Is it wrong to try and change a person? | INFJ Forum

Is it wrong to try and change a person?

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by TinyBubbles, Mar 9, 2010.

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  1. TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    If you believe what they're doing isn't good for them, is it wrong to try to change them? Should you just let people live how they want, or are you obliged, out of love, to insist they change? Give me some advice here guys, I'm having an ethical dilemma. On the one hand, witnessing them making a mockery of their life and throwing away their chances at happiness is hard to bear, on the other hand, who am I to tell them what to do, you know? But I know some people need someone to shake them out of their rut, because they can't manage it themselves. My intentions are good and I do truly only want the best for them, but if their vocal opposition is anything to go by, they don't want my help. Or at least are not emotionally ready for it. It makes me feel like an ass for pushing them, but they can't continue this forever, it's hurting them and it's hurting me to watch! Is it wrong to want a person to change?
     
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  2. Entyqua

    Entyqua Forgotten
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    this is going to sound cruel, harsh and totally un INFJish...but You have said how you feel, you need to cut them out of your lief. if they dont want your help, and you cant stand to watch them go where they go, break free. Keep in touch but break free...
     
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  3. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    1. You can't change another person. It is impossible. People can only choose to change themselves.

    2. You can provide incentives for a person to change their behavior. You can positively reinforce good behaviors with praise, encouragement, and rewards. If you are in a position of authority, you can use consequences such as taking away freedoms to motivate a person not to utilize bad behaviors. However, the choice still lies with them.

    3. It isn't healthy to concern yourself with changing others. It means you don't have good emotional boundaries and you have given them an enormous amount of power over you. If you really feel someone should change, then you should be willing to walk away from the relationship. If they truly value you, then they can choose for themselves whether they would prefer not to change or to keep you in their lives. If you decided that whatever they are doing isn't worth walking out of their lives, then maybe they don't need to change and you just need to accept them for who they are.

    4. You need to accept that everyone lives their own lives and some things cannot be changed. For example, many people who I have loved dearly have walked out of my life because I am gay. For them, I would change if I could, but it is not possible. You need to decide if this is something that truly can be changed.

    5. The very act of you trying to change someone, may become the very reason they cannot change. A lot of people don't like being controlled, and even if they recognize that something about them needs to change, if they are being told they have to change by someone else, they will resist changing just because they don't want to be treated in such a manner. You may very well cause a person to dig in their heels and refuse to change just by trying to make them change.
     
  4. Nucky

    Nucky Regular Poster

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    I think that it is possible to inspire change in a person, but the rest is up to them. You can never change a person who does not want to change.

    If a friend or a loved one does not want to change behavior that is either self-destructive or harmful to others, it is best to either tolerate the behavior, or cut your losses and move on.
     
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  5. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    cutting them out of my life is not an option i'm afraid, but thanks dear.i just don't want to witness them spiral into a hole they can't later climb out of.
     
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  6. Timeless

    Timeless Community Member

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    I was going to put something but everybody gave some real good input.
     
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  7. SpaceCowgirl

    SpaceCowgirl vanilla cat

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    If your shaking someone out of a rut, that implies the person has changed already. It's a tough call. You obviously have the best intentions, and I don't think there is an ethical dilemma with trying to convince someone to change as long as your not forcing it on them. If they already made it clear that they don't want help though it would be best not to be pushy. Once someone has decided not to accept help they often turn against those who try to hard to help them(I know I do). If this is the case it will cause more conflict and not solve anything. Make your opinions clear without repeating them to often, and if you matter to the person then doing this and still being supportive will make them want to change more than anything. You also have to be prepared for the fact that the person might never want to change, and you can't force them. Hopefully if they really are hurting themselves then eventually they will see clearly. Of course I don't know the details, but this is what I have found works in similar situations(including ones where I was on the other side of it).
     
