The Enneagram FigureThe Enneagram (or Enneagon) is a nine-pointed diametric figure which is used to indicate - among various other applications - a dynamic model of nine distinct yet interconnected psychological types (usually called 'personality types','character types', or 'character archetypes').
As a 'typology' model this use is often called the Enneagram of Personality though more often it is just called the Enneagram, which can create confusion with other ways of using the Enneagram figure. Some only see the Enneagram as a personality typology, but others use it as a model for character archetypes. Certain groups see it in a religious or mystic sense also.
Contemporary ways of understanding and describing the Enneagram have developed from various traditions of spiritual wisdom and modern psychological insight.
The Diametric Figure
The term 'enneagram' derives from the Greek word "ennea" meaning "nine". It is also known as an 'enneagon'. The usual form of the Enneagram figure is composed of a circle enclosing an equilateral triangle and an irregular hexagon that connects the nine points around the circle's circumference.
It is sometimes claimed that the Enneagram can be found in ancient sources, especially within the Sufi spiritual tradition, or that the Enneagram figure is possibly a variant of the Chaldean Seal from the times of Pythagoras.
The Enneagram figure's first definitely established use is found in the writings of the Greek-Armenian spiritual teacher and mystic, G. I. Gurdjieff (d.1949), who was heavily influenced by Sufism.
Subsequently, its use as a typological model is found in the teachings of Bolivian-born Oscar Ichazo (born 1931) and his system of 'Protoanalysis'. Ichazo first taught his understanding of the Enneagram (or 'Enneagon' as it is called in his teachings) to students in Arica, Chile in the 1960s and later in the United States through his Arica Institute.
Much mainstream Enneagram teaching has, however, been principally derived - directly or indirectly - from the teachings of the Chilean-born psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo who first learned the basics of the Enneagram from Ichazo in Arica.
It was principally from Naranjo that the Enneagram became established in the United States. His Enneagram teaching was further developed by many others - including, significantly, a number of Jesuit priests and seminarians.
The author Helen Palmer has also contributed significantly to the spread of the Enneagram teachings in the USA, and has conducted surveys to relate it to other personality typologies, such as Myers-Briggs.
There are a number of significant differences among Enneagram teachers and theorists in their interpretation and approach. Some prominent teachers have developed and promoted ideas that are not generally accepted.
The Nine Types
The nine Enneagram types are often given names that indicate some distinctive behavioral aspect, though these labels are often insufficient to capture the nuances of the each type. Some examples are:
One: Reformer, Critic, Perfectionist. This type focuses on integrity. Ones can be wise, discerning and inspiring in their quest for the truth. However, they tend to dissociate themselves from their flaws and can become hypocritical and hyper-critical, seeking the illusion of virtue to hide their own vices. The One's greatest fear is to be flawed, and their ultimate goal is perfection.
Two: Helper, Giver, Caretaker. Twos, at their best, are compassionate, thoughtful and astonishingly generous; they can also fall to passive-aggressive behavior, clinginess and manipulation. Twos want, above all, to be loved and needed, and fear being unworthy of love.
Three: Achiever, Performer, Succeeder. Adaptible and chameleonic. Some walk the world with confidence and unstinting authenticity; others wear a series of public masks, acting the way they think will bring them approval and losing track of their true self. Threes fear being worthless and strive to be worthwhile.
Four: Romantic, Individualist, Artist. Driven by a fear that they have no identity or personal significance, Fours embrace individualism and are often profoundly creative. However, they have a habit of withdrawing to internalize, searching desperately inside themselves for something they never find, creating a spiral of depression. The stereotypical angsty musician or tortured artist is also a stereotypical Four.
Five: Observer, Thinker, Investigator. Believing they are only worth what they contribute, Fives have learned to withdraw, to watch with keen eyes and speak only when they can shake the world with their observations. Sometimes they do just that. Sometimes, instead, they withdraw from the world, becoming reclusive hermits and fending off social contact with abrasive cynicism. Fives fear incompetency or uselessness, and want to be capable above all else.
Six: Loyalist, Devil's Advocate, Defender. Sixes long for stability above all else. They exhibit unwavering loyalty and responsibility, but are prone to extreme anxiety and passive-aggressive behavior. Their greatest fear is to lack support and guidance.
Seven: Enthusiast, Adventurer, Materialist. Eternal Peter Pans, Sevens flit from one activity to another. Above all they fear being unable to provide for themselves. At their best they embrace life for its varied joys and wonders, truly living in the moment; but at their worst they dash frantically from one new experience to another, too scared of disappointment to enjoy what they have.
Eight: Leader, Protector, Challenger. Eights worry about self-protection and control. Natural leaders, capable and passionate, but also manipulative, ruthless, willing to destroy anything and everything in their way. Eights seek control over their own life and their own destiny, and fear being harmed or controlled by others.
Nine: Mediator, Peacemaker, Preservationist. Nines are ruled by their empathy. At their best, they are perceptive, receptive, gentle, calming and at peace with the world. On the other hand, they prefer to dissociate from conflicts, indifferently going along with others' wishes, or simply withdrawing, acting via inaction. They fear the conflict caused by their ability to simultaneously understand opposing points of view, and seek peace of mind above all else.
To some extent the personality issues and traits of the nine Enneagram types can be understood as 'overlapping' around the circle. Observation suggests, for example, that Type One people will also tend to express some of the characteristics of either or both Type Nine and Type Two. The two types on each sides of a person's principal type are usually called the 'Wings'. This aspect of Enneagram theory was first suggested by Claudio Naranjo and then further developed by some Jesuits. Some Enneagram theorists do not give much or any importance to the Wing concept.
Stress & Security Points
The internal lines of the triangle and hexagon indicate what are called 'Stress Points' and 'Security Points,' or 'direction of integration' and 'direction of disintegration.' The sequence of stress / disintegration is 1-4-2-8-5-7-1 for the hexagon and 9-6-3-9 for the triangle, whereas the security and integration points go in the opposite direction (1-7-5-8-2-4-1 and 9-3-6-9).
What the terms mean is that, simply, when people feel particularly good or bad about themselves, they may adopt some of the personality traits of the next type up or down the list. A healthy and happy One, for instance, picks up some of the Seven's traits (which makes sense, as Ones tend to be highly self-inhibitory, whereas Sevens always give themselves permission to enjoy the moment). On the other hand, an unhealthy One begins to express some Four traits (particularly the obsessive introspection; they also share a certain amount of self-loathing and self-inhibition).
Each type also has three main instinctual subtypes - the Sexual, Social and Self-Preservation subtypes. Self-Preservation types worry primarily about meeting life's physical demands; Sexual types worry about the 'chemistry' and intimacy between themselves and others; and Social types desire long-term connections and focus on the needs of the group.
Ego-Fixations & Deadly Sins
The 'Ego-Fixations' of the Enneagram types also correlate with the traditional Seven Deadly Sins with two additional ones - 'deceit' and 'fear' - at points Three and Six respectively.
One Anger (Resentment)
"The Enneagram: Understanding Yourself and the Others In Your Life," Helen Palmer, 1991, ISBN 0062506838
"The Enneagram in Love and Work: Understanding Your Intimate and Business Relationships," Helen Palmer, 1996, ISBN 0062507214
Source : answers.com
14th July 2005 From India, Bangalore