4: Envy and Depressive Masochistic Character

Contents: Please use these links to jump to the relevant sections.

The Enneagram 4

The envy of the 4 involves a painful sense of personal deficit and a craving toward what they feel is lacking in their life. They see goodness as something outside themselves. Their envy is borne of an excessive craving for love resulting from their chronic sense of inner scarcity and badness, but this only serves to simulate their frustration and pain. As a result, the 4 becomes over-identified with “suffering.”

The 4 gravitates around an excessive concern with their self-image. Unlike the 3, who identifies with an idealized image, the 4 obsesses over that part of themselves that fails to fit an idealized image and is always striving to attain the unattainable. The 4’s vanity comes from failing to reach their goal because of their inner sense of worthlessness.

Though 4 and 5 share a sense of irrelevance, depression, guilt, and self-lacking, the 5 adopts moral indifference, apathy, and emptiness. The 4 becomes a marshland of emotion, turmoil, and turbulence. Their most notable trait besides envious motivation is self-victimization and frustration. 4s are prone to masochistic and self-defeating personality traits, depression, and a constant emotional awareness and emphasis on sad emotions. They are pessimistic and skeptical.

At their worst, the 4 becomes an embittered, overly-serious individual for whom ‘everything is somewhat rotten.’ They may manifest joy as a way of escaping sadness.

The 4 compares themselves to others who live happily and reflects on their unhappiness; then decides to regard those so easily sated by ‘easy pleasures’ as beneath them, and makes their own suffering noble in comparison. They see suffering as a merit, and tend to reflect and ponder the bitterness of earthly life. They turn their melancholy into a preoccupation with appearances and seek to stand out through how they dress, how they decorate their home, and how they live.

The 4 can be ill-humored, selfish, irritable, critical, even mean or ill-intentioned. Their pessimism in the face of all things and in regard to their own fate has a obsessive quality to it. At their most unhealthy, they rejoice at new failures and do not desire anything good for others.

The 4 can refuse life by not participating in it, yet see in it a sort of unrequited love; if only they could have what they seek… what others possess so easily… they reflect, brood, and romanticize their suffering. One may call them “eternally discontent.” They often have a profoundly pessimistic outlook on life, accompanying attitudes of depression, withdrawal, passive-receptive behaviors, a feeling of insecurity, a need for assurances, and ambition that combines an intense desire to climb with a feeling of un-attainability. The 4 can have a grudging feeling of injustice, sensitivity to competition, and a dislike of sharing. They translate suffering into verbal or written complaining. The 4 inflicts emotional pain on and debases themselves.

The 4 has learned they can get things more easily by telling people about their troubles, thus drawing attention to oneself. This can develop into a stubborn refusal to move on from victimhood and a rejection of others’ attempts to ‘save’ them—if the 4 is saved, then there is no more suffering. If saved, they find some new torment to focus upon.

4s are known by their variability of mood, self-condemnation, rage, impulsivity, excessive dependency, and tempestuous transference.

The 4 feels terrified of loss, isolation, or abandonment because they believe they lack the wherewithal, the know-how, and the equipment for taking mature, self-determined, and independent action. They dread and anticipate potential loss, seeing it as ‘already happening’ when it is not. It is also difficult for them to believe those on whom they depend think well of them. They are fearful others will depreciate them or cast them off. They are on edge, prone to the anxiety of separation, and ripe for anticipating the inevitable desertion. They will meet events that stir up these fears with idealization, self-abnegation, and attention-gaining acts of self-destruction, self-assertion, or impulsive anger.

Their virtuous martyrdom is a ploy of submissive devotion that strengthens others’ attachment to them. Their pleading anguish, despair, and resignation release their tensions and externalize their inner torment. Rather than turn to anger, many 4s sulk or become lethargic. Some may use depression as an instrument to frustrate or retaliate against those who have failed them or ‘demanded too much.’ By exaggerating their plight or moping endlessly about it, they avoid responsibilities, place added burdens upon others, and instigate suffering and guilt in those who ‘take care of them.’

