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INFJ or ISFJ?

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by Poppysmic, Feb 21, 2010.

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  1. Poppysmic

    Poppysmic Three

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    To begin with, sorry for creating another thread about identifying someone's personality type. I did a search looking for the differences between INFJ and ISFJ, but would like another opinion. My mother is currently living with me and I am trying to identify her personality type in an effort to get along with her better. She willingly took the MBTI test which she took as a child. She tests as an INFJ and said that's what she tested as as a child. I can definitely say that she is IFJ, but I'm not so sure about the N. She never got along with me growing up as a kid. We literally lived in two seperate realms. I understand her realm and respect it, but she seems incapable of grasping my realm.

    What makes me believe she is a SJ? I remember as a child always asking why things were done a certain way and she would always become very upset with me and tell me that it was just the way things were done. She's very much a traditionalist. She enjoys holidays and has been going to a baptist church for years. She was a massive "giver". My family was predominantly NTs who liked to be independent, because of this my mother seemingly was never satisfied with the amount she was giving us. She gave, and gave, and gave to people outside of our family. She spent more time giving to people outside of the family than she did within the family. And then when people didn't completely appreciate what she did she wouldn't say anything until she couldn't take it any more and she would become very upset (rarely) with the people she had been giving to for their lack of gratitude. She always exhausted herself giving to people. She would become stressed out over silly things like creating dinner for this group of people she was giving to.

    I'm very high on the Ni scale and have a very unique outlook on life. I care about finding myself and once I find myself I can then find what is I want in life even if that means going totally against the grain. I'm not designed to live a "normal" life. I have to live life my way and by my standards, which is highly unconventional. My mother never got this about me. This made it very difficult for me growing up because she was so conventional and I'm at the other end. I once tried to explain my outlook on life but completely failed. The moment I said anything that went against what is "normal" she would go off on me how it would never work. It was as if when I went against what is conventional I would cross a boundary in her mind and she would just go off on me. For example, when I told her there was the possibility that I wouldn't want to stay in college she completely flipped out on me. I explained to her how I could go about entering the career of my choice without college in a logical, well thought manner. She simply wouldn't accept it and said I would become nothing but a worker at McDonald's if I didn't stay in college. Even after I presented my plan and even gave her examples of people who had done well for themselves without completing college, she simply would not accept it and insisted that it was impossible to become anything without college.

    What traits make her possibly NF? I remember, as a child when she was looking for a church she drove by one church and I asked her why she wouldn't go to it. She said it was because the people there did not follow Christ. I asked her when she had gone to the church. She said she had never been to the church. I asked her how she knew the people didn't follow Christ then. She said she just knew. I asked her how she knew. She said it was because large churches never follow Christ. Churches like that become so large only because they tell people what they want to hear. That's how I know they don't follow Christ. This is the closest thing to Ni I've ever seen from her. When I experience Ni, I just know something. I typically don't know why I know it unless I think extremely hard. To me, my mother's argument didn't seem exactly like the Ni I experience.

    Other tidbits: She is incredibly bad with money because she spends most of her money giving to others. She isn't majorly worried about the house being clean. She was a bit controlling as a parent at times. She was never much into her appearance. She dressed nicely enough but never cared much about clothing. But she was always very interested in interior home design. She was always watching shows on the telly about it though she could never afford to furnish her home the way she wanted. She didn't have any hobbies or interests outside of giving to people. She worked as a nurse. She next to never showed her emotions to anyone. But she had a steel trap in her mind that would keep tabs on people. Every time someone did or said something to her that she didn't like she would store it away until it all added up and she would dislike the person. Once my mother had done that there was no going back, ever. She always liked receiving positive words for what she was doing. She was fabulous with words and planning though she had a tendency to fly by the seat of her pants. She had only one long distance friend. I would often times, through Ni, come up ideas and would excitedly explain them to her and she would just brush them off and ignore my ideas. She couldn't have cared less about them.

    I've read that INFJs feel the need to improve themselves and the world around them and fulfill their human potential. I never got that feeling from my mother. I've also read about INFJs being creative, which my mother is not creative in the least. She would go with what's already been done before creating something new. As for having a "rich, complicated inner life" I would say not. She sees life in a much more superficial way than myself.

    I'm sure through all of this one can identify that I believe her to be more of an ISFJ. I'm almost feel like I'm being slightly prejudice against her being an N because we never got along and because she has never been able to except my unconventional ways. That's exactly why I am asking here. If there are any questions that would better help identify her, I am happy to answer.


