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Type Four: The Individualist, The Romantic

Le type sensible et retir :

Expressif, dramatique, intrioris et irritable
Peur fondamentale : ne pas avoir d'identit ou d'importance
Le dsir de base : se trouver et trouver leur raison dtre (crer une identit)
Ennagramme Quatre avec un aile Trois : L'Aristocrate
Ennagramme Quatre avec un aile Cinq : Le Bohme

Rsum du profil du type Quatre
Les Niveaux panouis
Niveau 1 ( leur meilleur) : Profondment cratifs, exprimant des valeurs personnelles et universelles,
ventuellement travers l'art. Inspirs, ils se renouvellent et se rgnrent, et sont capables de
transformer toutes leurs expriences en quelque chose de valable : ils s'inventent.
Niveau 2 : Conscients d'eux-mmes, introspectifs, la recherche d'eux-mmes, conscients de leurs
sentiments et de leurs impulsions. Sensibles et intuitifs avec eux-mmes et les autres, ils sont doux,
pleins de tact et de compassion.
Niveau 3 : Personnels, individualistes, vridiques, ils se rvlent, sont honntes dans leurs motions et
humains. Ils ont une vision ironique d'eux-mmes et de la vie, peuvent tre la fois srieux et drles,
vulnrables et motionnellement solides.
Les Niveaux moyens
Niveau 4 : Donnent une orientation artistique et romantique la vie, crent un environnement de beaut
et d'esthtique pour cultiver et prolonger leurs sentiments personnels. Ils intensifient la ralit par la
fantaisie, des sentiments passionns, et l'imagination.
Niveau 5 : Pour rester en contact avec leurs sentiments, ils intriorisent tout, prenant tout
personnellement, mais deviennent absorbs par eux-mmes et introvertis, fantasques et
hypersensibles, timides et conscients d'eux-mmes, incapables de spontanit ou de sortir d'eux-
mmes. Ils sont reclus pour protger leur propre image et pour gagner du temps afin de clarifier leurs
Niveau 6 : Progressivement, ils pensent qu'ils sont diffrents des autres, et se sentent exempts de la
vie telle que les autres la vivent. Ils deviennent des rveurs mlancoliques, ddaigneux, dcadents, et
sensuels, vivant dans un monde imaginaire. S'apitoyant sur leur sort et envieux des autres, ils en
viennent faire ce qu'ils veulent et deviennent de moins en moins pratiques, et de plus en plus
improductifs, acerbes, et affects.
Les Niveaux pathologiques
Niveau 7 : Quand les rves chouent, ils deviennent inhibs et en colre contre eux-mmes, dprims
et coups d'eux-mmes et des autres, bloqus et paralyss dans leurs motions. Ils ont honte d'eux-
mmes, sont puiss et incapables de fonctionner.
Niveau 8 : Ils sont tourments par le mpris, les reproches, et la haine contre eux-mmes, et par des
penses morbides : tout est source de tourment. Blmant les autres, ils repoussent tous ceux qui
essayent de les aider.
Niveau 9 : Dsesprs, ils se sentent sans espoir et s'autodtruisent, abusant ventuellement de
l'alcool ou de drogues pour s'chapper. Dans les cas extrmes, dpression nerveuse ou suicide sont
possibles. Correspondent en gnral des troubles de la personnalit du type prostr, dpressif, et
Les motivations principales
Ils veulent s'exprimer et montrer leur individualit, crer et s'entourer de beaut, cultiver certaines
humeurs et sentiments, se retirer pour protger leur propre image, prendre soin de leurs besoins
motionnels avant toute chose, et attirer un sauveteur .
