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Thread: Enneagram 4 and Relationships

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Huxley3112's Avatar
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    Default Enneagram 4 and Relationships

    I just got done reading through some threads on another forum about E4's and relationships. Wow! I can't even begin to convey how good it feels to see others talking about the same re occuring problems that I have. Many of my relationships start out beautifully, and can be very insightful and wonderful for some time.. but eventually the reality of my partner comes shattering down, and I have found very few people that seem to need the intensity and involvement that I prefer. (Only the 2 and the 6 actually). I have often struggled to get my needs met, and I know part of this is learning to detach from my feelings and embrace reality more, but it is definately one of the greatest struggles of my life.

    I have, at one time or another, experienced almost all the unhealthy traits of e4's in relations. Envy, jealousy, dissapointment, withholding affection, ridiculous idealism, drama, being too emotionally volatile. It almost seems to the be nature of the beast, since E4's tend to want to feel the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. Obviously I'm not proud of this, and I am working very hard to overcome it. Actually I have been for along time now. The thing is that personality does not change easily. It takes extraordinary motivation to make even modest changes that are true and permanenet. But I constantly remind myself that while behaviors are a reflection of the personality, they are not THE personality. Behaviors can be altered, personality can manifest in different ways, thought processes can be corrected and re-routed.

    Anyhow, I am beginning to develop the opinion that while it is the E4's responsibility to grow and overcome, there are definately certain types that will naturally aid in this growth, and certain types that will be naturally prone to hindering it. And this is really what I'm getting at here.

    E4's.. what are your thoughts or experiences with your e-type and others? Do you think there is a natural compatibility between these types?

    I am not failing to realize that any healthy type could potentially have a great relationship.. ofcourse. But I do think that the E4 romantic may actually put the greatest emphasis and value on their intimiate relations, while also seeming to stuggle with it the most. So if there is (generally) a natural compatibility, I don't think it should be overlooked.

    What do you think?
    Last edited by Patches; 07-06-2012 at 11:10 AM.
    "Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd, smiling..."

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    Glycerine
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    Do they tend to shut others out when they are struggling....?

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    Just do it Array Zarathustra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glycerine View Post
    Do they tend to shut others out when they are struggling....?
    Yup.
    INTJ - 6w5, 8dw, 3w4 sx/so - xxxxxxx xxxx

    "I trust what you are doing though…I just see it a little differently.
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    No matter how airy or earthy or watery you become... to many of us you will always be...a super nova."
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    Senior Member Array Huxley3112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glycerine View Post
    Do they tend to shut others out when they are struggling....?
    Not speaking for all E4's, but going off my own experiences and what I've read of others.. I'd say yes, but the motivation is different than reclusing to reflect. Really, it's easy to understand. The worst thing you can do to a 4 is ignore them, make them feel unimportant or unworthy of your time and attention (rejection). So if they wan't to stab back at you, they might do the one thing they know would hurt them - Withhold love or attention.

    Obviously this is unhealthy, but hey.. you'd be surprised just how many couples out there do all kinds of unhealthy crap to eachother. The other game you might find an unhealthy 4 playing is a "how much do you really love me" game.. putting you in weird and extreme situations to prove your love. This is different than the 6 though, that will try to test your loyalty.. the 4 needs to know that you see all their darkness and perceived defects before they believe you can really love them. And because they are a 4, they often really think that they are more broken at the core than others (whether thats true or not).

    I have read some real horror stories on other forums of how this "how much do you love me" game can play out, an depending on the level of heatlh of the 4 it can be really extreme. I think the 4 is the most likely type to feel closer or more bonded to their partner *after* going to hell and back. Because the unhealthy 4 will often believe that if you stick around after they behave horribley, then you must really love them.

    Now, I just wan't to clarify that all types have their own unique crap that they can bring into relationships, this isn't meant to be a "pick on 4's thread".. as most 4's don't resort to these tactics. However, 4's do tend to have very high standards and needs in relationships. They can be viewed as more demanding that many of the other types. And when those needs are not met the 4 finds themself at a terrible crossroad.

    Speaking from experience, I have viewed my relationships as one of my very top priorities. It is so important to me, infact, that if the relationship is not on a healthy and fulfilling track, I can become terribley short-sighted and other aspects of my life suffer greatly. This is because it is incredibley difficult for me to move my focus and energy to anything else until this problem in the area I value the most is resolved. Consider how a 5 might cope if their need for autonomy and freedom was denied. Consider how a 6 might cope if their security was taken. Consider how a 7 might cope if their need for experience and excitement was threatened. It is very much the same for the romantic to be in an unstable or unloving relation.

    So again, while I think that all types should be in compatible relations, I think that being in a bad relation might take the greatest toll on the 4. Which is why it is so INSTRUMENTAL to their health and growth to not only work on these issues, but to set themselves up for the greatest success through basic core needs in other types..

    I am highly interested in what others have to say about the 2 and 6 dynamics...
    "Fearlessly the idiot faced the crowd, smiling..."

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    Paragon Gone Wrong Array OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    I just got done reading through some threads on another forum about E4's and relationships. Wow! I can't even begin to convey how good it feels to see others talking about the same re occuring problems that I have. Many of my relationships start out beautifully, and can be very insightful and wonderful for some time.. but eventually the reality of my partner comes shattering down, and I have found very few people that seem to need the intensity and involvement that I prefer. (Only the 2 and the 6 actually). I have often struggled to get my needs met, and I know part of this is learning to detach from my feelings and embrace reality more, but it is definately one of the greatest struggles of my life.
    I have these problems also, but only if I am really invested in the relationship. It's hard to get me invested, and so prior to that I show signs of my 5 wing, which is an unwillingness to give up independence, easily feeling suffocated, and resistance to opening up emotionally. I'm more likely to be seen as cold & disinterested than dramatic & the relationship ends before it gets stated. In a weird way, I've felt I've needed to do the opposite; be more open with my feelings & emotions, but not give into over-fantasizing & creating impossible ideals.

