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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default Please allow me to feel the way I feel

    Not everyone seems to understand this concept, and it is annoying although (I suppose) well meant.

    I have one friend (probably ISFJ) who I consider one of my gurus and who completely believes in this - allowing yourself the feelings that you're having, not making things worse by making yourself feel you should not have them, etc. She understands the value of working through difficult feelings and eventually being able to gently put them aside (well, that's the hope). Not that she believes in wallowing, but acknowledging that your feelings are valid.

    Then there are the others... I guess I'm just a bit annoyed now. I'd told a friend (probably ENFP) about feeling low recently and some frustrations/disappointments: an apparent romantic opportunity with someone I liked a lot which failed to materialize; being a bit drained by trying to help out a troubled teen; etc.

    Her responses were just very...well, I'd tried to explain that I can't just leave the teenager in the lurch (although I've been helping her to get help by going to the doctor for depression, getting a couple of other trusted adults on side, etc). Her response: "Well, you've obviously done what you can now so just leave it! You can check in with her later!" I want to say "well, it's not really that type of situation and you don't know much about the situation anyway..."

    And as for the romantic disappointment... "Why are you feeling sad about someone who obviously didn't care much anyway? You said he was at least a good friend but obviously he wasn't!! He obviously doesn't want you in his life at all any more! Why have negative feelings about that?" Again, a situation I didn't even give much detail about.

    Urgh...just ALLOW ME MY FEELINGS. No, I'm not wallowing, no, I'm not burying myself ever deeper in situations that are just going to make things feel more hard and sad. I'm doing my best with the way things are going and the way I'm feeling.

    I dunno, I'm a bit sensitive at the moment. Or maybe I'm just a wimp. But I prefer it if people give my feelings (which are surely not outrageous or laughable or totally unreasonable) some validation and then some gentle suggestions with how to deal/move on. Not suggesting that my feelings aren't even valid.

    Is it type related, do you think?
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  2. #2
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I think it is. In general when I've experienced this most strongly it's with Te doms. It happens particularly when I am venting or when someone asks me how I really am and I share something that is bothering me. I think it is their way of trying to make things better. They either want to solve the problem, or reason it away. Sometimes it feels like they are being unsupportive or the devil's advocate without having taken the time to even understand the situation. There's a chunk about it in the Ask An ESTJ thread and their style of comforting others. It's been tremendously helpful to me to realize what they are doing and that it is not meant to be unsupportive. On the other hand, I've learned that for me, I probably need a Fe user to help me out when I'm feeling particularly distraught because I don't want more feelings to have to wade through and it's a time when I particular need to feel accurately understood and taken care of.

  3. #3
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    go ahead
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
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  4. #4
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I think it is. In general when I've experienced this most strongly it's with Te doms. It happens particularly when I am venting or when someone asks me how I really am and I share something that is bothering me. I think it is their way of trying to make things better. They either want to solve the problem, or reason it away. Sometimes it feels like they are being unsupportive or the devil's advocate without having taken the time to even understand the situation. There's a chunk about it in the Ask An ESTJ thread and their style of comforting others. It's been tremendously helpful to me to realize what they are doing and that it is not meant to be unsupportive. On the other hand, I've learned that for me, I probably need a Fe user to help me out when I'm feeling particularly distraught because I don't want more feelings to have to wade through and it's a time when I particular need to feel accurately understood and taken care of.
    Thanks. I will have a look at that ESTJ thread. (Not quite sure about this person's type, but I think she has tested ENFP before and it seems to fit fairly well.)

    Fortunately I've got some good Fe users in my life too.

    How do you respond to this "method" of "trying to make things better"? Is it sort of a brief "thanks for your advice, moving along" thing? I'm thinking that's probably the best way to go. I don't want to argue about the nuances of how I feel or get annoyed at the person. (This was by email, btw).

    It does worry me a bit because I fell out in the past over a similar sort of thing with the same person. I hope I'm a bit more mature now, and that she learned lessons from that too... I don't think it's worth getting mad about or making a big thing of it. I'm pretty sure she does mean well.
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  5. #5
    Senor Membrane
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    I think it's very unlikely that this concept will ever be understood by the majority. It is such a deep hole to start facing your feelings. No one has time. You know, the usual response to anything sad is "do something to get it off your mind". I think this is because if you avoid sadness, it will pile up, and it is becoming increasingly dangerous to confront. It's like, I can't face the fact that I tripped down on the street and probably looked dumb because then I would have to face my whole history of looking like an idiot from daycare through school, and career up to now. So, it's not worth it go digging up that pile, and by not doing so you will become one of the teflon people, like the ENFP you mention. See, the automatic reaction to anything sad is "do not give a crap". The sadness is denied as soon as it enters the mind. This is a huge distortion of the way the person sees the world.

