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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know as an INTJ I always need challenges in my life and my projects to keep me interested. I see something, I see it's not working right/well, I know I can make it better, I do, but I don't want to go into maintenance mode. Once it's improved, I'm done with it and want to work on something new and challenging. And I'm afraid I may be taking on this attitude with relationships.

My first SO, my ex-husband, was severely in need of someone to help him get his shit together. He had a drinking problem and lack of goals, he was a wreck. I did 'all the right things' to try to "improve" him/his life. I helped him move his career to work for double the salary within 3 years time, boosted his self-confidence, helped him get out on his own, get a house, get his bills under wraps... then I tried tackling the drinking thing. Then I realized I'd hit a wall. This was not something I could "fix". When i was exhausted from killing myself trying, I quit and divorced.

Shortly thereafter, I met my current SO, an ENTJ. I'm beginning to believe that I was inspired by the challenge she presented, having come out of a crappy relationship as I had. I enjoyed helping her have 'ah-ha' moments like I did. Helping her see that she IS somebody, and that she's awesome, and have helped improve her self-vision and her self-respect. And now I feel like I'm hitting a platau with her... like I've done all I can do here... and though I love her and don't want to hurt her... I'm starting to feel... like I'm tied down to a finished project... it's not that I don't want her in my life, but I want to accomplish other things with my life, and she needs (and wants) to finish raising her children, which requires a lot of time focused on them... and I don't have the energy or patience for them and their needs.

I feel like a self-absorbed, selfish bitch. And I'm just wondering if I'm messed up, or if other INTJs do this... get into relationships not realizing they see them as a challenging project... then get tired and want to move on...? Oi. I don't know what to do.
 

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I used to go for the Projects. However, I would keep them until they became so nasty that I'd have to call it quits. I'm not doing that anymore. My relationship is my basis from which I tackle other projects. I pick my battles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I used to go for the Projects. However, I would keep them until they became so nasty that I'd have to call it quits. I'm not doing that anymore. My relationship is my basis from which I tackle other projects. I pick my battles.
I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to make that distinction... maybe I'm really supposed to always keep friends only, and at arms length, so I don't keep hurting people...
 
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I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to make that distinction... maybe I'm really supposed to always keep friends only, and at arms length, so I don't keep hurting people...
Life is made to be lived. It is my philosophy that it you just live not to get hurt or not to lose you might as well go lie in a coffin. Besides, the other person chose to be with you and implicitly took the risk of having the relationship end. I see no harm in that.
 

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I don't think you are messed up, the key is to create the types of relationship(s) you want, there are a lot of options out there, for instance, have you ever thought about being polyamorous? If not, I'd suggest a few books, such as: Polyamory in the 21st Century: Love and Intimacy with Multiple Partners by Deborah M. Anapol, Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures (latest edition) and Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines For Responsible Open Relationships.

Even if you are not interested in polyamory, I really suggest these books for everyone, it has taught me more about relationships, the psyche of the human mind and the socialization that is so ingrained within this culture. It explains and explores creative ways of forming relationships that fit your needs, being honest about those needs, strong communication skills and just being an all around conscious human being. It's a very conscious/mental relating of love that I think any intellectual would enjoy and I really believe that anyone, whether you are polyamorous, swinger, monogmous or any other label you decide to place on your relationship(s) can benefit from. There were so many a-ha! type moments just from people's own experience or the authors elaboration on a particular situation within the concept of relationships that it really is eye-opening.

At any rate, I think many relationships become stagnate at some point, I for one have the same tendency as you, I don't like to be "set forever" in a particular situation, especially when it comes to relationships. People wouldn't want to eat the same thing the rest of their lives, in fact, a lot of people don't want to do a particular task ad infinitum for the rest of their lives, yet strangely enough, we except this in relationships because it's the dominating cultural meme and I think that this concept should not only be questioned, but looked at deeper, with a microscope, not a magnifying glass and when you start to do that, you realize so many options, avenues of exploration that an INTJ brain (and really any type that is open to exploration of self), would welcome as that is his or her natural mode of thinking. Exploring new things, new ideas, new solutions, being creative, a visionary, putting all that into a plan, a working solution and then truly testing that with the given set of skills you have learned.

