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MOTM February 2014
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What is the Enneagram?
The Enneagram is personality system consisting of nine basic motivations and fears. It began as psychospiritual, but now many see it as a more "materialistic" (non-spiritual) typology. The intent of the Enneagram is to discover our ego defenses and move past them in an effort to develop as a person. This process of growth is not easy and requires a lot of research, introspection, and work.


How is the Enneagram different from MBTI?
MBTI deals with "how" you think, how you take in and process information. Enneagram, on the other hand, is the "why" behind your actions, what ultimately motivates you. Sometimes these "whys" can be quite elusive, even to yourself.

MBTI is a "happier" system. Their descriptions tend to emphasize strengths and don't often explain how to develop. Enneagram is often perceived as negative because it points out both strengths and weaknesses. Discovering your weaknesses is a way to facilitate the growth process, so don't get discouraged.

There are NO ABSOLUTE CORRELATIONS between the two systems. Some types are more likely in an MBTI type, yet no combination is impossible.

A common misconception for both typologies is that they try to tell you how you behave. The Enneagram isn't about behavior, it's about the why behind your behavior. This means that sometimes you'll come across an insecure 3 who still cares deeply about their image and success, or an introverted 7 who prefers solitary mental distractions rather than social ones, and other non-stereotypical behaviors for various types.


What is core type?
Core type is the type you are first, the most dominant of your personality. It explains the most about you, its fears drive you. This type is what everything else is filtered through. Even if your core type is 9 and you notice yourself displaying type 2 traits, it's often because of a 9-influenced reason. Your core type cannot change throughout life.


What are wings?
Each type is affected by various types in the Enneagram circle. Wings are the two types next to your core. For a type 3, the wings available would be 2 and 4. The easiest way to explain this is to say that a type 3 will always have the motivations of 3, yet display certain 2 or 4 characteristics. An alternate way of looking at wings is that they provide additional coping mechanisms: for example, a 3 with 2 characteristics is more likely to cope by appearing helpful and personable, while a 3 with 4 characteristics is more likely to cope by appearing aloof and individualistic.

The majority of people have a noticeable dominant wing, written as "3w2" or "3w4." Some feel like both of their wings are either weak or strong, that the surrounding types affect them a little or a lot, but still have a dominant wing regardless; this would still be written the same way as before. There are a few who have no wings, which would simply be written as "type 3." Others may feel like their wings are balanced, or equal in strength; you might see this written as "3wB."

It is important to note that most people will have traits from both wings. A 3w4 can be helpful and a 3w2 can be individualistic. This does not make the wings balanced, as it doesn't mean one wing isn't more noticeable overall. Sometimes it requires much self-observation to find out which wing is prominent.


What about the instinctual variants?
This is one of the most confusing parts about the Enneagram, so don't worry if you don't understand it yet. Here is a short overview...

There are three instincts: self-preservation (SP), social (SOC), and sexual (SX). SP is often characterized by an interest in health, safety, and security. SOC has an eye on the interpersonal, political, and species survival. SX deals with intensity, chemistry between people, and expression. SP is not the "introverted" function, SOC is not the "extroverted" function, and SX is not the "sex drive" function.

For most people, one instinct will be strong, one will be moderate, and the last will be weak. We show these strengths by writing them in order: for example, SO/SP/SX. You'll usually just see the format of "SO/SP," because the following "/SX" is a given. This is called an instinctual stacking, or sometimes a subtype.


How does tritype work?
Tritype comes from the idea that we have primary coping mechanisms based in three areas: image (heart), fear (head), and anger (gut). The types associated with each area are:
Image: 2, 3, 4
Fear: 5, 6, 7
Anger: 8, 9, 1

Your tritype consists of one type from each triad. Out of the 27 possibilities, a valid example would be 258 or 469. You cannot have two types from a triad in your tritype, so an invalid example would be 249 or 651.

Tritype is written in order of core –> next strongest type –> weaker type. So, a core 1 with a lot of 6 and a bit of 4 in them would write their tritype as 164. A person with the same tritype but a different core might be a 416. Each "secondary" type is called a fix, so the 146 is core 1 with 6 and 4 fixes.

