Can your Enneagram change over time? (A full guide)

In this article, we will discuss – “Can your enneagram change over time?” If you are new to enneagram and would like to know how it works, here is a full guide to understanding it better.

To begin with, Enneagram is a theory that offers an explanation for understanding the human personality in terms of nine different types. It explains the different types of personalities with the help of a geometric figure like that of a regular nine-sided polygon. According to this theory a person’s personality can be identified as one of the nine possible combinations that are inclusive of one’s beliefs, values and motivations.

Can your enneagram change?

No, it is not possible for your enneagram to change over time. Personality is made up of relatively stable traits and characteristics that form an individual’s character. These traits and characteristics are learned behaviours from the beginning of our childhood. Enneagram types do not change because our past does not change. We grow and learn as we experience new things in life but the new learning does not fade away the past learning.

Therefore, we can move to a higher developmental level in our type, manifest one or both of the wings, get the best out of our integration and disintegration types but cannot change the dominant type altogether. Read further to understand how this perspective holds valid.

What is the Enneagram?

The word enneagram comes from the Greek word “Ennea” which means nine and “Gramma” which means something that is written or drawn. Enneagram consequently literally means nine different types of illustrations. According to this theory a person’s personality can be identified as one of the nine possible combinations that are inclusive of one’s beliefs, values and motivations.

The formal definition of Enneagram is as follows:

“A system of classifying personality types that is based on a nine-pointed starlike figure inscribed within a circle in which each of the nine points represent a personality type and its psychological motivations influencing a person’s emotions, attitudes, and behaviours.

How does the 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

What are the nine types of personality?

TypeDescription
1Dominant Characteristic: Reformer – PerfectionistCore Belief: PerfectionBasic Fear: Corruptness, Imbalance, Being Bad Basic Desire: Goodness, Integrity, BalanceDisintegration Reaction Type: 4 – Individualistic Integration Reaction Type: 7 – Enthusiast
2Dominant Characteristic: Helper – GiverCore Belief: FreedomBasic Fear: Being UnlovedBasic Desire: To Feel LoveDisintegration Reaction Type: 8 – ChallengerIntegration Reaction Type:  4 – Individualistic
3Dominant Characteristic: Achiever – PerformerCore Belief: HopeBasic Fear: WorthlessnessBasic Desire: To Feel ValuableDisintegration Reaction Type: 9 – PeacemakerIntegration Reaction Type: 6 – Loyalist
4Dominant Characteristic: Individualistic – RomanticCore Belief: OriginBasic Fear: Having No IdentityBasic Desire: To Be Uniquely ThemselvesDisintegration Reaction Type: 2 – HelperIntegration Reaction Type: 1 – Reformer
5Dominant Characteristic: Investigator – ObserverCore Belief: OmniscienceBasic Fear: Helplessness, Incapability, IncompetenceBasic Desire: Mastery, UnderstandingDisintegration Reaction Type: 7 – EnthusiastIntegration Reaction Type: 8 – Challenger
6Dominant Characteristic: Loyalist – SkepticCore Belief: FaithBasic Fear: Being Without Support or GuidanceBasic Desire: To Have Support and GuidanceDisintegration Reaction Type: 3 – AchieverIntegration Reaction Type: 9 – Peacemaker
7Dominant Characteristic: Enthusiast – EpicureCore Belief: WisdomBasic Fear: Being Unfulfilled, Trapped, DeprivedBasic Desire: To Be Satisfied and ContentDisintegration Reaction Type: 1 – ReformerIntegration Reaction Type: 5 – Investigator
8Dominant Characteristic: Challenger – ProtectorCore Belief: TruthBasic Fear: Being Controlled, Harmed, ViolenceBasic Desire: Self-ProtectionDisintegration Reaction Type: 5 – InvestigatorIntegration Reaction Type: 2 – Helper
9Dominant Characteristic: Peacemaker – MediatorCore Belief: LoveBasic Fear: Loss, Fragmentation, SeparationBasic Desire: Wholeness, Peace of MindDisintegration Reaction Type: 6 – LoyalistIntegration Reaction Type: 3 – Achiever

Why cannot the enneagram type change?

