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Discussion Starter #1
I'm an ESTJ female who is incredibly strong in the traits that make an ESTJ an ESTJ. My main archetypes revolve around E/I STJ and ENTJ, depending on context. Either way, very obviously I have no feelings etc, so I need some help please? Also, long post warning.

I've been dating an INFP for three years, and we started off well. Like many relationships we spent a lot of time together and had a lot of great times. It may also help that we were an ENTJ and INTJ most clearly at the time we started. However he entered the army to do national service for the country, and he changed a lot. Throughout the two years he's been in the army he has become more of an INFP. I am thinking that it's because he doesn't have the kind of academic, mental and social stimulation he used to have back in college. I became an ESTJ after I entered university, and become more goal oriented.

Our relationship has been on the rocks recently. Until I started becoming more self-aware, I would react in bursts of anger to his mistakes. Many of these mistakes were repeated mistakes that to me fell under a general principle that had to be avoided. Respect, or trust, for instance. Bringing his ex girlfriend home to stay the night was not an option, even though he asked, for example. When we got into an...accident, shall we say, that I had to bear the burden of, he asked me "what are YOU going to do about it?" and then left me to deal with it on my own. Still, upon reflection I can see that I'm also very harsh. I also am a typical ESTJ in the sense that I think that if people would just bother using their goddamned brain like I am, they'd see the sense in it straightaway!

I preternaturally have anger management issues, and only after a lot of soul-searching recently have I gone to see a psychologist to diagnose certain issues and therapy for myself. However since it's so recent I haven't been able to appropriately change my behaviours. We fought again very recently over a topic that has been coming up again and again. I can see that he cares a lot for me, and that he loves me, but the ways that he expresses it do not directly fulfill my needs. And bridging that gap has left us both very tired. Similarly, he feels that I do not accept him for who he is. I can see where he's coming from, because for him, actions are very much the man, but to me actions are mere exhibitions of trends and can be changed. In short, after a huge bout of drama, we were both pushed to our limits.

I think he is important enough for me to keep trying as hard as I possibly can, and I still want to learn to communicate better with him. I have taken steps by trying to get some help, but I hope you people can give me better ideas. Thank you!
 

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if he's been to the military and has changed personality maybe he needs some psychiatrict help or group counseling. Maybe its not his type that has changed but his experinces he needs to talk through. Since you've not been to the military you might not understand him well enough.

Other advice would be to openly ask him what he thinks and feels and let him talk without you judging what he is saying. The best way to understand people is to sit them down and listen, only listen. Dont judge him afterwards just let his thoughts stand alone.
 

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Thank you for that reply. I feel that his personality has become one that is more needy, because his work is clerical and desk based and doesn't leave room for interaction. Unfortunately, personality or otherwise he has hurt me many many times in the past which limits my capacity or desire to provide him with that reassurance. Should I, or should I not?
 

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Our relationship has been on the rocks recently. Until I started becoming more self-aware, I would react in bursts of anger to his mistakes. Many of these mistakes were repeated mistakes that to me fell under a general principle that had to be avoided. Respect, or trust, for instance. Bringing his ex girlfriend home to stay the night was not an option, even though he asked, for example.
My suggestion is not to express your anger at that moment. Give yourself some time to understand your anger. Write a letter to explain him of why are you so angry and what do you want him to do. Give him the letter and leave him alone. Wait until few hours, and then come back and have a calm rational discussion with him. Both ESTJ and INFP are sensitive and high tempered. It's very important for the two of you to have a cooling down session before having any discussion/argument.

When we got into an...accident, shall we say, that I had to bear the burden of, he asked me "what are YOU going to do about it?" and then left me to deal with it on my own.
He's an introvert. Most introverts thinks that if they have any problem, they prefer to be left alone to solve it by themselves. So they tend to think that other people need the same treatment. Speak up your mind clearly without sounding like you're intimidating him. State that you need his help to get through the problem. Don't be afraid to look weak.

Still, upon reflection I can see that I'm also very harsh.
I understand. We are very hard to ourselves, so we treat others in the same way. Not everyone can deal with this, though, especially the Feelers.

I also am a typical ESTJ in the sense that I think that if people would just bother using their goddamned brain like I am, they'd see the sense in it straightaway!
You do realise that this exact thought is the one that makes other types hates us, do you?

I preternaturally have anger management issues, and only after a lot of soul-searching recently have I gone to see a psychologist to diagnose certain issues and therapy for myself. However since it's so recent I haven't been able to appropriately change my behaviours.
Good for you. Keep trying. :happy:

We fought again very recently over a topic that has been coming up again and again. I can see that he cares a lot for me, and that he loves me, but the ways that he expresses it do not directly fulfill my needs.
Everyone has their own love language. Learn how he expressing his love and APPRECIATE that. And then tell him, directly, how you wanted to be treated. Make sure he understand completely and DON'T expect that he will act EXACTLY like you wanted. It's not going to happen. You need to realise that both of you are opposite to each other. Acceptance and good communication is the only way to bridged the differences.