     
    #1 Poppysmic, Feb 21, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  2. Soulful

    Soulful life is good

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    I'm not sure why this comment, more so than the others, make me lean towards ISFJ, but indeed it does. Overall, I'd say ISFJ but the post is filled with ISFJ behaviour and no (at least that I've noticed) signs of INFJ behaviour, so I don't have any reason to say she may be an INFJ. Is it possible that your Ni is quite well developed and she may be an INFJ with a poorly developed Ni and a strongly developed Si? Do you know what kind of environment she grew up in - was it a heavy SJ environment? If so, is it possible that she began to reflect her environment. Or is it likely that she's not as self-aware as she considers herself to be?

    Also, what kind of nursing did she do? Did she enjoy it? If I recall correctly, a large majority (or a good number, anyway) of nurses are SJs.
     
  3. OP
    Poppysmic

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    In response to Soulful. It is very possible that my Ni is much higher than hers and that she has a high level of Si. When I was typing my post I also noticed that pretty much all of my comments about her were SJ related. I'm somewhat worried that I am simply focusing on her SJ traits because they are what cause problems in our relationship and that I am missing any NF traits that she may have. I don't believe I've ever met an INFJ so I am only going off of descriptions.

    Her father was a tested ENFP though he was rarely around and her mother was more of an ESFP. Her mother definitely was not SJ. She was much more of an attention seeking SP. Her mother was rather selfish and my mother really had to take care of herself. She did very well in school though she didn't completely like it because, as she describes, it was a place to babysit kids. She went to college and almost finished her MBA. I believe she wanted to go into school administration of some sort. She wanted to become a teacher but couldn't deal with the fact that she wouldn't be able to discipline the children the way she wanted, so she wanted to go into school administration. But due to children that never happened. I honestly can't say I know what type of nursing she did, but I do know she highly enjoyed it.

    I have never considered my mother to be a very self aware person. She always seemed to have a painted picture of herself that didn't match reality. I tried to talk to her about this and she would gripe about how psychoanalytical I am and that I just need to shut up.
     
  4. Puck

    Puck Perilous Pixie
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    Having read all that, she sounds a lot like an ISTJ.
     
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  5. Questingpoet

    Questingpoet Not Afraid to Use His Beard
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    Per everything you posted, she does not sound INFJ. She sounds ISFJ (or maybe ISTJ). My wife is ISFJ and they sound very similar.
     
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  6. mooseman

    mooseman Local Claviger
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    I'm still learning about functions so don't take my word for it, but for me right now, the trait of being highly conventional is the tell that makes me think a person is Si-dominant.
     
  7. Morgain

    Morgain defective wisdom
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    this is intersting. she sounds a lot like my mother and I'm also doubting whether she is INFJ or ISFJ.

    She is also a nurse, caring for others more than herself, closed up emotionaly and not showing much N interests. Although she had some periods where she was interested in my spirituality and followed me there although she never did anything for herself. I don't know whether your mother ever showed this. My mother had also a bad childhood where her mother was sick al the time (also a bit psychic problems) and she was not very much wanted by her mother. And she didn't the day after I was born and so my mother promised she whould NEVER become like my grandmother and she over cared for me and my brother, completely dismissing herself and in fact became depressed and repreated history by not wanting to repeat it!

    But the fact is that she tested INFJ which means she answered yes on the intuition related quostions like "do you just know something" or "do you like archetypes and symbols". I think it is very unlikely for a real ISFJ to type as INFJ because I don't think they have a clue about what those quostions stands for.

    So I think both your mother and mine are INFJ's with a very high Si. Maybe something happened in there life, there childhood where they needed to act like an ISFJ. An unhealty ISFJ. She act like she wants everything to be clean an organized but to me it feels more like an act then like her real self. There is something wrong in the picture and there is so much hidden under the surface what makes even more believe she is a closed up INFJ.

    qp, your wive is ISFJ? I think that explains a lot about why she doesn't like poems :D
     
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  8. mooseman

    mooseman Local Claviger
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    My mother is ESFJ but she could easily (even likely) test as ENFJ because she is very superstitious and believes in all sorts of quasi-spiritual mumbo jumbo. But she has no internal backup for it.

    Just saying this is a possibility.
     
    #8 mooseman, Feb 21, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  9. the

    the Si master race.
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    Sounds ISTJ. Perhaps you just dont see the real her.
     
