The Enneagram Explained
The Enneagram is a typology system consisting of nine interconnected personality types, which are further divided into three groups/centers. The groups ascribe an orientation to the types it consists of. There is the schizoid group which consists of types (5, 6, 7) and is oriented toward thinking. The two other groups are the Hysteroid (2, 3, 4) which are oriented toward feeling, and Epileptoid (8, 9, 1) that are oriented toward doing/action.
Moreover, each type has a passion and a fixation. The fixation is a product of the passion, and they co-exist in symbiosis in which the passion fuels the fixation, and the enactment of the fixation continues a perpetual cycle in which the fixation is continuously satisfied. This pattern is what keeps the individual confined to the cognitive and behavioral programming that the ego comprises.
Furthermore, the individual types have additional subtypes and instinctual variants. Categorically, these are the same for all types. There is the Sexual variant (SX), the Self-Preservation variant (SP), and the Social variant (SO). The subtypes describe in more detail how each type will behave in alignment with their fixations depending on which drive/instinct is most prominent.
This type is self-referencing and deeply concerned with morals and can therefore be seen as over-civilized by other types. The core emotion of anger is denied or internalized rather than expressed. Type Ones tend to be perfectionistic and react to the imperfections of themselves by condemnation/frustration and the imperfections of others with frustration/sense of superiority. “Inappropriate” emotions are converted to their positive counterpart through “Reaction-Formation”, e.g Anger/Resentment becomes Overenthusiasm/Positivity and Envy becomes Admiration.
By being kind, the Two expects to get what they want without the risk of facing rejection. The subtypes are quite different from one another but they all exhibit superficial selflessness to find self-worth and fulfill other personal needs. The Type Two may exhibit an inflated sense of self as they feel a sense of omnipotence in their ability to take care of everyone simultaneously. This leads to pride in the short-term, but their insecurity eventually catches up and initiates a stage of self-deflation. Meanwhile the Two loses themself in the process of becoming “worthy” of love and attempts to fill the void caused by their deprivation through other measures such as pleasure or the pursuit of romance.
Type Threes are image-oriented and ambitious. The Three wears a social mask and is capable of acting in accordance with any social situation, although this might cause loss of self due to constantly being and living through a social mask. The US and Hollywood specifically are Three-oriented cultures where success, image and marketability are valued. The Three is often a workaholic who hides the true effort of his achievements to boost his image. He is other-oriented in that he sees himself through the eyes of others and the greater the image, the greater the vanity.
This type embraces sadness and over-identifies with negative emotions which can cause irrationality in decisions. Oftentimes the artistic and melancholic belong here. Type Fours have a natural affinity for empathy and understanding others’ emotions. Fours often fantasize about and idealize love, but when actually in a relationship, tends to view things as unacceptably superficial and uninteresting. “Introjection” is the process of taking criticism from others and turning it into criticism against himself, something which the Four does to a great extent. Due to constant feelings of self-deficiency, the Four may grow envious of others.
Generally the most introverted, Type Fives find comfort in their inner-world and are worried about their energy running out when they are outside of their comfort-zone. This Type represses emotions to a large degree, and therefore may have difficulty in relationships with others. The upside is that Type Fives excel at objective analysis and are often highly knowledgeable in all fields of interest. They tend to minimize their own needs and instead find satisfaction in their intellectual endeavours. Due to a tendency of self-removal from emotionally demanding situations, the Five self-identifies with their thinking-self rather than their emotional-self, generally speaking leaving little to no space for expressions of emotion.
This is the most fear/anxiety-driven Type with a natural affinity for the identification of possible threats. Type Sixes are proficient at reading others as well as analyzing various situations. Since she is accustomed to the feeling of anxiety, she can remain calm in pressured situations but often overanalyzes alternatives and ideas, making it difficult for her to act. A result of fear, “Projection” is a defense mechanism which takes self-judgement and projects it onto others, making them the source of the judgement instead of herself. The Six also tends to create dangers that do not exist to confirm her inner sense of fear. The subtypes react differently to defend themselves, turning to either fight, flight or social connections as a means of protection.
A fear-based type, the Seven avoids their negative emotions by staying occupied with immersive experiences, pleasures and maintaining a very positive outlook. This causes difficulty with personal development and relationships since those often require negative emotions to some extent. The Seven avoids conflicts, deep emotions, and other events that are created by or may cause negative emotions. Type Sevens are highly creative and continuously looking for possibilities, both in terms of experiences and in the intellectual realm. “Rationalization and Idealization” is the tendency of the Seven to view actions in whichever way he chooses and rationalize them thereafter, as well as selectively choosing the most positive information about people or events(Idealizing them). This defense causes the Seven to see things through rose-colored glasses and to risk losing grip on the reality of situations.
This is the “angriest” and most antisocial character. Not necessarily malicious, but disregards all authority except his own. He is in-tune with his instincts and represses emotions (as well as other things he considers weaknesses) in the process of fulfilling his desires. This is called “Denial”. He may be very opposed to injustices affecting others depending a lot on subtype. The Eight is focused on power in all situations. He is constantly aware of who wields power and possible ways to attain it for himself. “Lust” is not only sexual fulfillment, but all forms of physical and sensory stimulation. This includes everything from materialistic excess to quality food. If he expresses hedonistic behavior, it is not purely for pleasure, but also for the sensation of winning the right to pleasure.
Type Nine is a diplomatic and generally conflict-aversive character. He may lose connection to his own wants and needs in the process of maintaining peace in his environment, partly because he adapts to others. He is a great mediator and able to understand all perspectives in a conflict. The Nine is the Type that can be genuinely caring with the least amount of ego-involvement. Although this character is fundamentally shaped by anger, he is likely unaware of it and rarely becomes angry, although he may have outbursts every once in a while or become passive-aggressive. The Nine enjoys immersion into enjoyable activities such as TV, reading or any other activity that he finds comfortable. “Laziness” refers to his tendency of falling asleep on himself and operating on auto-pilot instead of tuning into the situation and to his emotions in any given situation. This can cause a sense of self-loss or “dissociation” from self.