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Thread: MBTI/Enneagram Trait Overlap

  1. #1
    hyggelig Array EJCC's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    Default MBTI/Enneagram Trait Overlap

    When you're typing someone (or yourself), how do you decide which traits are due to Enneagram and which are from MBTI?

    A specific example of this problem (note: this thread is not entirely about her. I want the thread to get past this example): One of my friends has a very unusual Enneagram/MBTI combination (ENxP and 2w3), and I can't figure out whether she's an ENTP or an ENFP because some traits that would make her seem F (and would also suggest Te/Fi) could be due to her Enneagram; she has a Te matron quality to her in terms of wanting to take care of everyone in a blunt/honest way, but her level of care about exactitude (and how incredibly groundedly logical and calm in the face of crisis she is) suggest ENTP -- but that could also be due to her 3 wing?! It's confusing.

    In the case of my friend -- as well as in general -- how can you tell Enneagram traits from MBTI traits? Thoughts?
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  2. #2


    In my opinion, I don't think you can really differentiate because it gets convoluted after awhile besides trying to figure out the functions. For example,my Fe usage gets confused for e2 because I like to consider others and help but I really just don't relate to the e2 motivations.

  3. #3
    failure to thrive Array AphroditeGoneAwry's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    To me, cognitive functions are inherited and explain how we perceive and judge the world. Less differentiated cognitive functions are utilized according to a person's genes and environmental influences, as needed.

    Enneagram seems to be a bit more superficial in that it describes our behaviors, and emotional states of preference. To me, this is not unlike astrology. I know the enneagram inventors/discoverers? say that we are born with an innate enneagram type, but I'm not quite sure I buy that as much as I do with cognitive functions. I think behaviors spring from the ego, which comes from the id and superego buried in our unconsciousness, and is very much more dependent on our environment, as ego development is, though I do agree it's more likely that you are a 'heart' type if you have a feeling preference, a 'head' type if you are a thinker, etc. And I think that is really the only way they overlap.

    Jungian followers tend to believe you cannot infer behaviors and emotional states from type theory, and that is one of the problems with MBTI--that it falls prey to stereotyping, etc.

    I'm not saying there isn't something to enneagram, because I think there is. But I think it's different in that it deals with emotions and feelings and behaviors which are necessarily more superficial to our basic human constitution regarding how we perceive and process data.
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  4. #4


    I honestly don't think it helps to mix these two up - they're trying to explain the same thing, but with different schemas. It's like mixing imperial with metric. All you end up with is an overly-complex bastard-child of a system that doesn't help illuminate anything, but instead fuels an incessant need to categorise and label every action, thought or emotion that a person might (or might not) express.

    It completely gets away from why we're doing this in the first place, which is to understand ourselves better.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array animenagai's Avatar
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    Aug 2008


    I think it's the best to see MBTI in terms of functions. Does this girl have more Fi or Fe? Te or Ti? IMO that's what your typing should be based on. Whether or not her enneagram type agrees or adds another dimension, well that's a separate question imo.
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  6. #6
    Paragon Gone Wrong Array OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
    4w5 sp/sx
    IEI Ni


    The simplest way is to consider if it's enneagram or MBTI is to determine if the trait stems from emotions or thinking. Enneagram can boil down to emotional motivations & MBTI to thought processes; although those are certainly not cleanly divided. So in considering T/F, it's best to note if she tends to evaluate what is good/necessary/important from a human standpoint, or if she tends to consider things in a factually categorized way detached from human needs. Consider her premise, the core point she builds on, not whether her reasoning & conclusion is solid. It is very unlikley for an e2 to not be a Feeling type, because the need to be needed tends to spur the person to think of things from that evaluative, human standpoint.

    Also remember that Feeling is not emotion. Being calm in a crisis & using sound reasoning does not make someone a Thinking type. I think staying calm in a crisis can actually be associated with Pe types - something to do with operating well in chaos & acting spontaneously. Je types seem to create/maintain structure to prevent crises to begin with, so that everything is orderly in a predictable way, maybe because they don't do as well with the chaos of crises. Pe types (well, Ne anyway) tend to be inspired by existing structure in the sense that they want to escape it; an obstacle to get past, a box to get out of, a deadline to meet.... I know I thrive in chaos sometimes. I tend to put off doing stuff because I almost NEED the panic.
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