The Unhealthy ESFJ- Understanding the ESFJ Dark Side


ESFJs are usually a pleasure to be around. They are likable, popular, and a bit selfless. This all changes with the unhealthy ESFJ.

This article discusses the unhealthy ESFJ and what you can expect from them.

Who is the Unhealthy ESFJ?

The unhealthy ESFJ is an ESFJ who shows toxic or extreme traits. When an ESFJ is unhealthy, their attitude and behavior are different and sometimes even shocking.

ESFJs can become unhealthy for various reasons. Sometimes, it can repeatedly be failing at a task. Other times, it can be caused by stress, heartbreak, or grief. Regardless, the main sign is a shift from their usual behavior.

It’s also important to note that weaknesses are not signs of an unhealthy ESFJ. All MBTI types will struggle with their weaknesses throughout their lives.

Knowing the signs of an unhealthy ESFJ will aid in quick recovery.

Signs of an Unhealthy ESFJ

1.   Manipulation Galore

An unhealthy ESFJ will overuse their primary function. In this case, that’s the extroverted feeling (Fe). This can be for bad or good. When it’s bad, unhealthy ESFJs become manipulative.

Fe allows them to understand people’s emotions, gestures, and moods. Thus, they often know the right things to say. This is amplified when it’s a loved one.

Unhealthy ESFJs can easily become manipulative parents and partners.

2.   Overly Pessimistic/Lack of Interest

ESFJs are often a bundle of joy. They are the glue that keeps their group together. When they become unhealthy, there’s a sense of apathy about them.

They become disinterested in their surroundings. There’s also a lack of interest in their hobbies or relationships.

The once glue of the pack becomes a shadow of themselves.

3.   Nitpicking

ESFJs care a lot about their loved ones. So, they are bound to give advice, sometimes unsolicited, to others.

Unhealthy ESFJs are different. They become nitpicky in a way that seems to undermine others. People might feel they are walking on eggshells around them.

Their behavior can also erode people’s self-confidence. Unhealthy ESFJs know this (thanks to their Fe) and derive pleasure from it.

4.   Using Ti Disastrously

ESFJ’s inferior function is introverted thinking (Ti). This usually means it’s least developed. Unhealthy ESFJs try to use Ti, and it usually ends badly.

They get into arguments, usually with more logical people, and argue wildly off the mark. They might bring emotions into it when they see they are not winning.

Things can get really intense, to say the least.

5.   Appreciation Seekers

ESFJs are selfless, and we love them for it. When they become unhealthy, they crave something back for all their efforts- appreciation.

When this doesn’t come, unhealthy ESFJs try to fish for it in any way possible. This includes manipulation, overextending themselves, or becoming aggressive.

This problem is worse in ESFJ 2w3 and ESFJ 2w1. Their need for external affirmation or validation goes through the roof.

6.   Tendency to Withdraw

Most ESFJs are borderline super extroverts. However, things change when unhealthy. They become detached from their surroundings and may withdraw.

This is usually very noticeable as most ESFJs like to talk. Consistently withdrawing or detaching themselves is a sure sign of unhealthiness.

Doing it once or twice is not a sign of unhealthiness.

7.   Overbearing

This follows the point of nitpicking. Unhealthy ESFJs become overbearing to those around them. They will nitpick you to death or sow doubt into your project or idea.

They will also seek out compliments in awkward situations. Unhealthy ESFJs are just a bit too much in every aspect. People will notice.

How to Get Out of the ESFJ Dark Side

So, you’re an unhealthy ESFJ. Now what? Here are the best ways to get out of the ESFJ dark side.

1.   Understand Your Triggers

You have to know what triggers unhealthiness. Everyone’s trigger is unique to them. Identifying this and knowing how to stop it is crucial.

You should also be able to identify your usual behavior and what’s not usual.

2.   Become Accountable

Understanding your triggers can only be achieved when you become accountable. Accountability can be achieved in two ways.

First, you need to commit to trying to help yourself. You also need to find someone who can hold you accountable. It has to be someone who cares about you and who you respect.

3.   Learn More About Yourself

Learning more about yourself is so important. Read more about ESFJs. If you don’t know your enneagram type, research it.

Understanding your inclinations, along with your triggers, can be a game changer. It can be a preventive force.

4.   See a Therapist

You should consider seeing a therapist if nothing is working. There are so many good options to choose from online or in person.

Making sure you’re comfortable is essential. So, don’t rush the process of finding one.

5.   Practice Self-care

Self-care is one of the best ways to feel alive. So, do what makes you happy. Take care of your body and explore your world with your loved ones. Here’s an article that talks about the best self-care activities for ESFJs. You might find it interesting.

Commonly Asked Questions about the ESFJ Dark Side

Can an ESFJ Get Angry?

Yes, an ESFJ can get angry like all other MBTI types. However, they often have higher tolerance levels.

Nevertheless, respect the ESFJ’s boundaries.

Are ESFJs Controlling?

Unhealthy ESFJs can control others using manipulation. However, a typical ESFJ is warm, helpful, and likable.

What are ESFJs Easily Stressed By?

ESFJs are often stressed by conflict or the need to assert themselves. This is because they are usually hyperaware of people’s feelings. They want to keep the peace. Being assertive is a risk.


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