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  1. #1
    Member melomania's Avatar
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    Default Communication & Relationships w/ SJs?

    Female INFP looking for advice on how to better communicate with my ESFJ husband when addressing a conflict. If anyone has advice or just wants to relate, I would love to hear your input.

    Currently, I am working on:

    *Not using blanket terms like "always" and "never" (as in, "you always do this or that")
    *Trying to keep my statements as logical as possible when my feelings have been hurt (that has been super easy!)
    *Learning to consciously figure out why I am feeling bothered by something and then figuring out how to put that into words that make sense to other people and don't just sound like a bunch of whiny bullshit.

    Things I have asked him to work on:

    *Acknowledging that my feelings were hurt.
    *Giving me time to mull over my feelings before responding.
    *Asking me more questions instead of making quick judgments about what he thinks my motives are.

  2. #2
    Senior Member blahblahbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by melomania View Post
    Female INFP looking for advice on how to better communicate with my ESFJ husband when addressing a conflict. If anyone has advice or just wants to relate, I would love to hear your input.

    Currently, I am working on:

    *Not using blanket terms like "always" and "never" (as in, "you always do this or that")
    *Trying to keep my statements as logical as possible when my feelings have been hurt (that has been super easy!)
    *Learning to consciously figure out why I am feeling bothered by something and then figuring out how to put that into words that make sense to other people and don't just sound like a bunch of whiny bullshit.

    Things I have asked him to work on:

    *Acknowledging that my feelings were hurt.
    *Giving me time to mull over my feelings before responding.
    *Asking me more questions instead of making quick judgments about what he thinks my motives are.
    Logic for feelings is not a romantic relationship thing. He should be respecting your feelings while trying to work with you to find out if you emotions really are justified. Illogical emotions shouldn't dictate national policy, but when it comes to relationships, part of the relationship is learning to respect your partners emotions. But, you did say "that's super easy" so I suppose, like many INFPs, you have a solid reason for your feelings about something (though we're prone to get misinformation and have bad reasons based on bad information to feel some way).

    The fact that you have to ask an ESFJ to acknowledge your feelings are hurt is exactly why I can barely even be friends with Fe's - they get mad that you don't feel exactly how they do about anything. Rejecting their Fe is like rejecting them. A lot of Fi's seem to be able to respect feeling differently than one another about things - but when Fe's get near them, if your feelings don't match theirs, they feel the need to in some way "correct you" as if emotions were simply an error and theirs are always perfectly reasonable.

    If the MBTI type holds true, failing to give an ESFJ positive feedback for his attempts to do things for you - it's kind of like not hugging an INFP when they cry. The strong Fe is usually an attempt to comfort, make you happy, do the best for you and that's how they see their actions. If the Fe's sincere attempts to do what he thinks is best is rejected, it's like laughing at an Fi who is crying, it's painful and hurtful to them, because they really believe their view is the absolute best thing.

    That's what I could tell you to keep in mind with an ESFJ - they're trying to help and rejecting that help is painful to them and they probably have trouble expressing that. To some extent, they're the ultimate neurotic who can never have the external world vary from how it is and always has been in their views. On the plus side for INFPs, they do sincerely care, they just won't always be able to get how we see things or why we might become frustrated with some things that, as far as the ESFJ is concerned, are just give-ins, unworthy of analysis.

    I think they're the best of -S-J's though - the most sincere in everything they do - assuming the profile is correct. I'm sure anything you guys talk through and he asks of you are completely sincere attempts to be the best partner he can be for you. I'd suggest just always being authentic and straight with him.

    ESFJ's want to feel needed and useful to those they love - that's probably why he makes snap judgements and tries to "fix" problems the minute they arise - they're just jumping at the opportunity to exercise what they feel they're good at, like you might be enraptured and have your emotions taken over by your favorite song the minute you hear it.
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  3. #3
    Member melomania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blahblahbob View Post
    Logic for feelings is not a romantic relationship thing. He should be respecting your feelings while trying to work with you to find out if you emotions really are justified. Illogical emotions shouldn't dictate national policy, but when it comes to relationships, part of the relationship is learning to respect your partners emotions. But, you did say "that's super easy" so I suppose, like many INFPs, you have a solid reason for your feelings about something (though we're prone to get misinformation and have bad reasons based on bad information to feel some way).

