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Multiple Enneagram Subtypes/Instincts Type 4 Enneagram Instinctual Subtypes

highlander

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INTJ
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6w5
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
Posted with permission from Ocean Moonshine.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype Four

Self-pres/Social


This subtype is the least volatile and fiery of the type Four stackings. They can resemble type One in terms of their efficiency and practicality. Although their focus will be more on the emotional aesthetic, these Fours do have a considerable practical side. Less flashy than some of the subtypes of Four, they nevertheless have a quiet charm and developed sense of style. They are likely to value their possessions, to perhaps collect items of personal emotional significance. They may, for instance, have shelves and shelves of books and have a place for each book. This subtype can also resemble type Six in terms of having a great deal of anxiety. This anxiety often revolves around self-pres concerns such as those surrounding health issues and mortality. Their strong self-pres instinct also lends a degree of independence to this subtype. As the sexual instinct is least pronounced, this subtype of Four is prone to romanticize intimacy without actually pursuing real relationships. When healthy, these Fours can be very productive; when less healthy they might suffer from boughts of melancholy or self pity. The strong self-pres instinct however often helps these individuals to recognize how their state of mind is impacting their health and well being. This enables them to become action oriented.

Self/Sexual

This subtype also cares very much about their surroundings and their possessions. They feel as if these things help to express who they are. There is more of a passionate sense about them as compared to the self/soc. They have more of a sensual relationship with their environment. These Fours are much more tortured by their difficulty with respect to maintaining close relationships. The self-preservational instinct tends to be in conflict with the sexual instinct, causing this subtype to habitually analyze their relationships to the point where they find it difficult to be present to them. When unhealthy, these Fours can become very disdainful of the social environment. They also start to envy the ease with which others seem to form relationships and maintain friendships. When Fours of this subtype are healthy, they find that they can form relationships without feeling as though they are sacrificing authenticity. They no longer feel that they have to automatically define themselves as “different from others,” as outside the group. They are able to see the ways in which their emotionality might cloud their better judgment and to use that insight to establish equilibrium.

Social/Self-pres

This subtype can mimic type One when it comes to social values. They can be harsh critics of the current mores. They have romantic ideals of what the world should be like; reality always falls short. Ironically, this type can be the most withdrawn of the Fours. Social anxiety combines with the Four’s shame issues to make this type feel that the pressure associated with “fitting in” is just not worth it. They are also the most likely of the Fours to intellectualize their emotions and in this way resemble type Five.

The social instinct tends to give the personality a focus on being included, fitting in, or finding a way to make a valued contribution. This agenda conflicts with the Four’s sense of being “different from” or “other than.” The Four’s need to establish a separate identity conflicts with the social instinct’s drive towards inclusion. The social Four often deals with this dilemma by defining themselves as being outside the social system. By defining themselves always in terms of the system, even if it is to establish distance, this Four stays essentially tied to it. Fours with the social/self-pres stacking tend to acutely feel a sense of social shame at not quite belonging.

When this subtype is reasonably healthy, they are often gifted critics of the prevailing culture. They develop true insight into social dynamics and have an eye for the nuances and subtleties of social interactions. Many Four writers are soc/self.

Social/Sexual

This is overall the “lightest” type Four when it comes to social interaction. They are likely to utilize charm and humor. This type is more scattered and can be down right disorganized. They can drift through life always feeling like an outsider, yet they usually have friends. They can alternate from being the life of the party to withdrawing. Intimates will know of their insecurities and dark moody side while acquaintances will see a softer, friendlier side. This subtype’s energy is geared towards people, but they never feel as though they really fit in. They are often quite creative, talented people who have many interests, but they frequently lack the energy to actually accomplish what they would like. They can drift and withdraw very easily. When healthy and with the right support from friends (and perhaps a little push) they tap into their instinctual energy. When they do this, they begin to see how much they can accomplish. A positive connection to others helps them stay focused.

