Learning My Enneatype Is Making A Difference In My Life
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According to a book by psychologist Albert Ellis called "Personality Theories: Critical Perspectives", the "Enneagram", Greek for something "written or drawn", is a model of the human psyche that is taught as nine interconnected personality types. Recently, I discovered enneatypes from an Instagram account called @justmyenneatype. From seeing a few friends posting online about their types I was starting to get intrigued.

I've always been into personality tests as a child and loved the Myers-Briggs test so I can't say I was surprised that I stayed up most of that night reading about enneagram types and the ways they are all connected to each other. By morning, I had figured out my enneatype and also texted all of my friends to take the test too. Knowing their personality types has helped me love my friends better and know what kind of support they need for the person that they are.

Enneatype 1: Reformer/Perfectionist

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According to Eclectic Energies, People of this personality type are essentially looking to make things better, as they think nothing is ever quite good enough. This makes them perfectionists who desire to reform and improve; idealists who strive to make order out of the omnipresent chaos.

Ones have a fine eye for detail. They are always aware of the flaws in themselves, others and the situations in which they find themselves. This triggers their need to improve, which can be beneficial for all concerned, but which can also prove to be burdensome to both the One and those who are on the receiving end of the One's reform efforts.

The One's inability to achieve the perfection they desire feeds their feelings of guilt for having fallen short, and fuels their incipient anger against an imperfect world. Ones, however, tend to feel guilty about their anger. Anger is a "bad" emotion, and Ones strive sincerely and wholeheartedly to be "good."

Anger is therefore vigorously repressed from consciousness, bursting forth in occasional fits of temper, but usually manifesting in one of its many less obvious permutations - impatience, frustration, annoyance and judgmental criticality. For this reason, Ones can be difficult to live with, but, on the high side, they tend to be loyal, responsible and capable partners and friends.

Ones are serious people; they tend to be highly principled, competent and uncompromising. They follow the rules and expect others to do so as well. Because they believe so thoroughly in their convictions, they are often excellent leaders who can inspire those who follow them with their own vision of excellence. Reform movements are frequently spearheaded by Ones.

Ones are often driven and ambitious, and are sometimes workaholics. But whatever their professional involvement, they are definitely active, practical people who get things done. They are natural born organizers, listmakers who finish everything on the list, the last one to leave the office, the first one to return, industrious, reliable, honest and dutiful.

The relentlessness of their pursuit of the ideal can make Ones tense people who have a hard time relaxing and who unnecessarily deny themselves many of the harmless pleasures of life. They tend to be emotionally repressed and uncomfortable with expressing tender feelings; they generally see emotionality as a sign of weakness and lack of control. They are seldom spontaneous. They have multiple interests and talents however; they are self-reliant and seldom run out of things to do.

Enneatype 2: The Helper

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Twos are considered the Helpers of the personality enneagram and are always willing to do something to help a loved one. "People of this personality type essentially feel that they are worthy insofar as they are helpful to others. Love is their highest ideal. Selflessness is their duty. Giving to others is their reason for being. Involved, socially aware, usually extroverted, Twos are the type of people who remember everyone's birthday and who go the extra mile to help out a co-worker, spouse or friend in need.

Twos are warm, emotional people who care a great deal about their personal relationships, devote an enormous amount of energy to them, and who expect to be appreciated for their efforts. They are practical people who thrive in the helping professions and who know how to make a home comfortable and inviting. Helping others makes Twos feel good about themselves; being needed makes them feel important; being selfless, makes Twos feel virtuous.

Much of a Two's self-image revolves around these issues, and any threat to that self-image is scarcely tolerated. Twos are thoroughly convinced of their selflessness, and it is true that they are frequently genuinely helpful and concerned about others. It is equally true, however, that Twos require appreciation; they need to be needed. Their love is not entirely without ulterior motive.

Twos often develop a sense of entitlement when it comes to the people closest to them. Because they have extended themselves for others, they begin to feel that gratitude is owed to them. They can become intrusive and demanding if their often unacknowledged emotional needs go unmet. They can be bossy and manipulative, feeling entirely justified in being so, because they "have earned the right" and their intentions are good. The darkest side of the type Two fixation appears when the Two begins to feel that they will never receive the love they deserve for all of their efforts. Under such circumstances, they can become hysterical, irrational and even abusive.

Because Twos are generally helping others meet their needs, they can forget to take care of their own. This can lead to physical burnout, emotional exhaustion and emotional volatility. Twos need to learn that they can only be of true service to others if they are healthy, balanced and centered in themselves.", as stated by Eclectic Energies.