Ingmar Bergman, Alan Watts, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morrisette, Paul Simon, Jeremy Irons, Patrick
Stewart, Joseph Fiennes, Martha Graham, Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Johnny Depp, Rudolph Noureyev,
J.D. Salinger, Anas Nin, Marcel Proust, Maria Callas, Tennessee Williams, Edgar Allan Poe, Annie
Lennox, Prince, Michael Jackson, Virginia Woolf, Judy Garland, "Blanche DuBois" (Un tramway nomm
La signification des flches
En allant vers leur direction de dsintgration (stress), les Quatre retirs deviennent tout coup
envahissants et possessifs comme des Deux. Mais en allant vers la direction de l'intgration
(dveloppement), les Quatre envieux, perturbs dans leurs motions deviennent de plus en plus
objectifs et ports par des principes, comme les Un panouis.
Enneagram Type Four

The Sensitive, Introspective type:
Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
En Espaol: Tipo de Personalidad Cuatro, El Individualista
In het Nederlands: Persoon lijkheidstype Vier, de Individualist
For more about the meaning of the arrows, see below.
Type Four in Brief
Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and
personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious. Withholding themselves from others
due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from
ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence,
and self-pity. At their Best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew
themselves and transform their experiences.
Basic Fear: That they have no identity or personal significance
Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an
Enneagram Four with a Three-Wing: "The Aristocrat"
Enneagram Four with a Five-Wing: "The Bohemian"
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."
The Meaning of the Arrows (in brief)
When moving in their Direction of Disintegration (stress), aloof Fours suddenly become
over-involved and clinging at Two. However, when moving in their Direction of Integration
(growth), envious, emotionally turbulent Fours become more objective and principled, like
healthy Ones. For more information, click here.
Examples: Rumi, Frdric Chopin, Pyotr I Tchaikovsky, Gustav Mahler, Jackie Kennedy
Onassis, Edgar Allen Poe, Yukio Mishima, Virginia Woolf, Anne Frank , Karen Blixen / Isak
Dinesen, Anas Nin, Tennessee Williams, J.D. Salinger, Anne Rice, Frida Kahlo, Diane
Arbus, Martha Graham, Rudolf Nureyev, Cindy Sherman, Hank Williams, Billie Holiday,
Judy Garland, Maria Callas, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon,
Leonard Cohen, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Ferron, Cher, Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox,
Prince, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morrisette, Feist, Florence ( + the Machine) Welch, Amy
Winehouse, Ingmar Bergman, Lars von Trier, Marlon Brando, Jeremy Irons, Angelina Jolie,
Winona Ryder, Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, Tattoo Artist Kat Von D.,
Magician Criss Angel, Streetcar Named Desire Blanche duBois
Type Four Overview
We have named this type The Individualist because Fours maintain their identity by
seeing themselves as fundamentally different from others. Fours feel that they are unlike
other human beings, and consequently, that no one can understand them or love them
adequately. They often see themselves as uniquely talented, possessing special, one-of-a-
kind gifts, but also as uniquely disadvantaged or flawed. More than any other type, Fours
are acutely aware of and focused on their personal differences and deficiencies.
Healthy Fours are honest with themselves: they own all of their feelings and can look at
their motives, contradictions, and emotional conflicts without denying or whitewashing
them. They may not necessarily like what they discover, but they do not try to rationalize
their states, nor do they try to hide them from themselves or others. They are not afraid
to see themselves warts and all. Healthy Fours are willing to reveal highly personal and
potentially shameful things about themselves because they are determined to understand
the truth of their experienceso that they can discover who they are and come to terms
with their emotional history. This ability also enables Fours to endure suffering with a quiet
strength. Their familiarity with their own darker nature makes it easier for them to process
painful experiences that might overwhelm other types.
Nevertheless, Fours often report that they feel they are missing something in themselves,
although they may have difficulty identifying exactly what that something is. Is it will
power? Social ease? Self-confidence? Emotional tranquility?all of which they see in
others, seemingly in abundance. Given time and sufficient perspective, Fours generally
recognize that they are unsure about aspects of their self-imagetheir personality or ego-
structure itself. They feel that they lack a clear and stable identity, particularly a social
persona that they feel comfortable with.
