The Enneagram's Nine
Copyright © 1994, 1998, 2000 The Changeworks
What is the Enneagram?
The subject of many best-selling books, the Enneagram is a fascinating, powerful system of psychology that describes the nine personality styles that human beings most favor.
The Enneagram is about people - how we are the same, how we are different, what makes us tick. It presents a system of psychology that describes nine core personality styles that human beings tend to favor. The descriptions of these styles are both profound and comprehensive, detailing the inner motivations, thought patterns and basic beliefs of each one. Newcomers to the Enneagram are often amazed to find clear, accurate portraits of themselves and most everyone they know.
Part of the power of the Enneagram is that it recognizes how human beings have sincerely different versions of reality. No version is presented as better than another. Each of the nine styles has its own internal logic and integrity. Each correctly perceives part of reality and has an area of "expertise." Each style has strengths, talents and advantages as well as limits, pitfalls and blind spots.
Enneagram styles are like nationalities. While we are all unique individuals, we belong to a larger group of which we are individual examples. If you have friends from other cultures, you know that on one level you are very aware of the differences between their culture and yours. The fact may contribute much to your relationship. On other levels, you and your friends connect affectionately in a way that bypasses how your cultures make you different.
Studying the Enneagram will reveal the differences between your psychological orientation and those of other "psychological nationalities." With this awareness you can also connect more compassionately or usefully to others who have world views distinct from your own.
The major advantage to learning the Enneagram, of course, is to discover your own personality style. This can be a startling experience at first, but its usefulness soon emerges. Once you identify your core style, baffling aspects of your own behavior may suddenly make sense. You might see more clearly why you sometimes think and act the way you do. As you tune further into your own inner workings, you might sense deeper beliefs, plus a way of seeing the world that shades your daily actions and relationships.
You might also become aware of the ways you are caught up in the pitfalls of your style and cause yourself suffering. There could be little psychological traps you set for yourself, limits you place on your experience or habitual ways that you react to events without choice.
These insights can be helpful in that they provide motivation to work on one's self. Some responses that you now have may be outmoded and carried over from childhood. You may act blindly at times. To an extent, you may find that your Enneagram style amounts to something like a hypnotic trance, as though part of you sleepwalks through life, relating to an idea of the world, rather than the world itself.
Most psychotherapists would say that just having insight into your behavior is not enough to change it. Learning about the Enneagram won't magically transform you, but it will give you a tool that is greatly clarifying and uncannily useful.
Just as the Enneagram will show you how you are caught, it also points to your higher capacities - what you are good at, what creative resources are present when you are happiest and most awake. It will direct you toward the source of your personal power and give you a major tool for living more fully in the present-day world, basing your choices on your actual needs.
The Enneagram is a system of psychology. It is neither inherently esoteric nor spiritual. You might, however, find that it has deep spiritual implications in that it helps diagnose how you get in your own way and block the most free and soulful expression of your being.
On everyday levels, knowledge of the Enneagram is helpful in dozens of ways, from understanding relationships to improving communication to handling difficult people. You may discover that your friendships reflect affinities for certain Enneagram styles. You will also better pinpoint types of personalities that have been difficult for you to deal with. You may realize that the behavior of some people that you always took personally never was personal; they were just acting blindly out of the limits of their own world view.
The Enneagram is especially useful in any professional context where communication is important. Attendees at workshops have included psychotherapists, teachers, lawyers, counselors, business people, artists, plumbers, filmmakers. Anyone who needs to deal effectively with other people benefits greatly from studying personality styles.
