Monday, October 08, 2007

Phobia-Schmobia, This One's too Obvious...

Introversion: the new frontier. Or rather, the deepest space where the boldest man has yet to go...for reals!! I am not going to sit here and type my views on introversion. I am merely here to plug you all into this intriguing article from The Atlantic. It begins--"Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate?" Hmmm... So here you go: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch

If you are truly intrigued, there is a two-page interview that follows. I enjoy the part about finding parties "monumentally boring", as I can truly identify. It is a rather humorous interview AND quite introspective:
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200303/rauch

If you are an introvert and TRULY love to read about yourself, you may read some of the reader responses to this article. It is one of The Atlantics most hit articles to this day, although published in 2003. A couple of oustanding quotes in these responses include the statement that an introvert "...can be witty, extremely bright and engaging in short bursts," and that "...the most important phenomenon associated with introverts—it is not that they cannot socialize in groups, it is just that it exhausts them to their core to do so." Here's the link for you: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200602u/introverts/2

Introverts, UNITE!!

P.S. The word of the day is "maladroit", which is how I came across this article.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Nomatophobia

Ok, so I've fallen of the blogging bandwagon a bit, but here I am, so shuttie.

About a month and a half ago, my old drama 2 teacher called me up. You see, last year around this time, I was in a play called "The Foreigner" (WOW, was that a year ago?!). I played the part of of an old Georgian lady named Betty. Before we even began working on the play, the director informed us that some judges from the Elly award committee, part of SARTA (the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance) would be coming to a couple of our shows and judging us. All I was told was that it was like the Oscars of community theatre, which I thought was pretty darn cool. So, the judges came on random nights; however, as it turned out, they came on our WORST nights.

So, graduation came and went, summer vacation was flying by, and I was spending most of my time volunteering in a Bible education work, when I recieved this phone call. Here it is in a nutshell:

Mr. Johnson: So, Asia, you remember that those Elly judges were coming to watch the performances?

Me: Yeah?

Mr. Johnson: Well, overall, Del Oro High was nominated 10 times. And you were nominated for best supporting actress.

After this, the conversation is fairly untypeable, as it consists mostly of squeals and jumping up and down. Yes, I had pretty much forgotten about this whole Elly deal. So I (almost) dieted, bought a new dress, new shoes, tried to tame my hair, and dragged my family down to the Crest theatre in Sacramento for the 4 hour awards ceremony, which was last night. It had occurred to me that this whole deal was just some kind of scam (though my ticket was free, as a nominee), that it wasn't as formal as I thought, and that there wouldn't be as many people there as I thought. However, when I got there, I was blown away. The theatre was packed, everyone was dressed to the nine's, and I could see that this thing meant alot more to some people than I had expected. Mrs. Johnson (who helped design the set and costumes) told me there were seats reserved for my family and I with all the other people from Del Oro. A couple of the nominees from D.O., Andrew Dominitz and Randi Stevenson, couldn't be there, as they are in college far away, but their parents were there to represent them. So, the ceremony began with speeches and a racy bit from "Chicago". As my category neared closer and closer, my tension grew unbearably. I told my sister I had decided not to win, and even had her pass it on to my mom.

As far as I knew, I was against a girl with the last name of Steel, who was nominated for her part in "Steele Magnolias", and against Randi Stevenson, one of my fellow castmembers; however, when the announcer began listing the nominees for my category, there were more than just those. That was when I truly resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to win. I only hoped that Randi would win so Del Oro (which is very new in this whole drama thing) would win something. After all, as they say, "it's an honor just to be nominated!" It was just in this second, as I had come to terms with losing, that I heard "And the Elly award goes to...Asia Sanchez!"

I'm pretty sure I shook the whole row of seats I was in. I have never been so shocked in my life. I couldn't even comprehend...was that MY name? The thing is, as I had been sitting in my seat prior to my internal resignation, I had been unable to decide if I was more afraid of losing or if my nerves were due to the fact that the winners had to make a speech (which I hadn't known) which I hadn't prepared for! I was severely worried that I might have to walk all the way down there and onto the stage and across it and make a speech! And now I DID have to! I stumbled through my row as the spotlight controller found me, almost fell down the stairs, and tripped a little when I fell out of my shoe on the way down the rampart. I ran up the stairs onto the stage, almost missed the guy who gave me my plaque AND the announcer who gave me the winning envelope. I went to the podium and said:

Me: K, seriously someone coulda told me I had to say something.
(Audience Laughter, thank goodness)
Announcer behind me: You have to say something.
Me: Thanks.
(More Audience Laughter)
Me: Um, so I just want to thank Mr. Johnson for encouraging me to keep acting, and...my family, and Mrs. Dominitz for seeing the old lady I really was.

