Why are 468s so intense?
All 468s, regardless of the order of the types in their Enneagram Tritype, have a strong innate sense of urgency. The 468 is the Enneagram Tritype that is comprised of the emotionally expressive type from each of the 3 centers: head (567), heart (234), and gut (891). As such, they are visceral and reactive. They respond immediately to any and all perceived threats, whether real or imagined.
I call this Tritype the 'Truth Teller' because those with this Tritype feel an intense need to call off their view of reality and say that ‘the emperor has no clothes’ even if they will be chastised for saying it.
Think of the 468 viewpoints and responses as important biological imperatives. Everyone and every family and/or group needs those that will not delay and will act instantly in an emergency.
The Enneagram 468 defense strategy is uniquely designed to handle emergencies. Many professions, such as high-risk emergency medical services, require employees that are sensitive to the needs of others but are still able to make life or death decisions straightaway and without hesitation.
The 468s have a finely tuned sense of emotional attunement and sense what others feel (4). They feel potential threats at a sharper pitch (6) than the other Tritypes. They also have a visceral experience of their emotions with an intense need to take immediate action (8) and voice their concerns (468). They are highly intuitive and are alert to imminent threats long before others. They are fiercely loyal and protective of those they love and whomever or whatever they care about. They are willing to speak their truth regardless of the consequences. They track their instinctual intuitions and warn others in an attempt to manage their own emotional distress.
Due to their emotional sensitivity and sense of urgency, 468s tend to react immediately to whatever upsets them before they can stop and think about the best way to say or do something. There are times when their immediate reaction is essential and necessary but there are far more times when their style is perceived as far too much and expressed far too often. The reason for this is that the 468s can often react prematurely before they have all the facts. Due to their impulsivity, they also find it difficult to stop and consider how they should deliver their message in a manner that others will respect and value.
The problem is that in a heightened emotional state 468s say things with a great deal of intensity. They can lose sight of what is called for and also what is in their own best interest. When they are emotionally upset and feel unheard they often become angry and can say things they really don’t mean. At these times, others see them as over the top and inappropriate. Ironically, the very same attributes that make them great in an emergency can make them appear emotionally out of control when there is not an emergency others can see. Having said that, the level of health of the 468 has a lot to do with how they voice their concerns, both what they say and how they say it.
When the 468s are stressed their reactivity increases. This intensity of emotion begins to diminish the value of what they are trying to address. To others, they are seen as complaining and crying wolf… Over time, if the 468 remains in distress, they will often lose the social skills needed for others to listen to what they have to say. If this continues, the 468s often become even more anti-social and can be so intense and belligerent that others will ignore them. Sadly, their concerns will go unheard and be invalidated.
Working with the 468
468s can have trouble identifying what is a true emergency and what just feels like an emergency. If their internal alarm bells go off, the 468s are in fight or flight. Once their emotions are triggered their adrenaline is running in hyper-drive and needs to be discharged. So it is extremely difficult for the 468 Tritype to slow down and delay reacting.
One of the best ways I have learned to help the 468s achieve a sense of equanimity or emotional balance is to know when to tell the truth and when not to.
The 468s see things in black and white. It helps if they can learn to see the value of gray. They are highly emotional and intuitive. As a result, they see problems far in advance of others. If their concerns are not addressed they continue to assert the merit of their concerns. In their attempt to convince others that their views are accurate they can alienate others. Teaching the 468 how to communicate their concerns without alienating others is paramount.
Unbeknown to the 468 is their need for others to act on their concerns in order for them to feel safe. They secretly feel disempowered and emotionally dependent on others. What they have not recognized is that they can validate their concerns even if others do not. In a sense, they can become their own trusted authority. They can acknowledge the part of themselves that is feeling panic and learn how to self-soothe regardless of what others are doing. When they can identify and acknowledge their fears and validate their concerns they will feel less of a need for others to act in accordance with their concerns. When they act as their own agent, their feelings of intensity and immediate action will begin to slow down.
468s tend to see their fears in exaggerated ways; large, loud and looming, and in vivid color. This intensity of the senses helps the 468s react in an emergency but when there is no real imminent danger this intensity cause the 468s to feel panic and distress. 468s can learn to recognize the beginning signs of being on guard. They can learn to feel their muscles tighten, their eyes widen, their jaw lock and their hands roll into a fist. Physical alertness can warn them that they are ready and poised to act. They can then learn how to interfere with this primal response to stimuli and use strategies to minimize the intensity of the reaction by shrinking the images, fading the intensity of the colors of the images, turn down the volume that says act now and slow their pulse. Conscious attention to these innate impulses can reduce the level of their reactivity.
Transformation through Insight
Intellectual understanding of their process can help the 468s before their impulses are on red alert. They can learn to appreciate why they feel the way they do as well as why it is not always in their best interest to act on their impulses. Like all Tritypes with 8, they can remember that ‘their’ truth is not always ‘the’ truth. And, that knowing their truth, even if they are right, does not mean that they have to immediately tell people their truth all of the time. They can learn to recognize that they will feel far more empowered and serve the greater good when they discover when it is better not to speak their truth.