On a personal note, I am someone who needs options, variety and freedom to move around, the ability to move freely, openly and explore in a way that is not restricting to natural human behavior and to me this is a very liberating concept as well as a more honest concept. I think most people just jump into relationships or settle, they don't really sit down with themselves, their hearts, their brains and have a talk with themselves. They may or may not ask questions about what they want out of their relationship, but I think one of the most important ingredients that make relationships work is not the other person, it boils down to YOU first, getting yourself right first, giving yourself the necessary skills, coping mechanism for whatever personal issues you have, reading books, learning, exploring and applying all of this to your progress, that in turn manifests itself within a relationship, just by YOU being a pinnacle of exploring one self and questioning one self.

There are too many times people look to others and they feel that just because they don't act like everyone else that something is wrong with them. As soon as anybody feels this, I think they should literally stop, sit down with themselves and re-evaluate why their minds are telling them this because this type of intuition or hunch is letting you know that something needs to be addressed. You shouldn't go further until it is addressed appropriately. If you do not approach the situation appropriately, unconscious behaviors start to sweep under the rug, then you slowly start to impact the relationship and you may not really know why because you have this feeling, but it was never addressed accurately.

Anyways, hope that helped and my advice is to sit down with yourself and have a talk, re-asses and re-evaluate what you want, what your needs are and realize that in order to change, grow and progress you will have to constantly re-asses and re-evaluate yourself and the relationship(s) that you create through out your life. This is a given in any mature relationship, whether it be with yourself or others. BE HONEST, then live accordingly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
...BE HONEST, then live accordingly.
Thank you anitant. I know this stuff, and yet the societal and cultural norms/expectations invalidate so much of what I know, I get confused. I'm so thankful for this forum to realize I'm not the only one who thinks/feels like I do.

I totally agree that I really just need to KNOW MYSELF. I even have a post-it note on my monitor frame that says, "To thine own self be true"... and I've forgotten to do that. I know in my mind and heart what I need/want in my life. I don't want a relationship/commitment that requires me to settle. I need to be an individual and to have full freedom. I want to learn and experience so many things in my life - I don't want to waste any of it. I want to travel. Try different careers. Live different places. Maybe go live on a college campus and study under challenging professors (something I never got to do - yet). None of these things are entirely reasonable/realistic to do within a "settled/committed" relationship because there ends up being all kinds of expectations and requirements. If the other half of the relationship doesn't want to move, or cannot move because of work/family/etc, then you choose between going without them or not going - which ends up being unfair for one or the other. And I hate being held back from following my dreams and goals and visions, yet I choose to let myself down instead of the other person.

I want - even NEED - to know that at any time I can pack up my things and move across the country or around the world (something I've dreamed of since I was little). I feel sometimes like a bird in a cage, and I just want the door to be open, so I have the option to go. The problem is I get hung up on hurting those I'd be leaving. And I'm not sure how to accept that and move past it. That somehow I am not responsible for their pain? Or if I am, that it is ok because I was not leaving in order to cause them pain, rather that the pain is an unavoidable byproduct...?

I know what I want. I know what my needs are. I'm just not good at putting my knowledge to practice because I get hung up on hurting those who want me in their lives in a manner in which my freedom needs will not allow.
 

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I have been there as well, multiple times. I think the helping part comes naturally for us, but only after the relationship starts and I don't think we enter relationships rolling up our sleeves to get to work. It just happens.

I do not think you (we) are responsible for any pain that happens when we decide to leave. Free yourself from that thought. I think what may happen is that we come to realize that we are not getting what we need in return. Not that the SO is bad or inadequate...it's that the SO isn't the right match for us.

Selfish? This could be a different thread on its own. Are we selfish because we understand ourselves and act accordingly..........or are we among some of the most non-selfish beings in existence because we know it's not all about us? I've been told that I am the most selfless person ....and I've been told that am selfish. It is all perspective. Be we know.