Sexual/Self-pres

This is a very volatile type. They are driven to form connections but have very high demands of their partners. When their powerful fantasies don’t match reality, they become very restless. They take the fire and passion of the sexual instinct and turn it inward. This can cause both brooding and fiery outbursts. Dramatic mood swings are very likely with this type. This subtype of Four could be considered the most classic Four, because of the way they seem to embody the archetype of the tortured artist, although not all Fours of this subtype are artists. Stereotype aside, this subtype does tend to bring their emotions into focus more readily then the other subtypes of Four. What is under the surface with the self-pres/sexual is now bubbling to the surface. This subtype can resemble type Seven because of their drama, passion for experience and tendency to suffer from frustration when life seems dull. Like type Seven, they can seem to throw themselves into experience.

When healthy, this subtype learns to balance the need for passion with the less obvious need for groundedness which can come from solid and focused relationships with others and with their creative outlets.

Sexual/Social

This subtype is able to connect with others and with life itself, but always with an undertone of volatility and a tendency to dramatize. They are the most involved and connected of the subtypes of Four. They can go from relationship to relationship, seemingly tortured by each one. They are the most driven of the subtypes of Four to express themselves publicly and type Four celebrities are commonly found with this stacking. This subtype has a real difficulty remaining grounded, partly due to the undeveloped self-pres instinct. Although they can appear almost Eight-like at times with their lust for life and desire for passionate experience, they lack the focus of the Eight and the instinctual energy that would keep them grounded. Sometimes alcohol or substance abuse can be a problem. These Fours become more healthy when they learn to control their impulsiveness and focus their energies.
 
Last edited:

small.wonder

So she did.
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Feb 8, 2013
Messages
965
Enneagram
4w5
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sx/so
I think my first two instincts are quite close because I can relate to both the Sp/Sx and Sx/Sp descriptions. I do definitely tend to let my emotional reactions come out of me (or "bubble to the surface" as the Sx/Sp description puts is) and I don't struggle to maintain close relationships or overly value possessions. One of the Sp/Sx traits I do find spot on though, is "sensual relationship with environment"-- totally!

Sx/Sp
 

Galena

Silver and Lead
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Messages
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sx/so
Self-pres/Social

This subtype is the least volatile and fiery of the type Four stackings. They can resemble type One in terms of their efficiency and practicality. Although their focus will be more on the emotional aesthetic, these Fours do have a considerable practical side. Less flashy than some of the subtypes of Four, they nevertheless have a quiet charm and developed sense of style. They are likely to value their possessions, to perhaps collect items of personal emotional significance. They may, for instance, have shelves and shelves of books and have a place for each book. This subtype can also resemble type Six in terms of having a great deal of anxiety. This anxiety often revolves around self-pres concerns such as those surrounding health issues and mortality. Their strong self-pres instinct also lends a degree of independence to this subtype. As the sexual instinct is least pronounced, this subtype of Four is prone to romanticize intimacy without actually pursuing real relationships. When healthy, these Fours can be very productive; when less healthy they might suffer from boughts of melancholy or self pity. The strong self-pres instinct however often helps these individuals to recognize how their state of mind is impacting their health and well being. This enables them to become action oriented.
Remind me to return to this the next time I wonder about my instinctual typing.
 

Nara

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Posted with permission from Ocean Moonshine.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype Four


Social/Sexual

This is overall the “lightest” type Four when it comes to social interaction. They are likely to utilize charm and humor. This type is more scattered and can be down right disorganized. They can drift through life always feeling like an outsider, yet they usually have friends. They can alternate from being the life of the party to withdrawing. Intimates will know of their insecurities and dark moody side while acquaintances will see a softer, friendlier side. This subtype’s energy is geared towards people, but they never feel as though they really fit in. They are often quite creative, talented people who have many interests, but they frequently lack the energy to actually accomplish what they would like. They can drift and withdraw very easily. When healthy and with the right support from friends (and perhaps a little push) they tap into their instinctual energy. When they do this, they begin to see how much they can accomplish. A positive connection to others helps them stay focused.