While it is true that Fours often feel different from others, they do not really want to be
alone. They may feel socially awkward or self-conscious, but they deeply wish to connect
with people who understand them and their feelings. The romantics of the Enneagram,
they long for someone to come into their lives and appreciate the secret self that they
have privately nurtured and hidden from the world. If, over time, such validation remains
out of reach, Fours begin to build their identity around how unlike everyone else they are.
The outsider therefore comforts herself by becoming an insistent individualist: everything
must be done on her own, in her own way, on her own terms. Fours mantra becomes I
am myself. Nobody understands me. I am different and special, while they secretly wish
they could enjoy the easiness and confidence that others seem to enjoy.
Fours typically have problems with a negative self-image and chronically low self-esteem.
They attempt to compensate for this by cultivating a Fantasy Selfan idealized self-image
which is built up primarily in their imaginations. A Four we know shared with us that he
spent most of his spare time listening to classical music while fantasizing about being a
great concert pianist la Vladimir Horowitz. Unfortunately, his commitment to practicing
fell far short of his fantasized self-image, and he was often embarrassed when people
asked him to play for them. His actual abilities, while not poor, became sources of shame.
In the course of their lives, Fours may try several different identities on for size, basing
them on styles, preferences, or qualities they find attractive in others. But underneath the
surface, they still feel uncertain about who they really are. The problem is that they base
their identity largely on their feelings. When Fours look inward they see a kaleidoscopic,
ever-shifting pattern of emotional reactions. Indeed, Fours accurately perceive a truth
about human naturethat it is dynamic and ever changing. But because they want to
create a stable, reliable identity from their emotions, they attempt to cultivate only certain
feelings while rejecting others. Some feelings are seen as me, while others are not me.
By attempting to hold on to specific moods and express others, Fours believe that they are
being true to themselves.
One of the biggest challenges Fours face is learning to let go of feelings from the past;
they tend to nurse wounds and hold onto negative feelings about those who have hurt
them. Indeed, Fours can become so attached to longing and disappointment that they are
unable to recognize the many treasures in their lives.
Leigh is a working mother who has struggled with these difficult feelings for many years.
I collapse when I am out in the world. I have had a trail of relationship disasters. I have
hated my sisters goodnessand hated goodness in general. I went years without joy in
my life, just pretending to smile because real smiles would not come to me. I have had a
constant longing for whatever I cannot have. My longings can never become fulfilled
because I now realize that I am attached to the longing and not to any specific end
There is a Sufi story that relates to this about an old dog that had been badly abused and
was near starvation. One day, the dog found a bone, carried it to a safe spot, and started
gnawing away. The dog was so hungry that it chewed on the bone for a long time and got
every last bit of nourishment that it could out of it. After some time, a kind old man
noticed the dog and its pathetic scrap and began quietly setting food out for it. But the
poor hound was so attached to its bone that it refused to let go of it and soon starved to
Fours are in the same predicament. As long as they believe that there is something
fundamentally wrong with them, they cannot allow themselves to experience or enjoy their
many good qualities. To acknowledge their good qualities would be to lose their sense of
identity (as a suffering victim) and to be without a relatively consistent personal identity
(their Basic Fear). Fours grow by learning to see that much of their story is not trueor at
least it is not true any more. The old feelings begin to fall away once they stop telling
themselves their old tale: it is irrelevant to who they are right now.
(from The Wisdom of the Enneagram, p. 180-182)
Excerpt from Type Four ITAR (4:40 minutes)
Buy the Individual Type Audio Recording of Type FourClick Here
Type FourMore Depth by Level
Healthy Levels
Level 1 (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.
Level 2: 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.
Level 3: 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
Average Levels
Level 4: 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.
Level 5: 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.
Level 6: 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.
Unhealthy Levels
Level 7: 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.
Level 8: 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.
Level 9: 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.