Do what is right for you. If you don't, the pain that would come would be partly your responsibility.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have been there as well, multiple times. I think the helping part comes naturally for us, but only after the relationship starts and I don't think we enter relationships rolling up our sleeves to get to work. It just happens.
Exactly. When I enter a relationship, it's because I enjoy the other person, who they are, and how I can be myself around them. It's just after a time of getting to know them, I start to find things about them that aren't so good for them - bad self-perceptions, bad habits, bad attitudes... and I want them to live a better life, so I start trying to help them see these things and work on them. But in the process I tend to end up ignoring or belittling my own needs to the point where I'm exhausted and just want to bail because I've given so much and not asked for what I need...

I do not think you (we) are responsible for any pain that happens when we decide to leave. Free yourself from that thought. I think what may happen is that we come to realize that we are not getting what we need in return. Not that the SO is bad or inadequate...it's that the SO isn't the right match for us.

Selfish? This could be a different thread on its own. Are we selfish because we understand ourselves and act accordingly..........or are we among some of the most non-selfish beings in existence because we know it's not all about us? I've been told that I am the most selfless person ....and I've been told that am selfish. It is all perspective. Be we know.

Do what is right for you. If you don't, the pain that would come would be partly your responsibility.
Thank you. I really needed to hear that. And I know with my ex-husband, I learned that despite the pain, if I didn't do what was right for me (leave him) that there would have been much more pain and that pain would have been much more part my responsibility for not doing what I needed...

I cannot thank you enough.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So I'm still trying to work my way through the right way to handle this with minimal injury to those involved (myself, my SO, and her two daughters). As much as I think it might be, I still am not sure that moving out is the best way to resolve the issue, as this would cause a lot more collateral damage than finding a way for me to be able to be alone in our house...

In the process of trying to understand the situation and figure things out, I asked my aunt for advice, who I thought could offer some intelligent outside input, but here's what she wrote:

I thank you for taking the time to [clarify your situation] in such a detailed manner, and everything I've read leads me to repeat, not repudiate, my earlier advice. If you have made a mistake in entering into this relationship, then you need to admit that and sit with it quietly for a while. Be careful about too much thinking and too much outside advice. This is not a logic problem, it is an emotional issue for you and at least three other human beings. Please sit with that - not in guilt or blame, just in mindful realization.

My hope is that by sitting quietly and non-judgmentally with this for a little while, you will find an expanded understanding of your options and how they will affect you and others. What I'm hoping for you is that empathy (for yourself and others) will come to the fore once the linear, logical, rational examination has been completed - or removed from the foreground.

Someday, let's have a chat about the role of guilt and blame, which are often mistaken for accountability in my opinion. We can throw shame into the mix, as that's usually what's going on under all the guilt and blame stuff. I'm not being deliberately cryptic.
This is her response to a previous email I sent her in which I stated her feedback to me was frustratingly cryptic. Can anyone tell me WTF she means?!?! Any idea what thought process or frame of mind she's coming from?
 

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This is her response to a previous email I sent her in which I stated her feedback to me was frustratingly cryptic. Can anyone tell me WTF she means?!?! Any idea what thought process or frame of mind she's coming from?
Wow! I don't think anyone in my family -- at any level -- would respond to me in that way. I usually get one-liners.

She's obviously come from a (twilight) zone that we are not accustomed to. But taking a look at things from your SO's point of view as well as the kids' might help a bit. Would they feel hurt? Or confused? Would they feel first or think first? And depending upon which, what kind of reaction would that create for you. In the end, is living or staying a step toward resolution or a step back toward avoidance ---- from everyone's perspectives?
 

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Yes. I live amongst these people. Here is a possible translation:

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"I thank you for taking the time to [clarify your situation] in such a detailed manner, and everything I've read leads me to repeat, not repudiate, my earlier advice. If you have made a mistake in entering into this relationship, then you need to admit that and sit with it quietly for a while. Be careful about too much thinking and too much outside advice. This is not a logic problem, it is an emotional issue for you and at least three other human beings. Please sit with that - not in guilt or blame, just in mindful realization."

