Personality Cafe banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My INFP wife and I have been together for fifteen years. We're best friends and have had a deep, loving relationship. She's really great, but here I'd like to focus on a problem that has plagued us from day one... something we've only half understood, but which personality typology can speak to.

Periodically something snaps in my wife and she erupts like an emotion volcano. It's usually in reaction to something I've said or done, or not done, which I perceive as completely innocuous. It happens more often when she's short on sleep and has had to deal with a stressor... or if she feels guilty about something. I could go into more detail here, but I think you get the idea. The first part of my question is this: do you INFPs recognize this in yourself?

Generally speaking, my wife is prone to intense emotional expressions, especially in a conflict situation, and unlike others of her type she doesn't avoid conflict. More like she heads straight for it, gets a good cry in and talks through the problem until we reach some resolution. Afterwards she feels better... and I feel worse.

As an INTP, I'm troubled by intense emotions, especially when they are directed at me by someone important to me. If I'm troubled by something, I need time alone to mull things over. I don't want to be asked how I'm feeling, I don't want to talk about it, and I especially don't want an emotion volcano burying me in heavy, burning hot lava. When that happens it can take hours, days, even weeks for me to fully recover.

So there it is... she needs to talk and express her emotions and I need to NOT talk and NOT experience intense emotions. For her this is frustrating and worrisome, but mostly over the years she's gotten the release and resolution she needs. For me it's just painful. It wipes me out and pushes me away from her. If, however, she somehow avoided exploding, she wouldn't get what she needs.

It seems impossible to answer, but that's my second, primary question: how can we handle conflicts when the conditions we need are exactly opposite? Does anyone else have experience with this? Maybe this is a broader problem experienced by T's and F's of all types, but it's particularly strong in our relationship and I think it has a lot to do with our specific types. :frustrating:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,999 Posts
The only way I can think of that I would do that would be if I were suppressing my emotional side for a Thinker's benefit on a daily basis. Then, when I was stressed or tired or I had just had too much of one (seemingly small but repeated) offense, I might explode like that. I would do my utmost all the time to try to avoid any discomfort I may cause you, but sometimes I would need to just vent and I would expect you to just hold on for the ride, knowing I can never be upset for very long.

All you can do is just try to be there for each other and sometimes endure that which makes you uncomfortable for the sake of just being your SO's partner in life. "It's not always rainbows and butterflies, it's compromise that moves us along." (song lyrics, sorry)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,508 Posts
Have you told this to her?
 

·
MOTM Dec 2011
Joined
·
8,651 Posts
Periodically something snaps in my wife and she erupts like an emotion volcano. It's usually in reaction to something I've said or done, or not done, which I perceive as completely innocuous. It happens more often when she's short on sleep and has had to deal with a stressor... or if she feels guilty about something. I could go into more detail here, but I think you get the idea. The first part of my question is this: do you INFPs recognize this in yourself?
A little - I don't get set off a lot though, but when I do, it can be big and it's only around those I am close to. The vast majority of the time, the reaction is NOT directly in response to what has just happened (which is often deemed "minor" by others). INFPs will jump into conflict in what they see as a defense of their values or ideals. Often, the obvious offense is really just symbolic for a much deeper issue. Sometimes it's the straw that broke the camel's back - a string of minor offenses add up so we feel we cannot ignore it anymore.

Our feelings are a rational process of gauging things by significance & good/bad, but emotions are physiological responses which serve as clues when one of these feelings is violated. A stressed out INFP may react on the emotion, instead of stopping to consider what it is telling them and then approaching the value violation rationally. It's important when she approaches a problem for you to try and see the core issue behind her taking offense. It may not make sense to you (at first), but if you invalidate her view, then you're invalidating her feelings. INFPs see their feelings as who they are - to dismiss them as irrational is to dismiss their existence as a human being. We are often dismissed by others because we see meaning where they see none, and we can find it difficult to express these feelings in a way so that others can understand them & see them as valid.

