The Enneagram of Personality, or simply the Enneagram, is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. Although the origins and history of many of the ideas and theories associated with the Enneagram of Personality are a matter of dispute, contemporary Enneagram claims are principally derived from the teachings of Oscar Ichazo and Claudio Naranjo. Naranjo’s theories were partly influenced by some earlier teachings of George Gurdjieff. As a typology the Enneagram defines nine personality types (sometimes called enneatypes), which are represented by the points of a geometric figure called an enneagram, which indicate connections between the types. There are different schools of thought among Enneagram teachers, therefore their ideas are not always in agreement.
The Enneagram of Personality has been widely promoted in both business management and spirituality contexts through seminars, conferences, books, magazines, and DVDs. In business contexts it is generally used as a typology to gain insights into workplace interpersonal-dynamics; in spirituality it is more commonly presented as a path to higher states of being, essence, and enlightenment. Both contexts say it can aid in self-awareness, self-understanding and self-development.
The enneagram figure is usually composed of three parts; a circle, an inner triangle (connecting 3-6-9) and an irregular hexagonal periodic figure (connecting 1-4-2-8-5-7). According to esoteric spiritual traditions, the circle symbolizes unity, the inner triangle symbolizes the law of three and the hexagon represents the law of seven (because 1-4-2-8-5-7-1 is the repeating decimal created by dividing one by seven in base 10 arithmetic). These three elements constitute the usual enneagram figure but sometimes their characteristic roles (which refers to distinctive archetypal characteristics) are used instead.
- 2. Helper/Giver 3. Achiever/Performer 4. Individualist/Romantic
- 5. Investigator/Observer 6. Loyalist/Loyal Skeptic 7. Enthusiast/Epicure
- 8. Challenger/Protector 9. Peacemaker/Mediator 1. Reformer/Perfectionist
Various labels for each type are commonly used by different authors and teachers. The stress and security points (sometimes referred to as the disintegration and integration points) are the types, connected by the lines of the enneagram figure, that influence a person in more adverse or relaxed circumstances. According to this theory, someone classed as a Nine type, for example, may begin to think, feel and act more like a Six type when stressed, or more like a Three type when relaxed.
Most, but not all, Enneagram of Personality theorists teach a person’s basic type is modified, at least to some extent, by the personality dynamics of the two adjacent types as indicated on the enneagram figure. These two types are often called wings. A person of the Three personality type, for example, is understood to have points Two and Four as their wing types. The circle of the enneagram figure may indicate that the types or points exist on a spectrum rather than as distinct types or points unrelated to those adjacent to them. A person may be understood, therefore, to have a core type and one or two wing types which influence but do not change the core type.
For some Enneagram theorists the lines connecting the points add further meaning to the information provided by the descriptions of the types. Sometimes called the security and stress points, or points of integration and disintegration, some theorists believe these connected points also contribute to a person’s overall personality. From this viewpoint, therefore, at least four other points affect a person’s overall personality; the two points connected by the lines to the core type and the two wing points. The earlier teachings about the connecting lines are now rejected or modified by many Enneagram teachers, including Claudio Naranjo who developed them.
Each of the personality types is usually understood as having three instinctual subtypes. These subtypes are believed to be formed according to which one of three instinctual energies of a person is dominantly developed and expressed. The instinctual energies are usually called self-preservation, sexual (also called intimacy or one-to-one) and social. On the instinctual level, people may internally stress and externally express the need to protect themselves (self-preservation), to connect with important others or partners (sexual), or to get along or succeed in groups (social). From this perspective, there are twenty-seven distinct personality patterns, because people of each of the nine types also express themselves as one of the three subtypes. An alternative approach to the subtypes looks at them as three domains or clusters of instincts that result in increased probability of survival (the preserving domain), increased skill in navigating the social environment (the navigating domain) and increased likelihood of reproductive success (the transmitting domain). From this understanding the subtypes reflect individual differences in the presence of these three separate clusters of instincts. It is believed people function in all three forms of instinctual energies but one may dominate. According to some theorists, another instinct may also be well-developed and the third often less developed.