As I was leaving the stage, the announcer chose that moment to say he wasn't hearing enough thank you's for SARTA and the Elly judges. I was so shooken up about that, that I couldn't remember who else I had forgotten until too late: My cast! How could I forget my ensemble cast!? Well, I thought, someone else from D.O. will win and do it. Little did I know I would be the only winner of Del Oro's 10 nominations! I felt terrible! Not only did those who had worked just as hard as me not win, but I had forgotten to thank them! This put quite a damper on the whole experience.

However, I'll never forget the excitement of that evening. I kept hugging my plaque, as I have too many times dreamt about similar things and woken up to dissappointment. I literally had my sister pinch me (I've always wanted to do that) to make sure.

Well, I got my night at the Emm--I mean Elly's. As much as I enjoyed it, I'm going to try to not let this make me lose my focus on my recent goal of increasing my time in the above-mentioned volunteer work. As happy as I am about this acknowledgement of all my hard work, in the great scheme of things, it is a truly small and temporary happiness.

Well, that was long! See, that's what happens when you put off writing for too long of a time!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Monophobia!

New plug folk(s)! That's right, I am now a team member on another blog, entitled: The Pursuit of Awesome. I know! So, loyal fan(s) of Asia, I just thought I would let you know lest you be Asia-starved. And...here's the link: http://pursuitofawesome.blogspot.com/ Happy reading!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Catoptrophilia

If you like what you see here (or even if you don't), and you are in the mood for some well-written observations and opinions on the world around us, check out this blog: http://timeteaches.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sophophobia- Fear of learning: Etiquette

This is something I actually wrote several months ago:



As time goes on, it seems that more and more classes are becoming available to students eager to learn, progress, and boast impressive highschool transcripts. The opportunities nowadays are astounding: advanced placement classes, higher level math and science classes, and so on. However, there seems to be an ever growing trend at the same time, one that is highly disturbing. People seem to have forgotten almost completely the basic etiquette that bound us not so very long ago. The self-centeredness is borderline childlike, immature in the extreme. Moreover, many do not seem to realize when they are being rude until someone who does remember the old etiquette points it out. I am guilty of poor etiquette myself; indeed, I am cursed with the embarrassment that seems to be a constant in my generation when we are confronted with situations that require etiquette, such as merely knowing when to say "please" or "thank you". Of course, this lack of manners is something that can and will be detrimental in the long run, as it will affect our relationship with others, including our superiors in the job industry. It is the goal of schools to prepare their students for the real world, to provide them with the capability of being full-fledged citizens in society. Therefore, as a training in etiquette could only aid in this education, it ought to be a mandatory course.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sociophobia

A recent poll discovered that 40% of adults are terrified of public speaking. In fact, comedian Jerry Seinfeld once quipped that, at a funeral, most people would rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy.

Few of you may remember this, but throughout the majority of my life, I suffered a slight stutter. I often had trouble putting my thoughts into words at a conversational pace, leading to a lot of "um...a-ands...no wait...a-and then I uh..."'s. I enjoyed reading and drawing, but these activities left little room for social interaction, which led me to becoming sort of a self-made loner.

As I was (am) enrolled in the Theocratic Ministy School in my congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses, I did on occasion have to speak in front of large groups of people. When I started out, I wasn't nervous at all, but as I entered my preteen years, I became filled with anxiety. Still, I would get complimented afterwards. I liked this, but as I was--again--slightly socially awkward, I had difficulty accepting compliments.

I recall a time in 6th grade when I had to give an oral report on the history of Italian art. I had focused so completely on the written part of my report, that I hadn't really prepared. I had frantically written out a page of information, but once I got up there, I was so focused on my audience eye-contact that I couldn't bring myself to glance at the page. I just rattled off information that I wasn't aware was in my brain and ended up getting an "A". This event served as a turning point in my attitude towards public speaking, but it did not make me want to do it any more.