    The fact that you have to ask an ESFJ to acknowledge your feelings are hurt is exactly why I can barely even be friends with Fe's - they get mad that you don't feel exactly how they do about anything. Rejecting their Fe is like rejecting them. A lot of Fi's seem to be able to respect feeling differently than one another about things - but when Fe's get near them, if your feelings don't match theirs, they feel the need to in some way "correct you" as if emotions were simply an error and theirs are always perfectly reasonable.

    If the MBTI type holds true, failing to give an ESFJ positive feedback for his attempts to do things for you - it's kind of like not hugging an INFP when they cry. The strong Fe is usually an attempt to comfort, make you happy, do the best for you and that's how they see their actions. If the Fe's sincere attempts to do what he thinks is best is rejected, it's like laughing at an Fi who is crying, it's painful and hurtful to them, because they really believe their view is the absolute best thing.

    That's what I could tell you to keep in mind with an ESFJ - they're trying to help and rejecting that help is painful to them and they probably have trouble expressing that. To some extent, they're the ultimate neurotic who can never have the external world vary from how it is and always has been in their views. On the plus side for INFPs, they do sincerely care, they just won't always be able to get how we see things or why we might become frustrated with some things that, as far as the ESFJ is concerned, are just give-ins, unworthy of analysis.

    I think they're the best of -S-J's though - the most sincere in everything they do - assuming the profile is correct. I'm sure anything you guys talk through and he asks of you are completely sincere attempts to be the best partner he can be for you. I'd suggest just always being authentic and straight with him.

    ESFJ's want to feel needed and useful to those they love - that's probably why he makes snap judgements and tries to "fix" problems the minute they arise - they're just jumping at the opportunity to exercise what they feel they're good at, like you might be enraptured and have your emotions taken over by your favorite song the minute you hear it.
    Thank you for your considerate advice. I will put it to good use.

    The statement about it being super easy for me to make logical statements was a bit of sarcasm that i didn't emphasize well enough through my writing

    It's actually very difficult for me to even comprehend what it means to make a logical statement when I'm feeling stressed or emotional, especially when working through a conflict with my husband. I think I have gotten better at knowing when I need to retreat and take time to cool down and sort things out, though. It is often still very difficult for me to recall what was factually said during an argument, even after I cool down a bit, because I get a lot of anxiety when there is a disagreement and it feels like being in that emotional state prevents me from being able to fully integrate what was said. Mostly I can't quite remember exactly what was said later on...but I can always vividly recall how it made me feel.

    My husband is the most genuinely good-hearted person that I have ever met and I know that he's not intentionally trying to put me down. I just feel helpless and painfully misunderstood when we come to these logic vs. emotion struggles, and sometimes it feels like I'm in this glass case and he's on the other side...and I'm beating my fists on the glass wall and I'm screaming and pleading for him to hear me and it's just not happening...but he is a very understanding person when it comes to almost every other aspect of our relationship, and we always find a way to understand where each of us is coming from eventually, so I have faith that we'll get there in time. I do make a very large effort to recognize and appreciate all of the wonderful things he does for me every day, but there is always room for improvement.

    Thanks for your feedback
    -Mel

  4. #4
    Senior Member blahblahbob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by melomania View Post
    Thank you for your considerate advice. I will put it to good use.

    The statement about it being super easy for me to make logical statements was a bit of sarcasm that i didn't emphasize well enough through my writing

    It's actually very difficult for me to even comprehend what it means to make a logical statement when I'm feeling stressed or emotional, especially when working through a conflict with my husband. I think I have gotten better at knowing when I need to retreat and take time to cool down and sort things out, though. It is often still very difficult for me to recall what was factually said during an argument, even after I cool down a bit, because I get a lot of anxiety when there is a disagreement and it feels like being in that emotional state prevents me from being able to fully integrate what was said. Mostly I can't quite remember exactly what was said later on...but I can always vividly recall how it made me feel.

