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  1. #1
    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Default How do you experience life as an Enneagram 4?

    We have a lot of Enneagram 4s on the forum and this type is a bit of a mystery to me. For those of you are 4s, can you explain how you experience life as a 4? How do you see the fixations/vices of a 4 - melancholy, fantasizing, envy - as distorting how you experience life on a day to day basis? How strong of an influence or grip do those things have on you?

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  2. #2
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    Pretty much something like this:


    A more sarcastic take on that general sense of being alone and not being fully understood, and sometimes meditating on the vanity and absurdity of reality. That's the stereotypical image, which has some elements of truth to varying degrees. I'm sure most E4s can relate to such in some ways. Of course the positive side can be a very enriching aesthetic appreciation and the wonders of reality and its beauty.

    In terms of E4 fixations. I certainly notice a tendency for them to blow things way out of proportions, making things seem worse than they really are(melancholy), but yet those times can also be times of deep inspiration and even personal transformation. So there's that push-pull struggle trying to balance it out.

    I know this is vague, but it's hard to fully explain some of this stuff.

  3. #3
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    We have a lot of Enneagram 4s on the forum and this type is a bit of a mystery to me. For those of you are 4s, can you explain how you experience life as a 4? How do you see the fixations/vices of a 4 - melancholy, fantasizing, envy - as distorting how you experience life on a day to day basis? How strong of an influence or grip do those things have on you?
    I feel sure to fail you with these questions.

    It's actually pretty ordinary - at least externally. There isn't a lot of emotional drama or pretentious proclamations, and there's a lot more humour.

    There's a lot of self-awareness and stepping outside myself - you can't just do things; you have to reflect on them (and on yourself doing them) as you do them. Even the banal is dissected and pondered.

    I spend a lot of time in my head connecting different thoughts together. I do get carried away in fantasies - when I'm doing something mindless alone (walking, waiting for a bus, showering etc) I usually am disappearing into one. I don't consider it a distortion; it's entertainment.

    I do think of depressing shit, but not in way that depresses me. I don't really envy much in everyday life - perhaps I do, but not it as constantly and overtly as people might imagine a 4 to. I do wish my life was better and that I could have the things I want. I do wonder about other people's lives and what the world looks like through their eyes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Pretty much something like this:
    Strike everything I said above - it's exactly like this. ^
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    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  4. #4
    Epiphany
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    I have a love/hate relationship with my enneatype - frequently more hate than love, I'm afraid. It's just not very practical in a professional world that doesn't value creativity. "But just get a job that suits your type," you say; well that's easier said than done, especially in this economy. I think I tend to exude a melancholic vibe, which isn't the best way to be sociable. I have to consciously convey a happier, lighthearted disposition so other people aren't put-off by it, socially and professionally. I wouldn't say that I am even depressed at this point in my life. I am much healthier now than I have been in the past. Envy doesn't necessarily play a huge factor in my ambitions that I am aware of. Can't think of anyone off the top of my head who I envy, but I definitely fantasize a lot about my aspirations and wish that I was more successful in certain areas. The grass is always greener, as they say. One thing I've noticed is that, on the employee bus ride from the parking lot to my work area, I tend to look out of the window, lost in contemplation. I rarely see other people gazing out of the windows, which surprises me. I figured it was a fairly common thing. And I rarely, if ever, engage in conversation when surrounded by a bunch of people I don't know.

  5. #5
    LL P. Stewie Beorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Pretty much something like this:
    I've always tried to believe I'm not really a four, but I can't deny it anymore after watching that.
    Take the weakest thing in you
    And then beat the bastards with it
    And always hold on when you get love
    So you can let go when you give it

  6. #6
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    As stated before by the others in this thread, I too feel somewhat stunted in my ability to 'do' stuff in real life. Things need to be mulled over, feel right, investigated and fit into a fantasy before executed. And that execution always somehow seems to butcher the dream anyways

    I too feel that my skillset isnt exactly useful to this world, and especially not in an economic sense which leads to dreaming, fantasizing and wistfulness. I think many of us are probably not aware that envy is something we definitely struggle with as it doesnt present in that seething, rage type of envy. It is more in that sighing it is what it is-kind of way, which promptly launches you into yet another fantasy world where things are just right.

    I remember talking to a friend who was in love with someone. Unlike anything she had ever felt before. And she couldn't explain why but it felt...'right'. Even if the situation itself was less than ideal and they still had a long way to sort things out. There was just this sense of...this is it. It was something she could not explain to her friends and family, she could not logically support or even find the words for to describe.

    When I told her that that feeling is something that I seek for in *everything*, from the smallest little detail in life to the biggest life events - that I felt incapable of moving forward unless I had that feeling of 'right', she finally understood. As great as it is to feel 'right' and find that right puzzle piece, the search is maddening. You have no parameters to narrow the search, no way to explain to others what you are looking for or why it is that crucial and you have no way of moving forward without that right piece in place. And life demands a *lot* of pieces in place to make it work right. There is just a feeling of right and wrong to judge whatever comes your way. And there is a lot of pieces that almost fit, but not quite.

