In every argument there are two perspectives, and both are correct even if their perspectives are opposite. I think of this like standing around the perimeter of a circle and looking at the problem from alternate angles. Most people only see their point of view and they cross the circle to stand between the problem and the other person… This creates and argument. Both people know the problem from their own point of view. The result is an argument.
For example, yesterday I bought my son in law a PlayStation 4 pro to replace the one he lost in our house fire 2 months ago. I then realized there were several PS4 exclusive titles that I would love to play that are not available on the console I have (which is several XBox One’s throughout the house). The games were my favorite PS2 title remastered, an amazing game called “Shadow of the Colossus”. I also found “Uncharted 4” and “Horizon Zero Dawn”. All these games have been critically acclaimed and the topic of a lot of industry buzz surrounding animation. From my perspective I didn’t feel it was a bad thing to ask if we could have the PS4 pro in our games room for now, and I offered to return to Best Buy on Thursday to purchase him or myself another PS4 (standard not pro) for him to have either in his room.
From my wife’s perspective this was offering to buy him a PS4 pro, and then taking it away from him. This was not at all my perspective so I offers to buy a second PS4 pro instead after she offered to pay the difference ($100). She was angered, from her perspective I frequently offer things to the kids and then “take it back”. While this is not my feeling from my point of view, there were several times this happened from their perspective.
I paid for my step daughter and son in law’s wedding reception and then sent them to resort for a mini 2 day honeymoon. At the time I also offered to pay for my step daughter’s college for the year (all of which I followed through with). I then said they should take a real honeymoon and I offered to pay for an all inclusive stay in the Dominican Republic. From my perspective this was a standing offer for whenever they were free to take the trip. At the time I recall them mentioning wishing to pay for a cruise themselves, and I believe (correctly or incorrectly) hearing them state they would not know when my son in law’s duty in Marine Reserves would be… so a honeymoon would be “last minute”… which unfortunately doesn’t work for resorts that sell summer out around Christmas time. I didn’t follow up, figuring they had just turned me down and wanted to do it themselves. A month ago the entire family was telling me that I offered this and then took it back and didn’t pay for a Honeymoon…
I have also made a standing offer to get my step-daughter a Jeep (co-sign for credit with my wife or daughter being the one the Jeep is under). I suggested my wife could pay the monthly bill with my help if necessary for a cheap used wrangler. We can wait until May and buy one or two used Jeeps for adult kids as wedding presents in cash if that doesn’t work out. This is still in my mind a standing offer I am happy to follow through with when my wife and step daughter go shop for a Jeep Wrangler for her (the next step). From their perspective I once again offered something and took it back because she doesn’t have a jeep yet.
Yesterday my wife called me “selfish” and I chose to get out of a car at a stoplight and jog to one of my favorite restaurants that was within 2 miles, have a “cucumber smash” (an amazing gin drink that tastes like drinking a salad, if salad gave you a nice little buzz from liquor). I also ate my favorite meal, Chilean Sea Bass with spicy Asian glaze… for lunch at “Seasons 52” (where I had hoped my wife and I would stop for lunch together). The reason I did this is because I refuse to fight with her, never again, my fight or flight instinct is now only flight. My manic combat state where I lose control, and say hurtful things I am shutting down the moment I feel myself heating up. I will not allow myself to spiral into that state, and trapped in a car where this is no safe space or neutral corner to run to, no way to quiet or end the words that are causing my adrenaline to begin to pump, my heart begin to race, and my fists begin to curl… I simply had no choice but to exit the conversation, which meant exiting the car as we stopped on a highway traffic light…. I couldn’t take the pain of being called selfish (which will spiral me until I can’t contain my anger), so I exited.
I also do not feel that I am a selfish person… I give away more of my money than I spend on myself, other than perhaps this week as I setup my home office. My wife and I simply have difference perspectives. From my perspective, I provide for her and all her children (4 including my Son-in-Law) a stable home with no bills, enough “fun money” for all of us to enjoy life without thinking about it, and in return I ask for a couple of creature comforts, which for me include a quiet safe space for myself (my Son’s bedroom when he isn’t visiting) and one difficult task; never fight about money… we have all we need.
