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  1. #11
    Sniffles
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    Oh this sounds very familiar.

  2. #12
    Vaguely Precise Seymour's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post
    I've got a thought: are you sure he's an INFJ and not an INFP? From my experience, shutting you out during conflicts seems more Fi (INFP/ISFP), while 'righteous anger' (demanding that you see how you were wrong and how bad it hurt them) is more Fe (INFJ/ISFJ). INFPs are slightly more sensitive than INFJs, and they might react quite strongly to the 'potential rejection' that they perceive from how NTs word things. INFPs also shut down when they sense confrontation, and for NFs, NTs can come off as confrontational even when you're not trying to be so. If you're sure he is an NF, it is likely that the communication problem comes from the fact that he feels threatened by the 'debate' method of solving problems.

    I'm dating an INFP, and I thought I was sensitive I guess with NFs, the best way is to express how you feel (not as in "You made me feel bad", though, because that's also threatening), but more of something like "I felt like this when you did that. You probably didn't have the intention to hurt me, but I felt hurt because [insert honest self-psychoanalysis]". If he's an NF, he would definitely reach out to you, because you are opening yourself up -- showing vulnerability and offering a chance for emotional intimacy.

    Hmmm, maybe that applies to INFJs as well...
    I agree that shutting down during conflicts isn't atypical for an INFP. Often, we need time for "offline processing" when dealing with conflict (so pushing harder in the moment may be counter-productive). Also, we tend to take criticism deeply to heart, and takes us a while to get over it (and yes, we find that quality irritating ourselves). I definitely agree that a strategy like 21% outlines is good way to approach relationship upsets with INFPs (and probably INFJs).

    It's important with INFPs (and probably other NFs) to re-affirm that your intentions are good and you mean no harm when debating or offering less-than-positive feedback. It may feel silly to you, but it allows INFPs to remain more open to hearing your concerns. Usually INFPs are fairly forgiving if they understand your intent is good (barring stepping on a value mine).

  3. #13
    violaine
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    I'm INFJ. Much of the time I don't want to discuss how I'm feeling at all, especially if it's going to be one of those 'difficult' conversations. I need time to process things and to weigh up the many factors that have to be taken into account during most conflicts to know how I want to proceed once a knee-jerk reaction I may be having has passed. I need time to respond in the kind of language I'm comfortable with. That is, calm and tactful. In those instances I don't like to be prodded over and over again for a response. That makes me shut down for a while.

    If I become angry all I want to do is walk away until I can calm down again. I usually feel angry if a person isn't able to understand what I'm saying and I have to repeat myself a lot or if they are getting hysterical. (I hate that, though I know it's a knee-jerk response to what I perceive as drama.)

    I also really don't like someone demanding an emotional response from me when I may not want to go into that part of myself. I don't identify with the INFJ righteous anger that has been mentioned but I guess that may not be universal to the type. I'm not comfortable reacting from unvarnished thoughts/feelings... And the sifting of those takes a little time in serious matters. Prior to that process I can be like a deer in the headlights. If the conversation continues I find the other person generally leaps to all kinds of conclusions which I then have to address on top of everything else. Ugh!

    Suffice to say, calm discussion and proceeding in a way that allows me to think and then get back to them on things is the best way for me in those kinds of situations. If he is INFJ, a good tip may be for you to write so that he may write you back. That's how I often process conflict calmly because I'm not worried about caretaking the feelings of the person I love because they aren't right in front of me. It allows me to concentrate on one stream of information coming from me instead of two streams of information in the moment (reading my partner and reading my own reactions).

    I don't know if he does this as well but I bottle things up and take everything on my own shoulders. It is great if my partner can wake me up out of this sometimes but they need to ask specific questions otherwise I will continue to take everything on my own shoulders out of habit unawares until it waylays me some way down the track. And even when that happens I will still forget to mention it to my partner but keep soldiering on... I have realized it can be a barrier to deeper intimacy.

    Don't know if this sounds like him at all but all the best with it. I think an INFJ would always acknowledge the importance of good communication in a relationship at the very least... Trick is to find the means and pace that works for both of you.

  4. #14
    Senior Member quietmusician's Avatar
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    Going back to the original post, it sounds like he could possibly be unhealthy, not extremely so though. I can't speak for all INFJ's, but I confront issues, maybe not right away, but it gets done. I don't see the need to drag them on and have people chase me around to open up and talk. I simply give my 'yes' or 'no' and maybe a couple of reasons why and move on. But that's not always the case with myself.

    There might be an underlining issue he's not bringing forward. If that's the case his potential unhealthy behavior will keep him from even slightly opening up. And if he is an INFJ he would need to figure out all sides of his view on the issue in his head before speaking up. But he could be a P. You stated that he has a hard time listening to you? I don't believe I've ever been in that boat. He sounds a little too easy going with the lack of concentration when you two are speaking.