I was homeschooled in 7th grade. Needless to say, this did not do much in the way of improving my social skills. When I went back to 8th grade, I was so depressed about not fitting in, due to my lost year and social awkwardness, that I became a tremendous introvert. I had few friends, and none very close.

I entered highschool hoping to start anew, make a fresh start. I did this to a certain extent, as I found a lot more people who shared my interests than could be found in my tiny junior high, but I couldn't completely get over this slight fear of social interaction. I was in the school band, but I didn't even completely fit in there.

One day, there was a boy in my English class who was trying to promote a play he was in. Nobody seemed very enthusiastic about it, and I felt sorry for him, so I went to the last showing. It was in the cafeteria, on the tiny old stage that we used before the Performing Arts Center was finished, but by the end I had found a new love. Despite my fears, I knew that I wanted to be a part of something like this somehow. I actually kindof forgot about this, until the next year when I was getting an "F" in participation in my Spanish class. I realized that something had to be done about my fear of speaking to others, so I enrolled myself in the Drama 1 class. This was something which would force me to do what I found the most difficult. My teacher, Mr. Holcomb, taught me to get over myself, which I found to be a truly invaluable lesson.

Since then, I have been in 2 Drama 2 classes, played Leonato in "Much Ado About Nothing", Betty Meeks in "The Foreigner", Clementine in "The Paper Bag Bandit", and was cast in 2 other plays. There are two pages about "The Foreigner" in the yearbook, and I still get people coming up to me and asking me if I was that hilarious old lady in the play. Recently, my Drama 2 teacher asked the class to tell him why we act. Some students had reasons such as the fact that they liked being someone else for a time, or that they just enjoyed performing. I told him what I had realized only the day before speaking with a classmate, that acting is the only time when I don't feel socially awkward. One kid high-fived me on that, and my teacher, Mr. Johnson, said that that is actually something that's true, that acting is sometimes an outlet for those who have difficulty interacting with others in real life.

So basically, I'm wierd. But I've gotten better. Acting and the Theocratic Ministry School (without which I never would have known the basics of public speaking that made me stand out from the crowd at school) have given me the confidence to reach out in my real life. The fact that I am no longer one of those who are afraid of public speaking (kindof) has contributed to the ever continuing effort to eradicate my sociophobia.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Kainotophobia

Kainotophobia: The fear of change. See: Senioritis.

Do I have it? Oh, my yes. Is it contagious? It just may be.

You see, at the age of 18, my life experience is bordering on nil. I don't feel prepared to leave this place they call a school. I believe they call that Stockholme's Syndrome? Anyway, I have merely one Senior Project speech standing between me and graduation. It's as though I've been running hard for the finish line, and now that I can see it, I'm grinding my heels into the dirt and screeching to a desperate hault. The only cure I can see at this time is just that--time. Someone shoving that cap on my head and that diploma in my hand. I should say that crooked, tassle-free cap, as my sister saw fit to put it and my gown in the dryer, which my mother neglected to see. Cardboard irons, right?

My point is, it may not be a good idea to talk to me right now if you are currently working on any goals, as I may not be filled with any advice conducive to that end. My other point is that I'm tired, and therefore done writing this blog, which I was only doing to kill time instead of doing my homework.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

