Misidentifying Ones and Fours

Since Ones and Fours are so different, it might seem strange that they can be confused. The confusion seems to arise when a One (who may be going to Four under stress) begins to think that he or she is a Four. Invariably, Ones who misidentify themselves as Fours focus almost exclusively on the traits of the unhealthy Four and not on the type as a whole. Because they feel melancholy, depressed, and alienated from others, they may convince themselves that they must be Fours. If Ones have been having more severe difficulties, they may be “shunting” to Four more continuously to avoid falling into even more unhealthy Levels of type One–a far more serious problem. At such times, Ones are typically guilt-ridden, feel worthless, and are subject to excruciating self-contempt and self-hatred. (They may even felt suicidal). Their confusion would clear if they were to look at themselves historically and see both themselves and the Four as a whole.

In the average Levels, Ones usually attend to their responsibilities first, and deal with their feelings later. Their lack of focus on their feelings is actually one of the main causes of their not infrequent depressions. (It is also worth mentioning that Ones are one of the types more vulnerable to depression.) Fours, on the other hand, want to sort out their feelings first, and deal with their duties after they have worked through their emotions. As a result, they may have difficulty mobilizing themselves to meet responsibilities. Most Ones would not give themselves permission to “indulge” their feelings in this way for very long. For lower average Fours, non-productively dwelling on their feelings can be the rule rather than the exception.

Despite these differences, there are similarities. Both tend to be perfectionistic and dissatisfied with things as they are. Both are often frustrated with themselves and their environment, and can be perceived by others as fussy, or picky. Both can be very particular about their environment and the “rules” that they want others to observe in their personal space. (“No one comes in here without removing their shoes.”) Both types can be angry: average Ones are frequently critical and irritable, but usually over others’ inefficiency or failure to follow agreed upon procedures. Average Fours are often critical and picky over others’ lack of awareness of their sensitivities. The may feel irritable about others’ apparent coarseness. Similarly, Fours can also become resentful when they feel that others’ do not appreciate their depth and creativity. If upset in this way, Fours attempt to punish the offenders by coldly withdrawing emotionally or even physically. They refuse to engage in further communication. Average Ones do not withdraw from people. On the contrary, they press themselves and their opinions on others with increasing urgency as they become angrier at what they see as the irresponsibility of others.

It is also possible for an occasional healthy Four to be mistaken for a One; such a misidentification would, however, be a compliment to the Four since it indicates that he or she has integrated to One and is living with purpose beyond the self. Fortunately for them, some Fours actually do integrate and begin to manifest the reason, moderation, and attraction to objective values of healthy Ones. Further, some Fours may well be teachers and in a teaching situation be called on to move beyond their feelings and interior states. But a Four who has genuinely integrated some of the healthy qualities of type One is still a Four—and besides having either a Three-wing or a Five-wing, other important characteristics, will continue to be present in the Four’s overall personality. Contrast a Four such as Anne Rice and a One such as Martha Stewart or a Four such as Tennessee Williams and a One such as Arthur Miller for more insight into these types.