You can have wings on each of your fixes. The 164 might be a 1w2-6w5-4w5, or maybe a 1w9-6w7-4w3, or any wing combination thereof. Additionally, instinctual stackings are same for each type in your tritype. In this case, if the stacking is SX/SO, the core 1 would be SX/SO and the 4 and 6 fixes would be SX/SO, too. (There are other theories regarding instincts, but this is the one held by most.)

Tritype is a way of explaining differences between two people of a core type, but it is not an excuse to have atypical characteristics of core type. For example, a core 2 is always going to be other-focused, so a 259 cannot claim their tritype as a reason to be a jaded loner who never seeks out others. Instead, a 259 would likely be introverted yet still desire to be loved via helping others, perhaps by sharing knowledge or giving advice. In comparison, a 278 would likely be more upbeat and extroverted, perhaps helping others by doing tasks or offering outings.

When talking about a general tritype, order does not matter: a 379 is the same as a 937. The idea is that the traits described will be similar enough to not bother writing specific content for core types. It's still a good idea to keep core type in mind, regardless: a 937 will seek peace more than a 379 will, even though both would want it.

It is okay to not use tritypes. Most of what the Enneagram deals with can be explained by core type alone. In fact, the best advice regarding tritype is to ignore it if you don't know your core and its influence on you.


What's disintegration and integration?
This is a way to show how "healthy" a person is by type. A person will develop maladjusted traits of another type when "unhealthy," and they will adopt average or well-adjusted traits of another type when "healthy." Integration is what we naturally strive to become, while disintegration a coping mechanism for stress; this process happens even if we are unaware of the Enneagram.

There is a pattern. For non-primary types, the disintegration pattern is 1-4-2-8-5-7-1, with the integration pattern simply reversed. This means that a 1 will adopt negative 4 traits when under stress, a 4 will adopt negative 2 traits, and so on. Similarly, a 1 will adopt positive 7 traits when secure, a 7 will adopt positive 5 traits, and so on. For these types, (dis)integration is often fairly straight-forward.

The primary types (3, 6, 9) are situated in a triangle. They are the centers of each triad we previously discussed. Their disintegration pattern is 9-6-3-9 and the integration is again reversed. However, many primary types report feeling like they display both good and bad traits of each type in this triangle: a 6 may find themselves apathetic (9) and wearing a mask (3) when unhealthy, while becoming calm (9) and productive (3) when healthy.


Anything more about triads?
Triads are groupings of three types which have similar traits. There are several different groupings and to explain them all would require a post in itself (which have already been written by others); I will not do so. Links are provided at the end of the post. In addition to the basic heart, head, gut triads, we have:

Hornevian (Freudian)
Compliant (Superego): 1, 2, 6
Assertive (Id): 3, 7, 8
Withdrawn (Ego): 4, 5, 9

Harmonic
Competency: 1, 3, 5
Positive Outlook: 2, 7, 9
Reactive: 4, 6, 8

Object relation
Frustration: 1, 4, 7
Rejection: 2, 5, 8
Attachment: 3, 6, 9

Triads are useful to explain why certain types can look alike. For example, an 8 will be driven for excitement much like a 7 and 3 due to them all being assertive / id types.

Triads can also help with finding your tritype, as you may feel like you're influenced by one triad over another. It is impossible to not be a double-triader (having two types of one triad in your tritype), though often a triple-triader is encouraged to reconsider other types. We can often be confused by our core's triads, which is, again, the type driving the show. If your two strongest types are 3 and 5, then reconsider that 1 fix, because you already have a healthy dose of Competency; your gut fix may be a disguised 8 or 9 instead. It is especially common for introverts to mistype as a 459, as they can easily over-identify with withdrawn behaviors.


