[INFJ] Micromanaging ESFJ mother + INFJ daughter = Conflict!

Micromanaging ESFJ mother + INFJ daughter = Conflict!

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This is a discussion on Micromanaging ESFJ mother + INFJ daughter = Conflict! within the INFJ Forum - The Protectors forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; Disclaimer: This is a really long post with 21 years of bottled up frustration. This is probably my last summer ...

  1. #1
    Unknown Personality

    Micromanaging ESFJ mother + INFJ daughter = Conflict!

    Disclaimer: This is a really long post with 21 years of bottled up frustration.

    This is probably my last summer I'm spending with my parents and things have been crazy, to say the least. I'm 21, done with college and until a month ago, I was living on my own. But because of a surgery and the long recovery time, my parents convinced me to move back for just the summer. However, my mom is an ESFJ, I am an INFJ, and well… we don't get along too well.

    Where do I begin? First, my mom likes to micromanage the lives of our families whereas I have a very inward directed independence. I somewhat understand why she hates this. She's the type of person that likes the intimacy of when my family members report to her about their day, their motivations, their thoughts, etc, and give her the reign to control and direct their lives. (Me = INFJ = no way).

    Another problem is her constant nagging and treating me like a child, commenting on really touchy issues. Trust me, my ESFJ mom really knows how to hit all the spots that hurt. Although I rarely cry, my mom has made me cry SEVERAL times. It's frustrating because she picks out flaws about things I can't really change. Also, she has no sense of privacy and my sense of cleanliness essentially does not exist. Although I consider myself to be very neat, orderly and clean, she will pick at everything in my room that's not clean. It's frustrating because she tells my entire family and family friends that she's always picking up after me. That's not true! She does so for the rest of the family, but I am REALLY protective and careful with my belongings. It bothers me that she KNOWS how I am with my stuff, but tells everyone what a messy slob I am. Overall, her nagging, constant digging into my life leaves me yelling "leave me alone, leave me alone, please, just leave me alone."

    Another thing, she always gives me "advice" that is very rigid and black/white. Literally, there's no other way to say it -- it's always black and white with her. And I'm always in the wrong. If I even put forward a word of disagreement, she starts yelling at me, and all of a sudden I become the bad guy that picked a fight with her. It's how she blames me for arguments that frustrates me the most, especially because I'm the one always trying to avoid conflict.

    What's worse is how she usually retaliates. Usually after an argument, I need some time and personal space, but I will be willing to make peace, put effort in reconciling the relationshp. With my mom, however, she goes on and on how she was right and I was wrong. She drags the entire family into it and asks them who was right. She also plays favorites with my younger sister, an INTJ, and I have to admit, this REALLY hurts. After we fight, she intentionally plays favorites and gives me the silent treatment. Remember, because *I* was wrong, the entire family can't help but side with her and I'm like the black sheep of the family. Whenever I try to have some bonding time with other family members, she always butts in and points out negative things, flaws, etc, so a moment of bonding is really rare.

    By the way, all the things listed above make out my mom to be a pretty bad person. :( But, those are just the bad things (obviously), and overall, there are MANY great things about my mom that I'm thankful for. Learning about personality types has been helping me learn about our differences and avoid conflict (esp. after reading tons of articles about ESFJ moms), but I still feel like we're on completely different wavelengths and our relationship is marked by mutual misunderstandings and unspoken resentment. Although this has been going on for a while, it has escalated as of late.

    When I was more naive, I tried talking to my mom about some of these things -- how I felt, etc -- but those resulted in a huge misunderstanding and resulted in a major argument (even though I was only trying to talk to my mom about how I felt about certain things). Nowadays, I walk around on pins and needles, but this has had a negative toll on my relationship with other family members who are only there to see me blow up since they don't understand everything.

    Argh… I have a huge migraine right now so I'll stop here. But yeah... if anyone has had similar experiences, or could give me some advice on how to best handle this (other than a "talk") I would really appreciate it. After all, this will be my last summer with my parents. I'm planning on moving back (and never coming back) so I'd like to leave the last summer with positive times and memories. and I don't want to fight anymore.
    Dina, Roland, thegirlcandance and 17 others thanked this post.

  2. #2
    INFJ - The Protectors

    wow... good luck.

    its difficult to convince an esfj of anything. when in conversation with them, i usually just smile and nod. and talk about clothes. and the weather.

    this isnt to say your situation is hopeless - as you should try to have good relations with your mother.

    however, i think, quite honestly, that you have a huge personality difference between the two of you. just because shes your mother, doesn't change this fact. and frankly, just because youre related to someone doesnt mean you have to be friends with them.

    i would do just as you have done. avoid conflict. and spend time away from her and out of the house.

  3. #3
    Unknown Personality

    LOL, we can't even talk about the weather or clothes.

    If we talk about clothes, 3 minutes into the conversation, it becomes about how I need to dress more feminine, etc, etc. If we talk about the weather, it somehow turns into a discussion on how the weather affects health and how I'm a bad steward of my health... :( (I usually nod when she says all this stuff, though; I no longer try to explain that the weather didnt cause my surgery and that wearing frills/lace wont make me prettier)

    Alas, I'm at a loss of what to do. In the past, I tended to approach my mom once she was calm, apologized sincerely and tried to engage in some activity with her (like tagging along with her grocery shopping, helping her around the house). Surprisingly, this keeps her angry longer. I don't know WHY.
    Cantarella and Tsuki thanked this post.

  4. #4
    ISFP - The Artists

    I can relate. My dad's an ESFJ and it's pretty much the same. Unfortunately, I haven't found any solutions yet. He's been improving, though, at the goading of a lot of people around him to be more aware of his actions and with lots of time spent isolated from the rest of the family. Not sure if this will help, but try making your other family members talk to her about avoiding conflict because it's your last summer there?