I believe from my wife’s perspective as it was with my ex girlfriend, and as it was with my ex wife, I am coming off as “Controlling”. The women in my life have all felt I provide a complete single source for security, which means I am solely responsible and empowered to remove that support at any time I choose to, and they are trapped. Not my intention at all but true from their point of view, and I have to own that myself as my problem… Something I accidentally do without intending to from my perspective but from theirs it is a calculated way of trapping them in a very stressful situation. My efforts to provide separate security apart from me have failed miserably (such as starting a company in my wife’s name for her to make and sell her artwork).
I frequently make the mistake of accidentally or while angry, demonstrating the level of control fully providing for a family of 6 living in the same roof tends to give me. I have mistakenly done this a few times when I am enraged and feeling misunderstood, loved for my money, only needed for my money, or taken advantage of. This is the mistakes I have made in the past that I am now desperately trying to correct. However this correction, the rebuilding of trust, sometimes takes nearly an infinite amount of time. I believe it can take years, and sadly I can’t be “perfect all the time”.
I get excited from time to time, and in my excitement I lose Myers-Briggs “home life” personality type, which is ESFJ (The Performer/Entertainer), where I am trying to use to love to guide me and my family, with humor, fun, toys, and making life “play” instead of hard work. This hopefully would allow my family to feel safe and happy and enjoy their lives…
When I am frustrated by their anger with my clowning around being too much, I try to shift my personality, which often results in me caving in internally and reverting to my work personality which is the ENTJ personality type (the executive). The S (sensing) is for how you approach a room in the present. When “Sensing” You absorb feelings and emotions of what is happening, and can sit quietly and find a way to watch or engage in the current conversation is a way that is contributive rather than distracting. The F (feeling) in the ESFJ is how you choose to make decisions with your emotions rather than logic and math making you an effective caretaker who’s wife and children feel heard, understood and valued… When it comes to loved ones, it means you should make decisions based on love and what that person wants for themselves rather than what you think is best for them, this means letting them make their own mistakes and learning from them… this is, I find, the best way to handle a loved one’s desires, you have to allow them their scars… their own mistakes and scars to grow from. You can’t save them from themselves but you can be a safety net for when they fall, appreciated after a tumble from a tall height. The “J” is “Judgement” it allows you to make quick decisive decisions, needed by both an improv comedy actor (the ENFJ “performer”), the funny dad, as well as by an executive wielding a budget and firing hatchet. The issue when it comes to family is that the ENTJ is cruel, unwavering, and uncaring. while keeping Extroverted (I am very rarely an introvert, more lately than ever but still it’s a low level and rare for me to be alone to recharge). Maintaining my Judgement decision making (fast decisive decisions), the decision matrix relies heavily on iNtuition rather than Sensing. The result of using iNtuition being strong, is that I entirely disregard whatever anyone is doing or asking for in the moment. I see a vision of the future with grand ideas and try to force the room to stop whatever they are doing and follow me down the rabbit hole to a better place (often pulling them out of happy situations they are quite content being in). This is good for someone running a company… horrible for someone running a family. Finally the other key difference between my two primary personality shifts at work vs. home, is that we use Thinking rather than Feeling which means logic is the only factor, not the emotional impact on those who are “under us” as executive of a company or head of household. The ENTJ is the hammer, the hatchet, the chainsaw, or “the sword and armor” my wife wields as I romanticize it for her to have the vision and security of knowing she has this suit of armor to wield. The issue remains, my family never wants to see the ENTJ at home, even if that is the personality that supplies their home, their fun money, and pays for their education. Meeting that guys scares them all.
It is hard to be in touch with where your emotional state has you living. I leapfrog between ENTP (the visionary), ENFP (the inspirer), and the ENTJ (executive at work) occasionoally the ENFJ (the giver, which is where my wife almost always is), and ESFP (the performer, my very basic home state when I feel secure, loved, wanted, and safe to be home).
