Borderline? or ENFP?

Posted: December 4, 2009 in borderline personality disorder, bpd, diagnosis, fun, identity, Myers-Briggs, personality, personality trait, types

Let me begin by saying that I have always known that I am an ENFP. I am so much an ENFP that it would be a joke for me to try to pretend to be any other Myers-Briggs personality type. The description of an ENFP describes me to a tee. Except the part about being charismatic. I don’t think people like me as much as all the descriptions say ENFPs are liked. Of course it could be  because they think I’m weird…

Anyway, I was looking over ENFP descriptions today, and I came across a description that was worded in such a way that I think I finally have an answer to my BPD confusion. I am not Borderline, I am simply an ENFP. Let me explain.

First, let’s start with the description I found:

Most ENFPs will exhibit the following weaknesses with regards to relationship issues:

  • Tendency to be smothering
  • Their enthusiasm may lead them to be unrealistic
  • Uninterested in dealing with “mundane” matters such as cleaning, paying bills, etc.
  • Hold onto bad relationships long after they’ve turned bad
  • Extreme dislike of conflict
  • Extreme dislike of criticism
  • Don’t pay attention to their own needs
  • Constant quest for the perfect relationship may make them change relationships frequently
  • May become bored easily
  • Have difficulty scolding or punishing others

There are a couple of difficult relationship areas for the ENFP. The first problem is that many ENFPs have a problem leaving bad relationships. They tend to internalize any problems and take them on their own shoulders, believing that the success or failure of the relationship is their own responsibility. As perfectionists, they don’t like to admit defeat, and will stick with bad situations long after they should have left. When they do leave the relationship, they will believe that the failure was their fault, and that there was surely something they could have done to save the relationship.

On the entirely other end of the spectrum, many ENFPs have a difficult time staying focused and following things through to completion. If they have not focused on their ability to follow through, they may have problems staying in dedicated, monogamous relationships. They are so in tune with all of the exciting possibilities of what could be, that they will always fantasize about a greener pasture out there somewhere. If they are not paired with a partner who enjoys new experiences, or who shares their idealistic enthusiasm, the ENFP may become bored. The ENFP who is bored and who is not focused will be very unhappy, and will eventually “leave” the relationship if the problem is not addressed.

Since relationships are central to the ENFP’s life, they will be very “hands on” and involved with their intimate relationships. They may be in the habit of constantly asking their partner how they’re doing, what they’re feeling, etc. This behavior may be a bit smothering, but it also supports a strong awareness of the health (or illness) of the relationship.

The ENFP needs to be given positive assurance and affirmation. More than one ENFP has been known to “go fishing” for compliments. They like to hear from their significant others that they are loved and valued, and are willing and eager to return the favor. They enjoy lavishing love and affection on their mates, and are creative and energetic in their efforts to please. The ENFP gets a lot of their personal satisfaction from observing the happiness of others, and so is generally determined to please and serve their partners.

A problem area for ENFPs in relationships is their dislike of conflict and sensitivity to criticism. They are perfectionists who believe that any form of criticism is a stab at their character, which is very difficult for them to take. Conflict situations are sources of extreme stress to the ENFP. They have a tendency to brush issues under the rug rather than confront them head-on, if there is likely to be a conflict. They are also prone to “give in” easily in conflict situations, just to end the conflict. They might agree to something which goes against their values just to end the uncomfortable situation. In such cases, the problem is extended and will return at a later time. The ENFP needs to realize that conflict situations are not the end of the world. They are entirely normal, and can be quite helpful for the growth of a relationship. They also need to work on taking criticism for what it is, rather than blowing up any negative comment into an indictment against their entire character.

While they are generally accepting of most all people, ENFPs with strong Feeling preferences may have a difficult time understanding people with very strong Thinking preferences who do not respond to the ENFP’s enthusiastic warmth. The ENFP will stay open-minded about what they consider a “rejection” by the Thinker, until the situation has repeated itself a few times, in which case the ENFP may shut themselves entirely against the Thinker. ENFPs may also feel threatened by individuals with strong Judging preferences. With a tendency to take any criticism personally, the ENFP may find themselves irritated or emotional when the Judger expresses a negative opinion, believing somehow that the Judger is expressing disapproval or disappointment in the ENFP.

Okay, whoa, can’t figure out how to get my normal font back. Anyway, that’s a lot to read and probably not nearly as interesting to non-ENFPs. Atleast for me I am always more interested in reading things that relate to me. But, a lot of this description totally relates to some common borderline issues. Like my “I hate you, don’t leave me” syndrome. It’s because I really value relationships, but if you criticize me then I pull away. Also, ENFPs are very emotional and that totally explains my so-called “emotional lability”. And ENFPs are really impulsive. And that whole thing about people not existing to me when they’re not here? Well, I am kind of flighty. And being an extrovert of course I don’t like being alone. But I do a lot better when I’m not depressed.

This could also mean I’m not AD(H)D because ENFPs are really enthusiastic and energetic. Who knows?

I wonder how many people have been mislabelled with some thing or another, but really they just display a certain personality type?

Please note that I am not a professional by any means and it is never a good idea to practice self-diagnosis. These are just my own musings.

But an interesting question. I think it would be neat to hear from people who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder and find out what their Myers-Briggs is. If you’re comfortable doing so, and supposing anyone is reading this anymore, leave a comment and let me know!

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