The 4 feels miserable more often and more intensely than others, and places a great deal of idealistic belief in ‘love’ as being the only possible way to salvation. Love seems to be the ticket to paradise and the end of all woes: no more loneliness, no more feeling lost, guilty, or unworthy; no more responsibility for self; no more struggle with a harsh world for which the 4 feels helplessly ill-equipped. Love seems to promise protection, support, affection, encouragement, sympathy, and understanding. It will give the 4 meaning to their life, a feeling of worth, it will be salvation and redemption. Thus, the 4 envies love.

The 4 has strong empathetic abilities (particularly in regards to the distress of others), is vulnerable and prone to adopting the ideas or attitudes of others, imaginative and absorbed in their creative output; drawn to purity and unity, but looking over their shoulder toward the sullied and the sorrows.

Because of their own identification with such things, the 4 is quick to sense others’ repressions, rejections, thwarted longings, and victimization. They find it hard to move on from past sorrows, and find a melancholic note in artistic beauty. The 4’s deep desire for romantic love (with its enormous potential for pain, disappointment, and sorrow) may lead them to place themselves in relationships that will inevitably lead to grief.

Similar traits to depressive-masochistic personality: the 4 may place oneself in self-defeating situations with painful consequences even when better options are clearly available; reject reasonable offers of assistance from others; react to positive personal events with guilt or depression; act in such a way as to cause others to reject them, thereby confirming their ‘knowing’ of being unwanted; avoid opportunities for pleasure; and do things for others out of an exaggerated sense of ‘self-sacrifice.’

Identifiable Traits:

Envy: a characteristic process of self-frustration; the 4 always craves what it cannot have, and what it sees as others having in abundance. This can be sexual, with the 4 choosing to be counter-cultural (identification with homosexuality, asexuality, etc), or social, with the idealization of the upper classes and a strong social climbing drive; it can manifest as pursuit of the extraordinary and the intense, along with dissatisfaction with the ordinary and non-dramatic. The 4 suffers from suffer from intense envy toward others and their own sense of shame and vileness in “being” envious in the first place.

Poor Self-Image: the 4 feels inadequate, is prone to shame, has a sense of ridicule, may feel unintelligent, ugly, repulsive, rotten, etc. This self-denigration creates the ‘hole’ out of which arises their envy.

Focus on Suffering: 4s use pain as spite and an unconscious hope of obtaining love through suffering. They are sensitive, intense, passionate, and romantic, but suffer from loneliness and may dwell on or harbor a tragic sense of their life or life in general. They are possessed of a deep nostalgia and often forlorn. They are usually pessimistic, sometimes bitter, and often cynical. Associated traits are lamenting, complaining, despondency, and self-pity. A persistent feeling of loss echoes their real experiences of loss and deprivation, sometimes manifesting as a fear of future loss and impending suffering from the separations and frustrations of life.

4s have a prolonged mourning response, not only to people but pets. They give an imaginative amplification of the expressions of suffering, and find satisfaction in crying. For them, crying is a bittersweet thing. The pain of loss feels real to them, even though they are ‘amplifying it.’

Moving Toward: more than any other type, the 4 is ‘love-addicted’ and their craving for love is supported by a need for recognition they are unable to give themselves. In their dependency, they cling to relationships that are frustrating for them, and project a sense of ‘helplessness’ others may interpret as a maneuver to attract attention. The 4 may feel a need for financial protection, in addition to the desire to feel cared for, since they doubt their ability to meet their own needs.

Nurturance: 4s are thoughtful, understanding, apologetic, soft, gentle, cordial, self-sacrificing, humble, and submissive. This is not only a form of “giving to get,” but on an empathetic identification with the needs of others. 4s may draw exaggerated attention to their ‘caring for others’ to contribute to their sense of self-sacrifice.

Emotionality: the 4 is incredibly emotional, with a mix of intellectual interests and introversion. Their intense emotionality applies not only to their expression of romantic feelings and their dramatization of suffering but also their expression of anger. Envious people feel hate intensely and their screams are the most impressive.