Enneatype 3: The Achiever

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Threes are focused on presenting successful projects to obtain validation. According to Eclectic Energies, "People of this personality type need to be validated in order to feel worthy; they pursue success and want to be admired. They are frequently hard working, competitive and are highly focused in the pursuit of their goals, whether their goal is to be the most successful salesman in the company or the "sexiest" woman in their social circle.

They are often "self-made" and usually find some area in which they can excel and thus find the external approbation which they so desperately need. Threes are socially competent, often extroverted, and sometimes charismatic. They know how to present themselves, are self-confident, practical, and driven. Threes have a lot of energy and often seem to embody a kind of zest for life that others find contagious.

They are good networkers who know how to rise through the ranks. But, while Threes do tend to succeed in whatever realm they focus their energies, they are often secretly afraid of being or becoming "losers."

Threes can sometimes find intimacy difficult. Their need to be validated for their image often hides a deep sense of shame about who they really are, a shame they unconsciously fear will be unmasked if another gets too close. Threes are often generous and likable, but are difficult to really know. When unhealthy, their narcissism takes an ugly turn and they can become cold blooded and ruthless in the pursuit of their goals.

Because it is central to the type Three fixation to require external validation, Threes often, consciously and unconsciously, attempt to embody the image of success that is promoted by their culture. Threes get in trouble when they confuse true happiness, which depends on inner states, with the image of happiness which society has promoted.

If a Three has a "good" job and an "attractive" mate, she might be willing, through an act of self-deception which is also self-betrayal, to ignore the inner promptings which tell her that neither her job, nor her mate are fulfilling her deeper needs. Even the most "successful" Threes, who generally appear quite happy, often hide a deeply felt sense of meaninglessness. The attainment of the image never quite satisfies."

Enneatype 4: The Individualist

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"People of this personality type tend to build their identities around their perception of themselves as being somehow different or unique; they are thus self-consciously individualistic. Fours tend to see their difference from others as being both a gift and a curse - a gift, because it sets them apart from those they perceive as being somehow "common," and a curse, as it so often seems to separate them from the simpler forms of happiness that others so readily seem to enjoy.

Thus, Fours can manage to feel superior to others while also secretly harboring some degree of longing and envy. A feeling of being a member of the "true aristocracy" alternates with deep feelings of shame, and fears of somehow being deeply flawed or defective.

Fours are emotionally complex and highly sensitive. They long to be understood and appreciated for their authentic selves, but easily feel misunderstood and unappreciated. They have a tendency to withdraw in the face of a world that seems harsh or crude, and are often somewhat moody or temperamental. They are emotionally centered and spend much of their lives immersed in their internal mental landscapes, where they feel free to cultivate and analyse their feelings.

A desire to manifest this internal world often leads Fours to an interest in the arts, and some do become actual artists. Whether artistic or not, however, most Fours are aesthetically sensitive and concerned with self-expression and self-revelation, whether it be in the clothes they wear or in the overall nature of their often idiosyncratic lifestyles.

Fours are somewhat melancholic by disposition, and under stress tend to lapse into depression. They also tend to be self-absorbed, even under the best of circumstances, but when unbalanced, easily give way to a self-indulgence which they perceive as being fully justified as a way to compensate for the general lack of pleasure they experience in their lives. Rather than look for practical solutions to their difficulties, Fours are prone to fantasizing about a savior who will rescue them from their unhappiness." says Ewald Berkers.

Enneatype 5: The Investigator

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Berkers goes on to say, "People of this personality type essentially fear that they don't have enough inner strength to face life, so they tend to withdraw, to retreat into the safety and security of the mind where they can mentally prepare for their emergence into the world. Fives feel comfortable and at home in the realm of thought. They are generally intelligent, well read and thoughtful and they frequently become experts in the areas that capture their interest. While they are sometimes scientifically oriented, especially with the Six wing, just as many Fives are drawn to the humanities and it is not at all uncommon for Fives to have artistic inclinations.

Fives are often a bit eccentric; they feel little need to alter their beliefs to accommodate majority opinion, and they refuse to compromise their freedom to think just as they please. The problem for Fives is that while they are comfortable in the realm of thought, they are frequently a good deal less comfortable when it comes to dealing with their emotions, the demands of a relationship, or the need to find a place for themselves in the world. Fives tend to be shy, nonintrusive, independent and reluctant to ask for the help that others might well be happy to extend to them.

