Type 4- Refusing help

OK I'm going to make another attempt at this Car Lady of Chiswick blog before I go back to the Greek gods.  And actually, I think she's a Self-Pres 4w5, which, in Enneagram long-hand means I believe she's a Self-Preservation type Four with a Five wing- the "Five" being the part of her that compells her to live on so little- that makes a statement that says, "it's ok, I don't have to take up very much space."  I only think her tiny footprint is a Type 5 compulsion and not a reality of homelessness in this situation because she not only turned down peoples' help, but also let entire home-cooked meals sit out on the hood of her car without touching them for weeks.  I gave a homeless man some change the other day, and his eyes lit up and he was like, "Yeah!  Now I can go home!"  Receiving hand-outs didn't seem to have the same effect on her.)

So why would the type Four, of all the types, because they're the ones who suffer so much-- and certainly they would argue that they suffer the most-- be the ones to refuse help?  You would think that the type that needs the most help, ostensibly, would be open to accepting the most amount of help, and then boom!  The world is back in balance and we can start turning again.  But no.  There's something curious going on under the sense of inner lack that we have to investigate, that closes the Four off to receiving help.

First of all, I'm leaning heavily on Sandra Maitri for this because she's my go-to for the depth psychology, but Don Riso, Russ Hudson, and Jessica Dibb are masterful here too.  Nevertheless, all quotes are by Maitri in this post (The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram, 2000) except for one.   Second, I'm using the feminine pronoun "her" and "she" for the Four, as Maitri does, but not all Fours are women. 

Fours experience pre-verbally a disconnection from Essence, and it's filtered through the mother, so the child confounds Essence (or Being or Source) with the source of milk, and blames the Mother for the feeling of lack.  Having been born plugged into Essence for Fours is a fulfilling connection to the depth and beauty of contact with the Divine.  It's excrutiating to feel separated because it means the Divine is no longer in the Four- it's outside her.  So Fours are always looking outside themselves for satisfaction.  As soon as they have means, they try and replicate that connection with Essence by "staying in the deep end" and refusing to see any reality or truth in shallower, less "meaningful" encounters.

This initial loss forms the core of the Four's ego activity- the sense that the Divine has left them.  Their lack of any feeling of goodness-- just the general feeling of lack-- forms the entire foundation of their personality; their addiction, then, becomes trying to reconnect with Being by looking for depth and meaning around that ache.   When they're not looking at the aching hole, they don't feel like they're experiencing what's real, so the hole becomes the focus, what they sift for in every encounter.  As Sandra Maitri says,

This sense of abandonment and of longing to reestablish the link with Being, however unconscious, is central to the psychology of the Four.  It is so central that a Four's whole sense of self is constructed around it, to the point that longing becomes more important than getting.

So if they're not longing, they feel like they're not being their true selves.  So they're always reaching for things outside themselves, and in order to really, truly be themselves, what they're reaching for has to always stay outside their grasp, so they become permanently identified around not having.

From time-to-time, their desires may occasionally be fulfilled, but at that moment,

the sought-after object begins to lose its appeal and her longing shifts elsewhere.  Looking outside of herself for satisfaction inherently offers only limited gratification, since only reconnection with her depths will resolve the Four's sense of lack.  Nothing and no one can ever fill the inner deficit completely, and so the Four is left in a perpectual state of discontent.

Underneath the sense of disconnect is a sense of entitlement, that the world owes them.  Fours feel they deserve to get what they've been deprived of for so long, which is why friends and family hear about the constant state of lack, but the hole never seems to get filled.  "We see that beneath the surface what the Four really wants is to maintain her identity as someone who longs and does not get."  And because Mother is confused with Source, Mother is blamed for not preventing the disconnect from the Divine; therefore as Fours separate and begin to understand object and subject, they place blame on everything they desire.  So for example, blaming and hating a guy she has a crush on because he has an easier life than her, or he's funner to be with than her.  Or more fundamentally, when a baby screams and screams to be fed, and finally the Mother comes with the bottle or the breast, and suddenly the baby isn't hungry anymore.

The Four blames the object of her desire, finding flaws and imperfections that justify the lack of fulfillment, and the object is pushed away.  Or once a desired object has been obtained, the Four's focus moves on to what else is not right in her life or what else needs to be acquired.

So when is a Four ever happy?  Those moments are few and far between, but when she can realize that happiness isn't external to her, that her longing is the source of her sadness, then she'll feel the vulnerability of being unmoored from her highly curated identity, so to speak.  And she'll feel the utter lostness of seeing life as a series of unfolding moments to which she can either see as beautiful and deep on their own merit, or start the madness all over again by thinking, "This is good, I see divine in this; therefore I feel separate from it."