My INFP wife and I have been together for fifteen years. We're best friends and have had a deep, loving relationship. She's really great, but here I'd like to focus on a problem that has plagued us from day one... something we've only half understood, but which personality typology can speak to.
Periodically something snaps in my wife and she erupts like an emotion volcano. It's usually in reaction to something I've said or done, or not done, which I perceive as completely innocuous. It happens more often when she's short on sleep and has had to deal with a stressor... or if she feels guilty about something. I could go into more detail here, but I think you get the idea. The first part of my question is this: do you INFPs recognize this in yourself?
Generally speaking, my wife is prone to intense emotional expressions, especially in a conflict situation, and unlike others of her type she doesn't avoid conflict. More like she heads straight for it, gets a good cry in and talks through the problem until we reach some resolution. Afterwards she feels better... and I feel worse.
As an INTP, I'm troubled by intense emotions, especially when they are directed at me by someone important to me. If I'm troubled by something, I need time alone to mull things over. I don't want to be asked how I'm feeling, I don't want to talk about it, and I especially don't want an emotion volcano burying me in heavy, burning hot lava. When that happens it can take hours, days, even weeks for me to fully recover.
So there it is... she needs to talk and express her emotions and I need to NOT talk and NOT experience intense emotions. For her this is frustrating and worrisome, but mostly over the years she's gotten the release and resolution she needs. For me it's just painful. It wipes me out and pushes me away from her. If, however, she somehow avoided exploding, she wouldn't get what she needs.
It seems impossible to answer, but that's my second, primary question: how can we handle conflicts when the conditions we need are exactly opposite? Does anyone else have experience with this? Maybe this is a broader problem experienced by T's and F's of all types, but it's particularly strong in our relationship and I think it has a lot to do with our specific types.