Wow. True, from the beginning to the end. Thanks.

I was wondering if it was normal to test as 1 from time to time since I get disciplined and focused to achieve important projects, but now it makes sense (especially the part about healthy 4s when they have the "positive connection to others" and "right support" to stay on track).
 

Riva

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Reading about enneagrms always leave me wondering where the fuck i belong.
 

Qlip

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Instinctual Variant
sp/sx
Self/Sexual

This subtype also cares very much about their surroundings and their possessions. They feel as if these things help to express who they are. There is more of a passionate sense about them as compared to the self/soc. They have more of a sensual relationship with their environment. These Fours are much more tortured by their difficulty with respect to maintaining close relationships. The self-preservational instinct tends to be in conflict with the sexual instinct, causing this subtype to habitually analyze their relationships to the point where they find it difficult to be present to them. When unhealthy, these Fours can become very disdainful of the social environment. They also start to envy the ease with which others seem to form relationships and maintain friendships. When Fours of this subtype are healthy, they find that they can form relationships without feeling as though they are sacrificing authenticity. They no longer feel that they have to automatically define themselves as “different from others,” as outside the group. They are able to see the ways in which their emotionality might cloud their better judgment and to use that insight to establish equilibrium.

This desc seems very wide of the mark. It feels like it was written by somebody who has never met one of us, and managed to theorize something up. This one resonates with me:

Self-Preservation 4: Dauntlessness
The term given by Ichazo for Self-preservation Fours is defensive action, as opposed to dauntlessness, which Naranjo associated with this subtype. Ichazo, quoted by John Lilly and Joseph Hart, defines defensive action as "protecting one's dream of the future." Rather than be limited by their circumstances, they wil rashly go after what they want and feel that they must have to survive. They take action to preserve themselves but do not consider the consequences, and actually put their survival in peril. A Self-preservation Four might, for instance, buy herself all sorts of beautiful things that she feels she can't live without, and end up sliding deeply into debt. Or, feeling unable to bear the constraints of a boring job, she might throw caution to the wind and on the spur of the moment buy herself a ticket to some exotic island. The passion of envy manifests here as wanting the security and material gratificatons others seem to possess, and recklessly striking out to get them.
 

Redbone

Orisha
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sx/sp
This desc seems very wide of the mark. It feels like it was written by somebody who has never met one of us, and managed to theorize something up. This one resonates with me:

That "Dauntless" description hit me right in the heart. I wish I had read it a while ago...
 

Qlip

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sp/sx
That "Dauntless" description hit me right in the heart. I wish I had read it a while ago...

It's the one that did it for me as well. 4's have surprising expressions of their subtypes and 4s of different subtypes are wildly divergent creatures.
 

OrangeAppled

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This sp 4 description actually sounds like a lot of stereotypes misapplied to sx types.
The person seeks intense, exciting, extraordinary experiences, and they may take risks to get them.
The sp 4 is the "classic artistic temperament", probably even best applied to sp/sx than sp/so.

Ignore the mistyping of Dennis Rodman (just take it as illustrative):
Enneagram Central - Subtype Four Self Preservation

The so 4 description is least relatable to me, although still quite relatable. Instead of distinct subtypes, I see people as leaning a certain way with the instincts though, so that it may be more of a spectrum.


EDIT:
These parts really hit home for me:

"Remember the starting point for understanding Fours is Envy. Emotionally that means that Fours see themselves as defective. They turn that defect into a badge of entitlement as way to get what they have coming to them. Everybody has it better, so they should get compensated."

"The compulsion is to spice things up in order to make sure that I am special. To avoid the ordinary, Self-Preservation Fours take reckless chances, are drawn to the bizarre, even death, and see their lives as catastrophes. An Enneagram coach might reframe a chronicle of emotional turmoil as bragging: "I have more turmoil than anyone." "

"Where's the drama, the emotional intensity, the juice? Self-Preservation types of all numbers have a stronger physical preoccupation than the others, so their risks, their exploits, their flamboyancies tend to be more physical."