What people say about the Enneagram
"You've never heard of Enneagrams? This system of personality analysis, once faddish pop psychology, is becoming a personnel tool for corporate America." -Business Week
"What sets the Enneagram apart is that
it contains such detailed, useful information about what drives
us to behave as we do. It's valuable not just for those seeking
to understand themselves but also as a source of insights into
one's friends, colleagues, and even enemies." Esquire
"Now after lurking on the fringes of mysticism and pop psychology for more than 20 years, the Enneagram is turning mainstream and respectable. Last year the Stanford University School of Business course called "Personality, Self-Awareness and Leadership" focused on the Enneagram for the first time; the class proved so popular that it will be expanded from 40 to 50 students next winter. The CIA now uses the Enneagram to help agents understand the behavior of individual world leaders. The U.S. Postal Service recently turned to the Enneagram to help employees resolve conflicts. Clergy from the Vatican signed up for an Enneagram seminar last year. And the First international Enneagram Conference, with 1,400 participants who came to Palo Alto, Calif., from as far away as Japan, was cosponsored by Stanford Medical School's department of psychiatry." - Newsweek
"A hot new management idea has just arrived on the scene, Introduced to the West around 1940 by Russian mystic G.I Gutdjieff., the Enneagram is a personality typing system that groups people into 9 categories. Executives from companies such as Motorola and Marriot have attended workshops devoted to the Enneagram system, and it's part of the continuing education program at Silicon Graphics. The CIA has even held Enneagram briefings on the behavior of world leaders." Working Woman
"The apparent universality of the Enneagram is a big part of its attraction. People use it to improve themselves and their relationships. Many psychologists and marriage counselors swear by it. Members of the clergy and business managers use it to understand their congregations and subordinates. It is even accepted by academics." - Contra Costa Times
"As a guide to human character, behavior
and motivation, it has no equal. More practical than typologies
derived from conventional psychology, the Enneagram provides a
clear and easily recognizable map of nine distinct personality
patterns. For most people, it simply rings true." - Yoga
Ones have a strong unconscious tendency
to compare reality with what should be. They generally
have a set of ideal standards against which they measure themselves,
the behavior of others, and the world around them.
These ideals differ from person to person. Some Ones could be preoccupied with spiritual standards while others, like advice columnists, focus on good manners. Other Ones might be social reformers while others still are simply intent on living upright lives or excelling at their jobs.
Healthy Ones specialize in accurate moral perception and objective evaluation. More than other Enneagram styles, Ones can be ethically discerning, dispassionate and fair. They can make excellent priests and judges as well as constructive social commentators.
Healthy Ones can be selfless and morally heroic, willing to sacrifice personally for principle. If they have a cause or a mission, they will work hard and responsibly to fulfill it. They value ethics and integrity above expediency, profit or easy solutions. People with this style often display a balanced, cheerful perfectionism that they temper with forgiveness and compassion.
When Ones are less healthy, their preoccupation with principles and high ideals degenerates into a more mundane concern with the rules. Such Ones may still crusade for a cause but have more ego-involvement than they realize. They confuse morality with moralism and discernment with judgment.
A less healthy One might sacrifice to uphold the rules, but unconsciously resent it. Ones can become critical or angry when their reforming zeal isn't shared by the world at large. They might still work hard and hold themselves to strict standards of behavior, but their speech can be punctuated by sharp-tongued remarks, as their anger breaks through. Their calm, ethical perspective can also give way to dualistic thinking either/or propositions, right/wrong dilemmas that reduce complex situations to simple black and white choices.
A One's attempt to be good is a tense enterprise, often leading to rigid behavior and obsessive worry. Many Ones fight their desires, especially the bad ones. These are often sensual in nature, but, in general, bad impulses are the opposite of whatever the One considers good and virtuous behavior.
Social problems can emerge because Ones have trouble knowing when they are angry and dont realize how scolding or repressive they sound to others. When insecure or feeling criticized, a Ones defensive reaction is to start judging. They simply dont accept reality as it is and dont think you should either.
Whatever Ones disapprove of in their own behavior is what they condemn in others. They may not allow themselves to act badly but that doesnt mean they dont want to. Ones in this state tend to beat down or contain their desires and then project them outward.
So a One might see an inviting place to swim on a summer day and suddenly begin to talk about the evils of laziness and the skimpy bathing suits people wear nowadays. The One reverse-projects his sensual desire to swim onto the environment and then indicts the desire.
Very unhealthy people with this style can grow obsessive, paranoid and zealous. They can be cruel and persecutory in the service of goodness. Unhealthy Ones can be morally vain and hypocritical, as well as obsessed with fulfilling ill-conceived projects and missions. Many forms of religious and ideological fundamentalism are shot through with the spirit of unhealthy Oneness.
