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  1. #1
    Senior Member Urchin's Avatar
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    Default Thoughts on Enneagram Variants

    Maybe I'm not understanding the system properly, but I think that most of the descriptions of the Enneagram Varients (Sexual, Social, Self-Preservation) are ill-conceived.

    Many descriptions I have seen descrive the SP varient as focused on maintaining material security as far as safety and earthly needs goes. I feel that a person who is self-absorbed (disregard negative connotation) isn't necessarily materially-focused. Personally, I see myself as constantly introspective and sometimes egotistical, but I have little concern for material security. If I have the very basic necessities, I'm fine. I don't think about it very much. I don't pay attention to earthly things very well, as I am caught up in my thoughts a lot of the time. And yet, I feel that I'm a nearly even mix of SX and SP.

    Also, SX doesn't fit the model well. I see SP as "self-focused" and SO as "others-focused," at a bare bones level. What does that make SX? From my understanding, it's a sort of "transcendentally-focused?" Looking for something elusive? I don't feel like this is based well in Enneagram literature. I'm toying with my own definitions.

    Can anyone shed light on this for me?
    "Having is not such a pleasing thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." --Spock

    MBTI: INTP
    Enneagram: 5w6 - SP/SX
    Oldham: Solitary, Idiosyncratic

  2. #2
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    From my understanding, SP is about survival, SO is about social awareness, and SX is about investing significant energy into something, or someone specifically over a long period of time.

    I can't really describe it well, SX is my weakest instinct.

  3. #3
    ^He pronks, too! Magic Poriferan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urchin View Post
    Maybe I'm not understanding the system properly, but I think that most of the descriptions of the Enneagram Varients (Sexual, Social, Self-Preservation) are ill-conceived.

    Many descriptions I have seen descrive the SP varient as focused on maintaining material security as far as safety and earthly needs goes. I feel that a person who is self-absorbed (disregard negative connotation) isn't necessarily materially-focused. Personally, I see myself as constantly introspective and sometimes egotistical, but I have little concern for material security. If I have the very basic necessities, I'm fine. I don't think about it very much. I don't pay attention to earthly things very well, as I am caught up in my thoughts a lot of the time. And yet, I feel that I'm a nearly even mix of SX and SP.

    Also, SX doesn't fit the model well. I see SP as "self-focused" and SO as "others-focused," at a bare bones level. What does that make SX? From my understanding, it's a sort of "transcendentally-focused?" Looking for something elusive? I don't feel like this is based well in Enneagram literature. I'm toying with my own definitions.

    Can anyone shed light on this for me?
    I have to second Athenian that self-preservation is essentially a drve for survival. The descriptions are not always about material possessio, many of them are also about trying to be tough or secure.

    The social instinct is about acceptance and admiration amongs the social sphere, so I think it's appropriately named.

    Now, the sexual instinct is very poorly named. I think it should be called the Intimate instincts, and that's what I usually call it.
    Go to sleep, iguana.


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    Live and let live will just amount to might makes right

  4. #4
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    ...Now, the sexual instinct is very poorly named. I think it should be called the Intimate instincts, and that's what I usually call it.
    Ditto.

    The social runs wide and broad, like a web of resources... the focus is being part of a community, sharing resources across the web, strength in numbers.

    SX runs infinitely deep with individuals... right to the mysterious molten core. The goal is intimacy, knowing everything, being able to taste the other... almost like joining.

    And SP in a sense is about focusing on oneself, finding security within one's own walls, without needing others.

    So actually the variants are supposed to describe the relational focus of the individual.


    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    ...I can't really describe it well, SX is my weakest instinct.
    It's my strongest, followed by having to have lots of SP focus to survive my life this far.

    It's SO I really don't grasp as well.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #5
    Senior Member "?"'s Avatar
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    Everyone makes good points, espeically Athenian. However I am baffled by something Urchin, since your sig seems to imply that you are SX first and foremost. If that is the case, then even an E5 will have a flavor different from the core of that type. Does this resonnate with you:
    This subtype has a lot in common with the self-pres/sexual instinctual stacking. They experience many of the same internal conflicts surrounding relationships, the need for independence and emotional expression. The sexual/self-pres subtype differs however in being more intense, more counterphobic. They entertain more dark nihilistic ideas, ideas that most others don’t want to consider.

    With this subtype, a lot of energy revolves around the issue of boundaries. Sexual/self-pres Fives tend to forge strong connections quickly and deeply, but if they feel betrayed, begin to feel overwhelmed, or if they feel that the connection doesn’t serve their true needs, can seem to cut the connection precipitously and “go cold.” They have high standards for significant others. They must feel that they can share their emotions with a significant other without being judged. This is their private world that they share. Relationships can be difficult, because individuals of this subtype will still want their own space and alone time, while at other times will want intense connection. Because the social instinct is least developed, this subtype is not very concerned with how others perceive them (except their intimates). This subtype is deceptive in that they may not seem to be especially intense - until they are engaged in a conversation they find interesting. Then the intensity and emotion become apparent. The internal struggle for this subtype is similar to that of the self-pres/sexual, but more energized and volatile, and getting to know this subtype means getting to know that.