Those who don’t understand Jungian psychology may say that leaping between 5 personality types based on the situation is unhealthy. However if you study therapeutic psychology and study Jungian method (stemming from Freud) what you discover is that the goal of therapy is to bring yourself to the center of Extroverted/Introverted so you can comfortably do either (be alone or be in a crowd). Balance your iNtuition and your Sensing (so that you can both enter a room without disrupting it, or lead a group to a better place that is more beneficial to all). Balance your Feeling and your Thinking so that you can adjust and assess if an issue or problem in a given social situation requires love and support, or a mathematical solution that will work to fix it. Finally the hardest one to jump between balancing your Perception and your Judgement so that you can both recognize that everything and everyone has intrinsic value and should not be compared (such as comparing your children to one another)… attempting to balance that with the ability to immediately pick a favorite (which can be upsetting to kids, but J’s will always have a favorite, it may jump child to child… I certainly pick favorite with my step kids (Sebastian my little clone, I definitely spend more time with than any of the others).
“Nosce te ipsum” or “temet nosce” in Latin means “know thyself” – the Greek philosophers which much of modern developmental psychology is based on, had this idea that self awareness was far more vital to life than social awareness. You have to know not only your personality type, but the type or current state of everyone you interact with in order to prevent misunderstandings. For example when an Extrovert meets an Introvert, the extrovert projects their own actions onto the other… The introvert quietly enjoys the crowd from a corner… the Extrovert leaps into action trying to save them from the immense boredom and loneliness they must be feeling… they say “If I was alone in a corner, I would be so sad” and so they run up and invade the introvert’s space and interrupt their thought process. When the introvert becomes angered the extrovert then thinks “if I were to be angry at someone trying to rescue me, it means I don’t like that person, and now the introvert must be plotting to attack me in some way, because that’s what I would do”… Carl Jung called this “projecting” and we all do it.
Knowing your own type, and monitoring where you fall in the spectrum of 16 personality types with infinite variety as each letter is on a sliding scale of 0 (balanced) to 100 in either direction, then being able to type others in a room, and adjust yourself to accomodate and avoid misunderstanding… is knows as EQ (IQ being intelligence, EQ being “Emotional”). How aware we are of ourselves and others is vital to social interactions. Unfortunately someone skilled at shifting their own personality on a dime to handle a given scenario, can very often come off as someone with Multiple Personalities and confuse everyone. Because I am not “Stable” I become viewed as such… “unstable”, “unsafe”, a “poser”, “dishonest”… when really what I am usually trying to adjust my motivations and goals to fit a given scenario. In meetings at work I will quickly jump from ENTP to ENTJ and if I hurt someone I switch to ENFJ to care for them. To the room I “appear insane”… this is how I end up with friends, family, loved ones and work… “insane”
My goal is “Nosce te ipsum” – to know myself, once I do my goal is to march around that circle to try to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” to hear their concerns and look at the problem itself rather than the idea that the person with the issue with the problem needs a savior to stand between them and the issue they are marching towards.
I still have never gotten it right… but step one is to admit I am wrong… from their perspective… and wait for them to allow me to come close enough to see their view of the problem, their perspective. Without holding a sword to my throat or a knife to my back to protect themselves from me… The guy who wants no weapons, only peace, love, unity and respect… What my generation (the first “Raver” generation birthed by communist hippies) called “P.L.U.R.” (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect) which today young adults say or know the hand symbols for, while I have found only a rare few truly have the understanding of. PLUR means rejecting all forms of violence (Peace) and the root of that violence, ownership and material possession. Rejecting all dogma of religion and follow your heart (Love), realize we are all connected and all one spirit (Unity), and then respect the aesthetics of all meat machines that inhabit this incredible thing we call life (Respect)…
There is no wrong version of you… no matter how many personalities you have.
Keep the faith.