Learn More
Overview of Type Four from Personality Types (over 2,500 words)
Expanded Descriptions of your top three types are available to purchasers of the
online RHETI Enneagram test. These 2,800+ word descriptions contain new
material on relationships, personal growth, the Levels of Development, and more.
The Riso-Hudson Books offer the most complete type descriptions available
anywhere. Personality Types is the most complete, in-depth, systematic treatment
of the nine types and the Enneagram system as a whole, and The Wisdom of the
Enneagram provides the comprehensive guide to psychological and spiritual
growth for the nine personality types.
More about Type Fours and
Personal Growth
Compatibility with Other Types
Misidentifications with Other Types
Overview of Type Four
In the artist of all kinds I think one can detect an inherent dilemma, which belongs to the
co-existence of two trends, the urgent need to communicate and the still more urgent
need not to be found....
What more fruitful way to redressing the balance than by portraying one's inner world in a
work of art and then persuading other people to accept it, if not as real, at least as highly
significant? Part of the satisfaction which a creative person obtains from his achievement
may be the feeling that, at last, some part of his inner life is being accepted which has
never been accorded recognition before. Moreover, since art became an individual matter
rather than a task for anonymous craftsmen, creative work is generally recognized as
being especially apt for expressing the personal style of an individual (which is of course
closely related to his inner world). The value we place upon authenticity is often
exaggerated; yet there is a sense in which it is justified. However good a painting or a
piece of music may be, taken quite apart from its creator, the fact that it is or is not
another expression of the personality of a particular artist is important. For it either is or is
not an addition to our knowledge of that artist; a further revelation of that mysterious,
indefinable and fascinating thinghis personality. (D. W. Winnicott, quoted in Anthony
Storr, The Dynamics of Creation, 58.)
The nature of creativity will probably always remain mysterious because its basis is
irrationalin the feelings and unconscious of those who createand because, as Winnicott
notes, part of the motive for creating is to remain concealed, to be unfound by others. Yet
the motives given for artistic workto communicate and to conceal the selfare but two
possible motives which any person may have for creating. These two motives are,
however, particularly appropriate to the Four, the artistic temperament among the
personality types. Of course, members of any other personality type can become artists in
the sense of making a livelihood by producing works of art, however that is defined. Fours,
however, are in search of their identities, and art is the foremost means they have of
finding themselves, as well as their way of reporting to the world what they have
In the Feeling Center
The Four is the personality type which emphasizes the subjective world of feelings, in
creativity and individualism, in introversion and self-absorption, and in self-torment and
self-hatred. In this personality type we see creative artists, romantic aesthetes, and
withdrawn dreamers, people with powerful feelings who feel different from others because
self-consciousness blocks them from getting outside themselves.
Fours are the most self-aware of the types, and this is the basis of what is most positive
and negative about them. The constant conflict we see in Fours is between their need to
be aware of themselves, so they can find themselves, and, at the same time, their need to
move beyond self-awareness, so they will not be trapped in self-consciousness. The
tension between self-awareness and self-transcendence can be resolved in creativity. In
the creative moment, healthy Fours harness their emotions without constricting them, not
only producing something beautiful but discovering who they are. In the moment of
inspiration, they are, paradoxically both most themselves and most liberated from
themselves. This is why all forms of creativity are so valued by Fours, and why in its
inspired state, creativity is so hard to sustain. Fours can be inspired only if they have first
transcended themselves, something which is extremely threatening to their self-
awareness. In a sense, then, only by learning not to look for themselves will they find
themselves and renew themselves in the process.
The problem with average Fours, however, is that they try to understand themselves by
introspecting upon their feelings. As they move inward in a search for self, they become so
acutely self-conscious that their subjective emotional states become the dominant reality
for them. And, because even average Fours are so involved with their emotions, they do
not usually express their feelings directly. Instead, they communicate their feelings
indirectly though art, if they have they talent and training to do so.
