According to "Complex-PTSD" by Jeff Walker, complex trauma from toxic family systems manifests into 4 types of codependency: fight, flight, freeze and fawn.
This caught my eye because I've been studying the 4 personality types for some years now. My favorite modern version is "It's Just My Nature" by Carol Tuttle, who writes about the basic 4 Energy Types.
I got into researching personality types like the Enneagram (9 types) when I got burnt out from years of personality disorder research.
As a result I was able to see how the two correlate and I have a much better understanding of people now and the basic personality types.
It never crossed my mind that there were 4 types of codependent. I, like many others, assumed codependency was one of the personality types. It's opposite being the narcissistic personality.
I like the fight, flight, freeze and fawn explanation because it makes sense that these 4 roles (the hero, the scapegoat, the clown and the lost child) are all aspects of the same toxic dynamic of trying to please others to survive.
If you know your energy type, everything is an eye-opener. you suddenly "get it" so much better why you react differently than others. And, why others act and react the way they do.
Further, when dealing with people who are stuck in their unresolved toxic patterns of fight, flight, freeze and fawn, it's easier to love and accept them and know how to best help them.
For example did you know the best way to help a Type 1 is to have fun with them and keep them company and watch funny shows with them?
Under stress they have the urge to run and take "flight".
And a Type 2 might enjoy cooking a rich meal together while talking about a lot of details and feeling loved and helpful.
Under duress they 'fawn'.
A type 3 would feel best if you gave them some really good attention, gave them lots of compliments and attention, even the spot light and gave them public praise and admired their hard work or smart actions they take.
When abused they 'fight'
And type 4's, well, us type 4's need a lot of love but mainly respect and acceptance and belonging while still maintaining our independence. Being reassured that you're thinking positively about them. They are so hard on themselves, they are sensitive to criticism.
They are the "freeze" types who run away or isolate when under stress or stay super quiet and won't open up.
The 4 Base Personality Types are as old as the ancients. Remember the "4 Temperaments" in Greece and Roman days? Philosopher's noticed there were 4 basic personality types. A type 1 has a certain kind of energy naturally and so they react to stress differently then the others. Same with each one.
So the more you learn about the 4 basic types, the easier it is to learn the other 9 or 12 or 124 sub-types, (depending on which personality type system you learn), but because there are 4 (some say 5) actual base types that the other sub-types split off from, it makes it easier to see the whole picture.
Here are some basic tips to help you deal with people based on their personality type of energy. Try to think of a sit-com on TV, like "Modern Family" or "Seinfeld", and pick out which Type each of the characters are to practice.
Type 1 sanguine - spurts of energy, extroverts, needs to be right, when codependent, flight, they are controlling and bossy and do the right thing and have to be right and are always in motion.
Type 2 phlegmatic - rivers of energy, introverts, needs to be loved, when codependent, fawn, they are caretakers and mothers and nurses and helpers and obsess over details, comfort and long, steady motion.
Type 3 choleric - waterfalls of energy, extroverts, needs to be admired, when codependent, fight, they are leaders, pushy, demanding and try to look good, can be bullies, fast, hard motion.
Type 4 - melancholy - lakes/oceans of energy, introverts, needs to be valued, when codependent, freeze, they try to please and stay quiet and can't stick up for themselves and have a still, deep motion.
I hope this has helped you become aware of the 4 types and get you interested in learning more about yourself so you can help yourself more, forgive yourself more and understand yourself more.
JP Bailey, MA
Modern Family & Steinfeld Cast Types:
Type 1's - Phil Dumphy, Jay Pritchett, Cameron tucker, George Costanza, Elaine Benes
Type 2's - Claire Dunphy, Jerry Seinfeld's mom, Luke Dunphy, Lily
Type 3's - Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, Haley Dunphy, Jerry Seinfeld
Type 4's - Alex Dumphy, Mitchell Pritchett, Manny Delgado, Dylan, Kramer
P.S. (A lot can be learned from theater, movies and character type casts in shows, especially comedies about types of people.)