If you make some effort to see the underlying meaning to her reaction, then you may begin to form a picture of what is important to her, so as not to step on it. If she approaches an issue in a calm way, reinforce it by taking her feelings seriously, even if they don't make sense to you immediately. You might have to take it on faith a bit that something is "important", as INFPs, frankly, have a refined system when it comes to ideals, and so they may easily see errors in ethics just as you see errors in logic, but others may not see it so glaringly obvious. The better you come to understand her ideals, the more clear their rationality will be, and it will be easier for you to know what is unacceptable to her.

Generally speaking, my wife is prone to intense emotional expressions, especially in a conflict situation, and unlike others of her type she doesn't avoid conflict. More like she heads straight for it, gets a good cry in and talks through the problem until we reach some resolution. Afterwards she feels better... and I feel worse.
She may feel "better" because she stood up for her values & made her voice heard. If you find resolutions, then it seems you are already validating her feelings (as in ideals/values) to some degree and that will satisfy an INFP. The fact that it gets to the point of a big explosion implies to me that she holds in her feelings for awhile & IS avoiding conflict. You just probably think everything is fine during that time, until she can't hold it in anymore.

As an INTP, I'm troubled by intense emotions, especially when they are directed at me by someone important to me. If I'm troubled by something, I need time alone to mull things over. I don't want to be asked how I'm feeling, I don't want to talk about it, and I especially don't want an emotion volcano burying me in heavy, burning hot lava. When that happens it can take hours, days, even weeks for me to fully recover.

So there it is... she needs to talk and express her emotions and I need to NOT talk and NOT experience intense emotions. For her this is frustrating and worrisome, but mostly over the years she's gotten the release and resolution she needs. For me it's just painful. It wipes me out and pushes me away from her. If, however, she somehow avoided exploding, she wouldn't get what she needs.
I don't relate to this, as I don't like to talk about my feelings or emotions. Volcanic reactions occur because I hold them in, as it's very draining and uncomfortable for me to verbalize them. I may get emotional due to the difficulty I experience in expressing them rather than the actual issue making me emotional. Such situations are NOT pleasant for me. I also prefer to process the feeling alone, as I need to turn inward to explore my emotions and glean meaning from them, instead of acting rashly on them. So experiencing emotions is important to me as I derive meaning from them, but expressing them is not a focus of mine.

However, once I have ventured to open to up to someone, maybe out of "necessity", then it will be important for me to make my feelings clear to the other person, so that person will not continue to vex me emotionally. I need them to grasp what & why something is important so they don't step on it. It's kind of like how INTPs can be accused of being argumentative & hostile when they think they are just trying to discuss a topic in an analytical way so as to make a point about what is true. INFPs want to make value points, and it's not about venting emotion on people, it's about analyzing feeling so as to assert what is important. Remember Feeling in MBTI is NOT emotion, but a rational process of judging value. INFPs judge based on an almost innate sense of what is ideal or perfectly good. We usually take a defensive stance, meaning our feeling only shows in response to a violation, just as INTPs may only assert their opinion in response to what they see as a logical error. Otherwise, we're laid back people.

Since your feeling is inferior, it will be harder & more draining for you to access that thought process to deal with your own emotions & to guage value. This process will make you uncomfortable. However, you don't have to process her feeling with your inferior feeling if you expand your iNtuition a bit.

So, one tip... to avoid getting to the point of a volcanic emotional eruption, try to put yourself in her shoes more. Use your iNtuition to imagine the different possible ways a person may respond to a situation. Observe other people without judgment - see how they respond to different approaches & note what seems to work best, as opposed to simply going with what YOU see as the "logical" response. Then you can adapt your dealings with people to cause less conflict. You'll basically be more aware of other people & how they think/feel, instead of gauging everything by your inner world of logical principles.

How much do you know about the cognitive processes behind types? I think that can be useful to understanding conflicts in communication.
 

