Denise Grobbelaar:

Enneagram

Jungian Analyst, Psychotherapist & Clinical Psychologist.

We have to distinguish between a man as he is in essence, and as he is in ego or personality. In essence, every person is perfect, fearless, and in a loving unity with the entire cosmos; there is no conflict within the person between head, heart, and stomach or between the person and others. Then something happens: the ego begins to develop, karma accumulates, there is a transition from objectivity to subjectivity; man falls from essence into personality.

Oscar Ichazo - Interviews With Oscar Ichazo Paperback (1982)

The Enneagram was originally created as a mystical map for enlightenment and its usage goes back thousands of years. In today's world we use it as a tool to improve self-awareness and interpersonal relationships across a broad range of contexts, from the world of work to personal quests for deep spiritual growth. A deep understanding of our humanity grows from discovering, observing, and embracing our personality patterns and recognizing other people's.

The Enneagram is an archetypal framework that offers a deep insight into your personality and into what motivates your specific behavioural patterns. It is a map that not only describes, but also provides pathways to growth in your unique journey of self-discovery, greater personal awareness, and authentic connection with others. It is both an illuminating as well as sobering process when you begin to recognize the patterns of your basic type and realize that the other 8 types on the Enneagram see and experience the world quite differently from you. As a matter of fact, they operate from a complete different set of values. Learning about the Enneagram types improves human connection and intimacy because it engenders compassion for the other people's perspectives and struggles, and provides insight into your own patterns and core motivation.

The philosophy behind the Enneagram draws on the wisdom of various ancient religious and mystical traditions such as the Jewish Kabbalah, the early Christian mystics known as the Desert Fathers, Taoism, Buddhism, and ancient Greek philosophy. Building on these philosophies the Modern Enneagram was further developed and refined by various Enneagram teachers such as Oscar Ichazo, George Gurdjieff, Claudio Naranjo, Don Riso, Russ Hudson, Beatrice Chestnut and many others. Oscar Ichazo saw the Enneagram as a way of examining the structure of the human soul and particularly the ways in which Soul or Essence become distorted, or contracted into states of ego, or personality. George Gurdjieff, a Russian mystic, and spiritual teacher used the Enneagram to explain the unfolding of creation, calling it a symbol of perpetual motion.

The word Enneagram comes from the Greek words ennéa, meaning "nine" and grámma, meaning something "written" or "drawn". It is a complex model of the human psyche as consisting of nine interconnected personality types. The different Enneagram styles are identified by the numbers 1-9, each being named according to its most characteristic behaviour, thinking or feeling pattern; associated personality traits; and, how others may experience them. Each number represents an archetype with its own worldview and core motivation informing why you are the way you are and why you behave in the ways that you do. What fears and vulnerabilities drive you? What values and strengths do you bring into the world?

When identifying your main pattern, it is important is to identify what motivates you. Not necessarily how you behave - since this can be influenced by your relationship to other types on the Enneagram, such as a combination of the 3 main types you resonate with (also referred to as your centres of expression or intelligence), sub-types (which relates to our instincts) and your relationships to your wings (the types that flank your main type) as well as connecting lines.


Let’s look at the main Enneagram types which are informed by underlying and often unconscious motivation.

The core motivation for the Enneagram 1, Strict Perfectionist, is the need to be perfect, they must do the right/good thing and they must avoid mistakes. And although this type can be very critical, their core fear is being criticized or being wrong. Being unable to express anger directly because they feel anger is a bad thing, there is constant disapproval and harsh criticism of others’ actions as well as terrible self-criticism. Enneagram 1’s are principled people with a strong sense of "right"/"wrong“, “good”/bad” and they live according to these rules and moral ideas, ensuring things are done correctly. They value fairness, justice, honesty, and integrity. They are usually very organized people, attuned to detail and they strive for quality. Their gift is discernment, evaluation and knowing what is right.

The core motivation for the Enneagram 2, Considerate Helper, is that they must be helpful, be there for others, be useful, supportive, and meet other people’s needs. They need to be liked, appreciated, and seek affirmation in their relationships. Their core fear is being unloved, unwanted, rejected and abandoned. Empathetic, giving, caring and generous, they often focus on other people and neglect their own needs. Enneagram 2’s is highly sensitive to not being appreciated and valued for their contribution and they can get resentful, angry, and hostile when not feeling appreciated. There may be an expectation of acknowledgement and recognition. They have deep compassion for others and usually have good people and interpersonal skills with an ability to form deeply rewarding relationships.

