What Are Enneagrams (A Complete Guide)
This article will take a look at what enneagrams basically are and what components make them different from other personality systems such as those introduced by the MBTI personality inventory. The article will also list some enneagrams as examples to show the audience how this system works and how it classifies personalities.
Enneagrams – The Components That Make Them Up
Enneagrams are a personality system that have distinct characteristics as compared to other systems that represent the realm of personality. These characteristics include the following:
We will take a look at these in more detail however we will first give a general introduction to the topic first.
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
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!
Enneagrams – The Components That Make Them Up
In this section we will take a look at the components that not only make up the enneagram system but also make them unique from other personality systems like that of the MBTI.
Like other personality typologies, the enneagram one also highlights the traits of the personalities it has in its system. For every enneagram it has, it has highlighted a distinct set of traits that describe the enneagram in a detailed manner so people have an idea of how they behave. For example, one enneagram may be bold and courageous while another may be shy and quiet.
Each enneagram has a set of strengths that differentiate it from other enneagrams and adds to its overall personality. These strengths are also indirectly related to its desires that give it the motivation to move on in life. Some enneagrams may have strengths like being able to remain calm in a stressful situation while others may be great negotiators; each enneagram has their own set of strengths.
Naturally, strengths are accompanied by weaknesses so each enneagram also has a set of weaknesses that stem from its fears. Nonetheless, these weaknesses make the enneagram vulnerable to the outside world and may include ones like not being able to sustain relationships, becoming afraid of confronting someone about their behaviour or being unable to take a stand for themselves.
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.
What is quite unique about the enneagram typology is that it highlights the fears of each enneagram. The fears of an enneagram are quite integral to their personality and affect other components such as desires and weaknesses. An enneagram usually has one central theme for a fear such as the fear of being controlled or the fear of not being loved.
It is natural to have desires and hence enneagrams also have their own desires. Similar to fears, the enneagram type usually has one central theme for a desire such as becoming quite powerful or gaining love and recognition.
A very unique thing about the enneagram system is the fact that it acknowledges that personalities may overlap and they represent this through the use of wings. Enneagrams may share traits from ‘neighboring’ enneagrams. So, for example, the type 5 enneagram may have a wing from either the type 4 or 6 enneagram.
Enneagram Examples – 1,5,7,9
We will look at 4 types of enneagrams in this section just for the sake of giving examples.
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
- Right & Wrong
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.
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.
- Quick Thinking
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!
- Likes Peace
- Avoids Conflict
- Ignores Own Needs
This article not only looked at what enneagrams are but also explained how they are different because of the components that make them up, from other personality representations. The article also provided some examples of enneagrams for the understanding of the audience.