Many people are becoming interested in the meaning and use of the Enneagram as a personality typology. Its been my experience that the common notation for each of the nine points has lead to a lot of confusion and misrepresentation. So here I would like to set out an alternative method as a quick check.

In order to do this, I recommend that you follow the steps in order without reading ahead. The Enneagram is based on a triple intelligence (brain) system, that is the Head (thinking); Heart (feeling); Gut (doing) identification. However just trying to identify with these as a criteria doesn’t bring accuracy or clarity.

So first of all I want you to decide out of the following approaches to your personal safety are you

  1. Dependent – ie Do you attempt to bring others to your defense, encourage others to take sides by providing a sensible and reasonable explanation?
  2. Aggressive – ie Do you take the satnce that attack is the best form of defense, either physically, emotionally, mentally or verbally?
  3. Withdrawal – ie Do you ignore the threat and hunker down, retreat, or physically, emotionally or mentally retreat using passivity as the best form of defense?

 

Having noted down this quality, and there is no judgement on any particular way because we’ll all have one way or another.

Now consider whether you prefer to be taking action; sensing how you and others are feeling; or organising your thoughts into a comprehensive plan or figuring out what is happening?

Now having considered which you prefer, ask yourself which of these you mostly don’t actually do? Don’t be concerned if you don’t do what you prefer.

 

Now consider which of the three wounds you align youself with. Again, it is useless to decide that none of them apply. This is a choice between Betrayal; Isolation; or Abandonment?

 

Do you consider it is more important to take stock of the past; Be totally aware in the present; or plan for the future?

 

Now read through each of the Nine Archetypes. You might notice that I have used a slightly different name for some of them because previous versions have lead to misconceptions. You should related to the qualities you have identified above to be truly one type. Each point has two wings, the numbers either side. It is my contention that rarely is a person a single point but lies somewhere on the connecting circle between two points. Notice how this often answers questions.

Point 1: – Achiever – Attempts to be perfect in everything they do, which makes them be disciplined, honest and work hard, qualities they require in others. They are Dependent; Prefer Doing; Repress Thinking; Oriented to Present Time; and suffer the wound of Betrayal.  Point 1 avoids Imperfection

Point 2: – Helper/Enabler – Attempts to gain appreciation and approval by doing and being everything to everyone. They both help the less able and enable them to remain helpless. This style often displace others because they can live their lives better. They do provide a service to others. They are also Dependent; Prefer Feeling; Repress Thinking; Oriented to Present Time; and suffer the wound of Betrayal. Point 2 avoids their own personal needs and feelings.

Point 3: – Succeeder – Attempt to gain belonging by doing more and getting more through hard work and competitive action, focusing unwaveringly on their goals. Will do whatever it takes and sacrifice what and whoever it takes to get that. They are Aggressive; Prefer Feeling; Repress Feeling; Oriented to Future Time; and suffer the wound of Isolation and Alienation. Point 3 avoids Failure.

Point 4: – Individualist – Attempts to be accepted in relationship by using their analytic abilities to understand others. They feel out of place in ordinary life. Work hard to be accepted when they feel unacceptable. They Withdraw; Prefer Feeling; Repress Doing; Oriented to Past Time; and suffer the wound of Abandonment. Point 4 avoids Inferiority.

Point 5: – Observer – Attempt to belong by being useful and informative, patient and persceptive. They like to create an eccentric image of themselves that secretly amuses them. They are private and self-reliant. They are Withdrawers; Prefer Thinking; Repress Doing; Oriented to Past Time; and suffer the wound of Abandonment. Point 5 avoids Emptiness.

Point 6: – Guardian – attempt to find security in an untrustworthy world by selecting a chosen few to be the recipients for their loyalty and dedication. Tend towards indecisiveness and avoid apprehension. They are Dependent; Prefer Thinking; Repress Thinking; Oriented to Present Time; and suffer the wound of Betrayal. Point 6 avoids Apprehension.

Point 7: – Dreamer – Optimistic, happy, fun-lovingavoiders who make every problem into something wonderful. Great planners with difficulties of following through, thus great explainers of all the reasons that prevented it. Wishful thinkers. They are Aggressive; Prefer Thinking; Repress Feeling; Oriented to Future Time; and suffer the wound of Isolation and Alienation. Point 7 avoids Pain.

Point 8: – Confronter – Attempt to overcome weakness by dominating their group physically, emotionally, mentally and verbally. They are natural leaders and protectors of the underdog. Superior to others and respectful of winners. They are Aggressive; Prefer Doing; Repress Feeling; Oriented to Future Time; and suffer the wound of Isolation and Alienation. Point 8 avoids Weakness.

Pount 9: – Preservationist – Attempt to bring harmony and justice by silent apssive resistance. Deliberate, resourceful and practical in order to get their own ends. Retaliate with passive-aggression. They are Withdrawers; Prefer Doing; Repress Doing; Oriented to Past Time; and suffer the wound of Abandonment. Point 9 avoids Conflict and Distress.

 

As you will see there are three points each with very similar characteristics and it is here that most people will get confusion. Am I a 1, 2 or 6? Or am I a 3, 7, or 8? Or is it 4, 5 or 9? The differences show up in the preferred way of operating.

The other thing to note is that each group contains one of the triplicities Head (6); Heart (3); or Gut (9). These are the points which both prefer and repress these styles.

Once you have decided which point you think most likely, then consider which of the wing points are you more drawn towards. For example, if you decide you are a Point 3 then do you consider others and try to take them with you, or do you want to be noticed for your individuality?