Actress Jane Alexander, the culture of the Amish, Julie Andrews, Arthur Ashe, Hanan Ashrawi, St. Augustine, Author William Bennett, Father Phillip Berrigan, Ambrose Bierce, Psychologist John Bradshaw, Lloyd Bridges, NBC's Tom Brokaw, Sierra Club founder David Brower, Feminist author Susan Brownmiller, William F. Buckley, Dr. Helen Caldicott, John Calvin, Mona Charen, Cesar Chavez, Singapore President Ong Teng Cheong, Hillary Clinton, Confucius, Actress Jane Curtin, Michael Dukakis, Christian Scientist Mary Baker Eddy, Activist Daniel Ellsworth,
Harrison Ford, Jodie Foster, Barry Goldwater, Author Lillian Hellman, Katharine Hepburn, Charlton Heston, St. Ignatius, Glenda Jackson, Peter Jennings, Author Samuel Johnson, CNN's Myron Kandel, John Kasich, U.S. Senator John Kerry, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, C. Everett Koop, Ted Koppel, NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre, Martin Luther, Nelson Mandela, Miss Manners, Thurgood Marshall, George McGovern, Michael Medved, Playright Arthur Miller, Author Jessica Mitford, Sir Thomas More, Kate Mulgrew, Ralph Nader, the cultural aura of New Zealand, Leonard Nimoy, the NRA, John Cardinal O'Connor, Pope John Paul II, Gregory Peck,
H. Ross Perot, Sidney Poitier, Emily Post, Colin Powell, the culture of the Puritans, Marilyn Quayle, Yitzak Rabin, Tony Randall, James (The Amazing) Randi, Actress/Activist Vanessa Redgrave, Dale Evans Rogers, Actor Cliff Robertson, Satirist Mark Russell, Carl Sagan, Conservative author Phyllis Schlafly, George Bernard Shaw, CNNís Bernard Shaw, the cultural aura of Singapore, Film critic Gene Siskel, Maggie Smith, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Dr. Benjamin Spock,
Martha Stewart, Actor Peter Strauss, the cultural aura of Switzerland, Margaret Thatcher, Fred Dalton Thompson, Emma Thompson, Harry Truman, Mark Twain, Abigail Van Buren, Greta Van Sustern, Father Terry Waite, Dragnet's Jack Webb, James Whitmore, George Will, Myrlie Evers-Williams, John Wooden, Joanne Woodward, Actress Jane Wyman, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr.
Quotes About Ones
People who see the world interpersonally and define themselves through service to others. May be selfless, loving and giving or dependent, prideful and hostile.
In the Enneagram's organization, Twos, Threes
and Fours form an emotional trio, in that they share general tendencies
and undercurrents. People within this trio of styles can experience
a kind of ongoing confusion about their identities, confusing
who they are with the roles that they play and images of who they
seem to be.
All personality styles do this somewhat, but Twos, Threes and Fours are most deeply prone to confuse seeming with being. They share a general propensity for losing track of how they actually feel in favor of how they imagine they feel within the roles they are playing. People with these styles are prone to conflicts in relationships and matters of the heart.
Two is the most purely interpersonal of all the Enneagram styles. Twos are most apt to conceive of life as a fundamental give-and-take between people, regarding all human beings as members of one vast family. Within this point of view, giving love becomes the most important thing a Two can do.
People with this style have a well-developed capacity to identify emotionally with the needs of others. They have a strong unconscious habit of sending themselves over to other people and intuitively divining what another person might be feeling or needing. Healthy Twos practice this habit voluntarily; they willingly identify with another before returning to their own point of view. They are able to care for the needs of others, yet value their own emotional truth, and effectively attend to their own needs. The phrase "lend yourself to others but give yourself to yourself" describes what Twos do when healthy.
At their best, Twos are capable of truly selfless love and have exceptional ministerial skills. The biographies of some saints portray Twos dedicated to relieving material and spiritual suffering. Descriptions of Jesus Christ read the same way. Whether or not it has succeeded, the classical intention of Christianity is fundamentally Twoish.
When Twos are less healthy, they still send
their attention over to others, but now they forget to return
to their own position. They begin to repress their own needs and
funnel their energies toward taking care of others whether others
need it or not. Now they over-identify with others, losing their
sense of themselves and compulsively giving in hopes of being
recognized, appreciated and loved. Through the medium of other
people, Twos try to give to themselves, to satisfy needs that
they have rejected in themselves and relocated in others. Twos
at this stage can also begin to fear being abandoned and alone.
Unhealthy Twos use flattery, manipulation and seduction to get others to respond to and define them. The Two's need to give is so strong that it becomes selfish and what is given comes with an invisible price tag. It is often a high price as Twos, to compensate for having lost their real self, begin to inflate and exaggerate the importance of what they give to others. This exaggerated self-importance is otherwise known as pride, and when Twos are very unhealthy, pridefulness becomes their most striking feature.
