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Apr 12, 2018

For those who are new to the Enneagram or to what life is like as an Enneagram Four, let me just give a 50,000-foot fly-by of the Enneagram Four.  Fours, called the Individualists, sometimes called the Romantics or the Tragic Romantics, these are folks who have a sense that they carry within themselves some deficiency--some irredeemable deficiency--a missing piece in their essential makeup that they can't quite name. It actually elicits or brings up in them this kind of inconsolable longing for the un-nameable missing piece that they're trying to find and recover so that they can feel a part of the world. They feel as though they're disqualified from belonging because they're different from other people. And so, this launches them on a lifelong quest, usually early on with the struggling low self-esteem, I've never met a Four who told me that that was not an issue for them.

And their passion, or their deadly sin, is Envy.  So, what is it that Fours? Fours envy the normalcy, the happiness, and the apparent ease with which other people seem to move in the world. We just look at other people and think they just haven't suffered as much as we have. We just have this perception that other people have had an easier time of it in this life. And that can sometimes give us a little bit of superiority, almost, because we also become addicted to our suffering if we're not careful. It becomes the core of our identity--the tragic story of the past that we don't know how to divorce ourselves from, and even if we could who would we be without it, without that tragic story? God, we'd be ordinary, which of course points to the underlying motivation of the Four which is a compulsive need to be unique and special as a strategy to compensate for what we perceive to be this irredeemable deficiency.

To best illustrate the ways that Fours are unique, even from each other, I brought in a panel of Fours for this week’s show. The thing I love about panels is it's so much better for people to learn about these different types, these archetypes of the Enneagram, straight from the mouths of those who live in the shoes of those different styles of being in the world. Fours are the most misunderstood number on the Enneagram in general. So, tune in as Sandra McCracken, Megan Miller, Matthew Perryman Jones, and Don Chaffer join us in studio to talk about all things Four.