Q. My children are my life. I’ve sacrificed everything to bring them up, providing the best care I possibly could. But now that they are adults, they have moved out of my life and I barely hear from them or see them. I feel very unappreciated and marginalized. When I tell them how hurt I am that they’ve closed me out of their life, they ignore me. I just want the love of my children back in my life. ~ISFJ
A. Your type, the ISFJ, is sometimes nicknamed “The Mother,” because that is your quintessential approach to life and relationships. You are one of the most devoted and service oriented types, and your quiet, loving, grounded perseverance keeps the world turning reliably on its axis. The only thing you want in return for your endless labor is the love and appreciation of those you’ve devoted your life too! Is that too much to ask?
Not at all.
Suppose that a friend in need asked you to help her with her garden. You rushed over with buckets and buckets of water… only to find that her planters had no dirt! She might say, “Oh, I so appreciate your willingness to help me, but I have water, it’s soil that I need!” So, suppose you went back home, then returned to her yard … with more water instead of soil! Of course, all plants need water! And suppose you did this every day, from then on, glad that you could help, by bringing her water! Would you be surprised if she got frustrated that you were determined to bring her water when what she needed was soil?
This is the core problem for the ISFJ. You want so much to help those you care about, that you don’t always make sure you are helping in the manner most needed. Then you find your help goes unappreciated, even though you are working so hard and sacrificing of yourself to help! The best thing you can do for your loved ones and your own health, is to find out what the real need is BEFORE you offer help!
Perhaps you are offering your children water when what they need is soil? If that’s been going on a while, they may have despaired of ever getting the soil they need, and are avoiding you to avoid getting more water!
Think about the following questions for a bit so you can answer as honestly as possible… have you made it safe and acceptable for your children to tell you what they do and do not need from you?
How can you find out what it is that your children need from you, and would show appreciation for receiving?
Are you willing to give your children what they need, even if it doesn’t fit your idea of what they should need?