Enneagram subtypes are an additional element that may affect your personality character structure. Subtypes are the way in which the particular emotional pattern for each Enneagram style most frequently manifests in that person’s behavior. There are three different subtypes for each Enneagram style: one subtype manifests the style through a particular behavior related to issues of self-preservation; another subtype focuses primarily on social relations, often behavior in response to social groups; the third subtype for each style is more oriented to one-to-one relationships.
Each of the nine Enneagram personality styles comes in three distinct varieties, depending on which of the three subtypes is dominant. The repeating emotional pattern (referred to as the “passion”) of the Enneagram style combines with the dominant subtype to create a fundamental, driving need (mostly unconscious) that fuels the behavior, feelings, and thoughts of the personality, yielding 27 distinct character structures (or three versions of each style) that further elaborate on or present different flavors of the nine Enneagram styles. For most people, two of the three instincts may be active, with the third less so or dormant.
Three Subtypes for Enneagram Ones | the passion of anger
Although all Ones seek perfection and avoid mistakes and experience anger as chronic dissatisfaction and irritation with the many things in life and work that are not as they should be, there are three distinct ways in which Ones manifest these characteristics.
Self-Preservation Subtype Ones focus on getting everything structured and organized correctly and experience anxiety, worry, and irritation when they think this may not occur. Wanting to make sure that everything is under control, they emphasize precision and extreme accuracy as a way to make certain that everything is done right.
Social Subtype Ones perceive themselves as role models who represent the right way of being and behaving. In their view, they set the standard for their particular reference groups. Teaching by example, social subtype Ones also focus their efforts on social institutions, often critiquing them as a way to perfect them.
One-to-One Subtype Ones have a driving need to perfect others, particularly those who matter to them, as well as to perfect society in general. They perceive reforming others as both their right and their responsibility, and they go about this with intensity and passion.
Three Subtypes for Enneagram Twos | the passion of pride
All Twos have their sense of self-worth, personal pride, and importance integrally linked with how others respond to them and want to be viewed as appealing individuals who are valued for helping others and for being able to influence things in a positive direction. There are three distinct ways in which Twos manifest these characteristics.
Self-Preservation Subtype Twos deny their own needs for protection while at the same time trying to attract others who will provide exactly that for them. Drawing others to them in the same way that children do – that is, by being appealing and appearing to be without guile – self-preservation Twos are also ambivalent about close relationships and less trusting than social subtype or one-on-one subtype Twos.
Social Subtype Twos focus on helping groups more than individuals and are more intellectually oriented and comfortable being in visibly powerful positions than individuals of the other two subtype variations. Social subtype Twos are less concerned with how specific individuals respond to them and more focused on group-level reactions, which is a result of their desire to stand above the crowd in some way.
One-to-One Subtype Twos are primarily oriented to individual relationships and meeting the needs of important people and partners. They try to attract specific individuals as a way of getting their needs met – that is, they feel they have value when chosen by someone important – but they are also highly motivated to meet the needs of these individuals as a way of developing and sustaining the relationship.
Three Subtypes for Enneagram Threes | the passion of deceit
All Threes feel they must appear successful in order to gain the admiration and respect of others, and they avoid failure in any form by hiding parts of themselves that do not conform to their image of success, deceiving not only others, but also themselves as they come to believe that the image they create is actually who they are. There are three distinct ways in which Threes manifest these characteristics.
Self-Preservation Subtype Threes try to be seen as self-reliant, autonomous, and hardworking, thus portraying an image of being a good or ideal person. The self-preservation Three may even create an image of having no image.
Social Subtype Threes want to be seen as successful and admirable in the context of specific reference groups – that is, the groups in which they want to be seen as successful. They like to be around other successful people, because this proximity reinforces both the Three’s image and status.
One-to-One Subtype Threes want to be viewed as successful by people who are very important to them, partly by appearing attractive to these people in some way but also by helping them to achieve success.
Three Subtypes for Enneagram Fours | the passion of envy
All Fours desire a feeling of deep connection both with their own interior worlds and with other people as a way to avoid feeling deficient or not good enough. Because they believe there is something lacking within them – although they cannot define exactly what this is – Fours consciously and unconsciously compare themselves to others (referred to as envy) as a way to determine what is wrong, consequently feeling superior, deficient, or both. There are three distinct ways in which Fours manifest these characteristics.
Self-Preservation Subtype Fours try to bear their suffering in silence as a way to prove that they are good enough by virtue of enduring inner anguish. In addition, they engage in nonstop activity and/or reckless behavior as a way to feel excited and energized and to avoid not feeling as good as others. Of all three subtypes, self-preservation Fours do not appear to be as envious or sensitive as the other two subtypes of Four.
Social Subtype Fours focus more on their deficiencies and also on earning the understanding and appreciation of the groups to which they belong. They want understanding and appreciation for their suffering and sorrows, and desire acknowledgment for their heartfelt contributions to groups, while at the same time they often feel marginal to or not fully part of groups.
One-to-One Subtype Fours feel compelled to express their needs and feelings outwardly and can be highly competitive with others to gain attention, to be heard, and to be acknowledged for their perspectives and accomplishments. Winning is perceived as another venue for being understood, and coming out on top is seen as a way to resolve their continuous comparisons with others.
Three Subtypes for Enneagram Fives | the passion of avarice
All Fives have an intense need to acquire knowledge and wisdom and a similarly strong desire to avoid intrusion and loss of energy, and they guard and preserve everything that they think they will need – for example, information, physical space, emotional privacy, personal energy, and resources. There are three distinct ways in which Fives manifest these characteristics.
