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Enneagram type-based obstacles to relationships | type 4

In this 10-part blog series, each blog covers a different Enneagram type, focusing on one essential way – of course, there are many per type – they get in their own way of having real relationships with others. These can be seen on the graphic above. Diving deeper, the blogs will connect the particular way the type creates specific obstacles in genuine relating to the issues and dynamics of that type. In addition, there will be one activity, process, or idea that can relax or relieve this ego-based way we constrain ourselves from having what we deeply want in relationships.

Biggest obstacle | Sensitivity to personal rejection
Fours crave authentic, genuine relationships; the question is this: are they real? Of course, authentic and genuine relationships are real in one sense but are they real in another way to understand the word. In addition, do these intense authentic and genuine relationships have sustaining power? A real relationship sustains itself over time; real suggests that it is based in actual fact, not something imagined, idealized or mythic in some way. Sustain means to strengthen, continue and be supporting and supportive over time.

Fours, of course, are the big romantics, and romanticism, while lovely and engaging, is also an idealized way of perceiving another person and the relationship. Someone who is being romanticized rarely, if ever, lives up to the ideal, and the person doing the romanticized idealization is perfectly set up to be deeply disappointed as the fall from the dream is so deeply disheartening. As a result, relationships with Fours may be deep, but not necessarily real. In addition, Fours are known to engage in push-pull relationships with people to whom they are close. In short, Fours get close to someone, then Fours pull away, after finding fault with the other or being hurt by something the other person has done. Or at least, that is the story that often emerges. But beneath the story is often the Four being disillusioned – also known as the romantic ideal was actually a real person – or because Fours become afraid of the closeness or intimacy. The other person usually withdraws from the relationship, and then Fours re-approach the person or try to pull the person toward them. This cycle repeats itself multiple times. Underneath this push-pull is fear; Fours are fearful that the other person will reject them, hence their biggest obstacle to real relationships.

The answer is to examine how you romanticize certain other people and explore why you do this and the impact this has on you, the other person, and your relationships. This is not an easy task as this repeated pattern of idealization is fundamental to the Four’s core architecture: looking for what is missing and romanticizing it, rather than appreciating what is there and being in gratitude for it. This goes for yourself as well as others. Your sensitivity to rejection will decrease since there is really nothing missing in you that the other person would come to find out and then reject you for having it. The second way is to explore how your defense mechanism of introjecting operates and how to decrease this defense strategy. You can go to this previously published blog to learn more: https://theenneagraminbusiness.com/development/learn-to-lessen-your-primary-defense-mechanism-type-4/

Ginger Lapid-Bogda PhD, the author of seven Enneagram-business books, is a speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. She provides certification programs and training tools for business professionals around the world who want to bring the Enneagram into organizations with high-impact business applications and is past-president of the International Enneagram Association. Visit: TheEnneagramInBusiness.com | ginger@theenneagraminbusiness.com

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