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  1. #1
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    4w5 sp/sx
    IEI Ni

    Default The Instinctual Type Bias in Enneagram Descriptions

    Enneagram descriptions often lean heavily towards a particular instinctual subtype, and they can even lean towards one wing (even when it discusses the wings & their impact on the core type).

    This is some of the bias I've detected so far...

    1s - self-pres, 9 wing
    Presented as austere and nitpicky. 2 wingers can seem downright warm and the other subtypes may not be as picky about little details.

    2s - social, 1 wing
    The helper portrait is this specific subtype and rather misleading for other 2s. I don't even think this is the most common 2, so I don't know how it became the most common description out there.

    3s - social, 2 wing
    The plastic achiever who is all about impressing people & gaining status. The sexual 3 with a 4 wing is often very arty and can come across as highly individual (ie think David Bowie). Self-pres 3s are all about autonomy and not needing others, being counter vanity on the surface. Their sense of values comes from being self-sufficient. This may make them seem like 8s (more raw & less concerned with opinions of others) or 6s (may seem earthier or security seeking) or 1s (being "model" people but not showy).

    4s - social / sexual, 3 wing
    The melodramatic whiny 4 is a so/sx 4, and the excessively dramatic variety has a 3 wing. The sp is counter type - suffering in silence, especially if a 5 wing type; more burdened by shame but with a veneer of cool indifference that drives away what they want. I'm an sp 4 and still identify pretty easily with 4 though. Supposedly many sx 4s struggle to see their type in 4 profiles, but the profiles emphasize competitiveness and dramatic outbursts quite a bit, perhaps too much if you are not an sx 4.

    5s - self-pres, 6 wing
    Described as hermitic and excessively scientific or technical in the most dry way, the 5 is usually painted as a self-pres type with a 6 wing. This can confuse 5s who are artier or more abstract people and not the stereotype of a basement dwelling nerd.

    6s - self-pres / social, 7 wing
    This is a common type for, say, an SFJ. Will leave many confused if they are not the dutiful, warm skeptic who cozies up to people out of fear. There may be emphasis on social 6s as rather uptight, paranoid people who sound like they enjoy paperwork. Occasionally it's offset with a bit about cp 6s, which usually sounds like a daredevil ISTP or something. Obviously much too narrow...

    7s - self-pres / sexual, 6 wing
    The hedonistic 7 is spoken of most. This is someone who pursue concrete indulgence. The more ideal-oriented social 7 is spoken of very little, and the sexual 7 is maybe hinted at with pictures of 7s pursuing projects/people and then abandoning them once the shine wears off (very Ne, IMO). The 8 wing is often left out, which contrasts with upbeat, friendly 7w6s as much cooler, IMO. Most 7 descriptions sound like ESFPs.

    8s - self-pres, 9 wing
    Your basic playground bully; may grow up to be a PE teacher. Or sometimes described is the sx 8w7 who sounds they are on a cocaine binge. Some social 8 descriptions sound more like 3s (see self-pres 3) and they probably are. The social 8 shows more connection to 2 - more selfless protector than an independent leader.

    9s - self-pres, social 1 wing
    Sometimes we hear about sp 9w8s who sound like they flitter life away in a semi-comatose state of not caring + eating. The sexual 9 with all their whimsy & spiritual insight is spoken of very little, and hence, they tend to mistype as 4s. The 1 wing is often emphasized in the 9s diplomatic leanings or penchant for evil/good dichotomies.

    Thoughts? Additions? Disagreements?
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

    INFP | 4w5 sp/sx | RLUEI - Primary Inquisitive | Tritype is tripe

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    1w9 sp/sx
    ILE Si


    Those are indeed the typical portraits you see.

    I guess the minor thing I'd say is that I tend to allow for 3 versions of the types, 2 with wings and one "classic." It seems richer/true to reality too.

    So for instance, the sunny 7 you mention, I don't call a 7w6 or 7w8 -- just a 7. If 7 involves an anxiety about not consuming enough, 7w6 adds doubt to what constitutes enough and/or whether there will be disappointment lurking at the end of a pursuit, and in a sense this is a more anxious 7.

    Similarly, I don't view the austere 1 as the 1w9, I see that as the classic 1 -- although I understand if you have just 2 categories, maybe it makes sense to put the 1w9 as the austere 1, 9 being withdrawn and having potential for detachment and all that.
    I view the 1w9 as basically what enneagram institute says (not necessarily because it says it, just that this point it happens to get right in my understanding) -- an idealist, more than a reformer or corrector. For whom pragmatic reality isn't as it must be, and who draws from the dreaminess of 9, but with less escapism, and more firmly theorizing what the ideal is. Possibly may be prone more to reject getting one's soul dirty to provoke change (so e.g. viewing politics with disdain because, while it can have practical good effects, in principle it may be seen as the wrong way to do things).
    The escapism of the 9/stubbornness going with that adds to the uncompromising style of E1.