    My husband is the most genuinely good-hearted person that I have ever met and I know that he's not intentionally trying to put me down. I just feel helpless and painfully misunderstood when we come to these logic vs. emotion struggles, and sometimes it feels like I'm in this glass case and he's on the other side...and I'm beating my fists on the glass wall and I'm screaming and pleading for him to hear me and it's just not happening...but he is a very understanding person when it comes to almost every other aspect of our relationship, and we always find a way to understand where each of us is coming from eventually, so I have faith that we'll get there in time. I do make a very large effort to recognize and appreciate all of the wonderful things he does for me every day, but there is always room for improvement.

    Thanks for your feedback
    -Mel
    Have you told him you feel this way? I.E.:

    "I just feel helpless and painfully misunderstood when we come to these logic vs. emotion struggles, and sometimes it feels like I'm in this glass case and he's on the other side...and I'm beating my fists on the glass wall and I'm screaming and pleading for him to hear me and it's just not happening"

    I avoid Fe people because they behave this way - it seems like sometimes they see others' feelings as something abnormal or aberrant which must be swept away to return you to "proper working order." I don't think they understand that a lot of INFPs really value their emotions and would rather be dead than without them.

    At the same time, I do try to catch myself in arguments to make sure I'm really arguing about something that matters and not being irrationally stubborn or moody and if I find myself in the wrong, I apologize. So, it's a balancing act.

    If you find that he's not respecting the fact that you do have feelings, maybe it's time for a coolheaded discussion about it.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blahblahbob View Post
    If you find that he's not respecting the fact that you do have feelings, maybe it's time for a coolheaded discussion about it.
    Right. Don't have this conversation when you feel emotional. Tell him you want to talk at a time when things are calm and say -

    "I just feel helpless and painfully misunderstood when we come to these logic vs. emotion struggles, and sometimes it feels like I'm in this glass case and he's on the other side...and I'm beating my fists on the glass wall and I'm screaming and pleading for him to hear me and it's just not happening"


    You will not believe how much better that is taken and how logical it sounds, minus all the emotion.
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.

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    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    From an Fe perspective:

    - For Fe-users, Fi seems totally unpredictable, and that is extremely scary.
    - Fe-users will feel a tremendous sense of failure if they fail to cheer you up. They feel that they are not doing a good enough job.
    - It is very important to let Fe-users know that whatever you are feeling is not their fault.
    - Tell them you greatly appreciate their trying to help and how it makes you feel loved --- even though they fail to make you feel better. It's reassuring for the Fe person to know that their efforts are welcomed.
    - It might be helpful to give tips and guidelines on how to handle your emotions, especially something a bit objective. For example, "Just being there and listening helps a lot", "I feel alive when I have these strong emotions, so even if it seems negative, it isn't that bad and you don't have to try to fix it." Or even in-the-moment "Let's try to cuddle for a bit and see if I feel better"

    On the last bit: it might sound strange, but Fe will thrive on these suggestions, because that reassures them how to 'fix' the situation. Otherwise we are just grasping in the dark in confusion and hoping for the best, which can be very stressful.

    I've been with my INFP boyfriend for six years, and it took me years to figure out that most of the time his emotions have nothing to do with me or what I do.
    4w5 sp/sx EII

  7. #7
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
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    I forgot to mention: if he was the one who hurt your feelings, things are different.

    It is most likely that he does not know why you are hurt. Fe-users have universal standards for everybody, including themselves. So what he considers 'okay' might be hurtful for you.

    If you are hurt and either lash out or shut down, it's probably immediate, out-of-the-blue, and will catch him at unawares.