    Of course, the other possibility is that you have talked to them so much about the same issues that it just gets boring to listen to it and they want to get it over with real quick..?

  6. #6
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    I think what they're doing is what it would take for themselves to feel better. They need to either be able to solve the problem, or minimize it in their own heads (it looks like) so that it is more manageable and no longer bothers them in the same way. They are trying to help you do that for yours. They assume you wouldn't voice the problem unless you need something outside of your own capability to provide, as that's how they tend to do things. Your venting is a call to action for them. Te tends to lean towards practical action and dislikes vulnerable or uncomfortable feelings to linger. It's huelped me a lot to understand this. On the other hand, I've finally just avoided talking about the main stuff to them because it makes them feel uncertain and uncomfortable and I find myself feeling misunderstood and resentful when I do.

    However, if you do decide to do so, I would recommend explaining just how helpful it is to you if they listen sympathetically until you run out of steam. While you are doing that, asking clarifying questions in the spots where they don't understand will be felt by you as them being supportive and trying to see things accurately and assist them in understanding the lens you are looking through that leads you to these feelings. You are not requesting help right away and they are actually assisting you by listening because it helps you sort through all the unnecessary emotional noise and clarify what the real issues are and how to work on them.

    I never understood how differently we worked in that regard when I was in the relationship with the ESTJ and I think we both could have avoided a lot of frustration by articulating our thought processes and what we needed from the other person better. They need to know that they are indeed actually performing a valuable service. After you are done ridding yourself of the extra emotions, then you are likely to be more interested in tossing around possible solutions and being receptive to their thoughts. Until then, it will be felt by you as them taking the other person's side or not standing by you when you need them most.

    Having said that, a Te dom (probably less with tert Te like an ENFP) is going to run out of patience if there is too much of that sort of thing and hear it as whining and not solving the problem or they may just react in a way that seems insensitive to you without meaning it that way.

    Compare the way the Te user reacts with how you as a Fe user tend to react to Fi when it grates on you. That should give you a better idea of what is going on. I think for us, more understanding of what is going on in the other person's head helps, but we still are probably not the best first person for them to go to when they are in the midst of a crisis because what we instinctually do to make others feels better is about the opposite of what actually makes them feel better and will be felt as judgemental, intrusive, or stifling. Fe users are action/outcome-oriented and it feels to them like we're trying to impose a foreign solution without really understanding the nuances of what is going on.

    Being told what to do instead is tremendously helpful to us, and I think similarly might be for Te users as well as their intentions are not bad ones - the solutions just don't work well for us!

  7. #7
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolla View Post
    I think it's very unlikely that this concept will ever be understood by the majority. It is such a deep hole to start facing your feelings. No one has time. You know, the usual response to anything sad is "do something to get it off your mind". I think this is because if you avoid sadness, it will pile up, and it is becoming increasingly dangerous to confront. It's like, I can't face the fact that I tripped down on the street and probably looked dumb because then I would have to face my whole history of looking like an idiot from daycare through school, and career up to now. So, it's not worth it go digging up that pile, and by not doing so you will become one of the teflon people, like the ENFP you mention. See, the automatic reaction to anything sad is "do not give a crap". The sadness is denied as soon as it enters the mind. This is a huge distortion of the way the person sees the world.

    Of course, the other possibility is that you have talked to them so much about the same issues that it just gets boring to listen to it and they want to get it over with real quick..?
    Mmhm. My goodness, I just couldn't deal with things that way. I'd have a horrific delayed reaction if I tried to just bury things. The trouble is, I used to get trapped in endless circles of revisiting things that had hurt me over and over again, even for years. However I am now more likely to notice when I am slipping into that pattern. Talking to those lovely Fe user friends is so good for that! I used to deal with everything on my own just by thinking/writing about it, but that no longer works so well for me - talking things out is great and there are friends who can help me with this.

    I guess for many people it is easier to just avoid the pain. I mean, certainly there is something to be said for doing things to distract yourself. But I firmly believe you have to acknowledge and work through feelings too. Judgmental maybe, but I can't help wondering if people who choose the avoiding solution have less intense feelings and if that's simply why they can do it that way.

