Enneagram Type 4: Typical Stressors & Strengths

enneagram type 4 strengths and stressors

The Enneagram Type 4 personality (The Individualist) marches to its own drum beat, i.e. a different set of motivations, desires and fears from the other eight EnneaTypes. Let’s decode the typical factors – both Stressors & Strengths – that can impact the Enneagram Type 4’s health and well-being. 

Important caveatThe insights provided here are noticeable patterns drawn from many years of studying thousands of people around the world. They are indicative only, and not predictive or judgmental. Also, not all of these observations may apply to you. The aim is to prompt reflection and inspiration, rather than put you into a box. 

Enneagram Type 4: The Individualist

enneagram type 4 strengths and stressors

  • The introspective, romantic type.
  • Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved.
  • They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal, but can also be moody and self-conscious.
  • Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living.
  • Also, they typically have problems with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity.
  • At their Best: inspired and highly creative, they are able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.

Strengths & Stressors

People with the Enneagram type 4 personality display certain traits, which can influence their health and well-being at multiple levels.

Typical Stressors Typical Strengths


They tend to crave intense experiences. So, they can over-indulge in food and drink, while ignoring physical activity, sometimes to the point of bulimia. Also, they may have irregular sleep patterns. Caution: Risk of addiction to tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs. They cultivate discipline and restraint to balance their self-indulgence. As a result, they can learn to energise and nourish themselves by a simple, ‘return-to-basics’ (often in touch with nature) lifestyle.


People with enneagram type 4 personality tend to experience negative emotions like despair, melancholy, isolation and insecurity. Given their moody, temperamental nature, they may also be prone to Depressive and Narcissistic tendencies. They can let go their attachment to deep and intense, even bizarre experiences. From this place, they acquire emotional sensitivity and honesty. Their essential ability to be self-aware, aesthetic and “be swept up by beauty” shines through.


They view the world as ordinary-or-extraordinary, meaningless-or-meaningful, mundane-or-exciting.   Particularly, they fear being ordinary or having no personal significance. Might use phrases like “I am different from others, I don’t fit in” or “It isn’t OK to be different” or “I have failed if I don’t leave a significant mark on the world”. They live by their values of individuality, wonder and inspiration. Hence, they use their intuition to explore the unusual and sniff out something fresh and different. They’re unafraid to cut through the status quo.


They get disturbed by conformity, regulation, uniformity, structure. Besides, they can withdraw into oneself and be consumed by self-pity. They can enjoy being unpredictable, and making others walk on eggshells. They are known to inspire others to dig deep within themselves for self-renewal and prolific self-expression.


Losing contact with the innate extraordinariness and rich diversity of Presence makes them feel ordinary and insignificant. Hence, their ego copes by intensely longing for the just-out-of-reach intimacy and identity. It is also how Envy (“Matsarya” in the Indian tradition) arises. Staying ‘present’ helps them rediscover the ‘Equanimity’ they have lost. As a result, they are able to respond to life’s rich stimuli, evenly and appropriately.

Further Exploration

If these insights regarding the Enneagram type 4 personality don’t resonate with you, please review the typical Stressors & Strengths of the other EnneaTypes, below. If you wish, you can learn more about your Personality type and also take a more detailed (paid) test at www.enneagraminstitute.com.

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