Ennea-type Four


Cover of "The Spiritual Dimension of the ...

Cover via Amazon

From ‘The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram: Nine Faces of the Soul’ by Sandra Maitri, on Ennea-type Four (me):

The Soul’s Journey of Ennea-type Four:

“The key to the development of a Four is the virtue associated with this point, equanimity. […] Fundamentally, a Four needs to approach her experience without reacting to it, without clinging to it, and without needing it to be right, dramatic, or out of the ordinary. Only then is it possible to respond to life with equilibrium.

Striving for the exceptional, the exciting, and the extreme gradually becomes replaced with an appreciation of calm and of simplicity. The need to be SPECIAL becomes replaced by a recognition of her humanness –how ALIKE she is to others – which in time she sees is in itself extraordinary.

As a Four gets out from under her superego […] A [previously inaccessible] sense of recognition arises of herself [only] when all [possessions, careers and striving of any kind] has been stripped away.”

Psychology / Inner Experience of Ennea-type Four:

For an Ennea-type Four, loss of contact with Being in early childhood is synonymous with the loss of perceiving and experiencing herself as inseparable from and arising out of Being. What results is a profound inner sense of disconnection from the Divine, which is the underlying all-pervasive belief or fixation of this type, described as melancholy on Diagram 2. In order to experience ourselves as disconnected from anything, we must take ourselves to be a separate something that has lost its connection to a separate something else. The apparently inevitable identification with the body, which is the deepest identification a human being rooted in the personality has, leads to the conviction of our fundamental separateness for those of all ennea-types. In other words, because each of our bodies is distinct from everything else, we come to believe that we are all ultimately discrete entities. While fundamental to all personality types, this belief is the foundation upon which all of the resulting assumptions and characteristics rest for Ennea-type fours due to their particular sensitivity to Holy Origin.

Like a boat loosed from its moorings, the inner experience of a Four is of being a separate someone who is cut off from Being and set adrift. There is a poignant inner sense of disconnection and estrangement from others but, more important, from the depths within. This loss of contact with Being is experienced by a Four as having been abandoned, as though Being has withdrawn or withheld Itself. Initially, this is experienced as though her mother or family has pulled away from her, but at root is loss of contact with Being. What is left is a sense of lack and of lostness, which feels as though the very substance of herself were missing. There is a great longing to reconnect, to become anchored again in the connection that has been lost.

Fours are dramatic, emotive, romantic, and seem to suffer more than the other types. There is often a tragic quality about Fours, arising from an inner hopelessness about ever being truly content. It is as though they are eternally pining for a lost connection that has been missing as long as they have been alive, and the inner grief seems inconsolable and forever unchangeable. In some Fours, this melancholy is obvious, while other Fours appear very upbeat and exuberant. The zeal behind such a Four’s efforts to present herself as buoyant and optimistic, however, belies the despair underneath this façade.

Fours want to be seen as unique, original, aesthetic, and creative; and being one of the image types –those on either side of and including Ennea-type Three—present themselves in this way. They value their refined taste and sensitivity, which they usually feel is deeper and more profound than that of others. While they often seem superior and standoffish, inwardly they feel socially insecure, afraid of not being loved and included. They tend to feel alone and abandoned, estranged and not really reachable by others.

On Love: An Excerpt from Sandra Maitri [innerlight]


Author: innerlight

A capricorn horse. Creative dreamer, over thinker. bpd, insecure attachment and any other labels for deep and chronic wounds and other gifts of brilliance that propel intense and eclectic lives and make for good art. We are high needs and high return, all the way, all the way. Surrender, integration, repair, rebuild, connect, create, evolve. Deeply.

3 thoughts on “Ennea-type Four

  1. Innerlight Sandra’s book pulled enneagram theory together for me. I cannot say enough about her writing. From one 4 to (I think) another, Great post, nice site. Bi Polar, sx4 and feeling the benefits of what the enneagram of personalities showed me about myself. Grateful to Claudio, Sandra and those that presented it to the world. 😉

    • Yes, I am a four, with strong 3 tendencies up until my breakdown a couple years ago. Thanks so much for the complements on my blog, and thanks for reaching out, from one 4 to another. May we get to the gifts of our trajectory, as Maitri writes about. Blessings on your path. I think this Zen quote relates to us particularly: “The deeper the mud, the bigger the lotus blooms.”

  2. “The deeper the mud, the bigger the lotus blooms.” Oh hell ya. Overlap with the rising phoenix too I think.

    “with strong 3 tendencies up until my breakdown a couple years ago” That statement right there? That interested me. Care to elaborate at all? Because I’d like to hear.

    Sincererly, JIm

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