    No, this wasn't a "oh no, the same issues again" situation. I haven't been in touch with this person much lately but she asked me if I were ok based on some stuff I'd posted on Facebook (I need to watch out for that!). I appreciate the thought, but given the tenor of her response, I should have stuck with "thanks for asking, everything has been a bit overwhelming lately, but it will get better", with no specifics. It was the pat solution/dismissal for specific issues, which I hadn't even articulated in great detail, which really annoyed me.




    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia View Post
    I think what they're doing is what it would take for themselves to feel better. They need to either be able to solve the problem, or minimize it in their own heads (it looks like) so that it is more manageable and no longer bothers them in the same way. They are trying to help you do that for yours. They assume you wouldn't voice the problem unless you need something outside of your own capability to provide, as that's how they tend to do things. Your venting is a call to action for them. Te tends to lean towards practical action and dislikes vulnerable or uncomfortable feelings to linger. It's huelped me a lot to understand this. On the other hand, I've finally just avoided talking about the main stuff to them because it makes them feel uncertain and uncomfortable and I find myself feeling misunderstood and resentful when I do.

    However, if you do decide to do so, I would recommend explaining just how helpful it is to you if they listen sympathetically until you run out of steam. While you are doing that, asking clarifying questions in the spots where they don't understand will be felt by you as them being supportive and trying to see things accurately and assist them in understanding the lens you are looking through that leads you to these feelings. You are not requesting help right away and they are actually assisting you by listening because it helps you sort through all the unnecessary emotional noise and clarify what the real issues are and how to work on them.

    I never understood how differently we worked in that regard when I was in the relationship with the ESTJ and I think we both could have avoided a lot of frustration by articulating our thought processes and what we needed from the other person better. They need to know that they are indeed actually performing a valuable service. After you are done ridding yourself of the extra emotions, then you are likely to be more interested in tossing around possible solutions and being receptive to their thoughts. Until then, it will be felt by you as them taking the other person's side or not standing by you when you need them most.

    Having said that, a Te dom (probably less with tert Te like an ENFP) is going to run out of patience if there is too much of that sort of thing and hear it as whining and not solving the problem or they may just react in a way that seems insensitive to you without meaning it that way.

    Compare the way the Te user reacts with how you as a Fe user tend to react to Fi when it grates on you. That should give you a better idea of what is going on. I think for us, more understanding of what is going on in the other person's head helps, but we still are probably not the best first person for them to go to when they are in the midst of a crisis because what we instinctually do to make others feels better is about the opposite of what actually makes them feel better and will be felt as judgemental, intrusive, or stifling. Fe users are action/outcome-oriented and it feels to them like we're trying to impose a foreign solution without really understanding the nuances of what is going on.

    Being told what to do instead is tremendously helpful to us, and I think similarly might be for Te users as well as their intentions are not bad ones - the solutions just don't work well for us!
    You have articulated this so, so well, and particularly when you raise the example of me as an Fe user reacting to Fi, at times. It is so interesting that you would say that, because after I posted that thread I started to think - well, I kind of do that myself sometimes, don't I? I think it is exactly the scenario you are pointing to. My reaction when people come to me with extremely negative feelings or problematic situations tends to be "I'm so sorry you're feeling that way, it must be horrible. Do you think if you did x, y and z it would improve the situation? Or, do you feel that there is SOMETHING you can do to improve the situation?" That's a bit simplistic, but basically that's it. And yes, if it's an Fi dom that sometimes gets a "but you don't understaaaaaaaand" wail. So I now see better why that might be the case. Incidentally, I certainly get that wail from the teen I'm trying to help out - probably INFP!
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  8. #8
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Not everyone seems to understand this concept, and it is annoying although (I suppose) well meant.

    I have one friend (probably ISFJ) who I consider one of my gurus and who completely believes in this - allowing yourself the feelings that you're having, not making things worse by making yourself feel you should not have them, etc. She understands the value of working through difficult feelings and eventually being able to gently put them aside (well, that's the hope). Not that she believes in wallowing, but acknowledging that your feelings are valid.
    Hello! Since I'm considering INFJ as my type, I'll jump in.

    Just want to say, I very much relate to this and one reason why I previously had doubts that I was a T back when I self-typed as INTP was that I consider *any* feeling to be valid whether logical or not. That's more suggestive of F.

    I feel what I feel and very much resent it when people try to minimize my feelings and acting like something isn't a big deal when it is a big deal to me personally. Actually, I see this as being more Fi than Fe, since its my own personal feelings about something and not always what lines up with the social norm regarding how I should feel about something.