    Then he might feel hurt himself, because the negative reaction hit him out of nowhere, and he had no idea what he did wrong. This is why a lot of non-Fi people feel like they are walking through a minefield when dealing with Fi. You don't know what will offend them and when things will blow up in your face.

    The sudden negative reaction might cause him to react defensively: by refusing to acknowledge that he hurt your feelings. ("Why was that even hurtful? This is what everybody says! It doesn't mean anything! You're overreacting!") You know, Fe prides itself for being considerate and thoughtful. It hurts the very core of Fe to imagine that they unwittingly hurt someone they love. Trust me, it hurts real bad, and it will be kicking itself for a long time afterwards. So if you keep saying "You hurt my feelings, you hurt my feelings, you hurt my feelings" it's like pouring salt in a gaping wound and Fe will just want to kill itself. Immature Fe will then protect itself by refusing to acknowledge that it did anything wrong.

    So this is the sticky bit: Fi feels hurt, and Fe feels hurt.

    Fi thinks "I was the one who was hurt! Why do I even have to defend my feeling hurt? Why can't you just acknowledge that you hurt my feelings?"

    At the same time, Fe thinks "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. Why did you take offense when you know I had no intention to hurt you? Why did you presume bad intentions on my part?"

    One way to solve this situation:

    For Fi: try not to have an extreme reaction when your feelings are hurt. Remember that the Fe person probably did not know you were hurt, and had no intention to hurt you. Let them know as gently as you can. Give hints in advance if possible, like "Can we talk about something?" This will signal to the Fe person that something is wrong, so they can prepare. If it is true, precluding your complaint with something like "I know you probably didn't mean it that way, but when you did [XYZ] I couldn't help but feel [XYZ]" will make it go down a lot easier.

    For Fe: admit that will always at some point inadvertently hurt their feelings. Admit that you did hurt their feelings, acknowledge that and apologize. It doesn't mean you did something wrong or bad. Everybody has different weak spots and triggers. You just learned one of your loved one's triggers, and it helps you understand them better. It might feel unfair to have to apologize for something you feel like you 'didn't do', but you are not apologizing for behaving badly. You are apologizing that your actions have somehow caused your loved one grief.


    4w5 sp/sx EII

  8. #8
    The Typing Tabby grey_beard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by melomania View Post
    Thank you for your considerate advice. I will put it to good use.

    The statement about it being super easy for me to make logical statements was a bit of sarcasm that i didn't emphasize well enough through my writing

    It's actually very difficult for me to even comprehend what it means to make a logical statement when I'm feeling stressed or emotional, especially when working through a conflict with my husband. I think I have gotten better at knowing when I need to retreat and take time to cool down and sort things out, though. It is often still very difficult for me to recall what was factually said during an argument, even after I cool down a bit, because I get a lot of anxiety when there is a disagreement and it feels like being in that emotional state prevents me from being able to fully integrate what was said. Mostly I can't quite remember exactly what was said later on...but I can always vividly recall how it made me feel.

    My husband is the most genuinely good-hearted person that I have ever met and I know that he's not intentionally trying to put me down. I just feel helpless and painfully misunderstood when we come to these logic vs. emotion struggles, and sometimes it feels like I'm in this glass case and he's on the other side...and I'm beating my fists on the glass wall and I'm screaming and pleading for him to hear me and it's just not happening...but he is a very understanding person when it comes to almost every other aspect of our relationship, and we always find a way to understand where each of us is coming from eventually, so I have faith that we'll get there in time. I do make a very large effort to recognize and appreciate all of the wonderful things he does for me every day, but there is always room for improvement.

    Thanks for your feedback
    -Mel
    @Mel --
    Reading this, I wonder whether your ferocity of expression is *causing* the glass.

    We_are_one__by_rob_i.jpg

    Try "sign language" as it were: this may be foreign or painful to you, but to speak of your emotions in a *detached* way.
    xSFJ types...*LEAD* with Fe. Which means that they go by "convention" or "what the crowd thinks" --
    and the mere fact that your Fi often *prides* itself on uniqueness, means that the very *type* of emotion you have,
    or the specific burr under your saddle ...(sorry, this might hurt!)... well, it means that maybe he inwardly believes that
    your *particular* emotion over a given point, is itself odd or abnormal, rather that uniquely and treasurabley *you*.

