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Thread: Female INTP - Male ISFJ

  1. #21
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Oh shit, the conversation continued! That does not usually happen to my posts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Resonance View Post
    Is it just me or is this a really, really, extremely bad and scary problem with blaring sirens and red lights flashing everywhere?
    Yeessss.... Yes and no. We've been together for four years now, and our core problems have been there from the beginning and won't ever go away. But on the other hand, we've built like this... secondary support structure of trust that keeps getting stronger. The severity of our fights has actually decreased pretty steadily over time. So there'll be a flare up, conflict, restrengthening of bonds, gradual decay, flare up, etc. I mean, yeah, it's tiring, but we've gotten pretty good at working through it.

    Aside from that, I also learned to be more affectionate, more comfortable and spontaneous with touching & hugs etc. which might have helped, but I think not as much as healing from old wounds.
    This resonates with me. I have learned to be more present and affectionate, and "old wounds" on his part do a lot of harm. Similar to your relationship with your mom, this isn't something I can just walk away from. We actually have a kid, so we're going to be in each other's lives no matter what. On top of that we really do love each other and want to be together in the long term. Not that this guarantees that it's going to happen, but we both have a lot of incentive to make it work. Which means being patient and forgiving when one does something hurtful and trying to limit the harm we do. There are definitely some dysfunctional elements to our relationship, but that's just how it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by kitsune View Post
    I see an incompatibility in attachment styles. He obviously has an anxious attachment style and the OP seems to have an avoidant one. According to the book The New Science of Adult Attachment, there is no way to resolve this. This pairing never works and is stressful for both parties. Only someone with a healthy attachment style can make someone anxious feel secure. Only someone with a healthy attachment style can deal with the minimum amount of affection an avoidant type is willing to give.
    Yeah, ha ha ha, it's definitely stressful, and I think that it's always going to be this way. We are always going to fall back into these patterns. But, on the other hand, I think that our commitment to the relationship does help each of us to act in a more healthy way. So even though, under stress, he will always be anxious and I'll always be avoidant, when one of us is less stressed, that one is better able to be the "healthy" partner and buffer the conflict dujour.

    I'm not saying that I recommend it or would be totally surprised if we do wind up breaking up for real one day, but I've come to see this relationship as a perpetually challenging, exhausting, and rewarding part of my life. As someone who is generally very low key, moderate, unemotional, this is like... trying to think of how to put it... it's like, I do have the emotional resources to deal with this and I do feel that I benefit from the challenge. And I do believe, that over the long term, my love and the stability of my love does help him to feel more secure even through my many small failures to give him exactly what he needs in a crisis.

    Also our whole situation should get much less stressful within... three to five years. Unless some other shit storm happens. But barring anything crazy and God willing, it is slooowly getting better all the time.

  2. #22
    eyeing you rabbit warrior kitsune's Avatar
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    To tie this into the title of the thread, I wonder if those with avoidant attachment styles are always T types and those with anxious attachment styles always the F types. I'm the feeler and I'm the anxious one. Your partner is a feeler as well and he's the anxious one. My husband's the thinker and the avoidant one, just like you. I wouldn't be surprised if they tended to be correlated.

    Just as a note warning, I've been together with my avoidant husband for nine years. You've got a child from your partner, which fuels your motivation to try and work things out. I've got visa issues which fuels my motivation to try and work things out, otherwise I would have left him six years ago. I guess what I want to say is after all this time (and therapy) it's only gotten slightly better. And by "better", I mean the dynamics of the relationship have barely changed, but rather through his managing down of my expectations by consistently not fulfilling them and through the complacency which happens over time, things appear slightly better. I'm not really truly happy. I'm just less explosively angry about not having my needs met.

    I'm not saying your relationship will definitely fail like mine, but the book about attachment theories suggests it most likely will. The question then becomes, how long are you willing to be in a stressful relationship and will you hate yourself later for not getting out sooner? I'm guessing, since you have a child with him, you will never regret trying for an intact family. On the other hand, what will your kid learn about relationships and how they work? It doesn't sound like an easy decision.

