Enneagram Type 4 - The Romantic
Discussion with Janette Blakemore, Rosemarie Morgan-Watson and Phil Dickinson
Moderated by Iain McNay
Iain: Hello and welcome again to conscious tv. I'm Iain McNay and today we have a program again in our series on the Enneagram and this is about type 4. I have three people in the studio with me who are type 4's. We have Janette, Phil and Rosemarie; welcome guys. So maybe let’s start with you Janette, if I can ask you how you first heard about the Enneagram.
Janette: I first came across the Enneagram in the early part of 1998 when I was working in the training and development area and I actually went on a week long course in Bristol. I absolutely loved it. Straight away, I knew it was one of the models for me.
Iain: What did you love about it?
Janette: What I loved about it was, that for a long time I'd felt that our personal and spiritual journeys were one and the same thing. They were kind of part of the same continuum. But I hadn't found a model, a tool that brought those two together in a very conscious way. So, when I came across the Enneagram, here at last was something that helped us, both on our personal and spiritual journeys. I was just so excited that here was a model that really reflected something that I had been thinking about for quite a while, was needed and, here it is. It really spoke to me deeply.
Iain: OK, so what is the Enneagram then?
Janette: The Enneagram is a geometric figure. If you think about the word itself, ennea is from the Greek word for 9 and gram is for diagram. So it literally means nine points on the figure. The Enneagram can be used in many different ways. The way we are focusing on today for this program, is looking at personality types. But the Enneagram can be used as a model to understand many different things. So for example Gurdjieff, who brought the model to the West in the early 1900's, looked at using the Enneagram to understand complex systems such as the universe and how all of that works. But today, we are working with the personality types. What that means is that the Enneagram can really help us understand ourselves and others in quite a deep way. So, it helps us understand our deep motivations and also both our limitations and our potential and I know we will be talking about that a bit later. Unlike a lot of tools in this personality area, the enneagram doesn't put us into a box. In fact it shows us the box we put ourselves in unconsciously, most of the time and most importantly, it shows us the way out of that. So it's very powerful in that sense.
Iain: Let's just briefly have the story of how you guys also first heard of the Enneagram.
Rosemarie: Well, for me it was through my husband. He was on another training and those trainers were interested in the Enneagram. They held a weekend course and my husband said, "Let's go". We went along and thoroughly enjoyed that, but in fact my husband was also doing training and got very deeply involved in it. I was not so enamored at the beginning, as Janette has been describing. There was a curiosity, but it was only about… “Hmm that’s interesting”. But then it kind of grew because I recognised how powerful it actually is and I like the dynamic quality of the Enneagram.
Iain: How quickly did you recognize your type?
Rosemarie: Fairly quickly. I made a few other detours before I got to 4, probably one other particularly, but when I did the questionnaire it came out quite strongly.
Iain: It is quite remarkable how it kind of, not exactly nails you down, but it does give you a pretty good indication, when you really look.
Rosemarie: Yes, but it wasn't the one I went to immediately [laughs].
Iain: Phil, what's your story, with the Enneagram?
Phil: I came across it at a very similar time to Janette, sort of late 90's. Having done a lot of work with other personality types, I had been teaching Myers Briggs for quite a long time which is very valuable for what it is and I think the Enneagram brings something different. I think to understand our complexity, the more maps we have to understand that complexity, the better. I don't believe any one [tool] is absolutely... "Oh that's the one." For me the Enneagram brings something that Jungian type doesn't. More around the growth areas. I think for me, it was a route into more of a spiritual journey. Whether it's turned out that way or not, I don't know [laughs] but at the time, that is what I was looking for.
Iain: How did you feel when you found out you were a type 4?
Phil: Reassured, I think, because, for me, what was very powerful is the small little examples of behavior. I mean, sometimes when you read the type 4 description I think, “Well, I’m not sure”, but, actually when you look at the underlying motivations and you see where your own habits of behaviour are coming from, that's actually very powerful. It's always easy to do something about, but it's to realise when you are sitting there, every single moment, not quite being satisfied with how that moment is, then that's the type 4 motivation.
Iain: OK, so for people who are watching this program and don't know much, or anything about the Enneagram and they want to know if they are a type 4 or not, what would you say are the main characteristics of the personality type of the 4?
