Posted with permission from Ocean Moonshine.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype Nine

Enneatype Nines are out of touch with the instinctual center. Because Nines are of touch with their instinctual energy they have a very conflicted relationship to the expression of the various instincts.


This subtype is the most self-effacing of type Nine, possibly the least assertive of all the enneagram types. They can feel as though they have been looked over and passed by. While they do desire attention and recognition, with the sexual instinct last in the stacking, they seldom actively pursue it. They feel as though it’s just not worth it. This subtype is usually very deliberate and methodical in their speech. They sometimes get frustrated because they don’t feel that they can say what they really want to say. They are therefore often very short and concise with their communication, not wanting to provoke any confrontation. But when given a chance and the time to express themselves, they can be quite talkative. While self-pres needs are important to this type, the fact that they are essentially Nines, sometimes causes them to put the needs of others before their own. When under stress, this type is likely to do busy work, anything that distracts them from their problems.

In relationships, the self-pres instinct combines with the merging qualities of the Nine to make a person committed and connected strongly in areas of security, home and other practical matters. They merge their environment with their loved ones. On the down side, this subtype can be passive-aggressive and withdraw under stress, holding back affection. They could possibly go long periods of time without talking to their spouse directly.


This subtype is self-effacing also, but is generally more assertive. They may be the subtype of Nine which is most aware of the boundaries between themselves and others and at the same time, possibly the most frustrated when those boundaries are violated. They can be aware of being walked over and they might even be aware of the anger it causes, but they become frustrated with their seeming inability to control this pattern. This is true, to some degree, of all Nines, but with the self-pres/sexual instinctual stacking, there seems to be a complex and interesting balance between the withdrawing energy caused by the dominant self-pres instinct and the assertive energy of the sexual instinct. This combination seems to raise consciousness of this dynamic.

Getting healthy for this subtype, and for all Nines, involves becoming aware of this dynamic and realizing they do have the power to control their boundaries. Part of this must come from the realization on the part of the Nine that they have invited this overstepping of their boundaries from others by not defining them.
Close relationships will usually work or not for this subtype depending on how well they deal with this issue.


Social Nines feel the need for validation and for “fitting in” but they feel these indirectly. They move towards others in a way which can resemble Twos, but they are motivated by a desire to initiate and maintain contact without provoking conflict. On the high side, the social/self-pres Nine generally knows a lot of people and gets along with most everyone. They are helpful people who generally have a great sense of humor. They get involved with the social environment. They might be the soccer coach, or if politically inclined, they might join and participate in a political party. When in leadership roles, they lead by consensus and charm. Their skill is in conflict management. With the sexual instinct last, they tend to avoid intensity, but they are actively involved with people.

Intimate relationships might be frustrating for the partner of this subtype of Nine because the Nine’s social engagements might make the partner feel as though the Nine is connected with everyone except them. Sometimes this subtype can use their social connections in a passive-aggressive way against the partner; they might withhold attention from the partner in lieu of spending time with friends.


This subtype is “everyone’s friend.” The social/sexual energy combines with the Nine’s merging tendency and conflict avoidance to create a subtype that is very charming and uses humor quite extensively to engage with the people in their lives. On the down side, they can be frustrating because they can easily lose focus when it comes to their life priorities. With the self-pres instinct last in the stacking, they have a hard time tending to their own needs. They drift, and tend to use their charm to get a lot of their self-pres needs met by the people in their lives. When the Eight wing is dominant, they sometimes even develop a sense of entitlement, though they are just as likely to return help to those they charm into helping them.

In relationships, this subtype can suffer from some of the same problems as the other social subtype. They usually fall into a relationship in which the partner pushes them to “do more” with their lives. This can be positive for both parties, but often ends up causing resentment to build for both partners.


The energy of the sexual instinct is at odds with the dominant type Nine energy and makes for a conflicted subtype. These Nines can appear to have a stronger connection to Three, for this reason. The assertive fiery energy engages in a constant push-pull with the calm peace-seeking energy of the Nine. This subtype can have an intense relationship with their environment. They are often drawn to solo sports or to an active engagement with nature that involves some risk and exertion. These Nines are drawn to peak experiences. They might enjoy outdoor solo sports or engaging in nature by way of hiking, rock climbing etc.

With the social instinct last in the stacking, there can be an on/off quality when it comes to relating and these Nines are often somewhat moodier than the other subtypes. As with the self-pres/sexual, this subtype might not engage socially with the same smoothness as other subtypes of Nine. They seem to go towards others in a staccato fashion – they connect in bursts, then withdraw.

When it comes to intimate relationships, this subtype can be needy. The merging of the Nine combines with the intensity of the sexual instinct to create a subtype that will always be in danger of losing themselves in a relationship. Their boundaries for themselves and their partner can become blurred which can lead to conflicts. This subtype might have a hard time judging clearly the degree to which they have merged.


This subtype of Nine may appear least like a stereotypical Nine because the outward sexual and social energies obscure some of the withdrawing and “zoning out” tendencies of the Nine. These Nines are the most connected and assertive of the subtypes of Nine, especially when it comes to relationships. There is still some internal struggle, as with the sexual/self-pres, but overall there is less of a tendency to withdraw. With the self-pres instinct last, this subtype can neglect self-preservational needs in favor of the intensity of their sexual instinct’s pursuits. Individuals of this subtype could easily be mistaken for the dominant wing, because the sexual energy tends to flow in a manner similar to the energy of the wing. A Nine with a One wing would therefore appear more One-like and a Nine with Eight might be mistaken for an Eight.

The central conflict for these Nines will still be in the realm of close intimate relationships and these Nines will have many of the same issues and challenges as the sexual/self-pres Nines.