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  1. #1
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    Unhappy Problems Understanding NFJ Sibling

    My sister and I have always had a fairly touch and go relationship. There are a lot of ways that we are very different people that became more pronounced after we stopped living at home. I want to have a relationship with her, but it's very difficult. It seems like she takes everything I say the wrong way. I can't joke with her or give her advice because it's somehow contorted into a personal attack. There are times that she'll go days without speaking to me and then suddenly it's as though nothing has happened. The times I've tried in the past to discuss whatever's going on have resulted in us getting into really intense fights with nothing getting resolved.

    On a basic level, I don't get her. I know she's really sensitive, but there doesn't seem to be a single subject she doesn't react to. Any insights into what might be going on with her either from the perspective of difficulties in NFs interactions with NTs or how you guys respond to/perceive conflict would be incredibly helpful.

  2. #2
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I think it might have more to do with the way that the two of you go about discussing things, more than the topic. NTs generally care about preciseness and pointing out inconsistencies while discussing something. This is purely about the subject matter being discussed and is not a rejection of the person themselves. However, NFs will feel this as a rejection because their ideas and opinions and feelings make a core part of what they are all about. Sometimes an NTs humour can also feel a little unkind for an NF, even if it is very witty and intelligent humour. NFs also have a strong need to be heard and they do not get to the point as concisely as NTs. If you don't hear her out, she will feel dismissed before you have even understood her. NFs often need to talk to process problems. Ts often become impatient with this and feel like the NF is not getting on with solving the problem. Usually NFs can only get on with problem solving once they have rid themselves of the emotional excess they are feeling. NTs often misunderstand this and offer advice too soon. NTs value independence and space and also prefer other people to be able to stand on their own two feet. An NF looks for support and then ventures out more on their own. They need to feel the connection at home base is secure, or they will continue hovering around you trying to establish it. The NTs resulting attempts to get away and not feel smothered only make the NF hang on more before they feel they can take care of their own stuff. NTs often express that NFs are being "illogical" or "oversensitive" because they do not process primarily through their Thinking function. This is offensive to many NFs. Both emotions and logic are needed to arrive at a good decision and it is insulting to be treated as an overtired child etc rather than as an equal. NFs need a lot of appreciation to be verbalized, which NTs don't tend to do. It will really wilt an NF quickly if in addition to no verbalized appreciation, there is also criticism. It makes it even worse if the NT decides they will judge whether the ensuing hurt that the NF experiences is valid or not or if they laugh at/ignore it. The NT ability to distance themselves from an interaction as if they were observing themselves and the other person interacting sometimes leads to finding something funny in the situation when things are at their diciest. It doesn't usually go over well!

    Many of the NTs I have talked to enjoy the warmth of NFs and their differing perspectives, but feel that they always have to walk on eggshells which is draining. If you want to have a good relationship with your sister, you will probably have to do most of the adjusting in communicating with her. This of course is a gross generalization as every person is different, but these issues are ones that seem to come up frequently. Ideally if you can work together you both will have a lot of useful things to offer each other. Sometimes it seems a little one-sided as NTs are more independent and often are not looking for guidance or direction. You will have to honestly find some things that you think your sister has to offer that you don't have or you will unknowingly communicate to her that she doesn't have anything you value and she will react emotionally. Hope that help you a little...

  3. #3
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    First, I want to thank you for taking time to give such a detailed reply. There was a lot that I recognized in the dynamics that you described. I think that one of the things that I can work on immediately is being more patient, which frankly is something that I need work on period.

    I think it might have more to do with the way that the two of you go about discussing things, more than the topic. NTs generally care about preciseness and pointing out inconsistencies while discussing something. This is purely about the subject matter being discussed and is not a rejection of the person themselves. However, NFs will feel this as a rejection because their ideas and opinions and feelings make a core part of what they are all about.
    This gives me serious pause. I mean, there are instances where I think that she is absolutely dead wrong in something that she says, but I want to talk it over to figure out where she's coming from. I'm not entirely sure how to relate to someone unless I can get into honest discussion with them. There are times when I ask her to provide more information, and she takes it as me trying to indirectly call her stupid when I just want to understand. But if I just try to avoid the situation altogether by not engaging her beyond superficial conversation, she sulks, then takes it as me indirectly calling her stupid, or thinking I'm better than her or whatever. The ironic part is the only reason I try is because she's got an intellect I admire, and thinks about things in a way that I would never consider. It's painful to think that I can't really be myself with her. Anyway, thanks again fidelia.

