The Enneagram Type 4 (The Individualist)

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about Ennegram Type 4 archetypes. From definition of the ennegram, examples and why it is useful.

What is The Enneagram Type 4? (The Individualist)

The type four personality is known as the Individualist.

This personality type is defined by the individual’s feeling that they are innately different from other people, which gives them a feeling that they are somehow special.

Type fours are usually very creative people. Externally they present to the outside world in a very distinctive and individualistic manner.

The type four person yearns to connect with other people but they believe that this distinctive and individual nature may prevent them from doing so as it stops most people from seeing them as they really are.

They fear that they are flawed individuals and that their flaws will mean they are unable to achieve the basic happiness and contentment with life that most people are able to.

As a coping mechanism to deal with this they tend to emphasise the things that are different about them and try to find a niche in the world where they can be appreciated.

How do Enneagram Type 4 individuals act?

More than any other personality type, the type four persona is acutely focused on how they differ from other people and on their own perceived deficiencies.

They feel that their unique nature makes them incapable of being loved or understood by others, making them disadvantage in a way that other people are not.

These tendencies do have the positive impact of allowing them to be honest with themselves where other people cannot be so.

They are not afraid of their feelings and emotions, but rather own them completely.

They are able to assess with honesty their motivations and emotional difficulties without trying to deny them, gloss over or bury them.

Even if they do not like these aspects of themselves, they will not try to hide from them or hide them from others, seeing themselves “warts and all”.

Type 4 individuals and health

When their personalities are healthy and in balance the type four individual is willing and able to reveal very personal things, even things which cause them shame, in an effort to understand their own personal truth and experience.

This capacity allows them to discover their own true nature and deal with their emotional history more readily than other personality types. It also gives them a strength and endurance with which they cope with suffering.

This willingness to explore their own dark side means they find it easier to deal with the painful experiences of life that may overwhelm other individuals.

Darkside of Enneagram Type 4 personalities

Despite this capacity for emotional honesty, type four personalities often feel empty inside, like they are missing something internally but which they struggle to identify.

  • They may struggle with their own self-image, feeling that they lack a clear identity or persona which they are able to be comfortable with in themselves.
  • They fear loneliness, despite their differences from others, but may feel self-conscious and awkward in social situations.
  • However, they yearn to connect with others who they believe understand them as a person and their deeper feelings.
  • They also long for a partner to share their lives and inner selves with, being the most romantic of all the personality types.

If the type four individual is unable to find the companionship and validation they desire in others they are likely to begin building their identity around their differences and how unlike others they are, comforting themselves with their active individualism.

  • They insist on doing everything their own way, in their own time and on their own terms.
  • They develop issues with low self-esteem and self-image, trying to compensate for this by creating a fantasy version of themselves which is idealised in their imagination.
  • They may try different identities over the course of their lifetime, based around the qualities which they observe and like in other people.

Enneagram Type 4 personalities and uncertainty

However, despite all of this fantasy and identity-building, they remain uncertain and lacking in confidence underneath as they largely base their identity on their feelings, which are ever changing.

Type four people understand that human nature is unstable and forever changing but the inner contradiction in them is that, despite this understanding, they want to create a stable identity for themselves which is based on human emotion.

In an effort to do so they reject some feelings in favour of others which they believe are more in tune with who they are.

However, doing this means they are rejecting an innate part of their true nature and in fact denying who they really are.

Enneagram Type 4 Growth

  • Type four individuals face a big challenge in life – the need to let go of past feelings rather than holding onto negativity and old wounds when people have caused them hurt.
  • The tendency they have to hold onto this negativity can obscure the many positive things they have going for them in life.
  • The belief of the type four person that there is something missing inside of themselves, or something wrong with them, means they are reluctant to allow themselves to embrace life’s good experiences or to acknowledge their good qualities.
  • They fear that doing so would cause them to lose their sense of identity – usually that of the suffering victim.
  • However, the best way for them to grow as individuals is to understand that the identity they have developed for themselves is not true in reality and that their old feelings are not relevant to the person they are now.

Enneagram Type 4 Characteristics & Traits

  • Sensitive
  • Creative
  • Distinctive
  • Individualistic
  • Introspective
  • Dramatic
  • Temperamental
  • Emotionally honest
  • Endurance
  • Prominent artistic endeavours
  • Feeling of being special and unique
  • Quirky
  • Endearing
  • Tendency towards melancholic expression
  • Strong sense of their own identity
  • Yearn to connect with others
  • Fear that they are flawed
  • Feeling a of inner emptiness
  • Believes in self-expression
  • Self-absorbed
  • Tendency towards fantasy
  • Base their identity around feeling and emotion
  • Hold on to past hurt

Enneagram Type 4 Examples

There are numerous famous examples of type four personalities throughout history, including:

  • Frédéric Chopin
  • Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Jackie Kennedy Onassis
  • Virginia Woolf
  • Anne Frank
  • Tennessee Williams
  • Frida Kahlo
  • Rudolf Nureyev
  • Billie Holiday
  • Maria Callas
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Bob Dylan
  • Paul Simon
  • Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens)
  • Stevie Nicks
  • Annie Lennox
  • Prince, Sarah McLachlan
  • Amy Winehouse
  • Marlon Brando
  • Jeremy Irons
  • Kate Winslet
  • Streetcar Named Desire’s “Blanche duBois”
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