Image Types

Too similar

Does anyone remember this  commercial  for ABC laundry detergent from the 80's?  Someone always said the line, "I can't see a difference, can you see the difference?"

Does anyone remember this commercial for ABC laundry detergent from the 80's?  Someone always said the line, "I can't see a difference, can you see the difference?"

Someone in my Facebook Enneagram Type 4 group asked how other Fours dealt with people who are constantly reminding them of how much they were similar.  She said she had a friend who was always pointing out their similarities.  My first guess is because this poster is a Four, that the other person is too.  Generally people who are the same personality type aren't super attracted to each other- they'll be polite, but there's nothing to project onto, so on an egoic level, they're just taking up each others' space.  Especially because they're both image types, they're fighting for the same response from others- and from each other, which makes conversation a bit stilted.  

The question reminded me of when I went to my first Enneagram workshop at the Enneagram Institute, and I met a Type 8 who said that by the middle of the week, all the 8's were evenly spaced out along the room- they were all defending their territory; none of them wanted to get close to each other.  I mean, this is a generality- the same type can be attracted to each other sometimes, and even marry.  At my second Enneagram workshop, I met two married couples who were composed to two Fours each, and that is a rare combination among married couples of the same type.  There aren't many 4-4 couples.

The other night I went out for drinks with another Four and I tried to be aware of my tendency to point out our similarities.  He didn't know the Enneagram and I was trying to just let him be, trying to be non-reactive to my craving to jump in and do a Type Four intervention on his life.  Fours especially need to feel unique, and nobody likes being put in a box- they want to feel like the other person is being present to their whole self, not just the characteristics that are consistent with the archetype.  I took it as an opportunity to see what triggered me.   We don't like being reminded of our shortcomings, and when we see them in another one of our kind, we want to push them away or "help them change".  I think the only way to learn to get along with someone with the exact same personality as you is to learn to love yourself. 

Justin Bieber's Weird Ballad

Last December, when Spotify announced that Bieber's newest album Purpose was popular with hipsters in Williamsburg's borough of New York, I didn't feel so bad about appreciating What Do You Mean- at least his musical departure from typical candy pop sound.  The lyrics don't really jive if you're a feminist, unless you're a feminist who knows the personality profiling system called the Enneagram. 

Justin Bieber's an Enneagram Type Three, one of the Image Types who covers the shame of their deficiencies by being successful and competent, or at least with the appearance of being successful and competent.  Threes struggle the most out of all nine types to understand their own emotional landscape, the idea of emotional authenticity being such a foreign concept, as all their energy goes into what they look like while emoting.  "What should I be feeling?  What emotions would [the name of someone I admire] be feeling right now?"  It's said that Type Threes don't feel emotions, they "do" emotions because they can't land in themselves long enough to get a beat on what they're actually feeling.  So they have a well-developped ability to read social cues to understand what they should be copying to look engaged and authentic.

Which explains why Love Yourself makes me feel like throwing up.  The soothing harmonies and trumpet are nice and original, but the song contains the most twisted and barbed lyrics reserved for only the nastiest of fights between couples.  Taken apart from the instrumentation and the video, imagine saying those words to someone out loud.  "If you like the way you look that much, maybe you should go and love yourself."  You can tell he's trying to sound like an enlightened Buddhist here, but, as is typical for a Three, one who doesn't get the spirit behind what he's saying, or have the emotional intelligence to support it.

The disconnect and the projection is really unsettling.  I mean, we've all heard about serial killers who can kill someone in the most emotionally disassociated state, completely aware of all their faculties and actions.  Bieber isn't a killer, but a lover who seems to be singing from an emotionally disassociated state.  To potential Bieber lovers, I'd be making a wide berth around him until he can at least piece together why his childish, sarcastic, snarky, and self-pitying lyrics don't belong wrapped in the buttery fold of a soft and tender ballad.  Like we're supposed to believe Bieber was so busy with his job that he graciously took a day out of his hectic schedule to turn off his phone, push his chair away from his desk, and with a big sigh, write a song about a girl who he's so over, like there is definitely nothing there anymore- PROMISE!!!  And here's some enlightened advice from your ex who's somehow on this other plane of consciousness now. 

This theme of someone being so in love with their image that they forgot to spend some time loving themselves is too obviously a projection to be taken seriously (unless Selena Gomez is also an image type, which could very well be), and it makes me want to put the mirror to his lyrics and say, "Justin, if you like the way you look that much, let's spend some time doing some exercises around feelings, and see what arises when you close your eyes and look to your inner landscape for emotional cues instead of taping articles of Psychology Today together to create a socially acceptable way of screaming "SCREW YOU!"  What he's written makes it look like he looked up from his desk one day, turned off his phone, and asked himself, "What would it look like to heal emotionally from a rocky relationship?"

Bitchy Resting Face

Smiling on the inside.   Image from

Smiling on the inside.  Image from

I always check my horoscopes, especially at the beginning of the month.  One of the sites that's fairly accurate yet nasty because of all the ads is  They always have a live feed of a psychic or something looking at a computer, and you sometimes see some bitchy resting faces as they stare off into their computer screen reading messages from clients.  The woman today didn't have one, though. She was probably a Type Two, Three or Four.  Those types, the Image types- types who think their value rests in the way they appear to others- are always thinking/imagining/hoping someone's looking at/noticing/taking notes on them, so their face is always "on".  This is probably a gross exaggeration, and it's definitely possible to be an image type and have a BRF, but how satisfying must it be to be on live feed as an image type?  I'd do it.  (Maybe for a few minutes).