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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need help from the perspective of you ISFJ's. My wife and I are going through a couple upcoming stressful events in our lives and I need help knowing how to deal with my wife's reaction to them, she of course is an ISFJ.

First let me explain how I deal with stressful events. My reaction to them is to make a plan, implement it, hope for the best and forget it. At that point, I've done everything I can; the rest is out of my hands. If the plan doesn't work out I move on to plan-b, lather, rinse, repeat.

My wife's first reaction is, well, for lack of a better term, PANIC!

I'm an INTP and I'll be the first to admit I'm not the most compassionate individual but I do try my best to be supportive of her. But (there's always a but) it seems the more stressed she becomes the more she shuts me out. Until I hear "I never get any support from you". Ummm really? I didn't go anywhere, you shut me out. I hear "this is too much, I can't deal with it, I can't stand this anymore" or "What? Nothing's wrong, everything is fine, find a fire, die in it". What I don't hear is, help me with this, do this for me, etc. etc.

Sorry I don't automatically know what she needs. Perhaps you weirdoes can offer some insight? :crazy:
 

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Wow, I'm very much the same way. I called my mother the other day telling her I couldn't handle college. What a depressing mood I was in.

She needs to talk with you. Shutting people off might be her tendency, but in order for her to feel confidant with dealing with whatever situation she is in, she needs to talk with people relatively close to her and disclose her doubts and GET ENCOURAGING FEEDBACK. Otherwise, in my case, I would put everything down and give up at least temporarily, possibly making an immature decision as well.
 

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What I don't hear is, help me with this, do this for me, etc. etc.
I suspect this is because she actually doesn't want 'help' in the way you see it. I know what I need to do most as a reaction to something stressful (especially if it is emotionally stressful) is to talk ... and talk and talk. I don't want my talking interrupted by suggestions of how to deal or what to do; I want the person I'm talking to to go 'yeah ... yep ... that's awful ... oh no ...' etc. I suspect this is very annoying for people who like to do things, but it's what I need. I will generally do stuff through this whole process, but if I'm talking about it I'm not asking for a solution I'm asking for sympathy and emotional support. She may feel like you're not supporting her if you make suggestions because what she may be wanting is someone just to listen.

I was just talking about this with an INTP the other day. She said what she needs in dealing with a stressed an/or emotional person is to be given a clear list of 'what to do' -- so maybe you could let your wife know that you need to know what she needs? Like I know I'm really bad at saying to someone 'I need you to act in x way right now' because I feel like that's imposing on them, but if I knew that the person needed me to say that so they would feel better I would do it for their sake.
 
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Yeah, I agree with sts. It's kind of like what came up in this thread:

http://personalitycafe.com/isfj-for...listen-rather-then-solutions-corrections.html

Like always, I can really only speak for me, not all ISFJ's, though I've noticed some of these tendencies on the ISFJ forum. I think when an ISFJ gets emotionally stressed and worried, their mind kind of shuts down and they get into panic mode. A lot of times, it helps for us to be able to just let out all of our emotions, let all of the stress out, and then we can calm down and start thinking things through.

The problem is so often we don't feel comfortable doing this. I know for me, it's because I'm afraid someone will judge me or try to tell me what to do, rather than just listen and support me. So, it ends up causing discussions like you described...it just gets ugly.

So I think when someone's in a relationship with an ISFJ, to avoid these kinds of things, they have to be willing to just let the ISFJ vent out all of the frustrations and settle the problem in their own way. If you continue to show the support and concern, I think it will help your wife in being able to think clearly and work through the problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ok that's confusing because what I'm hearing from her is "I want help with this". But what you guys are saying is her idea of help is to just sit and listen to her vent. Wow, yea I would have never figured that out in a million years. In my vocabulary help = action. What you are saying is help = inaction, if I'm getting this right?

so maybe you could let your wife know that you need to know what she needs?
Lol, I do that all the time, the response I get is "you should know!" Erm, I don't <shrug>

We are such polar opposites in dealing with life, it's really all very foreign. Thanks for the input, I think this will help.
 