The 468 needs to remember that not everyone sees or responds to the threats they perceive in the same manner… that the other Tritypes’ responses are also important biological imperatives. And, that the other Tritypes do not feel the same sense of urgency over the same issues because they are tracking different imperatives.
468s benefit from remembering that it takes all types. And, that another’s lack of emotional response may be the diversity required to have a balanced and more satisfactory outcome to a problem. It is also helpful for the 468 to remember that others have their own life journey and may need to make their own mistakes to learn what is important. Most people know when they have made a mistake and/or overreacted and do not need any one to remind them.
When the 468s learn that their view of reality while valid, does not mean it will be the reality of others, they will begin to feel more at ease with others’ lack of reactivity. When they can accept these different views of reality they will be able to accept the lessons that are frustrating to 'Truth Tellers' such as patience. Even though they see things with such intense clarity it is often not their duty to call it off. Sometimes the 259 Tritype that says wait and see might reveal additional information that may be more effective in the long run.
The most important question ‘truth tellers’ can ask themselves is - "What is my emotional need?” “What is my underlying motive for 'warning' others and why do I need them to agree with my point of view in order to relax?"
468s sincerely believe that they are voicing what others should know and do. Upon reflection, the 468s can identify the fears they were experiencing when they dramatically expressed their views, and/or had an emotional outburst. They can then examine the situation with fresh eyes rather than trying to convince others of their viewpoint. Reemphasizing their initial concerns is a clue that the 468s are still in fear are not letting go. With insight, they can learn to accept the outcome following an emotional situation by tending to their own unmet needs that they disowned. With acceptance and ease in relating, like the natural state of the 279, they can begin to feel comfortable regardless of whether or not others agree with them.
Instead of continuing to press others to validate their point of view, 468s can learn to self-soothe by trusting what is. When the 468 comes from a place of essence they no longer need others to see what they see and will not feel distress when others do not see the circumstances in the same way. They will be able to experience other people's lack of action as simply a truth of a different bias. They will be able to let go even though it may seem 'counter-intuitive' to a truth teller.
Subjective truth and over reactivity are the blind spots of the 468s. And the growing edge for ‘truth tellers’ is learning to let go by having faith in others and a power greater than their own (6), realizing that their truth may not be 'the' truth (8) and letting go emotionally rather than intensifying feelings (4). It is only by letting go of their position that 468s will feel a sense of inner peace.
This truth is very challenging for the high-strung and emotionally intuitive 468s because they value transparency. The key is for them to see it that they do not see themselves the way others see them and that they are just as transparent as others. They can learn a great deal about themselves by and their impact on others by listening to what others have to say about them.
Dominant type leading the 468
These Tritypes with type 6 leading are paradoxical. Ironically the 6s with this Tritype are the most hyper-reactive 6 but they are still tentative and apprehensive. Their mental projections can make their reactions very confusing to others. They may at times show their anxiety and look timid and in need of support and at other times they can be so intensely assertive and provocative that their needs go unseen. The high side of these Tritypes is that they are extremely devoted and dutiful to those to whom they are attached. They are very loyal and protective.
These Tritypes with type 4 leading are the most emotionally intense of all the Tritypes. The 4 ‘passion for protest’ with the 6 doubt and the fear of being mislead combined with the 8 fear of being powerless makes these 4s appear very 8ish. They are very sensitive and emotional but are also extremely expressive and argumentative. These 4s have powerful emotions and a great need to express themselves which is why they can appear even more 8ish that the 8s. They are fiercely loyal and lovingly protective of those to whom they are attached.
These Tritypes with type 8 leading are very intense and definitive. Ironically, these Tritypes with 8 leading are softer than the 4 and 6 with this Tritype. The 4’s emotional sensitivity and the 6’s need to engage cause these 8s to demonstrate fierce devotion as well as fierce opposition. These 8s are very outspoken and easily call off their truth. They are quick to anger but are just as quick to get over it. Due to the 4 in these Tritypes, these 8s are more tenderhearted and emotionally sensitive and available than say the 863 that is more driven to succeed by not expressing the emotions that can slow the 8 down.
Working with a 468
The 468s are meant to sound the alarm. They are the most emotionally intense Tritype. They are not trying to be too much. They are trying to protect those in their world. We need these fierce protectors. A good rule of thumb is to remember that even though they have 8 in the Tritype, they have trouble self-soothing. They need to learn how to internalize their own trusted authority to let go of their need to convince others of their viewpoint. When triggered, they are in red alert and are asking to be heard and validated so that they can calm down. Remember that no matter how much the 468s are over-reacting, there is always some truth in what they are saying. Also remember that what the 468s are saying is that they need to know that you have heard them and have validated their concerns. Most of all, they are saying that they need your help to restore a sense of inner calm. If you can help them to remember to have faith in whatever happens they will find their own sense of equanimity.