The 9 Enneagram Personality Types

Getting honest with your blind spots and the things you use to cope will allow you to walk through the world doing less harm to yourself and others.

Sarajane Case

The Enneagram is a self-development tool that provides us with a description of how and why we tend to behave the way we do based on our personality type. I was very resistant to learning about it a few years back because there was a huge hype around it. Once I got to it though, and I found out I’m an Enneagram 4, I began to understand my usual resistance to following trends and what’s hot at the moment. Fours, also known as the individualists, spend most of their time differentiating themselves from the crowd and eventually empowering others to explore their own individuality.

In this case, however, I must say it was my loss that took me so much time. The Enneagram offers great value to those who seek to know more about themselves. It helps us pinpoint the core issues of our personality and what we can do to evolve and become a more balanced person. In other words, the Enneagram sheds light on those complex psychological patterns that often hinder our journey and prevent us from moving forward. It can work as a mirror of what lies deep within our unconscious mind. While in a previous article I described the benefits of using this tool, in this one you will learn more about each personality type according to the Enneagram.

TypeWhat motivates themWhat they avoid
E1to be virtuousblame
E2to be loved and neededacknowledging their needs
E3to be perceived as successfulfailure
E4to be understoodbeing ordinary
E5to gather informationrelying on others
E6to feel securefear
E7to be happypain
E8to be strong vulnerability
E9to keep the peaceconflict
A brief summary of the enneagram types, motivations, and what they try to avoid

Enneagram 1

Enneagram 1, the Perfectionist, is a personality characterized by a sense of ethics and righteousness. People with this personality type tend to be reliable and motivated to lead a life in a way that is virtuous and of service. They try to avoid blame.

Enneagram 2

Enneagram 2, the Helper, tends to be warm, caring, and giving. They look for love and they like to feel they are needed. They tend to avoid acknowledging their own needs.

Enneagram 3

Enneagram 3, the Performer, is a personality that is oriented toward success and wired for productivity. They want to be perceived as successful and they avoid failure.

Enneagram 4

Type 4, the Romantic, is creative, sensitive, and moody. They want to be perceived as different and they look forward to being understood. They avoid being ordinary.

Enneagram 5

Type 5, the Investigator, is analytical, detached, and private. Their motivation is to gather as much knowledge as they can and save energy. They avoid relying on others.

Enneagram 6

Type 6, the Loyalist, is committed and practical. They want to feel secure and tendo to avoid fear.

Enneagram 7

Enneagram 7, the Enthusiast, is usually fun, and spontaneous. They look forward to going on an adventure, so they are motivated to be happy and avoid pain.

Enneagram 8

Enneagram 8, the Challenger, is usually associated with intensity, and confrontation. They are motivated to be strong and they tend to avoid vulnerability.

Enneagram 9

Enneagram 9, the Peacemaker, is often pleasant, relaxed, and welcoming. They are motivated to keep the peace and merge with others. They tend to avoid conflict.

Concluding Thoughts

Finding out and learning more about your Enneagram personality type is often a breakthrough for many people. It not only describes the overall aspects of our personality it also offers us glimpses of potential blind spots and different levels of integration. There is more to the Enneagram than what we were able to cover here so I do hope your curiosity will lead you to learn even more about this tool. If you are already familiar with the enneagram, let me know what your personality type is in the comments!

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What Is The Enneagram About?

The Enneagram is a tool that awakens our compassion for people just as they are, not the people we wish they would become so our lives would become easier.

Ian Morgan Cron

I’m a big fan of Myers-Briggs, a personality tool that gives us a broad overview of how we operate in the world, but it’s essentially a descriptive tool. You won’t find much information or specific clues to identify what you may or may not need to change and improve based on your personality type. The Enneagram, however, gives you a clear and straight vision of how you can either break through or break down in life since it offers insights into what motivates you and what patterns may hold you back from being your best self.

Even people who think they know themselves enough can learn a lot from the enneagram. In fact, when you assume you already know yourself, that’s usually when you get comfortable and you stop questioning your behavior and attitudes. However, once we stop questioning, we stop learning, and we take our own very existence for granted. Spotting where we are misperceiving reality and where we are not using our essence to the best of our abilities becomes a difficult task.

There are lenses we use to interpret the reality that may have been useful in the past, in our childhood or teenage years. These lenses allowed us to survive and move through life, but that doesn’t mean they are adequate, healthy, or even helpful in the present moment. The Enneagram gives us guidance about what these lenses might be, how they manifest when we are under stress, and how we can tap into and return our true essence. According to the enneagram, connecting with our true essence allows us to stand on a path of integration instead of stress and overwhelm.

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In total, there are 9 different Enneagram personality types, which are represented in a nine-pointed geometric figure. Ennea means “nine”, and gram means “figure”. We tend to adopt one of these types in childhood to cope and survive. Each type holds a specific view of the world, which in turn shapes the way we think, feel and behave. Within each type, there are healthy, average, and unhealthy levels of functioning. These levels depend on self-awareness and circumstances.

When under stress, we tend to assume the negative characteristics of the personality style that is connected to our personality type in the figure by an arrow pointing away. When in balance, we tend to assume the positive characteristics of the type connected to ours by an arrow pointing back to our core personality number. For instance, I’m an enneagram 4 and, under stress, I assume the negative traits of enneagram 2, which are often related to codependency. When I’m in a good place, however, I assume some of the traits of enneagram 1, a personality that is driven by ethics and morals.

Concluding Thoughts

As a tool, the Enneagram gives us the opportunity to expand our self-knowledge, identify what limits us, what empowers us, and how to seek greater integration within ourselves while also respecting everyone’s differences. That’s why I agree when authors say the Enneagram is a tool that can help us become more compassionate toward each other.

We should never use, nonetheless, our personality as an excuse for wrongdoing and hurting others. You can’t say I’m like this so deal with it. To give you a concrete example, as an enneagram 4 I need to keep my intense emotions in check so that I don’t overwhelm others on a regular basis, and I also look forward to developing traits associated with enneagram type 1 (e.g. principled, purposeful), which help me ground my creativity.

To find out what Enneagram number you are, you can take this test.

Other blogs you may like to read:

What is Holding You Back? Four Major Psychological Roadblocks

Sometimes we want to move on with our lives and create positive change only to find out we can’t or that we are not ready yet. Sometimes we know why we remain stuck in old ways of behaving, thinking, and feeling, but other times we don’t. This list of major psychological roadblocks may help you tap into some hidden reasons or factors that have prevented you from designing and living the life you wish for yourself. If you have found you are being affected by one or more of these factors, please know you are not alone and you can ask for help.

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What is the Enneagram about