The overall direction of their personalities therefore is inward, toward increasing self-
absorption, because Fours feel that they are different from other people, and they want to
know why they feel this way. Ironically, however, they try to find their place in life by
withdrawing from it so they can trace the labyrinth of their emotions. But the result of
their withdrawal is that even average Fours have noticeable difficulties coping with life,
while unhealthy Fours have some of the most severe emotional difficulties of all the
personality types.
Fours tend to compound their emotional difficulties in some striking ways. Because Fours
have identified themselves with their feelings, they begin to look for intensity of feeling in
all of their activities. The more intensely they feel something the more real they feel. Thus,
average Fours begin to employ their imaginations to "stir up" their emotional life. They can
take even the most transitory encounter and dwell on it for hours to extract all of its
"emotional juice." The problem is that it becomes difficult for Fours to dwell deeply in their
moods and fantasies if they are still interacting with others. Their feeling states and self-
image become rarefied to a degree that reality will not support. Increasingly, they begin to
withdraw from life and real relationships and experiences, both to prevent others from
interfering with their strong reveries and moods, and to avoid potential embarrassment
and humiliation. As they draw the curtains and turn away from life, however, they cut
themselves off from the wellspring of their feelings and their creativityparticipation in the
In healthy Fours, however, the rich life of the unconscious becomes accessible and is given
shape. More than any other personality type, healthy Fours are the bridge between the
spiritual and the animal in human nature because they are so aware of these two sides of
themselves. They sense in themselves the depths to which human beings can descend, as
well as the heights to which they can be swept up. No other personality type is as
habitually aware of the potentials and predicaments of human nature: human beings are
spiritual animals occupying an uneasy place between two orders of existence. Fours sense
both sides of their potentially conflicting natures, and they suffer intensely or are ecstatic
because of them. This is why, at their best, healthy Fours create something which can
move others deeply because they have been able to get in touch with the hidden depths of
human nature by delving deeply into their own. By doing so, they transcend themselves,
and are able to discover something universal about human nature, fusing personal
conflicts and divergent feelings into art.
But, like everyone else, most Fours do not live at the peak of their potential. In response
to anxiety, they turn inward, becoming self-conscious, particularly about the negativity
they discover in themselves. To offset their negative feelings, they use their imaginations
to make their lives more bearable. As a result, average Fours begin to withdraw from
ordinary life. They become self-absorbed and do not learn how to relate to people or how
to manage in the practical world. They feel like outsiders, somehow flawed and different
from others, unable to break through the barrier of self-consciousness that separates them
from easy commerce with the world.
And if they are unhealthy, their negative feelings feed upon themselves because Fours
have closed themselves off from any other influences. Unhealthy Fours are so completely
alienated from others, and ironically, even from themselves, that they despair of ever
finding a way out of their excruciating self-consciousness. They realize that their search for
self has led them into a world of useless fantasies and illusions. Understanding only too
clearly what they have done to themselves, and fearing that it is too late to do anything
about it, unhealthy Fours hate and torment themselves, turning against themselves to
destroy what they have become.
Problems with Identity
Fours find it difficult to transcend self-consciousness because just the reverse is what they
want: to become more conscious of their states and feelings so that they can find
themselves and arrive at a firm sense of identity. But as they become more self-conscious,
Fours become increasingly drawn into unresolved, contradictory, and irrational feelings
which they want to sort out before they dare express them.
Self-discovery is an extremely important motive for Fours because they never feel that
their sense of self is strong enough to sustain their identities, particularly if they need to
assert themselves. Because their feelings change so readily, their sense of identity is not
solid, dependable, in their own hands. They feel undefined and uncertain of themselves, as
if they were a gathering cloud which may produce something of great power or merely
dissipate in the next breeze. Fours can never tell how the next moment will affect them, so
it is difficult for them to count on themselves. Something is missing in the self, something
they cannot quite put their fingers on, but which they feel they lack nonetheless.
