Can Enneagram Wings Change? (Explaining the phenomenon)

In this article, we look at how Enneagram wings work and answer the question – “Can enneagram wings change.” 

Enneagram is a theory that offers an explanation of the human psyche categorising personality into Nine distinct types. Each type is representative of the distinct characteristics we develop based on core beliefs central to each type. The core belief is like a pair of spectacles that colours our perception in view of what virtue we consider crucial to our existence. The theory suggests that as an individual, we all possess innumerable traits and therefore, personality is not a static phenomenon. It is highly fluid and dynamic indicating a connection between each of the nine types. As complex and inter-twined the personality types may be, there is a logical explanation to how this works. 

Can Enneagram Wings Change?

Enneagram wings cannot change drastically but there can be modifications and changes if one makes a conscious attempt to improve. To know how this happens and what you can do to change your enneagram wings, keep reading further as we explain in detail the phenomenon. 

How does Enneagram work?

The Enneagram types are best explained by the nine-pointed geometric symbol. The circle points to a holistic view of life and the shapes within indicate how it is fragmented internally. The nine points are symbolic of the nine types which are to be followed in a clockwise direction. Each point is connected to two other points in order to complete a triangle – 3 in total. The three points are understood as:

  • The Dominant characteristic – This the predominant type that is characteristic of the specific roles
  • The Stress/Disintegration characteristic – This is the subtype that influences the individual in times of crisis 
  • The Security/Integration characteristic – This is the subtype that influences the individual in times of abundance 
Fictional Characters and the Enneagram – One Page at a Time

The Nine Types explained

TYPEDOMINANT CHARACTERISTICCORE BELIEFBASIC FEARBASIC DESIREDISINTEGRATION REACTIONINTEGRATION REACTION
1Reformer – PerfectionistPerfectionCorruptness, imbalance, being badGoodness, integrity, balance4 – Individualistic7 – Enthusiast
2Helper – GiverFreedomBeing unlovedTo feel love8 – Challenger4 – Individualistic
3Achiever – PerformerHopeWorthlessnessTo feel valuable9 – Peacemaker6 – Loyalist
4Individualistic – RomanticOriginHaving no identity or significanceTo be uniquely themselves2 – Helper1 – Reformer
5Investigator – ObserverOmniscienceHelplessness, incapability, incompetenceMastery, understanding7 – Enthusiast8 – Challenger
6Loyalist – SkepticFaithBeing without support or guidanceTo have support and guidance3 – Achiever9 – Peacemaker
7Enthusiast – EpicureWisdomBeing unfulfilled, trapped, deprivedTo be satisfied and content1 – Reformer5 – Investigator
8Challenger – ProtectorTruthBeing controlled, harmed, violenceSelf-protection5 – Investigator2 – Helper
9Peacemaker – MediatorLoveLoss, fragmentation, separationWholeness, peace of mind6 – Loyalist3 – Achiever


What are “WINGS”?

The types on either side of each core type are called “Wings.” The enneagram personality theorists propound that the wings are representative of related personality styles of whose characteristics one might possess to a certain extent. The basic assumption behind this understanding is that an individual’s basic personality type can be modified. 

Type & WingDescription
1 w 9 Realistic & detail-oriented perfectionists
1 w 2Social & ethical 
2 w 1Empathetic & caring individuals
2 w 3Social & work-oriented organisers
3 w 2Optimistic go-getters & Socially popular
3 w 4Motivated & organised leaders
4 w 3Artistic & charismatic
4 w 5Passionate creators with a mission
5 w 4Individualistic & loners
5 w 6Free spirited & curious
6 w 5Resourceful & responsible
6 w 7Fun-loving & cheerful
7 w 6Happy-go-lucky & entertaining
7 w 8Innovative & curious
8 w 7Confident & determined
8 w 9Collectivistic leader
9 w 8Independent & wanderer
9 w 1Pragmatic & collected

How do wings work?

The basic personality type is what characteristics one possesses primarily, but the wings are more like complementary characteristics that add to one’s overall personality. The wings are considered as the “Second-side” of one’s personality as there is a high possibility of presence of such characteristics in varied proportions. As a matter of fact, it is also possible to have one dominant wing or both wings in equity. Debates and discussions have occurred numerous times in the past to determine whether there exist one wings or two – the catch though, is just the possibility of their presence. 

