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Enneagram-Type 4 LiveJournal Community

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

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Type 4s - The Individualist/The Romantic
Posting Access:
Anybody , Moderated

This is a community for Type Fours on the Enneagram. It is a place for us to express ourselves to people who will actually get it. Share any oddity that pops in your head. This community is open to all Enneagram types and those who are just discovering the Enneagram as well. All we ask is that you be respectful. No flame wars please. Remember, we fours are sensitive creatures. There is more information on Type Fours(as well as the sources for the info) and links for online Enneagram information below.

The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type:
Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental

Basic Fear: That they have no identity or personal significance
Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an identity)
Enneagram Four with a Three-Wing: "The Aristocrat"
Enneagram Four with a Five-Wing: "The Bohemian"

Profile Summary for the Enneagram Type Four

Healthy: Self-aware, introspective, on the "search for self," aware of feelings and inner impulses. Sensitive and intuitive both to self and others: gentle, tactful, compassionate. / Highly personal, individualistic, "true to self." Self-revealing, emotionally honest, humane. Ironic view of self and life: can be serious and funny, vulnerable and emotionally strong. At Their Best: Profoundly creative, expressing the personal and the universal, possibly in a work of art. Inspired, self-renewing and regenerating: able to transform all their experiences into something valuable: self-creative.

Healthy Fours tend to be idealistic, have good taste and are great appreciators of beauty. They filter reality through a rich, subtle subjectivity and are very good at metaphorical thinking, the capacity to make connections between unrelated facts and events. The Four tendency to see things symbolically is enhanced by their emotional intensity. This creates raw artistic material that almost demands to be given form. Self-expression and pursuing self-knowledge are high priorities for people with this style.

Fours naturally practice synesthesia, a chronic blending of the senses that leads to intense multilevel reactions. A Four entering a new situation could see something that triggers a mental image which, in turn, evokes a feeling, which then reminds the Four of a song, which triggers more images that evoke more smells, tastes, feelings and so on. The Four’s moods and feelings can run together like a watercolor in the rain, producing a kaleidoscopic rinse of impressions in reaction to even small events.

Fours value the aesthetics of beauty as much as they are attuned to the tragic nature of existence. When healthy, people with this style work to transmute the pain of living into something meaningful, through creative work of all kinds. Fours are talented at articulating subjective experience and can be fine teachers or psychotherapists in this regard. They may also be empathetic foul-weather friends, able to understand the dilemmas of others and especially willing to listen to a friend’s pain.

Because of the strength of their emotional imaginations, people with this style are often described as artistic. Many of the world’s most accomplished artists have been Fours, and nearly all people with this style need to find creative outlets. Fours work in all kinds of occupations, but, whenever possible, they try to make their work creatively interesting. A Four’s sensory richness is like the raw material of creativity. Healthy Fours give themselves creative outlets that help them express their intense inner life.

Average/Less Healthy: Take an artistic, romantic orientation to life, creating a beautiful, aesthetic environment to cultivate and prolong personal feelings. Heighten reality through fantasy, passionate feelings, and the imagination. / To stay in touch with feelings, they interiorize everything, taking everything personally, but become self-absorbed and introverted, moody and hypersensitive, shy and self-conscious, unable to be spontaneous or to "get out of themselves." Stay withdrawn to protect their self-image and to buy time to sort out feelings. / Gradually think that they are different from others, and feel that they are exempt from living as everyone else does. They become melancholy dreamers, disdainful, decadent, and sensual, living in a fantasy world. Self-pity and envy of others leads to self-indulgence, and to becoming increasingly impractical, unproductive, effete, and precious.

When Fours are less healthy, they begin to focus on what is unavailable or missing in their lives. They can become negative and critical, finding fault with what they do have, seeing mainly misery in the present. They then turn inward and use their imaginations to romanticize other times and places. Fours can live in the past, the future—anywhere that seems more appealing than here and now. Fours tend to envy whatever it is they don’t have, embodying the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side."

The need to be seen as someone special and unique may become more neurotically pronounced too. Fours can seem very in touch with their feelings, but, when unhealthy, they translate their authentic feeling into melodrama. They can be full of lament and nostalgia, demanding recognition yet rejecting anything good they get from friends. They might also grow competitive and spiteful, unable to enjoy their own successes without taking away from the achievements of others.