Phil: If I just carry on. In every moment, no matter how ideal you think that is, you are always thinking, “And it could be better”. It's the inability to sit with exactly what is and just enjoy it. So for example, I was on the Isle of Wight yesterday and yes, OK, it was chucking it down with rain and I was visiting an artist, a potter I know. I was fascinated with her work and what was constantly going through my mind is, “And I wish I was doing that and I have missed that opportunity”. Instead of actually just delighting in the engagement with that person and staying with it, it's the sort of “Gosh isn't this fantastic and why (clenches fists in frustration) am I not doing it?” That's the habit.
Iain: To some extent we all feel that, at different times. I am not a type 4 and I still feel that.
Phil: Yes, I am not sure what everyone else feels [laughing], but for me it's particularly the longing bit you read.
Iain: So for you particularly it was the longing that you are connecting with…
Phil: Yes, that can be at a huge level, or it can be just in that moment. Just not being satisfied with exactly what’s happening.
Rosemarie: Yes, I recognise much more in the past now, how I would look and envy other people for, "Oh they have got this" or "They have got that" and “They seem to have got it together, why haven't I got it together?” I recognise that part of it. It's quite difficult when you look into your past and that’s perhaps another thing as a 4, I tend to look back a lot at what has been and dug into what has been. But this sort of not enjoying things in the moment, I would say I do enjoy things in the moment, but not all the time. It's difficult to put all these things... it's like Janette saying about boxes. Often for me, it's a moving goal post all the time. So talking about it now, I know when I was younger I would have been much more fixed in always looking for certain things and feeling a bit hard done by and... "Oh, why haven't I got that?" But that has changed, I am able to take a different perspective nowadays.
Iain: So it's like the grass is always greener on the other side of the hill. Is that the type of feeling sometimes for you?
Janette: Grass is always greener… (thinking) To some extent... to some extent.
Phil: I think when you say “Sometimes” (looks to Rosemarie) that's important. You know, we are not always locked into that habit of behaviour all the time. I think one of the advantages of the Enneagram is being able to recognize, "Oh hang on a minute that's the type [expressing itself] so stay with what is." So yes, there are times when we can just be with the moment and other times we take ourselves away from it unnecessarily.
Iain: Janette, what input do you have?
Janette: I think the sensitivity and introspection of the 4 are really key for me and how that plays out for me is, I remember as a child and still now, but certainly as a child; one of the things that used to puzzle me was how affected I was by things. I used to be very emotional at sad stories or hymns in school, I would be crying when everyone else wasn't and I didn't understand why I was so affected. And of course immediately - this is another characteristic of the 4 - I turned it in on myself and I was the one who was wrong, there was something missing in me or different about me that didn't quite fit. I think this is another aspect of the 4, that we look at the world and there is an instant comparison, usually on the whole, a more negative comparison. As Rosemarie was saying of, “They have got it and I haven't” …there is something missing in my own way of being. Not, they have got it in the sense of they have got a nice car, or a lovely suit, it's something about their way of being in the world that as 4s we can often envy and often compare and that then turns in on ourselves in quite a negative way. So that’s just one of the patterns and there are other things around feeling unique and special and different and again that being a double-edged sword. Of course we all are, every sentient being on the planet is unique and special and different but from a 4 perspective it's often that there is something set apart about me. There is something that is not quite fitting in with other people and if I am an average 4 then that becomes my identity, that becomes, I move away from other people, I don't move towards other people. This is a key element of a 4, I create a whole internal world around that, around my feelings, so other types might say I think therefore I am; with 4s it's I feel, therefore I am. My feelings are my whole arbiter of how I am in the world so my feelings start to - if I am not careful, if I am not present and awake - take over and take me further and further away from reality, from the reality of engaging with you, with being here. I am off in some usually quite negative fantasy about what is actually going on in relation to me, in relation to my inadequacy.
Iain: Yes, it's interesting. We made a program earlier today with type 7 and they are very feeling-orientated, but their feelings seem to come out. It seems the difference with the 4 is that you bring them more in to yourself.
