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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've seen this NT/NF "Death Spiral" mentioned on numerous boards here at PerC. I thought it would be useful to have a thread dedicated to discussing it.

For those of you not familiar with this dynamic (I took this quotation from the website NT/NF Death Spiral - AdamWiki), here is the description:
The NT/NF Death Spiral

The general sequence of events is this:
Stage 1: NT meets NF. NF is enamoured of NT, falls head over heels. NT is characteristically cautious, but interested. NFs are fun, after all.
Stage 2: NF appreciates and admires many characteristics of the NT and thus begins to behave more like an NT, perhaps even fooling the NT into thinking s/he is an NT. NT then relaxes, figuring s/he's with a kindred spirit, gets more comfortable with the relationship, starts acting like normal NT self, expecting to be understood.
Stage 3: NF feels NT cooling off and wonders what s/he is doing wrong. Tries to be more like NT to compensate. This doesn't feel right. NF gets needy and/or begins to consider is her/his duty to draw the NT out of her/his shell, encouraging the NT to express all those feelings buried deep inside. NT doesn't get it.
Stage 4: NT feels pressure from NFs emotional demands, needs distance to figure things out. (This might be only INTs. I'm not sure.) NF panics, becomes more needy. NT withdraws more...NF needs more...and so on and so on.
Stage 5: NF suddenly realizes that the reason things aren't working is that the NT is cold and unfeeling or not nurturing or some other horrible thing. Abandons NT without looking back. (This is especially likely with the NFPs.) NT is confused and (sometimes) relieved.

Do you believe this phenomenon exists? Have you ever experienced it? What do you believe that both parties could do to avoid it... or is it an inevitable dynamic between NFs & NTs? I'm curious to hear from any NTs or NFs.
 

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1. Yes.

2. Yes.

3. Both people have to work at it. It's not even just NF's. SF's do the same thing. I just stopped dating an ISFJ and this is exactly how it played out. I got comfortable and started being myself and she just wanted more attention. I guess I didn't give her enough of it. But the cycle started and she kept getting more needy and wanting more attention and it just made me withdraw more and more. I get it, you're emotional and need someone to tell you how awesome you are all the time, but I'm the opposite so I'm sorry you don't always get your way like you want. Honestly part of me sees it as a weakness to have to need attention from other people. Reminded me of all the attention whores in High School.

4. It depends on the two people. There might be an NF or an NT that is borderline something else and they can deal with it or maybe an NT is more emotionally developed. It's a hard thing to make work you just need the right person next to you and it will work.
 

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My "worst" romances have been with fellow NFs and my best with NTs. So long as they aren't bereft of emotional intelligence, I think it'll work out fine. It does depend hugely on the maturity levels of both people though.
 

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I
The general sequence of events is this:
Stage 1: NT meets NF. NF is enamoured of NT, falls head over heels. NT is characteristically cautious, but interested. NFs are fun, after all.
Nah, too much generalisation. Not all NTs are cautious, and not all NF are instantly enamoured. I'm an NT, and had a relationship with someone who is, I think, an ENFP, and the initial attraction was definitely mutual. At first on an intellectual level, at least from my perspective, fueled by Ne superpowers, strong in both of us.

Stage 2: NF appreciates and admires many characteristics of the NT and thus begins to behave more like an NT, perhaps even fooling the NT into thinking s/he is an NT. NT then relaxes, figuring s/he's with a kindred spirit, gets more comfortable with the relationship, starts acting like normal NT self, expecting to be understood.
Yeah, that part feels familiar.

Stage 3: NF feels NT cooling off and wonders what s/he is doing wrong. Tries to be more like NT to compensate. This doesn't feel right. NF gets needy and/or begins to consider is her/his duty to draw the NT out of her/his shell, encouraging the NT to express all those feelings buried deep inside. NT doesn't get it.
LOL, I was accused of being heartless, while from my POV I was objective and unbiased.