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  10. arbygil

    arbygil Passing through

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    I think everything you noted about your mother describes an SJ to textbook perfection. And INFJs have not cornered the market on "knowing things" or psychic phenomenon. My mother is very much an ESTP but she sometimes uses Ni (it's her fourth process). The key is knowing if they regularly use it, or if they're comfortable with using it - so comfortable, that it's automatic and they might not realize they're doing it (it's part of who they are).

    EVERYTHING you mentioned about your Mom is very, very SJ behavior. If people tire her and she prefers to be alone, and she shines best when she's alone, then I would also predict that she's an introvert. If she cares more about systems and functions and the "right thing" to do over people and emotional situations then she might be more "T" but if she likes to entertain and she's genuinely interested in what people have to say (and likes gossip and small talk) then I would call her an SFJ.

    It's difficult to type our parents because we see them every day. But maybe you should try taking an MBTI test as her (as you think she would answer) and you'll get an understanding of what type you think she is.
     
  11. Blind Bandit

    Blind Bandit Blind Man Being Lead to Nowhere
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    Just a quick note and I agree with the the posts saying she is probably ISFJ/ISTJ. SJ's can be very very bad with money. it's not common from what I've seen but it can happen. I mean even worse than many other types.
     
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  12. OP
    Poppysmic

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    She definitely isn't ISTJ. I have no doubt that she is very high on the Si scale I just can't pinpoint whether there's Ni there or not. When I took the MBTI test "as my mother", I got ISFJ. 60% S and 40% N.

    I wonder if she is an ISFJ who has short spurts of Ni? But that's the thing. I'm trying really hard to see her as an INFJ, but I can only picture a handful of short moments where she seemed even remotely intuitive.

    I just brainstormed over a few items found on an MBTI test and was comparing my mother against SJ or NF.

    She is more practical than abstract.-SJ
    She, quite clearly, sticks to what is known though I can see her saying she is comfortable with the unknown. SJ/NF
    She is very good at coming up with solutions to things (but not in an Ni way) but I can see her saying that she comes up with solutions out of nowhere. SJ/NF
    She tends to be way more down to earth.- SJ
    She tends to be more realistic but I can see her being conceptual-SJ/NF
    I honestly don't know whether she likes the specific or general. I'll have to ask.
    She isn't interested in abstract ideas.-SJ
    She prefers structured environments to unstructured.-SJ
    I can see her saying she is introspective, but I'm a highly introspective person and whenever I talk to her about it she, negatively, tells me how psychoanalytical I am.-NF/SJ
    She focuses more on the present with hints of possibilities. SJ/NF

    Reading through my brainstorming I see a pattern. I barely remember a few questions she answered when taking the test and I remember thinking they didn't match up with what I see her as. An example of this would above when I wrote about her being introspective or coming up with solutions. This tells one of the following could be the problem: 1.) I don't see who she really is. 2.) She doesn't realize who she is. 3.) The questions were worded "funny" and didn't give a clear definition. 4.) I want to say I read somewhere about NFs being complex and not showing outwardly. This is a possibility, though I am usually pretty good at detecting these sort of things.

    Bottom line is, she just doesn't give me that "deep" N feel. Watching home improvement shows, reading celebrity gossip, having no deeper conversations than typical small talk... I keep trying to find signs of intuition in her. The only thing I can come up with is my sibling asking her about psychics as a child. My mother said the Bible warns against psychics and that they simply have high levels of intuition.
     
  13. Morgain

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    yeah that doesn't sound very Nish to me. My mother doesn't read celebrity gossip and isn't into small talk. But on the other hand, I don't spot any Nish with her either. What I want to point out is that she can be INFJ on the inside but not on the outside. I think when people have to type me based on my every day behaviour that they would type me rather as an INTJ or ENTJ then an INFP. I never have shown the outside world my depth because they didn't understand. And I acted like my parents wanted me to (my father is INTJ I think). So it could be that se is stuck in this S'ish wah of acting and is forgoten her debth because se doesn't use it. I had a period in my life where I forgot about it. I felt terrible and finely realised I had to be me again. But some people don't realise this and get stuck in there pattern and the older they get the more stuck they get. I believe that is the case with my mother. Yours can be different I don't know. But an other question: Is she good in the Si stuff, does it feel like Si is her dominant function or can it be that Si is an inferior function that she uses a lot? If she is INFJ with a high Si then Si would be her demon function, the last one.

