The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type:
Fours are nothing if not subtle and expressive, and they are able to put words to feelings and states that others may recognize but could not have expressed as eloquently. ("That poem exactly captures how I felt about leaving home.") By being emotionally honest, and by taking time to see what they really feel about things, they encourage others to look more deeply into themselves.
Fours are also people who care a great deal about beauty and taste. Many Fours, for instance, are involved in artistic pursuits. Even if they are not artistically creative themselves, Fours seek out art, poetry, music, and other expressions that they find beautiful, because they feel these things reveal something true about themselves and about human nature. Fours often dress in ways that accentuate their own sense of personal style but also in ways that symbolically let others know how they are feeling (dressing entirely in black or in shades of violet, for instance). Similarly, they typically decorate their homes with objects and colors that evoke a strong sense of image and mood and reflect personal feelings and associations.
Above all, Fours want to distinguish themselves from others—they want to feel that their taste, their self-expression, and their emotional depth are unique. Thus, they tend to emphasize all of the ways in which they are unlike other people—especially their own family. They deeply want to know who they are and that who they are is special in some way. Being complimented or told that they are loved is nice, of course, but what Fours really want is for others to recognize and appreciate the pattern of qualities that is unique to them—that they are not generic.
Because of their powerful need to see themselves as different from others, Fours often end up feeling alone and misunderstood. They become creative "outsiders," and they are proud of it. If they are working in a regular nine-to-five job, they will find ways to put their unique stamp on their work. This can run the gamut from finding their own way of presenting reports to having a recognizable design style to decorating their office in a way that reflects their tastes and feelings. They may run their own company (as long as there's a creative component to their work and it's emotionally satisfying), or they may be in a profession that makes use of their personal touch, such as a clothing designer, or counselor, or a therapist of some kind. Fours are often professional artists, writers, or teachers. Above all, Fours want their life to be a work of art. They want to achieve something beautiful despite the loneliness, suffering, and self-doubt they have so often felt.
Unfortunately, the Four's need to be different can also lead to alienation and a tendency to become engrossed in feelings of loss, sadness, and melancholy. All nine types can feel sad, lonely, or depressed, but Fours feel this way frequently—even when there is nothing in their current lives to cause such feelings. They often become convinced that these painful feelings are more real and authentic when compared to more passing feelings of happiness or enthusiasm. Indeed, Fours begin to feel that they are being the most real, most honest people because they are focusing on disappointment and sadness. Ultimately, this can lead them to foster and prolong these painful feelings in themselves.
In brief, Fours want to express themselves and their individuality, to create and surround themselves with beauty, to maintain certain moods and feelings, to withdraw and protect their vulnerabilities, to take care of emotional needs before attending to anything else, and to attract a "rescuer" who will understand them. Fours do not want to restrain or lose touch with their emotions, to feel ordinary, to have their individuality unrecognized, to have their taste questioned, to be required at social settings, to follow impersonal rules and procedures, to spend time with people they perceive as lacking taste or emotional depth.
Their Hidden Side
To learn more about the compatibility issues of Type Four and their interactions with other types, click below on the Enneagram type of the other person in the relationship. This will open in a new window.
The Passion: Envy
Fours rightly perceive that there is something inadequate or incomplete about the ego self, but they incorrectly assume that they alone suffer from this problem. Fours then get in the habit of comparing themselves to others, concluding that they have somehow gotten "the short end of the stick." Fours feel that they have been singled out by fate for bad treatment, bad luck, unsatisfying relationships, bad parenting, and broken dreams. It comes as something of a shock to many Fours to discover that other people have suffered as much or even more than they have. This doesn't mean that Fours haven't suffered or that their painful pasts are inconsequential. But Fours need to see how they perpetuate their own suffering by continually focusing on old wounds rather than truly processing those hurts and letting go of them in a way that would allow them to heal.
At Their Best
Thus, high-functioning Fours are profoundly creative, expressing the personal and the universal, possibly through art but also in their daily lives. They are in touch with the ever-changing nature of reality and are inspired by it. High-functioning Fours are able to renew and regenerate themselves again and again, transforming even their most painful experiences into something beautiful and meaningful that others can benefit from as well. They have a deep sense of "allowing," and they are able to hold even the most painful feelings with compassion and sensitivity—whether their own or someone else's.Personality Dynamics & Variations
An explanation of the Directions of Integration (Security) and Disintegration (Stress) can be found here, which opens in a new window.
Under Stress (Four Goes to Average Two)
Security: (Four Goes to Average One)
Integration (Four Goes to Healthy One)
An explanation of the three Instincts can be found here, which opens in a new window.
Self-Preservation Fours: The Sensualist (Ichazo's
Sexual Fours: Infatuation (Ichazo's "Competition")
Social Fours: The Outsider (Ichazo's "Social Shame")
An explanation of the nine Levels of Development can be found here, which opens in a new window.