What are some good online resources?
Descriptions –
Ocean Moonshine
Timeless' Enneagram Article Series
Typewatch Enneagram: Type Descriptions

Instinctual variants –
http://personalitycafe.com/enneagram-personality-theory-forum/118168-resource-thread-instinctual-variants-stackings.html
http://personalitycafe.com/enneagram-personality-theory-forum/39871-tritypes-instinctual-variants-sp-sx-so-explained.html

Triads –
http://personalitycafe.com/enneagram-personality-theory-forum/5824-enneagram-triads.html
http://personalitycafe.com/articles/47315-freudian-theory-enneagram.html
Q & A on Object Relations
The Harmonic Groups

Miscellaneous –
The Arrows and the Levels (Alternate explanation of [dis]integration.)
How the Enneagram Personality System Works
 

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Excellent
thanks:)

This is a great way to introduce the Enneagram to newcomers and encourage discussion on relevant topics.
@TreeBob
A lot of people ask these questions, and it's great to have them all concisely addressed in one thread. I'd like this to be stickied, because of the frequency at which these questions are raised around here.
 

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Ace of Spades
7w6 4w3 1w9 sp/so; Ni/Ne/Te-dom
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Sweet! I would include a list of recommended books as well (one of the mods can edit that in as per request).
 

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MOTM February 2014
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Discussion Starter #6
Sweet! I would include a list of recommended books as well (one of the mods can edit that in as per request).
Thanks for pointing that out. In the meantime, I made the distinction between online and books. I'll need longer to compile a list of published works xD

I also added in a paragraph of how Enneagram =/= behavior. It's a stereotype I see floating around the MBTI subforums for some reason.
 

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Your tritype consists of one type from each triad. Out of the 27 possibilities, a valid example would be 258 or 469. You cannot have two types from a triad in your tritype, so an invalid example would be 249 or 651.
...
Triads can also help with finding your tritype, as you may feel like you're influenced by one triad over another. It is impossible to not be a double-triader (having two types of one triad in your tritype), though often a triple-triader is encouraged to reconsider other types.
Isn't this contradicting itself? The double-negative in the second paragraph means it is possible to have two types from a triad while the first says it isn't.

Other than that this is a great intro :happy:
 

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Great post, I'm glad you posted the 459 as a common mistype. I was once mistyped as a 459 myself. I see it a lot on the forum and I think the enneagram tritype test tends to give that as a result a lot (especially for introverts, like you mentioned). So, some people might have this tritype, but you should be wary if you get it as a result. Research is essential! ^_^
 

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MOTM February 2014
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Discussion Starter #9
Isn't this contradicting itself? The double-negative in the second paragraph means it is possible to have two types from a triad while the first says it isn't.

Other than that this is a great intro :happy:
Honestly, I assumed that people would understand that a person would be a double in a triad listed in that section, not the triads listed the tritype section. Of course, I realize I shouldn't assume such. Unfortunately, I can't edit for clarification anymore.

Thanks :)
 

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MOTM Jan 2012
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You're reading my mind, @Paradigm. An excellent and succinct introduction. I was just thinking how much we needed one of these threads. I was actually thinking about making an FAQ thread solely devoted to tritypes, given the volume of the same questions about tritype that I see. But I think this is just as, if not more, essential.
 
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MOTM January 2013
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Isn't this contradicting itself? The double-negative in the second paragraph means it is possible to have two types from a triad while the first says it isn't.

Other than that this is a great intro :happy:
I think Para was talking about only having one head type etc. And the second paragraph, she talks about a different set of triads, positive/reactive/withdrawn etc. It might help to get acquainted with the different groups of triads.
 

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MOTM February 2014
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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
@suicidal_orange, apologies if I was being snippy, I've been under some stress this week. I'll try to better explain the issue.

Tritype works by having ONE type from the main triads: image (heart), fear (head), and anger (gut). With these triads only, you cannot double-up: being 239 or 561, and so on, is not possible. It's these triads that the Enneagram starts off with. They're the most basic.