    And don't forget enneagram also plays a huge role. A 4 (usually the brooding type) and a 9 (easy going, happier disposition) INFJ may appear like opposites, so you should check that out. I'm a 4 and I sometimes take a huge step backwards when an issue comes up involving another person. He sounds a little like me.

    Hope I helped.

  5. #15
    Senior Member the state i am in's Avatar
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    if he is weak on N and 29, that sounds kinda strange. overall tho, i have no problem placing him as a potential infj. both infx male types tend to withdraw in conflict.

    i agree with quietmusician that enneagram might provide serious help. both the type and the instinctual subtype. 4, 5, and 9 are all different, tho they are all withdrawn types. i'm 5w4 sx/sp so i'm more volatile, but more counterphobic, with that said, in the moment, i will definitely retract and avoid dealing with potentially emotional conflict or anxiety or embarrassment on the main-stage.

    my s.o. is also an intj and we have communication issues at times. she is a 6w7 so/sx. she is more phobic, and she tends to push away negative thoughts and focus on what can be done immediately to make them go away. i tend to dwell on them more and try to completely understand and evaporate them. when we stop communicating, and let things fester, it can get rough. all instances of writing rather than speaking have been enormously helpful and a foundational get-back-on-track kind of thing. she also needs to express her feelings and find an expression for them for me to really let down my guard (altho we understand each other much better after so much work). still, when feeling threatened or worried (past or future), i can get really cloudy vision and have to work to come back to center. infjs can be sensitive to the past bc the context can change so drastically with new information, or it can add to it and show you your basic story needs drastic revision. infjs who learn to accept not-knowing and develop a more general outlook of trust, faith, internal balance, well- they're the happy ones. the ones who don't struggle (like focusing on balance and transparency rather than ultimate truth).

    my impression is that my s.o. is way more feely than most intjs. it will be interesting to see how this unfolds as we both reach better individually focused balances for ourselves.

  6. #16
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    I might be pushing him away with my straight forward approach, yes. I see a problem and I want to resolve it as quickly as possible, I don't think about how that could be damaging when it's about making progress. I love it when someone criticizes me; I see it as an opportunity to get better, if I agree to it of course. I don't understand how that could hurt someone, but I do acknowledge and respect that. So he might be avoiding every possibility for a fight, even though we don't actually fight, we discuss. Ok, I do get annoyed by him not wanting to be a part of it, so in the end we do make a little scene. I always repeat to him Iím not arguing, Iím elaborating, so come and join me, but no way. It's possible he doesn't even want to listen to me when he's afraid it will escalate into argument. I know, immature for a 29 year old, Iím ashamed of it too. Or he could have a bit of ADHD, I donít know, Iím not a psychiatrist.

    This might look like we do not talk at all. Lol. we do, and it's wonderful, we're saying the same things at the same time, finishing each other sentences...It just can't always be pretty, all people have issues, and if they're left unsolved, nothing good will ever come out if it. So why wait and avoid it, I can't wait to jump into and resolve them.
    Someone here said: 'righteous anger' (demanding that you see how you were wrong and how bad it hurt them), itís a NF trait. Heís a master of that. Countless door slams, like he has inner outbursts of anger, itís quite terrible. He confessed to me heís so full of rage at one moment, and he does stupid things, then later is so sorry and self conscious, full of guilt, he always apologies when he cools down and he says itís his fault. Violaine, you sound very much like him.

    Like someone said too: ďIf he's an NF, he would definitely reach out to you, because you are opening yourself up -- showing vulnerability and offering a chance for emotional intimacy.Ē That is him too. So, instead of changing him, which was never an idea, but adjusting us to each other, I would need to modify my way of communicating with him. Iím willing to try but, Iím sorry, it already feels like Iím talking to a sensitive little kid, or worse, walking on eggshells. I think itís as hard for NFs to hear cold words from NTs, as hard it is for NTs to talk from the heart instead out of head. Itís just not how Iím wired, Iím afraid if I try to talk with him like that it wouldnít be sincere, because Iím focused on facts, and not on emotions underlying them. Is it reverse for NFs? Should I add Iím in a law school and we simply talk like that? Iím sort of numb; how else can you think straight? So itís going to be very hard, I can pull an act, it just wonít be fair that way. Maybe kindness is sometimes wiser than the truth. (I love the smilies).

    As for enneagram, I very much liked the last post form the state I am in, but Iím clueless again, as I wonít push him now to do more tests. When the time is right and if Iíll have a lot of luck, Iíll try to get him do one.
    Thanks everyone, itís nice to know weíre not the only ones having issues, and youíve been of a great help and support.

