The Enneagram has been deemed as a “personality test”, and has really received a lot of attention lately. I see it in podcasts and Instagram posts to everywhere in between. We all like personality tests, but this one is DIFFERENT (I SWEAR). For me, it started with a test and then over time, a massive deep dive into all things Enneagram. Over a year later and it still completely fascinates me!
But, what is it you ask? The enneagram is a tool that uses 9 different, distinct personality types and tells you the reasons behind why you have certain tendencies and reactions. It will show you how are when you’re in a healthy place, and how you are in stress.
It has been such an amazing tool to help me understand people that I am in relationships with: friends, coworkers and even my husband.
I will start out by saying the test IS NOT everything. You may test as a certain number, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely accurate (lots of people mistype). You may be in a time of stress that can influence your results. As a best practice, read about each type and determine what best fits you. One will most likely stick out (and a lot of times, it’s the one that makes you cringe).
There are 3 triads—Are you a feeler, with a lot of emotion? You are most likely in the Heart Triad- a 2, 3 or 4. Are you a thinker and your brain never turns off? Then you are probably in the Head Triad- a 5, 6 or 7. Do you do everything on instinct? You might be in the Gut Triad- an 8, 9 or 1.
There are also stances. Certain numbers are more aggressive, compliant or withdrawn than others.
What I think is really interesting about the Enneagram is that it’s all about nurture. It relates to how you felt about your mother, father and your early life experiences that you formed a ego to protect yourself from.
Each type has a fixation, or goal. Ones want to be seen as good or right. Twos to be loved and appreciated. Threes want to be seen as successful and envied. Fours wants others to see their depth and individuality. Fives goal is to be competent and gain knowledge. Sixes want security and loyalty. Sevens need freedom and happiness. Eights value strength and power. Nines want peace and to be without conflict.
Here’s a brief rundown of each type that I’ve linked to The Enneagram Institute (the BEST resource). I also like to use EnneaApp for quick reference.
The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic
The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive
The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious
The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental
The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated
The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious
The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered
The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent
Once you figure out your type, identify your wing. Your wing is the number on either side of your main number. For example, I’m a 7 so I could either be a 7w6 or 7w8. These wings add certain characteristics to your primary type.
You can also see what characteristics you take on in times of growth (integration) and times of stress (dis-integration). A lot of times, you are pulling from what you need in order to deal with your circumstances. I’ll use mine for example.
In times of stress, I take on unhealthy characteristics from Type 1. I get rather critical and pessimistic (generally pretty opposite from my usual stance). When I’m in a good, healthy place I take on the best characteristics of Type 5 where I am able to stop the constant need for stimulation and become fascinated with knowledge.
It’s really interesting when you’re able to understand why certain people in your life act/ react in certain ways and others don’t. For me personally, I’m a 7w8 and my husband, Blake is a 5w6. We’re both in the Thinking Triad and share a line on the Enneagram. So, we are constantly taking on characteristics from each other’s type.
In relationships, certain numbers pair together in a particular way (of course there are exceptions/ nuances. You can see your parings here.
I could literally write/ talk about the Enneagram for hours, and have really enjoyed learning all about it. There are so many great resources out there! It’s not necessarily religious (and doesn’t have to be), but has been used in context to religion also.
Some of my favorite books on the topic are: Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Riso and Hudson, The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth by Christoper L Heuertz, The Enneagram by Helen Palmer, The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut and the Path Between us by Suzanne Stabile.
I think that’s a good starting point, right? There is SO MUCH MORE. Another post soon.