    Meanwhile, another thought just hitting me, if your ISFJ partner has an anxious attachment style, he could also suffer from a mild case of male borderline personality disorder. I just read a book about it called Hard to Love, which gives advice to them and their partners about how to deal with it. It's very simply written, which irritates me, so because of the writing style, I have a hard time recommending the book, even if the information inside it is valuable.
    Last edited by kitsune; 09-15-2015 at 09:52 AM.

    "
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  3. #23
    Scala Mountains Resonance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    Oh shit, the conversation continued! That does not usually happen to my posts...
    haha, sorry. I usually find your posts pretty thought-provoking and interesting, but it's hard to find much to say about them since you're pretty good at considering things from lots of different angles the first time around.

    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    Yeessss.... Yes and no. We've been together for four years now, and our core problems have been there from the beginning and won't ever go away. But on the other hand, we've built like this... secondary support structure of trust that keeps getting stronger. The severity of our fights has actually decreased pretty steadily over time. So there'll be a flare up, conflict, restrengthening of bonds, gradual decay, flare up, etc. I mean, yeah, it's tiring, but we've gotten pretty good at working through it.

    This resonates with me. I have learned to be more present and affectionate, and "old wounds" on his part do a lot of harm. Similar to your relationship with your mom, this isn't something I can just walk away from. We actually have a kid, so we're going to be in each other's lives no matter what. On top of that we really do love each other and want to be together in the long term. Not that this guarantees that it's going to happen, but we both have a lot of incentive to make it work. Which means being patient and forgiving when one does something hurtful and trying to limit the harm we do. There are definitely some dysfunctional elements to our relationship, but that's just how it is.
    Well, if you're fully aware of what's going on and managing it and doing OK, then I guess it's worth it. And it's good that the fights are getting less severe. Maybe the pattern will continue until he feels really secure with you in old age

    Quote Originally Posted by kitsune View Post
    To tie this into the title of the thread, I wonder if those with avoidant attachment styles are always T types and those with anxious attachment styles always the F types. I'm the feeler and I'm the anxious one. Your partner is a feeler as well and he's the anxious one. My husband's the thinker and the avoidant one, just like you. I wouldn't be surprised if they tended to be correlated.
    It's a good hypothesis, but I'm pretty sure I'm an avoidant 'F'. Well, maybe not that avoidant, considering how often I end up helping people through crises, but I always feel kinda detached when doing it.

    Rather than relying on anecdotes, I thought I'd try and see if there's any research on the subject. It turns out: there is! Well, not with MBTI, because it's a terrible research instrument, but we know the Big 5 correlations for MBTI types so we can draw some weak but interesting conclusions.

    http://www.researchgate.net/publicat...onship_quality

    This article also gives a lovely little table showing a summary of other research findings. I'll further eyeball it to provide a basic overview:

    People with the Secure (healthy) attachment type: Much less neurotic, much more extroverted, much more agreeable (F), and slightly more conscientious (J). (compared to people with other attachment types)
    People with the Anxious attachment type: Much more neurotic, somewhat less extroverted, somewhat less agreeable, and slightly less conscientious (P).
    People with the Avoidant attachment type: Somewhat more neurotic, much less extroverted, much less agreeable (T), and slightly less conscientious (P).

    Keeping in mind, this is the strength of correlation rather than a relative scale - so you can still have a feeler with the avoidant type, but that'll be much less common than a T (most studies found correlation constants in the area of 0.4 to 0.6) - more or less as you predicted. Likewise, Anxious types are more likely to be F, but still not as likely as Secure/Healthy types.

    Quote Originally Posted by kitsune View Post
    Just as a note warning, I've been together with my avoidant husband for nine years. You've got a child from your partner, which fuels your motivation to try and work things out. I've got visa issues which fuels my motivation to try and work things out, otherwise I would have left him six years ago. I guess what I want to say is after all this time (and therapy) it's only gotten slightly better. And by "better", I mean the dynamics of the relationship have barely changed, but rather through his managing down of my expectations by consistently not fulfilling them and through the complacency which happens over time, things appear slightly better. I'm not really truly happy. I'm just less explosively angry about not having my needs met.

