Sometimes, the introductory level of Enneagram knowledge is as far as it goes. Ones are rigid perfectionists, Threes workaholics who’ll sell out for success, Sixes anxious scaredy cats, Eights steamrollers with inch-thick skin — and so on and so forth. That, however, gets old quite quickly (and is not very useful for deepening personal growth).
But then, in reaction to this, something interesting happens. We are told we are ALL types. People get their tritype diagnosed, complete with wings for each type, which, combined with relevant lines, basically covers the whole Enneagram. Which is of course equally useless.
So, how many types do we have, then?
Of course we have all types within us. After all, all of them, together, describe humanity, after all. BUT we also have a core type — not to give us our whole identity, but also not to be too quickly diluted with wings, arrows, lines and whatever else, in an effort to further define yourself. You do have influences from other types’ agendas, of course. But here’s the thing: Your core type is still going to be the one landing you in sh*t most of the time, EVEN IF you’re acting out behaviours or patterns that look like they belong to another type.
I’m an Eight. Sometimes I recognise Fivish, or Twoish, or Sevenish — or whatever other types pop up within me—in my everyday life. But that does not mean it is a Five, Two of Seven reaction; rather, it is an Eight (i e, me), reacting in a manner that is often attributed to another type. And scratching the surface slightly and looking a couple of layers down, I’m not going to do it like a Five or Two or Seven. I’m going to do it (whatever might look or sound to be a behaviour or pattern typical of one of these types) like an Eight. Or, more specifically of course, I’m going to do it like ME.
Be more interested in the labelled than in the label
Even looking at the classical Enneagram with wings and arrows, whatever I act out comes from the same personality as my core type, as it comes from my personality. And in my experience, analysing “what type in me” is doing a, b or c is just giving the ego something to talk about (and around), distracting itself from doing any actual inner work.
This doesn’t mean everyone who talks about other types’ expressing themselves within them is full of it. And it most certainly does not mean we are clones. But it does mean that it’s more important, at least where inner work is concerned, to look at what you’re up to than to label it. Don’t get tangled up in analysis. When we take a closer look at ourselves, we usually find it’s the same old ego appropriating whatever technique, behaviour or tactic it found. Stay with that ❤️️