However, the other, slightly more "advanced," triad groups--Hornevian, Harmonic, and Object Relation--have no rules when it comes to double- or triple-tritype. Let's take some valid tritypes:

359 - double competency (35x), double withdrawn (x59)
278 - double positive-outlook (27x), double rejection (2x8), double assertive/id (x78)
468 - triple reactive
258 - triple rejection

If you take a closer look at these more "complex" groups, you'll see the basic groups being considered, too. To be triple reactive, you need one heart (4), head (6), and gut (8) type. This is the same for all the "advanced" triads: there's no double- or triple-heart/head/gut type in any of them. That's exactly why it is possible to double-up on those, because if you do, then you can't double-up on the basics.
 

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Tritype works by having ONE type from the main triads: image (heart), fear (head), and anger (gut). With these triads only, you cannot double-up: being 239 or 561, and so on, is not possible. It's these triads that the Enneagram starts off with. They're the most basic.

However, the other, slightly more "advanced," triad groups--Hornevian, Harmonic, and Object Relation--have no rules when it comes to double- or triple-tritype. Let's take some valid tritypes:

359 - double competency (35x), double withdrawn (x59)
278 - double positive-outlook (27x), double rejection (2x8), double assertive/id (x78)
468 - triple reactive
Of course :blushed: I was just on an ego trip that I'd finally managed to contribute something useful, but no. Probably best that l leave educating the masses to those willing and able to accurately articulate things :happy:
 

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Correlations, don't know how much this comes from evidence, statistics or research but I found it awesomely interesting.
Type Correlations
 
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MOTM February 2014
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Correlations, don't know how much this comes from evidence, statistics or research but I found it awesomely interesting.
Type Correlations
I appreciate your post, but please allow me to explain my thoughts...

There's several problems with correlation "studies," the main one being mistypes. There's a ton of reasons why people mistype. Here's an example: The ExxP types are often correlated with type 7, but it's more likely the types simply share traits. Same with NT 5, NF 4, SJ 6, etc... They share stereotypical behavioral traits, frequently glossing over the motivations driving them.

However, I do agree with the notion that there's certain Enneagram types which are more prevalent in an MBTI group. INFPs, for example, are often 4, 6, or 9; ESFJs are often 2, 3, or 6. But to say/imply this is a hard and fast rule, that INFPs are only 4/6/9 or that ESFJs are only 2/3/6, that's where I get really frustrated at how wrong it is. This is--or has been--a relatively common claim/belief, and I wish to dispel it.
 

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@Paradigm

can you clarify at all about lines of integration/disintegration and the correlating points of security and action/stress?

I'm reading Helen Palmer's 'understanding you and the others...'

And her perspective seems different from what other sources explain. She mentions the 'security integrators' and how there is preference for this in the community to integrate to our security point.

Am I reading into this correctly? I'll use core 6 as an example.

First: that disintegration is not inherently a bad thing; a 6 will always act in response to stress in a 3ish manner, and if comfortable and secure in life, will act in a 9ish manner. Likewise, a 5 wing going to 7 under stress, and so forth.

Second: And how and why they act will be based upon their level of health at the time. So it seems the emphasis should be being at healthier level, which correlates to integration

Third: Integration is not strictly achieved by going towards the security point. Thus a 'highly integrated 6' is simply not embodying the best parts of 9/ or a very disintegrated, unhealthy 6 who looks like a 3.
That integration is achieving higher aspects of ALL types connected to the core: 3, 9, 7, 1; that disintegration is taking on all lower aspects of all relevant types.

Four: The lines of integration to 9 and disintegration to 3 thus seem confusing: Because that implies that a 6 only disintegrates to 3, 7 or 1. Which makes taking on unhealthy aspects of 9, 5 and 8 impossible because 6 doesn't disintegrate to them.
The only way it makes sense is if you rename them the "line to security" and the "line to stress/action" which I think Palmer alludes to. Because that way there is no overwhelming preference to integrate just to your security type: integration is a 360 degree process, and so is disintegration.

Five: If you were to look at the whole process as one big diagram (as I've seen on some sites) with all 9 health levels stacked on top of each other in a cylinder, that the process of individuation/integration is a vertical one, level by level, taking on the attributes of every type along with it, especially those directly connected to core. That, to get healthier, a 6 simply doesn't try to get back to their security point (9) at the same level of health, although I imagine it helps move them up a few levels.

