Unbalanced friendly relationships where you are being 'helped' | INFJ Forum

Unbalanced friendly relationships where you are being 'helped'

David Nelson

Permanent Fixture
Feb 18, 2022
Wirral UK
1w9 possib
Has anyone else experienced anything like this? I'm thinking it's probably a particularly INFJ type thing.

You get into a relationship with people (not intimate just friends) but you come to realise that they see you as someone who 'needs help', and usually by that they also see you as inferior to them. They don't say this but you can see that's how they perceive you. They also don't understand you, but as an INFJ you go along with their perspective due to Fe parent and become complicit in the arrangement. It's very weird, this has happened to me more than once, and of course I'm talking about Sensors.
The closest thing I can think of is a pleasant experienced/aprentice dynamic I sometimes have with older guys.

For example, I became friends with a old carpenter who I paid to fix some window frames. We'll sometimes go fishing, and he's been sharing his experience in fishing techniques, as well as some handy knots for securing loads to my car's roof rack.

It's fairly rare, but when there's a skill sharing dynamic, it makes me think of our ancestors teachings each other how to make fire, and basic hunting tools. Perhaps one of our better traits.
I think with me what has encouraged these situations is that some of my work is low status and people do tend to pigeon-hole you on that basis. Plus some people do like to help others, so it's a combination of their need to help, with their failure to understand me based on stereotypical judgements, and my 'willingness' to go along with it. But how do you go about changing such a situation? Tell them they don't understand you? Ghost them?
That sounds awful to me, and I am happy to report I have never experienced it.

I think with me what has encouraged these situations is that some of my work is low status and people do tend to pigeon-hole you on that basis. Plus some people do like to help others, so it's a combination of their need to help, with their failure to understand me based on stereotypical judgements, and my 'willingness' to go along with it. But how do you go about changing such a situation? Tell them they don't understand you? Ghost them?
I think virtually every relationship I've had has had an element of this to it, or an element of patronisation. At school, a teacher told my parents they thought it was odd that my friends were clearly not at my IQ level. I was also aware of this, but had no choice. It's why I have few friends and part of the INFJ struggle. It's a wonder I'm still sane.
I personally have a tendency to do this to others. The reason is that I learned my needs weren't important and to focus on other people's needs instead of my own. I then feel responsible for other people and their problems. If I see people experiencing suffering I feel like it's my job to stop them from suffering.

The core problem is that I become distracted by other people's problems to avoid solving my own problems. It seems easier to point out what others are doing wrong and try to advise them instead of to only focus on improving myself and let other people do whatever they are going to do.

A lot of people I've wanted to "help" were really just valuing different things in life and were not going the same direction in life as me. Instead of accepting them for how they are (which they annoyed me and violated my boundaries) I stuck around to try to "help" them aka make them think the way I think is acceptable. If you find yourself in your situation the kindest thing for both people is to just cut ties. Some people don't get along or like each other and trying to force it results in this weird power dynamic.
Yes I can also say I have the tendency to want to help certain other people (but haven't had many chances to do it). I think it's called the 'broken wing sysndrome', common to INFJs. I guess if the helped gets better, it can be unhealthy if the INFJ misses the role of helper.

I agree slant that removal is the best option. Fortunately one of these has naturally ended. Another one is a religious person trying to convert me (had several of those, often neighbours). They never give up! I should perhaps get offended and start trying to convert them to atheism lol. Been invited to church meeting several time, but I never go. Again, it's a lack of respect and respecting boundaries. I'm too damn nice!
I should perhaps get offended

I'm talking about Sensors.

From a technical standpoint, sensors think everyone needs help (lol).
I'm always like, back off yo, damn. I need some thinkin space.
You go fiddle with your buttons and strings or whatever it is you do, I'll go sit on my lazy ass and think until I got somethin brilliant to say.
I used to work with a man who would likely type as ISTP.

His ability to take anything apart, and I mean anything, fix it, and put it back together, such that it would be functional—even better than it had been—it was just amazing to me. No manual, no YouTube, it didn’t matter if he had seen the thing in question before, or anything else like it.