And bridging that gap has left us both very tired.
No wonder. ESTJ and INFP are very much opposite to each other. It needs a LOT of hardwork to make it work.

Similarly, he feels that I do not accept him for who he is.
I don't even have to know both of you well enough to tell you that I believe he's right.

I can see where he's coming from, because for him, actions are very much the man, but to me actions are mere exhibitions of trends and can be changed.
You see the point. The thing is, you think that you're right and he's wrong, so you try to push your value to him. You need to stop.

In short, after a huge bout of drama, we were both pushed to our limits.
I am sorry to hear this. You have my sympathy. :sad:

I think he is important enough for me to keep trying as hard as I possibly can, and I still want to learn to communicate better with him. I have taken steps by trying to get some help, but I hope you people can give me better ideas.
Stop trying to change him to be "better". That's not going to happen. EVER. Neither you learn to accept him for what he is (with all his irritating flaws), or leave him alone so he can find another person who can.


.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I do feel that while I'm compromising a lot at this point in time there are things that he should be compromising on as well. It's hard to find a balance though, because it's so hard to get over the "goddamn it use your brain" mentality. Considering most of my family are Ts and Js, the mindset is so reinforced it's hard to break out of it. I do think this INFP is worth the effort even though sometimes I want to murder him so hard. Any ideas on how to try and break the mindset?

"keeping an open mind" is one thing, but (HAHA) if there were any steps involved in terms of the thinking process I'd really appreciate it! Thanks all =)
 

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Thank you for that reply. I feel that his personality has become one that is more needy, because his work is clerical and desk based and doesn't leave room for interaction. Unfortunately, personality or otherwise he has hurt me many many times in the past which limits my capacity or desire to provide him with that reassurance. Should I, or should I not?
Clashes of personality aside. Hurt can quickly become the issue at hand if you want to make it work. You are in an opposite position than my relationship. I am an INFP and my boyfriend is a very typical ESTJ, we've been together for three years. I want to say that we are a very needy group, or as I speak for myself I am. When I get down or have some rough patches in my life I want to get closer and closer and of course my ESTJ wants space and more space. Our needs are counter acting each other. I would love to offer some profound advice for continuing on but sadly right now I have none. All I can say is when you discuss thing in your relationship try to stay calm and explain things in a loving way. If he's a true F then he may be prone to getting worked up and he'll mill over what's said and what's going on in his head 24/7. But as you go through the process of figuring out what you both want you will want to minimize the hurt factor in your conversations, you may even want to get a third party couples counselor to help. I say these things coming from a place where my relationship is on the rocks and we're trying very hard to find a way to work with one another. At this point I know that the love is there and we are connected in a great way but I know that I have reached a point where I am unsure if I can take the hurt of being pushed a side so much anymore. But I am committed to him and am willing to seek a counselor to help us and do what ever we can to make this work for us, and that's half the battle, deciding you want to fight for it. I don't know if I've helped you any but good luck with everything, I hope you both wind up happy in whatever way you choose.
 

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if he's been to the military and has changed personality maybe he needs some psychiatrict help or group counseling. Maybe its not his type that has changed but his experinces he needs to talk through. Since you've not been to the military you might not understand him well enough.

Other advice would be to openly ask him what he thinks and feels and let him talk without you judging what he is saying. The best way to understand people is to sit them down and listen, only listen. Dont judge him afterwards just let his thoughts stand alone.
The military is NOT a place for INFP.

EVER!

INFP are violently individualistic, incredibly sensitive, and value the freedom to be one's own self above all else. The military violently opposes such thought and behavior.

Needless to say, the resulting explosion is nothing short of nuclear, and the INFP comes out of military training a broken bird, trying to fly into the sky on fractured wings.

Desk job or not, the training is the same -- imagine the depths of hell, and you might be able to get a VERY vague idea of what he's just been through.

So you getting mad and pissy and thinking you're always right -- yeah. No. That's just raping the raped.

You need to decide right now what's more important -- your world being perfectly alligned and functioning, or him being with you. Because if you want to keep him, you're going to have to follow a three step process to everything he says:

Bite your tongue.
Count to ten.
And decide what's more important -- being right, or risking an argument with him.

I mean, it depends how much of an INFP he is -- some of them, the more driven ones, do very well in the military. Some don't get the claustrophobic anxieties that others, like myself, would, and freak out when they realize their every freedom has just been taken away. They follow the orders and do things just fine.

If he's one of those, you're just going to have to realize that the Army has made him more of a "man" -- he's going to be assertive, strong, mature, which are good in some ways and bad in others.

In one way, he's much more of what I've seen ESTJ women tend to want -- someone strong, quiet, "easy" (not sexually, but easy to handle, not much trouble). But on the other hand, he's more assertive, and he'll threaten your ESTJ-tyranny if he thinks he can push you over.