·
Cafe Legend and MOTM Jan 2011
Joined
·
15,420 Posts
My INFP wife and I have been together for fifteen years. We're best friends and have had a deep, loving relationship. She's really great, but here I'd like to focus on a problem that has plagued us from day one... something we've only half understood, but which personality typology can speak to.

Periodically something snaps in my wife and she erupts like an emotion volcano. It's usually in reaction to something I've said or done, or not done, which I perceive as completely innocuous. It happens more often when she's short on sleep and has had to deal with a stressor... or if she feels guilty about something. I could go into more detail here, but I think you get the idea. The first part of my question is this: do you INFPs recognize this in yourself?

Generally speaking, my wife is prone to intense emotional expressions, especially in a conflict situation, and unlike others of her type she doesn't avoid conflict. More like she heads straight for it, gets a good cry in and talks through the problem until we reach some resolution. Afterwards she feels better... and I feel worse.

As an INTP, I'm troubled by intense emotions, especially when they are directed at me by someone important to me. If I'm troubled by something, I need time alone to mull things over. I don't want to be asked how I'm feeling, I don't want to talk about it, and I especially don't want an emotion volcano burying me in heavy, burning hot lava. When that happens it can take hours, days, even weeks for me to fully recover.

So there it is... she needs to talk and express her emotions and I need to NOT talk and NOT experience intense emotions. For her this is frustrating and worrisome, but mostly over the years she's gotten the release and resolution she needs. For me it's just painful. It wipes me out and pushes me away from her. If, however, she somehow avoided exploding, she wouldn't get what she needs.

It seems impossible to answer, but that's my second, primary question: how can we handle conflicts when the conditions we need are exactly opposite? Does anyone else have experience with this? Maybe this is a broader problem experienced by T's and F's of all types, but it's particularly strong in our relationship and I think it has a lot to do with our specific types. :frustrating:
Well, it's already too late for you to do what I've decided to do: avoid relationships between INFPs and INTPs.

To me, INTPs are just about the sexiest things alive, but it doesn't matter. I, as a sensitive, emotionally intense INFP with very powerful expressive needs, should never fall for the trap of being mated with someone who can't deal with my feelings, who considers them unacceptable, or who is drained by them to the point where he is constantly suffering in order for me to not suffer. I don't want to make him martyr himself for me. If that is what is necessary in order for me to not hurt, then WE ARE NOT COMPATIBLE. It sucks, but eventually we have to face this reality. The ones we want are not necessarily the ones who are good for us. You are right that it is impossible for our needs to be met simultaneously. While I would be getting what I needed in order to be okay, I would be taking something important away from an INTP partner, preventing his needs from being met, and vice versa. I learned this through trial and error, repeatedly making the same mistakes and finding that it was always the same result. Now I know better. I see a sexy INTP doing sexy INTP things, and I feel an immediate attraction. Then I push down the feelings and picture the possible future scenario in which I am in a relationship with that person, where I need emotional comforting and end up feeling abandoned. It makes me rethink the situation just long enough to stop being attracted to the person, which ends up being best for everyone involved. INTPs generally can't resist me either, and they inevitably end up wishing they had. I wear them out.

I have this idea that it is similar to the energy balance going on with introversion and extroversion. The introvert is drained by social contact while the extrovert requires it in order to keep from feeling drained. With thinkers and feelers, the thinker is drained and damaged by emotional intensity, while the feeler requires it in order to avoid feeling drained and damaged.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
375 Posts
Disclaimer: I am sharing things the way I see it based on what you've shared, so the advice I offer is from my perspective. I'm not attempting to direct things in a personal fashion, but rather I'm treating the content of your first post like a formula within the words, and giving my interpretation of the answer to the formula that I perceive.

If I may put it plainly, it sounds to me like both you and your wife are unbudging about what you both perceive as your needs. You say you need to avoid conflict and think things over in an unemotional setting, and she says she needs to let off the steam and confront the issues. If you both hold to that, it will be quite difficult for both of you to be happy about things, unless you find a way to avoid stirring up problems altogether.

