INFJ
As Mates

Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.
                                    -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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In marriage, INFJs wish to find a "soulmate," someone with whom they can bond emotionally and spiritually, sharing their deepest feelings and their complex inner worlds. 

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Advice:
"Show that you know. You're very aware of people's feelings; you seldom need an explanation of interpersonal dynamics, but you don't always do something about them. You know very well that your mate needs a stroke or an "I love you," but it's not your day to give strokes so you clam up. Push yourself to give when your mate needs it, not only when you feel 'inspired.'"

16 Ways to Love Your Lover: Understanding the 16 Personality Types So You Can Create a Love That Lasts Forever,
Otto Kroeger & Janet Thuesen

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Recommended reading:  We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love, by Robert Johnson.

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Simple Truth About Love

There's only one thing worse than feeling negative about how different your partner is from you.

And that's realizing that he feels just as negative about how different you are from him.

There's only one thing better than appreciating the fact that your partner is different from you.

And that's telling each other how much you appreciate your individual differences.

-by Susan Quilliam

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When you see through Love's illusion
there lies the danger,
And your perfect lover looks like a perfect fool
And you go running off
In search of a perfect stranger.

-Jackson Brown

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The Apocalypse Horsemen

These refer to four toxic behaviors that are so lethal to a relationship that John Gottman (relationship expert and best-selling author) calls them the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. They are criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling. 

After the description of each horseman below, I have included some antidotes that can help you stop the horsemen in their tracks. I have included antidotes for both receivers and givers of the particular horsemen. If you are the recipient of a horseman behavior your responsibility is to respond with one of the antidotes instead of escalating the situation by reacting with more horseman behavior. It might feel a bit like swallowing your pride, but you will like the results.

One antidote that works for all horsemen is to name them when you see or experience them (but not in a blaming or critical way) and then get curious about them. Examples: “We are getting defensive” or “We are being critical—what is happening?"

Horsemen behaviors have their root in powerlessness—they often happen when people are otherwise feeling powerless vis-à-vis the situation they’re in. So it might seem paradoxical but when somebody is using horsemen, you need to bring them more into their power rather than making them feel even more powerless.

1: Blame/Criticism

Criticism consists of attacking or blaming your partner instead of his behavior. You will always have some complaints about your partner. But there’s a big difference between a complaint and a criticism. A complaint addresses a specific failed action. A criticism adds some negative words about your partner’s character or personality. For example, adding at the end of any complaint: “What is wrong with you?” will turn it into criticism.

Antidotes

1.      As mentioned above, criticize behavior, not the person.

2.      Turn complaints into requests.

a.       If you are being critical: instead of saying “you didn’t tell me about the event”, say “I don’t want to miss another one of those events; what do you think of putting all events in the company calendar from now on? Will you do it?”

b.      If your partner is being critical: Listen for the reasonable request embedded in the complaint. If you hear “you didn’t tell me about the event”, simply say: “I’m sorry. Would you like me to add this kind of events to the company calendar so that it is not an issue in the future?” This is in stark comparison to defending yourself (e.g. “I didn’t know you wanted to go”)--which is basically saying, it’s your fault because you didn’t tell me you wanted to go. It escalates the conflict and it doesn’t catalyze any positive change.

Remember that requests are not demands. To make a true request, you have to communicate that a counteroffer or a “no” are valid and respected responses. (You can also make demands, but don’t disguise them as requests).

3.      Don’t make the situation personal: Focus on “What’s trying to happen in the relationship?” And “what does the relationship need from us now” instead of “Who is doing what to whom”. By being clear that blame won’t get you anywhere, you can focus on the changes the two of you need to make to take care of the issue.

4.      Look at what’s your contribution to the problem you’re feeling critical about. Even if you partner had a bigger contribution, you will feel less powerless if you are aware of how you contributed to the problem and what you can change about it regardless of what your partner does.

5.      Apologize. Even if in your opinion you weren’t being critical, what counts is what the listener experienced. Remain curious about the impact of what you say and take responsibility and clean up any messes.

2: Defensiveness

Although it’s understandable that you would defend yourself when criticized, research shows that this approach rarely works. An attacking partner does not back down or apologize. This is because defensiveness is really another way of blaming. It’s in effect saying: “it’s not me, it’s you”, and it escalates the conflict. It is common for the defensive partner to feel like he is above the conflict, when in fact, he is contributing to the conflict just as much. 

