Enneagram Type 4 - The Individualist

Identity seekers, who feel unique and different

Enneagram type 4 - The IndividualistPeople of this personality type tend to build their identities around their perception of themselves as being somehow different or unique; they are thus self-consciously individualistic. Fours tend to see their difference from others as being both a gift and a curse - a gift, because it sets them apart from those they perceive as being somehow "common," and a curse, as it so often seems to separate them from the simpler forms of happiness that others so readily seem to enjoy. Thus, Fours can manage to feel superior to others while also secretly harboring some degree of longing and envy. A feeling of being a member of the "true aristocracy" alternates with deep feelings of shame, and fears of somehow being deeply flawed or defective.

Fours are emotionally complex and highly sensitive. They long to be understood and appreciated for their authentic selves, but easily feel misunderstood and unappreciated. They have a tendency to withdraw in the face of a world that seems harsh or crude, and are often somewhat moody or temperamental. They are emotionally centered and spend much of their lives immersed in their internal mental landscapes, where they feel free to cultivate and analyse their feelings. A desire to manifest this internal world often leads Fours to an interest in the arts, and some do become actual artists. Whether artistic or not, however, most Fours are aesthetically sensitive and concerned with self-expression and self-revelation, whether it be in the clothes they wear or in the overall nature of their often idiosyncratic lifestyles.

Fours are somewhat melancholic by disposition, and under stress tend to lapse into depression. They also tend to be self-absorbed, even under the best of circumstances, but when unbalanced, easily give way to a self-indulgence which they perceive as being fully justified as a way to compensate for the general lack of pleasure they experience in their lives. Rather than look for practical solutions to their difficulties, Fours are prone to fantasizing about a savior who will rescue them from their unhappiness.

Intellectual Fours tend to mistakenly type themselves as Fives, and a heavy wing can certainly exacerbate this tendency. Fours however, unlike Fives, tend to be self-revealing and comfortable with emotional expression.


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