Competitive Arrogance: the 4 compensates for their bad self-image with an attitude of superiority. Though they may seethe in their own self-hate and self-deprecation, the attitude they show the outside world is one of ‘specialness.’ If frustrated, they see themselves as a ‘misunderstood genius.’ The 4 can develop wittiness, interesting conversation, imaginativeness, deep analysis, or a depth of feeling to contact and elicit feelings of admiration from others.

Refinement: 4s prefer refinement and detest grossness. They often prefer stylish, delicate, elegant, tasteful, artistic, sensitive, arty, affected, mannered, and postured behaviors. The 4 is covering up their sense of inner lacking by being something ‘other than what they are’ or admire, often of a higher class. The lack of originality in such an imitation perpetuates their envy of originality.

Artistic Interests: the 4 may idealize pain through their art and alter it, to the extent that it becomes an element in the design of beauty.

Strong Superego: the 4 seeks refinement, which leads them to self-discipline. This, they share with the 1, but the 4 is more keenly aware of their high personal standards and most of them are aesthetic-based rather than ethical. The 4 can also be rule-oriented, to combat their shame, self-hate, and self-denigration.

Defense Mechanisms:

Introjection—the need of external approval and love to compensate for the inability to love oneself. It can mean the casting of self upon another or the casting of another onto oneself. The 4 internalizes external rejection and reacts to it through chronic suffering and a dependency upon external acknowledgment. It is truest for the 4 that “familiarity breeds contempt.” The illusion is broken by the ‘intimate knowing’ of another and finding them lacking. Thus, the idealization of a relationship can turn to disappointment and nitpicking of the other person’s faults. The 4 is as critical and harsh on others as on themselves, seeking to denigrate them, especially in their most intimate relationships (finding fault with the lover, and being dissatisfied with them when they are there; then mourning their absence after they leave and wishing to have them back again).

Turning Against the Self: aiming the anger of frustration not only at the source of this frustration but also at oneself. The 4 may repress their anger and shift their superiority into guilt-laced inferiority (feeling and being undeserving of what they really should have). In this way, the 4 can never be the ‘victor’ in a dispute, for they self-sabotage themselves into ensuring the problem persists. They feel guilty in demanding what they want, and turn to envy and intensified emotions rather than simply making their desires known.

What created them: a perceived ‘lacking’ in childhood, which the 4 chose to make part of their identity (being different from other kids, not having the same experiences, being in some way ‘damaged’ through physical attributes or a perceived lack of attractiveness to oneself). The 4 remembers what they have lost at an emotional level. Sometimes, the 4 experienced an intense period of disillusionment or felt ridiculed; they felt a sense of poverty or alienation due to racial differences with others and noticed a ‘not having’ that others possessed, which sparked their envy of their perceived happiness. Above all, the 4 grows up feeling different, or does not feel their family life is ‘normal.’

The 4 can fall into the trap of lamenting over the past as a means of avoiding self-growth, which is to become fully emotionally independent—to learn to care for, acknowledge, support, and love oneself, and truly believe in oneself as ‘good.’ The 4 needs to learn to stop self-distorting (through the continual pursuit of something different and ‘better’ and ‘nobler’ than what one has), and stop self-frustrating themselves in love through creating criticisms so as to invoke a sense of dissatisfaction within the relationship. The 4, more than any other type, needs to develop the self-support that comes from appreciative awareness and the sense of the dignity of self and life in all its forms.

Enneagram 4 Wings

Enneagram types often have influences from the number on one side of them, more than the other. While it’s possible to have balanced wings, or no wing at all, most people can relate to one wing in particular.

4w3: The Aristocrat

Healthy: 4w3s combine creativity and ambition, the desire for self-improvement and an eye toward achieving goals, often involving their personal advancement. They are more sociable than 4w5s and want to be both successful and distinctive. They feel the need to communicate themselves and their creative efforts to others and care both about finding the right mode of expression and avoiding anything off-putting or in bad taste. They create with an audience in mind.

