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Thread: How did you determine your motivational fear?

  1. #1

    Default How did you determine your motivational fear?

    It seems that enneagram type is largely focused on the primary fear which motivates someone's actions. In my opinion this seems like an incredibly difficult thing to do. I cannot seem to find out what my fear is.

    Is there a way in which people out there, who know their enneagram type, found out the fear that motivates their actions?

  2. #2
    i love Array skylights's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    6w7 so/sx
    EII Ne


    For me it was a matter of observing my behavior and tracing back. I mistyped as 3 for a while because I have a strong concern with success, excellence, and perfectionism, but, observing my behavior in situations, it is not rooted in "performance" or image-preservation.

    You can try to look at your situational behaviors which are notably different than others' behaviors, which may give you a place to start. What purpose did your behavior serve in that situation? Were you protecting yourself, taking care of someone else, presenting a good side of yourself, etc? It is not the behavior itself that is important or indicative, but the reasoning behind it.

  3. #3


    We all have an overlay of fears but for me the decider is what has driven me consistently throughout my entire life. I have always been striving to find my holy grail, the one thing I am really good at. That describes perfectly a type 5. Of ourse its hard to me to find my holy grail because I find I can develop facility in most things I turn my hand to. So I guess I am still looking for the one thing I have genius abilities at. I doubt I will ever find such a thing, but the endless striving for mastery is what defines me. This motivation rarely manifested as a fear in my younger years, but it is registering off the radar now that I have passed midlife. I guess the fear factor ramps up as ones death comes into view.

    I have never typed as a 5 in any enneagram test actually. I always type as a 1, but I know without doubt that the 1 type does not fit my core motivations or fears at all and when I look at myself in disintegration I am even less 1-like.

  4. #4
    mod love baby... Array Lady_X's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    9w1 sx/so


    as a 7 i don't think we're always aware initially that we are fearful...that our moving towards the positive or the fun is a reaction to the fear of the opposite. to be without options, without the freedom of movement and change, of being trapped and stifled.
    There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    -Jim Morrison

  5. #5
    eating bugs out of hair. Array prplchknz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007


    haven't figured it out fear for me leads to obsession and paralisis

  6. #6


    I lucked out. The first time I visited an Enneagram forum, they pegged me as a 3w4 after my very first post. It took me a while to completely figure it out for myself, in large part because type descriptions and others' perceptions of your type are mired by stereotypical external behaviors. I'm not exactly flashy or materialistic (typical external traits of 3s) but I do know that I have that core 3 fear of 'not being good enough.' (The fears behind 6, 5, and 1 also fit to varying degrees.)

    I think the general process of figuring the stuff out is similar for everyone--read, think, and experience--but the specific details on the realization differ per individual. You're ahead of most people, in that you recognize that it's all about that core fear or desire.

    Here's a kickass site. The one-line "Basic fear" and "Basic desires" on the Enneagram Institute site (as per, say, the Type 7 description) are pretty good too. You could also throw up a 'type me' thread. Think about any fears that don't fit. Also forget about the nuances of the Enneagram for now (such as points of integration and disintegration, etc.)

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Dannik's Avatar
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    Dec 2013


    my fear is to be disconnected from people, to lack personal understanding

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    468 sx/so
    :-( None


    I've recently re-thought my type--I've mistyped for about 15 years because I'm not a typical version of my type.

    Tracing behaviors only helps so much, because we often use the defenses of our wings, our connecting points, or another fix. Again, I don't really behave in half the ways my core type is supposed to. Also, I've observed that sometimes we've been conditioned to behave like one type, and it turns out there's another one underlying it. Because I recently went through this very thing, I'll pass along some advice.

    - It helps to establish a "baseline mood"--when you're at home staring at the walls, where are you at mentally and emotionally? (For example, many 4s report that their baseline is "melancholy").

    - Where were you as a little kid? Was there any perception you remember having that you can't find any reason for?

    - If you are very familiar with the enneagram, you can generally see yourself in the surrounding types--and if you pay attention, you should be able to see how both influence you all day long.