Which, btw, is best to accept -- those are battles you might win, but will lose you the war faster than anything.

But you need to be careful, because more than ANY other type INFP can successfully hide their problems. So he may very well be hurting inside, and you just don't notice it. Other Feelers can pick up that something's wrong, but you aren't a Feeler. Lucky you, right? But I can't help that kind of handicap, I can only translate him for you.

Or it could be you.

Ooooooh, yeah, I went there.

ESTJ and INFP are complements, which means that they offer the most amount of growth potential between the partners. But it also means that the two are naturally opposite. What you say forwards he hears backwards, what he shows you right-side-up you see up-side-down. Like this:

Our relationship has been on the rocks recently. Until I started becoming more self-aware, I would react in bursts of anger to his mistakes. Many of these mistakes were repeated mistakes that to me fell under a general principle that had to be avoided. Respect, or trust, for instance.
You see that as:
I expect you to be respectful and trustworthy at all times.

I see it as:
You don't trust me, even though I haven't done anything wrong.

You see that as:
I expect you to correct the mistakes you should know not to make.

I see that as:
You're want me to know the rules of a game I've never played, and you're keeping score of how many times I mess up.

You're expecting of him, and that's one of the biggest mistakes you can ever make with an INFP.

I mean, it's fine for you to ask him to do something -- it's fine to ask him to pay more attention to this, ask him to understand why you think that, but NEVER expect him to.

To ask is to allow him the freedom to change of his own volition, of his own will; and INFP are all about freedom.

To expect is to force him to bend according to yours. You aren't allowing him that freedom that the INFP run on.

You're trying to run him on your brand of diesel when his engine runs on gasoline.

But don't read that as that it's AAALLLLLL your "fault". What I'm saying is that the natural tension between the two of you is being amplified by whatever's going on with him. Then you go and pull one of your ESTJ stunts and it aggravates the already irritated sore between you.

You're just going to have to stand back, shut up, and watch. Follow those three rules TO THE LETTER! You have to decide over EVERYTHING you say, "Is this worth a potential fight? And would that fight be worth what I'd gain if I won?"

With an INFP, there is no "subtle" when it comes to conflict from their side. You know if you've pissed an INFP off, and it's easy to avoid -- you should know the ideologies he holds close to his heart by now -- avoid discussing them, or know exactly what he believes and agree with him. There is no middle ground. An INFP will find middle ground on almost anything, but their principles are all or nothing, and you don't want any arguments between you to get to that point.

But yeah. I know I'm kind of talking like it's armageddon for your relationship, but you're really in a good spot to be in. ESTJ just have trouble seeing th ings other than their "way", and if you don't accept that it won't work that way then yes, your relationship is in that kind of trouble.

But you love him enough to be asking what you can do, so yeah. You guys will be fine.

It's just gonna take a conscious effort on your part, ya know? You're going to have to step outside of your box and find out what he's feeling. INFP are ALL about feeling. And if you're thinking that he's feeling things that are putting your relationship at risk, you need to ask him about it and see if there's something you can't do to help.

As much as I know your ESTJ-ness SHAMES you for even thinking such a thing -- you need to be the warm and fuzzy partner right now. You need to give him a hug and a kiss on the head and tell him everything will be alright.

I highly suggest keeping a mousetrap in your pocket to snap on your fingers while doing this. Just to keep your focus :wink:

But good luck, and feel free to throw me a PM if you need any help or to tell me how things are going. I really hope it works out between you two. ESTJ and INFP are awesome couples if they can make it work, and the fact that you're caring enough to step outside your box and ask what you can do to help make it work... yeah. Major points in favor of this relationship becoming something beautiful :happy:
 

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you can't change a strong INFP. Only they can do it of their own accord, else they'd feel like they're selling out or betraying their core values.

As you say, "actions are very much the man, but to me actions are mere exhibitions of trends and can be changed"; any act of meaning is the cornerstone of an INFP, these actions are best acknowledged and accepted else the INFP will feel he screwed up.

That said, he should be able to be a little flexible, and the option of 'compromise' is always on the table. If he's allowed to sometimes function as he wants then he'll be able to level with you a bit more.

But try not to get too upset if he screws up in your eyes, chances are he's not intentionally doing anything deliberately to hurt/annoy you, and if you make it clear that he screws up but don't talk to him, he'll be beating himself up about it. Keep an open communication channel rather than jumping to assumptions or telling him he needs to "harden up/snap out of it/get over it/start thinking logically".

I reckon (as this worked for me) write them a letter (or email) telling them what you're thinking or feeling, leave out no details, nothings too lame :) Get him to speak his mind, he's more likely to express more on paper or keyboard than face to face, and can have time to think over things without being put on the spot. You may gain a few insights.

Of course this is just a mixture of what I believe and what worked/didnt work for me. Hope it works out.
 
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