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Can't figure out your type? Consider "The Soul Child"


Active member
Nov 19, 2008
For those of you having trouble identifying your type - or even for those who need a little extra cement - I propose we revisit the idea of the "soul child". A member of these forums posted these a while ago, and I hope they don't mind me unearthing these from this thread: http://www.typologycentral.com/forums/enneagram/28808-soul-child-brief-intro.html.

If anything, it helps to solidify one's understanding of the types by considering their total opposite - what is it that the various fixations push against? What gets projected outward, onto others, instead of ourselves? What's the disparity between how we see ourselves, and how we're actually being, when we're within the trance?

For those of who you know their type, how well does these descriptions gel for you? For those of you who don't know which type you are, which one sticks the most?

I can speak for myself and say that the Type 5 description fits like a glove. Hopefully it does for you guys too.


One of Maitri's teachers, A.H. Almaas, gives the name "soul child" to one of the most problematic structures in our soul. The soul child is a part of our consciousness that was arrested in its development when we were very young, so it did not mature like the rest of us and so feels to us like a part of us that is a child. It was not fully allowed to be or supported when we were children, so its qualities, which for whatever reason were not accepted by our early environment, have been supressed and gradually became more hidden away. Because these qualities are suppressed, we develop our Enneatype in counterpoint to them. Our Enneatype then, in a way suppresses our soul child, which is crucial to bring to consciousness because its qualities are what we feel is most missing.

If we don't get in touch with the soul child properly, we experience it in a negative way. It can be the reason that you consistently have problems with the same things, e.g. when you have to say something difficult but avoid it, etc. On the other hand, when we are in touch with it in a healthy way, we are in touch with what makes us feel more vital and alive, more joy, strength, curiosity, etc. the way we were when we were children. And more like "ourselves", who we really are.

The Soul Child of Type One - Type Seven

Inside of the moralistic, righteous, and upstanding stance of a One is a young child who cares nothing about being good or doing the right thing. He only wants to play and have a good time and to take in all of the wonderful things that life has to offer - a little Seven. A One's soul child wants to sample every piece of chocolate and have a bite out of all the other children's cookies. He is a little glutton, wanting to grab exciting tidbits of everything he can get his hands on, and wanting to have three different activities going on so that he can jump from one to another whenever things get monotonous. His gluttony may reach hedonistic levels, in which the supressed essential quality of the Yellow or Joy makes its distorted appearance as indulgent pleasure seeking. The all-too-familiar Moral Majority spokesperson or evangelical Christian who gets caught with his hand in the till or his pants down is the leaking through of this sensualist and born vivant soul child.

As a One moves beyond his judgments and self-criticism, and is able to allow this pleasure-seeking young part of himself, the distorted manifestations will gradually transform. He will understand that behind his condemnations of the sinfulness and imperfections of others is an attempts to defend agains his own soul child. He tries so hard to be good because he got the message early on that his desire to have fun and play was not acceptable. Enjoyment itself was something that seemed taboo, and so life became hard work and a matter of shouldering a heavy burden. The more he penetrates his soul child's desires, the more he will get in touch with the love and delight in life itself that underlie them. Joy in the creation, the handiwork and manifestation of Being, will suffuse his heart, and he will turn his focus away from what is wrong with everything to how wonderful it all is.

The Soul Child of Type Two - Type Four

Behind the loving, giving and helpful outer facade of a Two lies a competitive, jealous and spiteful little Four-ish soul child. Twos try to present themselves as sweet and kind, self-sacrificing, humble, all of which can be seen as very much a reaction to the darker tendencies of their soul child. This is a little boy who wants to scream "I hate you!" to the other little boy who got the teacher or mommy's attention, pull his hair and tell him how awful he is and how stupid he is too. He is very observant about who gets how many cookies, tries to grab the most and the best and reacts with spite and venom if he does not get what he wants. He is filled with envy, believing the other kids have what he lacks and that they are better than he, cuter and more lovable. He can be bitchy and back biting, vindictive and huffy.