The wings are symbolic of a possibility that an individual is likely to manifest characteristics that may not be central to the dominant personality type. They can be looked at as “Helpers” as they indicate areas of potential to explore and discover one’s manifested personality. The knowledge of wings associated with each type gives us the opportunity to unlock our hidden talents and generate a greater understanding of the self. 

Can Enneagram types change wings?

Wings can significantly influence an individual’s thought process and behavioural patterns. Sometimes, they may also become so strong that it might be difficult to understand the true personality type because of the overarching wing. So, is it possible to change your wing? 

The answer is a no and a yes. As mentioned previously, the level of strength of each wing may vary based on individual differences and it is possible to have one dominant wing as well. But to be able to change your entirely to another type, has potential because there is a possibility. 

One may develop during the course of time, what is known as a “Secondary Wing” The secondary wing is one of the other 7 types that an individual may embody as a result of psychological and spiritual enlightenment. This may sound heavy, but the concept is very much like self-actualisation. 

If one is able to understand their true self to the core, it is possible to make a conscious effort to change certain traits or characteristics. However, it is not possible to remove the adjacent wings entirely because they will have a certain degree of influence more or less. 

Additionally, it is also worth noting, that the second wing can only be one that most closely complements the basic enneagram type. One cannot develop a wing that may be entirely contrasting to the core type and pre-dominant characteristics.

 The discussion only stands valid in the context of individual differences as there is no specific formulae or explanation to elaborate how one can change their enneagram wing. 

Some Tips to Enhance One’s Enneagram Wings

  • Self-awareness:
    • In order to be able to understand the presence or absence of the wings, it is first and foremost that one must be self-aware. 
    • Being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses will bring you in tune with your thoughts and actions that you may be able to change once you understand why you do what you do. 
  • Understand your personality:
    • To enhance self-awareness, one needs to understand what personality traits one possesses predominantly. 
    • Try to take a free online test that may help you better understand your enneagram type. 
    • Once identified, read more and more about your enneagram type and understand yourself better. 
  • Be non-judgemental:
    • Acceptance is key. 
    • You must be open to possibilities and accept yourself as you are. 
    • There is no perfect type of personality and there is always room for improvement because personality is not static, it is dynamic. 
  • Practice:
    • Once you know yourself inside out, you know areas of weakness or opportunities where you would want to improve. 
    • Make conscious efforts to actively practice the trait and imbibe the characteristic. 
    • The goal is to make it a reflex action, rather than a forced response. 

FAQ’S: Can Enneagram Wings Change

Can I change my personality entirely? 

The answer is a yes and a no. Personality is a collection of relatively stable characteristics and traits possessed by each individual. Categorization into a type depends upon the dominant characteristics but this does not entirely eliminate the possibility of presence of other characteristics which in fact may be present in varied limits. 

Can I change my enneagram type?

It is not possible to change the basic type entirely. However, one can work on their strengths and weaknesses to enhance their personality. By actively making an effort to change our behaviour or stress responses, one can increase or decrease the impact of a certain characteristic trait. 

How do I identify my wing?

Wings are the adjacent personality types to the basic personality type. To understand the wings, it is crucial to understand the basic personality type which can be determined via reading and self-understanding or taking up a free online psychometric test. So, for example, you are a type 1, your two wings would be type 9 and type 2. 

Conclusion

In this article, we looked at how Enneagram wings work and answered the question – “Can enneagram wings change.” Change occurs if we are looking for it. Change takes place if we make an effort for it. Becoming self-aware and understanding ourselves better is the only possible way to bring about a change in your personality. This change will not happen overnight, it has to be a consistent effort to change our thoughts and actions to change and develop our personality further. 

References

https://theenneagraminbusiness.com/9-types/3-triangles-9-3-6-1-4-7-2-5-8/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enneagram_of_Personality

https://www.typologycentral.com/forums/enneagram/97285-wings-change.html

https://www.truity.com/enneagram/what-is-enneagram

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/how-the-enneagram-system-works

https://www.truity.com/blog/guide-enneagram-wings-what-are-they-all-about#

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/enneagram-wings

Geetanjali soni is an Organisational psychologist from Bangalore, India. She wishes to promote psychology as a subject by bringing psychological principles to the professional world and generating experiences for people

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