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So, I had a short but intense burst of emotion a few weeks ago so I wrote some sad poems. Am a 4w5.

Anyway, on this particular event, I felt like I was pretending to be unique, not to other people -- but to myself. I felt like I wanted attention from myself. I always feel like I'm faking it, even though I have no point of grabbing my own attention -- logically, rationally.

I know I exist, come on, what more do you want, me?

I want myself to feel that I'm special. That I'm... original, authentic -- two overused words -- overused and cliché and I'm pretending and I'm ugly but not in a dark and beautiful way. I'm just ugly. Why am I fooling myself? I'm just a copy of a copy of a copy. (Even that line is a copy. Ugh.)

Just wanted to know if other Fours are also like this. Trying to attract your own attention. Pffft. I write pretentious-sounding poetry and little stories and I sound like I'm trying too hard. No I'm not -- that's just how I write my stories, man! You want me to write something more conventional, me? No thanks.

What I feel like when I'm sad: (limit five words)

Ugly. Attention-seeking. Dramatic. Demonlady. Pathetic.

What I feel like when I'm happy:

unfiltered words and emotions
i want to hug you
you're so nice
i love you and i love me and i love her and him and that guy too
also did i tell you i like bears? theyre so cute.
pat me on the head like a cat please
i need physical attention and i need someone to hug me right now
also i need chocolate
why am i crying
 

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I feel like that a lot. I always feel like I'm faking almost all my accomplishments to be less conventional. I can relate to everything you said there! You are not alone!
 

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I certainly relate to the gist of what you're saying. Construed in a highly general way, I think this is true of pretty much everyone. I.e., we are all invested in being a certain kind of person. Which means we are invested in seeing ourselves as a certain kind of person. Because whatever great things anyone else says about us, if we don't believe it, the jig is up. Then we are simply fooling everyone into thinking we are the kind of person we want to be, rather than actually being that kind of person. Not good enough.

Where we tend to differ (by enneagram type, for example), is exactly what kind of person we think it is most important to be. For some people it's fun, or smart, or moral, or strong. I think for most 4's, what we want to be is special/unique/interesting/distinctive. It's not enough if other people think we are unique; we want to actually be unique. In order for us to satisfy that desire, we have to convince ourselves that we are unique. Hence the slightly paradoxical exhibitionism undertaken for one's own benefit. More often than I care to admit, I find myself going through intellectual contortions to convince myself that I have a very distinctive reason for doing this or that thing that seems so bland or generic or predictable. Sometimes I do convince myself. When I don't, I teeter on the edge of an abyss, with demeaning worthlessness starting back at me....

(As a side note, a lot of enneagram talk focuses on 4's seeing uniqueness as a virtue for themselves. In my case, at least, I think of it as a more generalized virtue. To lack any distinctive character and be nothing a more than a dull reflection of the social order in which one finds oneself... that is pathetic. I mean, if I meet someone like that, I feel genuinely sorry for them; I want to avert my eyes and run away.)
 

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@smellandtaste I relate.

I think it has to do with denial of your weaknesses in an attempt to keep from feeling inferior. You try to persevere as if the weakness isn't part of you. The contradiction unveils in the results, and it appears as if you're trying too hard.

It's been my experience that my "inner self" seems far greater than its impression on others. It makes me respond by feeling shame, but there's more for 4s. We salvage the remains of our image's esteem. Instead of admitting defeat we turn the failure into something meaningful (by calling it special) so that we can live with ourselves.

4w3s can assume "more accurate" identities they feel are truer to themselves. 4w5s can abandon old models in favor of ones they feel are "more authentic" to themselves. That behavior is looked at as what epitomizes the type 4: "moodiness, internal chaos and attunement with the beauty [within ugly or from humble beginnings]." 4s can be described, or see themselves, that way in their effort to backtrack from their perceived inadequacies. They see themselves as more. Lest they accept the possibility of pure inferiority, they'll identify with suffering more than their desire (and imminent failure) to seek praise from certain audiences. They withdraw for protection.

They can be aware of the contradiction and feel even worse about it, but the crisis motivates them to dig deeper.
 
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