Below is the complete Levels of Development diagram for Type Four. The levels range from most healthy, Level 1, to least healthy, Level 9. To understand these charts, start with the Basic Fear, at the top right of the chart. This fear gives rise to the Basic Desire, which is the Desire at the second level of health, the Level of Psychological Capacity.
The Desire of each level gives rise to the internal Attitudes (the A-Terms) of each level, which create the external Behaviors (the B-Terms). Over time, due to internal conflicts, these behaviors and attitudes create another layer of Fear at that level.
Each new Fear generates yet another desire at the next lower level, which gives rise to a new set of attitudes and behaviors, creating a spiral structure in which a person becomes increasingly enmeshed in self-destructive reactions and increasingly terrifying fears. The process of growth is to become aware of each of the cluster of attitudes and behaviors as they occur, bringing conscious awareness into the moment. As we do this, the underlying fears and desires also begin to emerge into consciousness, and the person begins to shift up the levels.
|PERSONALITY TYPE FOUR: The Individualist|
|THE HEALTHY LEVELS:|
|1. Level of Liberation|
|Lets go of their identification with a particular self-image, that they are more inherently flawed than others — that they are missing something that others have||
That they have no identity or personal significance
2. Level of Psychological Capacity
|To find themselves and their significance (to create an identity out of their inner experience)||Of being dull, ordinary, and indistinguishable:
of being without feelings
|3. Level of Social Value|
|To express their individuality to themselves and others (through creative action)||That their changing feelings won't sustain them
and their creativity
|THE AVERAGE LEVELS:|
Social Role: The The Mysterious One / The Special Case
|4. Level of Imbalance|
|To cultivate and prolong selected feelings (Fantasy Self)||That others will not see them or understand them
(their feelings and needs will not be recognized)
5. Level of Interpersonal Control
|To be reassured of others' interest and concern for them (by playing "hard to get")||That life's demands will force them to give up
their Fantasy Self (others will not rescue them)
|6. Level of Overcompensation|
|To be absolutely free to "be themselves"||That they are ruining their lives, wasting their
|THE UNHEALTHY LEVELS:|
|7. Level of Violation|
|To reject everyone or anything that does not support their emotional demands||That they are cut off from others and from life
|8. Level of Delusion & Compulsion|
|To punish themselves (and, indirectly, others)||
That their situation is hopeless — everything is futile
|9. Level of Pathological Destructiveness|
crimes of passion
|To escape their crushingly negative self-consciousness||Basic Fear comes true: they have lost their identity and personal significance|
Fours grow by recognizing that while the hurts and losses of the past were real enough, there is no need to keep revisiting them in the imagination. On the contrary, doing so keeps drawing them out of the richness and depth of the present moment—the one time and place in which their real feelings and their true identity can be found. Fours need to see how working up their feelings actually moves them further away from their most authentic self and their truest self expression.
- Do not pay so much attention to your feelings; they are not a true source of support for you, as you probably already know. Remember this advice: "From our present perspective, we can also see that one of the most important mistakes Fours make is to equate themselves with their feelings. The fallacy is that to understand themselves they must understand their feelings, particularly their negative ones, before acting. Fours do not see that the self is not the same as its feelings or that the presence of negative feelings does not preclude the presence of good in themselves" (Personality Types, p. 172). Always remember that your feelings are telling you something about yourself as you are at this particular moment, not necessarily more than that.
- Avoid putting off things until you are "in the right mood." Commit yourself to productive, meaningful work that will contribute to your good and that of others, no matter how small the contribution may be. Working consistently in the real world will create a context in which you can discover yourself and your talents. (Actually, you are happiest when you are working—that is, activating your potentials and realizing yourself. You will not "find yourself" in a vacuum or while waiting for inspiration to strike, so connect—and stay connected—with the real world.
- Self-esteem and self-confidence will develop only from having positive experiences, whether or not you believe that you are ready to have them. Therefore, put yourself in the way of good. You may never feel that you are ready to take on a challenge of some sort, that you always need more time. (Fours typically never feel that they are sufficiently "together," but they must nevertheless have the courage to stop putting off their lives.) Even if you start small, commit yourself to doing something that will bring out the best in you.
- A wholesome self-discipline takes many forms, from sleeping regular hours to working regularly to exercising regularly, and has a cumulative, strengthening effect. Since it comes from yourself, a healthy self-discipline is not contrary to your freedom or individuality. On the other hand, sensuality, excessive sexual experiences, alcohol, drugs, sleep, or fantasizing have a debilitating effect on you, as you already know. Therefore, practice healthy self-discipline and stay with it.
- Avoid lengthy conversations in your imagination, particularly if they are negative, resentful, or even excessively romantic. These conversations are essentially unreal and at best only rehearsals for action—although, as you know, you almost never say or do what you imagine you will. Instead of spending time imagining your life and relationships, begin to live them.