MBTI: Skyler White- ESFJ
I get why Skyler is criticized. I do. She’s pretty much the only thing keeping Walt from going off the deep end entirely with no looking back, and she’s always there to remind him that what he’s doing is wrong and that’s just no fun.
Heck man, you look up “Skyler White,” and you get the related search results of “I hate Skyler” and Skyler memes that are also known as “Skyler Hypocrite” memes. We’ve seen this before. In dramatic fiction, no matter how simple the ESFJ’s needs are, there doesn’t seem to be a snowball’s chance in hell of getting what they want.
I actually wasn’t too aware of how much people hated Skyler until a couple days ago. I thought that while she had done detestable things throughout the series, so had everybody else. Her affair, her “generous” donation to Beneke, the laundering, and the ever-present fear and contempt she displays toward Walt through a major part of the series isn’t necessarily justified, but in a certain way of thinking, it does make sense.
I’m not writing this to explain away what Skyler did throughout the series anymore than I would Walt or Jesse but the biggest problem I imagine is that Skyler’s problems weren’t nearly as fun as Walt and Jesse’s. While Walt and Jesse are going toe-to-toe with the local drug lord, fighting for their lives and their money, Skyler was struggling with all the horrors Walt had created and how this was going to affect her children and what it said about her by staying with him. One is a little more exciting than the other.
If only Skyler would accept Walt as a meth kingpin, everything would be fine!
But nope, people want to complain. This must be similar to how an ESFJ feels in real life. While they can be doting and overprotective, turning normally positive traits into controlling ones, they get much of the flack that they do for, at the very least, trying to help.
As an ESFJ, Skyler’s leading Fe is what drives her and keeps her attached to her family. When we’re first introduced, she’s a coupon-clipping soccer mom, always reminding Walt about their budget and all the other things you imagine a middle-aged ESFJ female doing in her daily life. But the more Walt’s meth activities spread out, he becomes more aggressive and that much more of a liar. So while Skyler’s reactions are not necessarily what anybody would do, a strong Fe user, especially one backed by Si, may react in the ways that Skyler has.
For much of the series, she attempts to do not what is in the best interest of the family in the long run, but what’s best for the family right now. And for much of “now,” she gets verbally abused by Walter Jr., blamed by many around her for her actions, and is constantly arguing with Walt and just flat out being lied to. But to keep the family together, as Guardian women try to do, she’ll gets and accepts the short end of the stick on a regular basis. “As long as the family is together, I can deal with this.”
Often times, Skyler is typed as ENFJ. That’s not too far off, but an ENFJ may have focused on the long range pros and cons and just left with the kids, severing all ties to Walt. “This will be tough, but it’s better than to stay with a madman!” But the ESFJ perseveres, hoping things will get better and content that things are good enough at the moment.
Their strong value system has them trying their hardest to take care of those around them, to the best of their ability, whichever ways they know how. This is how they’ll often be seen as controlling. “You don’t seem to understand that vegetables are good for you so I’m going to MAKE you understand!”
So if caring for the family means that she’s going to launder her husband’s money and run a car wash as a front, then so be it! For a while, Skyler seemed somewhat accepting to Walt’s business, as it seemed to be the only way to keep everything quiet and the family content.
ESFJs have a need for things to be in place as they feel it should be and while it may take them a while to warm up to new ideas (as all Guardians do), their Fe first can also make it tough for them to know what to do, as they can be swayed by a good argument if said argument twists their already accepted principles in the right way. And while the lies build up, Walt was good at doing this for a while.
If you think Skyler wasn’t supportive, than I don’t know how you explain the scene of Skyler taking Walt to his gigantic cube of money. Have someone flip your entire life upside down in a way that could take you away from everything you know if caught and then tell you to just “Go along” with it and see how you react. I would say for a type that isn’t known to handle adaption or stress very well, this ain’t too bad.