Before I hone in on the focal point of my post, I’d like to provide a little personal background. Please bear with me.
During my teenage years I had a tendency to fall into student-mentor relationships with INFJs. I was the student, the INFJs my unofficial mentors. Through their friendship and my knowledge of their thoughts and philosophies, they directly and indirectly encouraged me to better myself in as many ways as I could. Even though I’ve fallen out of contact with some of the INFJs I used to know, I keep them in my thoughts and continue to wish them well.
My most recent “mentor”– an INFJ 9 years my senior– is probably the most caring and hardworking person I’ve ever encountered. We met on a livejournal community that she moderates for. The INFJ is a very efficient moderator and whenever a conflict explodes out she instantly moves in to (gently) ease it away. Even at the extent of internalizing negativity, she always treats people with respect and helps them with their problems.
Now, my point. I am naturally a very confident person. Unfortunately, this means that I have the harmful tendency to voice my thoughts on conflicts in an aggressive way. This aggression, felt by me to be passion, often reads to people (as I have been told) as hateful. Even when I endeavor to be as civil as I can my voice reads rigid and unapproachable. As you might imagine, this tendency led to me unintentionally stirring up many conflicts in the community with a variety of different people.
When "my" conflicts (my anger is legendary in this LJ community, which saddens me) crop up, the INFJ mod always ends up having to swoop in and save the situation. She usually steers me into a private forum to discuss the matter with me where the other members won't see it. This method works and always ends in resolution. Done. Over. It does, unfortunately, also have the side effect of making the INFJ's life a living hell. All of the conflicts that I stir up, she internalizes and blames herself for. Everything is taken very personally, even when the conflicts have little to do with her at all. (I believe this may be because she feels a lot of personal ownership of the community, but I can't be sure.)
I care deeply about her and always try as hard as I possibly can to not add to the stress in her life. Yet, through one way or another, the same problems seem to occur again and again despite how hard I've been working to monitor my own behavior. I'm only human– I make a lot of mistakes. Thankfully, since the opening of the game, I have managed to curb my aggression and be more empathetic. But I feel that I have done permanent damage to my relationship with the INFJ. She still actively helps and supports me when I’m going through a difficult time, but I can’t help but feel like she’s doing it because she feels obligated to.
In all honesty, however, I can't even pretend to understand her motivations. A lot of her impulses and thoughts are alien to me, even when she explains them in detail. It isn't that I don't comprehend what she's saying– I simply can't wrap my mind around where the feelings originate from.
I admire this INFJ. I want to be her friend and I want to support her. I want to make her life easier by not being a major source of pain. I also want to repair our relationship so that we can be friends and trusted confidants again; so that she won't have to be afraid that I'm going to blow up at any moment and tear her apart.
How can I do this? I've been working on controlling my aggressiveness and the way that I phrase my arguments. So far I have seen results from this process, but they are very slow to come. In the meantime, how can I show her that I appreciate her and care about her as much as I do? How can I make up for the pain I’ve caused her? Can I make up for it?
(I apologize for the TL;DR– I'm normally more concise than this. This is an issue that I feel strongly about and I wanted to describe it in as much detail as I could.)