Enneagram Type #4 – The Creative Individualist

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Enneagram Type 4 Supermoms

Enneagram Type 4 personalities are often known as “The Individualist” or “The Romantic.” Sensitive, creative, introspective, and unique, the enneagram type 4 craves authenticity and unique creative expression. 

  • Type 4s possess a rich inner world and often have a unique artistic sensibility. They are drawn to creative pursuits such as writing, music, art, or other forms of self-expression.
  • 4’s have a keen awareness of their own emotions and are often highly empathetic towards others. Their ability to feel deeply allows them to connect with the emotional experiences of those around them.
  • Type 4s value authenticity and genuineness, striving to live in alignment with their true selves. They are often unafraid to embrace their quirks, eccentricities, and vulnerabilities.
  • They have a natural inclination towards introspection and self-reflection, which can lead to profound insights and personal growth.
  • Type 4s are empathetic and compassionate towards others’ emotional struggles. They have a knack for understanding and validating the feelings of those around them.
  • They have a deep appreciation for beauty in all its forms, whether it’s found in art, nature, or human experiences.

Type 4s can be prone to experiencing intense emotional highs and lows, sometimes struggling with feelings of sadness, longing, or melancholy.

Parenting can often really help a 4’s tendency to indulge in self-pity or self-absorption. 

Type 4s may romanticize the past or fantasize about an idealized future, sometimes struggling to fully engage with the present moment.

Type 4s may struggle with feelings of envy or comparison, longing for what they perceive others to have or be. This can sometimes lead to a sense of dissatisfaction or discontentment.

4’s can have difficulty with criticism, taking it personally and feeling deeply wounded by even constructive feedback. Their sensitive nature can make them vulnerable to rejection or perceived slights.

Understanding these strengths and weaknesses can help Type 4s navigate their personal growth journey and cultivate more balanced and fulfilling lives.

 

Beth was a loving and devoted mom. One of those moms I envy because she was always coming up with fun creative ways to play with her kids. She made up stories and dressed up in costumes to act out skits. She played music and encouraged spontaneous sing-a-longs. Her Christmas presents were so creative and uniquely catered to each child. 

She was excited when her kids got the opportunity to travel for a month with their grandparents.

She had high aspirations for all she would accomplish while they were gone.

She was going to clean out closets and work on her creative art projects. 

But once they were gone, she felt lost. Her idealized plans for productivity quickly spiraled into feelings of inadequacy and despair. Hours and hours of time spent inside her head connected her with her melancholy and inner critic. She realized how much having kids around helped pull her outside of herself. 

Her month of melancholy made her start fearing her kids’ growing independence. She loved having her kids around and didn’t want to be clinging to their ankles as they went off to college. She was scared for her future so she decided to start a savings account for herself alongside the kids’ college tuition savings. When her youngest child got her driver’s license, she hired me to help her design an empty nest strategy. 

 

Enneagram Type 4’s rarely need help feeling their feelings, they need help taking action despite their feelings. 

 

Core Fear: Enneagram Type 4s fear being inadequate, defective, or emotionally empty. They dread feeling ordinary or mundane, striving instead to find a unique identity or significance that sets them apart from others.

Core Desire: The primary desire of Type 4s is to find their own sense of identity and authenticity. They long to be seen and understood for who they truly are, valuing self-expression and individuality above conformity.

Core Motivation: Enneagram Type 4s are motivated by a quest for self-discovery and self-expression. They seek to explore their inner worlds and emotions deeply, often using creative outlets to articulate their unique perspectives and experiences.

 

Angelica had open, loving and supportive relationships with her kids. She had no problem adjusting to her child who identified as non-binary. She encouraged all her kids to express themselves in the way that felt most authentic to them. New and creative outfits, hair coloring and artistic pursuits were valued in her home. 

But when one child wanted to attend Christian Sunday School with their friends she felt her values were being rejected. She viewed it as a desire to conform to peer pressure, making it mean she made the wrong decision in choosing where to raise her kids. When the other child wanted to go out for cheerleading, she believed she had completely failed as a mother. 

The 4’s tend to blame themselves when their kids don’t live up to expectations. They have idealized pictures of what life can and “should” be like and compare themselves to these idealized images, criticizing themselves harshly when it doesn’t match up. 