VT

Ok...So, I haven't written in a while, as I have been so busy that I have been unable to remain "in the loop". However, I was of course unable to ignore the biggest headline in the news right now, the Virginia Tech shooting. My fellow blogger, Adam, author of the blog entitled "Time Teaches...if You Let it" has already made some outstanding points on the issue, so I only have a few things to say:
First off, I refer all to the msn page at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18143312/?GT1=9246. There you will find a list of some of the people who were killed during the shooting, including some pictures and descriptions. Particularly heartwrenching is the blurb about the holocaust survivor who was killed...It just seems terrible that one who survived such an ordeal was killed in a place he was supposed to feel safe, an apparently common occurence. Apparently, he died trying to protect his students.
Second of all, I would like to comment on the fact that everything that is being said about the shooter is old news. I could practically say the words before reading or hearing them: "Loner...few friends...depressed...notes in locker...refusal to see counselor...and on...and on..."
Plus, there were also the same old people saying the same old things: "Now, that I think about it...he had all the warning signs...he loved violence...I wondered if he would ever become a school shooter...and on...and on...and on..."
Why, people? Why? Why do you wait until it's too late to say something? There are unstable people out there; don't think this couldn't happen in your area or to someone you know.
Last year, there was a play put on at my school called "Bang, Bang, You're Dead." This play took place in the memory of a student who was in prison for shooting his parents and some kids at school. He was led through these memories by the dead classmates, whose memories nag at him until the guilt becomes unbearable and his callous attitude is broken and he is sorry. Unlike most plays at my school, they performed this one during school, as well as after. There were many tears, even an unexpected few from Miss Never Cries during Movies or Anything, herself. The point is, though, that it got people thinking about the warning signs...of how this could happen to anyone. Students were a lot more careful about how they treated eachother...for a while, anyway.
So, please remember that your words and actions, or lack thereof, can have drastic consequences. Just...be careful. Treat others as you would like to be treated...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Greetings, people of the light...

Hello. Do not be alarmed. This is merely an experiment to see how my brain functions at...1:36 AM. Considering how long it took me to remember (as in, look at the clock on my taskbar) the proper formatting of the AM thing-a-majig, I'd have to say...not so good. You see, in the near future, in a less unearthly hour, I will stumble upon this post, and I will then be able to judge for a certainty the level of deterioration my mind experiences when it is not allowed its necassary 19 1/2 hours of sleep. PEOPLE APPLY STRING THEORY TO EVERYTHING IN EVERY WANNABE SCIFI SHOW EVER DOES NOT COMPUTE! DOES NOT COMPUTE! Whoa, just blanked out there a bit, hope I didn't write anything totally spastic or insane or in all caps, which is rude if you're not shouting.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Sorry...

I officially apologize to that one person out there who may have looked at my previous post. If you haven't, don't. It was merely the result of a short-lived spurt of self-conscious angstiness. The end.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Since I know hardly anyone reads my blog anyway, I don't feel so badly for posting something this long. These are the results of an extensive personality test I was required to take for one of my classes. Although these types of tests usually give results that are at best vague and uninformative, what I have here seems to me like someone reaching into my brain and pulling it all out on ticker tape.