Average: They are self-conscious and more aware of issues regarding their self-worth and how they are coming across to others than 4w5s. They want recognition for themselves and their work and typically put more effort into everything having to do with their self-presentation and related matters. They are practical but also extravagant—loving refinement, culture, and sophistication—and typically see themselves as high class, elegant, and concerned with social acceptance. They can be competitive and disdainful of others; grandiosity and narcissism are expressed more openly and directly.

4w5: The Bohemian

Healthy:  4w5s tend to be extremely creative, combining emotionalism and introspection with perceptiveness and originality. Less concerned with acceptance and status than the 4w3, they are highly personal and idiosyncratic in their self-expression, creating more for themselves than for an audience. They enjoy the process of creativity and discovery more than that of presentation and are highly exploratory. They are usually defiant of convention and authority, breaking the rules whenever self-expression is an issue.

Average: More introverted and socially withdrawn than the 4w3, the 4w5 tends to dwell more exclusively in their imaginations. The real world is less interesting to them than the inner landscapes they create for themselves. They are attracted to the exotic, the mysterious, and the symbolic, and their personal style is often eccentric and unusual. They prefer downbeat scenes, choosing a minimalist lifestyle. They can be intensely private, often seeing themselves as rebellious outsiders. They may have brilliant flashes of insight, but they have trouble sustaining practical efforts in the real world.

Social Variants:

Read through each to determine which resonates the most with you.

Self-Preservation 4: The Sensualist

These are the most practical and materialistic of the 4s, but also the most neurotic about their body and lifestyle and any overblown “issues” related to it. 4s magnify and obsess over problems in own life, and the self-preservation 4 often makes this about “there is always a problem with me, my life, or my appearance.” They over-focus on this, and make it an area of obsessive self-concern (but not something they can “fix”). They are always sick, their appearance is less than desirable, or they will not be wanted due to their problems at home, or with their personality, etc.

These 4s love the finer things in life and want to surround themselves with beautiful objects. They relate strongly to the sensuality of the material world and enjoy cultivating a “nest” (home) filled with items that have both aesthetic appeal and emotional resonance. They are often moved by the presentation and symbolism of gifts and enjoy presenting such items to others, such as a rose for their beloved. They tend to be the most introverted 4s; having comfortable, aesthetic surrounding supports them during periods of social isolation. They are particular, even obsessive, about their physical surroundings, wanting soothing textures, mood lighting, and a comfortable temperature.

Eventually, their desire for emotional intensity begins to interfere with basic life functioning. They often develop a throw-caution-to-the-winds attitude that comes from the excitement of being on a temporary emotional high. At the other extreme, they are self-indulgent in an attempt to soothe emotional lows. They allow emotional whims to dictate their behavior, in either case. These 4s may attempt to maintain a rarified lifestyle at the expensive of their security and physical well-being (like buying expensive items when the rent is not quite covered). Like 7s, they can become frustrated divas, craving rich food and luxuries. They frequently fall into poor eating habits and health routines, staying up late watching movies, listening to music, drinking, and eating to excess, as if to ask, “What difference does it make?” Their self-indulgent habits become compensation for an unlived life.

In the unhealthy range, these 4s are highly susceptible to alcoholism and drug abuse. They are attracted to situations that undermine the stability of their lives, even to danger (like the proverbial moth to the flame), involving themselves in illicit love affairs or other destructive relationships. They can be extremely irresponsible, showing a total disregard of their livelihood, or even of the need to have one. Feeling emotionally overwhelmed, they may not bother to show up at their job or to pay their bills. Long-term self-destructive behavior through drug abuse and personal neglect is common.

This 4 can look like a 7, because of their self-indulgence. These 4s may at times display the high energy characteristics of 7s and have a need for fun and playfulness as an escape from their pain, but these 4s possess greater access to their emotions than the avoidant 7s.