Fives are sensitive; they don't feel adequately defended against the world. To compensate for their sensitivity, Fives sometimes adopt an attitude of careless indifference or intellectual arrogance, which has the unfortunate consequence of creating distance between themselves and others. Trying to bridge the distance can be difficult for Fives, as they are seldom comfortable with their social skills, but when they do manage it, they are often devoted friends and life long companions.

Fives are usually somewhat restrained when it comes to emotional expression, but they often have stronger feelings than they let on. Few people know what is going on beneath the surface, as Fives have an often exaggerated need for privacy and a deep seated fear of intrusion. Because of their sensitivity and their fears of inadequacy, Fives fear being overwhelmed, either by the demands of others or by the strength of their own emotions.

They sometimes deal with this by developing a minimalistic lifestyle in which they make few demands on others in exchange for few demands being made on them. Other Fives make their peace with the messiness of life and engage it more fully, but they almost always retain their fears that life is somehow going to demand more of them than they can deliver."

Enneatype 6: The Loyalist

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Berkers says these types are conflicted between trust and mistrust. He adds, "People of this personality type essentially feel insecure, as though there is nothing quite steady enough to hold onto. At the core of the type Six personality is a kind of fear or anxiety. This anxiety has a very deep source and can manifest in a variety of different styles, making Sixes somewhat difficult to describe and to type. What all Sixes have in common however, is the fear rooted at the center of their personality, which manifests in worrying, and restless imaginings of everything that might go wrong.

This tendency makes Sixes gifted at trouble shooting, but also robs the Six of much needed peace of mind and tends to deprive the personality of spontaneity. The essential anxiety at the core of the type Six fixation tends to permeate the personality with a sort of "defensive suspiciousness." Sixes don't trust easily; they are often ambivalent about others, until the person has absolutely proven herself, at which point they are likely to respond with steadfast loyalty. The loyalty of the Six is something of a two edged sword however, as Sixes are sometimes prone to stand by a friend, partner, job or cause even long after it is time to move on.

Sixes are generally looking for something or someone to believe in. This, combined with their general suspiciousness, gives rise to a complicated relationship to authority. The side of the Six which is looking for something to believe in, is often very susceptible to the temptation to turn authority over to an external source, whether it be in the form of an individual or a creed.

But the Six's tendency towards distrust and suspicion works against any sort of faith in authority. Thus, two opposite pulls exist side by side in the personality of enneatype Six, and assume different proportions in different individuals, sometimes alternating within the same individual.

The truly confounding element when it comes to typing Sixes is that there are two fundamentally different strategies that Sixes adopt for dealing with fear. Some Sixes are basically phobic. Phobic Sixes are generally compliant, affiliative and cooperative. Other Sixes adopt the opposite strategy of dealing with fear, and become counterphobic, essentially taking a defiant stand against whatever they find threatening. This is the Six who takes on authority or who adopts a dare devil attitude towards physical danger.

Counterphobic Sixes can be agressive and, rather than looking for authorities, can adopt a rebellious or anti-authoritarian demeanor. Counterphobic Sixes are often unaware of the fear that motivates their actions. In fact, Sixes in general, tend to be blind to the extent of their own anxiety. Because it is the constant back drop to all of their emotions, Sixes are frequently unaware of its existence, as they have nothing with which to contrast it."

Enneatype 7: The Enthusiast

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"People of this personality type are essentially concerned that their lives be an exciting adventure. Sevens are future oriented, restless people who are generally convinced that something better is just around the corner. They are quick thinkers who have a great deal of energy and who make lots of plans. They tend to be extroverted, multi-talented, creative and open minded. They are enthusiasts who enjoy the pleasures of the senses and who don't believe in any form of self-denial.

Sevens are practical people who have multiple skills. They know how to network and to promote themselves and their interests. They often have an entrepreneurial spirit and are able to convey their enthusiasm to those with whom they come in contact. When they are able to focus their talents, they are often highly successful. Focusing does not always come easily for Sevens, however. Their tendency to believe that something better awaits them, makes them reluctant to narrow down their options or to pursue their aims with true devotion.

The central problem for Sevens is that their pursuit of pleasure is compulsive. Sevens are fear types who are specifically afraid of the power of negative states of mind. These they avoid by seeking distractions in the external environment: by multi-tasking, by keeping their options open, by engaging in stimulation seeking of all kinds. For this reason, Sevens are more prone than most to addictions of all sorts, whether it be to shopping, gambling, drugs or whatever.

Sevens usually have a high opinion of themselves and their talents; they tend to focus on their strengths and virtues and to downplay their flaws and vices. They are often a bit self-centered which manifests in an unfounded feeling of entitlement. As Sevens don't want to confront their own darker emotions, they also have difficulty acknowledging the pain that others experience, so that they sometimes have a hard time seeing the reality of other people.