For a Two, the negativity and pettiness of his soul child are often initially difficult to acknowledge and tolerate. It threatens all of his pretense of open-heartedness and harmlessness, but most of all, it puts him first. This is, in fact, the very thing necessary for a Two's unfoldment - getting in touch with himself is central. As a Two contacts his soul child and, instead of rejecting him, judging him and pushing him away, opens his heart to him, he will become primary in his own consciousness. This is very taboo for a Two, who learned that being self-centred set him up for parental disapproval. He will find that as he focuses more on himself - listening to and filling his own needs, responding to his own impulses and taking his own initiative, recognising his limits and setting them with others - he indeed becomes more centred within himself. This is not the negative thing he feared, signifying loss of love and becoming more selfish to him, but rather is a doorway into his personal connection with Being. The more he takes care of himself instead of others, in other words, the more he connects with the spark of the Divine within, realising himself as the Point. Instead of having others be the point of his existence, around whom he orbits, he finds himself one with Being, a star in his own universe.

The Soul Child of Type Three - Type Six

The soul child of Type Three is Point Six. So behind the efficient and composed veneer of a Three is a very frightened child, shy, self-doubting, insecure. It experiences the world as a hostile and malevolent place. Other people appear threatening, sometimes to the point that the Three may become paranoid that they are out to get him/her.

Threes try to counter their fearful soul child with outer success and achievements. For this reason, no amount of success, status or power will ever be enough to resolve the inner fear and insecurity if the soul child is not integrated. They would still experience themselves deep down as one of the weaklings in the struggle for survival. The Three's image is an attempt to camouflage this scared and immature part of him/herself.

For Threes to develop, they must come to grips with this child who experiences the ground beneath as inherently shaky and unsupportive. Perhaps as a child, the Three's Will was challenged and eroded or the ease with which s/he could do things was envied. The more this fear is acknowledged and how much it is a driving force within the psyche, the more the anxious inner child will feel secure. This allowing will in time transform the fear into an inner calm, confidence, support and ease and effortlessness of true Will.

So when Threes integrate and have compassion for their soul child, they will become free of dependence on a conventionally "successful" image to feel worthy and safe and will not be afraid to honestly be who they are, so they will be free to act and exert their will in the world in a way that is in synch with their real self.

The Soul Child of Type Four - Type One

Within the dramatic, intense, and emotional facade of a Four is a bossy and pushy little One-ish soul child who is intent on all the other little kids behaving properly - seeing to it that none of them jumps the line, that their clothes are tidy, and that their manners are good. This soul child is a Goody-Two-shoes, prim and proper, and critical of all those who don't follow the rules. She is a stickler for fairness and correctness and gets quite angry when the other kids are bad. They are the problem children who need to be straightened out, and in this we see the Four's tendency to blame others for their problems, as well as their defensiveness when an "imperfection" about them is pointed out.

Acknowledgeing this self-righteous and resentful little soul child is difficult for a Four, since it feels like her biggest flaw, opening her up to tremendous self-attack and self-hatred. Rather than imploding her agression and directing it towards herself, bringing her soul child to consciousness is really a huge part of solving her inner suffering. The more she sees it, the more she acknowledge her defensiveness and her need to be right, and in so doing, her soul is gradually able to relinquish its control. Understanding her need to control others and make them do what she wants will expose her lack of perception of perfection of things as they are and, more important, of her own perfection. As she progressively integrates her soul child, she will see how the purity, luminousity, and inherent brilliancy of her soul were not allowed or mirrored in her childhood.

Losing touch with the Aspect of Brilliancy, which she most embodied, she felt damaged, and developed in reaction a personality stype based on estrangement, abandonment, and longing for connection outside of herself. The more she integrates her soul child, the more the little do-gooder will transform into a shining sense of inner completeness, perfection and elegance. Instead of living a life based on envy or mourning, and longing from a far for contact, she will find that the completeness she seeks is within and that the grass inside is very brilliant indeeed.

The Soul Child of Type Five - Type Eight

The soul child of Type Five is Point Eight. So inside every self-enclosed, withdrawn, quiet Five is an Eight-ish soul child who dreams of getting even and devouring endless pints of ice cream, delights in getting down and dirty, slogging it out with the other kids and lustfully immersing itself in life. This soul child may show up when a Five curses other drivers within the isolation of his/her own car, screams at a referee on TV or condemns politicians as crooks when listening to the news.

