Posted with permission from Katherine Chernick-Fauvre from Enneagram Explorations.

Enneagram Instinctual Subtype and Pair Bonding

Interrelationship of Instinctual Drives

A noteworthy point of interest with respect to the Enneagram Instinctual Subtypes is that the dominant instinctual drive (self-preserving, social or sexual) will shift to the other two subtypes as needed to ensure its influential role in this trialectic instinctual system. The way in which the dominant subtype employs the other two appears to be very specific and predictable. The dominant drive maintains the role of the commander in chief and the other two are channeled through its lens. Generally, this is very primal and often unconscious. This is especially apparent with respect to the human drive to seek a mate and pair bonding, but applies to all areas of life. If a relationship displays conflicting instinctual needs the dominant drive perceives it as a threat to security and acts accordingly. Confusion about the manner in which the instinctual drives manifest to create and maintain a sense of security is often the root of misunderstandings. Such disturbances in the instinctual drive are often the catalyst for seeking counsel or therapy.

Self-preserving moves to Sexual For example, the self preserving subtype considers a mate as an essential need to maintain and insure security. Therefore, when in search of a mate the self-preserving subtype will feel anxiety and suspense until a mate is secured. In order to attract a mate, the self-preserving subtype will shift to their respective sexual instinctual drive to accommodate this fear. Outwardly the self-preserving subtype will behave like the sexual subtype, pay more attention to their desirability and will be sensual or flirtatious. At first, the self-preserving subtype will spend more time one on more with the possible mate. Once the mate is secured, the self-preserving subtype will return to basic routines that ideally would include the mate. An area of pain and disappointment for this subtype is when they have a mate that is unwilling to pay attention to issues of security and disrupt their need for inner calm.

Social moves to Self-PreservingThe social subtype will think in terms more indicative of the self-preserving subtype when selecting a mate. This is very important to insure the desired security that rank and social status can provide. The social subtype seeks a mate with a shared social vision and similar values. This is necessary to fulfill the desire for a mate that will join them in their activities. Therefore, a secure social position is essential. Much attention is paid to the potential mate?s connections, rank and ability to provide financial security. This subtype enjoys bringing others together, feeling that ?the more the merrier?. They are often adept at creating the center stage and often use their home for social events, gatherings and causes. At first the social subtype will spend more time one on one with the potential mate. Once the mate is in place, the social subtype will return to outside interests, groups and/or activities, ideally, this is with their mate. An area of pain and disappointment for this subtype is when they have a mate that is unwilling to pay attention to their need for people, activities, causes and unwilling to share their interest in others.

Sexual moves to Social The sexual subtype (one on one) will seek the greater world or social arena to find a desired mate. The sexual subtype is normally happy tucked away in a secluded setting with one significant other. However, when alone or in search of a mate, this subtype will behave much more like the social subtype. One must be with others to find ?the other?. Once the mate is selected, the social activity will be replaced by the dominant drive for time spent in union with the other one on one. At first the sexual subtype may spend time with the potential mate in the company of others. They become a pair even in groups. Then when the passion for deeper connection is ignited the sexual subtype will want to bond totally with their desired other. When the mate is determined, the sexual subtype will return to one on one style of relating. Ideally, this is intense time spent with the desired other or mate. An area of pain and disappointment for this subtype is when they have a mate that is unwilling to pay attention to their degree of connection and intimately share their deepest and innermost thoughts.

1996 Katherine Chernick-Fauvre