I Am Not Alone: Reflections on Being Different As an Enneagram Four

I have been watching videos about the Enneagram recently. One I watched, talked about the differences between a 5w4 (Enneagram type Five with a strong Four wing) and 4w5. One of the distinctions the YouTuber made was that Fours tend to take pride in their being different, while Fives try to hide their difference. That kind of hit a nerve with me.

I always saw myself as so uniquely different from others that it’s almost impossible to be true. Not just in the “You are unique, just like everybody else” type of sense. In fact, I always thought that I belonged to just a little too many minority groups to be real. I thought that there must not be anyone else in the entire world who could relate to my combination of minority statuses.

At the time, I was about fourteen and just identified as blind and possibly queer. Well, I know quite a lot of blind people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community now.

Then came being autistic, having dissociative identity disorder, my childfree status, etc. My fourteen-year-old self would certainly have believed no-one in the entire world would belong to all of these groups. Well, quite truthfully, I’ve met several people who belong to most if not all of these minority groups. That’s the great thing about the Internet.

About ten years ago, I read something on Tumblr that should’ve struck a chord with me, but didn’t. I read that, if you are white, but belong to a hundred minority groups, you are still white. Of course, the point was to prove that white privilege isn’t negated by other minority statuses. I at the time started writing a list of ways in which I was privileged, but didn’t realize these are also ways in which I am part of the majority. Ways in which I belong to the human mainstream.

Instead, I still focused my attention, aside from that one blog post and acknowledging when I’d reacted out of privilege in safe spaces, on ways in which I’m different from the mainstream. And still I somehow couldn’t believe there were people who genuinely belonged to at least as many minority groups as I did. I still somehow saw myself as the most special person in the world.

Isn’t that a bit grandiose, narcissistic even? In fact, feeling that only a select group of “special” people will understand me, is the only legitimate narcissistic personality disorder trait I have.

The truth is, everyone is special and everyone is unique and everyone has some parts of themselves that ar ordinary at the same time. At the core, no-one is fundamentally different from everyone else. And isn’t that a wonderful thing to realize? After all, it means that, at the core, we all have something in common which connects us to each other. That of course doesn’t mean I need to associate with all seven (eight?) billion people in the world. It just means that there will always be someone out there who can relate to me. Just like there is no-one exactly like me (God created us all individually for a reason, after all), I am not radically different from anyone else (we were all created equal, after all).

18 thoughts on “I Am Not Alone: Reflections on Being Different As an Enneagram Four

  1. Astrid, thanks for writing your reflections. I really resonated with your post, and you said it perfectly. We are all special and unique. I agree 100 percent. And there will always be people who will relate to us, and to our circumstances and that is a wonderful thing indeed!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much for commenting! I am so glad my post made sense to you. You know, you are one of the people who showed me with your very existence that it is possible to find like-minded individuals even when we have many things that set us apart from the crowd.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. No, not that long. We might’ve been on the Amongst_Ourselves list together for a while in 2005 or 2006. That’s the first DID list I joined. Other than that, I think early 2010, when I started coming out about my alters to my then therapist. I did know another DID’er since 2003, she in fact educated me about DID when I was still largely unaware. But I don’t think you don’t know her as she has pretty much moved on from the DID community many years ago.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. I don’t know whether she even had a system name. I don’t think she did in fact, since back in the day it wasn’t a thing yet. And as for her real name, I’m not sure I should be disclosing it on my blog. In fact, maybe I shouldn’t even have mentioned her at all, since even though no-one of my readers would likely know her from just my previous comment, if she reads my blog she might feel I invaded her privacy.

