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Multiple Enneagram Subtypes/Instincts Instinctual Zones

Luminous

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Iᑎᖴᑭ
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952
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
This is from Russ Hudson's Twitter

Self Preservation:
  • Self Care/Health 1)health, diet, rest, exercise, etc. We pay attention to our physical well-being. The healthy side of this is genuine self care, listening to our body awareness. Getting real nutrition, exercise, rest When we are not present, our ego fears & distort our relationship with SP causing us to not listen to the body's wisdom & real needs. For ex. we might overeat for fear of starving or starve ourselves for fear of being fat. We might be indolent or exercise ourselves to death. To work with this zone of SP is a process of listening to the bodies messages as sensations, 7 discerning this from the fears that cause us to neglect our needs or exaggerate them through fear.
  • Practicality/Resources The 2nd zone of self pres instinct is practicality and resources. Part of survival is having necessary resources. In human affairs this also means the management & maintenance of those resources. These can include items such as money, possessions, time and energy. Self pres dom. people tend to have a practical streak--this can be anything from being skillful running a business or personal finances to knowing how to fix things. There is a sense of persistence & going for long-range goals. They work to maintain the foundations of life. W/o presence this can lead to constant worry about resources & a grasping approach to life. Then SP dom people never feel relaxed or sufficiently secure. SP dom people might be focused on both the 1st & 2d zones or only good at one of them. Each person is different that way.
  • Domesticity/Home The 3rd zone of self pres instinct is domesticity--creating & maintaining a home. People strong in the SP instinct may express this as a focus on home-life. This means doing what's needed to keep a home, but also liking to be home as a place to relax & recharge
    One way people dominant in SP instinct may express the instinct is in cultivating a grounded, stable domestic life. They may prefer to be home than to travel or go out, & may develop skills for making the home comfortable & practical--sometimes even beautiful
    W/o presence, this talent for domestic order can become a pattern of lethargy--becoming stuck in ruts. It can also lead to fears of stepping outside of familiar tracks. Positively, we tend to do better when we have some kind of sound foundation/base of operations for our life

The 3 Zones of Self Pres in the #enneagram are 1) self care/health 2) practicality/resources 3) domesticity/home. When we are more present we simply respond to these needs as they come up. When we are dominant in SP, we get preoccupied & potentially neurotic about these areas Even if we are dominant in SP, we are usually not good at all 3 zones--usually 2 of them with 1 lagging. Some are good at practicality but not at self care for example. If SP is our weakest instinct, we are still adequate or even good at one zone. Which one is your best?

Sexual:
As with SP instinct, SX instinct is easiest to recognize as sensation in the body. SP showed up as specific sensations that tell us "how we are doing." Hunger, warmth, fatigue or feeling rested, etc, all are direct sensations. SX instinct is a different set of sensations.
SX instinct sensations feels more like tingling--an electrical feeling in the body. We might notice it in some areas more than others. As we pay attention, the feeling grows & fills in, like Whitman's poem "I Sing the Body Electric." When present, we feel more vital & alive. Distortions of this instinct bring in fears about desirability--often narcissistic problems. Their can be a need to keep amping up this instinct or a need to shut it down. It can lead to an addiction to risky-taking & even self destructive behaviors. Very different from SP. When we are present, SX instinct tends to attract us to people & things that are good for us, that evolve us. When not so present, we tend to get attracted to people & situations that are repetitions of our narcissistic wounds. We keep signing up for the same hurts & heartbreaks.

