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  1. #21
    Symbolic Herald Vasilisa's Avatar
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    I haven't read all the responses to this thread. The OP reminds me of a reply I wrote elsewhere on the forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vasilisa View Post
    I've found that sometimes, more than cheer or advice or instruction or distraction people want most to be heard. I can vouch for myself. Personally, sometimes I just want to know that another person sees me for who I am, hears me speak from my hearts depth, understands what I am transmitting, and even feels me. It makes it seem possible that somehow I'm not isolated within my own cells. It makes me believe that all of us, though individual, aren't each a universe apart.

    I've noticed this in life, and applied it. Of course, I have that tendency to want to offer up advice and all my clever suggestions. I don't enjoy anyone's pity party or wallowing or acting a victim, nor do I seek to encourage those things. But there is a strain that I can detect in people from time to time, and I recognize it as someone just desperately longing to be heard. Maybe I should say felt, because its beyond just listening. It isn't always easy to just be there quietly and experience painful feelings with another, but sometimes that recognition is precisely what a sad spirit needs. Perhaps because its so difficult, it partly explains the reflexive desire many people have to immediately turn it off, make it go away, shut it up, fix it. Or perhaps they don't perceive the way I do at all, that is entirely possible.

    Whats wonderful is that it can be such a profound act of love. People seem to feel better after connecting like that. It's not the same as venting or dumping. But it can still be taxing for me and therefore requires discretion.

    I certainly don't want gloom to replace pleasant as the preferred attitude for public interaction. But I do have compassion for a hurting person who might not be able to conceal his or her mental pain at a certain moment. And just the basic act of letting someone know that you notice them and really hear what they say can be such a validating act of kindness. It can fortify them more than all the distractions and all the instructional words of advice in the world.
    I, too, am fortunate enough to have an ISFJ friend who can show remarkable loving presence by just listening and understanding. Its funny, since ISFJs get tagged as kind of practical fixers, you'd think she'd be instructing or assisting in some other way, but she understands me well that way. I think both of us have had to take a lot of guff in life for being so sensitive, and that might be why we understand how important sympathetic validation can be. This is why I feel upset when people allege that SJs don't have such depth of feeling or sensitivity.

    If I put myself in the place of my own ENFP friend who has done the kind of thing SilkRoad describes, I know that it does come from a place of empathy and genuinely wanting to help by sharing what works for him. Its just tough to hear that and not feel invalidated when I am already feeling sensitive about troubles as it is, and then to inform him that isn't what I need risks a whole new conversation that could have possibility for conflict. So, I understand its a hard situation to deal with in those moments.
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  2. #22
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I think in all cases, everyone needs to learn to assume the best of each other! That's probably the biggest thing I have learned from you two especially, who have been extremely useful in helping me understand Fi-Te better.

    Fe users need to remember that their Fi friend dropping the Fe niceties is actually a compliment. They also have a bad tendancy of focussing on what is problematic (I guess Te does this in some ways regarding not complimenting people for just competently doing what was expected of them) rather than what is going well (like your example EJCC!).

    Fi users need to remember that noise from Fe users is a healthy sign and quietness is usually a sign of something less good. That's why Fe-ers get so panicky when they get no information from you guys on what is going on internally and they assume the very worst. Fe tends to hold back, especially on all things negative unless they feel comfortable with the person and welcomed to do so, so they are kind of going out on a limb and showing you that same kind of genuine mask-dropping when they vent. They hope that you will not suddenly view them as a mean or as an incompetent person for doing so because they already feel vulnerable.

    From what I can see, Fi tends to wade through people's problems and experience them right along with them. Fe doesn't, and that is why it doesn't occur to Fe that you might feel used when we don't take your solution or validate all the effort you have put in. For example, if I hear about pain someone I care about is going through, I feel bad for them, but it doesn't necessarily mean that all of those same feelings transfer to me personally. I think I tend to show sympathy for a less selective group of people, and while my caring is very genuine and real, I think I express it much differently than Fi does. Fi almost has to reserve it's energy for only those close to them, because it feels the weight of it in a way that Fe doesn't.

