Enneagram Type 4 Personality - The Individualist - Intense Creative
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Enneagram 4 - Intense Creative Description

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Enneagram Fours have the motivational need to express their uniqueness and be authentic. Fours value individualism and as a result, feelings, self-expression and purpose will be important to them. They are quite romantic at heart and appreciate beauty and creating meaning for themselves and for others. At their best, Fours are experienced as sensitive yet content. They offer the gift of equanimity and authenticity to themselves and the world. A less healthy Four may feel misunderstood, while others experience them as melancholic and temperamental. This pattern stems from the Four's acute awareness of their own wounds and flaws.

“Something is missing - I must find what is missing in my life. I must be true to my purpose and express my authentic self. I must create beauty and meaning for myself and for the world.”
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The gifts of the Enneagram Four include:

  • Self-Aware: Fours are aware of their own emotions and those of others and seek to understand these emotions. This enables them to connect deeply.
  • Purpose Driven: Being attuned to what has meaning and purpose drives Fours to express their personal purpose and contribution to the world.
  • Inspired: Their creative and imaginative capacity enables Fours to give unique expression to what matters to them.
  • Sensitive: Fours are able to recognise what is missing and will dive into the heart of matters. Their feeling-based intuition enables them to be highly attuned to the environment.
  • Courage: Fours don't shy away from suffering and the more painful aspects of the emotional world, and this gives them the courage to ask difficult questions.

Typical Feeling Patterns:

Fours are very connected to feelings, both their own and the emotional undercurrents in their environment. They are generally very aware of other people's feelings, sometimes more so than others are themselves. This type tends to dwell and hold on to their emotions intensely and others may find them moody, deep and intense. Fours believe in exploring the full spectrum of emotions, from joy to deep sadness and they may shift between these emotions as their world and experiences change. They resonate powerfully with emotions like loss, sadness and longing, which may lead to cycles of melancholy. Fours tend to take life very seriously and can benefit from accessing the light-heartedness of their development line to Seven.

Typical Action Patterns:

Fours enjoy delving deeply into their life and love sharing profound experiences with others. Many actively invite ritual as a way of creating meaning in their lives. Their search for inspiration, symbolism and meaning may create a strong relationship with artistic expression or appreciation of the arts. When Fours are engaged with mundane or uninspiring tasks, they are likely to feel disenchanted and frustrated. Fours go to great lengths to talk about their feelings and experiences in an authentic way and most enjoy telling personal stories. This may only be with a select few, but could also be with a broader audience. Their conversations also contain a significant amount of personal "I, me, my, mine, myself" language and are aimed at establishing connections with others.

Typical Thinking Patterns:

The Four type is characterised by a sense of lack and envy, focused on and longing for what is missing either within themselves or in their lives. Fours are very adept at internalising and believing negative information about themselves. They are very likely to discard positive data. This internalisation of critical information can make Fours highly reactive to anything that seems to imply something negative about them. Fours' personal experiences and feelings may bias their view of the facts, leading to subjective rather than objective decision-making. They tend to trust their own feelings and experiences more than anything else. Fours are very introspective and tend to be dissatisfied with the ordinary, everyday reality. They may become broody in the thinking process and get lost in negative thought-patterns that erode their self-esteem, making them long to be understood.

Blind Spots

  • Fours want to have meaningful and deep relationships but will often act in ways that reflect their need to feel different, special and separate. This may lead to them both pulling people close and pushing them away, especially if the Four feels rejected or disappointed. The net effect may lead to people withdrawing from them.
  • Fours may also focus on what is missing, desiring what they don't have and rejecting what they do have. This alternating focus reinforces their feelings of loss and emotional sensitivity.
  • Fours may not be aware of the extent to which they self-reference in conversations. Even though the Four desires to draw people close by doing so, others may experience this as self-absorbed.
  • This type is likely to be triggered if people don't fully complete a conversation or don't give them the time they are requesting. Fours often feel the need to continue with conversations even when others are no longer interested in discussing a matter.
  • In believing that others share their preference for discussing emotions and feelings and seeking emotional closure, Fours may dwell on this too much. This could lead to others experiencing the Four as overly dramatic and intense.

Growth through the wings

Click below to explore the Wings

Type 4 Wing 3: Focus on work   Type 4 Wing 5: Set clear boundaries

Enneagram 4 Subtypes

The Enneagram Four's need to set themselves apart and be appreciated for their suffering is expressed differently by the three Subtypes.

Self Preservation
Self Preservation
Subtype Key:
Tenacity (countertype)

Where some Fours are dramatic and emotion, this SP dominant instinct countertype, has learned to live with pain, suffering stoically and internalising negative emotions, and wants to be recognised for being ‘tough’ and not complaining. Even though they are quite sensitive, they may be disconnected from their feelings and prefer not to share their pain with others. They are empathic and look out for and try to support others who suffer.

(Sexual) Instinct
Subtype Key:

This Four subtype is intense and vocal about their needs and feelings and are often described as ‘more shameless than shameful’ and mistype with Three and Eight. They tend to be demanding and competitive, escaping suffering by being the best in what they do. Their envy becomes a personal challenge to show others up. Demanding that others appreciate their needs may lead to a cycle of rejection, frustration and anger. Their ability to express these feelings of demand and anger may mask how sad or confused they really feel.

(Or Group) Instinct
Subtype Key:
Drama / Shame

This emotional truth teller is sensitive and deeply connected to their suffering. They find comfort in suffering and express it to others, often attracting support and admiration from others. They are not competitive, but have a deep desire to be understood for who they really are. They often doubt themselves and focus on what they see as inferiority; they make comparisons to others and blame themselves, triggering strong feelings of envy and shame.

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