4
THE INDIVIDUALIST Overview of Type Four
In the artist of all kinds I think one can detect an inherent dilemma, which belongs to the co-existence of two trends, the urgent need to communicate and the still more urgent need not to be found....
What more fruitful way to redressing the balance than by portraying one's inner world in a work of art and then persuading other people to accept it, if not as real, at least as highly significant? Part of the satisfaction which a creative person obtains from his achievement may be the feeling that, at last, some part of his inner life is being accepted which has never been accorded recognition before. Moreover, since art became an individual matter rather than a task for anonymous craftsmen, creative work is generally recognized as being especially apt for expressing the personal style of an individual (which is of course closely related to his inner world). The value we place upon authenticity is often exaggerated; yet there is a sense in which it is justified. However good a painting or a piece of music may be, taken quite apart from its creator, the fact that it is or is not another expression of the personality of a particular artist is important. For it either is or is not an addition to our knowledge of that artist; a further revelation of that mysterious, indefinable and fascinating thing—his personality. (D. W. Winnicott, quoted in Anthony Storr, The Dynamics of Creation, 58.)
The nature of creativity will probably always remain mysterious because its basis is irrational—in the feelings and unconscious of those who create—and because, as Winnicott notes, part of the motive for creating is to remain concealed, to be unfound by others. Yet the motives given for artistic work—to communicate and to conceal the self—are but two possible motives which any person may have for creating. These two motives are, however, particularly appropriate to the Four, the artistic temperament among the personality types. Of course, members of any other personality type can become artists in the sense of making a livelihood by producing works of art, however that is defined. Fours, however, are in search of their identities, and art is the foremost means they have of finding themselves, as well as their way of reporting to the world what they have discovered.
In the Feeling Triad
The Four is the personality type which emphasizes the subjective world of feelings, in creativity and individualism, in introversion and self-absorption, and in self-torment and self-hatred. In this personality type we see creative artists, romantic aesthetes, and withdrawn dreamers, people with powerful feelings who feel different from others because self-consciousness blocks them from getting outside themselves.
Fours are the most self-aware of the types, and this is the basis of what is most positive and negative about them. The constant conflict we see in Fours is between their need to be aware of themselves, so they can find themselves, and, at the same time, their need to move beyond self-awareness, so they will not be trapped in self-consciousness. The tension between self-awareness and self-transcendence can be resolved in creativity. In the creative moment, healthy Fours harness their emotions without constricting them, not only producing something beautiful but discovering who they are. In the moment of inspiration, they are, paradoxically both most themselves and most liberated from themselves. This is why all forms of creativity are so valued by Fours, and why in its inspired state, creativity is so hard to sustain. Fours can be inspired only if they have first transcended themselves, something which is extremely threatening to their self-awareness. In a sense, then, only by learning not to look for themselves will they find themselves and renew themselves in the process.
The problem with average Fours, however, is that they try to understand themselves by introspecting upon their feelings. As they move inward in a search for self, they become so acutely self-conscious that their subjective emotional states become the dominant reality for them. And, because even average Fours are so involved with their emotions, they do not usually express their feelings directly. Instead, they communicate their feelings indirectly though art, if they have they talent and training to do so.
The overall direction of their personalities therefore is inward, toward increasing self-absorption, because Fours feel that they are different from other people, and they want to know why they feel this way. Ironically, however, they try to find their place in life by withdrawing from it so they can trace the labyrinth of their emotions. But the result of their withdrawal is that even average Fours have noticeable difficulties coping with life, while unhealthy Fours have some of the most severe emotional difficulties of all the personality types.
Fours tend to compound their emotional difficulties in some striking ways. Because Fours have identified themselves with their feelings, they begin to look for intensity of feeling in all of their activities. The more intensely they feel something the more real they feel. Thus, average Fours begin to employ their imaginations to "stir up" their emotional life. They can take even the most transitory encounter and dwell on it for hours to extract all of its "emotional juice." The problem is that it becomes difficult for Fours to dwell deeply in their moods and fantasies if they are still interacting with others. Their feeling states and self-image become rarefied to a degree that reality will not support. Increasingly, they begin to withdraw from life and real relationships and experiences, both to prevent others from interfering with their strong reveries and moods, and to avoid potential embarrassment and humiliation. As they draw the curtains and turn away from life, however, they cut themselves off from the wellspring of their feelings and their creativity—participation in the world.
In healthy Fours, however, the rich life of the unconscious becomes accessible and is given shape. More than any other personality type, healthy Fours are the bridge between the spiritual and the animal in human nature because they are so aware of these two sides of themselves. They sense in themselves the depths to which human beings can descend, as well as the heights to which they can be swept up. No other personality type is as habitually aware of the potentials and predicaments of human nature: human beings are spiritual animals occupying an uneasy place between two orders of existence. Fours sense both sides of their potentially conflicting natures, and they suffer intensely or are ecstatic because of them. This is why, at their best, healthy Fours create something which can move others deeply because they have been able to get in touch with the hidden depths of human nature by delving deeply into their own. By doing so, they transcend themselves, and are able to discover something universal about human nature, fusing personal conflicts and divergent feelings into art.