    I'm not saying your relationship will definitely fail like mine, but the book about attachment theories suggests it most likely will. The question then becomes, how long are you willing to be in a stressful relationship and will you hate yourself later for not getting out sooner? I'm guessing, since you have a child with him, you will never regret trying for an intact family. On the other hand, what will your kid learn about relationships and how they work? It doesn't sound like an easy decision.

    Meanwhile, another thought just hitting me, if your ISFJ partner has an anxious attachment style, he could also suffer from a mild case of male borderline personality disorder. I just read a book about it called Hard to Love, which gives advice to them and their partners about how to deal with it. It's very simply written, which irritates me, so because of the writing style, I have a hard time recommending the book, even if the information inside it is valuable.
    These are interesting thoughts as well. Diagnosing your SO is risky business, but strategies for managing those behaviours are effective regardless of whether they meet the criteria or not.
    Empty your mind. Be formless. Shapeless. Like water. Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

  4. #24
    Pull the strings! Architect's Avatar
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    Be glad it fell apart. I know many ISFJ's, both male and female. Suppose it had worked and you married, what would ensue is a quiet struggle for you to conform to X - whatever X is for this ISFJ. It's something from their childhood, who knows? Could be anything, but it's some kind of personal and world view they have to carry forward, and you'll get strong armed along with that. Which is fine if you happen to like it, but you don't have a choice. The second thing is ISFJ male, which I think is the most mismatched type. ISFJ females aren't too bad, but the males I know are all rather a mess in one way or another. Being an ISFJ doesn't seem to jive well with being a male.

    I can't imagine being with an ISFJ, that would be a deal breaker. They're not bad people, but just not for us. Now an ISFP on the other hand could work.

  5. #25
    Member Thoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeresaJ View Post
    So we did the thing where he suddenly got cold and unresponsive. I thought it was because of certain factors external to our relationship, let's call them X... and it totally was, except that he threw it back onto our relationship and got mad at me for Y. So I was trying to be nice and stay engaged with him, giving him time to get over X and all the while he was resenting me because of Y, Y being (as always) some variant of him not being a big emotional priority for me.
    From my seat and long experience with ISFJs, everything you have said up to and including this point is text book ISFJ behavior. My experiences have all been with female ISFJs, but it sounds like the male version is almost exactly the same. If I've learned anything about them its that they are capable of being compatible with a lot on the surface, but as relationships deepen their behavior begins to change to heavily unspoken expectation. For intuitive introverts that unspoken expectation (can't you SENSE what I want?) becomes emotionally and psychologically exhausting. Throwing FJ against TP on top? IMO you're asking for trouble. The FJ is running on emotive black or white conclusions verses the TP's objective analysis.

    Quote Originally Posted by kitsune View Post
    Meanwhile, another thought just hitting me, if your ISFJ partner has an anxious attachment style, he could also suffer from a mild case of male borderline personality disorder. I just read a book about it called Hard to Love, which gives advice to them and their partners about how to deal with it. It's very simply written, which irritates me, so because of the writing style, I have a hard time recommending the book, even if the information inside it is valuable.
    I'd avoid too hasty psychoanalysis. Both my female ISFJ partners eventually demonstrated anxious attachment behaviors. Why would it be OK for a woman to demonstrate anxious attachment, but not a man, thus labeling him with "male borderline personality disorder?" That speaks to me more of the author's possible lack of understanding of societal and cultural changes in gender expectations. You cannot expect gender societal moderation, qua equality, and not expect a similar parallel in behavioral changes.

    Again, from my experiences everything described thus far is text book ISFJ, not necessarily a behavioral problem.

  6. #26
    Senior Member Senseye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitsune View Post
    To tie this into the title of the thread, I wonder if those with avoidant attachment styles are always T types and those with anxious attachment styles always the F types.
    I was going to ask if this book has a handy dandy 5 point method for identifying those "health attachment style" folks.

    I would guess most INTPs tend to the avoidant style as you suggest.

    TJ seems to be a text book case of what not to do in a relationship, but I wish her luck. It seems people often take one of two misguided approaches when a relationship begins to fail: they either get married (if they are not), or have a kid. She has opted for the latter. I think the success rate of both these approaches is pretty low, but maybe she'll be one of the lucky few.

