Welcome back to an introduction on the Enneagram, a personality typing system with nine distinct types. In part one, we introduced the nine basic types that each of us fall into. That was just the beginning! The Enneagram is complex with many concepts that organize it. This post will introduce you to the three Centers, which each house three types in each. The types are purposefully located in their respective Centers because of the dominant emotion tied to each type. Each type has a distinctive, unique way of coping with the emotion tied to it’s center.
The Instinctive Center
Types 8, 9, and 1 are located in the instinctive center, of which the dominant emotion is anger. Eights express and act out in their anger and may have a tendency to raise their voices and act forcefully. Type nines are out of touch with their anger and deny most dark emotions because it feels overwhelming and threatening. Ones control their anger by controlling themselves and directing the leftover energy to their “inner critic,” demanding perfection at all times.
The Feeling Center
The feeling center contains types 2, 3, and 4 and the dominant emotion is shame. Type twos’ focus on helping and receiving a positive emotional response from others helps to control their sense of shame by convincing them they are good and loving. Type threes, driven by a fear of failure, relentlessly pursue success and deny underlying feelings of inadequacy. Fours, while most susceptible to give in to feelings of shame, control it by focusing on their uniqueness, creativity, and individuality.
The Thinking Center
The thinking center, driven by fear, holds types 5, 6, and 7. Fives, driven by a fear of an inability to cope with the world around them, tend to withdraw and seek understanding in hopes they will have the capacity and knowledge to hold them up. Sixes are often plagued with anxiety and self-doubt, which leads them to turn to authorities, belief systems, or relationships for their source of security and reassurance. Type sevens fear painful emotions, loss, and deprivation and cope by constantly thinking about and engaging in exciting, new possibilities and situations.
If you are interested in learning more about the Enneagram, check out the following resources:
Enneagram Institute’s website at https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
That Sounds Fun Podcast Series EnneaSummer 2019, 2020, and 2021 by Annie F. Downs
If you have been struggling and you are in the Chicagoland area, please feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000.
Written by Kathryn
2021 Graduate Intern