It is possible to classify the 9 enneatypes (enneagram personality types) on the basis of different combinations of dominant and suppressed centres. Today, we are going to look at the classification of enneatypes according to differences in the preferred centre. It is a longer informative blog – I hope you will learn something new about yourself ...
People with a physical basic energy are also called instinctive or gut types. The basic emotion of these enneatypes is anger. These types tend to focus on safety, instinctive reactions and being. Gut types resist being in the present. The true purpose of the physical centre is to sense and be physically present in the here and now and to use our energy to reach our real goals (realizing our life’s purpose). At the level of the ego, this energy is (sometimes openly and sometimes in a passive-aggressive manner) used to gain a certain power or influence Consciously or subconsciously, belly types are concerned with questions of safety and strength in relation to others. By creating clear boundaries (or by dissociating) these types can avoid contact with (the physical) reality. In some ways, gut types show a certain hostility towards everything and everyone – including themselves. They are rarely satisfied with things the way they are and use their energy to protect themselves (if necessary by attempts to continuously change the circumstances they are in). Deep inside gut types have the feeling that they are unimportant.
People who get their basic energy from the emotional centre called heart types. The basic emotion is grief and shame. These types are focused on feelings, emotions, (personal) relationships and the past. The true purpose of the emotional centre is a deep emotional understanding of connectedness, who we really are and how relationships work. At the level of the ego, heart types use this gift to get other people to like them, react them, or make them the centre of attention. They are often preoccupied with their own identity and image. Heart types (subconsciously) believe they can only feel worthy through contact with other people. They want other people to see them in a good light and look for approval from others. Heart types have a deep conviction that they are not worthy of being loved.
People with mental basic energy are called head types. The basic emotion is fear and insecurity. Main types are focused on thinking, information, how to make decisions and the future. The true purpose of the mental centre is quiet, objective inner knowing. At the level of the ego, head types believe that information and objectivity makes someone valuable and useful. For them it is important to find and understand underlying principles. They assume that only abstract knowledge is authentic and uncorrupted and therefore tend to ignore information from other centres. Relationships are usually entered on the basis of intellectual identification, without emotional involvement. In this way, head types understand experiences in an abstract manner, without having to risk experiencing possible anxiety or emotional pain. Deep inside, head types are struggling with a fundamental sense of incompetence.
How can you make a distinction between the types that use the same dominant centre?
The gut types (8, 9 and 1) are focused on safety, instinctive reactions and being. Enneatype 8 wants to be and feel strong, and is not afraid to show his or her anger. Enneatype 9 is accommodating and usually not in touch with his or her own anger (which comes out as passive - aggressive resistance). Enneatype 1 sets high standards for him/herself and others and usually suppresses his/her emotions.
The heart types (2 , 3 and 4) are focused on feelings , emotions and relationships. Enneatype 2 (subconsciously) suppresses his or her own needs, cares for the (perceived needs of) others instead and in doing so wants to be seen be as a loving person. Enneatype 3 seeks admiration and confirmation by being successful and by being identified with that success. Enneatype 4 is looking for love by being different and special.
The head types (5, 6 and 7) are focused on thinking, information and how to make decisions. Enneatype 5 seeks security by withdrawing from the real world into the head and a world of knowledge and facts. Enneatype 6 seeks security in rules, structure and predictability. Enneatype 7 lives in a world of plans and activities and looks for security by avoiding negative emotions.
As you read these descriptions, you might start having your suspicions where to look for your enneatype. If you recognize yourself in two categories, you might switch between dominant centres in different situations. In addition, types 3, 6 and 9 in particular are generally not too aware of their preferred centre because they are cut off from it. So this might also create some confusion.
Observes your centres the coming weeks and see if you can find out which centre is dominant in you and which one(s) you hardly use at all. Next time we examine the co-operation between the centres in each ennatype.
Questions and comments are always welcome! And by all means, Share this blog, if you like what you are reading!
If you want professional help understanding and balancing your centres you can always book a personal (Skype) Life Coaching session with me.
Want to know more? You might want to check out:
Riso & Hudson / 'Understanding the Enneagram - the practical guide to personality types'
Riso & Hudson / The Wisdom of the Enneagram
Hurley & Dobson / 'What’s my type?’