ISFJs are deeply compassionate, sensitive and self-sacrificing
individuals for whom the normal "give-and-take" of the every-day world
is a threatening, anxiety-producing affair. That means that life
as their counterparts, the ESFJs and the ESTJs live it - zestfully,
enthusiastically and enjoying of its manifold resources - is a greatly
desired but unknown experience for the ISFJ. Fearing the spontaneous
side of life makes them attempt to control the events surrounding their
lives. And this is an enterprise destined to fail - for life is itself
characterized by unknown dynamics. The ISFJ, like the INFJ, longs to learn
to ride the crests of the changing winds of life - learning to "go-with-the-flow".
Their strongly sacrificial, sensitive, compassionate natures,
however, lead them to go forth quietly but relentlessly to seek to meet
needs of those who are less fortunate than themselves. The helping
professions, the healing professions, social work, nursing and other medical
professions are replete with ISFJs who often will sacrifice salary for
service. They will labor long, faithfully and dependably because...
they care. Institutions, too, are beneficiaries of the ISFJs' abundantly
given sacrificial service. These are faithful, unassuming hard workers!
ISFJs are not socially adept and, like Is, do not make nor desire
to have many friends, preferring few but close friends instead. They
are ever ready to "be there" for a friend if that friend is in need of
moral and emotional support but shy away - indeed, hide - from confrontations.
Their feelings are easily hurt and they - being also introverted and socially
insecure - do not know how to verbalize their displeasure without "making
a federal case" out of minor occurrences. They are, nonetheless,
valuable friends so long as the friend does not remain in a state of emotional
need which may make the ISFJ tire of the "treadmill" of negativity - although
any friend of theirs will tell you that they are not the most optimistic
of persons themselves. They have a propensity to jump to conclusions
and, being hesitant to brooch any subject that may lead to psychological
or emotional discomfort - follow their own conclusions about others without
testing them independently to see if they have or have not erred in judgment.
Their inability to willingly confront issues of disturbance
- generally being taken advantage of - leads them to "take it home" where
they expect their mates to uphold and support them. They are not,
however, willing listeners to criticism or advice that is not supportive
of their positions, particularly if told they invite much of the "abuse"
of their strong sense of duty. The tender heart that extends so readily
to others extends also to themselves. As compassionate, self-sacrificing
and kind-hearted as they are most of the time, ISFJs can also exhibit a
propensity to see one side of an issue - the side they agree with.
For this reason, they can become difficult to interact with on a personal
level and their martyrdom can become tiresome. Their need to control
- in an attempt to subvert "bad things happening" - can also create and
transmit tension to all around them.
However, if they are able to forge good relationships with spouse
and friends, they are characterized by unselfish devotion, being fiercely
protective of family and children. They are generally humble, unassuming,
hardworking, caring and giving. If they are not able to resolve internal
conflicts and anxieties, they - because of their inability to give voice
to their inner turmoil - "utilize" psychosomatic illnesses to draw attention
or to extricate them from the give-and-take dynamics of life.
Although they are generally sweet and attractive personalities,
their mood swings make it difficult for people to be comfortable with them
on a continuing basis and make them difficult to understand since they
do not give voice to inner and outer struggles. They are generally
able to be demonstratively affectionate only with family members
within the shelter of their own homes - although there is a tendency to
"own" the home, the spouse, the children, etc. .
Gentle, compassionate, giving quietly and unobtrusively, they
often go unappreciated because of what they do best: give quietly
and unobtrusively. Those who know them well know that they
are worthy of befriending for they themselves are such good friends while
the relationships last. Most times, their self-imposed isolation
leaves little room for those who desire to know them better and to become
a good friend to them as well.
Nonetheless, while martyrdom is difficult to withstand or to
live with, ISFJs are so self-undervaluing and so needy AND worthy of the
support of those who do recognize their unspoken devotion and unstinting
will to serve.