Enneagram Type 1w2: Childhood (A complete guide)

In this article, we will discuss Enneagram Type 1w2 i.e. type one wing two ‘The Advocate’ and the role of their childhood in their personality development. We will do that by initially giving an introduction to enneagrams, their structure, and wings. This will follow up by describing the dominant type 1 personality and its triad. We will move on to giving an overview of its subtype i.e. type1w2. Finally, we will discuss the detailed role of childhood in their development.  

Enneagram Type 1w2: Childhood

Enneagrams type 1w2 shares primary characteristics of type 1 and secondary characteristics of type 2 personality. They are highly principled, empathic, rational, and ethical people with a degree of warmth in their approach. Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘self-judgment’. This means that they try to be their own worst critic so that by doing so they can prevent anyone from criticizing them. They are highly vigilant of any mistakes they make and abide by strict rules and ethics to justify their existence.   

Introduction to Enneagrams

Enneagrams are a map or typology of human personalities. It has its roots in spirituality, philosophy, and psychology. Multiple people contributed to its development among which George Ivanovich Gurdjieff, Oscar Ichazo, and Claudio Naranjo are the most prominent. 

It is divided into nine personality types that are spread across 3 triads i.e. Feeling triad, Thinking Triad, or Instinctive Triad. It describes a person’s fundamental psychological orientation in the form of good or bad traits and sees which triad quality i.e. emotion, intellect or instincts is most characteristic of his or her personality. 

An enneagram gives a personality type that is fluid and explains its change across time i.e. personality integration (during health, self-actualization) or disintegration (during ill health, neurosis). In other words,  a personality can become more healthy or unhealthy as it moves in different directions from its basic type. links it with other personality types.

The structure of Enneagram

Enneagram symbol is a circle that has 9 points (each point is a personality type) present on the circumference. Each type is related to another as represented by the connected lines. 3,6, 9 forms a triangle. They are primary personality types that are blocked in some way from feelings, thoughts, or instincts. Whereas 4,2,8,5,7,1 form an irregular hexagram and are secondary personality types since they are mixed and not blocked from feelings, thoughts, or instincts. Each type is the result of a dialectic. In every triad, one type overexpresses its characteristic quality, another under-expresses it and the third is mostly out of touch with it. 

Wings in Enneagrams 

Basic Personality Type is the most characteristic of a person. Whereas wings add elements to the overall personality i.e. it is the second side of it. 

Example: If you are a personality type 1, you can have wing2 or wing9. So, such a personality can be understood by knowing the traits of the basic or main type and secondary types. Usually, each personality has two wings, and both influence a person. However, at times people have one dominant wing with their basic personality type.

The Instinct Triad: Personality Types Eight, Nine, and One

• The positive and negative traits of these personalities are dominated by instinct.

• When these types are healthy, they can relate to their environment with great wisdom from within. Thus, they can become good leaders.

• When they are unhealthy, they are out of balance and find it difficult to relate to their environment and people. 

• All three personality types have common problems with repression and aggression

Enneagram Type 1: The Reformer 

Key traits: principled, orderly, perfectionistic, and self-righteous. 

Type 1 under-expresses instinct i.e.it  represses instincts due to high superego/moral conscience. So, their actions are not driven by instincts rather it is dependent on feelings of the person. It has two subtypes:

• The One with wing 9 (Type1w9)

• The one with wing 2 (Type1w2)

Type1w2: ‘The Advocate’

Enneagram Type1w2 includes basic type one personality traits and complementary traits of type 2. Both types of traits support each other. These types of people have the drive to be good in accordance with values, are righteous, balanced, selfless, rational but also warm, action-oriented, thoughtful, compassionate, empathic, kind, and idealistic personalities with an interpersonal focus. They try to educate others, do the right thing, and feel like it’s their obligation. 

One may find type 1w2 involved in reforms and public causes. Although these types have high self-control, they allow themselves channels of emotional expression. Yet, they can also be perfectionistic with a strict conscience and possibly have high self-satisfaction with doing the right thing. When they disagree about something, they are vocal about it and express their anger towards others for not following their suggestions. I

t is hard for type1w2 to be criticized by others on their ideals. So, they may try to emotionally manipulate others into feeling guilty for doing so. Unconsciously, they may deceive themselves into believing they are being righteous even if they are not. A sense of entitlement is also prominent in them. During stressful situations, type1w2 turn to outlets against their core values e.g. drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. Similarly, they may also have repressed aggression that exhibits indirectly through physical problems, conversion-like reactions, nervous breakdowns, or compulsive habits. 

Example of type 1w2: Mahatma Gandhi.

