Personality types - the Enneagram
The Enneagram may be as old as 5000 years, i.e. 2500 years older than Buddha,
Confucius, and Aristotle and 3000 years before Christ. This psychological folk
wisdom was developed in the Middle East and passed around, probably by minstrels
as well as Jewish and eventually Christian and Moslem teachers and was almost
certainly taught by the Sufi masters. The theory describes nine different
personality types, hence the name Enneagram - ennea means nine in Greek
purpose of the Enneagram is self-enlightenment, partly by discovering the hidden
driving force - an unwanted compulsion - which underlies your surface
personality. It may help to use the chart below to identify your type and your
partner's type and perhaps discover where there might be conflicts.
Type 1 - "the we-can-do-better inspirer"
Wise, conscientious, idealistic, hard-working perfectionist. It bothers
them when things are not done 'the right way', so when frustrated they may
become critics of others and of themselves. Their underlying drive or
compulsion is to avoid anger and avoid being wrong or criticized. It is
important for them to be right, to maintain control over their emotions
and to not receive anger or express it. However, few things or people are
perfect, so life is never easy for them
Type 2 - "the good Samaritan"
Compassionate, attentive, empathic, warm, caring, and constantly giving.
They may become so concerned about 'preaching' love that they overlook
actually helping, but always have lots of good intentions. Their hidden
compulsion is neediness. They have strong needs to be needed, appreciated
and loved, but they want to avoid recognizing those needs. Nothing is done
without a reason, not even by the 'selfless' giver
Type 3 - "the go-getter"
Confident, high self-esteem, ambitious, inspiring achiever. May become
overly competitive, wanting to always come out on top, continually trying
to impress people. Their compulsion is to avoid failure and rejection,
which forces them to work hard for success. They believe their personal
worth is determined by their achievements
Type 4 - "the creative person"
Artistic, sensitive, in touch with feelings, true to self. May become
moody, easily hurt, and socially or emotionally withdrawn, feeling
emotionally overloaded and different from others. They are striving to
avoid being ordinary or defective, they want to be special and unique,
they sometimes feel deeply but more often 'on stage' or like an impostor
Type 5 - "the learned one"
Intelligent, logical, loves being alone and learning, original thinker.
May become absorbed in abstract trivia, proving their own theory or
counter-attacking criticism. They are attempting to avoid being empty -
empty of knowledge and understanding of the world, empty of answers when
asked a difficult question and empty of opportunities to learn more.
Absorbing knowledge is their addiction, not using knowledge
Type 6 - "the dependable, admiring follower"
Likeable, engaging, friendly, loyal, trustworthy, concerned with making
friends. May become indecisive and insecure but remains devoted and a
'team player'. Their compulsive fears are of rejection, being alone and
especially condemnation by an authority figure. Their drive is to follow
all the rules, to be approved and to be secure without becoming
Type 7 - "the happy hedonist"
Enthusiastic, practical, playful, accomplished, enjoying life, knows and
wants the best of everything. May become materialistic, hyperactive,
easily frustrated and compelled to buy new 'toys' and find new ways to
have fun, including alcohol and drugs. Their fear is of deprivation and
boredom. Their compulsions are to avoid personal pain, not even to see it
in others' lives, to put off anything unpleasant and to have more of
everything. Life should be fun is their motto
Type 8 - "the conquering hero"
Strong, assertive, 'can-do' attitude, loves challenges, natural leader,
champion of causes. May become a risk-taking entrepreneur or a righter of
wrongs, intimidating or "having it out" with others and feeling he/she
must get his/her way. The driving force underlying this personality is a
fear of being dominated or the avoidance of weakness. They favour radical
change as long as it's by them
Type 9 - "the complacent pacifist"
Accepting, patient, unpretentious, open, relaxed, just a nice reassuring
person. May become too submissive or accommodating, too self-effacing, too
indifferent and falsely reassure others in order to gain peace at any
price. They fear conflict and separation from others due to conflicts.
They will do anything for harmony, even deny reality. Their approach is
'what's the big deal?'
The best way to use these nine brief descriptions is to go back through the list
and identify your basic personality type by noting, primarily, the positive
characteristics because that is what we know best about ourselves. Then, your
insight should come from noting the underlying unconscious fears and compulsions
of your personality type. Next, you need to spend a lot of time considering
possible ways your hidden fears or desires have influenced your life. By
becoming more aware of these hidden needs or forces within you, perhaps you can
see yourself in a different light and find better ways to cope with your