Angelica and I worked on letting go of “perfect pictures” and used her love of spontaneity to live in the present moment and meet her kids where they were each day. Instead of thinking she had “failed”, Angelica viewed her kids’ interests as “trying on new outfits to see which one fit”. The more she learned about her kids’ personalities as separate from hers, the less rejection she felt. 

The 4 personality type loves the deep and personal relationships they form with their kids. It can be a struggle when kids want to pull away and individuate. 

 

Questions to identify if you might be a 4

  1. When you feel something very strongly, do you hold on to  your emotinos intensely for long periods of time, constantly replaying your thoughts, feelings, and sensations? 
  2. Do you think of melancholy as a pleasurable experience?
  3. Do you continually search for deep connections with others and feel distraught when these connections become severed? 

 

Kryptonites that Type 4 Supermoms might face as parents:

  • Intensity of emotions: Type 4s are highly attuned to their emotions and may experience intense feelings on a regular basis. This emotional depth can be overwhelming for them and may make it challenging to regulate their emotions, especially in high-stress parenting situations.
  • Tendency towards melancholy: Fours are prone to experiencing periods of melancholy or sadness, which can affect their parenting style. They may struggle to maintain a positive and upbeat atmosphere in the home, especially during challenging times.
  • Focus on authenticity: Authenticity is crucial for Type 4s, and they may prioritize being true to themselves above all else. This focus on authenticity may clash with societal norms or expectations around parenting, leading to feelings of isolation or alienation. 
  • Comparison with idealized images: Fours often compare themselves to idealized images of what they believe they should be. As parents, they may struggle with feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt if they perceive themselves as falling short of their own or society’s expectations.
  • Difficulty with routine: Type 4s may resist or struggle with routine and structure, preferring spontaneity and flexibility. Establishing and maintaining consistent routines for their children may require extra effort and patience on their part.

 

What 4’s use life coaching for:

  • 4’s tend to BELIEVE what they FEEL.

When a 13 year old starts closing their bedroom door for privacy, a 4 may take it as a personal rejection. When a 4 feels rejected, they interpret it as rejection. I help them de-personalize their kid’s behavior by understanding their child’s unique personality (as separate from mom) and understanding typical teen behavior. 

  • Offering a logical, practical outsiders perspective is very helpful for these moody 4’s.

Asking questions like, “Are you absolutely sure that thought is true?” “How would you know if you have ‘ruined your kids’?” Could the opposite be just as true if not truer?” Pulling 4’s out of their negative emotions and into the logical part of their brain is a HUGE benefit for these emotionally intense 4’s. 

  • To help them find time for creative expression.

The demands of motherhood can consume all moms, but especially Enneagram type 4’s who feel and think deeply and intensely. Carving out time for themselves is KEY to helping Supermom stay sane in the land of crazy. 

  • To tame the inner critic! 4’s are so hard on themselves!

They seem to have an unbalanced perception of reality, taking negative feedback as confirmation that something is wrong with them and quickly rejecting positive feedback. 4’s can lack effective filters to help determine whether a negative perception is accurate. Having an outsider offer a balanced perspective is invaluable. 

  • To help moms feel connected to their growing adolescents without having to constantly engage in deep, meaningful interactions.

To let go and trust that it’s enough. 

  • To feel more capable of making things happen and to manifest their dreams rather than feeling things are happening TO them.

4’s tend to put off things that feel uninteresting or mundane allowing small things to pile up. Life coaches can help 4’s create and stick to a plan for accomplishing tasks. 

 

Small action steps 4’s can take today: 

  1. Deliberately think positive thoughts about yourself and others. Look in the mirror and say something nice. Brag about something good you did in your journal. Then select another person to think positively about without making any comparisons to yourself. 
  2. Take action from your values instead of your emotions. If you are feeling too emotionally overwhelmed to tackle your to do list, acknowledge the emotions but stay in charge of yourself. Ask yourself, “Which do I value more: staying in bed because of overwhelming emotions or getting things done despite my emotions?” “If my kids didn’t want to go to school or dance because they felt sad, would I suggest they go anyway hoping the social activity or physical release would help?” 
  3. Prioritize mental clarity and taking care of business. You are great at connecting with your emotions, creativity and empathy, but there are certain aspects of life that benefit from structure. If you find yourself dwelling in negative emotions, focus your attention on others. How can addressing this ‘boring” task benefit my family?

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