"Depression is one way of anticipating death. If I rehearse death through feeling dead, then I will be able to handle it when it really happens. If I can go to the depths and deaths of depression and recover, I'll get the hang of it so when I die... And during the process, at least I'm involved in something important, something of a life-and-death issue. And if I'm involved in this important struggle, I certainly am not just numbly going through life."

"lament your state as though everything were God's fault."

"The specific way the self is under attack in the Four strategy is through dull, unimaginative, unrelenting ordinariness. One might as well be dead as stuck here in this (small town, boring relationship, monotonous job) environment. Life without emotional intensity is not really life."

"The worst case scenario of a depressed Self-Preservation Four is, of course, suicide. Read Hamlet's soliloquy from the point of view of a Self-Preservation Four and it is quite enlightening. The fundamental question of a Self-Preservation is being: how to be, and more radically, whether to be or not to be."

"If that dramatic struggle is an artistic one, they can do without everything but the barest survival necessities while they devote themselves to completing the great American novel or the finest in impressionist painting. The intensity of the struggle contributes to the greatness of the art. This is the artistic temperament. "
 

Qlip

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[MENTION=6561]OrangeAppled[/MENTION]

If your interests are more esthetic, you can follow the adventures of Nicholas Cage, with his motorcycle exploits and flamboyant lifestyle.

lol

It's a really great description. I actually identify with a lot of what you highlighted. Except I disagree in a sideways way with the whole turmoil bragging, and very literal death centered motivation explanations. I think they're only slightly off the mark because it's practically unquestioned when 'death' is substituted for 'fear'.

I see and am proud of my capacity for bearing turmoil, because it affirms my ability to take on whatever needs to be done and to survive it, not because it makes me better than the plebs. And it's only a death rehearsal if your greatest fear is death, my fears are more mundane.

I may have developed slightly different than other 4s, though... making me even more special. ;)
 

OrangeAppled

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It's a really great description. I actually identify with a lot of what you highlighted. Except I disagree in a sideways way with the whole turmoil bragging, and very literal death centered motivation explanations. I think they're only slightly off the mark because it's practically unquestioned when 'death' is substituted for 'fear'.

I see and am proud of my capacity for bearing turmoil, because it affirms my ability to take on whatever needs to be done and to survive it, not because it makes me better than the plebs. And it's only a death rehearsal if your greatest fear is death, my fears are more mundane.

I may have developed slightly different than other 4s, though... making me even more special. ;)

I think "death" is more about fearing stillness & its associated mediocrity, and fearing not fulfilling one's potential due to being finite & not having had the time/opportunity (wasting one's life on ordinariness). I don't think its a physical fear of the death experience.

The "death rehearsal" thing is familiar to me. It's a withdrawing and numbing out, even as I crave more passion & excitement in life, because I feel sort of fated to "life passing me by" and succumbing to total obscurity. I may reduce myself to the bare minimum - eat as little as needed to stave off hunger, sleep a lot or very little & without regularity, mope around in PJs and don't shower, do almost nothing but fantasize and think...and in a rough period I could do that for days on end, weeks even. But the other side of sp is to be resilient, to suddenly conquer that "death" and move into action again, which can be destructive if you're impulsively grabbing at things to induce change & its associated excitement.

I don't brag about inner turmoil nor feel superior for it, but like many 4s, I may assume I have more of it. Being able to uncover others' inner experience & note similarities with my own has been a comfort; I feel less alien. But then I can feel bad for NOT conquering the turmoil they seem to have also & functioning in spite of, so I think I go back to convincing myself I have more of it :p.
 

Qlip

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I think "death" is more about fearing stillness & its associated mediocrity, and fearing not fulfilling one's potential due to being finite & not having had the time/opportunity (wasting one's life on ordinariness). I don't think its a physical fear of the death experience.