  7. #27
    eyeing you rabbit warrior kitsune's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resonance View Post
    It's a good hypothesis, but I'm pretty sure I'm an avoidant 'F'. Well, maybe not that avoidant, considering how often I end up helping people through crises, but I always feel kinda detached when doing it.

    Rather than relying on anecdotes, I thought I'd try and see if there's any research on the subject. It turns out: there is! Well, not with MBTI, because it's a terrible research instrument, but we know the Big 5 correlations for MBTI types so we can draw some weak but interesting conclusions.

    http://www.researchgate.net/publicat...onship_quality

    This article also gives a lovely little table showing a summary of other research findings. I'll further eyeball it to provide a basic overview:

    People with the Secure (healthy) attachment type: Much less neurotic, much more extroverted, much more agreeable (F), and slightly more conscientious (J). (compared to people with other attachment types)
    People with the Anxious attachment type: Much more neurotic, somewhat less extroverted, somewhat less agreeable, and slightly less conscientious (P).
    People with the Avoidant attachment type: Somewhat more neurotic, much less extroverted, much less agreeable (T), and slightly less conscientious (P).

    Keeping in mind, this is the strength of correlation rather than a relative scale - so you can still have a feeler with the avoidant type, but that'll be much less common than a T (most studies found correlation constants in the area of 0.4 to 0.6) - more or less as you predicted. Likewise, Anxious types are more likely to be F, but still not as likely as Secure/Healthy types.

    These are interesting thoughts as well.
    OOooohhh. Thanks for the research!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Resonance View Post
    Diagnosing your SO is risky business, but strategies for managing those behaviours are effective regardless of whether they meet the criteria or not.
    Well, although he refuses to read any of the self-help psychoanalysis relationship books I buy and devour, he will sometimes listen to my summaries of them. He agrees to my diagnosis of him having the avoidant attachment style and me having the anxious one. On a side note, he used to hate all my psychoanalytic questions and pseudo-diagnoses, but he seems to have gotten used to it now. He still doesn't like the questioning, but the diagnoses he doesn't mind anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoth View Post
    I'd avoid too hasty psychoanalysis. Both my female ISFJ partners eventually demonstrated anxious attachment behaviors. Why would it be OK for a woman to demonstrate anxious attachment, but not a man, thus labeling him with "male borderline personality disorder?" That speaks to me more of the author's possible lack of understanding of societal and cultural changes in gender expectations. You cannot expect gender societal moderation, qua equality, and not expect a similar parallel in behavioral changes.
    Usually women who demonstrate anxious attachment are labeled with borderline personality disorder. Most men who demonstrate the same behaviors are not diagnosed with BPD and are labeled as having anger management issues. In reality, the anger is just a coping mechanism for the underlying problem: anxiety and low self-esteem. (In my opinion, BPD is nothing more than anxiety plus low self-esteem.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Senseye View Post
    I was going to ask if this book has a handy dandy 5 point method for identifying those "health attachment style" folks.

    I would guess most INTPs tend to the avoidant style as you suggest.
    The other book, Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller, I can definitely recommend it! It's choc full of information on how to identify each type. I don't have time to summarize it for you, unfortunately. (I bought it on Kindle and just looked at it again and see I highlighted 111 passages and made 4 notes. Really don't have time.)

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    REMINDER TO SELF WHEN DEALING WITH THE RABBIT WARRIOR: "All warfare is based on deception." - Sun Tzu,
    The Art of War

  8. #28
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    ^Regarding the above, I took the quiz on their website and I got a normal score, rather than avoidant, so that bodes well.

    I wanted to post on this thread again because things have been rather rocky lately with my ISFJ, and I've also recently spent some time with a good male friend of mine who is INTP, and the contrast between the two relationships is fresh in my mind.

    With my ISFJ, he came to visit and then we had a major fight and then he came to visit again, all within a couple of weeks. I mean, the INTP-ISFJ relationship is challenging to begin with, but doing it long distance is... I can't come up with a miserable enough metaphor. And at this point it really is both of us. I see all of these patterns in our relationship, so if he does something that fits the pattern I immediately react as if the full pattern is in effect... and he does the same thing, fixating on my past behavior. Being with him in this relationship has started to make *me* paranoid and touchy. It's a mess. Its horrible. It was the last straw and I really had 99% (maybe 95%) decided to break up. I communicated as much to him.

