Core Fears of the Four:
The core fears are of being inadequate, emotionally cut off, commonplace, and abandoned.
The preceding core fears have been identified by many Enneagram researchers through the years and were explored more deeply by Katherine and David Fauvre during their groundbreaking research on the Enneagram in 1995 and 1996.
The Fours primary fears all center around the need to be seen as unique and special, thus feeling inadequate is the primary way in which the Four will be triggered into feelings of sadness and despair. To be inadequate would mean that they are indeed not special and that others see them just as they see everyone else. Being seen as commonplace is part and parcel to feelings of inadequacy because fours spend a great deal of time (whether consciously or unconsciously) seeking to be seen as unique. Feedback that they are commonplace would undermine the Fours psychic efforts to stand apart.
The fear of being emotionally cut off is really a fear of having the "juice" of life removed. In many ways the Four is constantly crying for attention (whether this is an overt cry or a stoic internal wailing) and thus once they stop crying, they must face the reality that no one is going to satiate the longing for attention. Life is dramatized as a way to keep emotions running high, but much of this happens internally (unlike the Two who is more extroverted and emotional) and thus people may register an emotional resonance with the Four but rarely see the full range of their emotional responses. Without the juice of emotion, life would be flat, in the Four's eyes.
The fear of abandonment reinforces the belief that they will never be rescued and causes the Four to drop into deep emotional despair. Fours possess an internal hunger for the mother to hear their cries and rescue them. This has been described quite vividly by Fours in psychotherapy doing familial work. The fear of abandonment comes from the belief that as children they cried hopelessly for the mother to come and feed them, rescue them, and comfort them but fearing that the mother would never come and thus life is lived in a way so as to avoid being abandoned by the archetypal mother. However, underneath the belief is that one will never get what they want and will not be satisfied, so the crying continues internally. Whatever the case, to be abandoned would be to reinforce the belief that there was something inherently wrong with them, that causes others to leave.
The core triggers for the Four are feelingflawed or inadequate, which will likely bring about despair and feelings of alienation about being different.
Healthy Fours exemplify the high side of introspection and self-discovery. Healthy Fours have plumbed the depths of their emotions and discovered all parts of themselves without exclusion and thus can openly accept others wholly and fully without judgment. Healthy Fours make great therapists and counselors simply because they can hold the space of emotional discovery without the need to cover over it. On the high side, Fours have discovered their own innate uniqueness and that that uniqueness is present in all beings and so the need to over-state or dramatize that uniqueness becomes unnecessary. There is a grace in the way the Four recognizes the beauty in even the most mundane of things and they do not reject experiences or others due to their apparent ordinariness. Highly intuitive, healthy Fours communicate a sense of understanding to others.
Fours possess a variety of gifts that present themselves when the Four is more self aware, including the ability to see others for their unique contribution to the world. Fours can see the aesthetic beauty in the world in all things and seek to remind others that beauty is all around even in what others might consider ugliness. The Four can inspire others to search themselves and express whatever is found openly and without judgment.
If the ego needs of the Four go unmet for long they may begin to express some of the more fixated patterns of this type. Average function Fours find that they cannot maintain a sense of self without a constant search for emotional intensity. Thus Fours may begin to search for ways to get their emotional needs met by playing out internal dramas in their minds or establishing tumultuous relationships with others in order to drain those interactions of emotional juice. Fours may begin to create a wider gap between the actual self and the idealized self and despair at ever reaching the idealized state and thus fall into depression and anger over their perceived flaws. Fours will begin to retreat into the self and allow others little aspect to their true selves for fear of rejection and thus can become quite shy or even reclusive out of fear of abandonment. Unhealthy Fours may become incredibly envious of others and their apparent happiness and normalcy and consequently become spiteful and hateful toward others whom they believe are not seeing the Four for their true specialness. Lower functioning Fours may fall into deep depressions about their perceived flaws and chastise or punish others for not treating them appropriately.
Spiritual Journey for the Four
As the Four progresses on the spiritual path they begin to recognize the value of emotional equilibrium and the peace it can bring. The search for emotional intensity gives way to the ability to sit with emotional states without dramatized narratives. The Four begins to let go of the past through recognizing that it is over, and that no amount of past recall will change what has occurred. Through forgiveness of self and others the Four can tap into the internal reservoir of anger hiding beneath their melancholy sadness and recognize that those in their pasts that they believe ignored or hurt them were doing the best they could at the time. There is no longer a need to bolster a sense of being tragically flawed because the Four has recognized that underneath the very human foibles of life lies the beauty of essence. Uncovering and dealing with their true sense of abandonment (the abandonment of God, Spirit or the Divine) will allow the Four to recognize that through self-abandonment the Four has sought to recreate the perennial loss they have been mourning for their whole lives.
Spiritually, the Four allows for the possibility that everyone is unique and wholly the same, and does not find this realization terrifying but rather confirmation of their own placement in the Grand Scheme. There is no longer a rejection of that which is normal, mundane or ordinary because through the mundane the Four is able to see the true beauty of all things without adding or subtracting to them in order to make them fit their internal standards. A healthy and ironic sense of humor develops that allows others to laugh at the absurd beauty of life along with them while simultaneously honoring arising emotions without giving them any importance. In fact, emotions are no more important than the thoughts that pass through and are seen for their transient and ephemeral nature and not dwelt upon as fuel for dramatic internal fires.
Fours possess the keen gift of insight and are able to provide the higher perspective on matters while remaining tethered to the Earth. The Four is as in love with the divine side of life as they are with the earthly side and seeks to fuse the two through beauty and creative expression. Whether this expresses itself through actual artistic creation or through service the Four remembers that the path to freedom is through true service to others. Self-absorption is transcended in favor of inclusion and envy is replaced with gratitude for the Fours contribution to the world. In fact, it is through action that the Four reconnects with their wounded child and gives that child the nurturing it needs through connection to others.
Grace for the Four comes through recognizing the value of their own unique worth as a facet of being and that the very essence that makes them special is inherent in all things. Through insight comes understanding which leads to higher and higher states of love and compassion.