Janette: There is a deep introspection with 4s. They are called, along with two other types, the withdrawn types. What that means is that we withdraw in order to make sense of the world. So, I am affected by something... someone says something and, I take it inside and start to make sense and meaning from that, often way off the mark, [laughs] as I have learnt over time, but never the less as you say, it is an internal process. I don't feel I necessarily have to go out and act on it, but I am certainly doing activity inside with it and often a negative activity, there is some judgment about myself that is going on.
Iain: OK, are there any other clues for any people watching this, trying to guess whether they are a type 4 or not, that might be useful for them?
Rosemarie: I think Janette hit most of the key features there: the sensitivity, taking things to heart. An odd comment that someone makes (holds hand on chest), feels like a wounding first, you know. This (points to heart) gets engaged first before anything else, then this (points to head) takes over and builds lots of stories and creates that fantasy.
Janette: Taking things personally. Everything is a personal reflection on me.
Iain: That must be difficult actually. Quite a challenge, I would think to come to terms with that. So when you realized that - and that was obviously valuable information - how did that affect your lives?
Janette: Well, it was huge because again, I think one of the beauties of the Enneagram in general is that we often think we are the only one with that particular pattern, or that particular suffering. First of all, we can see that there are many other people who have a similar pattern and that’s both a relief and an amazing kind of growth potential really with that, and an embarrassment. There is a whole area of shame with 4s. It's a very interesting area of being ashamed of how we are and a fear of being shown to be inadequate in some way... I have lost your question. What was your original question? I am so interested in the inadequacies [laughing] that I have forgotten your question.
Iain: Overall, what I am trying to do - for people who are watching this and don’t know their type – is to get a feel for it. I specifically asked you how you felt about it, but let’s see… I have made some notes from some of the books [Enneagram] let me just read through this and it is not necessarily for you guys to comment on but, you can if you like. Just to give a broad spectrum of information for people. You have touched on most of them: sensitive to critical remarks. Ideals are important. Always searching for your true self. You are all nodding there [laughs]. Often long for what others have, which you have already mentioned. Experience dark moods of emptiness and despair.
Rosemarie: Afraid so.
Iain: OK, we will come onto that one later. [laughing] Feeling abandoned. Don't like being told what to do.
Janette: I think that is true of many types (Rosemarie and Iain agree) but from the 4's perspective – on not liking to be told what to do – I would say it is wanting to do things our own special way and that being very important. For some people that is a very creative way and when I say creative, I don't just mean in a traditional artistic sense, although some 4's are artists, but not all artists are 4's. But it would be some kind of personal creativity that would be important for the 4 to engage in, to express themselves in that way. So [for example] “I want to do it my way, with my own unique expression” is how that would come out. I think many people, no matter what type they are, want to do things their own way. But the particular flavour, I think for a 4 is, “With my own creative slant on it, whatever that is and whatever medium I am working with.”
Phil: It's interesting reading those words. I tend to think if you look at those and try to use those as a diagnosis, that can be quite difficult. Personally I have found, and in discussion with other people, the best way is to start noticing what is it that I do do and where is that motivation coming from? Again, in the smallest little bits of behavior, through to the big patterns; and the more you are aware of your habit of mind, where you automatically go, then you can start analyzing, “Well, is that a 4 motivation, is that a 5 or...” You know for some people, you read the descriptions and bang it's obvious and other times you need to kind of get underneath it. The periods of dark depression [you may say/think] “No way I don't do that!” But in its own little way, I will have periods where the dissatisfaction is greater than it is in other months. So I think everyone is unique in their behavioural expression of some of those patterns. For me, becoming aware of what is it that I do do, is a more important step than nailing down your type.
Iain: That's a very good point you are making actually.
Janette: I would really agree with that. One of the teachers I was reading earlier on the train coming here, talked about how our attention gets magnetised in certain directions and I really liked that. There is that draw (moves body back and forth) that we kind of have. So the whole way of working with the Enneagram, as Phil said - and I think this is really important - isn't just about: what's my label, what's my new badge, but actually it's a tool for self awareness and for observing ourselves more and more honestly.
