Four Personality Developmental Pathway

Hardwiring : seeking connection – tries to avoid distress and get connection by being unique (not ordinary) and seeking meaning

Life Strategy : Differentiating/seeking depth Strategy

Unconscious Beliefs :

  • Its important for me to be ‘different’ than others to draw love – I must be unique, special (not like everyone else) to be loved and not rejected. FEAR: not being loved/loveable (shame) and not being truly understood

Habit of attention :

The search for meaning, connection and love, passionate self-expression, noticing what seems to be missing or lacking in life, in self, and sometimes in others.

Intensified feelings and moods. melancholy -feelings of sadness and longing/envy – noticing the disparity between what is, and what is ideal/more meaningful, sees flaws in themselves, and sees how other people and situations could be flawed or more ideal, creative expression, depth – in striving to be different can come across as introverted/aloof/self absorbed – when they are in fact not meaning to distance themselves, are actually wanting connection with depth. Can be tenacious, long suffering.

Self identity

Not ordinary, unique, different, seek meaning and depth, am deep, in touch with big emotions, highs and lows, can sit in pain, creative, passionate.

One example of a person with the 4 PDP :

“I like to be different to others, unique in some ways. I tend to experience intense feelings, highs and lows. The search for emotional connection has been with me all my life, and the absence of emotional connection has led to melancholy. My behavior may appear somewhat intense or dramatic to others, and I have had feedback Im overly sensitive, dramatic and overamplify my feelings. Its that I am in touch with my emotions. What is really going on inside is my longing for emotional connection and a deeply felt experience of relationship. I feel misunderstood at times, and being understood is primary for me. I could come across as aloof (but im just wanting people to move towards me). I have a tendency to notice what is missing in my life and could benefit from attending to what I do have to be grateful for. I can wonder why other people appear to have more than I do – for eg happier lives in some ways. I fear abandonment and never being truly deeply known and understood. I have a refined sense of aesthetics, notice beauty in the world, and search for things that are deep and meaningful. I am able to sit in other people’s suffering…feel their pain. I can be tenacious, creative and productive and tend to be more introverted than extroverted, and introspective.

PDP Needs Triggers Automatic Strategies to meet Needs

PDP 4to be understood,authenticity,Love, Acceptance, connection, appreciation of my depth, have my heart knownIf I don’t feel connected, being seen as ordinary, not appreciated, mundane situations, feeling rejected and feeling jealous, unmanageable feelings, being disappointed, especially after hoping, noticing the disparity between what is, and what would be ideal, managing big emotionsFocus on finding depth, connected love and meaningfulexperiences, stories of loss or suffering, stories ofdisappointments, being intensebeing creative, spiritual, focus on connecting by sharingfeelings and wanting their feelings known and understoodcan unconsciously intensify relationships and may test partner’sor them by getting intense/dramatic/angrylove by pushing partner away – then when partner is less available –feel the attraction again and pull them back in again. Bigpassionate feelings if feel misunderstood –Unconsciously try to draw people in with own stories andFeelings.Empathic – Can sit in others suffering – a gift to others.

When Strategies don’t work

Longing/disappointment – increasing disappointment in others, holding onto and intensifying feelings through the imagination – become more aloof, more dramatic, angry outbursts, sinking into melancholy, not being grateful- their emotionality or disappointment can actually push others away, where the other withdraws to protect themselves leaving the 4 person feeling rejected, or being rejected and disconnected – the very thing they are afraid of.

Blindspots of the Four PDP Self-absorption / what’s NOT missing / the present and ‘ordinary’

People with the Four PDP may come across as self-absorbed when this is not what they mean to portray. They are wanting others to be drawn to them, want others to connect with them, but rather then reach out to others (like the 2 PDP) they become different or unique to unconsciously attract others to them. However, the 4 differentiating can come across to others like the 4 person is holding back/not wanting to connect.

