This description of type four has some really good and informative points, especially in regards to health and growth.
Fours possess a multitude of qualities: introspective, intuitive, sensitive, compassionate, artistic, self-motivated, ambitious, true to self, and emotionally vulnerable. They often have a steel core — when they sink into despair, they bounce back to reinvent themselves. Fours have an emotional, romantic nature. They love beautiful, sensual surroundings to feel their feelings, and they use their vivid imagination to create fantasies, stir passions, or simply exaggerate emotions. Often called overly sensitive or dramatic, they harbor and nurture deeply felt emotions, particularly a bittersweet melancholy that they seen to cherish despite their complaints.
Emotional Origins by Susan Reynolds
Fours are often born into a family where alcoholism (or other addictions), divorce, or perhaps illness left one or both parents unable to care for their infant, or at least the Four child perceived it that way. Sometimes their caregivers were mentally or emotionally unstable, swinging unexpectedly from nurturing to abusive behavior toward the child. Whether it sprang from an unbalanced parent, the absence of parents, or some outside cataclysmic event, Fours felt as if they were literally abandoned in early childhood. Since the perpetrator is usually physically or emotionally unavailable, the Four child turned whatever anger or grief she felt toward the caregiver inward, blaming herself for being inadequate. Thus, at an early age, Four children spent too much time wallowing in hurt feelings, which led many to develop a lifelong pattern of succumbing to recurring bouts of melancholy or enduring chronic, low-grade depression.
As is the case with all of the other types, not all Fours were literally abandoned or rejected. Some simply didn't mesh with otherwise healthy parents and grew up feeling out of sync or different from their parents. Even if their parents attempted to dote on them, Fours simply didn't see themselves reflected in their parents' eyes. Lacking external validation, Four children learned to cultivate a rich imagination and relied upon themselves to interpret their own feelings and create a unique, sensitive identity. Throughout their childhood and well into adulthood, they often felt like outsiders and so different from everyone else they felt as if they were a character in a story.
Ego-driven or pathological Fours suffer from an abandonment complex. Their wound resulted from feeling as if the parents who should have loved them failed to do so, which leaves them forever in search of someone who could truly love them. This quest, however, is often conducted when they are feeling desperately lonely and consequently leads to poor choices and a succession of potential lovers that do what Fours fear most — abandon them — recreating the original emotions that resulted from not feeling loved or accepted.
Four children typically felt as if they couldn't rely on anyone and interpreted the lack of emotional bonding as rejection. Rather than blaming the parents for being deficient in some way, they buried whatever hostility arose and elected to blame themselves for not being the kind of child their parent could love. They struggled to define themselves by their own terms, which created a lifelong quest to find their real (hidden) identity.
This quest for knowledge about who they really are provides their primary source of self-esteem. They like being in search of themselves and mining their emotions. While they long to feel normal, in reality they come to relish being different, as in “special” or brilliantly unique. Unfortunately, Four children often turn introspection into inhibition, becoming increasingly self-conscious and shy. They may rightfully feel quite angry toward their parents, but rarely do they feel secure enough to express it. Instead, they turn it inside against themselves where it manifests as a self-flagellating depression.
Because they don't bond with their mother or their father, Four children often feel compelled to look for a suitable substitute, someone who will truly see them for whom they really are and applaud their efforts at further self-discovery. This search for an idealistic parent often transforms into a search for an ideal romantic partner who will whisk them away and give them the life they truly deserve.
Emotional Origins - Enneagram
Ego-Driven Fours by Susan Reynolds
Fours don't learn who they are by emulating their parents. And instead of using their likes and true characteristics to define themselves, the majority become ego-driven Fours whose deflated ego requires them to identify who they are by the qualities or habits they don't have. This only solidifies an image of being deprived. On one hand it's good that they forge an individualistic personality that makes them feel outside of society and yet marvelously unique. On the other hand, it can turn into a bad thing if they identify so strongly with being different that they fear becoming just another normal person living a normal life. Many Fours spend their lives doing whatever it takes to avoid being “normal,” even when fitting in and having a normal life is something they secretly desire.
