Hi there!

I am an INFP and 17 years old. My parents are really great and all but they're the type of people that don't take no are difference of opinion very well. They've been pushing me to get out in the world but also wanting me to stay close to home. My family is great aswell but...basically, they don't like my own personality but when i pretend they want me to be "real". I'm not happy enough. (jumping up and down while smiling) but when i joke it's wierd. I'm not trying to rag on them but...I feel like if i try to stand up for myself to my family it won't end well but if i don't then i think that my own mental health will continue to go down hill. I don't know how to deal with this and I hate confrontation but I can't continue to deal with life like this. Sorry for the long message!

Sincerely

N.F.

Comments

Dr David A Strawbridge (not verified) says...

Don't feel like you need to pretend anything. Just be yourself. Whatever that self is. At your age your image and ego are changing and so your parents may just sense a lack of continuity. And that's just fine. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to find out who you are. Most importantly, stop judging yourself. Just relax and enjoy the ride. 

N.F. says...

Thanks Dr StrawBridge! Nice to know people listen!

DeeM (not verified) says...

Hi N.F.,

17 is a hard place to be, especially in a family that sees your personality as defective rather than having its own beauty. Keep learning about your personality and how to thrive in the world and find a way to go off to school. But don't go there to just get away from your family, go with a goal of finding out how to support yourself in this world and still stay true to yourself. With this personality type, there's a chance that what makes you happy won't make you a ton of money. That's only a problem if you get yourself into debt so you need to make a ton of money to stay afloat. It's hard to believe now, but when you do find what makes you happy, most likely your parents will come to accept you. They're still growing and learning as well. Most parents want their kids to be happy, they're often just caught up in their own issues that get in the way of realizing that. Good luck to you.

Jennifer (not verified) says...

Find some ways to express yourself that are not confronting or shocking, like through art or poetry, things you can share with your family to let them see who you are. Find some quotes that suit you and print and post them in your room, on your bedroom door, etc. Discover some interests, hobbies, college majors, business ventures that appeal to you and pour into them until you find what you love and could be passionate about. Share those dreams with them. When you’re interacting with them, be open and see if you can find something to enjoy. Lighten up. Stop seeing yourself as so different and someone who doesn’t fit in this family, but as someone different, yes, and who brings some great things to the table in this family—whatever you believe your strengths are. Determine your strengths and concentrate more on those and shining in your own ways. Be a light into your world instead of trying to gain acceptance. The acceptance will come.

Melonie (not verified) says...

As an infp i would say its most important that you learn how you personally need to deal without outside expectations in relevance to making yourself happy in life. No one should be choosing your goals but you. How to reach those goals as best you can? Its still up to you to find advice you trust abd are comfortable with. And aside from all this i promise the rest is not gonna be important in the long run. So ask yourself, why is making me sweat today? Should i let it?

A.W. (not verified) says...

Hi, N.F. 
I have a feeling that, since you are an INFP as well, you share my love of writing and poems. Specifically, I write my own music, stories, poems, and even characters and worlds. If you need a place to start standing up, use writing as a platform to push yourself in that direction. INFP are inherently more skilled in written communication than in verbal. so use that to your advantage. Write a story about standing up and doing what you believe is right. write a story about YOUR life, then have your family read it. That's just my suggestion, though. Everyone else here has way better ideas than I do, so maybe take it with a grain of salt! Hope this helps.

-A.W.

AnotherINFP (not verified) says...

Hello N. F.

I've been where you are before. Both with my family wanting me to get out and do things but also wanting me to stay home, as well as in not being able to accept certain things about me and what I wanted for my life.

I also, like you, hate conflict. But let me tell you this: there's no replacement for your sanity. And unfortunately there's no easy way around it - you have to sit them down and talk to them about it.

Just don't do what I did and expect them to understand or accept everything right away! Humans are humans. We are all flawed. It may take only one explanation...or it may take weeks, or it may take years. Just be prepared and be ready to explain your needs to them more than once. Don't be disheartened. After all, they are only human. So if they don't understand, or they don't accept, don't take it too hard, and forgive them.

You are a kind, well-meaning person for thinking of their desires, but keep a couple of things in your life that no one can dictate but you.

But if there's only one thing that you take from this message, I hope it's this most important one: you are just as important, your dreams and hopes are just as worth accomplishing, and you are just as wonderful and precious an existence and a life as anyone else. Please NEVER forget that, and remember that it is important to ACTIVELY tell yourself this, and ACTIVELY believe it everyday. Write it on you wall if you have to. Just expose yourself to this belief everyday. 

I wish you the best of luck. I believe in you. 

Sincerely, 

Another INFP

HomebodyAlien (not verified) says...

My parents were that way too.  I think they spent 98% of my life, as I grew up, trying to change me, and the other 2% of it, they spent giving me "creative" types of things to work with to see if I were a prodigy at something and all the weirdness was for a reason.  How to say this... They can't see and understand the things that you see and understand about yourself, the universe, etc.  It's like, they are living inside a black and white 1950's TV with the rabbit ear antennae and plenty of static to deal with, while you are living in full-color 1080P HD 4D - that's VERY different, and it's going to clash on the regular, but it's not your fault.  Sadly, you can't make them see you and the rest of the world, the way you do.  Believe me, I've tried, and it will only cause you great frustration and grief.  You may not even get them to appreciate the things about you that you value.  What you can do is choose to love them as they are and try to meet them where they are at, as often as you can.  My dad?  I discovered he's a full-blown NPD narcissist and he and I cannot and should not connect, for the sake of my own emotional health and well-being.  My mom is a different story - I just love her and meet her where she's at, the best that I can.  This has been a long journey of self-discovery for me, (I'll be 36 next month) - I'm hoping by sharing my experiences, it'll save you some stress and some heartache.  It may never be as reciprocal or rich of a relationship with your parents as it would be if they were able to see things the way you do, but you'll still get to have a relationship with them at some level (provided they are not full-blown narcissists or otherwise emotional abusers), without compromising or changing who you are, to do it.  Also, find people to connect with who see more of who you are, are willing to engage over the things you value, and have no wish to change you.  That will help strengthen your confidence and your personal identity.  I hope this helps!

HomebodyAlien (not verified) says...

I forgot to mention that I am currently helping raise a 17-year-old autistic person, so I've also got some of the "parent" perspective on these things as well.  It's very healthy, at your age, to want to stand up for yourself, express your emotions, discover and strengthen your values, and forge and strengthen your own identity.   It's a significantly formative time in your life.  We try to encourage and positively reward those things in our autistic son.  The right thing to do, when you're a parent, is to be emotionally supportive, and respond positively to your teen as they do the difficult work of forming their own identity.  A lot of parents have their own emotional barrier to this - they want you to share their values, so a lot of parents kind of suck at it, unfortunately.  I hope this is helping.

An INFP who was in your shoes (not verified) says...

I had the same situation when I was your age. I found the best thing for me was to move out on my own. Putting space between myself and the borderline abuse my family was putting me through emotionally and mentally allowed myself to grow. I took time teaching in a foreign country, and I had a lot of other struggles that in turn taught me how to deal with authority figures that acted poorly. I grew a large portion of my independence from this experience, and it helped me understand how to handle the way my family was. It helped me learn that in spite of them not understanding me, being true to myself was the best thing for me. I learned to put my foot down and tell them no. I gained confidence like none other! (I mean you have to gain confidence to be able to stand up for yourself normally, but when I was alone abroad, it was a matter of survival!) I suggest to gain some experience apart from your family, and use that to better understand them, and yourself.

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