Stage 4: NT feels pressure from NFs emotional demands, needs distance to figure things out. (This might be only INTs. I'm not sure.) NF panics, becomes more needy. NT withdraws more...NF needs more...and so on and so on.
Or in my case: the NF gets on their high horse and proclaims moral superiority. The NT gets confused, bored, annoyed and cheats.

Stage 5: NF suddenly realizes that the reason things aren't working is that the NT is cold and unfeeling or not nurturing or some other horrible thing. Abandons NT without looking back. (This is especially likely with the NFPs.) NT is confused and (sometimes) relieved.
Nope. In my case , the NT (meaning me) abandoned the NF (meaning my ex) because I thought it wouldn't work, and already found someone else.

Do you believe this phenomenon exists?
not really

Have you ever experienced it?
look above

What do you believe that both parties could do to avoid it... or is it an inevitable dynamic between NFs & NTs? I'm curious to hear from any NTs or NFs.
I think it's less a matter of being a NT, a NF or whatnot... My parents are an ENTJ and an INFP, married for 26 years, so it might definitely work. The most important factor is, I think, not a MBTI type, but similar goals, worldviews and interests.
 

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I think it's less a matter of being a NT, a NF or whatnot... My parents are an ENTJ and an INFP, married for 26 years, so it might definitely work. The most important factor is, I think, not a MBTI type, but similar goals, worldviews and interests.
This x 1000
 

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Well, this is not how the relationship with my ENTJ started. Neither of us even knew about personality types when we met and that was probably an advantage. I was just me and he was just him. He was goofy and I was goofy. I was serious and he was serious. There was no NT/NF guard because we didn't know it existed. So I didn't feel pressure to be more NT like, and he didn't feel pressure to be more NF like. We both had our ridiculous moments, and we both had our calm and collected moments.

I might get tomatoes thrown at me for this but to be honest, I think this is where it might be a downfall for people who are very young, and haven't found themselves yet to know their type and the types of others...

If we are naturally drawn to those who are compatible with our type, then we will find them on our own; we don't need MBTI to find our perfect match. As an adult, it might be a useful tool, but I think it could be a potential problem when young people use it to find or reject boyfriends and girlfriends.

Also, your type doesn't define you. I often wonder if a young person who learns their type will tend to utilize it like a self fulfilling prophecy? ie: "oh, I'm not tidy because ENFP's aren't tidy" "I like to boss people around because ENTJ's boss people around" etc. I hope they understand that they are who they are and if they are a neat and tidy ENFP, then they are still an ENFP, and if they are ENTJ and don't boss people around, they are still ENTJ. Sorry if that sounds rude to the younger crowd. And of course, those examples are just stereotypes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
But why do you think this specifically applies to NF/NT and not other types?
It's not my theory; it's one I've seen mentioned again and again on other boards. I'd imagine it would be true in many ExFx/ xxTx couplings but you'll have to ask those who keep quoting it for truth on the PerC boards and write about it elsewhere (as did the author of the passage I quoted above) why they think it applies specifically to NF/NT pairings.

Have you seen it occur between other Types? I believe that I have...
 

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It really depends on the two people in question. In my relationship it was all about balance, and compromises. We shared the same goals and interest. We viewed the world basically the same way. Although he isn't hear to defend himself * cough*, my husband was actually more needy than i was ;) Neither of us were looking for anything serious when we met. I stayed true to myself and so did he. We talked about life, careers, travel, kids, you name it, we talked about it early on in our relationship. Like @Enfpleasantly said, i didn't know about MBTI then, and didn't have an hidden agenda's, nor did he. We clicked, connected on every level. We both really enjoyed intellectual conversations in serious moments, yet both could be totally crazy random fools too ( no, i think that was just me, although he didn't mind coming along for the ride ;)...although he has a very silly playful side to him also.