A Five's soul child can be a little bully and a bigot, convinced s/he is right and closed to other possibilities. S/he may be defensive and denying about any perceived weakness, reacting with aggression when challenged. S/he can be punitive and vindictive, wanting to get even with others who s/he feels have wronged him/her.

For Fives, these tendencies can be challenging to acknowledge since they betoken a zesty and gutsy engagement in life that appears very threatening. As a child, their wholehearted and passionate engagement in life was not supported for one reason or another. Their vibrancy, aliveness, strength and courage were damped down.

The vindictive and self-avenging tendencies of the soul child when it first appears may be the soul's response to this stifling. In reaction to their vitality not being allowed, Fives withdrew and cut themselves off from it.

If they allow their lusty and dynamic soul child to surface, Fives will gradually reconnect with their aliveness and feel more part of life itself. Knowing and knowledge then become more embodied and inclusive since heart and belly are also involved. Courage to face the unknown is found and life becomes more and more of an exciting and engaging adventure the Five is fully and heartily immersed in.

So when Fives fulfil the need for engagement and involvement of their soul child Eight, they will step out of their isolation and feel the connection and direct experience they miss. This will enrich their type's love of knowledge for they will come to know not only intellectually and theoretically but also gain the understanding that can only come from actual experience.

The Soul Child of Type Six - Type Nine

Within every Six is lazy little one - very Nine-ish - who just wants to stay under the covers, doesn't want to go out and face the world, wants only to be comfortable and entertained. Because of this, Sixes are often afraid that if they relax into themselves, they will become inert, never moving or bestirring themselves again; and they fear that they will neglect what they need to in their lives. This is, of course, because hidden from consciousness is this young part that does not want to do anything at all except luxuriate in leisures and distractions. This inner indolence is really the heart of a Six's fear - she is perhaps more afraid of this tendency in herself than of anything else, fearing that if she stops pushing herself with her false will, all will be lost and she will sink into a swamp of laziness. If she is not making efforts, she is afraid that nothing will happen and that her life will go down the tubes.

When a Six courageously allows herself to stop striving and lets herself be, she may initially experience an immobility or lack of desire to do anything at all. In time, the inertia and indolence of her soul child will transform into what it is replicating; the loving holding of Being, a sense of being held in embrace of the Divine, knowing herself to be made up of love and one with all of existence. The sweetness and benevolence of the universe - the dimension of Living Daylight - will become part of her sense of self, and the fear in her soul will gradually subside as she realizes more and more completely her inextrivcable connection to Being. Eventually the whole mind-set of being frightened of others will diseappear as she recognizes that her nature is the same as all that exist, and that all sense of self and other is illusory. Without Being as her inner ground and her perception of its continuity in all outer forms, she has indeed found the rock she can truly stand on.

The Soul Child of Type Seven - Type Five

Wthin every seemingly magnanimous and happy-go-lucky seven is a very miserly, witholding, and withdrawing soul child -a little Five. She holds on to what she has tenaciously, storing all of her candy and her toys away so that the other kids cannot get at them and take them from her. Driven by fear of loss and an inner sense of scarcity, she feels empty inside and afraid that no more sustenance will come her way. For all of a Seven's apparent gregariousness, optimism, and interest in life, this young place inside wants to hide from life and connect with it from a distance. This soul child can also be a nerdy little know-it-all who relies primarily on her intellect. It is likely that in a Seven's childhood, her reclusive, self-enclosing, and solitary tendencies were not allowed, and that she got the message that she needed to be more externally oriented and buoyant. It is also likely that her mental skills got supported and developed at the expense of a more innate and intuitive understanding, turning her into a little egghead who felt disconnected from the other kids. A Seven's sunniness became a way of masking and defending against her inner sense of scarcity and of not belonging, not feeling part of the group or family and not fitting in.