    Demon Function

     
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  14. Quinlan

    Quinlan Right the First Time!

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  15. Ria

    Ria Snow White over the ocean

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    She sounds a lot like my mother. My mom worked as an activity therapist/care-aid in a facility, and is such a people pleaser. She is somewhat extraverted, but does like to spend her time at home, but "putters" while she's there. I have never seen her just sitting and looking lost in space, nor have I ever noted her contemplating things reflectively. She tends to worry constantly, she fidgits, gets "naggy" and judgmental if she sees anyone "relaxing", and being deep in thought because she sees it as wasting time. She and I, never hit it off...

    Also, she takes it out on others when she feels unfulfilled. I remember her complaining that she felt taken for granted (but I can't knock her for that or type her, as it's a very understandable and maternal way to feel). She judges others though, and seems to have set opinions on certain things, but then in the next breath if I mention anything about something she had once said about someone, she then takes a wierd sort of offense, and tells me that she has understanding, and she's really not interested in speaking badly about others and that I shouldn't be negative about people! (I'm left feeling very confused, as she seems to contradict herself). So yea, I never really know where my mom is at, but she seems highly emotional, and her inner anxiety seems to be screaming for someone to look after the little girl within her. My father has never been good at validating that for her, as she just pissed him off. So yea, she used to look to me for that, but then would always be so inconsistent, and unable to deeply express herself in words, that she would just become annoyed with me if I didn't get her in that moment.

    She enjoyed having people over, but as my dad is such an extreme introvert, shy, grumpy, rude, judgmental etc., it made that quite difficult. But yea, the house was always imaculate, and she was always rushing around anxiousely, straightening couch cushions, after you got up and walked away. Sheesh, just remembering living with her exsausts me. All I remember, was trying to escape her so that I could be free to live in my head without getting in trouble for it. And yea, I remember we could never connect on a deeper level, because she would have no idea what I was talking about. Dad too. He was a psychiatric Therapist, so I think as far as he was concerned, I was defective in some way, and likely mentally ill. I just remember always being judged by them both, and feeling like they didn't understand me, know who I was and that I was a disappointment. So, maybe there are some characteristics about my mother that fit with yours? If so, then great, maybe I could figure out my mom's type too, so that she and I could have healthier dynamics. I'm happy you made this thread.
     
  16. IndigoSensor

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    It is indeed possible to use Ni and Si both at high levels. I am an example of this. I am most certianly an Ni dominate, but my Si is also quite strong (some will dispute this, though). This really just causes my judging score to be very high.
     
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  17. Raccoon Love

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    Does a strong Si correlate with a storng J score? Judging and sensing still both really confuse me as they are both quite similar in certain aspects such as the fact that both J and S focus on details and both J an S do not really like chaotic thinking, I am thinking that is why perhaps NJ's are so rare, the use of Ni added to the fact that S vs J can be a mass of contradictions resulting in some heavy mental tension fighting between both sides. We have a need to organize all of our thoughts, which can indeed be pretty hard with all the ideas N usually brings. I personally do have quite a high Si score, and my J has been increasing. Oddly enough N and J are my most ''secured'' functions right now..
     
  18. poshlost

    poshlost Community Member

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    I just can't believe that many people read your tl;dribble.
     
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  19. IndigoSensor

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    The reason for NJ's being uncommon is the use of Ni, which is often disliked by most people. It is either unplesent, too much work, or just inefficent to them. Si is often strongly disliked by all Ni users because it goes in a totally different direction then Ni. However, as Si is a shadow function, it can pretty much appear anywhere in ones set. Theoretically Si should be the dead last function, but this is not always the case. It is possible for Si to be high, albeit it is rare. The reason Si and Ni cause a judging score rise if they are both strong, is standalone then can not function. They must be processed through Fe or Te which are the clear judging functions. In particular Ni and Si working together will create a heavy load of information to process and it has to go through a judging function at the same quantity. Thus, a high J score. This is why People with high Ni and Fi tend to have even P/J scores. They are simultenously passing information through a juduging function and a perceving function. This is definitey possible but the overall effect cancels out the apparent P/J score, and thus the lines become muttled.

    And trust me, I have a seriously high level of mental tension. It was not until this month that I realized how high it is. It is indeed cause by Ni and Si being used at the same relative level. The judging functions get overloaded. The same thing could happen to someone who used both Fi and Ti strongly, the result might be different though, as this would result in a high P score.

    If you have nothing nice to say, then do not say anything at all.
     
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