Enneagram Type Four’s Subtype Descriptions

Type #4 Self-Preservation Subtype

Can resemble Counterphobic 6s in their behavior, as well as 1s, at times
Tend to be the most introverted of the three type 4 subtypes
Positive/Enhancing:
• Can focus intently on work or a cause they believe in wholeheartedly
• Careful with money and possessions, don’t risk them foolishly chasing a pipedream
• Excellent at pointing out angles, perspectives or viewpoints that others had not considered
• Can be tenacious, determined and resolute to achieve their lofty goals (like 1s)
• Create aesthetically pleasing surroundings in their home that have emotional resonance
for them
• Meaningful objects, such as antiques or art, can appease romantic desires and longings
Negative/Depleting:

• Try to avoid the meaninglessness of a mundane existence by living on the edge and taking
risks
• Can discount basic self-preservation needs and tune mundane reality out in order to follow
a dream
• Can be dauntless and throw caution to the wind to materialize their dream
• Feel most alive when tempting fate (like Counterphobic 6s); can lead to crisis situations
• Can unconsciously recreate childhood losses in adulthood through reckless behavior
• Can feel lost between hope and despair and take risks to get attention or increase
emotional excitement
• Stubborn refusal to give up their self-image of being someone special
• Can get defensive or angry when people mock their ideals and lifestyle or try to change
them
• Get rebellious when people try to tell them they should give up dreaming and be more
practical
• Get rebellious when people presume to know what they (the self-preservation 4) are
thinking and feeling
• Minor discomforts can seem unbearable – room temp. too hot or cold, lighting to bright or
dim, etc.
• Run by their emotional whims; indulge in bad habits (excessive eating, drinking, staying
up too late, love affairs, etc.) to make up for what is perceived to be missing and to
assuage their emotional lows
• Can be too self-contained, self-destructive, self-defeating, irresponsible and completely
autonomous

Type #4 Sexual Subtype

Can resemble 8s at times when they are feigning self-confidence, being intense, diminishing
others to make themselves seem important and over-stepping their boundaries
Tend to be the most extroverted, or at least assertive, of the three type 4 subtypes (also most
envious)
Positive/Enhancing:
• When healthy, are capable of truly admiring and deeply loving their partner
• Extremely accepting of other people’s individuality and right to express themselves
• Can engage with people deeply, authentically and passionately
• Can develop excellent communication and interpersonal relationship skills
• Able to be extremely open-hearted, compassionate and loving toward all sentient beings
Negative/Depleting:

• Long for a soul mate to come along and sweep them off their feet; to save them from an
ordinary life
• Tend to be especially attracted to people who are distant or unavailable
• Can have unrealistically high expectations of their partner to fit their ideal fantasy of a
mate
• Can have intense romantic and sexual longings; easily get infatuated with a romantic
interest
• Can be tender, vulnerable and sweet but also competitive, demanding, aggressive and
pushy
• Unconsciously yearning for the ideal partner perpetuates familiar feelings of lost love in
childhood
• Their love life can be tempestuous, dramatic, turbulent, stormy, etc. – they can
reject/disdain their partner by focusing on the flaws but then miss the great qualities and
want him/her back
• Strong fears of rejection and abandonment; sexual 4s have serious doubts about their
desirability
• Can be seductive, sexual, jealous and possessive (like 2s); relationship problems cause
depression
• Can be envious of people who seem more fulfilled and happy in their love life
• Can be competitive with any rivals that might threaten their romantic relationship
• Can envy or resent the very qualities in their mate they originally admired or wanted in
themselves
• At worst, get so emotionally distraught over love gone wrong that they kill themselves
and/or their lover

Type #4 Social Subtype

Tend to feel the most misunderstood and totally unlike anyone else of the three type 4 subtypes
Positive/Enhancing:

• Often are high achievers who participate in social causes; have unique talents and gifts to
share
• With their great intuition, can have excellent social skills, social sensitivities and great
manners
• Have an interest in the group’s welfare because they feel the group’s welfare is connected
to their own
• Give their time, energy and even money to improve conditions for people and/or the world
• They always have other people’s welfare in mind as well as their own
• They can be aware of group expectations but have enough self-esteem to do what’s best
for them

Negative/Depleting:
• Inner tension between wanting to fit in, be accepted and belong yet still be special, unique
and stand out
• Desire recognition but fear being embarrassed, humiliated, ridiculed or rejected by probing
eyes
• Can bolster up their image to compensate for social insecurities: dressing up to the nines,
having a unique social style/presentation, being glamorous but a little aloof, having elite
membership, etc.
• Often compare themselves with more “normal” people and feel either more deficient or
more elite
• Fear social encounters that might bring their deficiency or “fatal flaw” to light and
humiliate them
• Due to social shame, they can believe they don’t know how to function like normal people
• Can feel incapable of meeting the same standards that others in the group are capable of
meeting and fear that their defectiveness will eventually be found out and they will be
rejected by the group
• Easily feel ashamed/frustrated for not being able to live up to their own vision of their
ideal self
• Can be hypersensitive to criticism and devastated by being left out by a group of friends
• Often feel socially inept or inadequate – handle by being outwardly charming or just
blending in
• They constantly analyze everything they do or say for fear of looking foolish or making a
mistake
• Can be self-deprecating as a way to fit in and deflect their inner feelings of envy and
defectiveness
• They can feel as though other people have what is missing in their lives
• At worst, can be highly self-critical, antisocial and depressed, living with their shame in
isolation
• At worst, fear others loathe and condemn them because they (others) can read their weird
thoughts

(For even more insight, learn Type Two’s Enneagram Wing Descriptions).

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