Enneagram Type 4w5 Childhood (A complete guide)

In this article, we will discuss Enneagram Type 4w5 i.e. type four-wing three ‘The Bohemian’ 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 4w5. Finally, we will discuss the detailed role of childhood in their development.  

Enneagram Type 4w5: Childhood

Enneagram type 4w5 has the primary characteristics of type 4 and secondary characteristics of type 5 personality. These people are creative, introspective, and have good perception. They strive to understand themselves and the world in a better 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 4w5: ‘The Bohemian’

Type 4w5 has basic traits of type 4 and secondary traits of type 5 personality. Both types influence such individuals to withdraw and protect their feelings. These people are observant, intellectual, original, and insightful. They have a degree of social insecurity and can be inconsistent in their work at times. 

Healthy versions of this subtype are creative with a high degree of emotional awareness and intellectual comprehension. They are attracted to arts and social sciences since they are interested in understanding human behavior. Such types do not care deeply about the opinions of others and do what they feel like doing. Their self-expression is original, authentic & unique and they create things more for themselves than for their audience.

Average versions of this subtype are self-absorbed in philosophy and religion. Their emotions are dominant than their intellect but both are equally profound. Such types shy away from social connections and spend time alone. Their artistic expression is original and unique. At times, they have insights that are out of this world. Consequently, people find them independent, eccentric, and unconventional. 

Most of their time is spent thinking and keep their thoughts private. Even their creative ideas are unique, symbolic, and unusual. So, they keep their communication limited to only those who can understand them, as expressing their vision no matter what it is, is important for them. Generally, they like a simple lifestyle but at times they can be eccentric too.

Unhealthy versions of this subtype spend their time daydreaming, fantasizing, and in self-doubt. Their inner world is scary and has a self-denying feel to it. Especially as their existential problems are incapacitating. Although they are aware of their problems but often they get lost in the negative emotions. Fatigue, Depression, hopelessness, and nihilistic tendencies are common in them. What makes matters difficult is that they deny help from others and continue to be alienated. Their distorted thinking especially phobias, hallucinations, etc. are based on self-hatred and they can easily start feeling that life is meaningless. Due to this, they are at high risk of having depression and schizophrenia.   

Examples of Type 4w5: Virginia Woolf, Johnny Depp, Bob Dylan

Strengths of Type 4w5

  • Curious, inquisitive and have a high drive for knowledge
  • Want to stay authentic
  • Can connect with their ‘Self’ at a deeper level
  • Creative
  • Good problem solvers

Weaknesses of Type 4w5

  • Often withdraw from others
  • Can lose grip on real-world problems
  • Engage in overthinking
  • Struggle to follow rules and orders

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 4w5 are deep thinkers who strive for insightful self-expression. They like spending time with books than people which explains their inquisitive and insightful nature. They prefer to work in jobs that allow them to think and express their creativity e.g. artists, writers, actors, librarians, etc.

Source of Stress for type 4w5

  • Spending time with others
  • Casual conversations
  • Lack of understanding
  • Rejection and isolation

Basic fear 

Type 4w5 fear not being able to have an impact or influence. Although they are private but they need admiration and want to be recognized by others.

Basic desire 

Type 4w5 desire to be unique in terms of identity. They try to do that by being creative and figuring out who they are At times, they withdraw from others and adapt to their loved one’s qualities/traits. 

Type 4w5 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 4w5-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 4w5?

Type 4w5 or Type 4 wing 5 is an enneagram personality subtype. It has core characteristics of type four personality and complementary characteristics of type five 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 4w5 in detail and the role of childhood in their development. We found that enneagram type 4w5 has the primary characteristics of type 4 and secondary characteristics of type 5 personality. These people are creative, introspective, and have good perception. They strive to understand themselves and the world in a better 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 😊




Personality Types – Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Don Richard Riso with Russ Hudson

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

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!