Antidotes

1.      If you are feeling defensive: 

a.       Repeat what you heard and ask for clarification. For example: “I’m hearing you say that I am not trustworthy. Can you clarify that?” 

b.      Search for the “2%” truth in what you are hearing. For example: It is true that I often don’t leave enough time for unpredictable delays and I can see how that would make me untrustworthy.

2.      If your partner is getting defensive:

a.       Ask them what they heard you say. It is quite possible that they misunderstood you or that they felt criticized without you being aware of it. Take responsibility for your impact and rephrase what you wanted to say.

b.      Show your partner that you respect and trust him and that his image is not at stake (assuming that is true). This will lower his defenses and you’ll have a more productive conversation.

3.      Active listening. Usually people get defensive when they don’t feel heard. Make sure you’re conveying to the other person that you are understanding what s/he is saying.

3: Contempt

Contempt includes sarcasm, belittling, cynicism, name-calling, hostile humor, and belligerence. Contempt is the most poisonous of all horsemen because it conveys disgust and condescension. It has been shown to be harmful to the physical health of an individual. Contempt is fueled by long-simmering negative thoughts about a partner. You’re more likely to have such thoughts if your differences are not regularly resolved after they occur. 

Antidotes

1.      Name it when it happens and request that it stop. Example: “You are being condescending. Will you stop being condescending?”

2.      If you are the one feeling contemptuous, use this sentence: “I feel … I want …” (e.g., “I am feeling contempt towards you, I want to be able to respect you and understand you.”) Note that in this sentence, what you want has to do with yourself, not with what you want the other person to do.

3.      Respect is given, not earned. If you don’t respect someone, take this to be about your inability to see the greatness, creativity, and resourcefulness that lives in that person, not about that person’s lower value as a human being. Your actions (even if they are strong corrective actions) will be much more effective when you carry them out from respect rather than contempt. Constructive conflict is only possible from a basis of respect.

4.      Stop any sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, belligerence, etc. Saying “I’m sarcastic/cynical and that is the way I am” is not an excuse! It is harming your relationships more than you think. Be funny and interesting in other ways.

4: Stonewalling.

Stonewalling includes cutting off communication, silent treatments, refusals to engage, withdrawal, or in mild cases simply being reluctant to express directly what you are thinking. Often, after one or more of the previous horsemen have been running wild, a partner will want to tune out of the whole thing and stonewall. The problem is that this will feed even more the contempt in the other partner. 

Antidotes 

1.      Look at your fear of speaking; what information is it giving you? What part of your identity is at stake? Get grounded in who you really are and then speak.

2.      Differentiate between fear and actual danger involved if you say something. If there is actual danger, you don’t want to expose yourself to it, but it may be useful to explain the reason for withholding the information.

3.      What safety conditions can you design with your partner so that you (or he) are better able to speak directly? Perhaps you can set a specific time to talk, set some confidentiality about what is spoken, and meet at a neutral place.

4.      If your partner is stonewalling you, take a look at what you are doing that makes him not feel safe expressing himself. Do you feel contempt? Have you not valued his ideas in the past? Have you been judgmental? 

What’s next?

Focus on how you want to be regardless of what your partner does. That will make a big difference in itself because horsemen have a hard time living alone.

Behaviorally rehearse with your partner the antidotes you want to use, so that when you actually need them you know what to do.

Find ways to actively add positivity to your relationship. A “reservoir” of positivity will help deal with horsemen when they show up.

By Fernando Lopez

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Why Your Needs Do Not Get Met

Relationships and need–conflicts

The one greatest source of tension in relationships is our need-conflicts. When the other does not behave in a way which allows our needs to be fulfilled, we develop negative feelings toward that person. We perceive him or her as the cause of our unhappiness.  We are controlled by our needs, and our relationships suffer when we feel that they are not being fulfilled. When a need is not being fulfilled, there are four basic possible reasons why. Understanding these reasons allows us to determine what we can do to solve the problem

1. One reason might be that we have not been communicating our needs clearly enough. Perhaps we are afraid to express our needs because of a fear of indifference, rejection, or conflict. Thus, in such a case, our lesson is to express our needs more assertively but with respect for the other through an I-message which emphasizes what we need without criticizing, threatening, or complaining.

We simply express our need, why we need it, and how we feel when it is not satisfied.

