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Enneagram 4s- How to be close to them without losing your mind

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For those of you unfamiliar with what it means to be an Enneagram 4- back to my favorite cartoon:

So the #1 complaint I hear about 4s is the emotional strain they put on relationships, in work or life. The average 4 can often be in a state of emotional upheaval about one thing or another, and may also feel overwhelmed and unable to deal with whatever that state is about.

The result- a 4 surrounded by well meaning and caring people who, frankly, are emotionally exhausted by them. Those of you out there that may be on the tired end of relating to a 4, I have a couple guidelines for you.

First, be honest about how the 4’s emotions affect you. The 4 in your life doesn’t necessarily understand that you may be pulling back because of how emotionally tired you are. They will likely believe some variation of- you are leaving me, you don’t like me anymore, I said something wrong. What they need is your honesty- that you care but the emotional strain on your relationship is too much. Allowing the 4 to emotionally dominate your interactions is destructive for the 4, despite how it may seem, and certainly destructive for you.

-Second, direct your conversation toward 1 meaningful action step. I’m not saying here to be a poor listener and try to solve the 4’s problem after 2 sentences. However, most 4s believe that if they process their emotions enough they will come to illumination. Actually, illumination is what they are good at and don’t need more of. What they need is action, moving forward in a small way. (Please note that most 4s find this difficult- so expect a little resistance!)

Remember, a 4 that is emotionally dominating all of their relationships = misery for all involved. Restore the balance.

Jan

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