              Liked by 2 people

  2. Too relatable! Both of us have been mining the Enneagram to better understand what we think, why we think it so, and to (only speaking for myself on this count) obtain insight into how to change said thinking.
    I grew up white and privileged, but as a fellow Enneagram 4 (more 3 than 5 wing, but still),
    I understood and related to WHY you wrote WHAT you wrote.
    So while our subject matters may vary, the Enneagram helps to unite and even reunite us, and writing paves the way.
    It’s also why the Enneagram fascinates me, just like it fascinates you! But in a uniquely different way!
    We 4s HATE being stereotyped or boxed into boxes by category.
    We want to be seen as the individual BEHIND the box.
    And surely the 8 OTHER TYPES are delusional if they DON’T know they’re broken, too? Aren’t we all? Different but-couldn’t-imagine-another-way-and
    “Just wish OTHERS went to the same effort to understand US”
    Kind of way?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for validating me. As a side note, I am white too, so I am privileged in this respect. Or were you contrasting your experiences as a white person with the author of the Forty Days on Being a Four book? By the way, indeed, all people are broken in a sense and none of us are if you look at it another way. From a spiritual angle, we’re all broken, ie. not perfect, but then again we’re all wholly made too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Too relatable! Both of us have been mining the Enneagram to better understand what we think, why we think it so, and to (only speaking for myself on this count) obtain insight into how to change said thinking.
        I grew up white and privileged, but as a fellow Enneagram 4 (more 3 than 5 wing, but still),
        I understood and related to WHY you wrote WHAT you wrote.
        So while our subject matters may vary, the Enneagram helps to unite and even reunite us, and writing paves the way.
        It’s also why the Enneagram fascinates me, just like it fascinates you! But in a uniquely different way!
        We 4s HATE being stereotyped or boxed into boxes by category.
        We want to be seen as the individual BEHIND the box.
        And surely the 8 OTHER TYPES are delusional if they DON’T know they’re broken, too? Aren’t we all? Different but-couldn’t-imagine-another-way-and
        “Just wish OTHERS went to the same effort to understand US”
        Kind of way?

        _____

        Couldn’t agree with more! I haven’t read the book you describe, but should I?
        Also, because you mentioned “minority groups,” I truly NARCISSISTICALLY assumed you were a “racial minority” in THE U.S..
        I never considered that you might be a DIFFERENT kind of minority OR that you might live somewhere where White isn’t the majority.
        Still, i believe the enneagram provides enough light to illuminate us on our visits to other worlds.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sorry for the confusion. In my experience, minority doesn’t just refer to race and can, depending on your perspective, in fact refer to technical majorities such as women too (although in that sense “oppressed” might be a better wording). My main minority status (if womanhood doesn’t count) is being disabled (blind and mobility-impaired) and neurodivergent (autistic in my case). For what it’s worth, I don’t feel your understanding that my reference to minorities meant I’m BIPOC, isn’t any indication of narcissism at all. It may be my white privilege showing that I even consider myself as part of a minority even though in terms of race and ethnicity, I’m not.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Once we stop asking how we can improve, we stop improving. ANYTHING. And I’d rather fall on my own sword than offend someone, because women my age were told not to “show off.”
            So it’s not like either has to apologize for!
            I AM a minority, because if I had to deal with all of my afflictions and ALL I, too, have been afflicted with,
            I know in my heart, the whole scenario would’ve gone down differently if I was a man; same for an ethnic minority. Same with Age, sometimes I feel ignored because of my age. So, all things considered, I think we’re probably doing pretty well. By the way, you’d never guess you struggled with ANY affliction, you express yourself beautifully. Thanks for sharing.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thank you so much for your sincere words. I completely agree with your first statement. By the way, the fact that I am disabled and neurodivergent does not (automatically) mean I “suffer” with any “afflictions”. In general, those in the disability and neurodiversity communities, and that includes me, don’t consider ourselves as suffering from our disabilities, but rather as suffering (if you can even call it that) as a consequence of society’s lack of accommodations.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I certainly didn’t mean to offend,
                Not knowing Neurodiversity
                Up-close & Personally,
                I’ve only graduated to emerge From Trauma’s University,
                And Trauma looks like Affliction,
                At least it does on ME.
                I haven’t learned
                To skillfully turn
                MY traumas into Blessings,
                Since Trauma hasn’t been kind,
                Nice, or even a good friend,
                At least to ME.
                Maybe it’s semantics,
                I don’t know? All I know
                Is what feels Real TO me.
                So it’s a matter of sharing truths,
                And by that definition,
                Is therefore ONLY
                True for me.
                Whatever it’s called
                It’s improved me into
                A BETTER and a
                FULLER,
                And even a stronger
                Version of Me,
                But at the time,
                It hurt like fire,
                It tore and I cried,
                And that’s the Why
                Its blessings are Mixed,
                At least for me.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Thanks so very much for your poetic reply! You didn’t offend me at all. I was just trying to educate you. As someone who has been involved with the wider disability community and the neurodiversity/autistic acceptance community specifically for over fifteen years, I cannot expect everyone who comments on my blog to be familiar with these concepts. Basically, the idea is that we’re suffering not because of our neurological (or other when speaking for the wider disability community) conditions in themselves, but because of society’s lack of acceptance of us. Some autistic/neurodivergent (neurodivergent includes people with ADHD and other neurological disabilities and sometimes actually mental illness too) people go so far as to say that neurodivergence is more of a cultural thing than a disability, much like homosexuality. I wouldn’t go so far.

                  Liked by 1 person

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