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Ok that's confusing because what I'm hearing from her is "I want help with this". But what you guys are saying is her idea of help is to just sit and listen to her vent. Wow, yea I would have never figured that out in a million years. In my vocabulary help = action. What you are saying is help = inaction, if I'm getting this right?
For me it's not inaction so much as a different kind of action. It may sound contradictory but I don't need to just vent with no reciprocation, I do want input it's just a very specific sort of input. Other people may think of it as rehashing the same material without working out what to 'do' -- I want to talk about how it's making me 'feel' (and I need some sort of affirming feedback on that) not figure out what to 'do' and once I'm in control of how I'm feeling I can act far more efficiently. Getting in control of those feelings doesn't take just saying it once, no I have to repeat for a while to get them under control. If someone interrupts that process with suggestions of solutions I get more agitated because I'm not looking for a solution at that moment and it will just prolong the time in which I'm emotional and irrational. I can generally come to reasonable solutions myself but I need to be out of that emotional stressed moment to get there.

Lol, I do that all the time, the response I get is "you should know!" Erm, I don't <shrug>
One question: do you ask when she's in that moment? because if so then if she's anything like me she won't be able to be rational. Also, I do have this feeling that people should just know, especially if there is a decent history between me and the other person. That's because as a general rule and based on past interactions and reactions I do have a pretty good feel for what people need in any given situation. Generally I do understand that not everyone is that way. When I'm actually stressed or emotional, however, I very definitely will get very snappy and 'well you should know and I'm not going to tell you because obviously you don't love and value me if you don't know' -- it's not rational but in those times I'm not in a rational place and trying to make me be rational just won't work. It will, in fact, generate even more irrationality and prolong the overly emotional side of me.
 

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For me it's not inaction so much as a different kind of action. It may sound contradictory but I don't need to just vent with no reciprocation, I do want input it's just a very specific sort of input. Other people may think of it as rehashing the same material without working out what to 'do' -- I want to talk about how it's making me 'feel' (and I need some sort of affirming feedback on that) not figure out what to 'do' and once I'm in control of how I'm feeling I can act far more efficiently. Getting in control of those feelings doesn't take just saying it once, no I have to repeat for a while to get them under control. If someone interrupts that process with suggestions of solutions I get more agitated because I'm not looking for a solution at that moment and it will just prolong the time in which I'm emotional and irrational. I can generally come to reasonable solutions myself but I need to be out of that emotional stressed moment to get there.
Yeah, I agree with this explanation for the most part. It's not that it's inaction, it's just that before the action takes place, it helps to feel support and emotional trust first. Then it makes it easier to find a solution to the problem.



One question: do you ask when she's in that moment? because if so then if she's anything like me she won't be able to be rational. Also, I do have this feeling that people should just know, especially if there is a decent history between me and the other person. That's because as a general rule and based on past interactions and reactions I do have a pretty good feel for what people need in any given situation. Generally I do understand that not everyone is that way. When I'm actually stressed or emotional, however, I very definitely will get very snappy and 'well you should know and I'm not going to tell you because obviously you don't love and value me if you don't know' -- it's not rational but in those times I'm not in a rational place and trying to make me be rational just won't work. It will, in fact, generate even more irrationality and prolong the overly emotional side of me.[/QUOTE]
 

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For me it's not inaction so much as a different kind of action. It may sound contradictory but I don't need to just vent with no reciprocation, I do want input it's just a very specific sort of input. Other people may think of it as rehashing the same material without working out what to 'do' -- I want to talk about how it's making me 'feel' (and I need some sort of affirming feedback on that) not figure out what to 'do' and once I'm in control of how I'm feeling I can act far more efficiently. Getting in control of those feelings doesn't take just saying it once, no I have to repeat for a while to get them under control. If someone interrupts that process with suggestions of solutions I get more agitated because I'm not looking for a solution at that moment and it will just prolong the time in which I'm emotional and irrational. I can generally come to reasonable solutions myself but I need to be out of that emotional stressed moment to get there.



One question: do you ask when she's in that moment? because if so then if she's anything like me she won't be able to be rational. Also, I do have this feeling that people should just know, especially if there is a decent history between me and the other person. That's because as a general rule and based on past interactions and reactions I do have a pretty good feel for what people need in any given situation. Generally I do understand that not everyone is that way. When I'm actually stressed or emotional, however, I very definitely will get very snappy and 'well you should know and I'm not going to tell you because obviously you don't love and value me if you don't know' -- it's not rational but in those times I'm not in a rational place and trying to make me be rational just won't work. It will, in fact, generate even more irrationality and prolong the overly emotional side of me.
Ahhh, I think I get what other's have meant when they've said they can prefer a person just to listen and not necessarily give input.