Unhealthy: When dreams fail, become self-inhibiting and angry at self, depressed and alienated from self and others, blocked and emotionally paralyzed. Ashamed of self, fatigued and unable to function. / Tormented by delusional self-contempt, self-reproaches, self-hatred, and morbid thoughts: everything is a source of torment. Blaming others, they drive away anyone who tries to help them. / Despairing, feel hopeless and become self-destructive, possibly abusing alcohol or drugs to escape. In the extreme: emotional breakdown or suicide is likely. Generally corresponds to the Avoidant, Depressive, and Narcissistic personality disorders.

Unhealthy Fours can be moody or hypersensitive while acting exempt from everyday rules. Buoyed by their sense of defective specialness, they might give themselves permission to act badly, be selfish or irresponsible. They may refuse to deal with the mundane and the ordinary, unconsciously reasoning that they are not of this world anyway. Fours at this stage incline towards feeling guilty, ashamed, melancholy, jealous and unworthy.

Deeply unhealthy Fours can inhabit a harrowing world of torment. They can be openly masochistic and extravagant in their self-debasement. The lives of spectacularly self-destructive artists often reflect this kind of scenario. At this stage, a Four could become unreachably alienated. Stricken by a profound sense of hopelessness, they can sink into morbid self-loathing or grow suicidally depressed. They see their differentness in entirely negative terms and banish themselves into a kind of exile. The desire to punish themselves and others is also determined and strong.

Key Motivations: Want to express themselves and their individuality, to create and surround themselves with beauty, to maintain certain moods and feelings, to withdraw to protect their self-image, to take care of emotional needs before attending to anything else, to attract a "rescuer".

Famous 4s: Ingmar Bergman, Alan Watts, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morrisette, Paul Simon, Jeremy Irons, Patrick Stewart, Joseph Fiennes, Martha Graham, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Johnny Depp, Anne Rice, Rudolph Nureyev, J.D. Salinger, Anaîs Nin, Marcel Proust, Maria Callas, Tennessee Williams, Edgar Allan Poe, Annie Lennox, Prince, Michael Jackson, Virginia Woolf, Judy Garland, "Blanche DuBois" (Streetcar Named Desire).

Fours are motivated by the need to experience their feelings and to be understood, to search for the meaning of life and to avoid being ordinary

Fours at their BEST are:
  • warm
  • compassionate
  • introspective
  • expressive
  • moralistic
  • creative
  • intuitive
  • supportive
  • refined

Fours at their WORST are:
  • depressed
  • self-conscious
  • guilt-ridden
  • withdrawn
  • stubborn
  • moody
  • self-absorbed

How to get along with a Four:
  • give them plenty of compliments
  • be a supportive friend. Help them learn to love and value themselves
  • respect them for their special gift of vision and intuition
  • sometimes they don't like to be cheered up but sometimes they like to have someone lighten them up
  • don't tell them they are too sensitive or are overreacting

What's good about being a Four:
  • they are are able to find meaning in life and to experience feelings at a deep level
  • they can establish warm connections with people
  • they admire the noble, truthful and beautiful in life
  • they are creative, intuitive and have a sense of humour
  • they are unique and can see the unique in others
  • they are aesthetic and can pick up on the feelings of those around them

What's difficult about being a Four:
  • they may experience dark moods of emptiness and despair
  • they have feelings of self-hatred and shame and feel they don't deserve to be loved
  • they feel guilty when they disappoint people
  • they feel hurt or attacked when someone misunderstands them
  • they expect too much from themselves and life
  • they fear abandonment
  • they obsess over resentments
  • they long for what they don't have

Fours as Children:
  • have active imaginations; play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games
  • are very sensitive
  • eel that they don't fit in and believe they are missing something that others have
  • attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists
  • become authoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood
  • feel lonely abandoned (perhaps as the result of parent's death or divorce)

Fours as Parents:
  • help their children become who they really are; help the get in touch with their feelings
  • support creativity and originality
  • are sometimes overly critical and overly protective
  • are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed

Websites of interest/sources of information:

General Enneagram Info

Type 4 Specific Info

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