As a result of feeling abandoned, rejected, or unlovable, Fours begin life with an inferiority complex, which leads many to identify with their perceived failings. If they are relatively typical, they then transform this obsession with being different into proof that they are extremely sensitive and special and become the sort of deeply feeling, creative artist who willingly suffers for her art.
Fours have fixations. They imagine that others possess what they are missing and secretly envy them. They feel attracted to and focus on what they cannot have while virtually ignoring what's right in front of them. They require external validation that they are lovable. They enjoy a bittersweet melancholy, and they use emotional intensity to feel alive. And they feel that their real life will only begin when someone truly loves them.
Even if they aren't talented, ego-driven Fours are vastly attracted to the idea that they feel everything more deeply than anyone else. If they can express their feelings through art, it offers them an opportunity to show the world that they are indeed unique and special. If they are posing behind their art, they often become withdrawn, secretive, and elusive in hopes that others won't discover that they are not whom they appear to be.
Unfortunately, ego-driven Fours also harbor an extremely critical, internal judge who is constantly second-guessing their every move, a connection to the ego-driven side of One. This often results in self-censorship and striving to achieve an idealized image that is always just out of reach. Their underlying feeling that they are not lovable creates overcompensation in the form of seeking to impress others with their exceptional intelligence or discriminating taste when it comes to all things cultural. Fours will dress for success and uphold a graceful image that they design to match their desired image and impress others.
Because ego-driven Fours fall in love with their feelings and will do anything to prolong them, they often create a vast fantasy to substantiate a dramatic approach to life and love. They are the ones who seem to willingly spend their lives waiting for a romantic ideal rather than falling for the real person right in front of them. They often embody the quintessential Cinderella or Snow White — waiting for their princely rescuer to arrive and whisk them away from banal reality.
Wounded Fours are also in danger of turning their feelings in upon themselves to the point of becoming self-absorbed and disconnected. When this happens, they become shy, moody, and hypersensitive. Because they start to pity themselves, they often overindulge by spending too much, eating too much, drinking to excess, or adopting other addictive behaviors — all meant to soothe hurt feelings. If they are under undue stress, or come from a particularly dysfunctional family, they eventually squeeze out anyone who doesn't appreciate their heightened sensitivity or who isn't willing to listen to their long list of woes, becoming increasingly self-conscious and withdrawn and retreating further and further within themselves.
Ego-Driven Fours - Enneagram
Pathological Fours by Susan Reynolds
As small children, pathological Fours learned to withdraw into an increasingly solitary world, sinking into a depression that felt as if they were in their darkest hour and that there was no way out of the black pit of despair. Because they felt powerless to make any positive changes, any offers of outside help fell on deaf ears. Pathological Fours replicate those feeling by falling in love with melancholia because it feels intense and awakens their unconscious through imagery and metaphor, creating what Palmer called a “unique temperamental sensitivity.”
According to The Wisdom of the Enneagram, a desperate Four on a downward slide exhibits moodiness that leads to reactive anger and emotional outbursts. He withdraws from social interactions and is increasingly melancholy and morose. He constantly sabotages himself and then suffers self-created, unbearable guilt over his perceived unworthiness. He paints himself into an emotional corner, eventually spiraling into a deep depression that could lead to self-mutilation or suicidal thoughts.
When a Four personality hits the skids, what was once sensitivity becomes an obsessive need to be the center of attention. A pathological Four whines, complains, acts out, and falls apart — all in the name of expressing her hypersensitivity and fulfilling her self-absorbed needs. What was once sensitivity focused on themselves first and others second transforms into a reedy, high-strung, overly dramatic compulsion to be viewed as tragic and, therefore entitled to everyone's undivided attention. Their emotional and psychological needs soon become tiresome, repetitive, and incapable of being successfully addressed. They have virtually fallen in love with disappointment, tragedy, and suffering.
