28/04/2023

What are the 9 Enneagram personality types?

The enneagram system is a map that describes personality according to nine main models, also explaining the relationships between them, such as affinities and interactions between different character types.

This map also helps us understand why we tend to love certain types of people, reject others, or be indifferent to them.

What are the 9 Enneagram personality types

The basic idea is that there are nine archetypal personalities within the enneagram, with different basic strategies for managing their lives in every area.

The various personalities, depending on their life experiences or level of stress, may suffer more or less, manifesting different behaviors and ways of reacting.

Since life can distance us from our essence, working with the enneagram seeks to move us away from the rigidity of acquired character and closer to our authenticity, to rediscover ourselves and learn to live better.

In essence, each personality type has characteristics that denote patterns of thought, feelings, and behaviors.

The Enneagram is a geometric symbol, appearing as a circumference consisting of 9 points, connected by internal lines according to specific relationships.

9 Enneagram personality types

At the top is 9, and the other numbers follow clockwise, starting from 1.

Each number represents a personality type, called an "Enneatype," with its own characteristics and peculiar relationships with others.

The Enneagram has ancient origins, believed to have been handed down for centuries before reaching our day. Confined to esoteric and mystical environments, Gurdjieff and his students (Ichazo and Naranjo) are credited with studying and applying it in the psychological field, as a useful tool for self-knowledge and self-improvement.

It is a tool for awareness and personal growth, describing the negative characteristics of each personality type (i.e., the blocks and resistances), but also providing insights to overcome them and develop the inherent potential of every human being. 

Personality is defined as the set of cognitive, behavioral, and relational tendencies that distinguish the individual. At a lower evolutionary level, they appear as fixations, rigid and repetitive habits that prevent the person from thinking and acting in accordance with their authentic being, causing a multitude of problems in self-expression and in relationships with others.

Enneatype 1: The Perfectionist

Negative traits

Perfectionism leads Enneatype 1 to not compromise, to be inflexible, and to overestimate himself. He needs to have everything under control, adheres strictly to rules, and avoids expressing his anger, which sometimes explodes suddenly or is masked by an intolerant attitude. He criticizes himself in the same way he criticizes others, is dedicated to work, and tends to deny himself the pleasures of life.

Positive traits

Great worker, responsible, precise, and organized. He doesn't give up until he achieves his goal and is able to lead others. He has ideals of justice and is sincere and correct.

Relational approach

He rarely lets himself go and appears cold and detached as a strategy to avoid losing control. He is distrustful and prefers relationships with clear boundaries. He reveals nothing about himself except his best side.

Enneatype 2: The Altruistic Giver 

Negative traits

Altruism is just a façade that hides pride and arrogance. Enneatype 2 gives to receive approval, and has a strong need to be loved and recognized; when this need is not satisfied, they can easily fall prey to anger. They have a fear of abandonment and may resort to manipulative behaviors to please others. They seek attention and display exaggerated expressions of emotions, which conceal feelings of emptiness.

Positive traits

At a higher level of evolution, their altruism is authentic and without ulterior motives. They are open and helpful to others, able to show humility and sincerity without feeling inferior.

Relational approach

They are trustworthy and available, able to establish intense relationships from the outset, but later become demanding and dissatisfied. In response to what they see as rejection, they may disqualify others to maintain an image of independence.

Enneatype 3: The Organizer - Executor 

Negative traits

Vain and egocentric, focused on image and success, they minimize their own flaws and want to be the best. They manipulate to be admired and to get what they want and are highly competitive. In reality, they work hard to satisfy the demands of others, but they do not know their own true desires.

Positive traits

Their efficiency, adaptability, and motivation lead them to excel and be excellent organizers. They also have charisma and charm, qualities that allow them to achieve success.

Relational approach

Their relationships are centered around projects and material issues. They want to appear brilliant and receive validation, and fear rejection. They do not let go, are controlled, and are detached from their own feelings.

Enneatype 4: Artist - Romantic 

Negative traits

Unlike type 3, Enneatype 4 considers themselves inferior to others, blaming themselves or complaining about the world. Their vision of life is tragic and pessimistic, and they love to fantasize without taking action, paralyzed by doubts and fears. They describe themselves as original and special, surrounding themselves with people and interests that are out of the ordinary.

