Function Order: Si-Fe-Ti-Ne

ISFJs are among the most loyal, sensible, and devoted of the sixteen types, but this can also mean they wind up stuck in a relationship that is unsatisfying to them, because they spend so much time looking after other people’s feelings. Marge Sherwood is one such woman, who came abroad to write her book, but has gotten sucked into looking after Dickie full time. She is in love with him enough to tolerate his manic moods, his serial affairs, and his impulsive actions, because she sincerely believes he will settle down with her and give her the life (and children) she wants. She is willing to wait for that to happen, and to work toward it, because she understands patience and has a desire for permanence (a result of her introverted sensing). Si craves stability and trusts what has lasted over generations, most often through familial relationships. The normal thing in their mind is to get married and have kids. But they also track things and reach conclusions through their personal lens of experience—how things have affected them. Marge shows this directly in her interactions with Tom. When Freddie comes for a visit, and Dickie transfers all of his attention to him, she approaches Tom on the boat to talk to him about how to relate to Dickie. She says that when he’s all about you, it feels wonderful, like you are the center of his world, and then when his attention shifts, it’s very “cold.” One minute, you exist and the next you don’t. She is speaking from personal experience, as the girlfriend who sometimes is at the center of his focus, and the rest of the time, gets forgotten, ignored, and neglected. And she comes to believe Tom is guilty of murdering Dickie, when the facts he shares with her, and the behavior her boyfriend is exhibiting, do not match her personal experiences with him. Dickie would never stop talking to her, he does not have these tastes, he wouldn’t commit suicide (that is not in his nature), and he wouldn’t give Tom his rings. It’s the details rather than her intuition that fill in the blanks. Because she’s an extroverted feeler, she directly speaks her mind and about her feelings, as events unfold—confessing to Tom that she feels Dickie is hiding things from her, venting her frustrations, and telling him off for being four hours late to lunch. She is warm and appropriate in a mixed setting, but also unable to control her temper when she confronts Tom on the boat, as she and Dickie’s father are leaving – she screams “I know you killed Dickie!” while pounding on his chest, until they drag her away. Her concern for others’ feelings is what makes her comfort Tom, when she senses his unspoken distress, but also why she holds onto a relationship that may never go anywhere. Her inferior Ne wants to believe he can change! She rationalizes away what she has to deal with, and also wants to understand why Tom acts the way he does, why he would say that to her, and why he has disappeared.

Enneagram:  2w1 sp/so

Enneagram 2s have the greatest capacity for love, and their main focus is on their romantic and familial attachments. They think all the time about their relationships, and frame things in how they feel they should act toward others—selfless and generous. This is, in part, what traps Marge in a somewhat unsatisfying relationship. She thinks she should put up with a lot, in order to help and fix Dickie, so she does—all to receive love. But there’s never enough of it, and he often leaves her wanting when his attention moves to someone else. She continues to love him, to help him, to volunteer to do things for him. She cooks for him, pours him drinks, follows him around, all seeking for ways to be useful and special. 2s also make decisions through their emotions, rather than their heads—and she does. As she becomes more stressed, she starts exhibiting her feelings more openly, and it includes contempt for Tom. The more time she spends around him away from Dickie, the less she likes him, and she doesn’t bother to disguise her contempt any more—even bluntly saying that a hotel would be preferable to staying with him. This shows her line to 8, where she is moving out of a helpful space into a more aggressive stance. She used to be kind to Tom, considerate of his feelings, and even explained to him what to expect with Dickie, to protect him from feeling hurt. Now, she thinks he’s a fraud and wants revenge—and attacks him when it becomes apparent she can’t prove it. Her 1 wing makes her softer and more tolerant of Dickie’s behavior, while also occasionally chastising him for it, because she feels she “should” stick around for him.

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