The 4w5 Enneagram Type
Overview of the Enneagram
What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram, or Enneagram personality, is a pictorial representation of the relationship between the nine major personality types of human nature.
As a typology, the nine personality types, called enneatypes, are represented at the edges of a geometric figure and linked together to form the enneagram. The enneagram postulates nine interconnected ways of living, solving problems, communicating, being, and all nine are valid.
The enneagram, as a symbol, was first used in modern times by George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff; a Greek-Armenian spiritual teacher. The diagram was developed in the 1950s by Oscar Ichazo, founder of the Arica School of self-realization. Modern scientific research into the enneagram, and the creation of the first enneagram indicator - the Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type indicator - was established by Don Riso and Russ Hudson in the mid-1970s and 1980s.
So why should all this matter to you? The enneagram works, that’s why. Truity.com reports that about 1.5 million people have taken enneagram tests over the past one month. It is used daily by millions of people worldwide and has far-reaching implications in business, relationships, parenting and life in general.
Enneagram personality types
There are nine enneagram personality types, and every person has an inborn percentage of each type. The nine Enneagram types have one sentence summaries that give an, overall, superficial look into them. These descriptors expand into four-word sets of traits; they are highlights that illuminate our understanding of the enneagram at first glance.
Type One: The Reformer is ethical, intent, self-disciplined, and precise.
Type Two: The Helper is charitable, effusive, people-pleasing, and territorial.
Type Three: The Achiever is versatile, excellent, ambitious, and self-conscious.
Type Four: The Individualist is artistic, histrionic, self-concerned, and moody.
Type Five: The Investigator is discerning, ingenious, secretive, and reclusive.
Type Six: The Loyalist is magnetic, accountable, worrisome, and suspicious.
Type Seven: The Enthusiast is instinctive, adaptable, avid, and disorganized.
Type Eight: The Challenger is self-assured, resolute, defiant, and competitive.
Type Nine: The Peacemaker is open-minded, soothing, self-satisfied, and resigned.
In this article, we will be focusing on type four: The Individualist/Romantic Individualist, and it’s five-wing: the Bohemian.
Each person has a dominant type which is the core, and a wing, which is complimentary. The dominant types are gotten from birth and cannot be changed; they are neither masculine nor feminine. The wing, however, is usually one of two types that lie adjacent to the dominant type on the enneagram. For example, in this article, we will be focusing on type 4w5 (four-wing-five), but another subtype is type 4w3 (four-wing-three). The wing is not a replacement for the dominant type; however, it acts as a second set of eyes or a viewing glass to give each person a fuller understanding of their enneagram, keeping in mind that everyone has a percentage of each enneagram at different points in time - although the dominant and wings are most prevalent in everyday interactions.
Enneagram Type 4w5
Type fours are the withdrawn, sensitive type of the enneagram. They exemplify our desire to be unique and original. Adjectives used to describe type fours are: intuitive, impressionable, sensitive, quiet, introspective, passionate, idealist, imaginative and self-expressive. Their five-wings are visionary, pioneering, impulsive, exploratory and unsentimental. The 4w5 are complementary to each other, yet, contradict one another. Where one is idealist, the other is concrete, where one is fuzzy, the other is focused.
What they want: Individuality, Uniqueness, Knowledge Possession, Mastery
What they fear: Lack of originality, incompetence, intrusion
What they need: Self-acceptance, Openness
Weakness: Envy, Avarice
Strength: Emotional awareness, Intellect
Don Riso and Russ Hudson call the enneagram 4w5 “the Bohemians”. They have both type four and five traits that reinforce each other. They are both withdrawn to the point of being self-absorbed: fours retreat to protect their emotions while fives recede to guard themselves. The more observant of the type four subtypes, they have an intellectual depth and intensity that is hard to find in other subtypes. They are also prone to high levels of insight due to the balancing act between their cores.
Type fours focus on their inner worlds and have continuous dialogues with themselves. Their emotions are usually subjective, leading them to postpone productivity. They are assailed by self-doubt, inhibitions, self-contempt and alienation from others. Yet, in all this turbulence, fours are some of the most creative, emotionally strong, self-aware, humane, discreet, inspired, honest with themselves, of all the enneagram types. Their five-wings are not so indulgent. They protect themselves from bodily depletion rather than because of their self-consciousness. Their inner dialogues are tailored more toward pondering some intellectual depth or obsessing over a concept that is to be mastered rather than fear of acceptance.