Positive traits

Their sensitivity, if properly directed, can transform into creative power and depth. They are empathetic, receptive, and generous.

Relational approach

They can be individualistic, isolated from the world, or dependent on people or substances. They have an ideal of romantic love that does not match reality: in a relationship, they tend to feel inadequate and distance themselves.

Enneatype 5: Thinker - Observer 

Negative traits

Enneatype 5 is closed and solitary, preferring to observe and reflect. They have low self-esteem, are suspicious, and appear detached and calm, but are actually very demanding of themselves. However, they often fail to turn their ideas into action due to their insecurity. Social contact exhausts them, and they would prefer to isolate themselves in a secret place to watch the world.

Positive traits

They have analytical abilities, and their inclination towards knowledge can allow them to achieve important results at an intellectual level. By learning to open up, they can become an excellent confidant and a reliable listener.

Relational approach

Their calm is apparent, but in truth, they harbor anger towards themselves and others. They rarely reveal anything about themselves and keep their distance, making themselves independent. Their biggest fear is to trust and lose themselves.

Enneatype 6: Collaborator - Skeptical Loyalist 

Negative traits

Those who identify with this enneatype are anxious, suspicious, and doubtful. They seek the collaboration of others to obtain protection from dangers that they believe they are not capable of facing alone. They have difficulty putting actions into practice and are insecure, hyper-vigilant, and critical.

Positive traits

Loyalty, reliability, and respect for rules are the main qualities of type 6. They stand up for the weaker ones and have a strong moral code.

Relational approach

They avoid conflicts; their mistrust makes them shy. They need to bond with a strong person who can guide them and make them feel safe. Once they have gained their trust, they can open up without reservations.

Enneatype 7: Optimistic - Hedonist 

Negative traits

Oriented towards pleasure, in search of stimulation, and escaping from boredom: for enneatype 7, it is difficult to commit to long-term goals and delve deep into things. They reject duties and always have new projects that they leave unfinished. They are very self-assured to the point of being arrogant, engaging, and seductive, but often manipulative.

Positive traits

Their optimism and vitality are positive qualities; they are interesting, curious, and adventurous, know how to make the best of life.

Relational approach

They are expansive and egocentric, wanting to be loved and cannot tolerate rejection. Just like life, they also live their relationships in a lively but superficial manner. They cannot sustain long-term commitments and may run away once they have conquered the other.

Enneatype 8: The Leader

Negative traits

A natural leader, the Enneatype 8's imperative is to command and impose their will. They are not allowed to show weakness, and they can be overbearing and argumentative. They need to be constantly stimulated to feel alive. Very self-assured, they don't recognize their own limits and don't have any scruples. They don't want to be judged but judge others, they are vengeful and always think they are in the right.

Positive traits

Charisma, courage, and charm used in service of causes and ideals can become resources, but the Enneatype 8 must learn to set aside their desire for power.

Relational approach

Even in relationships, they seek to maintain power and control their partner because they cannot trust anyone, which would make them feel vulnerable. They test others and are possessive but do not yield to emotional displays.

Enneatype 9: The Mediator

Negative traits

Enneatype 9's personality is typical of a passive, dependent, and acquiescent individual. They are lazy, rarely make decisions, and avoid change and responsibility. Their desire is to live in peace, but they remain on the surface, unaware of their real needs.

Positive traits

An excellent mediators, they stay away from conflicts and always try to help others, restoring balance. They must be careful not to be overwhelmed by the needs of others at the expense of their own, only then can their conciliatory actions be truly effective.

Relational approach

They are accommodating but maintain a distance from their own feelings, fearing involvement. Their relationships are often ambiguous, and they become elusive when asked to make decisions and commitments.

Through the Enneagram, everyone can discover their maladaptive dynamics and deepen their resources, to undertake a process of change that aims at self-realization. Everyone has something of all personality types within them, but it is essential to recognize the one that resonates most with oneself to start an effective self-improvement journey.

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