  • Attraction: The 1st zone of SX instinct I call attraction--both attracting & being attracted, magnetism. People strong in this instinct are more aware of what attracts them--they don't need a reason. They also put more energy into attracting others thru highlighting strengths/features. Many dominant in this instinct have heightened charisma. They broadcast a quality of energy that commands attention. Social dominants have something similar, but this energy attracts--draws others in. Even when they are not aware of it, this energy tends to broadcast.SX dominant instinct makes us more aware of our own attractions. When we come into a room, we notice the "hot spots"--areas of interest--very quickly. Similarly, it can be hard to pay attention to others when this attraction is not present. We can get restless & impatient.
  • Exploration/Edge: The 2nd zone of SX instinct I call exploration & edge. People strong in this instinct are typically more interested in experiencing life powerfully than they are in stability or security. They are drawn to the edges of life to discovering their own edges, energetically. When this zone is strong our whole life has a flavor of exploration & adventure. We may fear getting stuck in a rut & be willing to sacrifice some forms of security to have an interesting lifestyle. This isn't about planning--more going with the impulse to try something out. Positively, this leads to a rich life & to broader, deeper experiences that we can bring to our work & relationships. Negatively, it can lead to dissipation or an attraction to danger--edge becomes putting ourselves at risk, drawn into an unsavory demimonde. Self destruction.When we are present, this zone helps us to get out of our lethargy, our comfortable "sleep." It activates us, & brings us back to the wakeful intensity of this moment. When not present, it makes us restless & in search of stimulation--it distracts us from our being.
  • Fusion/Merging: The 3rd zone of SX instinct I call fusion/merging. It may be this aspect of the instinct that led to the concept of "one-on one." Many strong in SX seek intense fusion with the object of their attention. It goes beyond connecting (which is social) and is not only w. people.When this zone is strong we have a strong urge to lose ourselves in something or someone. Certainly with a person we are attracted to, but also to a piece of music or an engrossing book. We seek conversations where the rest of the world seems to fall away. And we like this.Positively, this leads to a a beautiful capacity for focus & for being with the energy of another. Negatively, it can lead to a recurrent pattern of losing ourselves in relationships as well as in preoccupations--a difficulty holding a middle ground. All or nothing is tough. This should not be confused with intimacy & thinking of ourselves as "intense" or "deep." Most people think of themselves that way. This part of us can involve into a fiery commitment to our awakening, and to to staying on track with our practice regardless of what arises.

Social:
I guess it is worth repeating that all 3 dom. instincts seek intimacy & one-on-one relationship. Most people prefer this to "relating w. a group" which is one reason why many do not realize they are actually social dominant. We just focus on different things in our 1-1 relating.Social instinct is NOT only about "the group," it is about awareness of the OTHER. How is the other feeling? How are they reacting to me? How am I affecting them? Sexual instinct is about the energy (or lack there of) between us. Both can be present in the same relationship. SO instinct began w. parenting. Most species on earth do not parent--it is a fairly late development in evolution. But the awareness of the state of the young became crucial as more complex animals required more time to "grow up." So the parental bond is the origin of Social. Many people confuse SX & SO but of course everyone has both of these instincts. The drive to connect, to relate, to know each other, is social. It brings its own brand of intimacy. We can be attracted without bonding, and we can bond without attraction, or both can be there.