I think it makes sense that if you have two mature people who have a common goal in mind, who value and respect many of the same things, it will make the relationship solid. We both have our strengths and weakness in all areas , emotionally, physically, mentally, etc. What i lack, he fills in the gap and visa versa. Personally i think both have to be equally emotionally and mentally mature. Too much emotion, or too much logic isn't a healthy balance. We like to meet somewhere in the middle.
 

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Do you believe this phenomenon exists? Have you ever experienced it? What do you believe that both parties could do to avoid it... or is it an inevitable dynamic between NFs & NTs? I'm curious to hear from any NTs or NFs.
Might... not every pairing of people is going to work, this could just be a commonality among the ones that don't, doesn't speak to the ones that do. As for avoiding it, knowing that it has happened to others is a good start. A conscious desire to tend to the needs of your SO also likely helps a whole lot, the NT going out of their way to make sure the NF feels loved and the NF understanding that NTs can be reclusive. The fundamental given here being that both parties care for the other, and that taking the care to ensure this is known to them is much of the point of it all, and needs the occasional thought (or more) given to it.
 

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The general sequence of events is this:
Stage 1: NT meets NF. NF is enamoured of NT, falls head over heels. NT is characteristically cautious, but interested. NFs are fun, after all.
Stage 2: NF appreciates and admires many characteristics of the NT and thus begins to behave more like an NT, perhaps even fooling the NT into thinking s/he is an NT. NT then relaxes, figuring s/he's with a kindred spirit, gets more comfortable with the relationship, starts acting like normal NT self, expecting to be understood.
Stage 3: NF feels NT cooling off and wonders what s/he is doing wrong. Tries to be more like NT to compensate. This doesn't feel right. NF gets needy and/or begins to consider is her/his duty to draw the NT out of her/his shell, encouraging the NT to express all those feelings buried deep inside. NT doesn't get it.
Stage 4: NT feels pressure from NFs emotional demands, needs distance to figure things out. (This might be only INTs. I'm not sure.) NF panics, becomes more needy. NT withdraws more...NF needs more...and so on and so on.
Stage 5: NF suddenly realizes that the reason things aren't working is that the NT is cold and unfeeling or not nurturing or some other horrible thing. Abandons NT without looking back. (This is especially likely with the NFPs.) NT is confused and (sometimes) relieved.
I don't have experience with this directly, since I never date Thinkers. BUT stage 3 and 4 sound a lot like what happened in my past relationship with an SF when he was going through a hard time and was firmly in the grip of his inferior Te. But I didn't leave him, he left me to be alone and sort things out. :(
 

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Brand new here. :) Hello all!
Thank you for posting this. Experiencing an A-HA moment here. I am involved in a cyclic on again/off again toxic relationship with my ENTP ex-boyfriend. I would say that we find each other intoxicatng, irresistable, and sometimes infuriating. He gets me in a way that no one does really...The real me. He sees the dark side of the force and is intrigued, but he also sees me, the whole picture. He says that I am his closest friend and he can't help but have sex with me because the physical attraction is off the charts.
Our relationship played out exactly as this defines, except for Stage 5. He actually decided that, in fact, we were doomed and he was essentially, tired of the fighting and drama, and probably just bored. LOL
I was in love with him and addicted to the need for it to be reciprocal. If we 'get each other' so well, have tons of fun and can connect on a seriously deep level then why is it doomed? Well I guess here's my answer. I knew it was the F vs. T.

Our last cycle he cheated on his current gf with me. I somehow managed to still get hurt when he told me he was in love with her and was going to stop, or so he said. Well I emailed and told her what was going on. He denied it. Two months later, they are still broken up and we are trying to do this crazy friendship/sex thing NSA. I have to stop myself from cuddling, kissing or wanting more emotionally. Word to the wise--this dynamic is so frustrating just make sure both people are invested in the relationship equally.

Oh, but the sex is mind-blowing.
 