    I haven't decided if the stereotypical 6 is a "classic" 6 or a 6w7, but yeah it might be a 6w7. I think both are pretty common.
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  3. #3
    Junior Member kirsten's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    1w9 sp


    Interesting. Just reinforces the need to always study more and not assume you know more than you do. The Enneatypes are incredibly complex and multifaceted. Stereotypes don't even come close to describing what Enneatypes really are.

  4. #4
    Honeyed Water thoughtlost's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013


    Yeah, I think 9s mistype easily if they are not this nature-loving, quiet, shy, mouse-like person who doesn't feel any intense emotion and who don't notice or have much anger, then that's when they mistype as something else. I think sexual 9s definitely mistype as 4s or see themselves as sexual 2s at least.

    I really want to see better descriptions of sexual people in general, I'd like to see it better described for the heart types.
    You are so arbitrary.
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  5. #5
    Used Thread Salesman Population: 1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2017


    When I typed as a 5 my 4 was only under it by a point so I could be a 4w5. Maybe. Anyway yes the 5 is far too clinical and disciplined to fit me unless tempered by a 4 wing. I'm definitely lost in abstract ideas a lot and big into sci-fi and fantasy though I do enjoy history and science, especially astronomy. I'm definitely known for withdrawing into hermit mode at times confounding and sometimes inadvertently hurting friends in the process.

  6. #6
    Don't touch me. Peter Deadpan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    458 sp/sx


    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    Supposedly many sx 4s struggle to see their type in 4 profiles, but the profiles emphasize competitiveness and dramatic outbursts quite a bit, perhaps too much if you are not an sx 4.
    Many people here don't see me as a core 4. I have accepted that. I do get why people don't think I am - I seem outgoing and engaging here. However, this is the online world, and I think it's more helpful to look at the motivations behind my behavior. I am performing more than I am engaging. There is a strong element of competition to it that took me awhile to fully accept. Sx 4s also have an undercurrent of anger that presents like a seething judgement/envy of others. It's not always easy to identify that it is coming from a place of envy, but it is. Sx 4s, especially Sx/So, are actually quite adept at engaging others, but only on their terms. This is not a constant, particularly for those with a 5-wing like myself. I consider myself more of an "on/off" person, but more often than not, I am "off," especially in person. Furthermore, it's painful how awkward I can be, even around people I have known for years. There is a clear outsider quality to 4s. We are overly aware of our "defects" and fear that people will find those in us and affirm that we are lesser.

    Sx 4 deals with this through competition. I deal with this through trying to impress others with my wit, and oftentimes, my own shortcomings are the subject of my joking. It's actually kind of weird how transparent 4s are with their defects. Sx 4 likes to throw personal pieces of themselves out there in a bold manner and see how others handle it. This is how Sx 4s test other people. It's less to do with trust (which is what the 6 does), and more a plea for acceptance. Additionally, I think it was really hard for me to acknowledge my elitist tendencies and moments of compensatory superiority, as well as the competition, envy, and anger that the Sx 4 is known for. I also have historically had a tendency to dramatize even the smallest things and have been known for my moodiness and emotional outbursts (more when I was young, but I do still struggle with reasonable emotional regulation and sometimes wonder how people can even deal with me).

    The difference between 4 and 6 reactivity is that 4 is reacting from within, and 6 is reacting to the outside world. There can be a "showy" quality to some of the reactions of 4s, as if the reaction itself is less sincere and more an act for the sake of attention. Other 4 reactions are rather melancholy, coming from a place of deep hurt and sorrow. Sx 4s with a 6 can appear rather 6-ish or even 8-ish. 6 Sx/So can look really 4-ish too. When it boils down to it though, the 4 is not going to care about being dutiful or be as good at being loyal (outside of romantic relationships), nor will they be overly focused on rules, expectations, or figures of authority or groups with which they can belong. 6s on the other hand will be more proactive within their relationships and will be scanning the environment for possible threats. 6s want to know where they belong so that they can be safe and accepted and comforted. 4s want the same thing, but they want safety from themselves as opposed to safety from the outside world. Both 4 and 6 Sx find their place within romantic relationships, but 4 struggles with being content with what they have due to their tendency to constantly compare what they have to what they want. 4 Sx is a hot and cold lover, loving you fiercely one minute and the next wondering why they are with you and if there is someone else out there better suited for them.

    Unhealthy Sx 4s can be downright explosive - not someone you want to share your life with because you'll never be good enough. I would imagine a lot of people suffering from Histrionic, Borderline, and Narcissistic Personality Disorders are core 4s with an Sx variant, cycling between feelings of inferiority and superiority; the classic "drama queen." This would be much more marked for those with a 3-wing; 5-wings would prefer withdrawing for the sake of saving face.
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