Self Preservation 4 (A Comprehensive Guide)

This article will explain how a self preservation 4 behaves and also introduce this enneagram along with its fears and desires so the readers have a complete understanding of the topic with enough background context.

Self Preservation 4s – What Are They Like?

The self preservation 4 has the following habits or traits:

  • Aggressive
  • They Have It More Difficult
  • Consider Themselves Invincible
  • Dwell In Deep Depression
  • Heroic
  • Suicidal

Just like their wings, the type 4 enneagram has the above behaviours when they are in self preservation mode!

Who Is A Type 4 Enneagram?

They are also known as the individualist because of their desire to be self-sufficient and do things on their own terms. Being dramatic innately, expressive and sensitive describes them very well. Such individuals are very honest, creative and remain reserved and personal however they do long to connect with others. What prevents this? Their fear of being vulnerable or abandoned hence they tend to keep a distance. 

Another highlighting feature of such personalities is that they dislike the ordinary lifestyles people have most probably because they feel they cannot achieve something like this in their life.

The type 4 enneagram does have a dark side to itself. These enneagrams can become very toxic to themselves if left alone for too long. They fear that they will never develop a self identity with which they can understand themselves. However, they always feel as if something is missing from their life which they can’t seem to pinpoint. The type 4 enneagram is brutally honest with himself or herself; they accept feelings, thoughts, pain and fear which they experience. Hence they are often more equipped to go through experiences others may break during.

When their fears become too much, they can adopt the path of self destruction and engage in habits of excessive alcohol consumption, drugs, reckless sexual behavior and in the worst cases suicide. 

The type 4 also experiences very negative thoughts. They become extremely pessimistic and torment themselves with their thoughts to the extent that they view themself with hatred and dissent. They will try to drive away anyone who tries to help them. 

Basic Fear.

Type 4 enneagrams are confused about who they really are or what beliefs and values define them. They fear not having an identity or self worth. They feel as though they are not benefitting society and have no place in it. Such individuals become a victim of self pity and self indulgence and want to stay inside their thoughts.

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.

Basic Desire.

Their basic desire stems from their fear; they want to discover themself and hence possess an identity. They want to be known for who they are and be visible in the eyes of others so maybe they can connect with them and experience the life of the ordinary and live the dream they imagine.

Self Preservation 4s – What Are They Like?

The self preservation 4 has the following habits or traits:


Although the type 4 is quite emotional they can become aggressive when they are in self preservation mode; they become aggressive because they fall into a mindset where they must beat the odds and defeat whatever trouble falls upon them – in short when they are in self preservation mode they feel as though they are in a story mode game where they are playing hero and must emerge victorious.

It is an interesting phenomena to note because they may be on the verge of depression and suicidal but they have sworn to play till the very end.

They Have It More Difficult

One way the type 4 enneagram gets through the difficult times is by painting themselves a unique character and hero in their own eyes. Whatever troubles they go through, they give themselves a unique sort of assurance as well as engage in self pity by thinking they have things way more worse than others. This makes them feel special in a dark but interesting and unusually uplifting way that pushes them to emerge victorious from their circumstances.

Consider Themselves Invincible

Oddly surprising but the type 4 enneagram considers themselves quite invincible in the face of evil; this is not just in a physical sense but also in a metaphorical sense. Hence, they do know that somewhere along the lines they may fall at the enemy’s line but will live on in the hearts and minds of the people because of how they struggled even in the darkest of times.

Hence, they will become very risky and take on challenges heroically because they feel invincible and they are also assured – by themselves at least – that if they do break down in the face of all the problems they will at least earn a good name.

Dwell In Deep Depression

As emotional as they are, the type 4 enneagram does have the tendency to fall into a deep and dark pit of depression. However, they use this depression to help them cope with their problems and become more and more familiar with the possibility of defeat as well as that of death. They think it may be easier to fall or break part if one is mentally prepared for it.


The type 4 enneagram plays a heroic role during their bad phase or when they are under a pile of problems – this is how they roll.


They feel a rush of emotions and when they are in trouble, everything melts into a huge mixing pot that makes them even more suicidal. Their desire to succeed but that impending feeling of doom while that aim to fall bravely makes them experience too many emotions and this can make them suicidal.

How Can An Enneagram Type 4 Work On Self Improvement?

Think Objectively.

It is important not to experience everything in terms of what one feels. Enneagram type 4s must realize that their feelings may deceive them at times so they must look at the real picture. If they feel extremely down they need to look at the achievements they have accomplished over time. If they feel too distant from others they must remind themselves that they possess similarities; other people also experience negative feelings but overcome them so they should too! If someone tries to help them then they should focus on their effort rather than their own feelings.

It is important for the type 4 enneagram to rationalize things only then can they escape their negative thoughts and feelings. They need to be their own therapists who challenge their own thoughts by asking confrontational questions, evaluating their feelings in terms of what really is going around them and try to see the positive in things.

Stay In The Present.

Type 4 enneagrams have the habit of dwelling in the past. Why? Once they are in their dark phase, the past is what helps them reinforce the negative feelings that lead to self destruction. They focus on how people hurt them, what mistakes they made and how they let their own self down. They also tend to perceive present events in light of what has gone on before thus not giving people chances to help them because they already know what is going to happen. It is not their past that dictates their present but their persistence that what happened will happen again. This negative thought often leads them to behave in ways that reinforce past happenings.

These individuals need to focus on the now so that they can let go of their past and the haunting memories and try to lead a new and better life. They not only need to give others a chance but their own self too!

Be Productive – It Helps Keep Focus.

The type 4 enneagram is surrounded by disturbing thoughts, feelings and negative views about oneself. This leads to low self esteem and a bad self image. How can they break out of this cycle and feel good about themselves? They must be productive and be useful to others. 

People with this personality type can lead a healthier lifestyle and set simple goals for themselves which may include healthier eating, more exercise, learning something new everyday and doing one thing daily that they like. This will not only prove to them that they can be productive but it will help them feel good about themselves.

Another way to feel productive and avoid the cycle of negative thoughts is to help others. It will bring an innate feeling of satisfaction and it will also help the individualist realize that not only do they suffer; there are people who are homeless, live alone, don’t have a job or sleep hungry every night!

Avoid Lengthy Conversations In Your Imagination.

Type 4 enneagrams have the habit of imagining themselves in a state of self pity and talking to others that may arouse feelings of disappointment, self hate and sadness. They need to think less about such things and focus on the present rather than the past. They must learn how to think about positive things. They can learn self help exercises such as writing 5 things they are thankful for every day to encourage good thoughts.


This article took a look at the self preservation 4 enneagram and discussed the traits it exhibits. The article also highlighted this enneagram’s fears and desires and introduced it in detail to the readers.


Enneagram Central – Subtype Four Self Preservation

Type Four — The Enneagram Institute

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