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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Personality Café,
ISFPs and INFJs ESPECIALLY (INFJs because you're the natural relationship experts of the MBTI)
I desperately need insight into how conflictor types can best communicate love for one another. My childhood has been a tragic witnessing of just how well these two types DO NOT communicate effectively! I know the divorce is inevitable, but I have the same relationship dynamic with my dad (ISFP). I'm an ENTP, but when I was younger I didn't experience as much conflict with him as my mom did, because I was so "quiet" (depressed due to a completely unrelated issue that I didn't find resolve for until more recently, but that's too personal of a story so don't ask.) As a young adult now I'm finding myself, but this has also resulted in my dad and I clashing similarly to how he and my mom do. The most heart wrenching aspect is that although we miscommunicate to the point of feeling emotionally abused by each other, I think we all do truly care about one another. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE help me to understand how best to approach an ISFP without offending them. I know us ENTPs can unintentionally come across very abrasively to feeler types and I want to learn how to be more gentle in my presentation from his perspective. (We think we're being honest and upfront, but then left scratching our heads on how quickly things dissolve into ugly frustration and hurt on both sides!) I know now that there's never going to be a normal kind of emotional closeness which children want with their fathers, but I want to at least be able interact with him in the most positive way possible. (I also feel like the more responsible party in the relationship since he's a very complicated man: he was abused as a child, unfortunately did allot of drugs as a teen (clean and sober now) and has a mental illness, all of which makes him a bit unique to interact with and hard to understand sometimes even more so than by just being my conflictor. I know it's both because I know another male ISFP and the only reason I crushed hard on him is that he reminded me of a healthier version of my father, they say girls tend to subconsciously gravitate towards men who remind them of their fathers! It was a really weird push-pull for me, naturally I didn't find him terribly attractive emotionally, even though he's a lovely person, just TOO QUIET and reserved!)
ISFPs: how do you want others to communicate/relate to you? What makes you feel loved? Especially as a parent, what are the most heartwarming things for you when interacting with your child?
INFJs: CONFLICT MANAGEMENT? How to avoid? Any insights, gut feelings you might get after reading my story?
There was a big family argument last year where it at least finally came to the surface that my mom and dad want to divorce each other (finances are the only thing in the way). Religious attitudes kept those feelings under wraps for a long time, so as painful as it was, it was at least relieving for them to admit what we'd all felt simmering under the surface for forever.

Both of my parents had abusive childhoods and the only reason they ever got together was because they both felt so beaten down that they didn't think anyone else would want them. Saddest reason ever to marry, but hey, at least I'm here now, right? But ouch, this has been no fun. On their own they are wonderful people, but if they hadn't been depressed and desperate when they met I don't think they would've been anything more than passing acquaintances.

P.S. Due to noticing a trend on this site of some "Know-It Alls" trying to retype people. If you aren't willing to trust my understanding of myself and my family's types DON'T BOTHER replying! I'm an ENTP, I've fucking examined all this from every angle for years and I'm confident of what I know, and you've never met any of us, so shut up.
Also you don't have to be ISFP or INFJ for me to be interested in your reply I'm just targeting these two types because I think they'll have the most to say regarding my situation. Thanks.
 

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I will say that from my experience, ENTPs too often allow their egos to lead them in their interactions with others. ENTPs readily practice a whole array of the dark interpersonal arts, from prodding at others' known sensitivities (y'all are past masters at this), to disagreeing with someone just to start an argument, all the way to outright sabotaging others through the rumor mill. I'm not implying that you do any or all of these things with your parents, but these are the issues I've personally had with ENTPs.

I've had a lot of dealings in my life with ISFPs, and I have to say that they're probably the least enthusiastic fans of ENTPs of all temperaments. ISFPs don't like ego, they don't like strong opinions expressed in a definitive manner, they hate know-it-alls, and they hate--hate --argumentation. That's why ENTPs and ISFPs are such a combustible combination. You all engage in argumentation as recreation; they revile it like the Virgin Mary reviles sin.

So, that said, tone down your desire to argue. I know, I know, easier said than done, but it's important. Believe me, INFJs have an broad argumentative streak in us, and I've had to belay that for the sake of harmony with my ISFP girlfriends. Also, try to keep things fun and lighthearted as much as you can. Stifle your latent ENTP imp (yeah, you have him) at all costs. ISFPs do not enjoy and will not long tolerate mean-spirited interactions, and much of what ENTPs say can come across as mean-spirited to their ears. Try to engage him on things that he finds fun. That's how you develop rapport with ISFPs. And finally, be careful about expressing your ideas. Now this one may seem needless and draconian, but hear me out. ISFPs can feel very inferior to abstract thinkers like ENTPs who are quick-witted and filled with endless ideas. You all are really masters at this stuff, and it can unintentionally spur an ISFP's inferiority complex like mad. I love batting around ideas and maybe even showing off my acumen in certain fields, and it took me a long time to realize that my ISFP girlfriends actually resented this to a large degree. On one hand they admired my intelligence, but it didn't make them feel good when I really dig deep on a topic and expound at length because it inflamed that sense of intellectual inferiority to some degree.