    When unhealthy, the energy of the sexual instinct can combine with the dominant type Five fixation to create a very impulsive Eight-like anger. The strength of their convictions can then come out quite forcefully.

  6. #6
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Ditto.

    The social runs wide and broad, like a web of resources... the focus is being part of a community, sharing resources across the web, strength in numbers.

    SX runs infinitely deep with individuals... right to the mysterious molten core. The goal is intimacy, knowing everything, being able to taste the other... almost like joining.

    And SP in a sense is about focusing on oneself, finding security within one's own walls, without needing others.

    So actually the variants are supposed to describe the relational focus of the individual.
    Is it somewhat obvious to your way of seeing things that I'm mostly SO, but tend to behave in a more SP way under even mild stress? That's how I see myself, usually.

    It's my strongest, followed by having to have lots of SP focus to survive my life this far.

    It's SO I really don't grasp as well.
    I have trouble understanding people who seem to have SX stronger. It seems like they invest too much energy into very specific things that aren't considered that meaningful to most people, and they don't seem to know how to hold back enough of themselves to be able to pull out if they have to. Do you understand what I mean? How would you say my behavior looks from your perspective?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Urchin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by "?" View Post
    Everyone makes good points, espeically Athenian. However I am baffled by something Urchin, since your sig seems to imply that you are SX first and foremost. If that is the case, then even an E5 will have a flavor different from the core of that type. Does this resonnate with you:
    I feel like SX and SP are both prominant in my relationships, and SO is very underdeveloped. The order of the SX/SP stacking for me could go either way. The SX/SP in my signature was a guess I made a while ago based on a test result.

    I have a strong aversion to trust, and am almost always distant. I associate distance and self-sufficiency with strength, and have an obsession with eliminating need. That obsession is less intense now than it once was.

    Whenever someone breaks through, though, or appears interesting to me, I bore into them intensely. Sometimes I go to far, get frightened, and cut the tie. My focus on anything is often very intense until I lose interest, when it drops to nothing. I'm either SX/SP or SP/SX, as neither SP nor SX alone fully describe me.

    As far as my external appearance, I once was obviously neurotic and radiated internal conflict. Now, though, people say they have trouble reading me.
    "Having is not such a pleasing thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." --Spock

    MBTI: INTP
    Enneagram: 5w6 - SP/SX
    Oldham: Solitary, Idiosyncratic

  8. #8
    Member lbloom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    I have trouble understanding people who seem to have SX stronger. It seems like they invest too much energy into very specific things that aren't considered that meaningful to most people, and they don't seem to know how to hold back enough of themselves to be able to pull out if they have to. Do you understand what I mean?
    I'm an sx, with low sp, and pretty negligible so.

    Your assessment looks about right - from an outside perspective. If the sx is concerned with individual connection, "most people" are not high on the agenda. As an INTP, that is always true anyway, so it fits right in. I'm also naturally passionate, so I throw myself at something that promises to hold my interest. Conserving my energy isn't a priority, and it's hard for me to understand why it should be. I'm very laidback, working on a concept of infinite personal time and energy. Doing things that matter to me is much more important.

    The "holding back" part is trickier. The INTP/5 means that detaching, observing, and processing is the chain of natural behavior. At the same time, the strong sx favors connection over excessive caution. It creates a bi-stable situation that fluctuates between the two states till one is decided upon. That can take quite some time, depending on which side is winning, which has a lot to do with the perceived quality of the connection. In my case, it creates a curious attachment style: intense, but secure.

    Getting out can be quite painful, yes, but once my judgment has waved me past a certain point, I don't believe in holding back. I've never regretted it.

    Similarly, I have trouble truly understanding strong sp-types. I don't quite get what they are so afraid of. They seem to be putting the better part of their lives into building endless layers of security into their lives, while forgetting to live. If that is combined with a particularly insecure type, it creates a situation where insane effort is put into a "survival" drive, making for a joyless life that is intrinsically stuck in a loop.

    Objectively, of course, they are all equally odd.

    There is a website somewhere that has a table for likely successful pairs. I think the order for sx types was so, followed by sx. I concur. A strong sx-sx pairing is likely to burn up, while a strong sx-sp pairing is a source of considerable friction. Weaker cases of either should be more amenable.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Urchin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lbloom View Post
    Getting out can be quite painful, yes, but once my judgment has waved me past a certain point, I don't believe in holding back. I've never regretted it.
    This is extremely untrue for me. One should always maintain control, even if one never has to exert it, in my mind.
    "Having is not such a pleasing thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." --Spock

    MBTI: INTP
    Enneagram: 5w6 - SP/SX
    Oldham: Solitary, Idiosyncratic

  10. #10
    Member lbloom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urchin View Post
    This is extremely untrue for me. One should always maintain control, even if one never has to exert it, in my mind.
    That's your self-preservation instinct talking. I'm certainly not anywhere close to naturally trusting either, in general.

    sx-types want to be able to trust one person - completely. Perhaps that's what makes us feel most secure.

    To be fair, my conception of letting go is still deaf-mute territory for most people. It's largely non-verbal.

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