Personality Cafe banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My sister is an ISTP and kinesthetic learner (probably like many of you). She's really going through a hard time in her new marriage, and she doesn't seem to know how to process and work through her emotions, preferring instead to stuff them down -- only to lash out passive-aggressively, or completely blow up later (her INFx husband doesn't help at all, but that's another subject altogether). Also, she learns through experience, so reading about how to later implement relationship/communication strategies probably won't stick (conversely, reading books on communication and relationships helps me).

I asked her if writing in a journal would help her process her thoughts... but I'm pretty sure it won't. I did a cursory Google search for "therapeutic methods for kinesthetic learners," but most stuff centers around methods for the classroom, not emotional/psychological strategies.

I married an ISTP, but our relationship is leagues healthier than my sister's marriage, so I have been able to help my ISTP process emotions and we handle conflict healthily, for the most part. My sister's husband is too preoccupied with himself to nurture her (especially since he's a big part of the problem, and doesn't want to see it). So she's mostly left to fend for herself. :sad:

If any of you have gone through therapy or otherwise learned how to process your emotions according to your kinesthetic learning style, what helped you? I hate that my sister is hurting, and hate even more that her pain and emotions are just festering within her and infiltrating every area of her life, but we're so different that my coping strategies most likely will not overlap with hers. I'd love to hear from you about what helped you, so I might be able to suggest something.

Thank you for any suggestions!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,791 Posts
What @thunder wrote makes sense.

The best case scenario would be, of course, if that trusted person actually was her husband. Do they function well together when they're both in a relaxed state of mind? They likely enjoyed parts of each other's personalities originally, or they shouldn't have gotten married in the first place. Re-discovering these things you liked is a good thing, in my opinion, and what usually works for my wife and me is to travel together - lots of one-on-one time, lots of time to talk about other things than the daily grind, and perhaps most important, it gives you a break from that grind. It doesn't have to be complicated - a long weekend (Thursday-Sunday or Friday-Monday) driving somewhere nice can be done dirt cheap. A relaxed ISTP is more likely to share their feelings.

Another very relevant question, is if they have children that would get stuck in the middle if they realized that they actually don't work very well together. If the decision to marry was made too rashly, perhaps they'd both be better off with other people now that they are a bit older and, hopefully, better suited to understand what they need in a partner. Children complicate such a decision, but if it's just them, it's a serious question.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all for responding, I really appreciate it. @thunder, what a great suggestion! Maybe that would at least offer stress relief, if nothing else.
@zynthaxx, in response to your message:

In many ways, they are good for each other. But both of them have baggage from their past that they haven't properly dealt with, and so when they have conflict, it quickly disintegrates into screaming matches or at least cutting each other down in incredibly hurtful ways. He is profoundly insecure, so things are never his fault (he can't handle being wrong because his self-concept is so fragile... my guess) -- they're hers. She doesn't know how to communicate her unhappiness without passive-aggressiveness or cutting him down -- which only causes him to shut off more, since he's so insecure (My analogy: He's a blowfish. He "puffs up" when scared/intimidated/threatened -- you can't get anything through to him then).

Whenever I'm with them, I can tell they're fighting because she won't look him in the eye, and he gets SUPER, obnoxiously "affectionate" to try to over-compensate... and completely misses how much it just pisses her off even more (at least as far as I can tell). When they're not fighting, both are so sensitive that even the tiniest comment from him (that I perceive as not a big deal) will set her off, because of all of the unresolved things before.

And yes, there is a child involved. Her 6yo son from a previous relationship, when she was 19 (something that her new husband likes to throw in her face -- he thinks he's her savior). Your suggestions for a trip are good, but things are so tight they really can't afford that. Maybe I can get them a night in a hotel for her birthday or something, though, and watch my nephew. It certainly doesn't help that between both spouses working and being in school part-time, and being parents, they don't have much time to pay attention to each other. They just got married in July.