  • Reading People: I call the 1st zone of Social instinct "Reading People." When we are strong in this zone we pick up cues from others. We can read facial expressions & body language. We can read between the lines of what others are saying & get what they actually mean. We adapt accordingly. This zone helps us better navigate relationships. We can read an individual's state or the overall mood in a group. It's also what helps us be good parents/caregivers--we have to be able to sense what the child needs. It helps us adapt & respond to what we detect in others. It's difficult to accomplish much w/o some ability to tune into others so this zone is hugely helpful. But w/o presence it can lead to anxieties & self-defeating behaviors, over-concern about others--fearing exclusion or being devalued. We may reject our own knowing to please. Different types manifest this in different ways. We all have a different sense of what we can bring to others and how we can respond to them. But when this zone is strong, we are able to show up w. others & create truly collaborative & reciprocally beneficial relationships. Social instinct does NOT mean "socializing." It isn't "small talk." When people get together, it is usually for some reason. The reason might be from one of the other instincts (attraction or practical needs), but can be about other things too. For ex, 5s get for knowledge. SO is about the ability to get together for whatever we might be creating or exploring. This is tough to do if we are not interested in others or assume they have nothing to offer us. If we assume that, we are not paying much attention. But presence restore us quickly. It can be helpful to contemplate the question "What DO I like to do, create, accomplish, or explore with others?" There is always something. If our answer is a knee-jerk "nothing," consider that our inner critic might be at work, cutting us off before we even can explore it.
  • Creating/Maintaining Connections: I call the 2nd zone of Social instinct "Creating & Maintaining Connections." Here, the title is pretty self-explanatory, yet this zone is often confused w. SX because of the misleading "one-on-one" term. People strong in SO work at their relationships & strive for reciprocity. This zone helps us in our ability to engage others, & to strengthen connections when it serves our purposes or desires. This does NOT mean that all SO dominant people are extroverts--MANY are introverts. But it does mean that people strong in this zone value communication. We might be able to attract people into our sphere with SX instinct, but SO helps us stay engaged with people ( or animals for that matter.) We reach out. W/o presence this zone can deteriorate into codependent behaviors & anxious attempts to ingratiate ourselves w. others. When this zone of SO is strong, we are more thoughtful & considerate of others. Beyond simply reading them, we acquire behaviors to connect--to create a sense of belonging for ourselves & for them. Even withdrawn types like 4 & 5 do this thru sharing ideas or experiences.
  • Participation/Contribution: The 3rd zone of Social instinct is "Participation & Contribution." Humans NEED to be able to contribute, to know that their efforts are meaningful to others. It is instinctual. In this sense, we can also be passionate about what we contribute to others and this is Social. Participation also brings a sense of belonging--that we are welcomed & that what we are doing matters. When people do not feel this in their lives it can lead to depression & suicide. Our contributions may be very local or very public, but we humans don't do well w/o this. Participation does not mean joining everything or always wanting to be around people. We could be introverts & love solitude but still have a strong drive to contribute. It is the SO instinct that discerns WHAT we participate in, helps us realize what is NOT right for us. W/o presence, this zone can deteriorate into constant anxieties about belonging, creating in and out groups, & narcissistic needs to be important. But at its best, is the drive that keeps us contributing to the human journey and creating a meaningful life for self & others.

Even if an instinct is dominant, it doesn't mean you will be strong in all 3 zones. Usually one lags. And you will have at least one zone working in your weakest instinct. It's helpful to look at all 9 zones & explore your relationship with each one of them--customize this.

Blind Spots:

  • SP

  • SX:

  • SO:
 

Red Memories

Haunted Echoes
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6,318
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This confirmed my Sx dominance to a T but I think this is the first time I can see how secondarily I am So rather than Sp. When I hear So dominants speak I don't feel a lot of connection to the sort of abilities they have, but also they're dominant so that's probably why. I relate to the Sp blindness a lot so...that probably answers that...

did this guy write a book on this?
 

Infinite Metamorphosis

Unapolagetically Unorthodox
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Not sure what I think about that description of Sx but I suppose it's food for thought for the time being. Thanks for sharing.
 

Infinite Metamorphosis

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I strongly don't relate to any of these versions of "blindness" btw, nor do I agree with them. Most of it merely sounds like low self-esteem issues, general negative thinking, etc.

I hate that "reading people" is part of So in this - it makes 0 sense to me. Reading others is a basic part of interaction with all others. It seems comparable to saying crying is = E4 and smiling = E9. You would never say that, as every human may do both just as much as anyone else.

While I'd still be Sx dom according to this overall description, I see some problems with saying exploration/edge is part of Sx. There are much more scientific resources that attribute this to other things that would mean this as part of an IV makes no sense.

Overall, these instincts don't resonate with me well. I don't find any of them to be that relatable, yet I find the "blind spots" are descriptions I strongly don't relate to at all. If I were to receive this as my definition of things I'd probably discard / trash IVs in general entirely due to the numerous logical holes I see (albeit am not talking about here because I don't want to spend an hour breaking everything down into comprehensive sentences). Just giving a summary / conclusion of my thoughts.
 

Luminous

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I strongly don't relate to any of these versions of "blindness" btw, nor do I agree with them. Most of it merely sounds like low self-esteem issues, general negative thinking, etc.

I hate that "reading people" is part of So in this - it makes 0 sense to me. Reading others is a basic part of interaction with all others. It seems comparable to saying crying is = E4 and smiling = E9. You would never say that, as every human may do both just as much as anyone else.

While I'd still be Sx dom according to this overall description, I see some problems with saying exploration/edge is part of Sx. There are much more scientific resources that attribute this to other things that would mean this as part of an IV makes no sense.