As we grow older, we get innumerable opportunities to engage and interact with many people. From school to college to the workplace, we get varied opportunities to discover and showcase our skills and talents. As we move from different roles as individuals, from a child to an adolescent, to an adult, to a spouse, to a parent, and to a grandparent; we learn how to live life in a more wholesome and meaningful manner. All of this makes us wiser and stronger as we see the ups and downs in our life.

The dominant personality type is not what changes, what changes is how we look at ourselves and our personality. The enneagram has nine different personality distinctions, and each type has the potential to manifest some or the other characteristic from each of the types. Life is a continuous process of learning and it never stops as a result of which we get to play different roles and discharge different responsibilities.

Based on our situational needs, we adapt and learn to be different, but our core beliefs and values do not change. So how can we explain this change in personality?

  • It occurs because we move to a different level of development in our type. From healthy to unhealthy levels or vice versa.
  • It may occur as we discover new capabilities that our enneagram wings offer.
  • It may occur as we learn to get the best out of our stress reaction type.  
  • It may occur as we learn to get the best out of our growth reaction type.

Thus, change in personality does not mean a change or shift in enneagram type. Our associated types may fluctuate in their influence, good or bad that brings about such changes.

Conclusion 

In this article, we answered the question – “Can your enneagram type change over time?” the answer to which is a no. It is not possible to experience a change in the dominant personality type.

However, theoretically, some opinions are of the fact that once an individual reaches a point of self-actualisation it is possible to change their core type. Self-actualisation is the ultimate state of knowledge wherein an individual becomes self-aware to an extent, that they know every strength, weakness, quality, etc about themselves. Naturally, practically this is something that is very difficult to achieve. Therefore, there lies a bleak possibility in changing your core personality type.

FAQ’s 

How reliable is enneagram?

The enneagram theory of personality has been around for a long time. Specifically, the website Statistical Solutions reported that The Enneagram Institute’s Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI) is 72 percent accurate, which is a pretty high score for this type of test. 

Which enneagram has the most anxiety?

Type 6 personalities are the most prone to anxiety and stress issues. This is because that are not good at expressing themselves and try to find ways to avoid conflicts. They end up keeping a lot of their fears to themselves and are afraid to conquer them. Because of this, they are often found to be struggling with issues silently.

Which is the most difficult enneagram type?

It is widely presumed that being a type 4 is the hardest because they are highly sensitive and emotional beings. They fall under the feeling centre, go to type 1 i.e. is the action centre when flourishing and go to type 2 i.e. the feeling centre when under stress. Therefore, they really have a hard time processing their emotions and on top of that, they are often introverted as well. So 4s are found to be torn between wanting things but feeling guilty for wanting them, being irrational or erratic in their behaviour, and sometimes indecisive.

Which enneagram is the rarest?

Enneagram 8s are the rarest of all enneagram types. 8s are challengers and are said to have born leadership qualities. They enjoy challenging themselves and have enormous willpower and vitality. Some of the famous 8 personalities include Donald Trump, Pablo Picasso, & Indira Gandhi.

Which Enneagram type is the smartest?

Type 5’s are probably the smartest of all on the enneagram list owing to the unique emotional mental capabilities. They fall under the thinking category which naturally makes them problem solvers. They are always intrigued to know more about the things around them and do it in a very subtle manner. They do not show off and understand that their knowledge is their treasure. They are also fairly secretive and like to not engage in small talk much.

Which enneagram type is most likely to cheat?

The enneagram type alone does not determine how an individual would react in certain situations. It only proposes a possibility because there are numerous other factors such as values, beliefs, personal experiences, culture, norms, etc that influence an individual’s decision making. That being said, 3s, 7s and 8s are most likely to have issues with infidelity but that does not mean that they will cheat in any kind of relationship.

References 

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/how-the-enneagram-system-works#:~:text=As%20we%20have%20seen%20with,reflect%20our%20change%20over%20time.&text=You%20will%20respond%20or%20adapt,Enneagram%20from%20your%20basic%20type.

https://www.ennea.com/frequently-asked-questions/#TypeChange

https://www.quora.com/Does-Enneagram-change

https://www.personalitycafe.com/threads/is-it-possible-to-change-your-enneagram-type.1320925/

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.