The core motivation for the Enneagram 3, Competitive Achiever, is that they must be successful, need to achieve and must win - to outshine the rest while looking good. They are driven, competitive and ambitious. Their core fear is being worthless. They have a worldview that only winners are loved, valued, and respected and they will therefore avoid failure at all costs. They struggle to admit mistakes and to ask for help. They may become image-conscious, boastful, and arrogant and identify with their success or polished persona while losing touch with the feelings beneath the façade. They are the “doers”, hard-working, highly productive, competent and efficient and most often achieve success in whatever field they apply themselves.

The core motivation for the Enneagram 4, Intense Creative, is that they must be authentic and express their unique individuality, often through originality. They are deeply emotional human beings with a need to be attuned and true to their emotions. They have the capacity for the full spectrum of human emotions, but often resonate more with sorrow, loss and melancholy and may seem excessively moody. They have an intense need for deep and meaningful connection with others, but at the same time are hypersensitive to being unwelcomed, unwanted, rejected and abandoned. Their core fear is being without identity or significance. They may be dramatic, creative, expressive, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. Highly empathic, they are intuitively aware of the feelings of others.

The core motivation for the Enneagram 5, Quiet Specialist, is that they must understand and make sense of their world, that they must conserve their resources, and they must avoid dependence and be self-sufficient. Their core fear is being foolish, stupid, and incapable as well as being dependent, exhausted, overwhelmed. They love learning, are deeply curious and reflective. They have an active mental life, observing and exploring how the world works. Deeply private and independent, they may seem aloof, distant, and unsociable. Because they often experience the world as intrusive, they easily feel drained by emotions and often withdraw and isolate themselves. They are the most introverted Enneagram type and they struggle to share their inner world. They are they carriers of wisdom, knowledge and often became specialists in their fields.

The core motivation for the Enneagram 6, Loyal Sceptic, is that they must be vigilant, responsible, and safe. They need to feel that they belong and are deeply loyal to the people in their circles of belonging. They are reliable and dependable. Their core fear is being unprepared and they actively avoid threat and risk as they perceive the world as a dangerous place. They often suffer from doubt and anxiety and tend to procrastinate. Being highly risk-aware, they would scan their environments, analyze all information, think in sceptical ways, consider all angles, weighing options and identify ‘what can go wrong’. These are the guys you want on your side in a zombie apocalypse. With them being alert, prepared, self-reliant and protective, you stand a better chance of survival.

The core motivation for the Enneagram 7, Enthusiastic Visionary, is that they must be successful, need to achieve and must win - to outshine the rest while looking good. They are driven, competitive and ambitious. Their core fear is being worthless. They have a worldview that only winners are loved, valued, and respected and they will therefore avoid failure at all costs. They struggle to admit mistakes and to ask for help. They may become image-conscious, boastful, and arrogant and identify with their success or polished persona while losing touch with the feelings beneath the façade. They are the “doers”, hard-working, highly productive, competent and efficient and most often achieve success in whatever field they apply themselves.

The core motivation for the Enneagram 8, Active Controller, is they must be strong and in control, avoiding weakness and vulnerability. While they often have a powerful presence, their core fear is being powerless and they mask any vulnerability. As natural effective leaders, they take control of situations in an authoritative and assertive manner, being self-assured in and of their own autonomy. Even though they can be excellent commanders, they can also come across as aggressive, bossy, domineering and over-controlling. They are decisive, active, strategic, action-orientated, focused on goals and results, and they make things happened. Strong and brave, they face challenges head on and are not afraid of conflict. Even though they can be dismissive of weakness and may seem intimidating, they are protective towards those they care about.

The core motivation for the Enneagram 9, Adaptive Peacemaker, is to be settled, keeping the balance, peace, and harmony, and avoiding conflict. As the true hippies of the Enneagram, they are easy-going, even-tempered, agreeable, pleasant, non-aggressive, gentle, patient “going with the flow”- kind of people. Their core fear is being in conflict and chaos, as well as being controlled. One of their peace-keeping strategies is to adapting to others, often to the extent of neglecting or even forgetting themselves. They may repress anger and avoid problems, difficulties, conflict, and disagreement to the point of inaction, which could lead to procrastination or passive-aggressiveness. With diplomatic skills, masterful attunement to others and being inclusive of everybody’s viewpoints, they often form the glue within groups with their ‘grounding’ presence.