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There is a stigma attached to giving advice in relationships. People feel they are not supposed to express their opinions when it involves someone's relationships because they are "matters of the heart," not logic so she would be interfering. She is now going to make you feel like she gave advice by not actually giving any advice, her method for making you feel supported without interfering with your feelings. The belief is that any unbiased advice they give you might, (a) invalidate your feelings or (b) interfere with the fragility of the true answer that you know inside yourself or (c) compromise your relationship with them either now, if they disagree with your opinion, or later if you change your mind about someone they "disapproved of". The thinking is that we know exactly what we want, but we are not intuitively in touch with our emotions enough yet to know. Meditate and go deep inside from whence an answer will appear.

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My hope is that by sitting quietly and non-judgmentally with this for a little while, you will find an expanded understanding of your options and how they will affect you and others. What I'm hoping for you is that empathy (for yourself and others) will come to the fore once the linear, logical, rational examination has been completed - or removed from the foreground.

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You are supposed to make a pro-con list to look at logically the reasons you should stay-go, but then get in touch with the deep emotions in a separate session, which may contradict the pro-con list, in which case you should ignore the pro-con list, or it may support the pro-con list, in which case you should go with the pro-con list. She wants you to forgive yourself for the fact that the choice may hurt others so you don't feel so much shame that you block it out and subconsciously bounce the other way and become cold to the effect of you leaving on the family. She wants to tell you to disengage gently if you make that choice, but she can't say that directly because she doesn't want you to take her advice as a judgment that makes you feel even more guilty which will backfire and actually make you more unempathetic to them to escape the guilt.

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Someday, let's have a chat about the role of guilt and blame, which are often mistaken for accountability in my opinion. We can throw shame into the mix, as that's usually what's going on under all the guilt and blame stuff. I'm not being deliberately cryptic."
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She wants to make sure you don't go against your own needs because you feel guilty about not living up to a contract, responsibility or commitment. She feels if we you have too much guilt or shame in leaving, you may magnify your actual responsibilty to others and not honor your primal responsibility to yourself. She is being deliberately cryptic, purposefully trying to not sway you because she doesn't believe in interfering in relationship matters. She believes that although you you feel like you need advice, you ultimately should just be given support for you making your own decision.

This kind of non-advice is never useful for me.
 

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Sounds to me OP, that you are a 'Rescuer'.. and rescuer is just another way of describing a control freak.
Before anyone decides to bite my head off,.. INTJ's are not immune from such quirks.
The feelings that keep niggling at you, are guilt, and a realisation that your own internal processes, your own lack of self awareness has now got you in the middle of two major messes.
Theres a certain kind of arrogance in some rescuers,.. that makes them beleive its perfectly alright to 'direct' another person, to improve them like theyre customising a car,..only to get rid of them when theres no longer any work to do, because while they are a work in progress, you get to feel superior and in control, when they're fixed and equal, your raison d etre is gone, as is your feeling of superiority. The intellectual experiment is complete, and all you do is keep repeating the same experiment over and over with same results,..a loss of interest on your part.
You seem to have realised that you're not just tinkering with the persons inner perceptions, but with their whole lives, and the lives of any dependants around them.
You want freedom? Loneliness and the foregoing of a regular committed partner is the price you pay... even freedom isnt free, you scarifice someone always being there for you, if want to be able to move on at any time you like.
Thats YOUR choice, but I think its time you stopped leaving abandoned people in your wake, dont you?
Finish it with your partner as quickly as you can, as you already know you want to be free.
You cant fix this ..you cant limit damage,..the damage will be done.. just resolve to not ever let anyone get close and committed to you whilst you feel the need for freedom of movement and mental and emotional freedom too.
You cant have it all.
The right thing to do, would be to finish this quick, and never look at people as 'projects' ever again.
G. x
 
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