We haven't really touched on the spiritual journey, but I think the Enneagram is a spiritual tool, as well as a psychological tool. From a spiritual perspective it's really knowing deeply, the real truth of who we are and the way through is to know deeply the way in which we deceive ourselves, or the way in which we think. Our usual patterns are our reality. So we really need to be able to look at those and our attention does get magnetised in certain areas and does get drawn off and, in the process, from a spiritual perspective, we get drawn away from ourselves. We loose ourselves in our usual habitual response, which is where the Enneagram is so beautiful in very specifically offering us a map to look at. Which cul-de-sac have I gone into now? You know that kind of thing.
So that ability and willingness to self-observe is really critical. Fortunately for us as 4s, I think one of our gifts - which we will probably come onto a bit later - is with that introspection, to really be very honest with what is going on within ourselves. I think we are able to really land in that in a way that is perhaps more difficult for some types. We have the ability to be honest [and say], “This is actually what is going on here now”. And if we feel safe, we will share that in quite an articulate way usually. I think that is one of the gifts of our introspective type. Self-awareness as well, is another area for 4s that can be a gift.
Iain: Yes, I want to also try to keep the program basic in one way, so when you say self-observe, just talk very briefly about what that is for you. How you self observe.
Janette: Yes, it's a great question, as we do use these phrases just kind of glibly otherwise. Well for me, at a practical level, I might notice that I have got some envious feelings about someone. I might be thinking, you know, I wish I had worn something that Rosemarie might be wearing today and I can notice that happening; and over time, I notice that quicker and quicker. In the past, I might be withdrawing from her in some way. I might be pretending I don't want to talk to her, or just be too busy doing other things, when actually what I am doing, is being envious of something about her. So I can start to notice that happening and sometimes I might notice physical tensions around my shoulder, around my neck, a headache. So I can start to kind of ask myself, “What's really going on here?”
Iain: It's the mental patterns that we all have and we don't necessarily realise they are driving us a lot of the time. So it's a question of really trying to pull back and almost disassociate to say, well this is a pattern that I’m carrying somehow; is that right?
Janette: I start to be able to look at it more objectively and not believe it so much. You know, I don't necessarily believe my own story, or I see, “Oh there I go again, here it comes up again!” Because these will be repeated patterns, it won't be the first time. So I start to catch myself in the act again - as they talk about in the Enneagram world - and I think that's really, really key. To ideally be able to see it as it's happening and the gap becoming closer between my doing it and my noticing it.
Rosemarie: The intention of doing that [is important]. To begin with, I found certainly that you observe it after the fact. You think, “Ah' that's just what's happened” and then that kind of goes backward in a way in the process, in that the more you have the intention of being aware of what is really going on here, at some point you suddenly realise it's happening while it's happening.
Iain: It takes practice doesn't it?
Rosemarie: It does take practice yes. It's not easy.
Phil: Just picking up on what you say… you know a mental habit. I think for me, one of the very powerful things is that it's a mental emotional and physical habit. That pattern is embodied in the whole system. So being aware of, how am I physically when I am mentally wishing something was happening and melancholy fitting in? You were saying (Rosemarie), notice it. Well, if I then decide, “Whoop there I go again, actually I don't want to go down that route”, then one of the ways of breaking that [habit], is physically and emotionally. I don't think you can just think yourself out of it, I think it's the whole system and that for me, it's one of the areas where there is a lot of development work to do and understanding to do with the Enneagram. A lot of very valuable work, I think could be done, understanding this whole approach. Am I making sense there?
Iain: Yes, it's like the Enneagram is the framework to show you things and there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in the observation and understanding and the feeling.
Phil: Yes, it's the reality or awareness that my habit of personality is removing, or hiding me from. In that personality, I have got into the habit of doing it here (points to head), here (points to heart) and here (points all over the body). Just trying to think myself out of it, in my experience, won't do it. You need to work at it, at all the levels.
Iain: OK. I think you mentioned it (Janette)… the potential. Once you understand your type 4 and you have got familiar with your patterns and the way you are operating, there's a potential for each person in their lives and the type 4 has a particular potential, I understand. I wonder if any of you want to talk about that. I guess it's also a personal thing in as far as; it's your particular potential.
Rosemarie: For me, I guess the potential is there for everyone. It's just recognising the fullness and the holding back that that creates. If I can recognise all those different things within me, then that releases me from following the same path and allows me to be more creative to enjoy things even more. For me personally, music, art, all of those things are really important, but to actually get really involved in that and not just use it in the way that I use it now, but to embody it as well as feel it, as well as think it, you know it's kind of embracing all the things. That for me is what potential is about. It's about recognising the wholeness of it all and then it's all there for me. If I'm prepared to let go of what's the most familiar things to me.