    Then he came to visit - I decided to allow him to visit, knowing full well what would happen. It isn't that he apologized profusely or promised to do better or anything like that - it's simply that, in person, communication is a hundred times more effective. The same discussion that escalates into a major conflict over the phone - in person we can each *see* when the other person is thinking things through vs distracted; we can look into each other's eyes and discern what's sarcastic or serious or a genuine attempt to lighten the mood. We get along. It's a million times easier. We *like* each other. We respect each other. We enjoy each other's company. We understand each other.

    So then he left town again and I'm back in the limbo of uncertainty, because I know from experience that if I'm not keeping tabs on him 24/7, something external to our relationship will cause him to doubt everything... But I also know that that will happen no matter how much I try to prevent it, so I'm trying not to worry about it. Also he does this thing where he says horrible things but *he doesn't really mean them; they're just his worst fears* which is totally foreign to how I operate.

    But anyway, in the interim, this good friend of mine from way back has also been in town for the holidays, and I've been able to spend time with him. And... I mean, it's the INTP mind meld. We can talk for hours and hours and, if not agree on everything, at least totally understand where the other person is coming from. There's no translation, no barriers, no brick wall to bang our heads against. It's peaceful; it's easy. And this INTP friend of mine carries a torch for me. He hints about it and I ignore it but of course I know. The thing is, I love him. I do love him. I've loved him for years. But... it's exactly the sort of love I would feel if he were my fraternal twin brother.

    I know I talk about my ISFJ as if it's this constant struggle, this cross I bear that's either troubling me enormously or giving me a break, but when things are good they're not just a respite from strife; they are fantastic. He is so creative and so playful and so different from me - he pushes me to do things I wouldn't do myself, and then I do them and I enjoy them and I learn more about myself. The sex is imaginative and communicative and fun as well as comforting. The movies we watch, the activities we go to... It's a process to agree on anything, but when we finally do it's usually a few steps outside the center of my comfort zone but not totally outside of it, and I like that.

    If I were to be in a romantic relationship with my INTP friend (and I have thought about it, off and on, over the years) I think that it would be too easy. For myself, I think that I would fall into some sort of existential crisis, and also I would be the one pushing for us to go out more, do more, and that's not a role I enjoy. Plus his contentment with sitting around playing games would just attack my nerves.

    I know that my INTP friend likes me primarily because of my head and my heart, which is fine, but also because a relationship with me would be easy. There wouldn't be a lot of conflict. My ISFJ loves me in spite of the conflict. Sometimes he hates me, but he also loves me with this astonishing, permeating abundance of love.

    One final example, to illustrate. Not that this has ever happened, but I can't imagine my INTP friend ever being really romantic or trying to seduce me. It would be out of character and awkward, even if we were romantically involved. I would never expect or ask him to. With my ISFJ, what I would consider over the top romance is just what comes naturally to him. I love it because it is an expression of his love, and while it can occasionally be a bit too much for me it does overall really add to our relationship and to my life. I like that my life with him is different than how it would be if I were all on my own, and I think that that is really what it comes down to, for me, being involved with an ISFJ.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Makers!*'s Avatar
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    I think my girlfriend is ISFJ. She's super chill. The relationship is probably the easiest, most-natural I've ever been in. I just water her with compliments and kisses every once and a while, take her out on the occasional date, and she keeps hanging around, beautifying my place like a purdy little, wild flower.

    Edit: I have noticed she usurped my comfy recliner for reading, and her knitting... The Queen on her throne. Can't do much about that I'm afraid.
    Last edited by Makers!*; 01-09-2016 at 07:01 PM.
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  10. #30
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makers!* View Post
    I think my girlfriend is ISFJ. She's super chill. The relationship is probably the easiest, most-natural I've ever been in. I just water her with compliments and kisses every once and a while, take her out on the occasional date, and she keeps hanging around, beautifying my place like a purdy little, wild flower.

    Edit: I have noticed she usurped my comfy, recliner for reading, and her knitting... The Queen on her throne. Can't do much about that I'm afraid.
    I wish I had a girlfriend like that. Does she cook? :/

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