9 WING 1 SP/SX
Enneagram Type Nine
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type:
Receptive, Reassuring Agreeable, and Complacent
Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their Best: indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts. Key Motivations: Want to create harmony in their environment, to avoid conflicts and tension, to preserve things as they are, to resist whatever would upset or disturb them. Basic Fear: Of Loss and Separation. Basic Desire: To have inner stability Peace of Mind. Enneagram Nine with an Eight-Wing: The Referee. Enneagram Nine with a One-Wing: The Dreamer
TYPE NINE OVERVIEW
We have called personality type Nine The Peacemaker because no type is more devoted to the quest for internal and external peace for themselves and others. They are typically “spiritual seekers” who have a great yearning for connection with the cosmos, as well as with other people. They work to maintain their peace of mind just as they work to establish peace and harmony in their world. The issues encountered in the Nine are fundamental to all psychological and spiritual work—being awake versus falling asleep to our true nature; presence versus entrancement, openness versus blockage, tension versus relaxation, peace versus pain, union versus separation.
Ironically, for a type so oriented to the spiritual world, Nine is the center of the Instinctive Center, and is the type that is potentially most grounded in the physical world and in their own bodies. The contradiction is resolved when we realize that Nines are either in touch with their instinctive qualities and have tremendous elemental power and personal magnetism, or they are cut off from their instinctual strengths and can be disengaged and remote, even lightweight.
To compensate for being out of touch with their instinctual energies, Nines also retreat into their minds and their emotional fantasies. (This is why Nines can sometimes misidentify themselves as Fives and Sevens, “head types,” or as Twos and Fours, “feeling types.”) Furthermore, when their instinctive energies are out of balance, Nines use these very energies against themselves, damming up their own power so that everything in their psyches becomes static and inert. When their energy is not used, it stagnates like a spring-fed lake that becomes so full that its own weight dams up the springs that feed it. When Nines are in balance with their Instinctive Center and its energy, however, they are like a great river, carrying everything along with it effortlessly.
We have sometimes called the Nine the crown of the Enneagram because it is at the top of the symbol and because it seems to include the whole of it. Nines can have the strength of Eights, the sense of fun and adventure of Sevens, the dutifulness of Sixes, the intellectualism of Fives, the creativity of Fours, the attractiveness of Threes, the generosity of Twos, and the idealism of Ones. However, what they generally do not have is a sense of really inhabiting themselves—a strong sense of their own identity.
Ironically, therefore, the only type the Nine is not like is the Nine itself. Being a separate self, an individual who must assert herself against others, is terrifying to Nines. They would rather melt into someone else or quietly follow their idyllic daydreams.
Nines demonstrate the universal temptation to ignore the disturbing aspects of life and to seek some degree of peace and comfort by “numbing out.” They respond to pain and suffering by attempting to live in a state of premature peacefulness, whether it is in a state of false spiritual attainment, or in more gross denial. More than any other type, Nines demonstrate the tendency to run away from the paradoxes and tensions of life by attempting to transcend them or by seeking to find simple and painless solutions to their problems.
To emphasize the pleasant in life is not a bad thing, of course—it is simply a limited and limiting approach to life. If Nines see the silver lining in every cloud as a way of protecting themselves from the cold and rain, other types have their distorting viewpoints, too. For example, Fours focus on their own woundedness and victimization, Ones on what is wrong with how things are, and so forth. By contrast, Nines tend to focus on the “bright side of life” so that their peace of mind will not be shaken. But rather than deny the dark side of life, what Nines must understand is that all of the perspectives presented by the other types are true, too. Nines must resist the urge to escape into “premature Buddhahood” or the “white light” of the Divine and away from the mundane world. They must remember that “the only way out is through.”
(from The Wisdom of the Enneagram, p. 316-317)
TYPE NINE – LEVELS OF DEVELOPMENT
Level 1 (At Their Best): Become self-possessed, feeling autonomous and fulfilled: have great equanimity and contentment because they are present to themselves. Paradoxically, at one with self, and thus able to form more profound relationships. Intensely alive, fully connected to self and others. Level 2: Deeply receptive, accepting, unselfconscious, emotionally stable and serene. Trusting of self and others, at ease with self and life, innocent and simple. Patient, unpretentious, good-natured, genuinely nice people. Level 3: Optimistic, reassuring, supportive: have a healing and calming influence—harmonizing groups, bringing people together: a good mediator, synthesizer, and communicator.
Level 4: Fear conflicts, so become self-effacing and accommodating, idealizing others and going along with their wishes, saying yes to things they do not really want to do. Fall into conventional roles and expectations. Use philosophies and stock sayings to deflect others. Level 5: Active, but disengaged, unreflective, and inattentive. Do not want to be affected, so become unresponsive and complacent, walking away from problems, and sweeping them under the rug. Thinking becomes hazy and ruminative, mostly comforting fantasies, as they begin to tune out reality, becoming oblivious. Emotionally indolent, unwillingness to exert self or to focus on problems: indifference. Level 6: Begin to minimize problems, to appease others and to have peace at any price. Stubborn, fatalistic, and resigned, as if nothing could be done to change anything. Into wishful thinking, and magical solutions. Others frustrated and angry by their procrastination and unresponsiveness.
