she sent me away and said I didn't need to come anymore, but he needed some work. After many months of me paying for her billable time I concluded a lawyer was a much better investment than a psychiatrist.

Has anybody else tried to fix family relationships through exploring types?

Ago 29, 2008, 10:30 am

18 > that is actually very sad, my wife is an eSFP and I am an INTj and we get along better than almost any other 2 people we know. I suppose it could be her soft e and my soft j helps but still, there had to be something else going on there.

Ago 29, 2008, 10:34 am

I* can't remember any good examples now, but there have been times when I got in trouble because I didn't remember some detail or see something that she thought was obvious. Trying to explain that it is obvious to her because she is S and I missed it because I am N doesn't usually get me off the hook. Although I can't explain why when she can't find her glasses that I can usually do so.

(She'll try to get me to remember some movie by naming who was in it. Usually I need to ask her what the movie was about).

Editado: Ago 29, 2008, 11:20 am

I am also an INTJ with an ESFP wife, and we get along pretty well.

Socionics (an Eastern European version of the 16 personality types) suggests that certain types are a 'Dual' for each other, and the Myers Briggs INTJ & ESFP are one such dual relationship. This supposedly means that these 2 types are both attracted to each other and have the best 'fit' in a relationship.

The downside, I think, is that we have the same 4 elements (introverted intuition, extroverted thinking etc), just in the opposite order. Therefore we both have the same blind spots as the 4 'shadows' are also the same (extroverted intuition, introverted thinking etc).

Ago 30, 2008, 5:56 pm

#21 I understand the concept of "opposites attract" but based on my knowledge/research of Myers Briggs - the most important area to be alike is the S/N preference because this is how we come to understand things and the area where there is the most misunderstanding between types. It is also helpful for one mate to be a J and the other to be a P so there is a balance between work and play and you can rub off on each other. :)

Of course, if we care enough we will put forth the effort to understand a type so different from our own. Or as #19 alludes to the possibility of not being absolute J's, etc. but rather more balanced as is the goal in personality development and therefore more balanced/tolerant of other types.

Ago 31, 2008, 3:39 am

Thanks for the input. Even though this has been at least 13 years ago, it has always bothered me that she gave me the impression that we were doomed because of the difference in type. I could never find the support to back that up. At that point we had been married eight years. I thought she should have been talking to us about how to work out the differences if it was all do to type conflict. Of course, he had other significant issues, which I later learned were defined as a borderline personality disorder. Perhaps we hired a lousy shrink.