So, what I'm saying is that I think your wife needs to learn to handle her emotions more effectively so that she can be honest about them and experience them, but without being continuously eruptive. Also I think she needs to learn patience for some situations where immediate confrontation is not critical. If she does this, she may find that when time for talking and confrontation comes, she isn't shooting lava, but rather is more able to communicate with more balance.

For you, you may feel like your need is to avoid emotions, but it's your instinct, not an absolute need. If you learn to demonstratively support your wife's need to vent her feelings, it will enable her to do so less harmfully. Why? Because, for an INFP, or other emotional people, when they feel as if their feelings are misunderstood or rejected, it only fuels their frustration or anger. Even if you fail to agree with or completely understand her expressions, your willingness to listen and receive her feelings will be noticed, and it will gain her trust and gently vent the volcanic pressure. The triggers you see as innocuous may actually sometimes BE rather innocuous. The actual triggers over what you've done or not done are likely not the main issue, but rather what those things are telling her. In her state of heightened sensitivity she may read into things more with thoughts such as, "He must not care," or, "He doesn't respect my feelings," and then those deep feelings of mistrust create volcanic reactions. That is something about emotional people...emotional people tend to look beyond the logical ramifications of actions, to the perceived motives or sentiments that led to the actions.

Right now, for you to cater to your wife's perceived needs may be like travelling 100 miles with only 3 gallons of gas, which in your "car" can only take you 58 miles - you can't make it. For her to cater to your perceived needs may be the very same; 100 miles on only 3 gallons. That makes it seem impossible to fix. So that is why I believe there should be a midway destination that can be agreed upon. That way it isn't you or your wife saying, "Honey, I'm staying where I'm at. Drive over here to where I am." But rather, an agreeable midway destination dissolves resentment, and gives hope of meeting the other person in an equalizing way.

Creating the meeting point requires compromise on both sides, of course, and determining where those compromises can be made on both sides. You can ask her about what sets her off, and let her explain why, so you can learn the primary mistakes to avoid so as to make things easier for your wife. Also, you can tell her that at certain times when she determines she has a real need, you will stay present to listen to her feelings and complaints and try to understand. In return, she can agree to be willing to be more selective in her confrontations, and to be willing to take time to settle her feelings independently when there is no urgent need. Also, for her to be less accusational in her approach (if she is) would help.

If both of you held up your ends in such a situation, you would both find that it is much easier than either of you anticipated. She would realize that when you attentively hear her out and show interest and support in her concerns that her emotional turbulence is calmed, because the presence of trust is calming to her. You would also find that as you deal with a less eruptive wife, your fear of emotion will retract, and your desire to recluse will not be as pervasive. Her emotions will not be seen as much as threats, but will be something you can merge with. When you both take these steps toward each other in marital compromise, it leads to what you both ultimately desire. You trust her emotions more, and learn to accept emotion in the relationship, and for her, with less emotional turbulence, she learns to balance emotion with a rational approach and gains respect for that approach that is a part of you.

I hope you haven't found my words to be too direct or offensive, since I don't know you personally, but since you asked, I gave the best answers I could.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
302 Posts
Not that it helps your situation at all, but FWIW we only ever really lose our shit to the people we're closest to. It's wrong and it sucks, but it's us :(

But I'm sure you already know this, having been married for this long.
 
Joined
·
477 Posts
Well, it's already too late for you to do what I've decided to do: avoid relationships between INFPs and INTPs.