    *warning, lyrical 4*

    In a way, I search for true love in every aspect of my life. It is a never-ending quest. And a lonely one, as friends, family and the outside world do not understand the yardstick you are working as there are so many other workable and more practical solutions to use in order to obtain your material goal. And unfortunately, there is no way to explain to them why it just does not work for you.

    /lament.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    We have a lot of Enneagram 4s on the forum and this type is a bit of a mystery to me. For those of you are 4s, can you explain how you experience life as a 4? How do you see the fixations/vices of a 4 - melancholy, fantasizing, envy - as distorting how you experience life on a day to day basis? How strong of an influence or grip do those things have on you?
    It comes and goes. For the past several years, I have maintained that I don't really get the envy thing. I'm happy when other people do well -- happy for them, and happy to see something go right in the universe in general. I thought somehow I was immune to the envy thing. Then I started hanging out in places where stay-at-home-moms with husbands who make good money hang out, and OH. MY. GOD. wow. I'm eaten up with envy. Sick with it. Hate my life because I've been working since I was 17 and I'll work until I die, can never afford to retire, can take days off but not a vacation because I can't afford to go anywhere, etc. etc. While they post things like "Why does fb make me approve pictures I post from my iphone? What if I have a shopping emergency and can't post a pic of my intended outfit to get comments on?" and I realize this person basically never has to go to work, never has to sweat the mortgage payment, it makes me sick with envy. I have to laugh at it, it's so extreme. It's painful. I can't make it go away so I have to live with it. (Objectively I realize there may be things in her life that I would not want, that nothing's ever as it seems, that I might be bored to tears with her life, etc., but there's an envy state I can't deny that is extremely powerful, nearly crippling, when it kicks in. Also, I like the person I referenced in the example. I just hate my life that I can never have even a little bit of that part of what she has.)

    Melancholy is just a form of beauty that happy people can't recognize, like the way other species see colors we can't see. Melancholy is comforting and soothing and familiar and good. I also prefer rain to sunny weather, and cold to hot, and slow, sad songs to fast, happy ones.

    I fantasize constantly, always have. Don't know what else to say about that. Seems just to be the way my brain works, making visions and inhabiting the visions.

    ETA: I just went back and read what others had written. I understand Amar's saying she searches for true love in everything. There's a state of bliss that once achieved, you keep searching for. Sometimes I wonder if it's like heroin. They say your first hit is what hooks you, that it will never be that good again, but you keep doing it, wanting to feel just like that one more time. I feel that way about most of my life. Slightly on edge, wishing for a state of bliss that I catch glimpses of or sometimes get for brief periods, wishing it could always be that way, thinking about what it would take to make it that way, fantasizing that it is that way, getting excited if someone else comes up with a plan for a better way and wanting to participate in the effort while simultaneously realizing it's futile and we're all dust in the wind, recalling Ozymandias, wondering what's the use. I wonder what's the use a lot. Then I wonder why I wonder, and wish I didn't care.

    Basically, something's always bothering me, and I'm always wishing it didn't. I feel out of joint with what I'm called upon to do and be in this life. I feel like I don't belong here, like somewhere there is a planet I came from where I do belong, and I'm constantly homesick for that place. I feel like just due to the fact of being a mortal on this planet, I can't fully express who I am. I feel confined and limited, or, to put it more like I experience it, crippled and imprisoned, by my life. And then I read all this and hate myself for being whiny. Totally understand Kurt Cobain, Sylvia Plath, et al, too, because how could it be otherwise.

  8. #8
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    It feels something like this:
    It's like climbing the highest mountain, and then diving from there into the ocean, it's the Icarus flight all over again, it's self-fulfilling prophecy set in motion.
    It's like immersing yourself in the world, running away the moment after, it's feeling broken and trapped and then comes the discovery of laughter.
    To sum up: when it's bad it's really bad, but then you discover most of it is in your head, and from then point on its awesome haha then you get to enjoy life at a level it seems only few are capable of

  9. #9
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    I feel out of joint with what I'm called upon to do and be in this life. I feel like I don't belong here, like somewhere there is a planet I came from where I do belong, and I'm constantly homesick for that place. I feel like just due to the fact of being a mortal on this planet, I can't fully express who I am. I feel confined and limited, or, to put it more like I experience it, crippled and imprisoned, by my life. And then I read all this and hate myself for being whiny. Totally understand Kurt Cobain, Sylvia Plath, et al, too, because how could it be otherwise.
    This.


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  10. #10
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Fwiw, I do find that that 'feeling of right' , that feeling of true love is achievable again. In a way...it is 'terraforming'. It is turning pieces of unavoidable reality into something that can support your alien life form. To find the right parameters in which you can exist. It can be tiresome,and seem insane, especially to others. And by god, it aint the easiest way through life, but once you are able to find enough pieces of 'right', you can put together a system of rights to work with as a tool, to the point where it becomes your ecosystem. In essence, you are building your own fantasy home world with its physics law of 'true love' in a dark and hostile world.

    After that, you develop departments. What I mean is...when it comes to the social department, my ecosystem is rather developed. Other departments are still in their infancy. The limitations of functioning in such an alien world, despite all your efforts are however extremely frustrating at times, much like in sci-fi movies where people are confined to small spaces where oxygen is actually distributed, while the rest of the planet isnt accessible to them.

    /crazy Ne-metaphor-mind.
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