Am I correct in understanding this? I favor Palmer's theory more than other sources I've read. I find this interesting, because I've mistyped as 9 under the guise of 'I was a disintegrating/unhealthy 9 who acted like a 6'
But according to what I understand from Palmer and my own guesses, a 9 will always act a little bit like 6, a little bit like 3, especially if they are comfortable or at stress; that the stress point isn't a bad thing, if it was, how would we cope? Thus it must have redeeming qualities. It serves a function, but our fixation can let that coping mechanism runnith overboard and take on negative traits of the stress point.
 

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MOTM February 2014
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Discussion Starter #17
Integration is not strictly achieved by going towards the security point. Thus a 'highly integrated 6' is simply not embodying the best parts of 9/ or a very disintegrated, unhealthy 6 who looks like a 3.
That integration is achieving higher aspects of ALL types connected to the core: 3, 9, 7, 1; that disintegration is taking on all lower aspects of all relevant types.
Yeah, I've read a little about wings (dis)integrating (there's a few threads about it, as well), and I don't see it as inherently flawed... More like adding an extra level of complexity most people don't need. For most people, the core type's lines are more than enough as they are more obvious, much like how the wings aren't always an obvious influence.

There's various theories on (dis)integration, and it's up to you to decide which theory works best for yourself. I tend to stick with the common "3-6-9" lines, whereas some people aren't especially sold that those lines are accurate. I do think typing via these lines will get you into more trouble than its worth, and it's better to look at your life as a whole than at one period when you may have been (un)healthy.

I like the theorists who suggest that going to our integration point can be done when we are too comfortable in our life. "Security point" is a great way of putting this. We get into certain behaviors that seem good on the outside, but in reality lead to stagnation.

I've read that some believe true integration involves embracing all types of the Enneagram as a part of yourself. We naturally push certain things to the back of our minds, and achieving true health means not rejecting these anymore.

But according to what I understand from Palmer and my own guesses, a 9 will always act a little bit like 6, a little bit like 3, especially if they are comfortable or at stress; that the stress point isn't a bad thing, if it was, how would we cope? Thus it must have redeeming qualities. It serves a function, but our fixation can let that coping mechanism runnith overboard and take on negative traits of the stress point.
Yeah, that sounds about right. We have so many influences that it can be hard to pin down where they come from.

Some believe we go to our stress point before the really bad unhealthy behaviors begin. So a 6 would go to 3 before acting like RH's lowest levels of health. This makes sense to me, as the mind will protect itself at all costs, and making a "detour" to our stress point would be another way of coping.
 

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@Paradigm

Right. I think for me, I've spent so much time looking within that I see influences from wings and other types, because strictly learning about my security/stress points wasn't enough to explain what I observed my whole life.
i.e., my brother told me recently 'you're starting to get like me' (very argumentative and openly expressing anger) and he's an 8. And I don't doubt I have some connection to 8 that is now being triggered more.
I also have had a point in my life where my self-image was very similar to a 7: I am an explorer, an experiencer, savoring all the good things in life.

Alas, as you say and I agree - Looking at the bigger picture is more important than what I observe at any specific point in time.

I respect both parts of the security integration vs stress integration arguments. Because I can see how one can disintegrate (stagnate, lose touch with themselves) when in a really secure, numbing, comfortable environment.
I can also see how they can integrate from this, if they 'wake up' a bit.

The stress integration I like because Palmer along with Gurdjieff call it stepping on people's toes, or pushing their buttons. Going right to the weak point in order to spur growth; to confront your strongest fears or dislikes and become aware of them. That by doing this, you can move beyond what you avoid and achiever higher qualities of that point.
Obviously, I think we all know how a lot of stress (people constantly pushing our buttons) in life can make us really disintegrate as well.
 

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Yey, exactly the information I was looking for. Best source in the whole www I think :D.
 
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