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  8. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    this is one of those things i superficially understand but instinctively rebel against :(

    of course, the choice lies with them, but if they consistently make the wrong choice, should you just stand back and watch? how can you claim to love them and watch them deteriorate? sorry, i'm sort of questioning myself here, because the logic of your statements can't be denied. it's just hard to accept.

    them valuing me doesn't matter, i value them. i don't want them to go down this path, and come to regret it later. REALLY don't want to see that happen. however, if there was some guarentee that they wouldn't be regretting it, then it'd be ok, and i could back off. of course, that's not possible, so what we're left with here is an unresolved issue.

    this is a good point (i'm sorry people have walked out of your life for that reason, btw. that ain't right.) well, without going into specifics because i wouldn't feel right abusing this person's privacy, what i'm referring to here absolutely is something they can change. their choices are poor, and i believe even they know it, yet they won't admit it, and it's just unbearable to witness. like an accident waiting to happen. you want to slam on the breaks and avoid it happening, but that person insists on cruising absurdly above the speed limit.

    this is so true, and i know from first hand experience that i've done exactly that when people have tried to control me. but.. but! i would've appreciated if someone told me what's what before i fucked up, you know? and i know, in time, this person will appreciate it too. or at least, they won't continue to make mistakes. it's easy to say let people live their own lives and respect their decisions, but when you love them, that logic suddenly sounds less convincing. what's important is that they are OK, not free to screw up.


    i really appreciate the well thought out answer, satya, thankyou.
     
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  9. Roger

    Roger ...

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    I think, to change other person is like going against to nature's rules. Absolutely wrong.

    Suppose, You want to change someone other who is your friend, family member, your classmate or anyone, what this means you're trying to control them. may happen you can't control them. If you want to control them, then you have to know about their thoughts and recent activity in their mind. Do you think, can you do this? I don't think, you can.

    You can do only one thing, push their inner button. Show them some inspiration, encouraging stories related to that thing you want to teach them, you want to support them. :)

    You can change yourselves only, No one can change others world. You can change your world by making changes within you.
     
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  10. OP
    TinyBubbles

    TinyBubbles anarchist

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    i hope you're right bb. thankyou. i hope they will come out of it themselves.
     
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  11. Entyqua

    Entyqua Forgotten
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    I understand. I am sorry for assuming...There is some other great advice...
     
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  12. slant

    slant Sedated slanty

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    Yes, because a person's a person, no matter how small.
     
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  13. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    My parting words of advice is that every parent must one day watch their children go off and make many of the same mistakes they made when they were young. But most of those parents love their child enough, that they will let go and let them do it.

    It is good to remember that even learning how to walk is just as much about learning to get up after you fall down as it is about learning to take steps.

    If you love someone, then you have to let them make mistakes; surely warn of the consequences and do everything in your power not to enable them, but let go and let them fall. It's their life to live, not yours, and there is far more to regret in living for others than there will ever be in living for yourself.
     
  14. Morgain

    Morgain defective wisdom
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    I agree with all the above advice but whould like to answer on this perticulary

    you can't stop people from making mistakes. It is even wrong to do so. People have the right to make mistakes, that is the only way to learn and grow. If you tell a child that they can't stick there finger in the fire, they can choose to obey or to try it out themselves. If they stick there finger in the fire, they get burned and know from now on that sticking your finger in the fire is not very pleasant. If they obey they will never learn why exactly they can't do it, what is wrong with it, they will nog have the experience of being burned. It is a stupid example and we take advice from others for many things in life, but some things can not be learned by advice but by experience

    you say now that you would have liked that somebody told you what's what before you fucked up but ... are you sure you would have listened to that advice? You say that now after the bad experience, but would you have done that before? And who would you be right now if you didn't had that experience? Would you have learned what you know right now? Didn't it give you some enrichment?

    You can point them out other possiblities, other ways of living that are less destructive but it is really up to them to make the decission. You can't make it for them. Would you like to have someone watching over you that tells you exactly how you have to live your life without getting hurt. I wouldn't, what is fun about that??

    I would advice you to give them your advice, back off and watch from the sideline to what they are chosing. And just make sure you be there for them if they fall and break there leg, then you can go and comfort them.
     
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  15. Jasmine85

    Jasmine85 Regular Poster

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    You can advise a person with the best of intentions, but they may not be interested in hearing it, and you'd be at risk of becoming an annoyance or an irritation if you persist.