    Compounding this is his 2nd function, Si, which likely means he *does* remember every word which was said:
    which can be doubly unfortunate, for you INFPs can get rather impassioned and --

    ("Gently, gently," said the commenting INTJ -- as if he could manage this!)

    rather nonsensical in what they say, when someone steps on their Fi.

    As an INTJ, I *have* Fi, but it is tertiary, not my lead function: can you muster the energy, when this happens,
    to blurt out (like a drowning person gulping air before sinking under) -- "I'm sorry, but something hurt my feelings!"
    or similar, to give your husband some warning?

    Scratch that last, it sounded horribly condescending of me. (Drat. I *suck* at this stuff.)

    Full Disclosure: I'm married to an ISFJ who often thinks of my Fi as ... bizarre at best. I may be totally barking
    up the wrong tree here, or even barking up a cactus (not a tree at all !)

    Best wishes.
    "Love never needs time. But friendship always needs time. More and more and more time, up to long past midnight." -- The Crime of Captain Gahagan

    Please comment on my johari / nohari pages.

  9. #9
    Member melomania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grey_beard View Post
    @Mel --
    Reading this, I wonder whether your ferocity of expression is *causing* the glass.

    We_are_one__by_rob_i.jpg

    Try "sign language" as it were: this may be foreign or painful to you, but to speak of your emotions in a *detached* way.
    xSFJ types...*LEAD* with Fe. Which means that they go by "convention" or "what the crowd thinks" --
    and the mere fact that your Fi often *prides* itself on uniqueness, means that the very *type* of emotion you have,
    or the specific burr under your saddle ...(sorry, this might hurt!)... well, it means that maybe he inwardly believes that
    your *particular* emotion over a given point, is itself odd or abnormal, rather that uniquely and treasurabley *you*.

    Compounding this is his 2nd function, Si, which likely means he *does* remember every word which was said:
    which can be doubly unfortunate, for you INFPs can get rather impassioned and --

    ("Gently, gently," said the commenting INTJ -- as if he could manage this!)

    rather nonsensical in what they say, when someone steps on their Fi.

    As an INTJ, I *have* Fi, but it is tertiary, not my lead function: can you muster the energy, when this happens,
    to blurt out (like a drowning person gulping air before sinking under) -- "I'm sorry, but something hurt my feelings!"
    or similar, to give your husband some warning?

    Scratch that last, it sounded horribly condescending of me. (Drat. I *suck* at this stuff.)

    Full Disclosure: I'm married to an ISFJ who often thinks of my Fi as ... bizarre at best. I may be totally barking
    up the wrong tree here, or even barking up a cactus (not a tree at all !)

    Best wishes.

    Haha, I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head here! Learning to detach is something that I'm currently working on. Most times, when my feelings are hurt and I catch myself starting to bubble over, I just say I need a few minutes and I go read or listen to music for a bit to process things.

    Last night, we actually had a really productive conversation and I was able to calmly explain how much it hurts to have him dismiss what I'm saying. I also let him know that I didn't believe he was doing anything malicious and that I felt like it was just a huge misunderstanding in the way that we communicate. It went very well

  10. #10
    Member melomania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21% View Post


    Haha, so this is the exact conversation that we had last night! It is such a relief to have gotten so much advice that totally hits home for me! Thank you!

    So, after we got sucked into the "emotion vs. logic" argument for a few minutes, we separated and cooled off for about ten minutes. After that, I was able to calmly explain that all I needed to hear was that he would try to be more considerate of my feelings next time and not dismiss them as unimportant or silly. He apologized and I told him I knew he didn't do anything maliciously and it wasn't hit fault. So I feel a lot of weight lifted off of me, because that was the first time we've really gotten there. Thanks for all your help, guys!

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