    So, as far as questions to ask. Look for what is different that this person's usual way of operating. Ask about those differences. For example, if they are normally quite pleasant but suddenly seem stuck on this one situation ad nauseum, or they seem uncharacteristically judgemental, find out what led them to this state. How long has it been going on? What have they tried so far? Who are the characters involved? Is this a temporary feeling, or a long time thing burning that flares up from time to time? Why was it important to them to get involved? What frustrates them about their involvement now? Do they feel like they have any control over what happens? Do they know the root of what is really bothering them? (For example, I may describe behaviour that makes me mad, but really under the surface, it is the message being communicated to me that is hurting me and making me unable to look at the situation dispassionately. Identifying the underlying message is helpful to me in figuring out whether the other person really meant to send that message, what they might have meant instead, our differences in communicating, etc).

    I am actually fairly open to people's suggestions, but they have to be at a point where I have invited them, so do not offer advice until the other person has run out of steam. You can assist in them not getting as worked up though by validating their feelings (I know, it seems like an obvious and unnecessary step, but we really aren't sure that we ever have the right to feel that way or we feel like bad people for having those feelings sometimes), but then directing them with questions like, "What have you tried so far?" "How did it work?" "What options are available to you, from your perspective?" "How long of a time line do you have before this needs to be resolved?" "What do you see as the ideal situation, if you could do things the way you wanted to?" "What's bothering you most about this?" These kinds of things draw the person out and allow them to talk, but still keep things focussed on the eventual solution. I often can come to some kind of conclusion by the end of the conversation and at least say, "I think I could try this and this" etc. It's okay for you to gently suggest possible other perspectives that could be factored in, while you ask those questions. The asking the questions is essential though for saying to the other person that it's okay for them to be worked up, that you want to know how they feel, and that you still believe they are a competent and reasonable person.

    For me, until a person acknowledges that they have heard my concern in some way and see what the crux of the matter is for me, I cannot believe that they have any solutions for me and I will not be open to their alternate perspectives. I've noticed with Fi users that often when I bring up a problem with them (either involving them or me or someone else), they just continue on like I didn't say anything. That leads me to make the message increasingly stronger, which in turn hurts or repells them.

    O's suggestion of withdrawing until she is okay with them again or allowing them to continue venting but her thinking badly of them for doing so doesn't strike me as kind. It's like letting someone go to a job interview with jam on their pants and stuff between their teeth. Of course it depends on the maturity level of all parties in question, but ideally, she would validate the MIL's feelings, but then present how they could be viewed by others. That way MIL has more factors to work with when making her decision of what to do. Her appearance has been mirrored back in such a way that she doesn't feel attacked, but she is likely to feel very badly at understanding how unkindly her thoughts or actions may have been perceived as being. If it is said a little bit impersonally, presenting how this could be detrimental, rather than expressing it terms of "How could you be such a mean, unreasonable horrible human" or withdrawing (not acknowledging us is way harder than any kind of conflict anyone could dream up). I don't mean that as an attack on O, but rather as a means to try to figure out how from both ends this could resolve in such a way that it benefits both parties, instead of one party (either O or MIL or lady in question) having to just deal with it.

    This is sort of a hodge-podge of ideas. Both EJCC and skylights have so much stuff here that I could comment further on. Anyway, I hope some of this is helpful. It makes sense in my own head, but I may have missed some important details that are glaring to others looking on.

  3. #23
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    I would like to add that, having experienced life with my ENFP sister - my need to process through my feelings at length is not something that is always necessary for her. She seems to reach a balance quickly (most of the time) whereas I seem to reach a balance very very slowly. I notice this in me and in the other NFJs in my close circle. We just can't shake things off - it has to melt off or evaporate in the sun, but one moment too soon and you get resentment or a sense of having been robbed or evaded by something you wished to understand better.