The Social 4: The Outsider

This 4 appears emotionally sensitive (or oversensitive), feels thing deeply, and suffers more than most people. For this Four, there is a desire to be witnessed and seen in their suffering. They hope that if their suffering is sufficiently recognized and understood, they might be forgiven for their failures and deficiencies and loved unconditionally. In public, they repress “frowned upon” emotions like anger or hatred and may appear sweet, friendly, and soft… but in private, they may express their emotions they store up in social situations and become aggressive.

Average 4s see themselves as unlike others, as being unique (and not in a positive way; though they transform this into a “shield” of defense, by transforming their separation into a “desirable” one). They experience their uniqueness both as being a gift they bring to others, and a burden they must bear. They tend to be socially active and engaged. They long to get involved with others and be part of the world, but often feel they do not know how. They constantly compare themselves with others, and feel they come up short. They desire to be among the beautiful, glamorous, and elite, yet doubt they are really up to it or can compete on that level.

Feelings of shame in social settings eventually lead them to believe they do not know how to function like normal people. They envy others’ happiness, while rejecting them as crude or insensitive. They often adopt a glamorous, exotic image to cover up their social insecurities. They may become attracted to alternative lifestyles to compensate. Some of them may aggressively pursue success as a compensation for their nagging feelings of inadequacy (“they won’t make fun of me now!”). They react strongly to any statements about themselves, often sifting through past conversations for any hints of a slight. They may both defend their defects and feel disadvantaged by them (“of course I’m aloof around such coarseness and selfishness—but I do wish someone loved me!”).

In the unhealthy range, fear of rejection can lead these 4s to withdraw almost completely from involvement with others. Shame and their expectation of humiliation become so pervasive that they do not want to risk being seen. At the same time, their insecurities render them unable to work in any consistent way. These 4s often become extremely dependent on family, friends, or a significant other. Isolation along with fantasies of achievement may cause unhealthy social 4s to waste their lives.

These 4s can look like 6s in their focus on what’s missing or wrong in their lives. However, unlike 6s, they have a desire to be special as opposed to the 6’s identification with the “every man,” and they spend less time in fear and more time feeling emotions related to sadness, pain and shame.

The Sexual 4: Infatuation

Average sexual fours most exemplify the romanticism, intensity, and longing for a rescuer that characterizes the 4. They can be sweetly vulnerable and impression, but also aggressive and dynamic, especially in their self-expression. There is an assertive, seemly extroverted component to them, and they are unlikely to let their romantic fantasies remain fantasies for long (unlike the other two 4s). Often turbulent and stormy, their emotional lives revolve around the person they are attracted to. Intense feelings of admiration, longing, and hatred for their object of desire can all coexist. Sensual and seductive, they can be jealous and possessive and want to be the only person that matters in the other person’s life.

They often have severe doubts about their own desirability, so they strive for accomplishments that will make them admirable to the other—being a great artist or star—while being resentful of those who achieve those things. Envy is one of their most clear, recognizable traits. Relationship problems arise because the 4 often become romantically involved with people who have qualities they admire o want in themselves, but they then end up resenting and envying their loved one for having those same qualities. Idealizing the other can quickly shift to rejecting them for their slightest flaw. At the same time, they are often attracted to people who are, for one reason or another, unavailable. They may spend a great deal of time longing to have the desirable other to themselves and detesting anyone who has the other’s attention.

In the unhealthy range, intense envy of others can lead to a desire to sabotage them in order to get revenge. Unhealthy sexual 4s live by the adage “misery loves company” (“if I’m going to suffer, so are you!”). They may create competition sand rivalries and feel completely justified in undoing their opponents or in hurting those who have disappointed them. They are prone to rapid shifts in their feelings toward others, even toward their protectors and loved ones. Their emotional chaos may lead them to rash acts of violence against themselves or the people they believe have frustrated their emotional needs.

Sexual 4s are most likely to be confused with 8s or sexual 2s. Like 8s, they have easier access to anger than most types, but they differ from 8s in the wider range of emotions they regularly feel.8s often don’t need to get angry, whereas a 4 frequently feels misunderstood or envious, so they may show anger more often. They can also look like sexual 2 (because both types can be aggressive and seductive in relationships) but the 2 is more oriented toward pleasing others.