To me, INTPs are just about the sexiest things alive, but it doesn't matter. I, as a sensitive, emotionally intense INFP with very powerful expressive needs, should never fall for the trap of being mated with someone who can't deal with my feelings, who considers them unacceptable, or who is drained by them to the point where he is constantly suffering in order for me to not suffer. I don't want to make him martyr himself for me. If that is what is necessary in order for me to not hurt, then WE ARE NOT COMPATIBLE. It sucks, but eventually we have to face this reality. The ones we want are not necessarily the ones who are good for us. You are right that it is impossible for our needs to be met simultaneously. While I would be getting what I needed in order to be okay, I would be taking something important away from an INTP partner, preventing his needs from being met, and vice versa. I learned this through trial and error, repeatedly making the same mistakes and finding that it was always the same result. Now I know better. I see a sexy INTP doing sexy INTP things, and I feel an immediate attraction. Then I push down the feelings and picture the possible future scenario in which I am in a relationship with that person, where I need emotional comforting and end up feeling abandoned. It makes me rethink the situation just long enough to stop being attracted to the person, which ends up being best for everyone involved. INTPs generally can't resist me either, and they inevitably end up wishing they had. I wear them out.

I have this idea that it is similar to the energy balance going on with introversion and extroversion. The introvert is drained by social contact while the extrovert requires it in order to keep from feeling drained. With thinkers and feelers, the thinker is drained and damaged by emotional intensity, while the feeler requires it in order to avoid feeling drained and damaged.
I have to disagree with this. In my opinion, INFP + INTP = perfect match. The contrasting T and F functions don't clash with each other, but rather, balance out the relationship.

It's possible that the INTP's you've met are just jerks. All the INTP's I've known are relaxed, kind (though obviously not "friendly" in a superficial Fe way), and just a pleasure to be around. They aren't unable to provide emotional support, it's just a skill that they have to develop (as it is for most people with a T type). If you really need somebody who constantly provides emotional comforting, you should just try to find somebody with Fe dom or aux. But an INFP-INTP relationship can work very well, and you shouldn't just write off because of bad experiences in the past.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
453 Posts
OrangeAppled said it really well!

INFPs only 'explode' when they've been supressing their feelings in order not to hurt yours. We reach a point were can't handle it anymore and we need to let it out.

My problems with the T's in my life is not the particular thing they say or even how they word it: it's the feeling that makes them say so. Usually my problem is that they feel that my opinions and feelings are invalid.

So really, all you need to do is listen, accept & understand your wife's feelings. You don't have to "agree" with her opinions, but you have to *accept* that they are just as valid-able as yours. To dismiss the opinion of a feeler as plain wrong is to directly disrespect who they are and what they value.

To respect another person's opinion doesn't mean to accept them as true or correct, but to accept them as valid opinions that a rational person can form even if they're not in agreement with _your_ opinions.

Is it that hard, Ts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Oh my word. I actually have an answer to a relationship forum question *amazing*.
Ok, so I've been dating an INTP for over a year and we've only recently really experienced this to the extreme (almost resulted in a break-up).
I've spent a long time since that researching this and thinking about it and we've come up with a method that really works.
The answer is.... is that you both need to be more yourself. No compromise. What a relief! I know this sounds like it doesn't make sense but here goes:

SCENARIO:
- As someone posted earlier, your wife probably is avoiding conflict and bottling her emotions up. You probably don't notice this because INTPs are sometimes unaware of the INFPs emotional needs (don't feel guilty about that... ever). Therefore, at some point she reaches boiling point and explodes. Lava rains down.
- At this point, you feel like just running away. But, because you're an awesome husband, you decide to stay for her. Her sadness makes you sad.
- She seeks affirmation, lots and lots of talking (sometimes you don't know what to say), and comfort, which once again, you oblige to do (not that this makes you feel any better...). At this point she is not focused on your feelings but on her own.
- Soon after, she realizes at some point that you, too, are sad. Then she feels worried/guilty/apologetic for making you feeling crap and she tries to talk you through it (again, more talking = not helpful).
- After all the talking she feels fantastic and even may suggest to do something fun. You just feel like crap for a long time. It's unfair.