It is very difficult for a Seven, with her need to be cheery, optimistic, and enthusiastic about things, to acknowledge this withdrawn, frightened, and reclusive young part of herself. What feels the most difficult is the sense of scarcity that drives her soul child - the parched inner emptiness and dryness - which initially feels life threatening for a Seven to make contact with. The more she does not judge and reject this part of herself, the more the avaricious and isolating tendencies will transform, especially as her sense of being an ultimately seperate entity - and thus one who is cut off from the rest of existence - is challenged. Her geeky, nebbishy, and bookish qualities will transmute into true embodied knowing, that of the Diamond Consciousness. As her sense of ultimate separation from being and from others comes into question, and her inner desert blooms with all of the flowers of Essence, her soul will truly know directly. She will feel part of the Whole, understanding experientially that separation is impossible, and her okayness will be real rather than reactive.

The Soul Child of Type Eight - Type Two

Within the tough and no-nonsense Eight who delights in testing his/her grit and that of others, dominating and controlling life, and triumphing over any adversity lies a needy, clingy and lonely little Two-ish soul child who is desperate to be loved and held. An Eight's soul child wants to snuggle up to others, getting as close as possible, and can be insistent and demanding about it. Beneath an Eight's show of strength is this soul child who is filled with all of the emotions she considers weak - needing others, fearing rejection, insecurity, and a deep sense of sadness and loneliness. With the sense that her contactful and loving qualities were not wanted as a child, an Eight reacted by essentially saying "F*** you!" to everyone she felt dependent on, and set out to prove she didn't need anyone or anything. She hid what felt like her vulnerable soft underbelly behind a veneer of callousness and in the process closed down her openness and receptivity.

As Eights contact the defensiveness behind their pride and the sense of rejection and neediness that underlie it, they may feel as though their whole world will collapse. They have done everything not to feel those "weak" places in their soul and often feel they will not survive if they allow them to emerge. As they let themselves contact their neediness and pain, their hearts can open again and the soul become permeable. They can be touched once again and as they contact reality with less and less of a thick and defended skin, they will gradually feel more connected with life. Instead of trying to wrestle with life for what they need, they will find their soul relaxing, melting and merging with their essential nature, whose honeylike nectar fills their soul in the form of Merging Gold. Instead of fighting with reality they will be united with it, and as they progressively surrender more and more fully to their Being, they will find fulfilment and loving union rather than the capitulation they had feared.

The Soul Child of Type Nine - Type Three

The soul child of Type Nine is Point Three on the Enneagram. Its "passion" (or vice) is lying. It can appear in a tendency to deceive and lie in order to present to another what will get approval. Like a child who takes a cookie when mother told her not to or pretends to be sick to skip school a Nine's soul child pleads that s/he did not do it and s/he really does have an upset stomach.

Within every Nine is a young place that wants to be seen, to shine, to be the centre of attention. So there is a little show-off, wanting to do her dance and be applauded.

Behind the self-abnegating tendency lies a drivenness and often a ruthlessness about succeeding - usually well hidden and pushed out of consciousness. The shadow of this can be seen falling across the consciousness in the fear of the Nine to appear too pushy or take up too much space.

Underneath the inertia of the Nine is their soul child's focus on doing, and often Nines are afraid that if they start an activity, they will become driven and unable to stop.

As Nines allow themselves to get in touch with the psychodynamic structure in them that consists of their soul child's qualities, they will progressively experience themselves as more complex. Exhibitionist tendencies will transform into a sincere recognition of their personhood. They will see that being a person in their own right was not supported during their childhood, and so they became accommodating and self-absenting in order to get approval.

If they reclaim themselves as valuable and lovable, they will start to be able to experience the aspect of Essence that Almaas calls the "Pearl Beyond Price" - it is radiant and luminous and independent of any constraints of the conditioning they have experienced in their lives.

They will become free of any self-image or mental construct defining who they are and will be able to contact and interact in the world liberated from the sleep of personality.


Such Irony

Honor Thy Inferior
Jul 23, 2010
Instinctual Variant
Thanks for posting this insightful article. The type 5 description is so true for me it's scary.


New member
Jul 28, 2011
Funny, I was just looking at soul child descriptions yesterday. :p Four and Nine both sort of fit me, Five does not.


Read through all of them, and I identify with the 5, quite strongly, more than any of the other descriptions in fact. I don't really get the 4 description, doesn't seem to fit, but maybe I've misunderstood it. Resident confirmed 4s who find it rings true for them - explain pleez? :flowerz: