Enneagram Type 4w3: Childhood (A complete guide)

In this article, we will discuss Enneagram Type 4w3 i.e. type four-wing three ‘The Aristocrat’ 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 Four personality and its triad. We will move on to giving an overview of its subtype i.e. type 4w3. Finally, we will discuss the detailed role of childhood in their development.  

Enneagram Type 4w3: Childhood

Enneagram type 4w3 has the primary characteristics of type 4 and secondary characteristics of type 3 personality. These people are creative, productive, social, and expressive. They strive to influence society in some way.  Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Misunderstanding and identity confusion’. This means that they believe that no one likes them for who they are. So, they try to prevent that by trying to figure out their real identity.

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 4, you can have wing 3 or wing 5. 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 4: The Individualist

Key traits:  intuitive, expressive, self-absorbed, and depressive. They under-express their feelings i.e. They mostly suppress their emotions and express them through indirect means e.g. art. It has two subtypes:

• The four with wing 3 (Type 4w3)

• The four with wing 5 (Type 4w5)

Type 4w3: ‘The Aristocrat’

Type 4w3 has basic traits of type 4 and secondary traits of type 3 personality. Such people are emotionally volatile since type 4 and type 3 have completely opposite traits.  This makes type 4w3 extremely conflicted, conscious of self-image, and self-esteem. 

Healthy versions of this subtype are social, ambitious, and creative. They strive to leave their mark in the world. They know who they are and who they aspire to be. So, they keep themselves involved with people to achieve that. They are social, goal-oriented, creative, and adapt according to their audience. They are also sensitive and have a good sense of humor.

Average versions of this subtype are also concerned about their self-image but they can grow out of it if helped. These people conceal their emotional vulnerabilities and project a favorable image on others. They are motivated to make something of themself but are fearful of rejection, insult, and humiliation. Their underlying need for attention and admiration pushes them to behave dramatically, narcissistically, and sometimes in an exhibitionistic manner. They keep themselves surrounded with finer things and finer people as close association with ‘high class’ makes them feel sophisticated. Their need to please others makes them responsive to critique and suggestions but it can also cause resentment towards others. 

Unhealthy versions of this subtype are isolated from others. They are depressed people who can be hostile and malicious out of the envy of others. Jealousy is a fairly common experience among them which leads them to exploit others. Yet, later on, they feel ashamed and punish themselves quite harshly. In short, their pattern is that they contemplate ruining others but never act on it and punish themself due to guilt later. Hence, their aggression is directed inwards. Suicide and crimes of passion can happen in the case of such individuals.

Examples of Type 4w3: Michael Jackson, Prince, Judy Garland

Strengths of Type 4w3

  • Creative, Efficient
  • Genuine and authentic
  • In tune with themself
  • Understand the feelings of others

Weaknesses of Type 4w3

  • Overly-concerned about self-image
  • Engage in self-doubt and insecurity
  • Need approval of others
  • Exhibit emotional reactions in stress

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 4w3 are creative, ambitious, and express themselves through means of art. They prefer to work in jobs that allow them to be creative and form connections with others e.g. artists, music teachers, journalists, photographers, etc.

Source of Stress for type 4w3

  • Interpersonal conflict
  • Failure
  • Disappointing others
  • Being alone
  • Struggling to express themself

Basic fear 

Type 4w3 fear being insignificant and often express it by saying they are unique or distinct from others.

Basic desire 

Type 4w3 desire to be different and unique in terms of identity. They try to do that by being creative and expressing themself through art. At times, they adopt other people’s characteristics in their attempts of trying to be more authentic. 

Type 4w3 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.  

As children, fours are unable to connect or identify with either of their parents. Divorce, parent’s marital issues, illness, or personality conflicts in the family may have contributed to Four’s unhappy and lonely childhood. Whereas, it is also possible that their childhood was normal but they could not fit themself in the world based on what their parents told them or advised them about life. They felt that it did not apply to them. 

So, lack of role models in their life led them to turn inwards and use imagination to develop their identity. Since the beginning, these children feel alone, rejected, and uninteresting due to parent’s neglectful behavior. Because of this, they start to think there is something wrong with them. To cope, they turn to themselves to figure out who they are.

Their first priority is to gain self-knowledge so that they can stop feeling ‘different’. Yet, such introspection leads to high self-consciousness which further alienates them and increases their aggression towards their parents. The feeling of helplessness also arises as they cannot channel this aggression at the parents so they start to turn it inwards. 

Four’s disconnection from parents influences their sense of ego identity. They start comparing how they are different from others rather than seeing how many similarities they share with other people. The concept of being ‘ordinary’ scares them a lot. Whereas, ‘uniqueness’ gives them a sense of stability in their identity. 

Furthermore, their disconnection also creates in them a longing for a ‘good parent’ who can see their real self. They start projecting this need for such a role model on other people and fantasize about an ideal life. Yet, this enchantment fades as they get to know people and find that they are ordinary. They lose their interest and turn to someone else. So, the quest for finding ‘the one’ continues.

FAQs: Type 4w3-Childhood

What is the Type 4 personality?

Type 4 personality is social, creative, and expressive. They fear being unwanted by loved ones and experience identity confusion. So, they try really hard to figure out who they are to prevent that from happening. It is one of the types from the nine enneagrams.

What is Type 4w3?

Type 4w3 or Type 4 wing 3 is an enneagram personality subtype. It has core characteristics of type four personality and complementary characteristics of type three personality. 

Who are type 4 compatible with?

Type fours are compatible with type fives and nines.

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 4w3 in detail and the role of childhood in their development. We found that enneagram type 4w3 has the primary characteristics of type 4 and secondary characteristics of type 3 personality. These people are creative, productive, social, and expressive. They strive to influence society in some way.  Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘Misunderstanding and identity confusion’. This means that they believe that no one likes them for who they are. So, they try to prevent that by trying to figure out their real identity.

 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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