NEW METHOD:
- Firstly, she needs to read this. Maybe not this post but write her a letter stating what you wrote above. She needs to know that this makes you feel sad for hours/days/weeks. She might feel guilty after reading but say its ok because you can discuss a new plan of action :)
- Ideally, she should not bottle stuff up until conflict arises. However, if it does happen that she does this (she's human) and suddenly explodes, she needs security and affirmation but at the same time she needs to realize the effect her emotions are having on you. At the moment of explosion, she has no awareness of your emotions (in fact, she thinks you are actually oblivious to her emotional needs).
- Reply to her calmly and say "I love you so much, but this has made me overwhelmed by hurt/sadness and I don't know what to do/say, I just need to sit and think, is that ok? Then once our heads are clear we can talk" and then walk away.
- Because an INFP is afraid of hurting another's feelings, they strangely do not want to "win" any arguments but rather reach a harmony with the other person. Once you say you are sad, she'll want to fix it. I doubt she will stubbornly ignore you.
- Immediately, having some time alone, she will use her Fi to process (dominant function) that moment (probably cry alone for a few minutes) but also rationalize the situation that made her upset in the first place.
- Then, after a while she'll probably approach you apologetically and explain her problem more rationally/calmly.
- Then, once again, affirm your love for her and ask her if you guys can chat about it in a few hours when you have had time to "understand your emotions".
- Make her some tea and give her a kiss.
- Chat about it in a few hours. It probably isn't a big issue at all.

I know this seems a bit artificial and rehearsed but just try it once. The crucial bit is that she needs to feel secure in the relationship (don't just run away) but she also must be aware that she is hurting you and that you need space.

Please let me know if it helps or if you still feel crap.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
556 Posts
It's interesting that you post this because this could be a discussion about my INTJ husband and myself as well.

I do recognize that explosion of emotions that you mentioned. Although the "typical" INFP avoids conflict, I know that I will avoid it until it can be avoided no longer, thus the explosion. I'm just guessing here, but it could be that she feels you should be able to sense her needs in this area, but they are probably harder for you to detect because there is a degree of emotional subtlety attached to just about everything.

You mentioned that she wouldn't "get what she needs" if she didn't explode. I would rather like to propose that she explodes because she doesn't get what she needs prior to that point. The key for you is to find a way to get her to reveal this BEFORE it is a huge issue. My husband and I get along great, but this issue is our Achilles heel as well. And it's basically the same fight EVERY SINGLE TIME. It might be sparked by a new situation, but it's the same underlying issue over and over. For me, it comes down to the fact that he doesn't regularly and sincerely affirm me or praise what he appreciates about me because "I should know" because "he has already told me" or is not careful and sensitive to my areas of insecurity. I feel like if he regularly took an emotional "check" of how I'm doing (much like you would notice women and their friends do) I would feel loved and wouldn't get to a boiling point. I don't know if that's what causes such strong reactions in her, but you need to find out what is causing this and take it seriously.

That said, I think you need to let her know how hard that is for you to take and try to get her to calm down and rationally explain things to you. I know that my expectations of my husband are somewhat unrealistic and have tried to modify them to suit reality. I realized a long time ago that my husband just shut down and wouldn't listen to a word I said when I was in crazy mode, so I really try to avoid it. I've learned that telling him in the sanest, calmest, most rational manner I can exactly what I need. However, since it is emotionally based, he often forgets and nothing really changes, so it just gets even more frustrating for me. And since I do periodically blow up, he's obviously still on guard as well. And that guardedness comes across to me as him not caring or disregarding things.

It sounds like you truly love your wife and are trying to understand her, so don't get discouraged but just really take her side into account. Even though it is in the realm of emotions, it's important to her and she needs you to be there and affirm that you regard her views as important. But seriously... Find out what the problem is and deal with it a little at a time before it gets to be some huge explosion. You don't deserve to have a huge meltdown all the time just so she can get a release of some sort. Just don't let the pressure build to epic proportions.

As discouraged as I get with the way my husband just does NOT get this issue, I tell him that the show of my emotions should not worry him. He should be worried if I STOP showing them to him because, for me, that would mean I was done. In our case, it's worth the struggle even though it's seriously like we're speaking separate languages to each other as loudly as possible with no understanding.