Not surprisingly, Twos can struggle in relationships since its important to know your own true feelings and motives in order to relate honestly to others. When Twos are deeply unhealthy, they are typically quite deluded about their motives. They replace their real feelings of selfish desperation and aggression with the image of an altruistic martyr who is owed big sums for their wonderful efforts. What maddens and confuses others about unhealthy Twos is the way they package what feels like hostility as love.
The saintly high side of this style is very high indeed while the lowest expression can be drastically destructive. The motif of stalking an objectified loved one goes with the unhealthy side of this style as does the metaphor of the vampire, who lives on the blood of others.
Tammy Faye Bakker, Harry Belafonte, Child psychologist T. Berry Brazelton, Filmmaker Ken Burns, Actress Ellen Burstyn, Leo Buscaglia, Barbara Bush, Jesus Christ, Glenn Close, Bill Cosby, Self-help author Barbara de Angelis, John Denver, Princess Diana, Faye Dunaway, Feminist Betty Friedan, Kathie Lee Gifford, Danny Glover, Roosevelt Grier, Melanie Griffith, Former U.S. Ambassador Pamela Harriman, Leona Helmsley, Psychologist Karen Horney, Whitney Houston, Arianna Huffington, Actress Anne Jackson, Author Erica Jong, Actress Sally Kellerman, Actress Sally Kirkland, Diane Ladd,
Jerry Lewis, Actress Susan Lucci, Madonna, Alma Mahler, Imelda Marcos, Florence Nightingale, Merlin Olsen, Yoko Ono, Jack Paar, Jack Perkins, Fitness author Susan Powter, Priscilla Presley, Sally Jessy Raphael, Nancy Reagan, Mr. Rogers, Family therapist Virginia Satir, Danielle Steel, Rod Steiger, Sally Struthers, Mother Teresa, Marlo Thomas, Actor Richard Thomas, Actress Jennifer Tilly, John Travolta, Ivana Trump, Desmond Tutu, Actress Lesley Ann Warren, Brazilian singer Xuxa.
Quotes About Twos
People who measure themselves by external achievement and the roles that they play. May be truthful, accomplished and sincere or conniving, competitive and false.
Threes identify less with roles of interpersonal
helpfulness and more with images of success and productivity.
Threes often expect to be loved for what they do rather than for
who they are. Their image-confusion is between seeming
accomplished and being true to their less-than-perfect
inner self. Less healthy Threes tend to cut off deeper feeling
in favor of outer appearances. They deny their imperfections and
present a public image that the world will find laudable. This
image is precisely the opposite of who the Three secretly fears
she might be.
Healthy Threes are often highly accomplished and live by creeds of excellence and professionalism. They are strong at setting and meeting goals and usually master many life skills. Threes learn fast, make good leaders, and do well in high profile, socially established occupations where performance can be measured by results. Most are organized, flexible and industrious. When healthy, they usually make excellent role models and talented teachers of whatever skills they have mastered. Threes can also display a sometimes amazing capacity for taking efficient, effective action. They are especially good at multi-tasking, doing many things at once.
Healthy Threes can be energetic and cheerful, with a positive eye to the future and a self-confident, open approach to challenges. Their actions are often governed by a sense of honor and they value family and friendship in addition to work. Threes sometimes arrive at these priorities after a struggle with moral expediency and a conscious search for meaningful values.
When Threes are less healthy, their strategy
of being successful and well rounded yields to a desire
to seem that way and they start to cut corners to maintain
an image. Threes can slip into impersonations and play a role
of themselves, adopting chameleon-like poses in order to seem
noteworthy in different contexts. They begin to deny their personal
feelings and increasingly identify with a mask. Most Threes have
an Achilles heel, a sense of inadequacy that they compensate for
with achievement and role-playing.
Intimate relationships can suffer as Threes re-route their feelings through their image of who they should be. They may present a persona to friends or partners, hiding a deep sense of flaw and, instead, offering a mask for others to love. Expediency and efficiency become more important, and an unhealthy Three may begin to enjoy the feeling of non-feeling. They may think of themselves as high-performance engines whose purpose is to race from task to task, securing outcomes before dashing on to new finish lines. Its not uncommon for Threes to talk in sports metaphors and believe that life is only a game, a game that's played to win.