Self-Preservation Subtype Fives are primarily concerned with being intruded upon and being overextended physically and energetically. In a sense, they hoard their involvement with others in the same way they hoard their scarce resources.
Social Subtype Fives want to find and develop strong connections with individuals who share their super-ideals, but they become disengaged when forced to live in way that is not aligned with these higher-order beliefs. They focus on the group in search of extraordinary individuals, then hoard these relationships and/or their shared ideas and, in the Five’s view, superior values.
One-to-One Subtype Fives search for a strong, deep connection with one other person whom they can trust and share confidences with, then hoard themselves, the other person, and these special relationships.
Three Subtypes for Enneagram Sixes | the passion of fear
All Sixes seek meaning, certainty, and trust, hoping that the best is possible, yet simultaneously fearing that this will not happen, and they doubt that others are trustworthy and/or whether they themselves are capable of meeting the challenges involved. There are three distinct ways in which Six manifest these characteristics.
Self-Preservation Subtype Sixes manifest fear as an intense need to feel protected from danger, often seeking the family or a surrogate family to provide this. Self-preservation Sixes also use warmth and friendliness as a way to attract and maintain these types of support groups for the purpose of making themselves feel safe.
Social Subtype Sixes deal with fear by focusing on the rules, regulations, and prescribed ways of behaving within their social environment and organization in an attempt to keep their own behavior in the acceptable range, trying to make sure they do nothing that will cause authority figures to chastise or punish them for going astray.
One-to-One Subtype Sixes are generally the most counterphobic. They express their fear primarily through the denial of their anxieties and vulnerabilities by pushing against the fear, appearing bold, confident, and sometimes fierce. They can also engage in physical or verbal behavior that makes them feel and appear highly courageous.
Three Subtypes for Enneagram Sevens | the passion of gluttony
All Sevens have an insatiable thirst for new stimulation of all kinds and distract themselves with interesting people, ideas, and pleasurable experiences, which allows them to avoid their fear of painful emotions and difficult situations. There are three distinct ways in which Sevens manifest these characteristics.
Self-Preservation Subtype Sevens try to create close networks of family, friends, and colleagues, not only to keep themselves feeling both stimulated and secure but also to generate new and interesting opportunities to pursue.
Social Subtype Sevens sacrifice some of their need for stimulation in the service of the group or of some ideal that is extremely important to them. At the same time, they are aware of wanting to pursue their desire for excitement, but they choose to postpone it.
One-to-One Subtype Sevens are dreamers, with a need to see the stark reality of the world through rose-colored glasses, and they are the most optimistic of the three subtypes of style Seven. Often, they become fascinated with one other person, become satiated with that person over time, then find someone new who intrigues and stimulates them.
Three Subtypes for Enneagram Eights | the passion of lust
As a way to pursue control and justice and to avoid and deny their anxiety and sadness or feelings of vulnerability, Eights engage in a variety of self-satisfying behaviors and do these in an excessive way (for example, taking big and immediate action, working superhuman hours, eating too much food, exercising for three hours a day for a week and then not exercising for two months, and more). There are three distinct ways in which Eights manifest these characteristics.
Self-Preservation Subtype Eights focus their excessiveness and energy on getting what they need for survival, and they become highly frustrated, intolerant, and angry when the fulfillment of these needs is thwarted. Of the three Eight subtypes, the self-preservation subtype Eights tend to speak the least and to approach situations – particularly those they deem important to their survival – in a highly strategic way that allows them to get the upper hand.
Social Subtype Eights vigorously protect others from unjust and unfair authorities and systems and challenge social norms. At the same time, they seek power, influence, and pleasure. Wanting loyalty from others and being highly loyal themselves, they derive a feeling of power from challenging others as well as from defending those under their protection, which makes them feel less vulnerable.
One-to-One Subtype Eights are the most intense, rebellious, and emotional of the three Eight subtypes. Provocative and passionate in a way that draws others toward them, these Eights derive their power and influence from being at the center of things, from the strong and energetic connections they develop, and from the fervent way in which they express their positions and values.
Three Subtypes for Enneagram Nines | the passion of laziness
In order to maintain harmony and comfort and to avoid conflict, Nines numb themselves to their own reactions by becoming lethargic or by not paying attention to their own deeper feelings, needs, and impulses, thus disabling them from knowing what they think and want and which action is the right one to take. There are three distinct ways in which Nines manifest these characteristics.
Self-Preservation Subtype Nines use the comfort of routine, rhythmic, and pleasant activities as a way of not paying attention to themselves. Using these repetitive activities to distract themselves from more important issues, many self-preservation Nines also acquire collections, and their desire for these objects increases the more they obtain.
Social Subtype Nines work extremely hard on behalf of a group, organization, or cause that they support or belong to as a way of not focusing on themselves. Social subtype Nines are usually very friendly, and their need to feel a part of things is rooted in their underlying feeling of not fitting in. Thus, Nines sacrifice themselves in the service of others, rarely showing the pain, stress, and overwork they experience as a result.
One-to-One Subtype Nines join or merge with others who are important to them as a way of not paying attention to their own thoughts, feelings, and needs. This fusion with others results in One-to-One subtype Nines becoming disconnected from their own deep desires and confusing their own intentions and fulfillment with those of these important others.