I would really, really recommend reading The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It talks about the different ways that people prefer to receive affection and love from each other, and I think it really speaks to this issue and can resolve a lot of problems if both people work at it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,140 Posts
I know this thread is super old and the OP probably hasn't logged in in years, but...

This happens with me and my INTP husband too. But I was unaware that it actually made him feel worse, as the op claims. When I have a crying bout, especially regarding our relationship, I try to take ample time for him to formulate his thoughts. I know he takes a REALLY long time to tell me a few sentences when the conversation is emotional and he feels pressured. I can recall waiting minutes upon minutes in silence as he tried to come up with what he wanted to say in return. Granted, I am no speed talker either, so our conversations can be really hesitant and slow moving sometimes. But it works. I can remember times when he said he was glad we stayed up until 3am talking about the issue, when at first confrontation, he was very reluctant to begin talking. He almost always is reluctant to begin these types of emotional conversations and it takes MUCH patience from my end to prod him along, but it can work.

Basically, there are some things I need to talk about with him. Other things, I can talk about with other people. But some things are only for him. I try to only save issues for him that are necessary and not a waste of time. I know he doesn't like redundancy, so I try to never have the same emotional conversation twice. It kills me sometimes when I start in on a conversation and it turns into me being emotional, and he sits there and does not respond at all. It kills me inside! I have learned to not do this anymore and to vent my feelings elsewhere. I know, some people may say that isn't healthy, but oh well. I do it. I have other friends I talk to, I come to this forum, etc. But some things are just between me and him and these things I approach with caution and patience. If I am patient and make sure to be as gentle and direct as possible with him, I can get him to tell me how he feels and we can both be mature about it and no one gets hurt. It has taken some trial and error, and likely will continue to, but it is working for the most part.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
556 Posts
Wow... I didn't realize that... Oh well, there are other similar situations, too, I guess... :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,016 Posts
I see this with my myself and my INTP as well. I will definitely consider the information/advice given here, although it is mostly geared towards OP who is the INTP. I can use this to figure out ways to better myself, too. My boyfriend has not ever outright said that he finds my outbursts painful, but he has said many times that seeing me cry makes him "very uncomfortable" and has described his aversion to intense emotion as "a kind of phobia." So there's that.

I try very hard to keep from having outbursts, but maybe that is the problem. I'm exerting so much control over my emotions, all the time, that eventually it becomes too much and I break down. I always feel tons better after this, but it's certainly no fun for him. I have found success in trying to express my emotions more regularly, but also more rationally. This needs work, though.

Thanks for this post, OP, even though you're gone from the forum forever as far as we know!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
113 Posts
Oh my word. I actually have an answer to a relationship forum question *amazing*.
Ok, so I've been dating an INTP for over a year and we've only recently really experienced this to the extreme (almost resulted in a break-up).
I've spent a long time since that researching this and thinking about it and we've come up with a method that really works.
The answer is.... is that you both need to be more yourself. No compromise. What a relief! I know this sounds like it doesn't make sense but here goes:

SCENARIO:
- As someone posted earlier, your wife probably is avoiding conflict and bottling her emotions up. You probably don't notice this because INTPs are sometimes unaware of the INFPs emotional needs (don't feel guilty about that... ever). Therefore, at some point she reaches boiling point and explodes. Lava rains down.
- At this point, you feel like just running away. But, because you're an awesome husband, you decide to stay for her. Her sadness makes you sad.
- She seeks affirmation, lots and lots of talking (sometimes you don't know what to say), and comfort, which once again, you oblige to do (not that this makes you feel any better...). At this point she is not focused on your feelings but on her own.
- Soon after, she realizes at some point that you, too, are sad. Then she feels worried/guilty/apologetic for making you feeling crap and she tries to talk you through it (again, more talking = not helpful).
- After all the talking she feels fantastic and even may suggest to do something fun. You just feel like crap for a long time. It's unfair.