Iain: OK, when you say, “Let go”, what does that mean for you?
Rosemarie: Letting go of this wounding. Letting go of, “That was meant just for me.” It's not, it's for everybody. It's letting go of the, “When I have my melancholy moods…” It's recognizing that I'm doing that. That I’m feeding it, I’m creating it. I'm digging a hole for myself that I can get out, I can go for a walk, I can do something different. That I have choices, I have possibilities. I don't have to do what I have done in the past and I don't have to make the past part of my present and my future. You know, the future is there to be had, it's to be created, it's to be developed and to be inspired.
Iain: It sounds like, when you were all saying that you tend to bring your feelings inward. It seems like it's almost the opposite process of your feelings coming out.
Rosemarie: I think for me as well, it is to trust. I don't know about you two. I mean trusting people that it will be OK to go out there and to be whoever, whatever and to trust that people are going to be there and accept it.
Iain: How has that process been for you?
Rosemarie: It's a work in process. Erm, how has it been for me…? I suppose it's going out a little bit, testing out. There are certain scenarios where it is very comfortable where you go, certainly in the spiritual work. There is a sense of, everybody's there to support, so this is OK, this is safe. But other environments hmmm... it is a testing the water and seeing whether that is OK, for me. But it's an ongoing process; I see it as a journey that is just part of what life is for me.
Iain: So what are some of the challenges for you Phil, in your journey from discovery to moving towards the potential?
Phil: Following on the potential bit, there is the potential of what the strengths of my type are; what it gives and actually the sort of longing for, "wouldn't it be great if…" can be a very powerful motivation and great because it can drive you places. As well as: what is the potential if I stop inhibiting myself? So, if I can drop the negative patterns and instead of sitting there thinking about it, I actually get on, [ask myself] what the right action is, and do it. So there is those two sides. The biggest challenge, is that in deciding, or thinking my route is to become that, then you create something really, really special and of course it is the same old habit again. You know, that it will be wonderful if. You know, our habits kick in again and again and again. I think 4's are very good at [saying/thinking], “I will be a wonderfully calm, spiritual being when I have done such and such”. Well that's the 4 pattern; you are not getting more spiritual though, you are just falling in the same trap again.
Iain: Yes, you have to be super aware to catch yet another hidden program.
Phil: Yeah well OK! Am I moving forwards? Well yeah, so that's good!
Janette: I think for me the potential is, the adventure of being in touch with reality. Whatever that is. So, for me to really meet reality and be with that, and be with my emotional responses to that, my mental responses, my physical responses and let whatever I experience be OK. The potential in that is therefore, that whoever I am with and whatever I am doing, I hope that I may enable other people to feel safe to do that for themselves. Because I think, we all want to feel safe in the world and be acknowledged and understood and if I am able to… really allow myself to be as I am, with all of myself here connected with what is actually happening. Not what is happening in my fantasy, or what my dream world would be, or my ideal partner, or my ideal life, but actually, I am landed here now, physically, mentally and emotionally. That's a huge adventure.
I am realising that is much more attractive and interesting than anything that I have going on in my head, anything that I have created in my own emotional fantasy about things, including my ideal self. I am not there at all, in terms of that is my ongoing reality all the time… don't get me wrong. But, it's certainly something I am glimpsing more of as a possibility and I do think that is not also facilitative and more joyful for me, but potentially is, for the people that I am working with, or living with, or any people that I come across in relationships, and for life in general.
Iain: Yeah of course, for all of us really, it is a journey to discover our true selves, whatever that means for us at the time and for you guys, a type 4, it's helped the progression towards that. So, what has been the biggest stumbling block? I know this has already been covered in a minor way, but I am interested because again, people watching this, who don't know much about the Enneagram and wondering if that are a type 4, they might identify with a particular stumbling block that you have had on a personal level.
Phil: Well, carrying on from what was said before, the biggest stumbling block for me, is doing things because I am trying to be more special and different.