Eventually, pathological Fours turn all their imagined or real humiliations inward, becoming deeply reclusive and depressed. The more they withdraw, the more they feel and act immobilized. They often plead for time to sort out their feelings and could spend months — or even years — rehashing past events to no avail. They never forget or forgive, and clearly, if pathologically, get satisfaction from recounting — over and over and over — their litany of complaints about what everyone else has done to them. When they direct their contempt inward, however, their self-reproach turns into self-hatred, which can result in late-stage addiction or a steep fall into suicidal depression.
Self-Actualized Foursby Susan Reynolds
Self-actualized Fours have a highly developed sense of artistry and artistic meaning. They are frequently multitalented and make significant contributions to the arts. Their penchant for sensitivity makes them empathetic, compassionate, and poetic — in tune with the human existence in all its pain and glory. They may have highly developed tastes for sophisticated elegance in art, music, literature, furniture, architecture, and decorating. If so, they bring charm, grace, and style to every setting, and often transmit knowledge of and appreciation for the arts to future generations.
Since they are capable of seeing the divine in the ordinary, integrated Fours who have risen above their ego needs often become spiritual guides who are adept at understanding, guiding, and supporting others in their quest for spiritual growth. They love sharing poems, fairy tales, and myths that they feel are very meaningful, and they are extremely good at verbalizing the delicate symbolism of their rich inner lives, particularly when it serves as inspiration to others.
Self-actualized Fours, according to The Secret Self, surrender to self-pity, perk up, express their blossoming creativity, buckle down to get work done, complete projects, think less and act more, positively assert themselves, unconditionally love themselves, surrender fantasy, embrace reality, and appreciate their blessings. They feel unique yet also very connected to others and to life. They accept things as they are and enjoy life!
Their love for symbols along with their feeling-oriented sensibility leads many Fours to become creative artists — writers, photographers, artists, musicians, dancers, actors, directors — or if not a true artist, they typically spend their lives searching for a way to express their individuality through creativity. Healthy Fours can be exceedingly charming people who inspire others to become more in tune with their inner lives and to find their own means of creative expression.
Integrated Fours are also excellent at ferreting out complicated, intertwined information and are able to present it in a way that helps others understand difficult subjects. As such, they make excellent communicators and often become teachers, mentors, and leaders. Self-actualized Fours are also original thinkers who have a thirst for adventure, particularly the quest for self-discovery, and often inspire others to seek their own unique life journey. According to Jung, individuation occurs when you successfully separate your personality from that of your parents and become an integrated personality — becoming what or who you were born to be, what you were before you formed an ego or persona, or suppressed negative behaviors in your shadow. The individuation process is a lifelong, ongoing process or quest. Through therapy or active self-development using introspection and conscious choice, you can work toward the unveiling of your shadow, the unraveling of your persona, and the integration of your psyche.
Basically, when merging aspects of Jungian theory with Enneagram theory, one could presuppose that when things in your life are going really well, you are ripe for expansion and are more likely to progress toward individuation and self-actualization by adopting behaviors that support forward movement. On the other hand, when you feel insecure or are under severe stress, you are more likely to regress from the goal of individuation and self-actualization by adopting behaviors that allow you to cope but that do not necessarily help you progress toward health. Again, in some instances, you may uncover traits inherent in your stress point that help you grow during times of extreme stress, e.g., you might both cope and progress toward health by discovering determination, integrity, or industry in your stress point.
FIGURE 9-1 Enneatype Four: security point = One, stress point = Two
How Fours Progress
Self-actualizing Fours progress toward One behaviors, which helps them become more grounded in their own being. They often synthesize their proclivity to create with a strong sense of moral justice and high-minded principles, which helps alleviate self-absorption. When Fours feel more secure about themselves, they surrender their quest for a fantastical life and their preoccupation with what could have been and become more rooted in, and appreciative of, what is happening in the immediate present — right here, right now.
When Fours assimilate the positive side of Two, they become more focused on others and less focused upon themselves — they opt to use their unique sensitivity to serve others. Developing authentic concern for how others think and feel helps Fours overcome their self-absorption. Also, as they become a bit more extroverted and open to interaction, their social skills improve.
