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Enneagram Type 4: The Individualist



Enneagram System  » Enneagram Core Types

#4  #type 4 

The Strengths, Weaknesses, Fears, Motivations and Love Style

Enneagram Type 4:

"The Individualist"

 Key Phrases

  • Sensitive and expressive
  • Creative and unique
  • Passionate and dramatic
  • Can be moody and self-absorbed
  • Struggles with feelings of inadequacy
  • Struggles with envy & melancholy 

Enneagram Type 4 is known as the "Individualist". People with this personality type are sensitive, expressive, and creative. They are passionate and dramatic, often having a flair for the arts. They can be moody and self-absorbed, and often struggle with feelings of inadequacy, envy, and melancholy.


4's Strengths

Enneagram Type 4 individuals are known for their sensitivity and expressiveness. They are creative, unique, and have a deep understanding of their own emotions. However, their desire for uniqueness can lead to feelings of inadequacy and a tendency to be self-absorbed.

  • Deeply Creative and Expressive: Type 4s have a rich inner world and possess a natural creativity and artistic sensibility. They have a unique ability to express their emotions and experiences in various forms, such as art, writing, or music.

  • Emotionally Insightful and Empathetic: Type 4s are highly attuned to their emotions and have a deep emotional intelligence. They can empathize with others' feelings and offer genuine support and understanding.

  • Authentic and Genuine: Type 4s value authenticity and strive to be true to themselves. They embrace their uniqueness and individuality, often resisting societal norms or expectations. Their ability to be genuine inspires others to embrace their own authenticity.

  • Intuitive and Perceptive: Type 4s possess a heightened sense of intuition and perceptive abilities. They can often sense underlying emotions or meanings in situations or interactions, allowing them to connect on a deeper level with others.

  • Appreciation for Beauty and Aesthetics: Type 4s have a keen eye for beauty and aesthetics. They are often drawn to art, nature, or other forms of visual or sensory stimulation that evoke deep emotions or inspire their creative expression.

4's Weaknesses

Despite their strengths, Enneagram Type 4s can also exhibit certain weaknesses. They may be overly sensitive and emotional, which can lead to mood swings. Their desire for uniqueness can also lead to feelings of loneliness or inadequacy.

  • Tendency towards Intense Mood Swings: Type 4s can experience intense and fluctuating emotions. They may be prone to mood swings and emotional highs and lows, which can be challenging to manage and regulate.

  • Self-Indulgence and Self-Pity: Type 4s can be susceptible to self-indulgence and self-pity. They may get caught up in their emotions and dwell on negative experiences, which can lead to a sense of victimhood or self-absorption.

  • Fear of Being Ordinary or Unremarkable: Type 4s often fear being perceived as ordinary or lacking in uniqueness. This fear can lead them to search for constant validation or to exaggerate their experiences or emotions to stand out from others.

  • Idealization and Discontentment: Type 4s can idealize certain experiences, relationships, or versions of themselves. They may struggle with a sense of perpetual discontentment, constantly seeking something elusive or longing for an unattainable ideal.

  • Tendency towards Isolation: Type 4s may have a tendency to isolate themselves, either physically or emotionally. They may withdraw from social interactions or resist reaching out for support, leading to feelings of loneliness or alienation.

4's Basic Fears

Enneagram Type 4 individuals grapple with a deep-seated fear of being inadequate or insignificant.

They have an intense longing to be unique and authentic, making the fear of being ordinary or mundane particularly distressing for them. They fear being overlooked or misunderstood, and they strive to cultivate a sense of individuality and depth to avoid feeling unseen.

The fear of lacking a distinct identity and failing to find true meaning in life drives them to explore their emotions and delve into their inner world in search of a sense of purpose and belonging.

4's Motivations

Enneagram Type 4s are primarily motivated by a yearning for authenticity and personal significance.

They possess a strong desire to express their unique identity and experience life in a deeply meaningful way. They are drawn to creativity, self-expression, and introspection as means of exploring their rich emotional landscape. Their motivation stems from a deep longing to be understood and valued for their individuality.

They seek to create a life that aligns with their innermost desires and aspirations, often striving to make a lasting impact on the world through their artistic endeavors or by sharing their profound insights. The motivation to embrace their authenticity and find their place in the world drives their continuous pursuit of self-discovery and genuine connection with others.

Healthy vs Unhealthy 4's

When healthy, Enneagram 4s are able to use their creativity and sensitivity to connect deeply with others. They are emotionally honest and self-aware, inspiring others with their ability to transform their personal experiences into universal ones. They are self-revealing but not self-absorbed, sensitive but not overly dramatic, and expressive without losing touch with reality.

On the other hand, when unhealthy, Enneagram 4s can become overly self-indulgent and isolated. They may struggle with feelings of melancholy and have difficulty managing their emotions. They may also become overly focused on their unique identity, neglecting their relationships and practical responsibilities. 


Growth Recommendations for Type 4

  • Avoid over-identifying with emotions: Learn to observe your feelings without letting them consume you. This can lead to more emotional stability.

  • Value the ordinary: Understand that life doesn't always have to be extraordinary or intense. Cherish simple moments.

  • Practice self-care: Regularly engage in activities that nourish your body and mind, such as exercise, meditation, or creative pursuits.


Expressing Love

When a Type 4 loves someone, they often express it by sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings, seeking to establish a deep emotional connection with their partner. They are typically attracted to what's unique and unconventional, and they show love by appreciating and nurturing the individuality of their loved ones. They may express their affection through thoughtful gestures, meaningful conversations, and shared experiences that align with their aesthetic and emotional preferences.

Type 4s tend to be highly empathetic and understanding, and they can provide a safe space for their partners to express their own unique feelings and experiences. However, because of their intense focus on emotional depth and authenticity, they can sometimes struggle with feelings of melancholy or dissatisfaction, longing for an idealized, unattainable love. They might also have a tendency to withdraw or retreat into their emotional inner world, which can sometimes be interpreted as aloofness or moodiness.

Despite these challenges, at their best, Type 4s offer a depth of understanding, empathy, and emotional richness to their relationships. Their style of expressing love is imbued with a sense of profound understanding, acceptance of uniqueness, and a desire for deep emotional connection.

For an in-depth understanding of Type 4's Compatibility see 4's Compatibility with the other Types.


Explore the Wings

Each Core Type has a Wing Type. Exploring the Wings offers a more comprehensive view and valuable insights, and offers opportunities for personal growth and development by tapping into the unique qualities and strengths of the adjacent Enneagram types.


4w3 "The Aristocrat"


4w5 "The Bohemian"


Betty Baker M.A. Psych, M.Ed

About the Author

Betty Baker is an awarded marriage and family therapist and contributor to the internationally renowned PeaceBuilders® Program - a science-based, research-validated violence prevention curriculum and professional development program for children, grades pre-K to 12.