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I have had this happen:

-NT meets NF
-NT starts to feel something for the NF after talking to them everyday for a week
-NT becomes confused and does not know how to express their feelings so they ignore them
-NF does not understand what made the NT so distant and not very talkative because they suddenly have a hard time talking to the NF
-NF thinks Nt does not want to talk to them anymore and blows off NT and makes up excuses to not talk to them anymore
-NT feels puzzled, maybe a little sad, but also relived
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I've never had that Spiral happen. I have, however, experienced this:
- NT and NF meet
- they have emotions for each other. NF is used to emotions, NT is not
- NF wants to take things slow and steady; NF knows aaaaall about being washed away by emotions
- NT, not accustomed to these mushy feelings, quickly concludes that this is the Be All and End of All of relationships
- NF gets spooked by NT's intensity, runs away
- NT hurt, confused, shakes fist at sky and promises to never love again
 

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I had the death spiral, more or less completely to-a-tee as it's described here, happen when I had a quite emotionally intense fling with an INTJ a couple of years ago.

I don't think it's inevitable, by any means. I think it was inevitable with us, though.
 

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I've had this happen with an INTP boyfriend three years ago. It was nuts. I think I'm subconsciously doing it again? I'm living with an ENTP right now, and I've been playing him like a fiddle >.>' I won't pay any attention to him for a couple of days, and then the next day, I give him just enough attention to hook him. I'm not meaning to, it's just that I'm fickle about what I want to do about the situation. Sometimes, I think it just wouldn't work out or be worth my time, and other times I'm like, "Eh, what the hell? Why not?" :| Eff, lol.
 

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I've never had that Spiral happen. I have, however, experienced this:
- NT and NF meet
- they have emotions for each other. NF is used to emotions, NT is not
- NF wants to take things slow and steady; NF knows aaaaall about being washed away by emotions
- NT, not accustomed to these mushy feelings, quickly concludes that this is the Be All and End of All of relationships
- NF gets spooked by NT's intensity, runs away
- NT hurt, confused, shakes fist at sky and promises to never love again
This sounds infinitely more accurate than the initial theory to me. In fact, I fit all the NT responses pretty much exactly.

Takes a while to get in, but once I'm in, I'm all in on the button. Then the flop comes up clubs and I have hearts and it's the end of the road and I want to destroy humanity.

However, I think it would be different for NTPs and NTJs due to Fe/Fi maybe.
 

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What a hilarious post!

Stage 1: YES
Stage 2: YES!! I told NF to get a grip and be under control after his first emotional outburst. He scared the hell out of me. He seemed to understand and went back to what I considered as "controlled" behaviour.
Stage 3: YES!!! NF wrote 4 emails per day to me per day, suffocated me with too much information about his life, tried to manipulate into seeing him ("I asked everyone to come, but you did not show up"), asked me, if I cry if I watch sad movies (to see if I have any emotions). I registered all his move and started to feel very annoyed, but still liked him as a friend.
Stage 4: YES!!!! I tried to withdraw his grip. I felt that the "friendly" relationship became too tense, too many obligations, too close for just being friends, so I cut the contact a little bit (one email per week).
Stage 5: BOOM!!!! NF finally blew his bomb and did things which totally appalled and confused me. I decided then that he was not worth of my time anymore and kicked him out of my life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've also had the following:
1. NF likes NT and overflows with affection.
2. NT conveys that being so cuddly/verbally effusive/emotional is somehow "less than" acting rational, cool & collected, slightly detached
3. NF, in a desire to make object of attention happy, puts a lid on the Feeling-type behaviour and language, behaves in a more logical, almost-business-like manner
4. NT approves and finds self more & more at ease with this new, less-cozy iteration of the NF. Begins to warm up and think this person might have serious long-term romantic potential.
5. NF discovers that in the struggle to not express tender, sweet emotions, those tender, sweet emotions have died of asphyxiation. There is no love left... just a sort of numbness.
6. NF leaves, off to find someone who will enjoy being the object of goofy adoration, warm hugs and mediocre poetry.
7. NT, having finally opened heart, is crushed and wonders what could have possibly gone wrong. Shakes fist at sky and promises to never love again.
 
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