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Both Enneagram Fours and Sixes, have many natural affinities for each other, especially since both are highly emotional and often feel insecure around people. Both tend to strong, immediate feelings and to act on their unconscious hunches or intuitions. Sixes often misidentify themselves initially as Fours because of the traits that they actually have in common. These very traits can also be ones that they bring to the relationship, enabling them to have an unusual degree of empathy and tolerance for each other. In short, Fours and Sixes can bring to each other the feeling that they are kindred souls, connected by their feelings of abandonment and a certain distrust of others. They may feel like “orphans in the storm” who offer mutual support and reassurance. Rather than energize each other, when they are healthy, Fours and Sixes tend to support and stabilize each other, usually acting as a sounding board for worries and complaints that they feel they cannot air anywhere else.
Fours bring sensitivity, sensuality, and the ability to express emotions openly, including the feelings that Sixes themselves do not know how to express. Fours talk about their inner lives—again, something that Sixes often need to learn. Sixes bring hard work, perseverance, practicality, loyalty, and concern with security to the relationship. They are also often warm and unpredictably playful and able to break through whatever gloom and self-absorption Fours may periodically fall into. Fours give Sixes the sense that they are needed—helping to give Sixes more confidence in their ability to cope with things. Sixes like being practical and they often provide Fours with a platform of some kind to develop their creativity as well as the time and support they may need to work through their emotional issues. This combination creates steadiness and daring, balance and the ability to fill in the gaps for each other both in their own development and in practical affairs.
As noted above, both Fours and Sixes have issues with feelings of abandonment. Both types in the lower Levels tend to be emotionally reactive, critical of others, pessimistic, and can feel overwhelmed. While they may not often talk about it, they may test each other in various ways in an attempt to discover how loyal the other will be to them. Both types may also begin to subtly withdraw attention and affection from the other as a way of defending against the hurt of potential abandonment, should it occur. But in this, both types have a tendency to create a self-fulfilling prophesy in which their fears and reactions bring about the very thing they are consciously trying to avoid. Both types can become codependent, and their reliance on each other may not result in development for either: Fours do not automatically become more practical, and Sixes do not become more insightful about themselves.
Another potential trouble spot for Fours and Sixes lies in the area of change and tolerance for change. Generally, Fours are more interested in self-exploration and self-development and they tend to be more adventuresome in their tastes and in what they allow themselves to think and to experience. Sixes tend to be more conservative and resistant to change and to personal exploration, making for potential conflict with Fours, who may feel that Sixes are holding them back and stifling their creativity and development. Both can be pessimistic and self-doubting, gloomy and mistrustful of others. The complaint that Fours typically have about Sixes is that they are not free-spirited and romantic enough, whereas the complaint of Sixes about Fours is that they are too undependable and act too much on whims and are not emotionally stable enough. Both types are reactive and conflicts can escalate quickly: misunderstandings can lead to projections and massive over-reactions.
For further understanding about this type combination, read more about the Stress Arrow and how types Four and Six behave when they are moving along it.
Private consultations are available to discuss your relationships issues, or to ask questions about your type and its compatibility with other types.
The accuracy and usefulness of these Relationship Combinations pages are made possible by The Insight Approach of Don Riso and Russ Hudson. For the only in-depth Training Program that covers all elements of the complete Enneagram system, consider coming to the Enneagram Institute Training Program.
Copyright Notice: All the relationship combination materials given here, including those that have previously been published on this website are copyrighted for the current year by The Enneagram Institute, and are not available for commercial use or publication by others. See our Guidelines for use of Riso-Hudson materials.
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