Fours wish to distinguish themselves, and above all, remain unique. They want to stand out from their peers and emphasise their specialness. This can be through either delving into an artistic endeavour or painting their office a strange colour; fours love their individuality to the point of eccentricity. Unfortunately, their need to be different translates to feelings of sadness, loneliness and melancholy. Their five-wing, on the other hand, edges them to strive for competence, giving them a sense of safety.
The major weakness of fours is envy. They assume they suffer from the lack of something that is abundant in others. They believe that their lives tow a negative trajectory, and problems exist in their relationships- even though there are none. Their constant comparisons against others make them feel unlucky or unfortunate, and they incorrectly assume that their experiences are peculiar to them. It shocks many fours when they discover that others have suffered just as much, or even worse than they have. They need to see that their old wounds cause them more sadness than they deserve, and learn how to cope with sadness. They ought to process pain properly, without letting it colour their lives. Their five-wing have a flaw of hoarding or avarice, because no matter how much knowledge they may have, they feel small and helpless against the vast universe. They seek to minimise interactions with others and go at things alone. They cannot be open and generous with themselves, making them susceptible to feeling that they are not enough. They need to balance this with openness and understand that they don’t need to have it all figured out. They are accepted as they are.
At their best, type fours can be the most emotionally honest of the enneagram types, staying true to themselves and accepting of their flaws. They are willing to share themselves with the world and invite others to share in their beauty, sense of enlightenment and emotional advancement.
Katherine likes her personal space, but she loves to sit and listen to most of her friends chatter about things that do not interest her. She is dreadfully shy and self-conscious but feels at home with them because they are welcoming, even embracing, of her nature. She understands her friends on a deep level-hence, she is usually the first to organise pranks and surprises. She loves seeing the joy on their faces when her friends win. This makes her happy because it feels like her win too. She is the pillar of support in her friendships and would annihilate anyone who would dare harm her beloved, yet she prefers to see them in metered doses, making her seem contradictory.
All fours have the potential to add a personal touch to people’s lives, thriving in conversations and bringing unique perspectives to every situation. Their five-wing have the blessing of being the geniuses of most generations. Since they are the ones who choose to live the life of the mind, they understand the balancing act of genius and insanity. The whiz sees things with insight and clarity while the madman misinterprets and imposes unreal patterns. The genius is vivid, while the mad man is muddy. Their five-wing is smack in the middle of genius and mania and finesses genius splendidly.
Type 4w5 has three main subtypes, namely:
Healthy 4w5: These types are the most creative because they combine their introspection, emotional awareness, comprehension and intellect to create some of the most exceptional work that may even surprise them. They create works of self-expression, not necessarily work that entertains an audience. They have gifts of insight and understanding and a keen sense of observation.
Average 4w5: These types that immerse themselves in their emotions. They are loners, self-absorbed and prone to deep thought. They can come off as exotic and “bohemian”, daydreaming and focused on their minds rather than their realities. They have an erratic fear that they will be depleted, hence, cannot share themselves or needs with others for fear of being overwhelmed by connection.
Unhealthy 4w5: Members of this subtype are full-on escapists. They are at the extreme ends of their self-doubt and self-contempt and resist assistance from anyone. These types are the most isolated from their reality and themselves. They are prone to schizophrenia, depression and suicide.
Examples of type fours with a five-wing include Hermann Hesse, Virginia Woolf, Johnny Depp, Edgar Allen Poe, Ingmar Berman and William Blake.
Type 4w5 Relationships
They focus their time and attention on their relationships, and these relationships may be concrete or abstract. They are great conversationalists and listeners and give themselves fully when someone they care about is opening up to them. Since they have strong emotional sensitivities that predispose them to exaggerated reactions, they tend to have difficulty maintaining long-term connections. They usually get into conflicts and react to them by being moody, withdrawn, emotionally demanding, dramatic, self-indulgent, self-absorbed, and even near petulant. They are petty and use emotional blackmail to punish those who wrong them- by being distant and withholding. They project their fantastical ideals of a partner to their partners and set themselves up for a cycle of self-fulfilling predictions about the nature of love and relationships. Due to their five-wing, they are even more adept to living without significant relationships because they are unwilling to compromise their way of life; but when they find someone who resonates with them on their level, they make great friends and partners.