When the engine on the box truck went south, he ripped right into it, even though he had never worked on a diesel engine before, and certainly not any engine of that size. Shop quote was $5400 for the parts alone—he (and I) got it done for $800. I just scoured the web for deals on the parts he needed.

I mean, I’ll take things apart, but not on that kind of level. I saw him do it with engines of many kinds, printing presses, other automation equipment mechanicals and electrical systems—nothing seemed beyond his grasp.

To see it in person was like witnessing magic.

Some Sensors are not so exciting for Intuitives, but he was certainly one of them. A good guy too.

Another Sensor that really left an impression was a former girlfriend who typed as ESFP, Type 7 Enneagram. Because I don’t really understand the how of it, I can’t explain it, but she had remarkable depth—of a kind largely foreign to me. And I thought I was a stimulation junkie! :p

In my 25+ years of online communities talking about type, Sensors of any kind are a rare sighting, to be sure.

Yes I have heard about ISTP's amazing abilities to mend things. CS Joseph talks about it in one of his videos. Power of Ti and Se. Natural mechanics and more.

No words or video could even begin to capture the magic, I tell ya’. :)

To a sensor, the open-endedness of Ni comes across as the way young children approach the world. If that's the main thing they see of us, then they will give us the same courtesy that they give children in a parent-child relationship. This may be a nurturing parent relationship, or a stricter standard-setting relationship depending on our attitude towards them. It goes hand in glove with the way people establish social hierarchies - the sensors do this unconsciously and instinctively, but some of us introverts make a big indigestible meal of it.

If you can see what is going on, then as an intuitive you can use this behaviour to your advantage, because it can gain you entry to social contexts that are otherwise challenging - we can be given licence beyond our social status in a given group in the same way children are treated. It needs care if we are to be considered seriously though.

The mature intuitive can deal with this whole social game plan by projecting confidence in our world view. The others don't need to have any insight into it - it's enough only that we believe in ourselves and project that belief among others of whatever type. This needs to be practical not bullshitting - we need to contribute confidently and successfully in our own way, and be confident in it. A little hint of guru goes a long way in the right direction, but it needs to be done well, because it comes across as a caricature if it's mishandled. Ni/Fe if tuned up well is a very good way of feeling into a social situation effectively. Guru is socially high ranking, and is the natural social home for INFJ and INTJ.
Yes I think that goes some way to explaining things. Ni dominant gets read wrong by most sensors. Explains much of my life sadly. Perhaps the greatest gift often read as the greatest weakness.

Yes I think we’d make great spies, gaining access to inner circles.
This hasn't really happened to me. I'm usually the one helping others, or was until my mid-forties (when I started avoiding overextending myself to help others unless they really need it).

Like @John K pointed out, being Ni dom can cause some people to view me as child-like or naive. I use this to my advantage, too. With my family, I just ignore it because I am the youngest in my generation and they will never stop treating me like "the baby" even though doing so is absurd. Other adult youngest children have told me it is the same for them.

In one case, I had a friendship with someone who was hierarchy-oriented. I was older, had been part of the community longer, and was respected. She was new and trying to be cool. Many years after our introduction, I went through hard times. My SO and I had a bit of drama and she showed up at my doorstep to help. She seemed to think she rose above me on her imaginary hierarchy during that time, so as soon as I started to bounce back she grew mean and divisive––as if I was a threat to her new position of superiority. The friendship eventually ended. She fit a Sensor (ISFJ) profile. Reflecting on that friendship, I always felt a chasm between us.
I also had a quite long term ISFJ friendship and I could see that there was a chasm between us. They misinterpret a lot of what we do and think etc. Often it just gets lost in the noise but sometimes it led to conflict. The relationship ended a few years ago. I found they were always suspicious and cagey. Seemed to always assume the worst motives in others and sought to help in a patronising way, while also coming across as humble. It’s odd for us INFJs to understand that. I felt this ISFJ was always suspicious of talent or achievement. Maybe it was jealousy. It was as if being humble was their default position. They just have no conception of the abstract world. They are highly affiliative and traditional. Politics is hard for them to grasp. They do come across as nice most of the time, but they always seem to be hiding something behind a smug and patronising expression. Like they think they know best. They like to help more than admire.