I get this, I do it alone, I sit, I talk to an imaginary counsellor of sorts, I process, I'll run over the issue many times probably over a long period of time, probably have issues stirred up which come from the same route cause, and each conversation I have will be a way of processing.

So yeah I suppose you could call it help via inaction if you leave out the emotional elements, on the other it's more than inaction. It's a person giving emotional support, it's processing, it's showing how she trusts you, and you showing you're there for her.

I think sts06 worded this post wonderfully, perfectly.

As auxillary Fe users it takes a certain degree of real world, or atleast some element of interaction to get intouch with, to deal with our feelings - we need something to bounce from I suppose you could say, think of it like emotional Ne I guess. Not processing in this way would be like a less extream version of not dreaming, maybe not even sleeping.

So yeah, it's figuring out how you feel, feeling comfortable and in control of that - something necessary before action. A machine can't operate if all it's parts are confused, mixed up, dirty, spilling. Maybe it'd function just about, but you'd hit a problem somewhere. Not properly processing would be like doing a half hearted, or rushed put back together.



It's funny, an ESFJ and ENTP friend had a similar conflict of sorts today, the ESFJ has been working alot - short contract, overtime for money. She says she's been missing us all alot, she's mentioned this a fair chunk, as someone open, sensitive and such would. Straight away, the ENTP says to her - and rather more aggressively than is a good idea with the ESFJ, in the mental space she's in - something along the lines of 'Well it's your fault, if you miss us, take shorter hours.' Little eye contact after, won't accept the ESFJs emotional reasonings or acknowledge/notice hurt.

The ESFJ I believe wanted to process, to touch base, to express, it was pretty much the first thing she said to the ENTP that day, her way of saying hello, her way of communicating; sharing warm feelings that say 'I care about you,', also self-expression; being open, honest. The ENTP I'm guessing found it silly that she'd complain about it and not do anything about it if it was enough to make her complain of missing other friends, maybe was even hurt or suspicious.

ESFJ goes in with feeling, ENTP strikes feeling down with logic, ENTP illogically fails to acknowledge feeling from the start which could have diffused the whole situation, ESFJ is probably illogically not gonna try bringing it up (Although attempts at the time failed, so future ones probably wouldn't either). ESFJ will always approach with emotion, ENTP misses emotion out of the equation, in a way.


Think of it like oiling some chain/long slidey but solid apparatus before use - it's gonna be a beech to run if you don't oil it up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I want to talk about how it's making me 'feel' (and I need some sort of affirming feedback on that) not figure out what to 'do' and once I'm in control of how I'm feeling I can act far more efficiently
Seriously? I'm an INTP, that's kind of like asking me to sprout wings and fly.
 

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Seriously? I'm an INTP, that's kind of like asking me to sprout wings and fly.
Being an INTP doesn't stop you from being capable of sitting and listening to a person. Being an INTP doesn't make you incapable of offering a little advice.

If you've not been comunicating emotionally so far, what kind of relationship do you expect to have? How do you expect to get through these rough times? You've come on here and listened...Maybe try writing to your wife?

Relationship counselling?
 

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Seriously? I'm an INTP, that's kind of like asking me to sprout wings and fly.
I don't think you have to be all 'emotional' yourself, but just allow her feelings to be and acknowledge them without trying to 'fix' them. I don't know your wife, of course, but for me just the sheer fact that someone is allowing me to have the feelings and to process them is wonderful. If you don't feel like you can give the real deep emotional support maybe try just acknowledging whatever is bugging her or stressing her out, and suggest that she find someone else to open up to more. I know I let my feelings out in different ways to different people, but the one overwhelming thing that makes me feel unvalued and unsupported is for someone to try and invalidate my feelings by 'fixing' the problem. That's like saying that what I am feeling and how I am processing is irrelevant and makes me feel even worse.

Perhaps, as Liminality says, maybe write something to her. Let her know what you are thinking and how you want to support her but really don't know how to do that best for her. You might be able to be more clear in writing and she might be able to take a step back from 'you should just know what I need.'
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Relationship counselling?
It's not that bad, I'm just very poor at handling those moments when she is stressed out.

That's like saying that what I am feeling and how I am processing is irrelevant and makes me feel even worse.
YES! I hear all the time that I'm telling her her feelings are wrong. That's not my intention but obviously that's how it's coming across. Kind of sounds like I should just shut my mouth, lol.
 
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