    - What is your super-ego always telling you? I read Maitri recently, and she suggests writing out a conversation between your id, ego, and super-ego. When I did so, my type became very obvious. Listen to the ways you think you "should" be, and the things you've done to live up to that image.

    - What is your ego ideal? I mean, how would you ideally be if given the chance (you don't necessarily have to live up to it--I certainly fail at living up to mine, lol).

    - What pisses you off for others to observe in you? You should have some sort of ego reaction against people attacking your defenses and get angry or feel "hurt".

    - What "felt sense" do you have of your childhood? Were you deprived? Wronged? Abandoned? If you're not sure, write a short autobiography and try to determine what you are upset about.

    At least, these observations are what eventually persuaded me of my core type. Hope it helps someone somewhere.

  9. #9
    Blood of the Exile Array Animal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    4w3 sx/sp
    EII None


    I'm rethinking my type too. I am certain of my tritype and have been for a year, since I read Naranjo and Maitri. 4w3, 7w6, 8w7, in some order - though I already mistyped at 8 and having thought this through thoroughly, I know it's not my core. I still think I'm a core 4, but I'm seriously considering core 7, too. I understand type 7 very well, due to my father being a 7w8 and my many-years best friend being a 7w6, and also being close to a handful of other 7s (even though I'm not exactly close to tons of people). I can write a fictional 7 like no one else. I see 7 in me but I am not sure if it's my core. Wouldn't any chronically ill person feel trapped and deprived of a real life? The thing that hit me hardest about my chronic illness was losing my singing voice. Prior to illness I was more than a professional singer.. I was a lifestyle singer, the kind who practiced the same note or word in every key, every which way, for 10 hours a day as a kid. The illness left me speaking in a whisper. I was not singing incorrectly or smoking; I did absolutely everything right, but the illness goes for the part of your body where there's the most blood flow and ravages it, with most people. For runners it gets their knees..etc. So there I was at age 16 with no voice. I also couldn't walk for a while and lost my independence; I had enough money from singing to move out at 15 and a whole career plan and now, I would be dependent on my parents forever, due to expensive medications and not enough health to work adequately. This bothers the hell out of me, but what hurts the most is losing my voice- my passion, my purpose, my identity. Even my parents, who are psychiatrists, say that my voice loss upset me because I "lost my identity" - and I used to get really mad at them for saying that and deny it although I knew it was true. I would claim , "it's not my identity, I AM MY VOICE, it's who I really am!"

    So, I'm pretty sure that's 4. And I think it is fairly easy for me to see my core fears in my tritype because it's pretty obvious what stood out when I lost everything. Of course, a person losing everything is going to feel useless and incapable which is why I mistyped at 5 way back then.. and some things are just human, and shared human experience. But if I think about what affects me the most LONG TERM, it's 4 and 7 stuff... but I'm pretty sure the 4... wins. Because now, I have a lot more confidence and I don't feel deprived any more, for one reason alone: I sang lead through my whisper on my album, thus reclaiming my identity. I'm still deprived of a real life, but this doesn't bother me. The only deprivation that bothers me is that I can't sing on stage very often, my whispery voice comes and goes, and I'm not healthy enough to perform... that I cannot OWN my identity, passion, and purpose... day in and day out. But I am not 'nobody' because I have already released an album, and this is solid proof that I triumphed over adversity and reclaimed my identity; reawakened from the undead.

    The worst thing to me, would be: to let the world mold me into someone other than I am, to be deprived of the ability to express myself, and to be weak & controlled by others. I didn't need enneagram to tell me that - it's written all over the diaries I have kept ever since I was small. These are the things that my whole life is spent warding against. But how to determine which is harder. I'm pretty sure it's 4 though because, the one thing I don't want to be deprived of, or too 'weak to do,' is express my true self.... through my creative work and my lifestyle. As long as I have enough health and resources to do that, I am in control. As long as I can be true to myself, I am alive.
    Art is the blood of the Exile
    4w3 8w9 6w5 Sx/Sp

  10. #10


    Quote Originally Posted by Animal View Post
    Of course, a person losing everything is going to feel useless and incapable which is why I mistyped at 5 way back then
    Are you saying 5's are useless and incapable?

    Just kidding

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