Enneagram Type Four ~ Polarities
Enneagram Type 4 has the Primary Polarity of “Trying not to be seen as ordinary.”
The Polarity of the Type shows a movement towards a set of qualities and a movement away from its opposites. Like a pendulum in an old clock, the Type is sustaining this duality. Once the Type grows to its highest expression, the polarities collapse into natural wholeness.
This means that Type 4 is masking and avoiding anything that has the power to threaten their image of specialness. For Type Four, specialness means being an original voice, authentic self-expression, uniqueness and being different.
Ordinary means being a sheep, having no true voice, selling one’s soul, settling for mediocrity.
A few Secondary Polarities for Fours at their lower expression:
- Fours live in the deep end of emotional intensity and extreme feelings rather than balanced ordinary emotions.
- They can remain dysfunctional rather than striving to be functional.
- They prefer to feel pain and brokenness for the sake of being unique rather than healed and whole.
- They can see feelings as facts instead of being objective and factual.
- At lower to medium expressions, they find it easier to claim entitled sympathy and handouts rather than step into honoring duties and responsibilities.
A few Secondary Polarities for Fours at their highest expression:
- Fours can still experience the deep end of emotional intensity and extreme feelings but also have a place in the heart for balanced ordinary emotions.
- They work to leave destructive dysfunctional behavior to become functional.
- They prefer to heal pain and brokenness to be healed and whole.
- They can see more objectively, seeing feelings as feelings and facts as facts.
- At higher to medium expressions, they release from claiming entitled sympathy and handouts to rather step into honoring their duties and responsibilities.
Enneagram Type Four ~ Personality Pearl
Type 4 has the InnerLifeSkills GREEN Pearl of Heart Emotional Need + Exaggerating + Been Seen + Worth Continuum.
This means that Type 4 is operating from a combination of the hearts emotional need, an unconscious avoiding of shame (think about the sensation of showing the world the face you feel hiding what you are embarrassed about in yourself), plus exaggerating certain qualities of self to been seen as worthy.
Add this to the Polarities and you understand the REASON for the behaviors of Type 4.
Examples of reasons for behavior:
- Fours use their heart emotional need to seek out being seen as special, which for fours is a currency of worth.
- Fours can exaggerate their specialness to mask a feeling of shame and low worth.
- Fours fall asleep to their anger because they feel it disturbing their peace.
If you understand the Personality Pearl + Polarities, you understand how the Type arises. This forms a part of the InnerLifeSkills 8 Step Coaching Typing Test Method, where we teach you to use a narrative style to coach your clients to understand all 9 Types, and using trademarked worksheets of the Pearls, Polarities and Types, you help a client to discover their type.
Infographic for Type 4 Enneagram
If you look at our InnerLifeSkills Enneagram infographic, you’ll see the body posture of theatrical emotions.
You’ll see the eyes closed, introverting into the intensity of feelings – looking for the right words to express their feelings “it’s not sadness, it’s melancholy.”
The tear symbol on the chest is a reminder of the Primary Polarity.
Here are some voices for Type Four (from our InnerLifeSkills Enneagram Coaches)
- I am an individual and I’m searching for my individuality.
- I’m actually looking for my identity and I’m trying on different emotional textures, just like a theatre performer will try on different acting roles. I’m also experimenting with deep emotion and different creative expressions of my feelings.
- I have a creative way of seeing things. That doesn’t mean I’m necessarily artistic. Sometimes I can be artistic and have some kind of creative flair. But I tend to just move through life looking at things differently, and the atmosphere is always very sensitive to me.
- I’m a sensitive soul and I find myself swinging from great extremes of emotions. In fact when I learn the Enneagram, I tend to identify with the worst characteristics of most types.
- I don’t like the Enneagram, because I don’t want to be put into a box with other Fours, unless I’m the most unique Four their is 🙂
- Sometimes I feel like an outsider looking into the world. I can even feel envious. Just like someone out in the cold looks through a window at people inside sitting at the fireplace.
- My wound helps me to be seen as unique so I notice that I cling to my wound and nurture it.
- I’m attracted to things that have depth, to the harder, broken and tragic emotional fringes of life.
- I’m always looking for ways to express my emotions through subtle words. I can look for words to capture my emotions but it’s difficult to find a word that really expresses my feelings as deeply as I feel them.
Enneagram Type 4 Map for Growth
At the lowest expression Fours have creates a false sense of being special by polarizing away from ordinary.
“It’s only at my highest expression that I discover that being truly special is about being real. That authentic uniqueness needs me to honor my ordinary duties and responsibilities, with integrity.”
Fours Lowest Expression
When our Enneagram Type is at its lowest expression, it tends to have a CLOSED door to its opposite polarized Type, denying the balancing qualities of that type, to restore wholeness. And it tends to have only one OPEN door to the other type, which because of the lack of balance, adds lower functioning qualities to the primary type.
- At Enneagram Type 4’s lowest expression, the energetic door to Type 1 which is their polarity opposite is closed. This means all the healthy functional qualities of Type 1 like functional living, consistent hard work for reward, honoring ones duties and responsibilities are denied to Fours.
- Leaving the only energetic door open to Type 2 at its worst. This lets in more heart type shame, wanting to be seen as a hero, helping and saving others to be special, and martyring oneself for relationships entanglement.
“At my lowest expression, I tend to access the worst characteristics of Type 2, which means I often want to save broken people and fall in love with dysfunctional people.”
“As a Type 4, when I go to 2, it’s a sacrifice of myself for another.”