My perspective is: Just because it's hard doesn't necessarily mean it's not right. I can see the qualities they each have that would otherwise make them a strong couple, but not if they don't work through this stuff. She wants to go to counseling, but they have neither money nor time, plus, her husband doesn't think he needs counseling. She and I see this hard time as potential for great personal growth for them both, but not if her husband is too busy pretending he's Thor to realize he's a mere mortal, like everyone else (Sorry. You can tell I'm not happy with him, to say the least).

To your comment, @Era, --Yes, she is a caged animal. I thought that exactly when I saw her last week. She's on the brink of shutting down completely. Since counseling won't be an option at least until he finishes school in December, I'm trying to come up with something to at least make her feel less trapped in the meantime. She feels trapped in her marriage, trapped by parenthood, trapped financially, trapped because she has no time or money for her own interests... it's awful. Maybe I could buy her a membership to some activity she enjoys (she liked krav maga), but she honestly has zero time. If she does have time, she wants to spend it with her son, of course.

...I'm a fixer. Maybe I should stop trying to be.

(Also, as an INFJ, I don't understand why people think "psychobabble" is not useful/pragmatic... that's the second time this week someone has used that term in response to something I've said. :dry: I find it to be plenty applicable/useful. *shrug*)

Thank you for listening. Didn't mean to write this much.
 
  • Like
Reactions: soppixo

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,752 Posts
How I deal with emotions? Take a deep breath in...

Stop giving so much of a shit...

Breathe out.

In all seriousness, I don't think the problem is with how she deals with emotions, it's with how she deals with marriage. There seems to be a complete lack of communication there... not good. Damaged relationships take a lot of work from both parties, something her husband isn't bringing to the table. So long as she's doing all the heavy lifting, the relationship isn't salvageable, sorry.

When marriage works, emotional baggage shouldn't matter - no matter what the hang up, your partner should be supportive, not unloading self-esteem issues, or deriding your early life choices.

What you need to do is find ways your sister can effectively communicate with her spouse. I'd suggest framing things around how she feels, instead of her husband's shortcomings - the trick to dealing with ego-sensitive people is to make everything about you, not about them. Here is how a conversation probably goes -

Her: When X happened, I felt Y. It would have been nice if you'd supported me.
Him: Seeing as you pointed out my failings, I now feel defensive. To make myself feel better, I am going to insult you.
Her: Now I feel defensive. Insult.
Him: Insult.
Her: Shouted insult.
Him: Shouted insult.

Notice how far the conversation has drifted? If instead she said -

Her: When X happens, I feel Y. I think it would really help if you Z.

[also notice the emphasis on future tense]

In the case of counseling, she could frame it as such -

Her: You know I've had a lot of problems with A, B and C recently, and it's making me feel insecure. I'm really sorry, but I just feel that way about everything now, including our relationship. I honestly think it would help if we had counseling. I really care about you, but things haven't been the same for awhile, and it's making my insecurity worse. If you could help me in fixing things, it would mean so much to me. This is something I want to do with you.

Or something to that effect. Sadly however, while he allows his insecurity to run amok, it's always going to form that barrier. I can't promise it will work, just that it might get her somewhere.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
205 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you, @Falling Leaves. Your advice was really helpful, and it made me laugh. :happy:

When marriage works, emotional baggage shouldn't matter - no matter what the hang up, your partner should be supportive, not unloading self-esteem issues, or deriding your early life choices.
Isn't that the truth...

You're right; both she and I have been framing things about how he would feel/react instead of her feelings. Maybe part of the key, too, is simply ignoring his responses that come from insecurity... and just continuing to restate the issue in terms of her feelings. As soon as his insecurities are acknowledged - and his biting response taken as bait - say goodbye to any hope of that conversation going somewhere productive (actually, I wonder if he uses that as a manipulation to take the focus off him...hm).

Again, thank you all for chiming in. I really hope my sister and her husband can grow through this. Life has been hard for her... I want her to be happy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Falling Leaves
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top