The difficulty is that average Fours may not know what their feelings are until after they
have expressed them personally or artistically. But if they express all that they feel, they
fear that they may reveal too much, exposing themselves to shame or punishment. On the
other hand, by not expressing their feelings, average Fours undermine the possibility of
discovering themselves by getting caught in endless self-absorption. They become aware
of being aware of themselvestheir consciousness is filled with little more than fantasies
and memories, ultimately leading to illusions, regrets, and a wasted life.
As Fours become more fearful that they cannot find a solid identity in themselves, they
begin to create one out of whatever random tendencies they find. Thus, matters of taste,
likes and dislikes, and emotional reactions become the materials which Fours use to
construct an identity. Because their sense of self is so tenuous, however, Fours begin to
put a great deal of weight on what would be for others relatively unimportant traits. ("I
only wear black." "I listen to Puccini, but never Wagner.") It is important to note that most
of these personal traits function by negation. Fours may not know who they are, but they
certainly believe they know who they are not. While these idiosyncrasies can be fairly
harmless in and of themselves, as Fours increasingly depend on them to figure out who
they are, they begin to paint themselves into a corner. In the interest of maintain a
narrowly defined self-image, Fours may refuse to engage in many basic activities
necessary to live their lives. ("Poets dont work in an office.")
As we have seen in the other types of the Feeling Center, the Two and the Three, much of
the Fours energy goes into maintaining a consistent self-image which is somehow at odds
with the real, essential self. Twos did this by looking for others to respond to their
goodness in ways that would make them feel lovable. Threes kept their self-image intact
by getting validation for their achievements and giving themselves inner "pep talks." Fours
do something akin to the inner talk of the Threes in that they maintain the sense of
identity through a continuous inner dialogue and referencing of their emotional reactions.
Of course, Fours want someone to validate their self-images, too, but they are less
dependent on the affirmation of others than Twos or Threes. In fact, much of their identity
is tied to their feelings about not having the affirmation of others. Feeling different and
misunderstood is as central to the Fours false self-image as being only good and loving is
to the Twos or being a totally competent "winner" is to the Threes.
Parental Orientation
Fours are disconnected from both parents. As children, they did not identify with either
their mothers or their fathers. ("I am not like my mother; I am not like my father.") They
may have had either unhappy or solitary childhoods as a result of their parents' marital
problems, divorce, illness, or simply because of personality conflicts within the family. In
some cases, Fours may have had relatively "normal," uneventful childhoods. Nonetheless,
even with a supportive environment, they did not see themselves reflected in either
parent: they felt that their parents did not see them as they actually were or that what
their parents conveyed to them was somehow irrelevant. Lacking definitive role models,
Fours as children turned inward to their feelings and imaginations as the primary sources
of information about themselves from which they could construct their identities.
From childhood, Fours felt essentially alone in life. It seemed to them that, for some
reason they could not understand, their parents had rejected them, or at least, that their
parents did not take much interest in them. Fours therefore felt that there must be
something deeply wrong with them, that they were somehow defective because their
parents did not give them the kind of nurturing attention which, as children, they needed.
As a result, they turned to themselves to discover who they are.
Self-knowledge became their most important goal, the means by which they hoped to fit
into the world. Fours felt that if they could discover who they are, they would not feel so
different from others in the deep, essential way that they do. However, instead of creating
themselves through introspection, Fours ironically become trapped in self-consciousness.
Their self-consciousness alienates them, making them feel vulnerable and arouses their
aggressions at themselves and others, particularly their parents. But because they also
feel powerless to express their aggressions or to do anything about their condition, they
withdraw from their parents and from others, turning their aggressions mostly against
Because the formative relationship with their parents was primarily one of disconnection,
Fours also begin to develop a sense of ego identity based on their difference from others.
