Enneagram Type Four
The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type:
Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
Basic Fear: That they have no identity or personal
Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an
Enneagram Four with a Three-Wing: "The Aristocrat"
Enneagram Four with a Five-Wing: "The Bohemian"
People with Type
Four personalities are wonderfully creative and expressive even though
they may be introverts and therefore quiet about letting other people know
all about themselves. While they may seem self-absorbed, they are really
trying to learn about who they are and to highlight those characteristics
that distinguish them as individuals. It is difficult for them to think of
themselves as one of many, and they would rather be defined by their
shortcomings or inadequacies than to lose a sense of uniqueness. Because of
this, Fours begin to focus on their flaws and become envious of
others whom they romanticize as having all the things they themselves long
When Fours allow their own creative juices
to flow, they express their uniqueness through beautiful words, images,
design, interiors or landscapes, and they delight in the creative
expressions of others as well. They are often intuitive and tap into the
deeper layers of the personal and collective unconscious. They care about
feelings and are willing to talk about the truth of their own inner
At an early age, Fours needed their
families to respond to them but, for whatever reason, that connection was
never adequately made, so little Fours decided there must be something wrong
with them if even their own mothers and fathers could not relate to them.
They set out, albeit unconsciously, to provide for themselves and often
through a rich fantasy life. In a subtle way, they developed a tendency to
be critical of others who do not comply with their internal sense of how
things should be. Although they believe they could be happy if only they
were totally free to be themselves, their real freedom comes through
embracing the inherent perfection of all creation, including themselves.
Johnny Depp, Jackie Onassis, Anais Nin, Bob Dylan, Michael Jackson, Anne
for Enneagram Type Fours
- Do not pay so much attention to your feelings; they are not a true
source of support for you, as you probably already know. Remember this
advice: "From our present perspective, we can also see that one of
the most important mistakes Fours make is to equate themselves with
their feelings. The fallacy is that to understand themselves they must
understand their feelings, particularly their negative ones, before
acting. Fours do not see that the self is not the same as its feelings
or that the presence of negative feelings does not preclude the presence
of good in themselves" (Personality
Types, p. 172). Always remember that your feelings are telling
you something about yourself as you are at this particular moment, not
necessarily more than that.
- Avoid putting off things until you are "in the right mood."
Commit yourself to productive, meaningful work that will contribute to
your good and that of others, no matter how small the contribution may
be. Working consistently in the real world will create a context in
which you can discover yourself and your talents. (Actually, you are
happiest when you are working—that is, activating your potentials and
realizing yourself. You will not "find yourself" in a vacuum
or while waiting for inspiration to strike, so connect—and stay
connected—with the real world.
- Self-esteem and self-confidence will develop only from having positive
experiences, whether or not you believe that you are ready to have them.
Therefore, put yourself in the way of good. You may never feel that you
are ready to take on a challenge of some sort, that you always need more
time. (Fours typically never feel that they are sufficiently
"together," but they must nevertheless have the courage to
stop putting off their lives.) Even if you start small, commit yourself
to doing something that will bring out the best in you.
- A wholesome self-discipline takes many forms, from sleeping regular
hours to working regularly to exercising regularly, and has a
cumulative, strengthening effect. Since it comes from yourself, a
healthy self-discipline is not contrary to your freedom or
individuality. On the other hand, sensuality, excessive sexual
experiences, alcohol, drugs, sleep, or fantasizing have a debilitating
effect on you, as you already know. Therefore, practice healthy
self-discipline and stay with it.
- Avoid lengthy conversations in your imagination, particularly if they
are negative, resentful, or even excessively romantic. These
conversations are essentially unreal and at best only rehearsals for
action—although, as you know, you almost never say or do what you
imagine you will. Instead of spending time imagining your life and
relationships, begin to live them.
Disorders & Addictions