Are Enneagrams Real? (The Complete Guide)

This article will not only take a look at the concept of enneagrams and what they are but also answer the question of whether they are real or not! Furthermore, the article will provide a brief overview of all the enneagram types that exist and their basic traits so the audience has a more comprehensive understanding of the topic and what enneagrams basically are.

Are Enneagrams Real?

Enneagrams are not backed by any scientific evidence nor has extensive research been done on them. Despite this, they have been gaining widespread popularity and people use them everyday to study their own selves and others too. The popularity this personality system has gained shows that it accurately defines people and their traits and behaviours.

Not much is known about its history and it is rumoured to pull its roots from a number of traditions. A philosopher as well as mystic known by the name of George Ivanovich Gurdjieff has been identified and given recognition for bringing the Enneagram figure to the attention of the world, although he did not use it to categorize personality types. Oscar Ichazo, the founder of a school for human potential and self-development, assigned different personality types to each of the nine positions in the Enneagram diagram.

Later, psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo expanded the theory to expand the nine types in psychological terms.

Despite the clouded mystery of where this personality system came from, it has gained much worldwide popularity to the extent that it is used frequently by people all over the world!

What Are Enneagrams? 

The enneagram is a typology system which describes human behaviour as a set of interrelated parts with each part having unique characteristics and behaviours or a set of defining traits that distinguish it from other parts in the system. This typology has a total of 9 parts of enneagrams that have different personalities and hence titles. For example, there is the enneagram type 1 which is also known as the Reformer and they have unique traits such as strong moral values, strive for integrity and may at times be judgemental.

At the same time, this personality system assumes and believes that no one person is of a single type – that is they cannot be a type 1 or type 9 purely but will be influenced by other adjacent types that are also known as wings. These wings influence but do not change the overall personality type.

The Enneagram Types – What Are They?

In total, there are 9 enneagram types that have been listed below:

  • Type 1 – Reformer
  • Type 2 – Helper
  • Type 3 – Achiever
  • Type 4 – Individualist
  • Type 5 – Investigator
  • Type 6 – Loyalist
  • Type 7 – Enthusiast
  • Type 8 – Challenger
  • Type 9 – Peacemaker

We will take a look at each of these in detail now.

Who Is An Enneagram Type 1?

The enneagram type 1 is also known as the Reformer because of their desire to change the world for the better – they believe they are on a mission to set things right! They are rational and idealistic and can be described by the terms self disciplined, purposeful, possibly perfectionists and hold values high.

These individuals are always on the move to make things better but they have this fear that they may make a mistake. Nonetheless they strive to produce perfect output and this may make them over critical of not only their own self but that of others too. This also causes them stress and anxiety as they are worried things may not go as planned – which is usually the case when it comes to life!

  • Strong Moral Values
  • Against Corruption
  • Judgemental
  • Integrity
  • Right & Wrong

Who Is An Enneagram Type 2?

An enneagram type 2 is also known as the Helper because of their desire to help others and make their tasks easier or remove any burden upon them.  They are very caring and have great interpersonal skills that allow them to interact with people to help them and understand their situation and needs. Personality traits used to describe type 2s include possessive, demonstrative, helpful and people pleasing.

People with this type are very empathetic and have profound emotional intelligence thus it makes them more approachable and appealing to people who are in need of help and find it difficult to ask. They are friendly, generous and self sacrificing hence they overlook their own needs to fulfill those of others!

  • Invests In Relationship
  • Generous
  • Genuine
  • Loyal
  • Desires Attention

Who Is A Type 3 Enneagram?

A type 3 enneagram is also called the ‘Achiever’ because of their desire that drives them to accomplish the big things in life. They are very hard working; putting in much time and energy in their work in order to achieve the success they desire!

These individuals are known to be very confident and have high levels of self efficacy, determination and the will to compete with others. However, they are also concerned about how others think of them and their image in the public which is sometimes very stressful.

However, there is a dark side to these enneagrams as well! When their personality integrates, usually because their fear has taken over or they are experiencing failure at multiple fronts, the type 3 enneagram’s darker traits come to life.