2. Another reason why a need might not be fulfilled is that we have a subconscious block to that happening. Although we may want something, we may also feel subconsciously that we do not deserve it, or fear that we may be in danger if we have it. One example is a woman who had been complaining that her husband was not doing enough at work or at home. When I asked her to imagine him doing more, she panicked, because she had been getting her self-worth from doing more than he had and being the "victim." Another example is a person who complains about not finding a suitable relationship partner, but tends to connect with married persons or persons living far away or those who declare that they are not interested in a serious relationship. In such a case this person who wants the relationship also probably feels that he or she does not deserve one or will be in danger of being abandoned, suppressed, or hurt in some way. Thus he or she is subconsciously blocking the fulfillment of this need.

3. A third reason someone is not fulfilling our needs is that we are doing something or have done something in the past, or are playing some role which is causing the other to be unable to respond to our needs. A woman who was complaining that her husband is aloof and does not respond to her discovered that her tendency to criticize him was causing him to close up. This husband might find that this aloofness is causing his wife to be critical and thus not fulfill his need for acceptance. People who tend to be over-responsible or perfectionists can attract irresponsible behavior from those around them.

4. A fourth reason might be that we have come to a point in our evolutionary process where it is time to transcend that particular need and feel secure, worthy, and fulfilled without it being satisfied by a specific person or perhaps at all from the outside. Our evolutionary process is asking of us to find inner security, self- worth, and fulfillment. Thus, until we learn this lesson we "need" not to have our needs filled from outside and from others.

Having said the above, we might want to try out the following experiment. We can print two copies of the following list of possible needs. We can fill out the one and have our loved one fill out the other. (This list has been made for love partners, but all needs except for sexual ones can also be investigated in other relationships, especially parents and children.) The whole family can also do this.

Possible Lessons

Once you have discovered your needs which are not being fulfilled as much as you would like, then you will need to move on to evaluate which of the above lessons you are being asked to learn:

a. To communicate more effectively concerning exactly what you need.

b. To remove any subconscious fears or guilt which may be obstructing your manifesting this in your life.

c. To adjust your behavior so that others are free to respond.

d. To transcend this need at this time and be happy without it being fulfilled.

In the case you feel that at least one of your lessons is to communicate more effectively without criticism, accusations, threats, or complaining, then you can share with each other what you have discovered and seek to respond even more to each other's needs.

Depending on which lessons you need to learn, you will need to proceed differently. Each of these possible procedures will be discussed in future articles.

The question at this point is which of the following items do you need more of in this relationship.

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Possible Needs
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1. Love (or greater or more specific expressions of it)

2. Respect

3. Understanding (of what?)

4. Acceptance

5.  Acknowledgement and affirmation

6. Trust

7. Freedom to think and function as we believe and in accordance with our needs.

8. A peaceful environment

9. Affection

10. Support and encouragement in the cultivation of our abilities and powers. 

11. To listen to us without criticizing or giving advice.

12. To be satisfied with us.

13. To inspire us.

14.To be just with us -- to behave towards us as he or she would like us to behave towards him of her.

15. To respect our beliefs and ideals.

16. To express his or her true feelings, needs, and beliefs.

18. Freedom of movement

19. To keep our agreements

20. To have patience with our weakness.

21. To support us during difficult moments.

22. To express gratitude for all that we offer him or her.

23.  To acknowledge our positive qualities.

24.  To be able to be alone when we do not feel well or when we have the need. 

25. To get out more often

26. For more rest

27. For more help in the chores.

28.For greater attention when we speak

29. To do more things together

30. For greater responsibility on his or her part.

31. To be on time

32. For more help and cooperation in keeping order and cleanliness.

33. To be able to behave as we like in our home.

34. To take care of him/her self.

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For Love Partners
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35. Erotic contact.

36. To be sexually devoted to only us

Other (add any needs which are not listed above)
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Also, Think of Which Needs Might Be Behind The Following:

Your complaining
Your criticism
Your impatience
Your refusal to cooperate
Your reactions
Your conflicts and arguments
The games which you play
Your competitiveness
Your teaching and sermons
Your anger

by Robert Elias Najemy
http://www.HolisticHarmony.com.

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You may wish to investigate this essay I posted about Soul Mates.

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Intimacy and Type: A Practical Guide for Improving Relationships for Couples and Counselors
by Ruth Sherman

Just Your Type : Create the Relationship You've Always Wanted Using the Secrets of Personality Type

Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types

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