    I also have issues on the other side of the 4 coin which is selecting unavailable people to fantasize about because it's safer than a real relationship. I don't seem to have jealousy or drama issues, but being too idealistic, too easily disappointed, and withholding can be problems for me. Being emotionally volatile for me is relative. Everyone I date says I am much more calm, reasonable, & less demanding than other women they've dated; so when I do get upset about anything, it's like I'm not allowed to be because I've set this expectation for always being calm & undemanding. Of course, like most 4s, I am not calm internally, I just withdraw when I feel inner turmoil.

    Once I'm in an actual relationship that I'm invested in, then I'm surprised at the level of connection & interaction I'm desiring. I don't have a need for constant contact, but I'm extremely sensitive to not feeling like a "priority" with the person. I also feel like I am always giving more emotional support than I am receiving, but I admittedly will withhold & withdraw rather than reach out when I need it. I also allow the other person to make me feel guilty for having any needs, so that when I finally do assert them, I may blow up more than is necessary because it's been building for so long. I start pulling low-functioning 2 crap: "I'm unappreciated & my needs are ignored because I'm so self-sacrificing!".

    E4's.. what are your thoughts or experiences with your e-type and others? Do you think there is a natural compatibility between these types?
    Not feeling like a priority was a problem when dating a 3w4, because his social image & networking would come first for him, and I'd be put on the back burner, increasingly blown off. This followed a precedent he had set for intense, frequent interaction, with a push for a connection/commitment to happen quickly. I felt that once the 3w4 felt he had secured my affections, I was then ignored & taken for granted. 4w5s tend to work in the opposite manner; slower to warm, but once we're committed, then it's a big deal & needs to be treated like a big deal. I began to realize that the 3w4 wanted a companion as a part of his image more than deep connection.

    Unfortunately, I am drawn to 3s a lot....

    Concerning 7w6s, I find them tiring. They demand TOO much energy from me. Instead of not feeling like a priority, I feel drained, but it still feels sort of shallow. I struggled to have my introvert needs met in this case.

    My interaction with 5w4s is that there is loads of intensity, but then it blows up when the 5 is insensitive, especially as I've begun to expect more than that of them, figuring the intensity should have led to more understanding & sensitivity. I'm usually the one to leave this relationship because I become disillusioned suddenly in a way that's hard to recover from.

    I've never dated a 2 or a 6. I fear a 2 would smother me....?

    The worst thing you can do to a 4 is ignore them, make them feel unimportant or unworthy of your time and attention (rejection).
    "Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind." - Proust,
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  6. #6
    brainheart
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    What it boils down to for me is I have to be the withdrawn and aloof one. The romantic relationships I've had with those ' like me' failed miserably. If I feel like I'm being rejected (or worse, they're just straight up no longer interested) by someone I care about I become this very clingy, irrational person, a total 180.

    When I'm with someone who makes the effort and tells me how much they care, I can relax, fall into my usual position of ' I'll share when I want to share.' My husband is either a 6w7 or 2w3, I really can't figure him out. But he is way more dramatic and affectionate than I am on a regular basis. I keep everything to myself and brood, all of my emotions come out when I'm alone. But he's respectful of that, too. He knows how I am and that when I'm stuck out at sea he can't drag me back, I have to do the swimming for myself.

    Edit: my husband is a social two, unsure on the wing.

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    Senior Member Array Huxley3112's Avatar
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    @OrangeAppled @brainheart

    You know, as I was reading through the oh so familiar struggles of E4, I was thinking to myself - I bet that 4w5's are much less touchy and demanding in relations than the 4w3 (like myself) simply because part of what aid in e4 growth is the ability to detach from ones emotions and see things more objectively.. an understanding that your emotions are not you.. which is quite a problem for e4's. I would think that 5 wing could really help that along .. where as being a 4w3 can in ways, even emphasize the need to be a priority to the parner and the need for encouragement and validation. On the flip side I think that 3 wing can really be beneficial when it comes to accomplishing goals and maintaining relations.

    Anyhow, I'm going to include my experience with the different e-types when I get done working in a few.
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    my bf is a 4w5 i'd be interested in reading what you were reading.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    I bet that 4w5's are much less touchy and demanding in relations than the 4w3 (like myself) simply because part of what aid in e4 growth is the ability to detach from ones emotions and see things more objectively.. an understanding that your emotions are not you.. which is quite a problem for e4's. I would think that 5 wing could really help that along ..
    Think again...

    Not that you're hypothesis doesn't make sense, but it really all comes down to health level...



    Quote Originally Posted by Huxley3112 View Post
    On the flip side I think that 3 wing can really be beneficial when it comes to accomplishing goals and maintaining relations.
    Hmm...

    Interesting point...

    INTJ - 6w5, 8dw, 3w4 sx/so - xxxxxxx xxxx

    "I trust what you are doing though…I just see it a little differently.
    I don’t see it as you stepping away from the fire. I see it as the fire directing your course.
    No matter how airy or earthy or watery you become... to many of us you will always be...a super nova."
    ~
    "Behind these gates of seeming warmth sits, loosely chained, a fierce attack dog. Perhaps not crazy, but dangerous."


  10. #10
    Ginkgo
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    Don't forget the possibility that a wing 5 may just overintellectualize emotions to the point of inflating them as even bigger than emotions. Interestingly enough, sometimes 5s become attached to the idea of detachment; all of the enneagrams have that sort of self-undermining symmetry. In the end, the most important thing is the choices that an individual makes, which includes how they handle their feelings.

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