Enneagram of Personality is a unique tool used to gain self-awareness

October 6, 2021

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Photo Credit: Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons Licence

The Enneagram is a diagram with nine separate points. This tool can be used for self-development and understanding others.

While it is entertaining to take quizzes to figure out which movie character you are, there’s something much deeper in understanding yourself through the lens of self-growth activities.

There are many personality tests you can take online to understand yourself on an introspective level. This is where the Enneagram of Personality comes into play. “The Enneagram is a typology system that describes human personality as a number of interconnected personality types.” It is not mainly used in clinical-based psychology, but the system provides a person the tools for healthy self-growth.

The Enneagram is a nine-point diagram, and each point represents a distinct personality type. “At its simplest, the Enneagram represents nine different personality types. Beyond the basic nine personality types, the system grows much more complex and includes 27 different subtypes as well as three key “centers” focused on action, feeling, and thinking.”

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Enneagram of Personality and how it works

According to the Enneagram, everyone is born with one dominant type that is shaped by genetics and life experiences. The system also claims not everyone is just one pure type. Therefore, you may share traits of one or both of the types adjacent to yours. For example, if you’re a type one, you can wing with either a nine or a two.

There are theories like Tritype that “basically looks at an individual in terms of three types. An individual identifies the dominant type from each center (i.e., one type from the gut center: 891, one type from the heart center: 234, and one type from the head center: 567). A preferential order to those three types is also identified.” This theory was developed by Katherine Chernick Fauvre and David W. Fauvre.

Each of the nine types can be located in three distinct triads or centers of intelligence. Types eight, nine, and one are in the instinctual triad. The instinctual triad focuses on their relationship to anger. Types two, three, and four are located in the feeling triad. This center of intelligence centers on their relationship to shame. Lastly, the thinking triad focuses on their core emotion of anxiety.

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Instinctual Triad

The types in the instinctual triad have gifts and issues involving impulse and reactivity. They tend to focus on controlling their environment. “The essential qualities of this Centre involve the deep connection with the intelligence of the body, their instinct. Instinct is a type of knowledge that is not often recognized. Our instincts involve our sense of vitality and assertion.”

Type eight’s core fear is being harmed or controlled by others. Their core desire is to protect themselves and to be in control of their own destiny. They tend to be straightforward, assertive, self-confident, protective, and ambitious. They can also be egoistic and domineering.

Type nine’s core fear is being separated or without peace. Their core desire is to have inner stability or peace of mind. Nines tend to be easy-going, accepting, kind, and willing to sacrifice their own needs to keep the peace. They can also be stubborn or passive-aggressive, minimizing any painful feelings that may hurt them.

Type one’s core fear is being evil or flawed. Their core desire is to be good or have integrity. They’re often ethical, well-organized, hard-working, and have a strong sense of right and wrong. On the flip side, they can be too perfectionistic, critical, and their standards may be too high.

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Feeling Triad

The types in the feeling triad have gifts and issues involving their emotions. Healthy feeling types can use their emotions to guide them and inspire others. Unhealthy types allow their emotions to control them. “The essential qualities of this centre involve the deep connection with the intelligence of the heart. The heart is our source of feelings and emotional connection with others. It helps us recognize our love and value for ourselves and for others. Through feelings and value, we understand our identity, who we (and others) really are.”

Type two’s core fear is being without love or feeling unlovable. Their core desire is to have love and warmth. They tend to be helpful, warmhearted, empathetic, and willing to forget their own needs to help others. Twos think if they give others love, people will return the same. Unhealthy twos can be possessive and people-pleasing.

Type three’s core fear is being worthless. Their core desire is to be of value. They often have great social skills, they’re ambitious, competitive, have a strong desire to get to the top. Although, they can focus too much on being appreciated for their efforts and focus too hard on being noticed.

Type four’s core fear is being without a sense of identity or feeling emotionally cut off. Their core desire is having a sense of longing and identity. Fours are emotional and sensitive. They tend to pick up on their own feelings and the feelings of others. Therefore, they’re quite self-aware. They also strive for a way to express themselves and their creativity. On the flip side, they focus too much on finding purpose for themselves through themselves and others. They can be quite moody, withdrawn, or even prone to being melancholy.

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Thinking Triad

The types in the thinking triad have gifts and issues involving their intelligence. When used positively, they’re able to use their insight and ideas for the better. On the contrary, they can use their thinking as fear and anxiety. “The essential qualities of this centre involve the deep connection with the intelligence of the mind. The gifts of the mind include the ability to observe, perceive, and effortlessly understand. The mind also provides us with confidence and inner guidance.”

Type five’s core fear is being without knowledge. Their core desire is to feel competent. Type fives tend to be intellectual, cerebral, idea-oriented, and analytical. They like to solve complex problems as a way to cope with their fear of the unknown. On the other hand, they can be arrogant and detach from their feelings.

Type six’s core fear is being without security or support from others. Their core desire is to attain security. They tend to be loyal, engaging, hardworking, and have a strong need to watch out for any threats. They often use fight or flight as a way to cope in life. On the flip side, they can be quite nervous, and suspicious because they’re focused on what can always go wrong. They have a strong need for authority.

Type seven’s core fear is being in any emotional pain or feeling trapped. Their core desire is to have their needs met and to be happy. Sevens are often friendly, versatile, enthusiastic, and talkative. Sevens cope with anxiety by escaping. They’re always looking for something to stimulate them. This can be through activities or people. Negatively, they can be undisciplined, scattered, nervous, and lose touch with their feelings by joking around about their insecurities.

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About the Writer
Photo of Joseph Sanfilippo
Joseph Sanfilippo, Editor

Joseph Sanfilippo is a 16-year-old Junior at Colonia High School. Sanfilippo is an only child but enjoys being around family and friends. Most of his friendships...

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