Enneagram Type 3w4 Childhood (A complete guide)

In this article, we will discuss Enneagram Type 3w4 i.e. type three wing four ‘The Professional’ and the role of their childhood in their personality development. We will do that by initially giving an introduction to enneagrams, their structure, and wings. This will follow up by describing the dominant type Two personality and its triad. We will move on to giving an overview of its subtype i.e. type 3w4. Finally, we will discuss the detailed role of childhood in their development.  

Enneagram Type 3w4: Childhood

Enneagram type 3w4 has the primary characteristics of type 3 and secondary characteristics of type 4 personality. These people are ambitious, career-oriented, task-focused, and serious. They spend most of their time in their work Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Self-rejection’. This means that their sense of worth is based on how much they achieve success. In other words, they hide their insecurities through their accomplishments.

Introduction to Enneagrams

Enneagrams are a map or typology of human personalities. It has its roots in spirituality, philosophy, and psychology. Multiple people contributed to its development among which George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, Oscar Ichazo, and Claudio Naranjo are the most prominent. 

It is divided into nine personality types that are spread across 3 triads i.e. Feeling triad, Thinking Triad, or Instinctive Triad. It describes a person’s fundamental psychological orientation in the form of good or bad traits and sees which triad quality i.e. emotion, intellect or instincts is most characteristic of his or her personality. 

An enneagram gives a personality type that is fluid and explains its change across time i.e. personality integration (during health, self-actualization) or disintegration (during ill health, neurosis). In other words,  a personality can become more healthy or unhealthy as it moves in different directions from its basic type. Enneagram also links one personality type with other personality types.

The structure of Enneagram

Enneagram symbol is a circle that has 9 points (each point is a personality type) present on the circumference. Each type is related to another as represented by the connected lines. Points 3,6, 9 forms a triangle. They are primary personality types that are blocked in some way from feelings, thoughts, or instincts. Whereas 4,2,8,5,7,1 form an irregular hexagram and are secondary personality types since they are mixed and not blocked from feelings, thoughts, or instincts. Each type is the result of a dialectic. In every triad, one type over-expresses its characteristic quality, another under-expresses it, and the third is mostly out of touch with it. 

Wings in Enneagrams 

The Basic Personality Type is the most characteristic of a person. Whereas wings add elements to the overall personality i.e. it is the second side of it. 

Example: If you are a personality type 3, you can have wing2 or wing4. So, such a personality can be understood by knowing the traits of the basic or main type and the secondary types. Usually, each personality has two wings, and both influence a person. However, at times people have one dominant wing along with their basic personality type.

The Feeling Triad: Personality Types Two, Three, Four

• The positive and negative traits of these personalities are dominated by feelings.

• When these types are healthy, their feelings make them distinct and admirable for their interpersonal qualities.

• When they are unhealthy, they are out of balance with respect to their emotions and are difficult to interact with at an interpersonal level.

• All three personality types have common problems linked with identity and hostility.

Enneagram Type 3: The Motivator

Key traits: ambitious, adaptable, self-conscious, hostile. They are mostly out of touch with their feelings. They mostly suppress their emotions to make a good impression on others. It has two subtypes:

• The three with wing 2 (Type 3w2)

• The three with wing 4 (Type 3w4)

Type 3w4: ‘The Professional’

Type 3w4 has basic traits of type 3 and secondary traits of type 4 personality. Type 3  influences this personality to be interpersonal but type 4  influences it to withdraw. As a result, people with this sub-type focus on achievement and less on being interpersonal and social. They are quiet, reserved, and have an artistic sense.  They can be emotionally vulnerable but are restrained in their self-expression. 

Healthy versions of this subtype are direct/ straight forward,  self-aware,  and able to grow emotionally.  They can be creative and express it through style in their homes and outlook.  Their focus is on intelligence over physical appearance in their self-image. They are drawn towards aesthetic and finer things in life.   Generally,  they are hard-working, strive to polish their skills, self-assured,  introspective, and sensitive.  

They can be competitive and often base their self-esteem on the success of their work. Accordingly, they also suppress their feelings, break under pressure upon making mistakes, and engage in self-critique. Failure scares them deeply. At times, people find them moody, aloof, narcissistic, arrogant, and exhibiting show-off behavior but in a subtle way. 

