If there is a running them in my life, it's that struggle with Fe would be the magnet in the middle of the field.
Ever since I was a kid, I've struggled with my emotions. As a little INTP, I didn't know what to do when my dad told my sister some very troubling news. Everyone was crying and I stood there observing them experience grief as if I was an alien experiencing emotion for the first time. I didn't know what this was, how to respond, and why this was even happening.
Fast forward to being a teenager with raging hormones fighting my ESFJ father over his management fixation in our household. We had a very independent family of Ti and Fi users roaming around doing our own thing but he had a specific feeling for how a family is supposed to be, with him as the king of the castle. We didn't much care for it. Him and my Fi-dominant mom clashed quite a bit as while she supported him as much as she could, she had her limits and reacted strongly when her authenticity was at stake. So, there were a lot of flames tossed around the house as I was maturing into my teenage years.
For the most part, I felt like I could ignore it. I had work to do, I had a room to hide and didn't bother anyone much so I figured I was okay. But as the years went by I found myself less and less able to sit idly-by whilst chaos was ensuing in the remaining rooms of my house. I got involved more and more, releasing pure anger as I had little guidance for nuanced emotion. I only threw more fire.
Fast forward to being married to an ISFJ and Fe seemed to be following me around. I moved across the country to be with her and was riding high on the excitement of a new person, she was irreverent, funny, cute yet responsible and grounded. I had high praise and appreciation for her. I didn't know much of anything about typology at the time and didn't realize that much of the qualities I appreciated were things I had previously experienced in my life.
But we ran into trouble. I struggled with my mental health, our connection weakened, I searched for emotional connection elsewhere because my enneagram-5 sexual subtype wanted perfection and we ran into a myriad of issues. She stuck through it with me and we did our absolute best.
I didn't realize that at the time, she was hoping for love via Fe expression from me, which wasn't happening much. She had specific needs for how she would've liked emotional expression and it just completely went over my head. I didn't have enough clues and there was no chance I was getting more clues. All I felt is that I was broken and couldn't give her what she wanted. That turned into a lot of frustration on her part. She was quite angry with me often and I tended to not understand why. What was going on?
Now that I know type, I see that she was just searching for love. The same for my dad, he was just searching for love.
They both felt like they were giving everything that could to fulfill their duty of Fe users and meet the needs of those they love. I see that now.
My dad would stop me from doing what I was doing to show me how to take care of things around the house. He taught me how to connect with people in a sales context. He gave me the ambition to start my own business. He did things that he probably wouldn't want to do if he was only considering himself, but he always went out of his way for the people he loved.
My ex-wife did similar things. She would cook big meals for her family nearly every Sunday so they can gather, be fed, have a place to sit and a beer in her hand. She took care of people at her work and rose through the ranks because she made sure that people were taken care of. When her family was in need, she took them in. And I'm sure that if I asked for more, she would've given me anything I needed.
So, I appreciate Fe because it's helped me grow my understanding of Fe within myself. That some of the reason I have challenges with Fe as an INTP is because my Fe wants to immediately help those that I love. It's very reactionary and we can't help it. But since it pulls against our Ti, it feels like an intruder demanding for our attention in much of the way my dad would. And we know that to meet someone's needs is very satisfying but it also gets in the way. So, what can do about that? Do we ignore it and keep doing our thing or doing we satisfy Fe and clear head space for me to do thought experiments and explore intellectual worlds.
The latter is the only way for INTPs to maintain a healthy relationship with Fe. It can't be ignored within yourself. And the more you engage, the better you get at reading the room, reading your partner and anticipating someone's needs to clear that head space.
Nowadays, I'm working on making sure I don't make the same mistakes my father did by disrespecting the Fi-user in my life. I'm now with an ENFP and it's the greatest love I've personally experienced. It also presents new challenges as I have to my own Fe's expectations from someone else to contend with. I now see those other people in myself at times and having confront how I've treated those people.
It's both a personal history issue and a maturity of Fe sensitivity issue.
I'm becoming more aware of when my Fe isn't getting appreciated and needing to use Ti to calm it down. I'm becoming more aware of how to talk about my emotions in person, not just on podcasts and twitter. We have a different lifestyle then I've ever experience and I've needed to pull my weight more than I ever have. We have a lot of unique challenges, but her Fi gives my Fe so much more love and appreciation than I've ever experienced as well. I have to be careful to not be nitpicky or make something up that isn't there. If I need something in return, all I need to do is ask.
For that I'm epically grateful.
While it's still not something we are going to use more than we need to, as INTPs, it's still important to exercise Fe on a regular basis. So, instead of being annoyed by it, take a breath, recenter yourself, read the room, read the person you're with, integrate Ti and ask questions (don't judge), hold space and be patient. Chances are, this person will need some Ti from you as well and then you really flex that super power to properly integrate Fe into your life.