Spiritual Growth Suggestions

As 4s work on themselves and become more self-aware, they learn to avoid the trap of seeking but blocking love to prove their worth by seeing what is good in themselves and not just what’s missing, taking the risk to believe in their own lovability, and opening up to receive the love and longing they long for.

Notice when you are…

Holding onto a strong belief in your own deficiency so that you close yourself off from others in the expectation of abandonment. Observe your tendency to engage in intense self-criticism and self-loathing. What kinds of thoughts and beliefs do you have about yourself? What negative things do you tell yourself about yourself on a regular basis? Notice when you do it, what it looks like, and how and when it happens. Observe how you focus on your flaws and devalue or dismiss compliments or positive feedback. Recognize how you generate negative feelings about yourself based on your negative self-opinion, and if you see yourself as special or unique or superior as a way of defensively compensating for your inner inadequacy.

Distracting yourself in various ways from your own growth and expansion through your attachment to various emotions. Observe how you create suffering for yourself through negative thoughts about yourself and dwell in that suffering to distract yourself from taking action to address the causes of suffering. Notice if you use depression as a defense, by focusing on the hopelessness of things to avoid deeper kinds of pain or won’t do anything to generate a more hopeful outlook. What are you avoiding when you get attached to your sadness? Notice if you are making bigger your emotions or causing drama to avoid inner emptiness or avoid the realities of your life.

Focusing on what’s missing, so nothing ever measures up and nothing can be taken in. Observe how your focus goes to what’s missing in any situation. Notice if this helps you improve things or is an excuse to dismiss or devalue what’s happening to avoid constructively engaging with reality. Observe how you apply this to people, distancing yourself or thwarting potential connections by focusing on other’s flaws. Notice if you get stuck in ambivalence by only seeing what isn’t good enough. Do you focus on the past to avoid the present? Do you push and pull in relationships? Why? Do you fixate on what’s missing and “throw the baby out with the bathwater”?

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How and why did these patterns develop?
  • What emotions are these patterns designed to protect me from?
  • Why am I doing this?
  • How are these patterns operating in me?
  • What are my blind spots, because of these patterns?
  • What do they keep me from seeing?
  • What are the consequences of continuing to be this way?
  • How do my coping mechanisms trap me?


To counter-act holding onto a strong belief in your own deficiency so that you close yourself off from others in the expectation of abandonment.

  • Challenge your unwavering belief in your inferiority. Only becoming aware of your vicious cycle of envy, need, shame, and inferiority will help you step out of those patterns that become self-reinforcing and self-frustrating. Realize and embrace the truth of your own goodness and lovability. Notice your self-negativity, challenge it, and recognize that it is false. Consciously compare your belief in your own deficiency with the evidence available, and challenge yourself to consider the positive evidence. Realize the falsity of the belief and expand your view of yourself to include your real value. Challenge your shame by focusing on all the ways you are good.
  • Actively work to reverse your self-debasing tendencies through efforts at self-love. Learn to accept yourself and not beat yourself up for your “deficiencies.” Learn to find the love and acceptance you crave within yourself, learn to appreciate who you really are, and let go of your constant need to focus on the ways you are unworthy or bad. If you do not love yourself, you will block yourself from love. This is what keeps your defensive cycle going. Notice and embrace all the positive things about yourself. Catch yourself being harsh to yourself and stop it.
  • Recognize envy, competition, and masochistic behavior as danger signs. Notice if you compare yourself negatively to others and strive to prove yourself, wallow in feelings of inadequacy, or get aggressively competitive. See these behaviors as the hallmark of excessive self-judgment and self-debasement and realize the cure for these feelings is self-love and self-acceptance. Notice when you’re engaging in these behaviors based on an assumption of your inadequacy—and actively work to appreciate and care for yourself. Consciously shift your attention and behaviors.

To counter-act distracting yourself in various ways from your own growth and expansion through your attachment to various emotions.