To win, they push themselves harder, deriving a kind of high from being hyperactive and using their relationships mainly as springboards for professional gain. Their once healthy flexibility degenerates into arrogant calculation and amoral strategizing. Threes comfortably operate in occupations where appearance and persuasion are important public relations, sales, advertising and they often turn themselves into a commodity to market.
For very unhealthy Threes winning becomes everything and a Three's mask can fully eclipse his soul. They can be amoral, Machiavellian, heartless, slick, and plagiarizing. They start to believe their own lies and con people without conscience. Their aim is to maintain an illusion of superiority from which they derive a vindictive sense of triumph. Anyone who has ever been deliberately and maliciously deceived has felt the sting of this attitude.
The cultural aura of America, Politician James Baker, Joseph Biden, David Bowie, Ron Brown, Jimmy Carter, Dick Clark, Lawyer Johnnie Cochran Jr., Magician David Copperfield, Cindy Crawford,Tom Cruise, Rebecca DeMornay, Nora Ephron, Werner Erhard, (Mrs.) Debbi Fields, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Richard Gere, Bryant Gumbel, Actor Mark Harmon, the (modern) cultural aura of Japan, Michael Jordan, Henry Kissinger, Carl Lewis, Vince Lombardi, Rob Lowe, Joan Lunden, Ali MacGraw, Elle MacPherson, Reba McEntire,
Demi Moore, Oliver North, U.S. Senator Bob Packwood, Master spy Kim Philby, Elvis Presley, Reporter/author Sally Quinn, Businessman Summer Redstone, Burt Reynolds, Author Anthony Robbins, Political strategist Ed Rollins, Diana Ross, Jessica Savitch, Diane Sawyer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, William Shatner, Cybill Shepherd, O.J. Simpson, Will Smith, Wesley Snipes, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Kathleen Turner, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Former Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, "Father" of America George Washington, Raquel Welch, Author Marianne Williamson, Vanessa Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Wood.
Quotes About Threes
People who live principally in their imagination and feelings. May be artistic, articulate and inspiring or whiny, elitist and negative.
Like Ones, Fours compare reality with what
could be. While Ones tend to look for imperfection about them
and try to correct what's wrong, Fours often turn away from reality
and live in their imaginations, feelings and moods.
Along with Twos and Threes, Fours gravitate towards vanity and image-confusion but may express it paradoxically. Fours are more likely to identify with an image of being defective, especially if it confers on them a quality of uniqueness or exempt specialness. A Four might, for instance, bemoan his inability to succeed in the everyday world, but this complaint could carry a subtle quality of boasting. The Four could have a self-image that is romantically tragic, but also elitist.
Healthy Fours tend to be idealistic, have good taste and are great appreciators of beauty. They filter reality through a rich, subtle subjectivity and are very good at metaphorical thinking, the capacity to make connections between unrelated facts and events. The Four tendency to see things symbolically is enhanced by their emotional intensity. This creates raw artistic material that almost demands to be given form. Self-expression and pursuing self-knowledge are high priorities for people with this style.
Fours naturally practice synesthesia, a chronic blending of the senses that leads to intense multilevel reactions. A Four entering a new situation could see something that triggers a mental image which, in turn, evokes a feeling, which then reminds the Four of a song, which triggers more images that evoke more smells, tastes, feelings and so on. The Fours moods and feelings can run together like a watercolor in the rain, producing a kaleidoscopic rinse of impressions in reaction to even small events.
Fours value the aesthetics of beauty as much as they are attuned to the tragic nature of existence. When healthy, people with this style work to transmute the pain of living into something meaningful, through creative work of all kinds. Fours are talented at articulating subjective experience and can be fine teachers or psychotherapists in this regard. They may also be empathetic foul-weather friends, able to understand the dilemmas of others and especially willing to listen to a friend's pain.
Because of the strength of their emotional imaginations, people with this style are often described as artistic. Many of the world's most accomplished artists have been Fours, and nearly all people with this style need or find creative outlets. Fours work in all kinds of occupations, but, whenever possible, they try to make their work creatively interesting. A Four's sensory richness is like the raw material of creativity and healthy Fours give themselves creative outlets that help them express their intense inner life.
