Feeling Type 4: “The Individualist”
Subordinate: own Acting
Short circuits in storm state:
Acting – Feeling
Thinking – Thinking
AF FA TT
Feeling type 4 is the third one who’s childhood distress was emotional coldness. But unlike the others, their solution was to actively take control of the realm of feeling (AF). They dominated their emotions. To keep this self-supply with emotional warmth in place, their two secondary short circuits came into play: the enforcement of their own will (FA) and the distancing from facts and objectivity (TT). Whenever needed, the psyche of the little child shut down in this manner and thus survived.
Whenever this pattern exceeds its function of childhood self-protection and a person gets triggered back into it as an adult, there is storm warning. And if the person is permanently trapped in it, it is considered a personality disorder. As an example of a feeling type 3 with storm warning, we’ll take a look at the character Clementine in “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind” (2004), brilliantly played by Kate Winslet.
With his A- short circuit, feeling type 4 in storm state is one of the “control addicted self supporters”. These are the ones who establish domination over the given function in order to supply themselves with it. With feeling type 4 it’s the realm of emotions – it’s about the self-supply with warmth. The person gives themselves the favorable “being seen” which they lacked in childhood.
In doing so, they not only mirror themselves but also pushes others into being mirrors to. magical mirrors, which only mirror pleasant things at all times. Dependent on this constant positive feedback they compulsively control how others see them. They have to be remarkably unique and everyone around them has to bee charmed and seduced into reacting positively to this uniqueness. Sometimes this is done passive and indirectly, at other times through emotional power-play, focused at quickly deepening the felt connection of the “mirror”.
If they succeed, the addiction is satisfied and except for a little boredom, everything’s fine. But what if there is no feedback? Or even a negative one? At this point, the two other short circuits instantly come to the rescue.
The short circuit Feeling – Acting causes the boost of conflict. The identification with their own will and it’s enforcement. And because this short circuit serves the emotional self supply, it’s expressed in form of provocations and emotional drama. In fights that are focused on achieving a positively felt self-image as their end game. Therefore, feeling type 4 becomes a true drama queen when in stormy. Because this dominant demeanor seems to be coming out of nowhere, it’s often surprising and irritating to the people around them.
The triggering reason for it is insufficient positive mirroring. The logic behind it: “if you don’t want to be my magic mirror, i will emotionally push you into being wrong and supply myself with the good feeling in relation to you which i depend on”.
The second short circuit which activates in case of lacking mirroring is Thinking – Thinking. The distancing from reality, logic and coherence. At this level, there are no consistent actions or statements. Also this short circuit serves the self-supply with emotional warmth and a positive self-image and expresses as a retreat into fantasy. A fantasy, in which the self-image feels good and only good. Observed from the outside, this retreat sometimes looks exaggeratedly childlike and cheerful, sometimes very melancholic:
Distancing from thinking has a side effect – loss of the sense of identity, the feeling for “i-am-me and you-are-you”. These boundaries collapse. This side effect leads to depressive episodes, in which the person feels like they are falling apart. Also now, there has to be someone who cures this negative feeling by his mirroring from the outside. Someone who takes the pieces of the broken self-image and puzzles them together again. Flawlessly.
This is how a feeling type 4 with storm warning functions.
Why is this dangerous to families?
Because children depend on parents who are there for them. People who function like this, may be very emotionally present, but not for their children. Instead, they do anything to transform them into disappearing, dishonest people who only “mirror” good things. And because they live in ever-changing, self-idealizing dream worlds, they fail at supplying the stability which the child needs for its healthy development.
Why is this unsatisfactory in relationships?
For the same reasons. Although as an adult, one is not as dependent on the partner as a child is but the mutual happiness relies on the functionality of both. How can one relate to someone who’s emotionality is only oriented on receiving constant idealizing attention? To someone who gets shockingly aggressive whenever there’s a stop in this flow? Someone who spends most of his time with you in inaccessible dreamworlds? It is possible. But it’s unsatisfactory.
For Families: Family-Systems Therapy
For Couples: Couples Therapy
This description with the aid of the enneagram is not meant to serve diagnostically. This should by done by professionals alone. And there is also no key with which the types of the enneagram can be translated to the DSM definitions. At best, some hints can be made in which directions to seek: Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
All clips shown in this post are quotations from the movie “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind” (2004) and are used for the purpose of illustration only. The copyrights for this movie and its film poster belong to: Focus Features