Too Much and Not Enough: Healing for the Enneagram Four or Borderline-Style Personality


Too Much and Not Enough: Healing for the Enneagram Four or Borderline-Style Personality

By Tamra Sattler, PhD, MFT (Mantra Books)

Too Much and Not Enough is a book to help those and loved ones who suffer from emotional dis-regulation.

Yesterday was the first day I posted my therapeutic memoir book on Facebook called “Too Much and Not Enough” for pre-order on Amazon. It was a door knob moment as I was running out the door to see clients and I just clicked post to all my Facebook friends. Some of who I haven’t spoken to in forty years, some who are complete strangers, and most who do not know that I had breast cancer or struggled with deep emotional issues. Big exhale.

The impetus of this book came from my twenty years of clinical work with a specific type of client, my own struggles with this same personality type, and the healing journey for all of us. This type is broadly referred to in the Enneagram map as a Type 4, and in the psychology world at a lower level of development as having borderline characteristics or Borderline Personality Disorder. I became fascinated with this particular psychic structure who just felt the world in a more dramatic way then most.

I will never forget when I first landed on my type it felt like my world opened a bit more. And that was after years of therapists saying I had what some would call borderline characteristics.

The characteristics include a person who is more sensitive, creative, and subjective at their best and at their worst self-sabotaging, dramatic, and unstable. We all probably know or have heard of a loved one or friend who may demonstrate these traits. And in the therapy world these individuals are difficult to treat when they are more identified. My book is the exploration of this path.

One of my main concerns in promoting the book is being a licensed therapist and disclosing my story. In many therapeutic orientations the therapist is the blank slate for the client to project their unconscious and their unhealed wounds. In other forms of therapy, a therapist may share their narrative as an intervention of sorts to benefit the client. And in my experience I only share when it will directly impact the client. So needless to say my book is my story and my full disclosure.

Today in speaking to my therapist, I was relieved to hear his take that it is my story and not all of me. Gosh it feels all of me, every nook and cranny. And to be a professional in the field who has treated this population while also struggling with the same issues, it is a pretty big coming out. There is a good chance many of my old or current clients may not read the book however it is now out there.

In speaking of out there, my friend just asked what is the hardest thing about my book and I said without thought, judgment. It is so safe to hide. It is easy to portray a certain image through social media and your own life that you can control in layers of ways you want to be perceived depending on who and what. And then I guess there is vulnerability about owning yourself and your journey.

My book came about mostly during Covid however I had started to plant the seeds years ago.

I never marketed to my clients. They just came. Early in my career I noticed a lot of them seemed to be versions of me with many of the same key life events. How can you explain that many of them had infant surgeries, Dad’s who cheated, and parents divorce at age ten? And most were women. So I fell in love with each of these individuals and as I got more experienced I started attracting a more clinically difficult client known as borderline personality disorder. For about fifteen years I was in the thick of this population and community. 

So long to a restful night sleep. Depending on the night I would get a call that one of my clients was going to take their own life. I also had counter-transference to say the least. This meant that I was getting re-triggered by my clients struggles that were buried deep within me. It was quite a time in San Francisco dating and building my clinical practice oh and getting a doctorate in psychology. It seemed I was living twenty-four seven in the emotional bowels of life.

The years of clients, school, and my own deep dive rolled along. I was still very much focused on the external image of life like getting another job alongside my private practice and education. Also maintaining a rich and large social group. It was always foot on the gas pedal and then one day after three breast surgeries I found myself packing up to move. But where? I settled on Boulder and loaded up my little Prius and off I went.

Life in Boulder has a lot of what San Francisco offers like technology, spirituality and nature however at a much slower pace. They call this town a bubble for a reason. I was able to slow way down to really get in touch with my actual self and not the self that had been successful in the external reality. Most days included yoga, meditation, walks, and building my practice again. Relationships and dating were always an area I put a lot of attention so of course that was also happening. For a type 4 a romantic connection is always at the forefront. And abandonment is always driving the fear of what is underneath.

One of the deepest dives into the embodiment of myself happened during psychedelic journeys. At first, I needed to build capacity through MDMA and then I could form a relationship with the more confrontative psilocybin.  As someone with infant surgery it was extremely healing to crawl up into my guides arms and be held for hours. There really are no words of gratitude and surprise for how I finally could be in my body as myself.

There are many more significant healing modalities that really allowed me to touch and embody the deepest me. Many of my clients were also embarking on the same healing journey. It is as if we all found the magic formula. I interviewed so many Types 4 individuals for the research and as I observe them today I witness some sustainable transformation. 

This brings me joy and will hopefully bring all of us the same. This book is a companion to say you’re not too much, you are always just enough.


Too Much and Not Enough is a therapeutic memoir and an explorative narrative about a particular type of personality structure known as Enneagram 4 and its borderline characteristics and emotional dis-regulation. This population has been known to be difficult for therapists to treat and families to tolerate and, most importantly, to accept and embody. 

Often asked to consult and work with these clients, Dr. Sattler knows this personality from the inside.

Too Much and Not Enough: Healing for the Enneagram Four or Borderline-Style Personality

By Tamra Sattler, PhD, MFT is available from Mantra Books or from wherever books are sold.


Source link

Share this article

Recent posts

Popular categories


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent comments

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons