Self Discovery Through Enneagram – Peeling the Layers of Onion

We are spiritual beings living here, on earth, for a physical experience. But as per the rule of the game, we forget this, and live life with a different perception, leading to entanglements in our physical life. We develop strategies, as we have accumulated log to fears during the process of evolution and finally end up with a personality trait to protect ourselves. This slowly leads to a rigid thinking and feeling forming layers of protection. S a result we are slowly moving away from our true self, which is our ESSENCE.

Enneagram is a study of nine basic personalities of people. It explains why we behave the way we do, and is an important tool for improving our relationships with family friends and co-workers. Enneagram teaches that early in life we learn to feel sage and cope with our family situations and circumstances by developing a strategy based on our natural talents and abilities.

Enneagram was initially believed to have been taught by sufi masters in the middle-east. The Russian mystical teacher Gurdjeff introduced it to Europe. Enneagram means a “drawing with nine points”. It is represented by a circle containing a nine pointed star like shape

Description Of Nine Personality Types:

TYPE1: Perfectionist: They are motivated by the need to live their life the right way, including improving themselves and the world around them. They are principled and strive to live up to their high ideals.

  • Positive Side: They are ethical, reliable, orderly, honest, productive and self-discipline.
  • Negative Side: They are judgmental, controlling, anxious, jealous, overly serious, inflexible and obsessive,
  • Basic Fear: “Fear of being bad, corrupt, evil, or defective”.
  • Unconscious Childhood Message: It is not okay to make mistakes”.

TYPE2: Helper/Giver: Helpers are warm, concerned and are motivated by their need to be loved and valued, to express their positive feelings towards others.

  • Positive Side: They are loving, caring, adaptable, generous, and enthusiastic.
  • Negative Side: Two’s are indirect, martyr like, manipulative, possessive, hysterical and overly accommodating.
  • Basic Fear: Fear f being unworthy of being loved.
  • Unconscious Childhood Message: It’s okay to have your own needs.

TYPE3: Achiever: Number Threes are motivated by the need to be productive, achieve success and avoid failure. Work is more fun than fun.

  • Positive Side: energetic, practical, industrious and self-propelled
  • Negative Side: They are deceptive, pretentious, vain, superficial and overly competitive.
  • Basic Fear: Fear of being worthless or without inherent values
  • Unconscious Childhood Message: It is not okay to have your own feelings and identity.

TYPE 4:The Romantic: Fours are motivated by the need to experience their feelings, to be understood and to avoid being ordinary, they have sensitive feelings and are in their own world all the time.

  • Positive Side: Fours are expressive, creative, warm, intuitive and compassionate.
  • Negative Side: They are depressed, self-conscious, guilt ridden, withdrawn, stubborn, moody and self-absorbed.
  • Basic Fear: Fear of being without identity or personal significance.
  • Unconscious Childhood Message: It is not okay to be functional or too happy.

TYPE 5: Observer/ Thinker: Fives are motivated by the need for knowledge and understand everything, to be self-sufficient and to avoid looking foolish. They are introverted and analytical and insightful.

  • Positive Side: Self-contained, sensitive, persevering and objective.
  • Negative Side: Fives are intellectually arrogant, stingy, stubborn, distant, and negative.
  • Basic Fear: Fear of being useless, incapable or incompetent
  • Unconscious Childhood Message: It is not okay to be comfortable in the world.

TYPE 6: Loyalist/ Questioner: Sixes are motivated by the need for security and value loyality to family, friends and cause, their personality range from served and timed to outspoken and confrontative.

  • Positive Side: They are likable, witty, practical, helpful, warm, caring, responsible and compassionate.
  • Negative Side: Sixes are hyper vigilant, controlling, judgmental, unpredictable rigid, defensive and testy.
  • Basic Fear: Fear of being without support or guidance.

TYPE 7: Epicurean/Adventurer: Sevens are motivated by the need to be happy and plan enjoyable activities. They want to contribute to the world. They feel life is to be lived fully thus avoid suffering and pain. When they are in painful situations there is always an exit to move away.

  • Positive Side: sevens are fun-loving, spontaneous, Imaginative, enthusiastic quick, charming, confident, productive and curious.
  • Negative Side: They are impulsive, unfocused, rebellious, possessive, restless, undisciplined and self destructive.
  • Basic Fear: Fear of being deprived or trapped in pain.
  • Childhood Message: It is not okay to depend on anyone for anything

TYPE 8: Boss/ Asserter: Eight are motivated by the need to be self-reliant and to avoid feeling weak or dependent. They show authority and boss around.

  • Positive side: Eights are motivated by the need to be self-reliant and strong and to avoid, Eights are self-confident and protective. They are direct, loyal and energetic.
  • Negative Side: They are controlling, rebellious, domineering, aggressive insensitive and self-center.
  • Basic Fear: Fear of being harmed or controlled by others.
  • Child hood message: It si not okay to be vulnerable or to trust anyone.

TYPE 9: Peace Maker: Nines are motivated by the need to keep peace, to merge with others and to avoid conflict. They take on qualities of other eight types. They have variations in their personality, from gentle and mild mannered to independent and forceful.

  • Positive Side: Nines are pleasant, peaceful, generous, patient, receptive, diplomatic, open-minded and empathic.
  • Negative Side: They are forgetful, stubborn, judgemental, obsessive, passive aggressive and unassertive.
  • Basic Fear: Fear of loss of connection, of fragmentation
  • Childhood message: It is not okay to assert yourself.

The Triads:

Each and every one of us operte from a different center of the body, namely

  • The heart or feeling center
  • The Head or Thinking Center
  • The Gut or Instinctive Center.

Each center is made up of three adjacent types (Refer to Enneagram picture in questionnaire)

    • The Heart and Feeling Center: Twos, threes and fours belong to this. Their image is important to them. Helper presents a loving image and nurture people. Achievers like to be seen in different light, and socially agreed upon norms Romantics have strong need to express themselves and to be seen as original.
    • The Head or Thinking Center: Fives, sixes and sevens operate from their head, from a particular fear. Thinkers find safety in their knowledge and rely on their own resources. Loyalist seeks relief from fear through the permission and approval of authority figures or through rebelling against authority. Epicureans think very optimistic but shun unpleasant emotions, including fear.
  • The Gut or Instinctive Center: Eights, nines and ones operate from their instincts in connection with the expression of their anger. Asserters or Bosses are not afraid to express anger. Peacemakers are agreeable, accommodative and can often be out of touch with their anger. Perfectionists see anger as a character flaw and try to bold it back.

Each and every personality behave differently in any given situation (example of river crossing)

Enneagram do not suggest that we change our personality but to understand ones strengths and weaknesses. It helps us to peel all the layers that we have developed as a means of protection. By working with Enneagram, we develop a deeper understanding of others and also learn alternatives to our own patterns of behavior, ultimately helping us to go to that void, space or center in us, and to connect to our true essence or spirit.

Enneagram Questionnaire

Mark the sentences that describe you when you are not confirming to work, school or family. If you are having difficulty deciding and are over the age of 30, mark those sentences that describe you when you were 25 years old. When you complete reading the sentences and marking those that apply to you, mark the corresponding boxes on the answer sheet to find your enneagram type.

  • I like to be organized and orderly.
  • I want people to feel comfortable coming to me for guidance and advice.
  • I am almost always busy
  • Being understood is very important to me.
  • I learn from observing or reading as opposed to doing
  • I am nervous around certain authority figures.
  • I enjoy life. I am generally uninhibited and optimistic
  • I value being direct and honest; I put my cards on the table
  • I often feel in union with nature and people
  • It is difficult for me to be spontaneous
  • Relationships are more important to me that almost anything
  • I like to make to-do lists, progress charts, and schedules for myself
  • I cry easily, Beauty, love, sorrow and pain really touch me.
  • It’s hard to express my feelings in the moment
  • I am always on the alert for things to go wrong.
  • I don’t like being made to feel obligated or beholden
  • I am an individualist and a nonconformist.
  • Making choices is difficult sine I can see the advantages and disadvantages of every option.
  • I don’t like it when people break rules
  • I have trouble asking for what I need
  • I go full force until the job is done
  • When I am told what to do, I often become rebellious and do, or wish I could do, the opposite.
  • Brash, loud people offend me.
  • I am often plagued by doubt
  • I am busy and energetic. I seldom be bored if left to do what I want.
  • I will go to any lengths to protect those I love
  • Instead of tackling what I really need to do, I sometimes do little, unimportant things.
  • I am almost always on time
  • Watching violence on TV or in Movies and seeing people suffer is unbearable.
  • I try to present myself well and make a good first impression.
  • Sometimes I feel very uncomfortable, like an isolated outsider, even when I’m with friends.
  • I dislike most social events. I’d rather be alone or with a few people I know well.
  • I have sabotaged my own success.
  • I like myself and I’m good to myself.
  • I fight for what is right.
  • Others see me as peaceful, but inside I often feel anxious.
  • I think of myself as being practical, reasonable, and realistic.
  • Sometimes I get physically ill and/or emotionally drained from taking care of everyone else.
  • I tend to put work before other things.
  • I place great importance on my intuition.
  • I don’t look for material possessions to make me happy
  • I like predictability.
  • I am often at ease in groups
  • Sometimes I like to spar with people, especially when I feel safe.
  • When people try to tell me what to do or try to control me, I get stubborn.
  • I often compare myself to others
  • I enjoy giving compliments and telling people that they are special to me.
  • I believe in doing things as expediently as possible
  • I try to control people at times
  • Acting calm is a defense. It makes me feel stronger.
  • I often obsess about what those closest to me are thinking
  • I love excitement and travel
  • I have overindulged in food or other things
  • I like to listen and give people support
  • I almost always do what I say I will do
  • I crave, yet sometimes fear, intimacy.
  • I can’t understand people who are bored. I never run other of things to do.
  • I hate insincerity and lack of integrity in others
  • I usually experience my feelings more deeply when I’m by myself.
  • I tend to either procrastinate or plunge headlong, even into a potential dangerous situation.
  • I usually say whatever is on my mind. Sometimes it gets me into trouble.
  • When I enter a new group, I know immediately who the most powerful person is.
  • If there is unpleasantness going on around me. I try to think about something else for a while.
  • I love making every detail perfect.
  • It is difficult for me to ask for what I need, or even to know what it is, when I’m with others.
  • People often look to be to run the show
  • My ideals are very important to me.
  • I get tired when I’m with people too long.
  • I constantly question myself about what might go wrong.
  • My style is to go back and forth from one task to another. I like o keep moving.
  • Some people take offense at my bluntness.
  • Supportive relationships are very important to me.
  • I dread being criticized or judged by others.
  • I like feeling needed and helping others become more successful.
  • I have energy to burn. The more I do, the better I feel; the better I feel, the more I do.
  • I can be very sensitive to critical remarks and feel hurt at the tiniest slight.
  • I get lost in my interest and like to be alone with them for hours.
  • Being neat and orderly helps me feel more in control of my life.
  • I often take verbal or physical risks
  • I may have a hard outer shell, but when I feel trusting, I can be vulnerable and loving.
  • My friends say they feel relaxed, comfortable, and peaceful around me.
  • I often feel guilty about not getting enough accomplished.
  • I pay people compliments to reassure them and let them know they are special to me.
  • I tend to avoid heavy talk about feelings
  • I easily soak up other’s pain.
  • I tend to be self-reliant and keep my problems to myself.
  • I can be cynical and sarcastic.
  • I want to live the good life. Which includes delicious foods and plenty of fun and adventure.
  • My first reaction is often to blame someone.
  • People say I am too passive and indecisive.
  • I demonstrate my projects with purpose and passion
  • If I don’t get the closeness I need. I feel sad, hurt, and unimportant.
  • I carry out my projects with purpose and passion.
  • I am drawn to what is intense and out of the ordinary
  • I try not to be involved in confrontations
  • I usually don’t trust anyone I have not know for a long time.
  • I usually recover quickly from losses
  • My friends complain that I sometimes dismiss their point of view.
  • I try not to place demands on others because I do not like having demands placed on me.
  • You can always rely on me.
  • People have said I exaggerate too much and am overly emotional.
  • I fear getting too close and may move on when a relationship starts to become too serious.
  • I have a flair for clothes and enjoy looking a little different.
  • At times I wish I had better social skills
  • I often examine or test the loyalty of my friends.
  • I make more plans that I actually carry out
  • I would rather be respected than liked.
  • I am very attached to my habits and routines.

Some questions come from the Enneagram Made Easy series by Renee Baron’s and Elizabeth Wagele’s.

Enneagram Answer Sheet

Transfer answers from the questionnaire to this answer sheet by marking the appropriate boz. Once you have marked all your answers, count the boxes that you have marked in each column down and write the total. Circle the total that is the highest. You have now identified your enneagram personality type (indicated by te number). If you have two equally high totals, look at the type member that has the most connects on the enneagram diagram below.