When Fours are less healthy, they begin to
focus on what is unavailable or missing in their lives. They can
become negative and critical, finding fault with what they do
have, seeing mainly misery in the present. They then turn inward
and use their imaginations to romanticize other times and places.
Fours can live in the past, the future anywhere that seems more
appealing than here and now. Fours tend to envy whatever it is
they don't have, embodying the saying, "the grass is always
greener on the other side."
The need to be seen as someone special and unique may become more neurotically pronounced too. Fours can seem very in touch with their feelings, but, when unhealthy, they translate their authentic feeling into melodrama. They can be full of lament and nostalgia, demanding recognition yet rejecting anything good they get from friends. They might also grow competitive and spiteful, unable to enjoy their own successes without taking away from the achievements of others.
Unhealthy Fours can be moody or hypersensitive while acting exempt from everyday rules. Buoyed by their sense of defective specialness, they might give themselves permission to act badly, be selfish or irresponsible. They may refuse to deal with the mundane and the ordinary, unconsciously reasoning that they are not of this world anyway. Fours at this stage incline towards feeling guilty, ashamed, melancholy, jealous and unworthy.
Deeply unhealthy Fours can inhabit a harrowing world of torment. They can be openly masochistic and extravagant in their self-debasement. The lives of spectacularly self-destructive artists often reflect this kind of scenario. At this stage, a Four could become unreachably alienated. Stricken by a profound sense of hopelessness, they can sink into morbid self-loathing or grow suicidally depressed. They see their differentness in entirely negative terms and banish themselves into a kind of exile. The desire to punish themselves and others is also determined and strong.
Photographer Diane Arbus, Painter Francis Bacon, John Barrymore, Charles Baudelaire, Ingmar Bergman, Poet John Berryman, Director Peter Bogdanovich, Marlon Brando, Richard Brautigan, Jackson Browne, Raymond Burr, Singer Kate Bush, Mary Chapin Carpenter, England's Prince Charles, Kurt Cobain, Leonard Cohen, Judy Collins, James Dean, Johnny Depp, Neil Diamond, Isak Dinesen, Novelist Michael Dorris, French novelist Marguerite Duras, the music of Pink Floyd, the cultural aura of France, Judy Garland, Martha Graham, Singer Nanci Griffith, Billie Holliday, Julio Iglesias,
Michael Jackson, Janis Joplin, Naomi Judd, Harvey Keitel, Jack Kerouac, Poet Philip Larkin, Charles Laughton, T.E. Lawrence, John Malkovich, Marcello Mastroianni, Author Mary McCarthy, Carson McCullers, Rod McKuen, Thomas Merton, Author Yukio Mishima, Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, Singer Morrissey, Edvard Munch, Liam Neeson, Mike Nichols, Stevie Nicks, Author Anaïs Nin, Nick Nolte, Laurence Olivier, Edith Piaf, Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allen Poe, Novelist Anne Rice, Arthur Rimbaud,
Françoise Sagan, Poet Anne Sexton, Percy Shelley, Simone Signoret, Singer Paul Simon, August Strindberg, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Singer James Taylor, Spencer Tracy, Vincent Van Gogh, Suzanne Vega, Author Robert James Waller, Alan Watts, Orson Welles, Australian novelist Patrick White, Tennessee Williams, Virginia Woolf, Neil Young.
Quotes About Fours
People who pull back from the world and live in their mind. May be wise, farsighted and knowledgeable or abstract, stingy and schizoid.
Fives, Sixes and Sevens share a general undercurrent of fear and form another emotional trio. Unlike Twos, Threes and Fours, people within this group are not confused about who they are or how they feel. Instead, they tend to unconsciously anticipate life's dangers and react from an emotional baseline of fear. Fives, Sixes and Sevens are generally thinkers people who live more in their heads than in their bodies. They struggle with taking action, asserting their wills and handling power.
A Five's fears are specifically social ; people with this style habitually guard against being invaded or engulfed by others. This is the most explicitly antisocial of Enneagram styles. When defensive, Fives can be withdrawn and standoffish as a way to manage their hypersensitivity to others. Generally, they fear close relationships as these can lead to feeling overwhelmed, smothered or swarmed.
Fives live in their minds, in contrast to Fours, who inhabit their emotional imaginations. People with this style have well-developed abilities to analyze and synthesize knowledge. They may be perceptive, wise and objective, able to stay centered and logical when others around them are confused or panicked.