  5. #5
    Unknown Personality

    To the poster above:
    I sorta figured out a solution for when I'm away -- I send periodic (positive) updates about how my life is progressing, send cards on appropriate occasions, send gift cards to my mom's favorite stores with a thoughtful message. Never, never let them in on negative things unless you're prepared to face an endless bombardment of nagging and digging for details. Also, ESFJ parents tend to get really upset when they hear things aren't going well for their family, so they get really emotional and spark an argument about a completely off-topic.

    BUT, I still haven't found a solution for head-on clashes that occur when we live together.
    retypepassword, Invidia and S.K.R. thanked this post.

  6. #6
    INFJ - The Protectors

    How to train your dragon....um..I mean your mother I'll tell you what we do in our household. My older sister likes to mess with her mind, get her all worked up on a subject and then unleash her on someone else in the room. My brother just tells her what she wants to hear and then makes himself scarce...to the point that she is not mad or reminded of anything he did (unless my sister brings it up). I've learned a long time ago that if it is a sensitive subject with me...best just to keep it to myself until it's less so and can be discussed at least logically. Otherwise she does give as good advice as she can within her scope. I take what she has to say with a lot of salt, there will be conflict, there will be yelling at times on both parts but not to the point of tears. Tears means you have overshot that invisible line in the sand. Always there are apologies afterward for losing our cool....well let's be realistic on my part at least most of the time but it is important for the sake of maintaining a relationship and communication.

    I guess at the end of the day we all know we can't change each other so don't bother trying, mom is "crazy" but she means well and if you have gotten the mild mannered INFJ in the family so upset that she "INFJ doorslams" you best change your technique and attitude the next time she enters the room. In a way, over time we have all trained each other as to how the other person is to be treated. The important thing is that everyone speaks their mind in the household whether we all like what the other has to say or not. I feel for you though....I don't care for the ganging up part. That never really happened in my family as there is always someone who will play the "devil's" advocate just for the sake of disturbing the balance of power. Sometimes disturbing that balance is just what you need to help a person to see things from a different perspective...just make sure you do it judiciously.
    sploney, retypepassword, fillet and 1 others thanked this post.

  7. #7
    INFJ - The Protectors

    Quote Originally Posted by curious0610 View Post
    Learning about personality types has been helping me learn about our differences and avoid conflict (esp. after reading tons of articles about ESFJ moms), but I still feel like we're on completely different wavelengths and our relationship is marked by mutual misunderstandings and unspoken resentment. Although this has been going on for a while, it has escalated as of late.

    This is the reality of the situation.... you and your mother ARE on completely different wavelengths. And your job here is to become "OKAY" with that.--- I am 37 years old and a daughter of an ESFJ. My mother and I will never be on the same page, and trying to "get there".... only led to frustraition on both our ends. ---- I had to "accept her" the way she was, and her me. ---- (This takes time.) But, it does happen. It is getting to the point of the "sensor" and the "intuition": respecting each other equally.

    This does come with moving out, and claiming your rights as an equal adult.
    Dina, thegirlcandance, NinjaSwan and 7 others thanked this post.

  8. #8
    INFJ - The Protectors

    I've an ESFJ mother and can relate to so much of what you say - picking up after me, rigid advice, never accepting that she might have been wrong. Even the telling me off for not dressing feminine enough. Then, if I get annoyed, she'll burst into tears, I'll feel bad and end up apologising even tho I've done nothing wrong. It's tiring in the extreme. Then, sometimes I have spent hours talking to her, and we agree on a way forward, which she then instantly forgets and reverts to form.

    I've left home now so things are not so bad. Also, I have a really close relationship with my dad - an INTJ - and he understands and has similiar frustrations. I guess I've just learnt to just let her comments be like water off a ducks back. I listen, don't respond and go do my own thing. When she calls, I let her talk, tell her what she wants to hear i.e. have you eaten - yes, are you keeping warm - yes etc

    I dunno. I think I;ve just learnt to accept that we will never have the perfect mother -daughter relationship I would like. Instead, there are other older women in my life, an ENFP and an INFP, who are like second mums, and understand me much better. My ESFJ can't and never will fathom, and it cuts both ways, doesn't it!
    Liath and Likeagoat thanked this post.

  9. #9
    INFJ - The Protectors

    Yes I have an ESFJ in family too. My grandma is ESFJ and mother is ISFJ and so they'd gang up on me with their nitpicking. Yes they can really nitpick on your appearance till you wouldn't know where to hide yourself. If fact I attributed the poor body image I had as a teenager to their never ending stream of criticism about it.

    I took it personally when I was younger but after I moved away from them I sort of just dissociated from it. In fact I discovered than in a way they were right about some things that I typically disregarded - the world is mostly a sensor place an xSFJs are providing you with a sensor view point which you should not reject right away. I just took a bird's eye view of things and saw than the xSFJs are just trying to express their concern and love this way. They are not trying to hurt you but guide you the only way they feel is right.

    Ultimately what your mother says is her own opinion and I am sure that deep down in her heart she is confident that she is just trying to do the best for you. So don't take her criticisms personally. They should not make you want to cry. You have your own opinion, be confident in it, but understand that conflicting over some things just wastes time and energy. It is very hard to persuade the ESFJ that what she is doing is wrong, so why even try and enter conflict? I just started to behave somewhat passive-aggressively with them - I would comply verbally but would not do much about it in actuality. Occasionally though I would agree with them and follow their advice as a way of compromising. Seeing that they could no longer get any reaction from me, they eased up on it.
    Invidia and Zeratin thanked this post.

  10. #10
    Unknown Personality

    are you comfortable with me poking you?

    just ask a question to your mother. seems like she is very noseyyy.

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