Emotions, what are they?
Emotions are usually what other people use to understand the world by. For many, it doesn't really matter what really happened, but how they are made feel about what happened. However, for an ISTP the emotions seldom take over all the processes, but rather just feed us with contradicting impulses. Even when in an emotional outburst, the Thinking preference usually keeps itself in the background, re-establishing itself as soon as the possible. For an xNFx it takes days to get over an emotionally difficult situation, for example a row with someone they care about. For an xSTP the cycle is way faster - mere five minutes might be enough to leave the situation behind. This, of course, comes off as uncaring, cold and whatnot to those who don't function the same way.
Having a bunch of emotions emerging uncontrollably every time someone shows a crying child in TV or people falling to their deaths in an area "that matters" does seem to be the acceptable norm of behavior these days. However, there is no real evolutional advantage of being crushed to crumbly bits every time you're shown something you disagree with. It is okay to see through the smoke screen, even though it doesn't seem to be that okay to call the bluff (the people falling for the bluff will not understand that you're criticizing the bluff, they think you're criticizing their reactions to it). You might have heard the saying: "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king"? Well, it's not true. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed is a weird monstrosity that should be blinded, too, for the common good. Just keep your cool - and if you're feeling extra nice, do forward them to the hoax-slayer when they warn you about the teddy bear virus.
Of course ISTPs do have emotions, too. The problem is only that we're not naturally in tune with them; we don't understand them nor we trust them. The emotions are not constant, they can't be verified nor controlled, which is why they feel so dangerous to live by. It is advisable, though, to try to learn to recognize the emotions and their triggers. An ISTP might dismiss a perfectly valid point as baseless, only because it looks like an emotional judgment and emotions are notoriously untrustworthy. Emotions and intuition are difficult to tell apart, as neither does seem to be grounded to the facts. It takes an ISTP a while to find his or her way through things and issues that come naturally to others - luckily there's now a road map through the WTF years!
Handling another person's emotions
In my quest to not be a social asshole, I have learned a lot about the devil that is Ti-dom. When Ti becomes King and Ruler of the ISTP mindset, we often begin to start ordering everything based on the "logical" perspective. Think of social skills as puzzle pieces. We begin to fit the pieces together in a way that makes logical sense.
- ISTP: If I say Please and Thank You, I will communicate that I appreciate efforts thus making the other person more willing to assist me.
^This is an example of how the ISTP learns social skills. Very Cause & Effect oriented.
The ISTP categories all areas of life into "Facts" and "Uncertainties". Facts are trusted and used to make logical conclusions. Uncertainties are either ignored or factored in only when they can be encapsulated in a factual context. Emotions are usually categorized as "Uncertainties". Because emotions are "Uncertain" we see them as changeable, unstable, not-factual. They cannot be used in factual analysis because they cannot be depending on. Therefore we have a tendency to ignore emotion (including, and perhaps especially, our own) when making a decision.
Our proclivity to use Facts and ignore Uncertainties is what makes us look like assholes half the time. It can cause us not to phrase things in polite, gentle ways because we are focused on communicating the Fact.
- xNFx: When you said X, it made me feel hurt
- ISTP: But that isn't what I meant, so you should get over it.
the ISTP saw what they had originally said and meant as a "fact" and what the XNFX heard as a "uncertainty". The XNFX misunderstood the point, therefore the XNFX did not operate with the Fact, therefore the XNFX needs to change their viewpoint.
How do we ISTP overcome this? (And we do need to overcome it if we want to get laid consistently, or make friends, or interact with family, or work peacefully on the job)
As you learn your partner's Emotions, begin to categorize them as "Facts".
An example might be, your partner misunderstood you. Their feelings are hurt. Rather than correcting their Uncertainty, accept their emotion as a Fact that must now be pointed out and included in the information.
ISTP: My Partner is hurt. This is a fact. It must now be addressed.
- ISTP: Partner, I can see that you are hurt, and I am sorry you are hurting. I didn't mean to communicate that to you, I was trying to communicate XYZ.
Now you have dealt with the partner's emotions and corrected their viewpoint. And now the XNFX wants to have sex with you. This is clearly a win-win.
Why do they do things in such a difficult way?
As an ISTP one natively sees the logical meanings of what has been said. However, what other people mean and what they say might not line up with this logical understanding. That's where Fi can be a bitch to us Ti-doms because according to Fi, whatever you meant is what you said. This is because Fi/Fe types will include emotions in their facts. Thus the fact that the words XYZ makes a person feel ABC should considered to be just as factual and relevant as the fact that XYZ was meant to communicate 123.
Even for a Ti type, if we have an incorrect interpretation, for example the xNFx says something that makes us feel ABC, and then the xNFx explains that they really meant 123, we immediately dispense with the ABC conclusion. The emotion is tossed out as an incorrect conclusion.
Where Inferior Fe gets me is in the battles with my husband where I will have trouble dispensing with the ABC conclusion, because I can't see how XYZ could possibly communicate 123. Most of the battles that way will really be like this:
- ISTP: XYZ cannot mean 123, you are a nutjob
- xNFx: but xyz DID mean 123 to me, so you're invalidating me
- ISTP: Correct, because that's a logical fallacy
- xNFx: But I said it and I meant 123, just because XYZ doesn't mean 123 to you, doesn't mean that it doesn't mean 123 to me
- ISTP: Sure if you ignore logic and facts
- xNFx: you're an asshole
This is where an ISTP needs to step back and say:
- ISTP: OK, by xNFx's logic, XYZ = 123. I must set aside my logic XYZ = ABC, and accept that regardless of what XYZ really means, he was TRYING to say 123. I think he's a nutjob for saying it that way, but he has explained that his point was 123, so i will forgive the XYZ.
- xxFx: I have emotions!!!
(ISTP: I want to communicate that I don't have time to talk, therefore I will do just that)
- ISTP: I don't have time for this
- xxFx: You don't have time for me? That means I'm not a priority. That means you don't care what's going on with me right now. That means you don't care about ME. That you means you don't love me!!!!!
The ISTP has to remember to communicate MORE than the fact. You also have to communicate the emotion as well as the motivation. In other words, communicate your Facts and your Uncertainties.
- ISTP: I'm sorry, I have something urgent to deal with it and it's keeping me from giving you my full attention. Can we address it later on when I am able to give you my full attention?
- xxFx: Yes, because I want your full attention when I talk about this.
Unnecessary information might be necessary at times
Often the ISTP gets so focused on communicating "Just the facts, maam" that we leave out any additional information that we view as "unnecessary to understanding our initial point." An ISTP will view things as Established Facts.
It is an Established Fact that I love my husband. Therefore, when I am communicating with him, from my point of view, it's already established and doesn't need to be re-enforced.
It is an Established Fact that I don't want to hurt my husband. Therefore, it is unnecessary to ever tell him that.
Ti keeps these Facts constantly rolling around in the midst of all our other Facts. But when you're dealing with an Feeler, it meets their emotional needs to re-enforce these Facts. Whenever you are communicating with someone you care about, re-enforcing the Established Facts makes them feel better and makes them more open to what you have to say. Think of the Feeler as being a Wind-up toy and the Ti-user as being an on/off switch. We need re-enforcement if we get contradictory data. Feelers need re-enforcement when they unwind from your last crank-up.
A possible example of the contradictory data mentioned could be the xxFx saying "I need to be alone" and so the ISTP leaves them alone until they hear otherwise. The xxFx might get pissed and be like "Why didn't you come comfort me after 20 minutes" and the ISTP is going to be like "Um i was leaving you alone, like you asked".
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