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Enneagram Type 4 Subtypes: SP 4, SX 4, and SO 4

Type 4 Instinctual Subtypes

The instincts of the Enneagram types are self-preservation (sp), sexual (sx), and social (so). They are traditionally used to define three instinctual subtypes or variations of a basic type (e.g., SP 4, SX 4, and SO 4). One of these three subtypes is called the counter-type because it can look different from the basic type. Below are brief descriptions of the three type 4 instinctual subtypes.

SP 4 - Dauntless, Tenacity (counter-type): stoically endures pain and suffering rather than playing the victim; willingness to jump into new territory in pursuit of personal passion; can be self-punishing, demanding of self in order to forge oneself toward an ideal.

SX 4 - Competition, Hate: “more shameless than shameful” in their demand for what they want; competes with others to overcome feelings of internal deficiency; angry envy toward others who have what they don’t or are what they’re not.

SO 4 - Shame, Honor: attracts support by expressing their suffering to others, takes on the victim role; self-defeating focus on sense of inferiority when comparing self to others; feels guilty for wishing, desiring, shameful feelings about self in comparison to others.

While an individual may be identified with type 4 in general, that same individual may be more specifically identified with one of the three instinctual subtypes as well. 

A more recent approach to using the instincts is instinctual variant stacking which can be used independent of Enneagram type.

If you'd like to take a test to find your instinctual subtype or instinctual variant stacking then click here.

Enneagram Guide

This page is part of the Enneagram Guide available on this website. For more information about any particular Enneagram type or the many concepts and origins/history of the Enneagram types visit the Enneagram Guide main page.