There were few qualities in their parents that they identified with, so Fours began to
inventory all the things that they were notall of the ways in which they were unlike the
people around them. Eventually, this sense of difference becomes a strongly developed
and defended part of their self-image and many Fours have difficulty seeing the many
ways in which they are like everyone else. To be "ordinary" becomes a frightening
prospect, since a sense of "being unique" feels like one of the only stable building blocks of
their identity.
Their disconnect from their parents also produces a longing for the "good parent"the
person who will see them as they truly are and validate the self they are trying to
construct. Fours usually experience this as a longing for an ideal mate or partner. They will
often project this role onto new acquaintances, idealizing them and fantasizing about the
wonderful life they will have together. Unfortunately, as Fours get to know the person
better, they become disenchanted, realizing that the other is not the "good parent" who
will rescue them from all their problems. He or she is just another human being with flaws
and shortcomings. The others "blemishes" soon become the focus of the Fours attention,
and they lose interest in the person. Before long they are back to their search and
fantasizing again, but generally with less hope of finding the person "of their dreams."
Problems with Hostility and Despair
Like Twos and Threes, the other two personality types of the Feeling Center, Fours have a
problem with hostility. They direct their hostility at themselves because like the Twos and
Threes, Fours have rejected their real self in favor of an idealized self-image. However,
because of their self-awareness, Fours are always becoming conscious of all of the ways in
which they are not like their idealized self. They come to disdain many of their real
qualities which they see as barriers to becoming the self of their imagination. Angry with
themselves for being defective, Fours inhibit and punish themselves in the many ways
which we will see.
Of course, Fours also experience hostility toward others. They can become enraged if
others question or dismiss their self-image or moods, but they tend to express this by
"dropping" people, suddenly and without explanation. The creativity of Fours can also be
employed in sarcastic, withering remarks directed at those who have wounded their
"sensitivities." Fours also can experience intense hostility at the very people they have
idealized. When others fail to live up to Fours hopes of the "good parent," they may relive
the original pain they felt at not being able to connect with their parents, but project this
onto the new love interest. They may dramatically express the rage and emotionality that
they could not with their own parents, but usually withdraw quickly before the intensity of
their feelings overwhelms them or does further damage to their relationships. More often,
Fours will simmer and seethe in silence.
On a deep, unconscious level Fours are hostile toward their parents because they feel that
their parents did not nurture them properly. Fours feel that they were not welcomed into
the world; they feel out of place, unwantedand they are deeply enraged at their parents
for doing this to them. However, their rage at their parents is so deep that Fours cannot
allow themselves to express it. They fear their own anger, and so withhold it, trying to
come to terms with it themselves.
As awareness of their hostility and negative feelings gradually wears them out, average to
unhealthy Fours sink ever more deeply into self-doubt, depression, and despair. They
spend most of their time searching for the courage to go on living despite the
overwhelming sense that the essential flaw in themselves is so deep that it cannot be
healed. Indeed, the feeling of hopelessness is the current against which they must
constantly swim. And if the undertow of hopelessness is too strong, unhealthy Fours either
succumb to an emotional breakdown, or commit suicide because they despair of ever
breaking free of it.
As soon as Fours devote themselves to a search for self by withdrawing from life, they are
going in the wrong direction. No matter how necessary this search may seem to them,
they must become convinced that the direct search for self is a temptation which
eventually leads to despair.
On the other hand, what makes healthy Fours healthy is not that they have freed
themselves once and for all from the turbulence of their emotions, but that they have
found a way to ride that current to some further destination. Healthy Fours have learned
to sustain their identities without exclusive reference to their feelings. By overcoming the
temptation to withdraw from life to search for themselves, they will not only save
themselves from their own destructiveness, they will be able to bring something beautiful
and good into existence. If they learn to live this way, Fours can be among the most life-
enhancing of the personality types bringing good out of evil, hope from hopelessness,
meaning from absurdity, and saving what appeared to be lost.
(from Personality Types, p. 135-143)