    As a child, I remember having strong emotions about lots of things and then repeatedly being told to not cry, not get too excited, to 'settle down', etc. Being calm and logical seemed more valued that being emotional. I wonder if I was actually an F type all along who learned to be more T from pressure- particularly from parents and teachers. I think in some ways I shut down emotionally and only recently have I started to work through those issues and am starting to allow myself more the emotions I felt I couldn't have previously.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuchIrony View Post
    Just want to say, I very much relate to this and one reason why I previously had doubts that I was a T back when I self-typed as INTP was that I consider *any* feeling to be valid whether logical or not. That's more suggestive of F.
    i dont think so. its just that F types make decisions easier based on illogical feelings. Ts can do this also, but its because it might be logical to make a decision based on illogical feeling. if you make a decision with logic that would be opposite for what you would make if you make it with feeling, it might make you feel bad later. now if you are sure that it would make you feel bad later, it would be illogical to go with logic and disregard the feeling on this decision making. now you can see that this way even the T types could make a decision to go with the feelings, but its the T function that decided to go with the F. at least this is how it goes with me. when i was younger i didnt think it like this and just went with the logic most the times and im pretty sure that many immature Ts tend to disregard the feeling when making a decision with T.

    dunno why i started to ramble about that, but i wont say that you are not allowed to feel in certain way, even if its illogical. that would be just stupid because feeling and logic are two totally separate things, sometimes both might fit in the situation, sometimes not and if they dont, its pretty much impossible to make them fit. i will try to make you see the good about logic if feelings are making you feel bad and try to help you in not making a decision based on feelings if its not logical, but im not going to say that you are not allowed to feel what you feel.
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  10. #10
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia
    I think what they're doing is what it would take for themselves to feel better.


    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad
    I'd told a friend (probably ENFP) about feeling low recently and some frustrations/disappointments: an apparent romantic opportunity with someone I liked a lot which failed to materialize; being a bit drained by trying to help out a troubled teen; etc.

    Her responses were just very...well, I'd tried to explain that I can't just leave the teenager in the lurch (although I've been helping her to get help by going to the doctor for depression, getting a couple of other trusted adults on side, etc). Her response: "Well, you've obviously done what you can now so just leave it! You can check in with her later!" I want to say "well, it's not really that type of situation and you don't know much about the situation anyway..."

    And as for the romantic disappointment... "Why are you feeling sad about someone who obviously didn't care much anyway? You said he was at least a good friend but obviously he wasn't!! He obviously doesn't want you in his life at all any more! Why have negative feelings about that?" Again, a situation I didn't even give much detail about.

    Urgh...just ALLOW ME MY FEELINGS.
    yeah, i think she's just trying to help you the best way she knows.

    silkroad, i suspect the enfp would feel terrible if she knew you felt like she was invalidating your feelings... i think very much she was trying to take your feelings away, but she thought that was the goal of talking about it, because when we talk about our difficult emotions, that usually is the goal.

    part of her seemingly careless responding was probably that she thought you were looking for solutions to your feelings, more so than sympathy. i tend not to search for much more detail in situations than is given, either - i think that's more of a Ti thing - Te just kind of tends to work with what you're given, and if there's nothing that can really be done about it, then you just move on. it sounds like she's trying to build you up in a Fi way, since there's not really anything that can be done about the problems in a Te light. i guess the Fi-Te perspective is that all emotions are valid, but if there is nothing that can be done about a rough situation, then all you can do to be happier is change your feelings about it from the inside. she may well be e7, too, which i imagine would propel her to try to get rid of the negative stuff even more quickly, possibly more quickly that you feel is wise or helpful, or even possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by fidelia
    However, if you do decide to do so, I would recommend explaining just how helpful it is to you if they listen sympathetically until you run out of steam.
    yeah. even though it doesn't really make sense to me, for a friend, i'll be happy to just listen and sympathize if that's what they need. i do this with an NFJ friend a lot... i have no idea how i'm helping, because to me it just sounds like her circling around and not getting anywhere, but i must be doing something right because she seems to appreciate me listening. it is a bit draining though, after a while, to listen to a lot of negative things without apparent solutions. i guess this is probably a Fi symptom... i get fidgety and frustrated. i wish i could understand better how what i see as ruminating is helpful to some others.

    so i think that's what's happening, just a miscommunication. she thought she was helping you, not invalidating you. with Fi there is very much a baseline idea that feelings are always valid, so it seems kind of silly to state that, which is probably why she didn't... even though to you it probably sounded like she was skipping an essential part of what would be helpful for you. i think on her part it wasn't so much "your feelings aren't valid" as "hey look, here are some reasons why you can move on now."

    sorry you felt that way though silkroad, and i hope i'm not coming off in the same way now

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