Four, Part 2

Every type has arrows of integration and disintegration -integration being how you grow, disintegration being how you shrink into dysfunction. And we borrow these patterns from other types. So I’m continuing my Four series with some figurative archery. 


  • Integration: When I am growing, I become more like a healthy One – viewing my emotions more objectively and acting more on principle.
  •  Disintegration: When unhealthy, I take on negative tendencies of the Two – clinging to people for affirmation of significance.

Read more about the arrows of integration and disintegration here.

Whichever type you integrate towards disintegrates towards you.
Example: My oldest sister is a One. So, in knowing that, I can see positive traits in her that I can naturally attain in health – objectivity, morality. When healthy, I can look at my emotions as a valuable source of information rather than a source of objective truth. And now I can understand her frustration with me over the years a bit better now. When she saw my issues, she saw herself in disintegration – moody, melancholic. Few things can be as frustrating to a One as seeing things that they don’t like in themselves. So, without going too deep into the details, I’ve been able to be more gracious with her frustration towards me, even as she has grown a ton in being patient with me.

Concerning disintegration – An interesting and disingenuous trait of an unhealthy Two (my path of disintegration) is the tendency to serve & love others in order to receive love in return. I used to do this as a child. I would bring my siblings and their friends hot cocoa, or ice cream. They were always happy to see me when I was bringing them food or drinks, so that’s why I did it. I thought they would like me and want me around if I served them. 
I’ve been cognizant to pursue a life of service that doesn’t expect anything in return; that does not manipulate with love. Even as a child, I didn’t expect anything in return, but that doesn’t mean my motives were pure. I wasn’t looking out for the best interests of others – I merely wanted them to like me. That, my friend, is a dangerous arrow. 

More to come on the fixation and passion of the Four…

Four What? Part 1

A few of you who know me might know I’ve been studying the Enneagram. <Click that link to learn more.

And for those who know what that is and are interested, I’d like to dive more into what my personal experience as a Four (my number) looks like. If you can relate, feel free to comment!

The Ouch

They say that you can tell which type you are by reading the descriptions and the one that hurts the most is probably you. The following are excerpts from The Enneagram Institute on type Four that especially resonate painfully with me. Oh joy.

“Fours feel that they are unlike other human beings, and consequently, that no one can understand them or love them adequately.”

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… They feel that they lack a clear and stable identity, particularly a social persona that they feel comfortable with.”

“They may feel socially awkward or self-conscious, but they deeply wish to connect with people who understand them and their feelings.”

Fours typically have problems with a negative self-image and chronically low self-esteem.

Indeed, Fours can become so attached to longing and disappointment that they are unable to recognize the many treasures in their lives.

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 true—or at least it is not true any more.”

Ooooo… reading that hurts, and I want to add my personal take (which I will get to). Yet, I think I would do a disservice to those reading by adding more explanation here. So, let’s continue down this rabbit hole a little further first, shall we? Stay tuned. I’ll do more than just quote another site.

In the meantime, take a test or read the descriptions on The Enneagram Institute (link above). If you need more of a positive spin, I’ve written a bit about tips for growth for my type (4) here.