Strengths of Type1w2

• Stand for the rights of others

• Sensitive towards the needs of others

• Try to serve humanity

• Engage in societal level problem solving

• Put the needs of others before their own

Weakness of Type1w2

• Easily get frustrated

• Obsessive about self-image

• Can be overly controlling

• Self-critical of self and others

Workplace and job 

Type 1w2 prefers to work in jobs involving human interaction with the possibility to serve others and impact the world positively e.g. judge, nurse, doctor, social worker, etc. 

Source of Stress 

  • Receiving criticism from others
  • Being unable to meet other’s needs
  • Not living up to standards or expectations of others

Basic fear 

Type 1w2 fear immorality. Hence, they strive to make ethical choices.

Basic desire 

Type 1w2 desire to fight for the rights of the weak and less fortunate. They are driven to make a difference in the world. Regarding emotions, they have a tendency to redirect their feelings in order to feel in control. This backfires at times when their emotions spill in the form of sudden external outbursts. 

Type 1w2 Childhood/development

We become any personality depending on how we have learned to respond to the world growing up. Our early childhood particularly our relationship with our parents governs how we unconsciously adapt to our family and the world. Genetics and temperament have their own role as well. A person remains one personality type throughout life but may change and grow to develop healthy or unhealthy traits. 

Type one is the way they are because during their childhood they were disconnected from a parental figure with a protective role (mostly it is the father but not always). Thus, they are not exposed to limits or guidelines of discipline. Due to this, their superego which is dependent on the structure in the family, may not develop properly. Consequently, they may feel that family rules are strict or unfair. So, they go out in search of developing their own guidelines which ultimately becomes their strict rigorous code of ethics as adults. 

Type ones think they can use this strategy to avoid blame by always remaining blameless. Their superego gives them the message  “You are not acceptable as you are; you must be better, always better.”. Families that are more disciplinary or chaotic can lead to even harsher messages than this. 

Since such children had to be alert to avoid criticism, their emotions and impulses start getting repressed. They begin to internalize the role of the punishing father and act in accordance with it in later life. Following childhood experiences may shape the type one personality:

  • Absent, abusive, or unfair treatment by a parental figure having the protective role
  • A strict moral and religious upbringing that threatens the child with infinite punishment from God and the father for being impulsive or pleasure-seeking i.e. exhibiting natural child-like behavior 
  • A child may have a normal childhood but want to strive for higher meaning and values
  • The child may not have been allowed to act like a child i.e. pushed to behave like an adult ahead of time. 

Due to these experiences, such children may decide that they need to rely on themselves if they want to have structure, discipline, or some direction in life. They become their own parents and think they can do a better job. They don’t rebel against the criticism done on them as children rather they adopt it in their conscience as an adult. So, they feel guilty for disobeying the self-set ethical standards. 

As adults, Type One feels angry for having the burden to be perfect. Seeing others who don’t have much control over their feelings and impulses makes them angry. So we can say that when they are angry at others, they are angry at themselves for not being perfect. As a counterreaction, they try to find faults in other people. However, this aggression is not explosive. It is merely a sign of putting a lot of pressure on oneself. They continue to strive to be the ideal self and deny themselves the right to be human as the fear of being condemned scares them greatly. 

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Healthy type Ones are tolerant, reasonable, and accepting of the idea that their ideas are not applicable to all. In contrast, unhealthy type Ones have a complex idea of being virtuosic humans who punish others for minor mistakes without mercy and think of their own self as a higher being.

 FAQs: Type 1w2-Childhood

What is Type 1 personality?

Type 1 personality is rational, ethical, and highly principled. They fear immorality and strive to make ethical choices. They are driven to practice justice and equality.

What is Type 1w2?

Type 1w2 or Type1 wing2 is an enneagram personality subtype. It has core characteristics of type One personality and complementary characteristics of type two personality. 

What is the rarest enneagram?

Type Four: The individualist in the rarest enneagram. This is possibly because they are introverts and prefer to be by themselves.

Which enneagram is the smartest?

Type Five enneagram are considered the most intelligent among the nine types. However, any type can be brilliant and intellectually gifted. 


In this article, we discussed enneagram type 1w2 in detail and the role of childhood in their development. We found that enneagrams type 1w2 shares primary characteristics of type 1 and secondary characteristics of type 2 personality. They are highly principled, empathic, rational, and ethical people with a degree of warmth in their approach. Their core childhood conflict that makes them the way they are is ‘self-judgment’. This means that they try to be their own worst critic so that by doing so they can prevent anyone from criticizing them. They are highly vigilant of any mistakes they make and abide by strict rules and ethics to justify their existence.   

I hope you found this article interesting. If you have any queries or comments, please state them in the comment section 😊




Personality Types – Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Don Richard Riso with Russ Hudson

The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson

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