But, like everyone else, most Fours do not live at the peak of their potential. In response to anxiety, they turn inward, becoming self-conscious, particularly about the negativity they discover in themselves. To offset their negative feelings, they use their imaginations to make their lives more bearable. As a result, average Fours begin to withdraw from ordinary life. They become self-absorbed and do not learn how to relate to people or how to manage in the practical world. They feel like outsiders, somehow flawed and different from others, unable to break through the barrier of self-consciousness that separates them from easy commerce with the world.
And if they are unhealthy, their negative feelings feed upon themselves because Fours have closed themselves off from any other influences. Unhealthy Fours are so completely alienated from others, and ironically, even from themselves, that they despair of ever finding a way out of their excruciating self-consciousness. They realize that their search for self has led them into a world of useless fantasies and illusions. Understanding only too clearly what they have done to themselves, and fearing that it is too late to do anything about it, unhealthy Fours hate and torment themselves, turning against themselves to destroy what they have become.
Problems with Identity
Fours find it difficult to transcend self-consciousness because just the reverse is what they want: to become more conscious of their states and feelings so that they can find themselves and arrive at a firm sense of identity. But as they become more self-conscious, Fours become increasingly drawn into unresolved, contradictory, and irrational feelings which they want to sort out before they dare express them.
Self-discovery is an extremely important motive for Fours because they never feel that their sense of self is strong enough to sustain their identities, particularly if they need to assert themselves. Because their feelings change so readily, their sense of identity is not solid, dependable, in their own hands. They feel undefined and uncertain of themselves, as if they were a gathering cloud which may produce something of great power or merely dissipate in the next breeze. Fours can never tell how the next moment will affect them, so it is difficult for them to count on themselves. Something is missing in the self, something they cannot quite put their fingers on, but which they feel they lack nonetheless.
The difficulty is that average Fours may not know what their feelings are until after they have expressed them personally or artistically. But if they express all that they feel, they fear that they may reveal too much, exposing themselves to shame or punishment. On the other hand, by not expressing their feelings, average Fours undermine the possibility of discovering themselves by getting caught in endless self-absorption. They become aware of being aware of themselves—their consciousness is filled with little more than fantasies and memories, ultimately leading to illusions, regrets, and a wasted life.
As Fours become more fearful that they cannot find a solid identity in themselves, they begin to create one out of whatever random tendencies they find. Thus, matters of taste, likes and dislikes, and emotional reactions become the materials which Fours use to construct an identity. Because their sense of self is so tenuous, however, Fours begin to put a great deal of weight on what would be for others relatively unimportant traits. ("I only wear black." "I listen to Puccini, but never Wagner.") It is important to note that most of these personal traits function by negation. Fours may not know who they are, but they certainly believe they know who they are not. While these idiosyncrasies can be fairly harmless in and of themselves, as Fours increasingly depend on them to figure out who they are, they begin to paint themselves into a corner. In the interest of maintain a narrowly defined self-image, Fours may refuse to engage in many basic activities necessary to live their lives. ("Poets don’t work in an office.")
As we have seen in the other types of the Feeling Triad, the Two and the Three, much of the Four’s energy goes into maintaining a consistent self-image which is somehow at odds with the real, essential self. Twos did this by looking for others to respond to their goodness in ways that would make them feel lovable. Threes kept their self-image intact by getting validation for their achievements and giving themselves inner "pep talks." Fours do something akin to the inner talk of the Threes in that they maintain the sense of identity through a continuous inner dialogue and referencing of their emotional reactions. Of course, Fours want someone to validate their self-images, too, but they are less dependent on the affirmation of others than Twos or Threes. In fact, much of their identity is tied to their feelings about not having the affirmation of others. Feeling different and misunderstood is as central to the Four’s false self-image as being only good and loving is to the Two’s or being a totally competent "winner" is to the Three’s.
Parental Orientation
Fours are disconnected from both parents. As children, they did not identify with either their mothers or their fathers. ("I am not like my mother; I am not like my father.") They may have had either unhappy or solitary childhoods as a result of their parents' marital problems, divorce, illness, or simply because of personality conflicts within the family. In some cases, Fours may have had relatively "normal," uneventful childhoods. Nonetheless, even with a supportive environment, they did not see themselves reflected in either parent: they felt that their parents did not see them as they actually were or that what their parents conveyed to them was somehow irrelevant. Lacking definitive role models, Fours as children turned inward to their feelings and imaginations as the primary sources of information about themselves from which they could construct their identities.