  • Observe and accept your emotions instead of over-identifying with them. Consciously identify and accept your emotions without becoming attached to, or over-identified with certain ones. Notice when you get stuck in certain emotions, especially regret, sadness, or hopelessness. Recognize how this might be avoiding moving through and mourning real losses and getting to the other side. Allow yourself to have feelings, move through them, listen to what they tell you, and then let them go. Recognize how getting lost in your feelings protects you from taking action or reaching out in productive ways to actually get what you need. Make the choice to let them go, when you’ve felt them sufficiently. Shifting your attention from feelings to thinking or taking action will help you avoid fixating on them in unproductive ways.
  •  Notice and work against your desire to create intensity and drama. Notice if you are making things bigger to avoid specific experiences (boredom or emptiness) and challenge yourself to value the “here and now” even if it feels uninteresting. Allow yourself to be with any emotions you are experiencing, rather than distracting yourself with “drama.” Consciously focus on what is good and pleasurable in the here and now, and by working your way through any painful feelings you have been avoiding.
  • Learn to see your suffering, hopelessness, and longing as a defense against living and opening up to possibilities. Notice if you are taking comfort in “familiar” feelings of hopelessness, disappointment, and longing. Is it an addiction for you? You must learn to see that these feelings hold you back from getting the love and appreciation you crave. Remind yourself it’s just as possible to focus on hope as hopelessness, or on what makes you happy instead of what makes you suffer. Shift your focus to all the love and possibilities for connection that will be open to you if you let go of your negativity and see the positive potential in your environment.

To counter-act focusing on what’s missing, so nothing ever measures up and nothing can be taken in.

  • Align your desires with what’s possible. Waiting for perfection or having unrealistic expectations are defense mechanisms against opening up to getting the love you want. Notice when you do the latter to defend against disappointment. Experiment with moderating your expectations and requests. Notice if you avoid accepting something good because you’re busy finding fault with it. Challenge yourself to see all the things that could be satisfying and “good enough.”
  • Apply your idealism to seeing the worth inherent in yourself and others. Instead of imagining what you want is only available through the attainment of some distant ideal, become more aware of the worth of yourself and those around you. Focus on their positive aspects. If you see what’s good and ideal in everything and everyone, even the everyday, you can identify and receive the gifts of even “mundane” experiences.
  • Actively shift your attention to see the positive. Make it a constant practice to see the positive in everything—in yourself, in others, in life. When you catch yourself focusing on a lack of justifying your frustration, make a list of all the good things that are happening and support yourself in embracing and moving toward those things. Have the courage to shift your attention to what’s possible instead of dwelling on what’s impossible.

Using your integration and disintegration numbers for self-growth:

Move to 2 by allowing for a balance between self-referencing and other-referencing, between meeting your own needs and those of others, and between being your authentic self and adapting to other people. Moving to 2 can bring you out of your self-absorption, intense feelings and isolation, find creative ways to express who you really are, and open yourself up to connecting with others. It makes you more sensitive to others’ needs, able to see what’s possible in a relationship, and manage your feelings and needs in light of others’ feelings and needs. Be more adaptable and supportive of others in a way that enlarges their value and worth. Reach out more to nurture others, instead of using their fault as a reason to complain about them. Consciously embodying an attitude of service can bring about your optimism, generosity, and cheerfulness. This will help you work against your self-deprecating tendencies.

Move to 1 by using self-evaluation, self-discipline, and structure to support yourself instead of punishing or devaluing yourself. Learn to enact practical ideals and a belief in your ability to control what happens through your hard work. Take action to manifest your ideas. Choosing to be more direct and perfectionistic in your work can give you a sense of control and accomplishment. In working hard to support or improve others or themselves, you can feel more powerful and confident.


Main analysis from Claudio Naranjo: Character and Neurosis. Wings and Subtypes: Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, The Wisdom of the Enneagram. Look-alike section of Subtypes and growth sections: Beatrice Chestnut, The Complete Enneagram: 27 Paths to Greater Self-Knowledge. Sections have been quoted but some are heavily edited. Please purchase the original books for more information.