Enneagram Type 1w9: Childhood (A complete guide)

In this article, we will discuss Enneagram Type 1w9 i.e. type one wing nine ‘The Idealist’ 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. type 1w9. Finally, we will discuss the detailed role of childhood in their development.  

Enneagram Type 1w9: Childhood

Enneagram type 1w9 has the primary characteristics of type 1 and secondary characteristics of type 9 personality. These people are objective, rational, and calm in their approach with a strong sense of right and wrong. They strive for justice and equality. 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. Enneagram also links one personality type 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. Points 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 over-expresses its characteristic quality, another under-expresses it, and the third is mostly out of touch with it. 

Wings in Enneagrams 

The 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 the secondary types. Usually, each personality has two wings, and both influence a person. However, at times people have one dominant wing along 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 linked 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 the feelings of the person. It has two subtypes:

• The One with wing 9 (Type 1w9)

• The one with wing 2 (Type 1w2)

Type 1w9: ‘The Idealist’

Type 1w9 means people with type one personality have secondary traits of type nine personality. Such personalities are highly idealistic yet detached from the people. They appear disconnected and impersonal to others. Type one with wing nine is in conflict within themselves because type one strives to provoke change whereas type nine wants to avoid that. As a result, such people distance themselves and observe & evaluate their surroundings logically. 

Healthy versions of these personalities are objective with reasonable judgment, spiritual, scholarly, and attracted to nature and art rather than people. Although they are not emotionally expressive, they make loyal & generous friends, good speakers, articulate writers, and educators of good principles.  They try to raise awareness through their skills of verbal and written expression yet they are pessimistic at times about whether their advice will be taken by others or not. They avoid politics yet spread their teachings in an abstract manner devoid of any personal or emotional component. Although type Ones get angry, yet this type is more sarcastic, stiff, and impatient than aggressive. They prefer being alone, push away people who disagree with their worldview, and rigidly hold strong opinions.

Unhealthy versions of this personality see other people as the problem and source of evil in the world. They compulsively take action to eradicate such sources and can cause other harm in the process. Yet, they don’t understand what they are doing is wrong in the name of idealism. 

Example: Noam Chomsky, C.S Lewis, Thomas Jefferson

Strengths of Type 1w9

  • Detail-oriented
  • Stands up for the rights of others
  • A logical yet imaginative world-view
  • Considerate about community
  • Follows personal values

Weakness of Type 1w9

  • Detached
  • Low negativity tolerance
  • Critical of self and others
  • Stubborn

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.

Workplace and job 

Type 1w9 prefers to work in jobs that enable them to impact the world positively e.g. judge, social worker, guidance counselor, journalist, environmentalist, etc. 

Source of Stress for type 1w9

  • Receiving criticism from others
  • Being perceived as weak
  • Not being able to make a difference
  • Being ignored
  • Being exposed to corruption and evil in the world

Basic fear 

Type 1w9 fear unethical and corrupt behavior. Hence, they strive to make ethical choices by being objective and emotionally detached.

Basic desire 

Type 1w9 wants to be morally good. They try to stand up for the rights of others through teaching or discussion. They push themselves to avoid negativity by emotionally detaching themselves from situations, distracting themselves or completely withdrawing. 

Type 1w9 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 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 guidelines themselves 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 such type’s superego to give 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 counter-reaction, 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. 

Healthy type Ones are tolerant, reasonable, and accepting of the idea that their ideas do not apply 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 themself as a higher being.

 FAQs: Type 1w9-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 1w9?

Type 1w9 or Type1 wing9 is an enneagram personality subtype. It has core characteristics of type One personality and complementary characteristics of type nine personality. 

What is the rarest enneagram?

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

Which enneagram has the most anxiety?

Type six enneagram i.e. ‘The loyalist’  are considered to have the most anxiety among the nine types. 


In this article, we discussed enneagram type 1w9 in detail and the role of childhood in their development. We found that enneagram type 1w9 shares primary characteristics of type 1 and secondary characteristics of type 9 personality. They are objective, rational, and calm in their approach with a strong sense of right and wrong. They strive for justice and equality. 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 😊




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