NEW METHOD:
- Firstly, she needs to read this. Maybe not this post but write her a letter stating what you wrote above. She needs to know that this makes you feel sad for hours/days/weeks. She might feel guilty after reading but say its ok because you can discuss a new plan of action :)
- Ideally, she should not bottle stuff up until conflict arises. However, if it does happen that she does this (she's human) and suddenly explodes, she needs security and affirmation but at the same time she needs to realize the effect her emotions are having on you. At the moment of explosion, she has no awareness of your emotions (in fact, she thinks you are actually oblivious to her emotional needs).
- Reply to her calmly and say "I love you so much, but this has made me overwhelmed by hurt/sadness and I don't know what to do/say, I just need to sit and think, is that ok? Then once our heads are clear we can talk" and then walk away.
- Because an INFP is afraid of hurting another's feelings, they strangely do not want to "win" any arguments but rather reach a harmony with the other person. Once you say you are sad, she'll want to fix it. I doubt she will stubbornly ignore you.
- Immediately, having some time alone, she will use her Fi to process (dominant function) that moment (probably cry alone for a few minutes) but also rationalize the situation that made her upset in the first place.
- Then, after a while she'll probably approach you apologetically and explain her problem more rationally/calmly.
- Then, once again, affirm your love for her and ask her if you guys can chat about it in a few hours when you have had time to "understand your emotions".
- Make her some tea and give her a kiss.
- Chat about it in a few hours. It probably isn't a big issue at all.

I know this seems a bit artificial and rehearsed but just try it once. The crucial bit is that she needs to feel secure in the relationship (don't just run away) but she also must be aware that she is hurting you and that you need space.

Please let me know if it helps or if you still feel crap.
Great strategy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
Sorry I haven't been back in a while. I'd love to spend more time discussing personality theory, but have been occupied with work challenges, keeping track of my four year old daughter and writing a novel on the side. Anyway, there's been some great advice and insight offered here. Kudos to all who've participated. I'd like to give a quick update on the topic, given that over two years have passed and I've learned some things.

First of all, it's interesting to note that I'm not sure anymore what type my wife is. She's hard to pin down and has cycled through several types – part of the problem is she scores very near the middle on the JP and SN scales... and though she's been very emotional, she now believes she's a T. Typology is not always as clear cut as it's sometimes thought to be, or as much as I'd like it to be at any rate. So, either this difficulty I've identified is more broadly applicable, or she really is an INFP.

Interestingly, the one insight that's had the largest impact on my wife's explosive discharges is not any of the things mentioned by myself or others here. Nothing I could do really helped. Recognizing and talking about the problem didn't help. It may be fairly specific to her, I don't know, but this is it – SLEEP. If she doesn't get enough sleep, she gets cranky. That's it. This was galvanized for her by our daughter's identical behavior, which is hardly unusual for a young child. Even after I identified this, and she recognized it herself, seeing it happen in her daughter brought it home to her. She still doesn't always get enough sleep: no one with a preschooler does. But now she knows to take it easy when she's fatigued and doesn't explode.

Another component of our trouble is certainly more broadly applicable, which I'll briefly mention. It's not personality theory, per se, but has been illuminated by scientific studies. It's called the Precarious Couple Effect or the "man more inhibited" effect, and arises when a man who is verbally inhibited is with a woman who is not. Interestingly, the same problems don't come up when the reverse is true, or when both are inhibited or uninhibited. If you're in such a relationship, or know someone who is, the paper is well worth your attention. I can't post links yet, so you'll have to Google it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,838 Posts
I'm definitely that slow cooker from hell that slowly cooks your pot roast but all of a sudden bursts into flames and burns down your house because I got tired of cooking a damn pot roast for 8 hours...

I do recognize this "flaw" in myself but, I really can't help it. I sometimes don't even realize the crap I'm spewing until it's too late. But really, when I say "..when it's too late.." it really is because it takes so much until I just snap and lose it.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top