Their attention is constantly pulled to what is lacking – in themselves, others, the environment. This means they can miss the inherent value and goodness in situations and people, overly focussing on their own perceived flaws……So their own value and beauty can be a blindspot.

Because their attention goes to life needing to be ‘deep’ and what others have that they dont – they can often feel they have been cheated by life in ways that others have not. This can get them stuck, spiralling down in their own feelings and stories – focussing on themselves and their life issues, potentially more than on anothers issues. Yet they have a beautiful heart which when turned to helping others, and shifting the overfocus off themselves, can be really helpful to them (and to others).

Shadow Aspects

  • Main Blind Spots

o What’s positive in the “here-and-now” situation

o What’s good and positive in you (this is “positive shadow”) – so Happiness or joy that does not get owned if focused on a deficient sense of self

  • The Passion of Longing—the “passion” is an unconscious driver at the core of the personality

o In it’s expression as the Type Four passion, longing is the desire to have for yourself positive aspects that someone else or another situation has

o Equanimity is the Virtue that opposes longing—it’s a state of emotional balance that allows you to rise above the ups and downs of emotional experience and know that all people and situations have equal value. Yours and the other persons needs are equally important.

  • Core wounds/hurts and key triggers

o Early loss of connection

o Not feeling seen, heard, or understood

o Having your intuitive sense of what’s true (emotionally and relationally) denied

o Being shamed and/or scapegoated within the family or culture (usually for telling the truth) o Feeling different or alien from others

  • Pain related to early wounds that gets denied, but needs to be felt and worked through

o Sadness about not being loved enough—or not being loved for who they are

o Pain, sadness, and/or shame related to loss or abandonment

o Anger at not feeling heard and understood

  • Subtype-specific blind spots

o Self-Preservation 4: ▪ Focuses on: working hard, internalizing feelings and suffering, being overly stoic and strong, masochistic tendency to tough things out and cry alone ▪ Specific blind spots: how masochistic they are; how they need to be light and easy with themselves and communicate their pain to others

o Social 4: ▪ Focuses on: feeling deep emotions; emotional sensitivity; comparing to others, feeling inferior; victim mentality ▪ Specific blind spots: their own goodness, gifts, talents; how things are good for them/all the positives in their life; the value of letting go of emotions – understanding they are based on the 4 beliefs and thinking, and allowing more positive emotions.

o Sexual 4: ▪ Focuses on: externalizing suffering through expressing anger or voicing needs when misunderstood or needs not met; comparing and feeling superior; competing with others; being seen as special/standing out or above ▪ Specific blind spots: the emotions underneath anger—sadness, shame, lack, sense of deficiency, inferiority; how everyone is essentially equal 

(Bea Chestnut, 2020)


The antidote : practice managing big emotions and asking calmly and clearly for what you need ( for eg connection, reassurance), and checking in with what your partner needs.

To every day intentionally shift your attention to notice what’s NOT missing in themselves, this moment, in another. Recognise and own the internal beauty that they don’t see in themselves. Work on equanimity as a virtue.

Importantly to practice gratitude – being grateful for what is here/ok/good (shifting attention off what is not here/missing).

Start to notice other peoples ways of trying to support them/care for them and express regular appreciation for that. Trusting in others love for them.

Using their gift of their huge heart to help others

 How their partner in life can help them grow

Validate their feelings, really listen for understanding. Help them recognise when they are getting stuck in melancholy. Point out their internal beauty and gifts. Reassure them of your love and commitment.


Reflect on the above information – when do these beliefs help you in life, when do they help your partner? When do they not help you, or not help your partner? Could they potentially cause conflict? How true are they really?

Reflect on where your attention goes? ….and consider then where your attention might not go?

What situations most trigger you? How are your needs and triggers similar or different to your partners?

Can you think of times you’ve used these ‘strategies’ above and did they work? When did they not work?

Attempt to fill in your PDP Map, putting in just the information that it is true for you

Then compare the differences between your PDP Map and your partners – knowing each is an equally valid way to be in the world……and makes complete sense.