  7. #17
    Senior Member the state i am in's Avatar
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    under stress, the weak points of every relationship are exposed. they can be fortified by additional work, building up reservoirs, better understanding, grounding techniques, etc.

    i know i have required a lot of taming, not in the traditional wild and free sense, but in dealing with my own shit and not reacting so intensely to what i perceive as negativity (including potential vulnerabilities). it becomes obvious that you might have an obligation to not put your partner thru the hot-cold fickle so fickle rigmarole. porcupines are not good role models, and logic can be a beautiful guiding light when you see the logical ends of such behavior. you may have to revise your understanding until it can better merge with the real events of your life.

  8. #18
    violaine
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntgirl View Post
    Like someone said too: ďIf he's an NF, he would definitely reach out to you, because you are opening yourself up -- showing vulnerability and offering a chance for emotional intimacy.Ē That is him too. So, instead of changing him, which was never an idea, but adjusting us to each other, I would need to modify my way of communicating with him. Iím willing to try but, Iím sorry, it already feels like Iím talking to a sensitive little kid, or worse, walking on eggshells. I think itís as hard for NFs to hear cold words from NTs, as hard it is for NTs to talk from the heart instead out of head. Itís just not how Iím wired, Iím afraid if I try to talk with him like that it wouldnít be sincere, because Iím focused on facts, and not on emotions underlying them. Is it reverse for NFs? Should I add Iím in a law school and we simply talk like that? Iím sort of numb; how else can you think straight? So itís going to be very hard, I can pull an act, it just wonít be fair that way. Maybe kindness is sometimes wiser than the truth. (I love the smilies).
    This is why writing to each other may work. It gives an INFJ a little time to get their (many) thoughts in order. The unease an INFJ may feel when they are worked up isn't clouding their thoughts.

    It wouldn't have to be the way you always work through things, it's a means of establishing an effective way of relating until it can carry over into discussion. Having something in words crystalizes issues and frees me up to be able to contemplate. Preferable to how it can be during discussions in person when as I said there can be so much information coming in that it can make me freeze a little until I have some time to myself. I'm sure a lot of INFJs work similarly, it's along the same lines as feeling profoundly close to someone when we are away from them. Some people just need a little time for reflection before all of their thoughts can flow freely because there is so much going on inside. (This may or may not apply to him and I don't think it's exclusive to INFJs.)

  9. #19
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by violaine View Post
    I'm INFJ. Much of the time I don't want to discuss how I'm feeling at all, especially if it's going to be one of those 'difficult' conversations. I need time to process things and to weigh up the many factors that have to be taken into account during most conflicts to know how I want to proceed once a knee-jerk reaction I may be having has passed. I need time to respond in the kind of language I'm comfortable with. That is, calm and tactful. In those instances I don't like to be prodded over and over again for a response. That makes me shut down for a while.

    If I become angry all I want to do is walk away until I can calm down again. I usually feel angry if a person isn't able to understand what I'm saying and I have to repeat myself a lot or if they are getting hysterical. (I hate that, though I know it's a knee-jerk response to what I perceive as drama.)

    I also really don't like someone demanding an emotional response from me when I may not want to go into that part of myself. I don't identify with the INFJ righteous anger that has been mentioned but I guess that may not be universal to the type. I'm not comfortable reacting from unvarnished thoughts/feelings... And the sifting of those takes a little time in serious matters. Prior to that process I can be like a deer in the headlights. If the conversation continues I find the other person generally leaps to all kinds of conclusions which I then have to address on top of everything else. Ugh!

    Suffice to say, calm discussion and proceeding in a way that allows me to think and then get back to them on things is the best way for me in those kinds of situations. If he is INFJ, a good tip may be for you to write so that he may write you back. That's how I often process conflict calmly because I'm not worried about caretaking the feelings of the person I love because they aren't right in front of me. It allows me to concentrate on one stream of information coming from me instead of two streams of information in the moment (reading my partner and reading my own reactions).
    Same for me too. Especially the piece of not wanting to react with unvarnished thoughts/feelings. For one thing, sometimes/often my initial reaction isn't my final thought/conclusion; thus I don't want to speak, prematurely, until I've really had time to weigh everything because I very well might have a different thought/feeling about all of it after having gone through that process of reflection...which needs to be done by myself. Basically, I don't talk through things well at all, and I don't like doing that. I also don't really like appearing to be emotional or scattered; like violaine, I desire to approach conflict in a calm manner, after I have gathered my thoughts and can communicate them effectively.

    Also, sometimes I don't know WHAT I think/feel about something until I've had time to think about all of it. That means sometimes I **can't** discuss in the moment - it's an impossibility. Yes, the deer-in-the-headlights thing.
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  10. #20
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Sometimes it's really better to look and listen and not talk. Are you pushing for closure from him because you are anxious? Can you just hang loose for a bit and not push and prompt him? Do it his way and do not address every issue head on, and see what happens if you try to adapt a little to a less confrontational/verbal way.

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