    Ultimately you'd just be expressing what you want for them, which in the grand scheme of things would say more about you than the person you're trying to change.

    If you become determined in your ambition, intervening in their decisions and directing their lives, then I'd consider that unethical.

    People have a right to live their lives as they please within the law. They don't need extra permission from those who harbor fears for them.

    The most intelligent thing is perhaps to explain to the person why you feel the way you do about them, which requires you to first well understand why you feel the way you do, including for example the nature of the fears you have for them, and why should those fears be greater for you than they apparently are for the other person.
     
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    #15 Jasmine85, Mar 9, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  16. enfp can be shy

    enfp can be shy people vs the bad people?
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    "To change" sounds a little too coercive to me. It certainly does no harm to help, by inspiring, by informing, i.e. as long as there is some healthy distance in this approach. Optimally, you would like to devise such a plan that the person would not feel pushed in any way, but still would discover the steps to get out of the rut, on their own. This is very tough to do, especially with someone who is already too clever. I hope you would be able to work it out humanely.

    Now, about the question is it moral to assume that one can "help", and what gives anyone the authority of such position, what makes one more righteous. I don't know. Suppose, nothing. However, there is some sense for it, call it Kant's Categorical Imperative, Karma, Golden Rule, Collective Unconscious, Natural Law, Species preservation; there is some sense for caring. All mammals do it, and some birds. They, for example, groom each other. What if the other one doesn't want to be groomed? Well, our sense of right and wrong is learned entirely from interactions with everyone else, so this rebellion would be still not a real form of liberty; it's simply opposition, for its own sake. Research on bonobos shows that a mother would carefully use scissors (if given to her) to groom her child, but if the child wants to play with the scissors, she would take it from them. Because she knows the kid can hurt itself. Should we call such natural processes a form of stupidity? Maybe we should let kids do absolutely anything, and similarly to our friends? It depends; it really doesn't seem advisable at this point of time. When we have such learning tools, that every human learns all basic stuff in very early pre-school age, maybe there will be no form of special parental care, and no form of friendly care. But this requires a much healthier and wiser environment first, which is not in place now. Hope that rant is of any use..

    edit: Another evolutionary argument, (even though I actually am not sure of the merit of those..), caring happens more and more in the latest stages of evolution. There is no caring in amoebas. But then, reptiles make eggs to assist; and mammals go so far to carry other mammals within themselves, and to feed them with their own special body fluids. So, caring is even physiologically part of us, and it seems it will only develop even further.
     
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    #16 enfp can be shy, Mar 9, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
  17. Jasmine85

    Jasmine85 Regular Poster

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    ^ In response to that, there are many shades of grey between controlling and caring. Just as there are many shades of grey between love and codependency.
     
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  18. meridon

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    When I was 17, my best friend started to take a path in life that wasn't good for her. I tried "changing" her and voicing my concerns, and all it ended up doing was pushing her away from me, more determined to do these things. Now she's a recovering drug addict, she's lost all of her scholarships, and she is feeling very alone in the world. I've realized over the past few years how everyone she loved smothered her with her concern and judgment, and what she really needs is unbiased support. I let her learn from me now instead of telling her how to live.

    If someone you love is becoming someone you don't agree with, for the love you bear for them, be cautious. In most situations, you make them defensive and defiant when you tell them they are wrong. If you must voice your concerns, do it tactfully without pressure. For example: my younger brother started hanging out with some kids we know who do drugs. When I found out they were trying to get him to try it, naturally, I wanted to dissuade him from that path. But I also knew if I told him "don't do this, it's bad," he would most likely do it because I told him not to do it. So instead, I invite him to do things with me to keep him too busy and content to bother with those boys. It's worked so far.
     
    #18 meridon, Mar 9, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
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  19. randomsomeone

    randomsomeone Well-known member

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    With friends I tend to offer input, or even some creative resistance, but I don't get too fixated on outcomes. Life is a very personal journey and they ultimately are the ones who have to figure things out. I can only do my part to share.
     
  20. the

    the Si master race.
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    No it is a good idea to try and change people from destroying their life.
     
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