Healthy Fives usually strike a balance between interacting with the world and withdrawing from it. This style is frequently associated with knowledgeability and, sometimes, intellectual genius. Healthy Fives actively offer the world the fruits of their knowledge, often through teaching and writing. But, whatever they do, healthy Fives make their talent for accumulating knowledge count for something beyond itself. Fives can be idealistic and sometimes courageously contribute to the social good.
Healthy people with this style also practice what the Buddhists call non-attachment, an attitude characterized by an equal mixture of detachment and compassion. Within this stance Fives can play the games of life without being overly attached to results and, as friends, they may be able to understand your point of view almost as well as their own. They are sympathetic and kind-hearted, but able to see events from a distant perspective and avoid getting personally upset.
When Fives are less healthy, they slide from nonattachment into disassociation, the inner state of being cut off from feelings. They may be hyperaware of the world's demands, and yet respond passively by withdrawing. Most outsiders see a Five's capacity to pull back as a kind of independence. It is a defense as well; the Five is making a strong antisocial boundary to compensate for being overly sensitive in the first place.
Cutting themselves off then becomes a defensive habit. The idea is: If I can just learn to live with less Ill avoid the influence of others. This leads to a tendency to hoard, to save what little they have in order to need less from others. Fives can hoard time, money, space, land, information or emotional availability. It doesn't matter what is hoarded, the pattern is the same; the Five tries to protect against flooding by stacking up supplies on some dry inner island.
Unhealthy Fives also stay distant from their own emotions by living in a world of information and ideas. The more they cut themselves off, however, the more they struggle with feelings of emptiness, loneliness and compulsive need. It's like trying to talk yourself out of being hungry. At this stage, a Five may be slow to know how she feels because she can only reach her feelings through a lengthy sequence of thinking. Unhealthy Fives worship gods of reason and try to look distantly down on their own emotions. This can also translate into a superior/arrogant attitude towards other people.
When Fives are very unhealthy, they may become schizoid and unpredictable, as though disassociated parts of themselves are taking turns talking. They can project an absent, vaguely shocked aura or be pointedly antisocial. Fives can, for instance, sit through parties, speak to no one, but later report having had a good time. Or they might unconsciously alienate others with nasty sneering commentary and unpredictable aggression.
The habit of disassociating from their emotions becomes so developed that very unhealthy Fives can lose touch with reality, developing weird phobias of invisible objects like germs and be prone to hallucinations. Aggressive episodes are also possible, followed by bursts of acute paranoia.
Performance artist Laurie Anderson, St. Thomas Aquinas, Playright Samuel Beckett, Author Paul Bowles, The Buddha, Director Tim Burton, David Byrne, Actor Richard Chamberlain, Agatha Christie, Van Cliburn, Montgomery Clift, Former CIA Director William Colby, Michael Crichton, Daniel Day-Lewis, René Descartes, Joan Didion, Joe DiMaggio, Aviatrix Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Author Loren Eiseley, T.S. Eliot, the cultural aura of England,
Chess player Bobby Fischer, E. M. Forster, Greta Garbo, J. Paul Getty, cybertech novelist William Gibson, Jane Goodall, Author Graham Greene, H.R. Haldeman, Hildegarde of Bingen, Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Hopkins, Howard Hughes, Franz Kafka, Director Philip Kaufman, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Author Dean R. Koontz, Arthur (The Amazing) Kreskin, Director Stanley Kubrick, C-SPAN's Brian Lamb, Cartoonist Gary Larson, John le Carré, Author Ursula K. LeGuin, Photographer Annie Leibowitz,
Vladimir Lenin, George Lucas, David Lynch, Author Norman MacLean, Reporter Robert MacNeil, Movie critic Leonard Maltin, Novelist Ian McEwan, Larry McMurtry, Singer Natalie Merchant, Thelonious Monk, Actor Sam Neill, Joyce Carol Oates, Georgia O'Keefe, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Al Pacino, Italian sculptor Paladino, Michelle Pfeiffer,
Keanu Reeves, Philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Oliver Sacks, Author May Sarton, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ebenezer Scrooge, Poet Gary Snyder, Philosopher Susan Sontag, Phil Spector, George Stephanopoulos, Actress Madeleine Stowe, Max Von Sydow, Jules Verne, Author Ken Wilber, Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Quotes About Fives
Sixes through Nines
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