Husband: ENTP - Type 8w7
Wife: ESFJ - Type 4w3
Ask: I'm looking to connect with people in an 8/4 relationship who can relate to and advise on this stormy dynamic (others welcome to chime in but I'm really looking for folks who have lived it rather than having only read about it in a book).
Sob story below.
When we got married neither one of us was healthy. Plus we were young, didn't know who we were, or what we wanted. The first 2 years were exceptionally hard but everyone just said "yep, the first year or two are tough". Lots of tears, yelling, swearing, storming off after a fight, etc. I assumed that our experience was the same as what everyone else went through too.
It's been 10 years and while the manifestations of the turmoil have mellowed some the underlying conflicts have not.
Further I've been working HARD on myself for a long time now. I have highly self-aware mentors that I meet with weekly who help me see blindspots and have been working with counselors who can help me understand how my 8ness affects other people (for better or worse). I'm learning to see the beauty in vulnerability and, as I'm discovering the strength and resilience within me, giving up control is becoming easier and more freeing.
My wife has also been through much counseling though it's seemed to do less for her. She's still very plagued by mood swings and in typical 4 fashioned will sometimes intentionally stir things up just to get the emotional rush. She's very much at the 'see me as unique' level and also gets stuck in the 'shoulds' (holding on tightly to ideals rather than what is). She takes everything personally, is hypersensitive, and will immediately default to MEGA-SHAME if there's even a hint of criticism.
My problem is this -
As I've become more healthy (and been exposed to more healthy relationships) I'm becoming aware of how dysfunctional our dynamic is.
I'm losing interest in the relationship. (this is REALLY hard for me to admit)
I feel so much grief over this - constant knots in my stomach - and I can feel my 8 tendency to close up and manage the distance between us kicking in.
I'm sick of the constant demand to tell her how amazing she is just for functioning at a basic (and even low) level.
And since any thoughts that don't agree with hers or feelings less than overwhelmingly positive destabilize her sense of security and trigger fight or flight I feel really lonely and don't feel known at all.
We spend very little time together- maybe an hour a day on the couch talking that often turns into conflict (and yes I've suggested finding a joint project where we could engage without going too deep but she goes to be really early and wants to have ample 'wind-down' time)
Basically... I need help.