    She allows me to feel what I'm feeling and vice versa, but there was a surprise for both her and me over our monumentally different needs in the area of processing time. If we have a fight, I may be angry for an hour while she's angry for 10 minutes.
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  4. #24
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    I skipped the last page so if this was brought up then disregard.

    How do you react if someone tells you that the emotion you're feeling is irrational and you find they're right? Would you want them to alert you to this fact, or even still let you continue with it?

  5. #25
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about this same issue in terms of our pastor and his wife. He in particular is very warm, but a little insensitive at times. I remember eating at their house and there was one item that I didn't take, even though I ate the rest and he kept drawing attention to it over and over throughout the meal and even as we were leaving. I was so embarrassed, but I felt that the reaction from me attempting to eat it would be more insulting than me not eating it. I had a full plate, so it wasn't like I was a little kid just being picky, but he made some comment about me probably needing to stop by McDonald's after to get full. I left with my folks, swearing that I would never go over there again and yet I knew that he hadn't intentional embarrassed me and it was maybe even his way of handling his own unsureness about what they had served being okay or not. He is a very good man, but you would never hear anything vulnerable coming from him, and so it makes it unlikely that many people will get very close.

    His wife is also deeply caring in her own way. I think she is an ESTJ, and so Te is very strong. She is overrun with responsibilities with the church, her family and the community and has poor health. She is incredibly competent at everything she does, and is very unwilling to relinquish any control or even the jobs to anyone else. It appears that she is maybe afraid that they will not do it as well or that they can't be trusted. She will tell about some of the terrible things that happened that week, but if you dare express that it was a stressful week for her or convey any kind of sympathy or ask her how she is feeling etc, she will say something like, "Oh, I'm too blessed to be stressed" etc, even though you know that all is NOT well. It's hard to get close and yet there are big stop signs everywhere.

    She and her husband both are extremely caring and often ask about how my brother's family is doing. My brother has been unemployed for over a year, they made a big move across the country without saying goodbye and moved in with her alcoholic parents (who don't like children and there are 10 kids!) who wouldn't let them move any of their belongings other than clothes inside or heat the house, the older kids are having a hard time adjusting to moving frequently between different high schools and the choice of high school in that move was poorly researched, and there are big concerns about what is happening generally. This is the culmination of 20 years of blood, sweat and tears and I'm realizing that there is no way we can affect things from this distance, but our intervention was legitimately needed throughout the years for the kids' safety and well-being. These kids are much more than grandchildren or nieces and nephews to us. We have had a huge part in raising them, and our communication with them has been largely cut off because the parents know that their decisions are not particularly defensible, but they want to do what they are doing anyway. I have no desire to run them, and it's everyone's right to raise their kids as they see fit. However, the police have been involved a number of times because of negligence on their part, and many of their decisions have made it difficult for their kids to be open to taking direction from them, or have had serious effects on their success. These things I think are legitimate concerns. My brother just got a job, and now they are moving to the crime capital of the country and to a place even more remote. While we understand the need for him to work, there are some serious issues that are going to affect the kids and neither he nor his wife will even do enough research to realize what those are and how they can minimize possible damage. Well anyway, that's not the point. The point is that whenever the pastor and his wife bring it up, they will ask questions, but if any concerns are voiced, they immediately discount them or say how well something (which isn't the same situation) worked out for someone else. It feels invalidating, even though I do recognize that they are trying to show care and since they can't fix the situation for us, they are trying to help us look for the bright side. To me this seems like putting a steristrip on a wound that requires disinfecting and 20 stitches. And yet, we do not have a close enough relationship to do the whole explaining how Fe vs Fi works and what is needed thing. In that case, I think it is better to just stay surfacey, understanding that they do love us and care about us.