How Fours Regress
When pathological Fours gravitate toward negative Two behaviors, their desperate need for love often resorts in the use of manipulation to win the object of their affection. Typically, they are so desperate for a balm for their loneliness, and so convinced that it must come from outside of themselves, they will latch onto someone — anyone — who can temporarily quell that horrifying sense of feeling empty and undesirable. Fours who adopt negative Two behaviors are in danger of becoming emotionally dependent on others to fulfill their emotional needs. As such, they are willing to repress their own needs in order to win the affection of their partner.
When Fours assimilate the negative energy of One, they often assume their private and highly individual tastes are objectively a norm, and then insist that their tastes or their creativity become the norm for others. A Four, in the throes of ego-driven One energy, can act like the ultimate snob.
Self-Actualized Fours - Enneagram
Balancing the Opposites by Susan Reynolds
According to Jung's personality theory, your psyche is constantly flowing between two extremes, and your primary task is to successfully balance the polarities. To achieve individuation, each personality has to acknowledge and work through the limitations of its idealized self and shadow, its strengths and weaknesses, and its motivations and fixations (what keeps it) stuck. These primary polarities that a Four has to navigate are explained in the following sections.
Shadow and Idealized Self
Every personality forms an inner world that reflects how it feels about itself and an outer world that projects what it wants others to know about it. Jung would also refer to these worlds as theshadow, or hidden traits that your psyche squelches and does not want the outer world to see, and the idealized self, what your psyche creates and wants the outer world to see.
A Four shadow hides a person who feels both deprived and fatally flawed. Because Fours usually deal with this inferiority complex by becoming self-absorbed, they also hide jealousy, envy, and a transverse elitism. When they succumb to their weaknesses, they become moody, withdrawn, hypersensitive, melodramatic drama queens. In their darkest corners of their personalities they are hypercritical to themselves and others, intractable, moralizing, shame ridden, rejecting, and self-punishing.
A Four's idealized self contains the highly desirable qualities of being extroverted, warm, empathetic, and supportive to self and others. Self-actualized Fours have poetic souls that are passionate, sophisticated, and intelligent, with a gift for creativity and an exceptional ability to verbally express their thoughts and feelings. Optimal Fours are introspective and intuitive, and many are uniquely talented, original artists.
Turn-Ons and Turnoffs
According to Jung, your libido is not connected to your sex drive alone, but instead refers to your overall psychic energy or what gives your personality juice. The opposite of what turns you on would be what turns you off. To individuate, Fours need to seek balance between these two polarities.
Fours are enchanted by romance and spend their lives hoping against hope to be truly seen, understood, and loved. They covet deeply meaningful experiences, crave reciprocal passion, and long for undying commitment. Feeling safe energizes Fours and leads them to a full expression of their artistic abilities. Fours find beauty, art, serenity, romantic stories, evocative symbolism, and poetic meaning inspirational. They love writing in journals, soul searching, feeling deeply, and being unique.
Fours fall into funks when they feel insecure, disappointed, or misunderstood. They fall apart emotionally if they feel emotionally or physically abandoned. They lose their normal drive toward creativity when they feel forced to deal with shallow people or a long string of ordinary days.
Fear and Security
These basic and very essential characteristics determine how Fours approach, live in, and eventually conquer their worlds. Fears stop you short and often cause you to regress, and people rarely progress unless they feel a certain sense of security about themselves or their circumstances.
Fours have a primal fear of rejection and abandonment. Fours are also terrified that they will never discover their essence, or truest self. They are afraid that no one — not even themselves — will know who they really are and what contribution they are supposed to make to society. They also fear having an “ordinary” life and will create carefully spun fantasies to amuse themselves and others. Fours live in constant fear that they will never find their soul mate, someone who ultimately clearly sees, understands, appreciates, and celebrates who the Four really is underneath her stockpile of feelings.
