For example, if we take type 8, then this type shows a preference for the physical centre (P, located next to point 9). 8 is therefore identified with 'doing'. The emotional source (E, point 3) is the furthest away, so in this type is the emotional centre (emotions) are suppressed. The mental source (M, point 6) is located somewhere in between, therefore, the mental centre is in (ego)service of the physical centre. Or put another way, the functioning of the physical centre becomes entangled with mental centre. The 8 will then start thinking up strategies to fulfil physical / instinctive needs. In short, enneatype 8 is a doer, who thinks after acting and feelings do not really count.
The same principle applies to the ennatypes, except for the 3, 6 and 9, the ‘source types’. These types also have a preferred centre, but because they exist, as it were in the ’middle’ of the energy of the centre, the centre has problems communicating with the other two centres. It is cut off from the other centres. If we take the 6 as an example, the six has trouble observing and trusting his or her own thoughts (hence the need for rules and structure). The other two sources are equally close, and thus equally strong, but are unable to help the thinking centre. Therefore, if the 6 is not in 'thinking mode’, he or she will be doing a combination of doing and feeling, or moving back and forth between the two (absorbed by fear vs. taking action) .
If we categorize the types on the basis of the most suppressed or ‘isolated’ energy we get the following classification:
Types that have difficulty observing their own emotions (3,7,8 ). These types are focused on the self (I). They provoke and need (visual) reactions from others to know what they feel. They solve problems by taking an aggressive stance: they set the rules and expect that others will follow.
3. Have two ways of functioning. Either they are in an 'emotional ' state where they can feel, but are unable to function efficiently. Or they exist in a combination of 'doing and thinking' pursue success in a cool and professional way.
7. Are identified with thinking, but cut off from the true purpose of the mental centre (inner, quiet knowing). They use action as a means to boost their mental centre (often think they have done something, when in fact they have not).
8. Are identified with their bodies and doing. They tend to act first, then think about the consequences ('the bull in the china shop’) .
Types that have difficulties observing their thoughts (6,1,2). These types need structure in the outside world and are focused on norms and values. They want to be accepted, show a dependent attitude and feel, think and act in relation to others.
6. Have two ways of functioning. Either they are in a ‘thinking’ state where they are unable to evaluate their thoughts in a balanced manner (because of lack of grounding). Or they exist in a combination state of 'feeling and doing’ where they feel they need to do something and act on the basis of strong emotional reactions .
1. Have trouble feeling their own instinctive energies. They use emotions (suppressed frustration) as motivation to take action. Although they often see themselves as thinkers, in essence they are doers who love practical ideas.
2. Are identified with their feelings , but can not feel emotions without acting (doing something). They are focused on the social environment, the needs of others and feeling needed.
Types that have difficulties observing their physical centre (9,4,5). These types are focused on time and space for themselves and need space. They try to solve it by a retreating. They believe they should have the final word in all matters concerning them.
9. Have two ways of functioning. Either they are in an 'instinctive ' state where they are engaged in activities on autopilot. Or they exist in a combination state of 'thinking and feeling' where everything is possible, but it is impossible to prioritize anything (preferences ) and to act accordingly.
4. Are identified with their emotions. They use the mental centre (fantasies) to stimulate their emotional centre (creating 'moods'). They often find themselves in a state of emotional 'push-pull' (I want it, or maybe I don’t) .
5 . Are identified with thoughts. If their feelings become entangled with thinking they can start living in a fantasy world that appears to be more real than reality. The result is usually that they get further away from emotional contact with themselves and others.
The best place to start, if you want to work on the co-operation of the centres, is to strengthen the weakest centre. In the case of the 3, 6 and 9, this is the 'primary centre' and in the other types the suppressed centre .
If you did not know your favourite (basic) ennatype before, maybe by now (after this series of enneablogs), you have at least a couple of strong candidates. If you want more information, please check out my website. If you need a mirror to see yourself (which applies to most of us), you can always contact me for a personal Enneagram Life Coaching consult!
Questions and comments are always welcome! And please Share this blog, if you like what you are reading!
Want to know more? You could try reading:
Riso & Hudson / 'Understanding the Enneagram - the practical guide to personality types'
Hurley & Dobson / 'What’s my type?’