Iain: It's an artistic thing, you mentioned that many artists…
Phil: Yes, I am learning the Cello at the moment because I had a thing about, "Oh I wish I played a musical instrument as a child". I had an opportunity to do drama, which due to other circumstances, I didn't and I am now taking acting classes. I have a pottery studio at home, but how much time I actually spend doing it...? So it's that sort of: if I am not careful I can set up all these special things – and it is just a habit I nearly said - without deeply engaging in it. But that is making it too special again. Actually, just go out there and enjoy it. You know, how many times do I actually sit down and just enjoy the Cello practice because I want to reward myself, or just sit and play with some clay because I love doing it? That's the rare bit. I don't often do that. It's all about an image, if I am not careful.
Rosemarie: Yes, that does resonate with me. For instance painting, I am not a brilliant painter, but I have enjoyed it, but sometimes it is like, oh, if it's not that good, or not that special by the time I have finished it, is it worth my time doing it? So, I may actually, and I have, given it up. But I do enjoy doing it and I enjoy doing lots of different things, but there is that pitfall that if it doesn't actually get some kind of fantastic attention or something, then there is a danger that I decide, well I won't do that because I am not quite good enough at it.
Iain: Is this need for recognition part of it? External recognition…
Rosemarie: Yes, I think there is. So, (looking at Phil) that is certainly something that resonates with me. I am afraid I do have times when I can spiral into being very melancholy. I hope I don't show it to people a lot. No doubt I do, in different ways that I haven't recognized.
Iain: So, why do you say you hope you don't show it to people?
Rosemarie: Erm, there is a long story attached to that [laughs]… because other people don't really want to go there. That's me in my head and it's not a pleasant place to be, and it's of my making. Why would I want to suck people into that? But I do know... certain things will trigger those sorts of moods and if I allow them to really take me into them, then I’m not very productive. Luckily, I have always described myself as someone who bounces back, but I recognize I go down there. But in a way, I go down there to really battle it out so I can then let it go. So it's a strategy for me.
Iain: I am not saying this is the case… isn't it maybe the challenge and maybe the doorway to actually be in this melancholy state and just allow yourself to be there not knowing what is going to happen? Whether there is a way out, or there isn’t, not wallowing…
Rosemarie: It is a challenge yes, and that is a choice, but on the whole I have found and I would assess it now, as quite unproductive. There are times, I can remember episodes when I really enjoyed it, but I can't get away from the fact that I have allowed it to be there.
Iain: You have indulged…
Rosemarie: Yes, indulged is a good word I think. But it's really not very productive. It doesn't really take me anywhere.
Phil: Productive for me therefore is: what is the right action? I can't remember whereabouts in the model that phrase 'right action' comes from, but it's this sort of... so, what am I going to do about it? What is the thing in the next five minutes that I will actually take physical action about?
Rosemarie: I think it can be quite informative. I am not saying, I am not putting a label on that it's bad, in terms of I can be with it. That's one of the things about 4's, I think they can be with those very deep and dark areas, but at some stage I have to recognise that there is a world out there and it comes back to Janette saying about this fantasy and reality. If I want to engage in the world and discover more about myself and more about others and how to be in the world, I have got to get out there. I am hiding away in this little place (points to her body).
Iain: How is that for you (looks toward Janette) this melancholy side of things?
Janette: Well, I am just going back to this kind of ongoing challenge that I notice for me. One of the biggest challenges, is assuming that I don't have anything to offer and so what I tend to do is often look at other people, idealise them, put them on a pedestal, look at all of their gifts and compare myself negatively. If I can't be like that person and do it their way… and of course in the process I am denying and not even turning towards my own gifts that I have to offer them. So, I notice that happening a lot and it still can be a tendency which can be a culmination of withdrawal and melancholy; more and more I try to spot it and catch myself in the act. What I have also found is reality testing things, actually going out and sometimes if I can, speaking to that person, finding out: hey, they are a human being too, they have limitations, they have gaps. It's not all rosy for them. That really helps me have a reality check and take my own sense of myself back and say, actually this is what I have to offer here. I think I can often want it to be so unique and special and different, that I am not really with the reality of what I am actually offering. So I have an idealised sense of what that means and that takes me away from what I am offering now. So, that goes on quite a lot, I still notice.