Anyhow, just some thoughts to consider. ISFPs are tricky. Much of what they do will not seem logical, and they can be incredibly hard to reason with. That said, I love those lil buggers, because my god, they're nothing if not lovable. So yeah, they're worth the hassle even if they unfairly hold things against you sometimes, and in your case especially so since we're talking about your dad. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I agree, an immature ENTP will definitely experiment socially in ways that could be immensely hurtful for a feeler type/ anyone who doesn't understand the jab as a joke etc. (I can actually inform you that the intended purpose of this kind of communication is to say essentially "I understand, I care" explained further: "See, I know exactly where it hurts, (proving it by subtle demonstration) Now do you trust me that my intentions towards you are actually good? So that maybe I can help you heal and reconcile with this area of life you find uncomfortable?" We're trying to open up dialogue if necessary/ check on how you're doing here, the same way a doctor needs to clean out a wound to prevent infection. It can hurt, but it's meant to protect you. VERY RARELY does the ENTP mean this as an actual attack/ get intentionally vicious with our ability to provoke. (Only if the ENTP has lost all sense of trust and respect with you and is so pissed/thinks you're so evil, they just want to get you the fuck away from them permanently, would they use this that way if they can't just simply ignore you/ are forced into confrontation by the other party.) This kind of "brutish" therapy is actually fairly common among Thinking dominant types, and we respond well to this from each other. (It's very stereotypically "male". I'm a woman, but I totally get it! ha ha! It’s a “Hey man, you’re tough, you’ve got what it takes to deal with life!” thing.) I think this works for us because Thinking types are driven by a fear of not being able to understand/accomplish ; Whereas Feelers are driven, I think more, by a fear of not being able to experience/relate; hence why what we understand in this and possibly find relieving doesn’t get perceived by a Feeler and would actually inflame the Feeler's pain further, (my sincerest apologies on our behalf, the thought of causing you wonderful, fascinating people pain is secretly devastating to us Thinkers since that's the last thing we really want! <3) If the ENTP doesn't realize who understands their natural style of playful banter and communication for what it really is, and who doesn't, and just bears it all, all the time, in front of anyone, they will end up with a very polarized social circle of friends and haters or worse, isolated and misunderstood, depending on which types they happen to be surrounded with. A mature ENTP will realize they need to modify their presentation according to who they are interacting with (something which we can learn to do actually, I think fairly readily, and enjoy as a way of exploring new perspectives!) Feelers are a continuing social challenge for us and valuable resource for learning how better to connect deeply, since we are far from the best at predicting emotional reactions intuitively (experience on the other hand can teach us allot). We understand the language of brutal honesty above all else and are not really too afraid of exploring the uncomfortable. Despite what impressions many feeler types can have of us, as a whole the ENTP type deeply cares about others and just want everyone to have the chance to explore/understand life without any unnecessary fears/barriers to it! At our core we value finding what really makes life work, our Ne dominant ego is simply our unfettered zeal for doing whatever it takes to find true and lasting success in all areas of life.

ISFP and ENTP speak such separate languages which are nearly impossible to translate from one to another. (Notice I say nearly, because "impossible" isn't a thing, at least on the theoretical level; although the illusion of "impossible" occurs pretty often in the plain of space and time.) Each type has something crucial to add to the collective human consciousness (as does every type). Translating an ENTP's expression of themselves/needs etc. into the equivalent ISFP sort of expression takes longer than any other type communication translation would. But the ironic thing is all of humanity is just trying to communicate the same basic things: "This is me, This is what I like, This is how I'm exploring life, How can I help you too? Please love me!"