Level 7: Can be highly repressed, undeveloped, and ineffectual. Feel incapable of facing problems: become obstinate, dissociating self from all conflicts. Neglectful and dangerous to others. Level 8: Wanting to block out of awareness anything that could affect them, they dissociate so much that they eventually cannot function: numb, depersonalized. Level 9: They finally become severely disoriented and catatonic, abandoning themselves, turning into shattered shells. Multiple personalities possible. Generally corresponds to the Schizoid and Dependent personality disorders.
Personal Growth Recommendations for Enneagram Type Nines
• It is worth examining your type’s tendency to go along with others, doing what they want to keep the peace and be nice. Will constantly acquiescing to the wishes of others provide the kind of relationships that will really satisfy you? Remember, it is impossible to love others if you are not truly present to them. This means that you have to be yourself, that you (paradoxically) have to be independent so that you can really be there for others when they need you.
• Exert yourself. Force yourself to pay attention to what is going on. Do not drift off or tune out people, or daydream. Work on focusing your attention to become an active participant in the world around you. Try to become more mentally and emotionally engaged.
• Recognize that you also have aggressions, anxieties, and other feelings that you must deal with. Negative feelings and impulses are a part of you and they affect you emotionally and physically whether or not you acknowledge them. Furthermore, your negative emotions are often expressed inadvertently and get in the way of the peace and harmony you want in your relationships. It is best to get things out in the open first, at least by allowing yourself to become aware of your feelings.
• Although this will be very painful for you, if your marriage has ended in divorce or if you are having problems with your children, you must honestly examine how you have contributed to these problems. Examining troubled relationships will be extremely difficult because the people involved have been close to your heart. The feelings you have for others endow you with much of your identity and self-esteem. But if you really love others, you can do no less than examine the role you have played in whatever conflicts that have arisen. In the last analysis, the choice is simple: you must sacrifice your peace of mind (in the short run) for the satisfaction of genuine relationships (in the long run.)
• Exercise frequently to become more aware of your body and emotions. (Some Nines run around doing errands and think that they are getting enough exercise.) Regular exercise is a healthy form of self-discipline and will increase your awareness of your feelings and other sensations. Developing body-awareness will help teach you to concentrate and focus your attention in other areas of your life as well. Exercise is also a good way to get in touch with and express some aggressions.
Enneagram 9 Wing 1 Subtype Self Preservation (SP) and Sexual (SX)
This typewingstack most clearly embodies Jung’s Introverted Sensation style. They are the eyes and fingers of the universe examining itself. They are most aware of how everyone is connected indirectly through the swamps of psychic muck. They have a sense of adventure and view the world as a playground where they can move beyond the biases of their own ego by learning about the world around them. They learn about themselves by learning about others and they want to grasp every interesting person they encounter at the level of the unconscious….engagement isn’t exactly necessary but rather they have an extrasensory decoder for the subconscious…
They aren’t burdened by social obligations, so their inner aesthetic is a daily source of nourishment. Their internal repose slows things down so they can get a better look and feel for the world around them….they see the textures that others miss and can articulate the texture in a way that taps into the electrical charge of reality. Their convictions and ideals are more personal than sp/so, but also unshakeable. They cobble together their own basic truths without the drag of social responsibility and embrace philosophies as flexible as necessary to accommodate their personal epiphanies…they believe that words and language are imperfect and childish tools to communicate these truths and epiphanies. They feel truth can only be hinted at through aesthetics such as art or film or music. They are drawn to and fascinated by the language of the unspoken and believe this is where all the intentions of life spring…. They view words as primitive and utilitarian, and attune themselves to the subconscious realm (under the spoken word) where it is impossible for people to hide their inner being….They can resemble 5w4s in their grasp for subtlety, but they are working at a more elemental level where nothing is purely true, but nothing is purely not true. All expression is a distortion of the truth that relates to the origin of the cosmos.
Every act pertains to God, Creation and the Singularity. Even people’s masks and false propositions are distortions of this truth. They are more interested in the elemental forces that move events rather than the event itself. They have access to archetypes in the unconscious where mythological battles can be hashed out while keeping the 9 disconnected from their body and instinct. They have the freedom to play around with absurdity and imagine extreme ‘violence’ and destruction against the elements they have merged with in their imagination. They view life as a series of inevitabilities…They take a passive role in relationships as if they were fully merged with the universe’s agenda to let all things happen as they must.