The extent of the Seven's flight from negative emotions is really a measure of the Seven's mental health; the more that the Seven flees from them, the more their strength grows and the more likely they are to erupt into consciousness in the form of an anxiety disorder or a severe depressive episode." Berkers goes on to say that type sevens are pleasure seekers and planners, always in search of distraction.

Enneatype 8: The Challenger

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According to Eclectic Energies, "People of this personality type are essentially unwilling to be controlled, either by others or by their circumstances; they fully intend to be masters of their fate. Eights are strong willed, decisive, practical, tough minded and energetic. They also tend to be domineering; their unwillingness to be controlled by others frequently manifests in the need to control others instead. When healthy, this tendency is kept under check, but the tendency is always there, nevertheless, and can assume a central role in the Eight's interpersonal relationships.

Eights generally have powerful instincts and strong physical appetites which they indulge without feelings of shame or guilt. They want a lot out of life and feel fully prepared to go out and get it. They need to be financially independent and often have a hard time working for anyone.

This sometimes necessitates that the Eight opt out of the system entirely, assuming something of an outlaw mentality. Most Eights however, find a way to be financially independent while making their peace with society, but they always retain an uneasy association with any hierarchical relationship that sees the Eight in any position other than the top position.

Eights have a hard time lowering their defenses in intimate relationships. Intimacy involves emotional vulnerability and such vulnerability is one of the Eight's deepest fears. Betrayal of any sort is absolutely intolerable and can provoke a powerful response on the part of the violated Eight.

Intimate relationships are frequently the arena in which an Eight's control issues are most obviously played out and questions of trust assume a pivotal position. Eights often have a sentimental side that they don't even show to their intimates, such is their fear of vulnerability. But, while trust does not come easily to an Eight, when an Eight does take someone into the inner sanctum, they find a steadfast ally and stalwart friend.

The Eight's powerful protective instincts are called into play when it comes to the defense of family and friends, and Eights are frequently generous to a fault in providing for those under their care.

Eights are prone to anger. When severely provoked, or when the personality is unbalanced, bouts of anger can turn into rages. Unhealthy Eights are frankly agressive and when pushed, can resort to violence. Such Eights enjoy intimidating others whom they see as "weak" and feel little compunction about walking over anyone who stands in their way. They can be crude, brutal and dangerous." Berker says these types are "taking charge because they don't want to be controlled."

Enneatype 9: The Peacemaker

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"People of this personality type essentially feel a need for peace and harmony. They tend to avoid conflict at all costs, whether it be internal or interpersonal. As the potential for conflict in life is virtually ubiquitous, the Nine's desire to avoid it generally results in some degree of withdrawal from life, and many Nines are, in fact, introverted.

Other Nines lead more active, social lives, but nevertheless remain to some to degree "checked out," or not fully involved, as if to insulate themselves from threats to their peace of mind. Most Nines are fairly easy going; they adopt a strategy of "going with the flow." They are generally reliable, sturdy, self-effacing, tolerant and likable individuals.

Nines tend to adopt an optimistic approach to life; they are, for the most part, trusting people who see the best in others; they frequently have a deep seated faith that things will somehow work out. They desire to feel connected, both to other people and to the world at large. They frequently feel most at home in nature and generally make warm and attentive parents.

The Nine's inability to tolerate conflict sometimes translates into an overall conservative approach to change. Change can provoke unpleasant feelings and disrupt the Nine's desire for comfort. Less healthy Nines seem incapable of motivating themselves to move into action and bring about effective change.

When change does come however, as it generally will, Nines find that they are usually well able to adapt. They tend to be more resilient than they give themselves credit for. In fact, Nines tend not to give themselves enough credit in general, and their self-effacing attitude often seems to invite others to take them for granted or to overlook their often significant contributions.

This can cause a subterranean anger to build inside the Nine's psyche, which can erupt into consciousness in occasional fits of temper which quickly blow over, but which more often manifests itself in passive agressive footdragging. Being overlooked is often a source of a deep sadness in Nines, a sadness that they scarcely ever give voice to." says Ewald Berker from Eclectic Energies.

Hopefully that gives you a little bit of insight about the different types, but there is so much more to learn, like wings and how to take care of yourself for your specific type. If you are interested in learning more about your Enneatype, feel free to give the Instagram page @justmyenneatype a follow because they post often about different types and things related, as well as the page I linked in each description box for more information on your personality type.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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