“It’s all feeling and pain, and loving and caring and craving to be seen worthy in the eyes of another.”
“My difficult traumatic relationships give me an excuse to neglect my duties and responsibilities.”
Fours Highest Expression
When our Enneagram Type 4 is at its highest expression, it tends to have a OPEN door to its opposite polarized Type, allowing the balancing qualities of that type to restore wholeness. And it tends to then also have an OPEN door to the other type, which because of the balance, adds more higher functioning qualities to the primary type.
- At Enneagram Type 4’s highest expression, the energetic door to Type 1 which is their polarity opposite is open. This means all the healthy functional qualities of Type 1 like hard work for reward, being objective about life events, doing ones duties and contributing to society in an ordinary functional way is available to Fours.
- The other energetic door being open to Type 2 now adds its best. This lets in love, compassion for others, unconditional love, care and kindness.
“At my highest expression as an Enneagram Type 4, I become organized, disciplined and hard working.”
“As a Type 4, when I access 1 I feel honest.”
“I become very productive, pay my bills and do my duties.”
“I still love creative self-expression, but this feels balanced and functional now.”
Enneagram Type 4 Key Words & Voices
- I’m very sensitive to the subtle things in life.
- I’m a ‘sensitive soul.’
- At my lowest expression, I take on the worst of characteristics of Type 2. This can make me needy, clingy and also look for people to save who are more broken than I am.
- I might even decide that I am special because I’m helping you.
- I have realized that feelings are not facts.
- I’ve decided to be healthy and functional. I’m learning to channel my sensitivity, my emotions and possibly my creativity into something functional.
- I am willing to heal my wound in order to finally know my wholeness.
- I realize that I am already unique, I don’t need to display emotion or cling to wounding in order to feel that way.
- I discover my true self and it completes me so much that I feel secure in this. And my life becomes orderly and structured and functional. I no longer need to bend the rules or feel entitled in order to serve me.
- I can stand guilt-free as a contributing member of the world, able to bring my unique way of seeing things to life.
- I’m the most unique 4 there is 🙂
Enneagram Type 4 Common Mistyping Misidentifications
Because Enneagram tests are limited, they are often unreliable, with a 50-60% accuracy. This is why we prefer a narrative, coaching approach to helping people to discover their types. Types share common behaviors, but differ in their Personality Pearl “grain of sand” hidden reason for behavior.
Here are a few common Type 4 mistypings showing what is in common and what ultimately separates the types. We train our Enneagram Coaches to use this type of thinking as a framework to ask clients enlightening questions, so that clients can weigh in on the coaching session to find their type (with the expert guidance of their InnerLifeSkills Enneagram Coach).
- TYPE 1 vs. 4: Both can become dramatic, 1 when the lid on anger explodes and 4 to vent intense feelings. 1 follows the norm, 4 wants to be different. 1 is responsible and law abiding, 4 can take from life out of a sense of entitlement. 1 is an anger type learning to relax and let go, 4 is a self-worth type who is learning to be objective and hardworking.
- TYPE 2 vs. 4: Both can be focused on helping others, 2 to feel valued and worthy and 4 to feel special. 2 needs to be needed, 4 needs to be unique. 2 can be smothering and controlling with kindness, 4 can martyr themselves for drama. 2 is a self-worth type who is learning self-love, 4 is a self-worth type who is learning to be functional and ordinary.
- TYPE 3 vs. 4: Both build self-worth through how they are seen, 3 wants to be seen as a winner, 4 wants to be seen as unique. 3 needs to achieve goals, 4 can lose to feel special. 3 can be out of touch with their feelings, 4 can live in drama. 3 is a self-worth type who is learning humility and service, 4 is a self-worth type who is learning to be functional and ordinary.
- TYPE 5 vs. 4: Both have intensity, 4 has intense emotions and 5 has intense thinking. 4 needs to be special and unique, 5 needs to understand and observe life. 4 can be dramatic and stuck in pain, 5 can live in their mind. 4 is a self-worth type learning to be functional and ordinary, 5 is a fear type who is learning to be engaged and confident.
- TYPE 6 vs. 4: Both feel for the broken and powerless, 4 wants to be the special savior of broken things and 6 wants to champion just causes. 4 needs to be special, 6 needs support. 4 can be stuck in wounded stories, 6 can want rescuing. 4 is a self-worth type learning to be functional and ordinary, 6 is a fear type who is learning faith in self.
- TYPE 7 vs. 4: Both enjoy the creative drama of life, 4 to be different and special and 7 to be entertained and distracted. 4 needs to be unique, 7 needs to seek pleasure. 4 can be stuck in melancholy, 7 can be stuck in manic happiness. 4 is a self-worth type learning to be functional and ordinary, 7 is a fear type who is learning focus and content stillness.
- TYPE 8 vs. 4: Both feel things intensely, 4 feels all subtle emotions and 8 feels anger and power. 4 needs to be vulnerable, 8 needs to be invulnerable. 4 can be stuck in victim drama mode, 8 can be stuck in mafia domination mode. 4 is a self-worth type learning to be functional and ordinary, 8 is an anger type who is learning compassion.
- TYPE 9 vs. 4: Both can be avoiding and compromising, 4 to stay broken and special, 9 to hide from themselves and from conflict. 4 needs to stand out, 9 needs to blend in. 4 can be hysterical and dramatic, 9 numbs their feelings. 4 is a self-worth type learning to be functional and ordinary, 9 is an anger type who is learning to be assertive and present.