Iain: So, what's it like for someone to be in a relationship with a type 4 person? What are the pros and cons? [they all laugh] I am asking for a purpose for those watching who may not know much about the Enneagram and may be wondering if their partner is a type 4. We have heard it from your point of view, but what feedback do you get from your partners on how it is to be with you guys?
Phil: Because you are searching for an ideal in lots of different parts of your life then yes, I have had friends and partners say there is a sense of never being good enough and that's quite shocking - that at some level, and it's been more than once - that that is being put out… of not quite accepting the person, just for who they are.
Iain: Are you quite critical of other people?
Phil: I would say no, I am a very uncritical person. I don't criticise at all, but it gets felt.
Iain: It get's felt, so it's not so much put out there, but you are feeling it…
Phil: I think it's put out at a very subtle level. Yes, we can all be critical and I can be quite a perfectionist in some areas; there is a bit of type 1 in me somewhere. The ability to pull people in and then when you get them very close, you have the ability to push them away. My experience as well is that it's a view of somebody and you can virtually morph them in front of you, that when I am fully into the 4 pattern I can spot all the blemishes, equally when I am in the ‘wow’ then all I see is the good bits.
Iain: These are real polarities here aren't they and does that swing happen quite quickly sometimes, from one to the other?
Phil: It can do. I mean I have noticed that for me one of the experiences of - we talked earlier about - how the habit needs a physical embodiment. Actually, if I am sitting in a much more grounded position (sits upright with two feet planted into floor and looking ahead), I see the person for who they are. Whereas, if I am doing my false stuff (sits back in chair, slumps, tilts head into one hand) I have experienced someone nearly physically change.
Iain: Say that again, that’s really good. So, you were sitting in a certain way in that you were caught in your 4 type and that's where...
Phil: …I could start spotting that you've got more hair than I have and stuff like that.
Iain: [laughing] only marginally…
Phil: Marginal, but I could pick it up and actually I fractionally noticed that just then. That's a habit of mine.
Iain: Really, that's really helpful to know these kinds of details.
Phil: …much more here (sits forward into the grounded position) and there is a very different connection. It's me connecting to you for who you are.
Iain: Do you ladies feel the same, that you can switch like that?
Janette: Yes, definitely, hypocritical of people. People not feeling understood. Ironically, I want to be understood and I don't give that time and energy to another. I know I can do that and yes, that sense of dismissing people that don't come up to some sort of arbitory standard of how they should be, what they should be doing, how they should be responding to me a lot of the time, I have to say. On the plus side, I do think that 4's at their best, are really able to hold a space for the other to really sense deeply into what's going on for them. Because we are able to be - as Phil was saying - if we are more grounded in ourselves and are just able to be, just as I am, then I know that the other is more able to access how they are.
Iain: So, what is your different body position? We saw Phil's, can you switch from one to the other?
Janette: Oh em, yes, it would be quite a disdain actually (folds legs, folds arms and turns head away from group, laughing).
Iain: [laughing] You would even look away from us!
Janette: Yes, it's a kind of Miss Piggy; you know (throws head in air and turns away from group) it's that kind of thing versus just being here really. Just being here sensing my body, being as fully open to you as I can be; of course being open to myself and just allowing space for me to be, which in turn, allows space for you to be. So I am not turning away, I am not twisting myself, I am not having a sort of paddy about how superficial you are, or lack of understanding, or lack of sophistication, all of that kind of stuff that I can get into.
Iain: So how you are is also affecting how someone you are in contact with is too.
Janette: Definitely. Yes, both positively and negatively.
Iain: Yes, I think we forget that but, it is very true.
Rosemarie: I think it's amazing, how quickly we send those messages across without saying anything with the body positioning. They can be very subtle, you know a facial change. I do things with my jaw or my lips, which I have had comments on before like, "That's your jaw going Rosemarie." Because, there is a setness, which is like, I am not listening really (makes a gesture to show an invisible wall in front of herself).
Phil: You showed it earlier when you said you had created something really special.
Rosemarie: Yes [laughs] you know they are not conscious they just (clicks her fingers) happen.
Iain: I think they can become conscious.