I also now am realizing that when interacting with one's conflictor type the only hope for emotional survival is to temporarily take one's ego off completely. No other type of relationship requires more patience, open mindedness and forgiveness than this! In fact, in theory I can see how putting effort into this kind of relationship could become incredibly freeing if one realizes that although the ego is an irremovable part of one's existence, it is not actually the perfect whole of one's existence, right? (Also the funny thing is that ISFP's ego seems to actually be based on thinking that "they have no ego?" or maybe that's more INFJ, and ISFP's ego is more "You cannot define me!" and what they need to admit is that they do have a definable ego (hello MBTI!), and that it's totally O.K to admit and doesn’t destroy their uniqueness?! Maybe (ENTP) I'm the expert at revealing this concept because I love/ am super comfortable with my ego! lol) On the most foundational level we are the same: human and in need of love (I believe that's what many religions' concepts of some sort of profound "Oneness" could be trying to refer to!) I can’t tell you how relieving it is to at least have this epiphany of my family’s MBTI types/ relationship dynamics! Being “P” preferenced doesn’t mean I have no need for closure, just that I take my god-damn sweet time to declare it, since there’s so much to consider in life……you know, like….EVERYTHING!!!! :D MwahaHAhaHA!
God, I know I can figure out how to explain what’s happening in great detail to you, but good luck trying to start a conversation with him. I wouldn’t even dare try at this point. I think the kindest thing is for me to try my best to cater to his emotional needs while expecting absolutely nothing in return; (I need to get my emotional needs for parenting met elsewhere, by trustworthy father figures I can relate to.) and to just trust that he loves and cares about us even though he never communicates it to us in the ways we find most meaningful and satisfying. Instead I need to focus myself and my mom in recognizing how he does mean to show love. I think this will help the transition out of this mess be as peaceful and gentle as possible for all parties involved.
I can find forgiveness for him now, even though there’s been some really ugly, hurtful (verbal) interactions. I have hope for how to contribute to things moving in a more positive direction now.
Thank you for your insights, those are some good things to help me focus myself when talking/ spending time with my dad. I have some ideas of how to communicate my love to him this Father’s Day now.
No better song was ever written about the Conflictor style relationship than Shawn Mendez’s “Mercy”. Oh my god I’ve been listening to that song on repeat the last couple days like it’s an emotional IV. Conflictors metaphorically scream this song at each other!! I love you INFJs’ ability to capture and communicate emotional realities poetically. I love my dad even though he’s hard to understand and love you too.  <3 Thanks for taking the time to reply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This sounds like an incredibly rough and difficult situation. Are you and your mum independent types, and your dad perceives criticism very easily, or is critical of you both?
You have no idea! It's desperately loving someone with whom you have very little intuitive understanding of how to express love to and all your attempts at being loving only seem to wound them, and then you're left feeling devastated and like you must be some sort of irreparable monster, and/or that maybe they are?! But since I have over 20 years experience with this kind of relationship I've come to realize/perceive that it's really neither parties fault fully and certainly NOT intention! (At least at first, once your feelings/soul has become deeply wounded in misunderstandings, the subconscious is a bitch if/when you start responding reactively out of the confusion.)
Yes we do value our independence allot; and he is easily offended by us. It's such a paradox because he's a soft and gentle soul who abhors the idea of hurting anyone (unless maybe they hurt him first), so it feels so weird to me how vicious he can become towards us when triggered (unintentionally) by us. Even worse is he won't necessarily show that he's been offended until it's boiled over to a point where he blows (Classic ISFP conflict avoidance) (then good luck for us trying to figure out what exactly offended him!) Also what really drives my mom mad is that he's so distant, quiet and reserved. When an ENTP is in love we are very enthusiastic about spending time with/ exploring the world with our partner. Unfortunately, he must find us overwhelming and somewhat abrasive (and just needs his introvert time anyways.) My mom's father was incredibly private/dismissive so it's super painful for her when my dad isn't able to be emotionally available for her in the way she needs from a husband. Double whammy for her. :(
I noticed you haven't discovered your MBTI type yet, so let me offer my insight gleaned from my experiences:
Even asides from knowing your theoretical type (don't obsess over it too much, that can make it harder to find your type? and be dangerous if you start trying to "just be" one of the types. Just familiarize yourself with them all and find the gravitational pull, or at least that's what worked for me), knowing YOURSELF, how you tick, is of utmost importance before seeking/being receptive to a romantic relationship. I know for myself I have allot of emotional healing/self-acceptance to do before I'd consider myself really ready to explore that side of life. If you've noticed the fad of "dual relationships" A word of caution is that your dual and conflictor will have some surfacy similarities so if you think you have your "dual" (theoretical perfect opposite) , take a relationship real slow/date a long time to be sure you really understand how they tick and if you are truly compatible. (My parents got married way too quickly, didn't even date a year.) I recommend two years as a good round estimate for dating in general maybe? Incase you're interested, the fact that you are a VIP member and still haven't defined your type is a strong indication of a possible Perceiver preference to me. I bounced around from many different types until I realized it was just my ENTP Ne exploring all the possibilities (And since I've hidden allot of my personality due to hiding inside myself from the family situation among other traumas; I was depressed and trying to solve the impossible for my parents, I had trouble seeing myself at first.) I had no one to talk to about it growing up, and sensed from observing my parent's interactions that I couldn't fully be myself around my dad. (Which if he read, I imagine he would balk at/ feel terrible about since ISFPs are all about authenticity!) Contrary to the ENTP stereotype of being unapologetically argumentative, we value happy relationships immensely and are willing to do almost anything for those we love. We just come off that way since we believe in unapologetically exploring the truth no matter how uncomfortable it is.
In conclusion what this whole Conflictor type relationship boils down to is one big series of tragic misunderstandings. If hell exists, trying to make this type of relationship work, is it. Conflictor relationships will break your heart with relative innocence on both sides of the equation.
 

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@incandescent sounds like you have an advanced and advancing awareness of how your personalities and sensitivities impact each other in the context of your family. are there aspects of your own experience which are still especially confusing to you, or that you wish you could raise but fear that you cannot because of possible reactions
 
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