Unhealthy versions of this subtype alternate between self-doubt and inflated ego.  They can shut themselves out emotionally and physically.  Although they do come out of it with a new purpose but often fall back to it later. Such people can be self-destructive and suicidal when frustrated with life.

Examples of Type 3w4: Sting, Meryl Streep, Tom Cruise

Strengths of Type 3w4

  • Detail-oriented
  • Practical and efficient workers
  • Strive to improve
  • Aware of personal areas needing growth
  • Can connect with other people

Weaknesses of Type 3w4

  • Overly-concerned about professional success
  • Engage in self-doubt
  • Struggle to accept disappointment
  • Being perceived as over-confident by others

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Workplace and job 

Type 3w4 are creative, reflective, hardworking, authentic, and charismatic. They prefer to work in jobs that allow them to succeed and grow e.g. architects, politicians, investment bankers, etc.

Source of Stress for type 3w4

  • Self-doubt
  • Concerned about bad image
  • Failure
  • Disappointing others
  • Feeling disconnected from others

Basic fear 

Type 3w4 fear failure, and not being loved. To avoid this, they work hard to succeed in their career to be validated for being worthy of love

Basic desire 

Type 3w4 desire to be successful and valued by others for their hard work and success. So, they act according to their audience and communicate effectively in order to be liked.  However, they are often misunderstood.

Type 3w4 Childhood/development

We become any personality depending on how we have learned to respond to the world growing up. Our early childhood particularly our relationship with our parents governs how we unconsciously adapt to our family and the world. Genetics and temperament have their role as well. A person remains one personality type throughout life but may change and grow to develop healthy or unhealthy traits.  

During childhood, threes have a close connection with the parent having a nurturing role ( mostly it is the mother but not always).  They can adapt and respond to the emotional needs of others and their expectations. This leads them to fulfill unsaid expectations, anything that would please others,  gain their approval, and get them warm looks and smiles.  This is natural and can lead to a well-balanced personality with good self-esteem in such children.  

However, if the nurturing figure has unresolved narcissistic needs,  it makes the situation of such a child difficult. They try hard to please this person to prevent being abandoned. Incase the nurturer is needy and dependent, they can have very high unrealistic expectations,  that the child cannot fulfill no matter how hard he or she is trying. As a result,  search children turn out to be desperate individuals with an underlying hostility for having to abandon their own needs to please others. 

This pattern continues in adulthood. They seek out people to get validation and admiration especially from those who are successful.  Doing this leaves them fearful of rejection and being seen as a loser. Without validation,  they feel empty and hostile for not being valued.

Average versions of this subtype are valued for their accomplishments and performance as children.  As adults,  they try to perform effectively.  However, such individuals can be fearful of intimacy and leave relationships when they get personal.  This is because they have a very fragile self-image and believe they are not worthy of love unless they are not successful.  Thus,  they are highly vigilant for signs of rejection and cannot believe anyone would ever love them for who they are.  

It is hard for them to expose their real self to others because of prior experience of having their authentic self being rejected in the past.  This makes them fearful of it happening again. So, they continue to hide their self.  Such people can have anxiety,  depression,.and emptiness that continues even f they achieve great success in their lives. 

FAQs: Type 3w4-Childhood

What is the Type 3 personality?

Type 3 personality is ambitious, social, and altruistic. They fear being unwanted by loved ones. So, they try really hard to be successful and accomplished individuals to prevent that from happening. It is one of the types from the nine enneagrams.

What is Type 3w4?

Type 3w4 or Type 3 wing 4 is an enneagram personality subtype. It has core characteristics of type three personality and complementary characteristics of type four personality. 

Is Enneagram valid?

Yes. Studies conducted on The Enneagram Institute’s Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) is 72 percent accurate, reliable and valid,

Can your Enneagram number change?

No. Enneagram type or number remains the same as we have the same personality patterns ingrained in us. However, a person’s traits may change over time.


In this article, we discussed enneagram type 3w4 in detail and the role of childhood in their development. We found that enneagram type 3w4 has the primary characteristics of type 3 and secondary characteristics of type 4 personality. These people are ambitious, career-oriented, task-focused, and serious. They spend most of their time in their work Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Self-rejection’. This means that their sense of worth is based on how much they achieve success. In other words, they hide their insecurities through their accomplishments.

 I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊




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The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

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