Rosemarie: Yes, yes they can, it's just catching yourself in the act. But also, it's a pattern of behaviour isn't it? Not always just sitting in one, but it's the softness that you move with, rather than the angular. You know there can be movements going on, but some movements are encompassing and there is a warmth there, an openness there, there is an inclusion rather than a barrier, or I am over here and you are over there (leaning back in chair) and we are not going to meet.
Phil: I think in terms of the bigger picture on this, that each person’s physical emotional habit will be subtly different. All types have, each individual has a different mental, physical, emotional way of expressing their type and you can sometimes notice it in other people and help them see it by holding up a mirror; but I’d be very much against diagnosing and saying, ”Oh that person is a 7, look at what they are doing”. But useful when you just notice a shift in somebody. Often we are not aware of that shift happening in ourselves.
Iain: It does seem like you are all on an ongoing journey with the Enneagram as one of your guides, so to speak.
Phil: [laughing] …and just one other thing on that bit. It's noticing, when that habit is not helping me; because a lot of the time, well, that's me, it's who I am and it's the positivity I bring to the world. So, we can be a bit down on our type sometimes, or on our mental, emotional, physical habits. They are great, they are what help us operate in this world and occasionally we might want to change them.
Iain: Yes, but isn't there a distinction between a habit and something that is truly an expression of us? The habit being something that is more acquired, if you like, rather than something that is fundamentally more tangible.
Phil: Yes, and I think I would still say, that habit is still very useful to me at times. I wouldn't want to get rid of it completely. I would be very uncomfortable working with anybody, especially myself to say well, “Get rid of that!” Just recognize when is it putting me in a box, or when it's trapping me, not enabling me to experience things differently.
Iain: OK, we have about three or four minutes left. I don't know whether any of you wanted to say anything that you feel would be helpful to somebody watching this, which we haven't talked about on the type 4 of the Enneagram. Phil, have you got any quick points?
Phil: I suppose the main one is that some of the literature does make it into gosh, amazingly dramatic and artistic depressives and I just think gosh, it over does it. I think you can have the 4 habit of mind done in slightly different ways than some of the behavioural descriptions. But that's just a 4 saying I’m a unique 4 [laughs] which is a habit.
Iain: Is there anyone famous that typifies the 4 in terms of the more dramatic side. I usually read the suggested famous people, but I didn't do that on this occasion.
Janette: Well, they reckon Michael Jackson was a 4; a lot of drama. People like Alanis Morissette. Who else... Martha Graham, the dancer. They each have their own unique expression, but there is something quite dramatic and I think just building on what Phil said. I think there can really be a danger… there is a huge range with all of these types and as we deepen into our spiritual journey, we do see all these different traits and styles, but I think it's very important to still be with the mystery of what's underneath all of that, to not know really, who we are. And that's a particular irony with the 4, because one of the things [that] you could say is kind of a trait of the 4, is having a constant question of, “Who am I and what is my true identity?” In a sense, as we go deeper into our journey with the Enneagram and other spiritual tools or practices we might be doing, perhaps we are more open to not knowing who we are, ironically. We are less and less sure about that. I know that I am, after the work and the continued work that I am doing, [I am] being more with the mystery. Again that could be a sense of excitement rather than a sense of emptiness or a sense of lack. In the case of the 4, there is a potential there in the mystery, that when we are trying to label ourselves or trying to say am I a 4 or not, where am I on this spectrum, that we can move away from.
Iain: That's a great place to finish about the potential of the mystery so thank you. Thank you, all of you for coming along, and, talking very openly about yourselves, and your lives. I just want to show some of the books, if you have watched this program and other ones on the Enneagram and you want to maybe know more about the Enneagram and about maybe what type you are, we have The Wisdom of the Enneagram, by Don Riso and Russ Hudson, which I haven't read but I hear it is very good.
Janette: My personal favourite. I love it!
Iain: Good, this is one I always mention, The Enneagram Made Easy, which is a kind of beginners book, but I still find very interesting. There are two more, which when we started Janette mentioned are on the spiritual side: The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram and The Enneagram of Passions and Virtues by Sandra Maitri, both good reads. And then by A.H. Almaas: Facets of Unity, which is quite advanced and again on the spiritual side, but he does take it into quite a fascinating realm. So thank you again to our guests and thank you for watching conscious tv and watch out for more programs in the Enneagram series. Goodbye
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