  6. #26
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I think that ultimately, yes that's true, but for most people it takes awhile to get to that point. In the meantime, I think it's useful to understand where you might go off the rails with each other and that there is no bad intent.
    Just to add, I wrote that in haste (I was just walking out the door). While I'm not always open emotionally and admittedly can recoil at someone's experience/statements on some moral level from time to time, I generally want them to express themselves. I don't think I have to point out that I would "stop" someone or call them "emo" or something flippant like that. I might try to give them advice, but it's not meant to shut them out.. it's more on a take it or leave it basis, and still letting them be themselves.

    As for people growing to understand this, yeah, I think all types can get there too. Even types who don't exactly have the rep for it. For example, some ISTPs will show this side of themselves. They'll drop the need for dissecting your problem on some Ti level, and just indirectly care that you feel comfortable on some Se level, and help you chill out in some way.

  7. #27
    mod love baby... Lady_X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    These are the times when the Fe user needs to hear that emotional support, though. It's a very confusing time, and those emotions and the situation need to be figured out before they can be dismissed. A Fe user might know that a guy is bad for her or not worth her time, but she has to reconcile that with the fact that she does feel something for him; it might not even make sense to her, but she has to work through it. Sometimes several times, IME, just to really get a clear read on the situation. She's working towards a solution, but a solution presented too soon makes her feel like she shouldn't have those feelings to begin with, and is just being silly or foolish. Which delays the process of getting over it. She might have to mourn the idea of his potential, rather than who he actually was, which isn't a straightforward thing to come to terms with. She has to figure out whether she was lying to herself to make it work. Etc., etc. Emotional support helps here, as does helping her to confirm an accurate read of the situation, and confirming to her that she did all she could do to make it work on her end.

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I do think it's easiest to do this stuff with folks who process things in a similar way. It's just easier not to have to bridge communication gaps on top of working through the problem at hand.
    posts like these are important for us to hear for sure. i will definitely try to remember this stuff when relating to my fe user family and friends...i'll just remember you're feeling out loud...like i think out loud and haven't yet resolved it...that it's a process and you just want me to feel with you during it...i get it...i do that when brainstorming or thinking out loud with friends.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
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  8. #28
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I agree with you, Domino. I think the Fi-Te-ers I know tend to be more a flash of something and then it's over, where with me it takes me longer to work up to it and longer to cool down from it. Even when I honestly want to get over whatever it is, it just seems to take more time.

    It must be interesting to get to see this dynamic between you and LJ because you are together so much. Do you remember when you both first became cognizant of the differences in processing? Have you become fairly adept at reading each other and responding in the way that works best of the other person?

  9. #29
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady X View Post
    posts like these are important for us to hear for sure. i will definitely try to remember this stuff when relating to my fe user family and friends...i'll just remember you're feeling out loud...like i think out loud and haven't yet resolved it...that it's a process and you just want me to feel with you during it...i get it...i do that when brainstorming or thinking out loud with friends.
    Yes! That's a good way to think of it, "feeling out loud."
    Something Witty

  10. #30
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady X View Post
    posts like these are important for us to hear for sure. i will definitely try to remember this stuff when relating to my fe user family and friends...i'll just remember you're feeling out loud...like i think out loud and haven't yet resolved it...that it's a process and you just want me to feel with you during it...i get it...i do that when brainstorming or thinking out loud with friends.
    I don't know why I didn't think of it in those terms before, but I know that I've taken a Te users "thinking out loud" as being their final answer, because that's how it would be for a Ti user if they vocalized it. Does it bother you guys then that we are kind of wasting your time while we process things because we aren't presenting a conclusion, or discombobulating you when you realize that we weren't as definite as we sounded? Thanks for stating it this way. It just kind of struck a chord. What Tallulah said was really right on. I think a lot of it is about figuring out how to deal with conflicting feelings towards the same person and it's hard to know which feelings to put the most weight on, or how to reconcile it all together.

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