THE 9 ENNEAGRAM TYPES
from Opposites Attract (Harper) by Renee Baron
from Opposites Attract (Harper) by Renee Baron
The nine personality types in the Enneagram are based on coping strategies we developed in childhood to deal with the outer world. These strategies may seem to work on one level, but they also limit our view of reality and create habitual ways in which we see and respond to life. The Enneagram looks at the needs that motivate what we do and helps us make sense of our own and others’ behavior. We may all relate to some of the qualities of the various Enneagram types. However, each person has only one core type that represents their underlying motivation. Whatever type you are, you remain it for life, but you may move up and down the scale of healthy or unhealthy behavior of that particular type.
ONE: The Perfectionist
Perfectionists are motivated by the need to live the right way. This includes improving themselves, others, and the world around them. They try to avoid criticism by doing things perfectly. Ones have a strong inner critic or conscience; they live by an internal list of rules, and discipline themselves to do what they should do. Healthy Ones are self-disciplined, hardworking, organized, conscientious, and productive. They have high standards and moral principles. Unhealthy Ones can be rigid, inﬂexible, controlling, self-righteous, overly serious, and hypercritical of themselves and others.
Helpers are motivated by the need to be loved, appreciated, and needed. They take pride in their ability to make people feel special and to anticipate and fulﬁll other people’s needs better than anyone else. They appear cheerful, self-sufﬁcient, and conﬁdent and are often unaware of their own needs. Healthy Twos are warm, generous, empathic, enthusiastic, and nurturing. They relate easily to people, enjoy giving to others, and are capable of unconditional love. Unhealthy Twos can be manipulative, clingy, indirect, possessive, martyrlike, and preoccupied with gaining approval.
THREE: The Achiever
Achievers are motivated by the need to be productive, efﬁcient, admired, and successful at whatever they do. Avoiding failure is very important to them. Life is a series of tasks and goals to be completed and they keep pushing themselves to achieve more. They are often disconnected from their deeper feelings and lose an inner sense of themselves. Healthy Threes are energetic, charming, optimistic, conﬁdent, self-assured, and competent. They make good leaders who motivate others to live up to their potential. Unhealthy Threes can be vain, overly competitive, deceitful, superﬁcial, narcissistic, opportunistic, and prone to putting on facades to impress people.
FOUR: The Romantic
Romantics are motivated by the need to understand and express their deepest feelings and to discover what is authentic in themselves. They want to feel special and unique, and avoid being seen as ordinary. Their attention is focused on whatever is missing, distant, and idealized. Healthy Fours are imaginative, sensitive, intuitive, creative, and compassionate. They are introspective, self-aware, and in touch with the hidden depths of human nature. Unhealthy Fours can be self-absorbed, hypersensitive, impractical, self-loathing, moody, depressed, and envious of those who seem more fulﬁlled than they are.
FIVE: The Observer
Observers are motivated by the need to gain knowledge and to be independent and self-sufﬁcient. They observe life from a distance, guard their privacy and space, and avoid being engulfed by others. They feel more safe and in control when thinking and analyzing than when in their feelings. They are individualistic and not inﬂuenced by social pressure or material possessions. Healthy Fives are objective, focused, calm, perceptive, insightful, and curious. They have ingenious insight. Unhealthy Fives can be intellectually arrogant, withholding, controlled, cynical, negative, standofﬁsh, and stingy.
SIX: The Questioner
Questioners are motivated by the need to feel secure and in control, and to have safety and predictability. Feeling a sense of belonging and ﬁnding someone trustworthy to depend on is important to them. Tried and tested laws, norms, or rules help them to feel safe. Sixes often looks to some person, group, or cause to identify with to depend upon for protection. Sixes are careful and cautious of life's dangers and potential attacks. Sixes have an ambivalent relationship to authority. They often distrust and are suspicious of it and are not comfortable being seen as the authority themselves. Some Sixes are phobic and withdraw to protect themselves, whereas others are counterphobic and confront fearful situations head-on, even seek them out. Healthy Sixes are trustworthy, responsible, alert, insightful, loyal, compassionate, and sympathetic to underdog causes. Unhealthy Sixes can be hypervigilant, indecisive, defensive, testy, self-defeating, paranoid, and preoccupied with worst-case scenarios.
SEVEN: The Adventurer
Adventurers are motivated by the need to be happy and to stay busy by keeping their options open and constantly making plans for new experiences. They view life as a fun-ﬁlled adventure, yet they also want to contribute to the world. Boredom, suffering, painful emotions, and the everyday drudgeries of life are avoided. Sevens are constant seekers of excitement. Healthy Sevens are optimistic, enthusiastic, spontaneous, idealistic, curious, generous, and often multitalented. They uplift and enliven others and are fun to be around. Unhealthy Sevens can be self-centered, self-indulgent, insensitive, narcissistic, hyperactive, undisciplined, and have problems with completion and long-term commitments.
EIGHT: The Asserter
Asserters are motivated by the need to feel powerful and self-reliant, and to have control over their lives. They avoid being weak, vulnerable, controlled, or being taken advantage of. Being respected for their strength is more important to them than being liked. They are earthy and lusty, and they go after whatever they want. They tend to milk enjoyment out of life. They are natural leaders who want to make an impact on the world. Healthy Eights are conﬁdent, direct, decisive, courageous, and protective of their loved ones. Unhealthy Eights can be aggressive, confrontive, domineering, self-centered, insensitive, and prone to excess.
NINE: The Peacemaker
Peacemakers are motivated by the need to keep the peace and to create a harmonious and comfortable life. They erase their own needs and priorities to accommodate others and to avoid conﬂict. They are disconnected from their own emotions, especially their anger. They like to merge with others and with their environment, and they gain their sense of self through these connections. Healthy Nines are adaptable, compassionate, easygoing, supportive, patient, and nonjudgmental; they go with the ﬂow. Unhealthy Nines can be indecisive, spaced-out, apathetic, undisciplined, unassertive, passive- aggressive, and stubborn.