What's my wing?
I'm an E4--always have tested as E4, and a friend who teaches Enneagram classes just said, right after I met her, "Ah, you're a four." But I have never been able to figure out a wing for myself. On various tests I come out with slightly higher 5, slightly higher 3, or equal 5 and 3. But I score higher on 7 than on either 3 or 5. On some tests my 7 score is almost as high as my 4 score.
Is it possible to really not have a wing? Or am I missing something? Please clue me in.
ETA: I bugged people in chat today for information on figuring out my instinct stacking, and via that help it appears to be either sx/so/sp OR so/sx/sp.
Try reading these descriptions:
4w5s have a harsher edge than 4w3s and are the true outsiders of the enneagram. They tend to be more intellectual and introspective. They are more likely to philosophize their inner reality. Many 4w5s have an unflinching "this is me so deal with it" persona that's harder and crustier in comparison to 4w3s. They tend to be absurdly original or profoundly eclectic. Either way they have a more "take it or leave it" attitude and are more likely to direct a critical edge at others. Their persona serves more to redirect their shame away from their vulnerable self behind it in contrast to the 4w3 whose more shapeshifting persona facilitates relating to people. The more shame a 4w5 feels the more they implode, or in some cases amplify their persona as a countershame response. As a result 4w5s are more likely to present a more bizarre and even grotesque image in some instances that reflects their feelings of defectiveness combined with a fascination for the macabre that their five wing brings.
4w5s have a great pride in staying "true to themselves no matter what" amidst what changes in the world around them. They accept being isolated from others and are personally invested in their self-image enough to stick with it through thick and thin. They are equally proud of suffering for their weirdness as paying the price for being who they are only makes them feel even more authentic about themselves. It illustrates how they are too complex to be understood by the unworthy who lack the perception to decode their many layers to understand the real them.
Suffering for their internal self-image serves to reinforce their authenticity. The more they suffer for it the more they cling to their internal self-image and 4w5s wear their lack of compromise as a badge of honor for being true to themselves. "I'm completely true to myself and no one can take that from me." They mythologize their own personal tragedy. On the flip side being double-withdrawn they have less of a will to deal with the world and feel more overwhelmed by it. Despite seeking meaning in everything they are more likely to tend towards nihilism. Combine that with being even more true to themselves in response to their suffering and they become more and more disconnected from the world. In a self-destructive cycle the 4w5 holds his head high at never selling himself out like others, but ironically has little to nothing to show for it since he's actualized his identity with futile concepts that have no basis in reality. A feeling of hopelessness sets in and he withdraws from the world more permanently.
4w3s are theatrical, dramatic, and effete. Compared to 4w5s they are generally more ambitious and competitive, and place a greater emphasis on appearing beautiful, desireable, and elite. They tend to feel entitled and exempt. They are said to be divas and aristocrats as their three wing transforms their sources of shame and defectiveness into art and expression, an aloof presentation that incorporates conventionally desireable elements into their style. They have a more glorious self-image and are more inspiration-seeking. They feel a connection with the magical as if they're part of a special class of people with secret powers. They are the outsiders who dream of magically returning to show others what they missed. The magical overtones in their persona are reminders of that to themselves. Compared to 4w5s they have more energy to keep up the act to get by in the world, but are also more likely to feel fake about it afterwards. They balance a greater ability to wear different masks with greater shame over losing their internal substance. They have an amorphous self-image that adapts to others but is in conflict with the core 4 fixation which sees it as "inauthentic". They are less likely than 4w5s to call out others for not being authentic for fear of pointing the finger back at themselves and their many contradictions.
4w3s are marked by multiple dichotomies due to types 3 and 4 being opposites in so many ways: inferior/superior, being/becoming, self-conscious/confident, putting themselves down/glorifying themselves, withdrawn/assertive, emotional/flatlined, reactive/cool-headed, mired in the past/focused on moving forward, awkward/poised, fragile/resilient, easily discouraged/do whatever it takes, rejecting the game/conquering the game. While they will put up countershame smokescreens to get your attention and see if you are perceptive enough to see and accept the real them underneath, they may seem distant to even close ones to keep up appearances. Ideally they'd have a rich emotional life without having the ugliest parts of themselves exposed.
Underneath a 4w3's more fluid identity their 4ness gives them an awareness of something truer and deeper within themselves that roots everything. Their 3 wing precludes people from seeing fully what is inside them including even themselves. However they know their personal awareness anchor is there no matter where their changeability takes them. They know on a deeper level their fluctuations stem back to a single consistent essence. Still, they wonder if they are fooling themselves. Despite their consistent underlying essence they lead an inconsistent life and wonder if they are being true to themselves. They try to balance selling themselves out in the real world with hanging out amongst the "keeping it real" crowd. They are more likely to go the distance in their career due to their three wing before their fourness causes them to sabotage themselves. In extreme cases 4w3s totally give up on life after finally "making it".
Thanks very much.
Of the two, I think I'm historically somewhat more 4w3, but really, I tend to adopt both strategies and that I use them against each other. That is, I recognize the pretentiousness and approval-seeking of my 3 wing, and the desolation and selfishness of my 5 wing, so I blend them together into what might be, in some people's view, a mess. :\
Like, I'll use 4w3 style to get someone's attention, draw them in, but very quickly I'll go with 4w5 strategies of "this is how I am, take it or leave it"--very harsh, trying right away to expose the uglier parts of myself rather than hide them. I could start listing endless examples of hedging the two wings against each other and mixing them, but that would be boring. So ...
From the perspective of someone who's really into Enneagram that might not seem possible, I don't know. But it's how it seems to me anyway. Does this sound familiar to anyone?????
Just to add, from my understanding the wings are simply to help define where you fit in your main type. Many people use it to bolster their identity, so if just plain 4 describes you well, I see no reason to seek a dominant wing.
Conversely, just knowing your dominant type is very helpful for personal growth, should you choose to take that path.
It sounds like 4w3 to me, fwiw.
Originally Posted by Golden
4w3 are likely to act like the 4w5 description, but 4w5s would absolutely abhore acting liking a 4w3. For you to even say you have an approval seeking side is major points for me to not think you are 4w5.
Just to be clear it's not bad that you have an approval seeking side, in fact without it you'd probably face a lot of issues socially. Just that 4w5s are very much only into what they think of themselves.
Remember that 4s are already a withdrawn type, that has a hard time saying that they would let others affect their identity. So 4w5 would have very minimal concern for what others think and are willing to go to extreme lengths to isolate themselves in order to be authentic. 4w3s want to be authentic, but they have issues accepting that their true identity is one that isn't considered good.
4w5 "I must separate from others to be myself."
4w3 "I must be the impressive me that I am."
Last edited by Azeroffs; 11-19-2010 at 06:45 PM.
Okay. Although I do use the 5 wing, I think that Azeroffs is right--I was reflecting on this while away from the thread. 4w3 makes a lot more sense as my general MO.
And I couldn't say, as Goldilocks does, that I separate myself from others in order to experience myself. I separate because I'm an introvert, but I'm very interested in other people, genuinely like others, need them. But some parts of the descriptions are really over-the-top. I mean, maybe when I was 16 I had some of these conceptions of being oh-so-special, but come on. At some point, reality and maturity are bound to quell that kind of egotism. (Unless you're personality-disordered or something.)
Glad to be of service.
Originally Posted by Goldilocks
Golden, FWIW I'd agree with Azeroffs. 4w3s are much more likely to exhibit conflicting behaviors and be mildly outgoing. 4w5 is double withdrawn.
Consensus: 4w3. Thanks, everyone!