Type 4w5 Careers
Type four is the introspective and artsy type. In business and careers, they deliver distinct products that stand out due to their sense of style. They can be relentless in their pursuit of perfectionism, dislike tasks that require auto-drive, are prone to criticisms and dip into erratic work habits. Their five-wing are proactive and perceptive. They are never tired of learning especially when it applied to the mastery of technical or specialist matters.
The 4w5 subtype cares about beauty and taste, but wants it balanced with intellect and rationale. They usually seek out occupations that allow for “self-expression” which can seem idiosyncratic because their expression is usually for themselves, rather than for others.
Above all else, they want their life to be a work of art, something so stirring and beautiful that it is sung of through the ages by those who cared enough to pay attention. Type fours - if they can manage it - are often seen as professional artists, writer/poets and teachers, especially in the arts or social sciences.
The Morden age career revolution teaches quality over quantity in life. Most people are no longer settling for regular jobs that pay the bills- although, I see nothing wrong in settling: work is work. Work is now synonymous with purpose, and type fours are the orchestrators of purpose. They need to find work that has meaning to them, creates beauty or permits artistic expression.
The question that arises is, what exactly is the best type of job for a 4w5? Is it work in an office space or a work-from-home arrangement? Freelance or 9–5? Self-employment or Having a boss? Do they even need jobs?
Most type fours would gladly venture into artistic endeavours like acting, writing, filmmaking or any other thing that calls for self-expression. Those who have nine to fives create distinct signatures for their work: they may be CEOs as long as there is a creative component in their work, something they find fulfilling. They may even enter professions with an artistic, but practical touches like becoming a designer, an interior decorator or even a therapist.
Here, we will go over the best jobs that fit this personality type.
- Writer: Being the 4w5 means they are idealistic, yet, sensible and academically inclined. Writing is an avenue for 4w5 to be both creative, as writers, and intellectual, as teachers. An example could be becoming a creative writer who doubles as a teacher at a University. A life that allows their creativity and knowledge to increase is a balanced career path for 4w5s.
- Actor: Because of their love of art and uniqueness, being an actor has a certain attractive quality to type 4w5. What better way to solidify that you are not like anyone else, while still gaining mastery and a world of knowledge, than being an Actor who performs on the world stage in front of millions, and switches roles that enable him to learn more about life from characters? Acting is one of the grandest works of art available, and type fours are both artist and canvas.
- Artist: Different forms of artistry such as being a musician, a poet, a dancer or even a painter, as long as it involves self-expression or creating something of beauty, it is a good fit for the type 4w5
- Librarian: A balance for the studious five-wing and the withdrawn type four, a librarian has access to a vast amount of knowledge and information, just waiting to be consumed. Books are also well known for fanning the flames of the imagination. Being a Librarian is a blend that suits the escapist and protective dreams of the type 4w5.
- Videographer/Filmmaker: 4w5’s love to create, or at least, replicate the world as they wish it could be, starting first from their minds. Being a filmmaker helps create meaningful work that does not keep them bored while challenging them to face the realities of life and surmount the challenges to make the film they would love to see.
- Social science teacher: This role blends the love of knowledge of the five-wing with the passion for social and life sciences of the dominant type four. Five-wings are a delight to have when discussing abstract ideas or pioneering new theories. What better way to do this than to share this knowledge with other people who flow at a frequency of learning needed for this subtype to leave their inner worlds and come out to play?
Regardless of the ideal profession, type 4w5s can still choose whatever field they wish. This article is not to limit them, but rather, to guide them on their career and life’s path.
The enneagram is not the first or only personality type available. As the type fours like to say, it is “unique” in interpreting human behaviours and actions. The enneagram’s primary aim is to aid personal growth. The nine types help us to reach a state of self-awareness that does not sentence us to life doomed to our premeditated lot - not at all. The enneagram affords us a chance to stop standing in our way; to cease our destructive, self-sabotaging cycles and ensure that we look at ourselves the same way parents look at their children: with love and compassion, and encourage growth. Once we become aware of the need to change, and refuse to be victims of our natures, we instead adopt new ways of handling situations that enable us to shine through. We do this because we believe change is possible, both for a 4w5 subtype or any other subtype, because what is life if not change and what is growth, if not positive change?
Discovering your personality type by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
Personality types by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
The enneagram institute
Sutton, A, Allinson, C and Williams, H. (2013) Personality Type and Work-related Outcomes: An exploratory application of the Enneagram model. European Management Journal 31(3):234-249 doi: 10.1016/j.emj.2012.12.004