The "death rehearsal" thing is familiar to me. It's a withdrawing and numbing out, even as I crave more passion & excitement in life, because I feel sort of fated to "life passing me by" and succumbing to total obscurity. I may reduce myself to the bare minimum - eat as little as needed to stave off hunger, sleep a lot or very little & without regularity, mope around in PJs and don't shower, do almost nothing but fantasize and think...and in a rough period I could do that for days on end, weeks even. But the other side of sp is to be resilient, to suddenly conquer that "death" and move into action again, which can be destructive if you're impulsively grabbing at things to induce change & its associated excitement.

I don't brag about inner turmoil nor feel superior for it, but like many 4s, I may assume I have more of it. Being able to uncover others' inner experience & note similarities with my own has been a comfort; I feel less alien. But then I can feel bad for NOT conquering the turmoil they seem to have also & functioning in spite of, so I think I go back to convincing myself I have more of it :p.

Ah, I'm not sure if I've always felt this way, but I've always fought for some sort of transcendence through achieving meaning, which I suppose is an escape from death if death is some sort of archetypical stillness, like entropy. Intellectually I see myself as fighting off entropy with the battle itself being transcending in the face of inevitable defeat. I know it sounds very grandiose, but this is my heroic journey in the act of getting out of bed.

I don't identify with the "death rehearsal" at all, but I have a feeling that the death rehearsal is tied to what your conception of meaningless is. Mine is a more active meaninglessness, and in that case my death rehearsal is a willing decent into nonsense, things that exist but have no place, a kind of minor insanity. I bounce back, like you do and am renewed.

I wonder if this is an analog to your death rehearsal, and if so are the differences due to a cosmology, or I/E?
 

OrangeAppled

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Ah, I'm not sure if I've always felt this way, but I've always fought for some sort of transcendence through achieving meaning, which I suppose is an escape from death if death is some sort of archetypical stillness, like entropy. Intellectually I see myself as fighting off entropy with the battle itself being transcending in the face of inevitable defeat. I know it sounds very grandiose, but this is my heroic journey in the act of getting out of bed.

I don't identify with the "death rehearsal" at all, but I have a feeling that the death rehearsal is tied to what your conception of meaningless is. Mine is a more active meaninglessness, and in that case my death rehearsal is a willing decent into nonsense, things that exist but have no place, a kind of minor insanity. I bounce back, like you do and am renewed.

I wonder if this is an analog to your death rehearsal, and if so are the differences due to a cosmology, or I/E?

I think the introversion/extroversion difference makes sense here, yeah. I withdraw into the Fi cocoon & you get caught up in Ne nonsense.

Plus insert obligatory "everyone is an individual" comment :p.

And "the heroic joinery in the act of getting out of bead" - ha! Isn't that what it feels like :X
 

Qlip

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I think the introversion/extroversion difference makes sense here, yeah. I withdraw into the Fi cocoon & you get caught up in Ne nonsense.

Plus insert obligatory "everyone is an individual" comment :p.

And "the heroic joinery in the act of getting out of bead" - ha! Isn't that what it feels like :X

Hah, I just caught that... bedazzlingly disjointed.
 

Fay

I am
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This is quite complicated thing for me to pick.. I feel like mostly relating to all of the descriptions. Perhaps so/sp or so/sx fits best, but it's really difficult to tell based on these characteristics.
 

draon9

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If you want to listen to enneagram 4 music, I suggest you listen to ice earth fourth album dark saga
 

VILLANELLE

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Their strong self-pres instinct also lends a degree of independence to this subtype. As the sexual instinct is least pronounced, this subtype of Four is prone to romanticize intimacy without actually pursuing real relationships. When healthy, these Fours can be very productive; when less healthy they might suffer from boughts of melancholy or self pity. The strong self-pres instinct however often helps these individuals to recognize how their state of mind is impacting their health and well being. This enables them to become action oriented.

This is me to a T.
 

Pessimistic Hippie

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I know I'm either sx/so 4 or sx/sp 4, but it's interesting how both look like Assertive types at times due to the sx-energy, according to this.

Because I think I tend to look more 8-ish, going with that for now.
 
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