From childhood, Fours felt essentially alone in life. It seemed to them that, for some reason they could not understand, their parents had rejected them, or at least, that their parents did not take much interest in them. Fours therefore felt that there must be something deeply wrong with them, that they were somehow defective because their parents did not give them the kind of nurturing attention which, as children, they needed. As a result, they turned to themselves to discover who they are.
Self-knowledge became their most important goal, the means by which they hoped to fit into the world. Fours felt that if they could discover who they are, they would not feel so different from others in the deep, essential way that they do. However, instead of creating themselves through introspection, Fours ironically become trapped in self-consciousness. Their self-consciousness alienates them, making them feel vulnerable and arouses their aggressions at themselves and others, particularly their parents. But because they also feel powerless to express their aggressions or to do anything about their condition, they withdraw from their parents and from others, turning their aggressions mostly against themselves.
Because the formative relationship with their parents was primarily one of disconnection, Fours also begin to develop a sense of ego identity based on their difference from others. There were few qualities in their parents that they identified with, so Fours began to inventory all the things that they were not—all of the ways in which they were unlike the people around them. Eventually, this sense of difference becomes a strongly developed and defended part of their self-image and many Fours have difficulty seeing the many ways in which they are like everyone else. To be "ordinary" becomes a frightening prospect, since a sense of "being unique" feels like one of the only stable building blocks of their identity.
Their disconnect from their parents also produces a longing for the "good parent"—the person who will see them as they truly are and validate the self they are trying to construct. Fours usually experience this as a longing for an ideal mate or partner. They will often project this role onto new acquaintances, idealizing them and fantasizing about the wonderful life they will have together. Unfortunately, as Fours get to know the person better, they become disenchanted, realizing that the other is not the "good parent" who will rescue them from all their problems. He or she is just another human being with flaws and shortcomings. The other’s "blemishes" soon become the focus of the Four’s attention, and they lose interest in the person. Before long they are back to their search and fantasizing again, but generally with less hope of finding the person "of their dreams."
Problems with Hostility and Despair
Like Twos and Threes, the other two personality types of the Feeling Triad, Fours have a problem with hostility. They direct their hostility at themselves because like the Twos and Threes, Fours have rejected their real self in favor of an idealized self-image. However, because of their self-awareness, Fours are always becoming conscious of all of the ways in which they are not like their idealized self. They come to disdain many of their real qualities which they see as barriers to becoming the self of their imagination. Angry with themselves for being defective, Fours inhibit and punish themselves in the many ways which we will see.
Of course, Fours also experience hostility toward others. They can become enraged if others question or dismiss their self-image or moods, but they tend to express this by "dropping" people, suddenly and without explanation. The creativity of Fours can also be employed in sarcastic, withering remarks directed at those who have wounded their "sensitivities." Fours also can experience intense hostility at the very people they have idealized. When others fail to live up to Fours’ hopes of the "good parent," they may relive the original pain they felt at not being able to connect with their parents, but project this onto the new love interest. They may dramatically express the rage and emotionality that they could not with their own parents, but usually withdraw quickly before the intensity of their feelings overwhelms them or does further damage to their relationships. More often, Fours will simmer and seethe in silence.
On a deep, unconscious level Fours are hostile toward their parents because they feel that their parents did not nurture them properly. Fours feel that they were not welcomed into the world; they feel out of place, unwanted—and they are deeply enraged at their parents for doing this to them. However, their rage at their parents is so deep that Fours cannot allow themselves to express it. They fear their own anger, and so withhold it, trying to come to terms with it themselves.
As awareness of their hostility and negative feelings gradually wears them out, average to unhealthy Fours sink ever more deeply into self-doubt, depression, and despair. They spend most of their time searching for the courage to go on living despite the overwhelming sense that the essential flaw in themselves is so deep that it cannot be healed. Indeed, the feeling of hopelessness is the current against which they must constantly swim. And if the undertow of hopelessness is too strong, unhealthy Fours either succumb to an emotional breakdown, or commit suicide because they despair of ever breaking free of it.
As soon as Fours devote themselves to a search for self by withdrawing from life, they are going in the wrong direction. No matter how necessary this search may seem to them, they must become convinced that the direct search for self is a temptation which eventually leads to despair.
On the other hand, what makes healthy Fours healthy is not that they have freed themselves once and for all from the turbulence of their emotions, but that they have found a way to ride that current to some further destination. Healthy Fours have learned to sustain their identities without exclusive reference to their feelings. By overcoming the temptation to withdraw from life to search for themselves, they will not only save themselves from their own destructiveness, they will be able to bring something beautiful and good into existence. If they learn to live this way, Fours can be among the most life-enhancing of the personality types bringing good out of evil, hope from hopelessness, meaning from absurdity, and saving what appeared to be lost