If they are insecure and feel humiliated, they will try to ensure that others do not succeed either so that others feel it was the situation that caused the failure and not the person themself. If it gets serious, they can become obsessive with ruining things for others especially if it reminds them of what they could not achieve. If they can’t have happiness then no one should!

  • Hardworking
  • Ambitious
  • Image Conscious
  • Gets Stressed Out

Who Is A Type 4 Enneagram?

They are also known as the individualist because of their desire to be self-sufficient and do things on their own terms. Being dramatic innately, expressive and sensitive describes them very well. Such individuals are very honest, creative and remain reserved and personal however they do long to connect with others. What prevents this? Their fear of being vulnerable or abandoned hence they tend to keep a distance. 

Another highlighting feature of such personalities is that they dislike the ordinary lifestyles people have most probably because they feel they cannot achieve something like this in their life.

  • Self Centered
  • Strong Self Identity
  • Forward Thinking

Who Is A Type 5 Enneagram?

These individuals are very much interested in learning things that are relevant to their area of interest. They will investigate its elements and try to gather as much information as they can! The enneagram type 5 is alert, innovative but secretive at the same time.

People with this enneagram type have the ability to build complex ideas and skills; this is possible only because of their focus on the specific area they are working within and their dedication to master it.

The type 5 enneagram has an innate need to learn continuously. They want more and more information and want to increase their reservoir of knowledge. It bothers them if they have an interest in a certain thing or phenomena however, they are not able to learn more about it. Their curiosity is indeed a problem for them. At the same time, this desire to learn more about their interests distracts them from other things in their life, especially the practical ones. 

  • Quiet
  • Objective
  • Innovative
  • Detached

Who Is A Type 6 Enneagram?

A type 6 enneagram is also known as the loyalist because of their traits that include commitment and engaging with others and willing to fulfill their promises. These individuals are very hard working as well as reliable and people that can be countered. They believe in being there for others, especially their loved ones.

The type 6 enneagram is also an excellent problem solver and they are able to see where the loopholes are, why exactly there is a problem and what possible solutions there are! They are great at bringing people together for a common cause that requires cooperation and joint resources in order to solve an issue or problem!

  • Long Lasting Relations
  • Loyal
  • Trustworthy
  • Responsible

Enneagram Type 7: The Enthusiast

These individuals are versatile and spontaneous! They have a lot of energy in them and they like to be in high spirits! However, by continuously working themselves out, they can get tired and become exhausted and hence lose focus. They will become distracted and lose track of the goal they had in mind. It is obvious then that they have problems with impulsiveness and impatience.

Overall, these individuals are joyful and cheerful and that is what they emanate when they are around others. At their best, they want to focus on worthy goals that use their talents and strengths.

  • Spontaneous
  • Extraverted
  • Adventurous
  • Quick Thinking

Enneagram Type 8: The Challenger

This enneagram type can be described as confident, confrontational, decisive and assertive as well. They do not hesitate to voice out their opinions or take a stand for what they firmly believe in. Furthermore, these individuals are focused on what they want and will not stop at anything when it comes to achieving their goals or desires.

However, although they are resourceful and generally straightforward people, these enneagram types are affected by their ego and can be dominating when it comes to being around other people. They want to have what it is that makes them feel complete or whole and as we said they will do anything in their power to get it!

  • Bold
  • Confrontational
  • Aggressive
  • Success Oriented

Enneagram Type 9 – The Peacekeeper

These personalities just want everything to be okay! They desire peace and justice and will do absolutely anything to obtain this. They avoid conflict at any cost and will prefer to stay far away from it due to the suffering and pain it causes as well as the unproductive outcomes that accompany it.

The type 9 enneagram is one that fears loss and separation and they do not want to be in the bad books of anyone. This is why they are generally quite accepting and agreeable because they do not want to clash much with others even if it means not getting their point across or effectively expressing their views and why they support a certain stance!

  • Agreeable
  • Likes Peace
  • Avoids Conflict
  • Ignores Own Needs

Conclusion

This article looked at whether or not the enneagram typology system is real and what this system is all about. The article also took a look at the little known history of these enneagrams and described them in detail.

If you’ve enjoyed the ”Are Enneagrams Real?” you should take a look at ”Which Enneagram Types Are The Smartest?” too.

References

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
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