Fours feel most secure when they have a substantial inner life they can withdraw into and indulge their fantasy life. They love symbols and rituals — the symbol becomes its content and rituals become reality. They also fare well when they have a well-defined sense of self that includes everything tragic that has ever happened to them (so they can weave it into art). They love having intimate friends who are willing to listen to their stories and empathize without buying into or supporting their drama.
Motivations and Fixations
The feeling of being motivated or being stuck relates to how Fours use or ignore their psychic energy. Knowing their primary motivations and what Fours cling to within their own personality that either helps them progress toward individuation or keeps them stuck in fixations helps you understand how their personality functions.
Fours have a burning desire to create meaningful works of art that fully expresses their deepest emotions, or at the very least to create a beautiful environment in which they feel comfortable exploring their deepest emotions. They dream of finding their soul mate and creating a fantasy life together. Fours want to safeguard their inner selves and yet expose them through works of art that reflect their essence, or real being. They are caught in the dichotomy of wanting to retreat from the world and wanting the world — and most of all themselves — to finally discover who they really are. Fours are seekers in search of themselves, and when they find out whom they really are inside, they fervently hope that they will be someone special, someone who makes a meaningful, artistic contribution to the world.
Fours get stuck in ruts because they don't want to surrender past hurts and the swell of emotions they created. Fours romanticize their shadow and believe that becoming “normal” will destroy their talent. Despite their occasional longing to be like everyone else, they love being the wounded artist and actually learn to enjoy prolonging their sadness for the sake of their art. They sink so deeply into their self-absorption that they lose social desirability. Because they've often been pegged as “too intense,” Fours may mask their real feelings, particularly the painful ones, by talking about inconsequential feelings while hiding their real feelings, and this can lead to them actually losing touch with their real feelings.
Coping and Failing
This coping-failing dichotomy has to do with the behaviors Fours adopt to cope with their lives, or maintain the status quo, and how those same behaviors can lead to a failure to grow into their personality's full potential.
Fours cope by focusing on fantasy and spend their time searching for a romantic ideal. They use their aloofness and moodiness to keep others at bay. They channel their dramatic excesses into creative projects. They envision themselves as nobly different from ordinary people and cling to a feeling that they will one day find the perfect someone who will finally recognize their essence through their many veils and finally, truly love them exactly as they are — someone special.
Fours fail themselves when they believe their own fantasy and settle for unrequited longing. Because they believe that something is always missing from their life, they form and fall in love with a bittersweet melancholy. They nurse past hurts and all the juicy emotions connected to them; in fact, they embrace angst and often succumb to self-created depression. They get stuck because they feel that their flaws make them special and thus cannot be surrendered.
Falling Apart and Transcending
Each enneatype has a unique way of falling apart. The types each have specific needs they need fulfilled, or mental concepts they can embrace, before they can successfully transcend or become fully integrated and whole.
When Fours fall apart, their emotional seams come unglued, leading to excessive tears or blistering anger. They bury their anger and turn it into depression. They become overly dramatic, defensive, sarcastic, and irascible, deliberately pushing others away. No matter how you attempt to comfort or reassure them, they remain inconsolable and typically fall into a serious funk.
Fours transcend their ego when they connect to the universe, the divine, and every other living person. Whenever and wherever they find the beauty that exists in everyday life, it elevates them out of their gloomy feelings and helps reduce the pressure to create an exceptional life based on fantasy. Once they realize that they are lovable and sufficient, grieve their losses, and move on, they will find many opportunities that prove that they are neither alone nor abandoned.
Healthy Fours lose their fascination with being different and use their creativity to see special qualities in other people, whom they animate or empower by discovering and revealing that person's potential. This helps Fours surrender their self-absorption. Self-actualized Fours compress the broad spectrum of their emotions and really start feeling. Once they stop being in love with their own sensitivity and become willing to fall so deeply into a feeling that they experience it through all its various stages, they transform themselves from an aspiring artist to artists capable of fully expressing all of their multifaceted capabilities.
Balancing the Opposites - Enneagram