  4. #4
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I'm so glad if there were some useful ideas for you. Have you ever explained to her that she's got an intellect you admire. I think NFs tend to doubt themselves a lot. NTs also dislike reiterating what has already been said that's positive because it feels like by overemphasizing it is calling the fact into question. NFs need affirmation like a plant needs water and sunshine. They shrivel up if they think the people they care about don't respect them. This often results in an emotional attack. To the NT this seems to come entirely out of nowwhere and without just cause. For the NF, the reaction seems entirely obvious and comes out of hurt. By explaining your thought process a little more out loud and showing her that your interest in having her provide more information is actually a sign that you respect her and want to know more (rather than an attempt to make her feel foolish or pick holes in her logic), she will react less emotionally to what you say and be able to tolerate more questioning. One thing that helps NFs immensely is if you give them a way to interpret your behaviour and motives. They can deal with something that they would normally take offense to if they have a reasonable explanation for the motivation and for the thought processes involved. The more information you can provide for her to understand you, the less emotional she will become when you try to discuss something.

    Also introduce her to MBTI. Many NFs are naturally very interested in understanding themselves and each other better (just look at the ratio of NFs on the forum to the other groups!) and you will find that she will try hard to understand you if she has some more clues to work with.

  5. #5
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    It's so funny how easily misunderstandings can occur. I mean, as a NT constant reaffirmation would either be taken as a) the other person is disingenuous and most likely wants something from you, or b) coddling which is deeply offensive to someone who's used to believing their the most capable person in the room. I'll admit the idea of all the emotional petting makes me nervous, but what the hell?, brave new world and all that.

    One thing that helps NFs immensely is if you give them a way to interpret your behaviour and motives. They can deal with something that they would normally take offense to if they have a reasonable explanation for the motivation and for the thought processes involved.
    She doesn't really approve when I talk to frankly about how I think about things, pet projects or misadventures. I mean, honestly, I'm shamelessly amoral, and I think that that doesn't go over to well with you guys. I don't care to be judged, either. I appreciate your idea that I should be more careful to reiterate that our relationship is based on mutual respect, and will do so.

    So what's your deal? Have you been involved with/are close to an NT, or are just somehow intune with the emotionally retarded?

  6. #6
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Yes, we unknowingly annoy NTs horribly by constantly affirming our appreciation and love for them! We just figured we were being nice because we lap that stuff up. The other thing is saying sorry all the time. I remember annoying the heck out of my first boss by apologizing. He told me to quit and I apologized for apologizing! I have gotten better at recognizing who appreciates that and who doesn't. For the record, apologizing goes quite far with an NF as long as it is genuine. We're bad for judging, and NTs seem to approach most ideas and behaviours with no preconceived personal feelings until they have investigated enough to be convinced one way or the other about something. Even then, they are more okay with letting others do what they want and letting things be.

    I think the MBTI stuff has helped me, as has working with and teaching a variety of people. I have had a couple of NT friends, although it's been quite some time since we've lived near each other. It was quite a revelation to me at the beginning of figuring this stuff out that people like to be complimented differently and that what is a compliment to one is actually an insult to the next person. I think for an NT to be complimented by someone, they would want to have assessed that the person is competent to make an accurate and valid assessment. Even then, the compliment wouldn't be felt in a real personal way like with an NF. NFs need compliments the most of any of the groups. Especially ones that are specific and personal and have something to do with how their specific actions/qualities impact someone else. SJs want to be told that they are on the right track and fulfilling other's expectations of them. They especially want to know where they rank in comparison to others and how reliable and trustworthy others view them as being. SPs are a group I really don't have enough experience with to comment on.

    For you, rather than thinking of this as a difficult way to have to accommodate your over-emotional sister, approach it as a science experiment where you are testing hypothesese to find the most successful and useful results. NTs actually have incredible potential as strong communicators if they decide that it is a worthy pursuit. They are great at systems and observation and this is a big part of being successful at it. It's clear that it matters to you if you are willing to take the time and effort to research and consider the possibilities of interacting differently. Your sister should feel flattered!

  7. #7
    my floof is luxury Wind Up Rex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    Yes, we unknowingly annoy NTs horribly by constantly affirming our appreciation and love for them!
    Yeah, well, *grumbles something about self-sufficiency and the principle of the thing darnit*


    I think the MBTI stuff has helped me, as has working with and teaching a variety of people. I have had a couple of NT friends, although it's been quite some time since we've lived near each other. It was quite a revelation to me at the beginning of figuring this stuff out that people like to be complimented differently and that what is a compliment to one is actually an insult to the next person.
    Hell, you too? Well, as long as we're all just getting by together haha.


    SPs are a group I really don't have enough experience with to comment on.
    Don't think too hard about it. Just remind them that they're awesome and look great; they'll take it from there.

    For you, rather than thinking of this as a difficult way to have to accommodate your over-emotional sister, approach it as a science experiment where you are testing hypothesese to find the most successful and useful results. NTs actually have incredible potential as strong communicators if they decide that it is a worthy pursuit.
    I mean at the end of the day the point is that I love my baby sister and will do what I can do to right by her. Your help means a lot. Im going to give it a whirl and hopefully things will get better between us. In the meanwhile, if you ever need help with a hostile corporate takeover or a diamond heist or anything lemme know and Ill do what I can for ya!

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