Overall, these instincts don't resonate with me well. I don't find any of them to be that relatable, yet I find the "blind spots" are descriptions I strongly don't relate to at all. If I were to receive this as my definition of things I'd probably discard / trash IVs in general entirely due to the numerous logical holes I see (albeit am not talking about here because I don't want to spend an hour breaking everything down into comprehensive sentences). Just giving a summary / conclusion of my thoughts.
Yes, well, Hudson has spent decades researching and being involved with the enneagram, and he's not afraid to challenge and refine concepts, so I am confident in his take on it. I've taken a course from him specifically on the instinctual zones (which isn't free and so I am not linking to it).

The thing you need to remember is that everyone has ALL instincts and that they are all important. If you don't relate strongly to blind spots or any of them being dominant, that's a good thing, because the healthiest thing is to be balanced and not have an imbalance keep you from having a well rounded, fulfilling life in all the needs that we humans have, which include social, sexual, and self preservation. It's normal for some zones or subzones to be stronger than others, even within whatever instinct is your dominant.
 

Infinite Metamorphosis

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Yes, well, Hudson has spent decades researching and being involved with the enneagram, and he's not afraid to challenge and refine concepts, so I am confident in his take on it. I've taken a course from him specifically on the instinctual zones (which isn't free and so I am not linking to it).
That's great and all, but that doesn't mean there's not a lot of room for improvement or that he has taken science within the general psychology world into consideration. It also doesn't mean his definitions are better than others that were worked on for less time. Look at any professional interest and you can find people who work for long periods of time but don't see as much success or skill level etc. as some of the others who have been doing it for less time.

The thing you need to remember is that everyone has ALL instincts and that they are all important. If you don't relate strongly to blind spots or any of them being dominant, that's a good thing, because the healthiest thing is to be balanced and not have an imbalance keep you from having a well rounded, fulfilling life in all the needs that we humans have, which include social, sexual, and self preservation. It's normal for some zones or subzones to be stronger than others, even within whatever instinct is your dominant.
I wasn't saying that I don't relate to any of them being dominant, but that I don't relate well to any of them period. The former suggests it's more along the lines of relating to all. It's not well-roundedness, it's just being straight up different than what those are describing--as in, all of them somewhat miss the mark with me. Can't relate well to either the positives or the neutrals or the negatives.
 
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RadicalDoubt

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I wasn't saying that I don't relate to any of them being dominant, but that I don't relate well to any of them period. The former suggests it's more along the lines of relating to all. It's not well-roundedness, it's just being straight up different than what those are describing--as in, all of them somewhat miss the mark with me. Can't relate well to either the positives or the neutrals or the negatives.
I have a lot of issue with this as well tbh (even though I think I'm a relatively clear sx blind, not necessarily by Hudson's parameters of course). I liked a lot of how Hudson expanded his descriptions of the iv, but it's kind of difficult to provide a general explanation for the ivs when they can vary in presentation and motivation between different ennea-types and even cognition styles. I think especially with the blindspots, what is described is more of a "pure" blindspot, hence bringing the blindness to a sort of extrema point to highlight how they are different from one another so that people can understand them, hence why they sound immature in nature. In essence, no one is going to have the best of all worlds, especially if they are not focused on self development anyways, so the blindspots are going to look immature because they are often not thought of in depth.
I hate that "reading people" is part of So in this - it makes 0 sense to me. Reading others is a basic part of interaction with all others. It seems comparable to saying crying is = E4 and smiling = E9. You would never say that, as every human may do both just as much as anyone else.
With this, I think it is meant to focus on focus vs skill. For example, reading others might be a basic part of interaction with people, but I personally cannot do it well. However, it is something I focus on heavily because I value it as important (and this value and focus is what makes me soc). I have met people who do not focus on reading people at all, but may have a talent for it naturally when they try to do so (and these people are often not soc). In the same way to your example, crying and smiling are both very natural things for the vast majority of things and are part of a normal human expression, but some people are motivated to express crying publicly/are not embarrassed emoting like this publicly, some have a strong aversion to this. Reading into the descriptions too literally isn't always the best way to relate to them, because they often aren't as literal as they are expressed. To be fair though, I think this is not pointed out enough and I don't think that this is always expressed by the authors when writing these descriptions
 
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yubih

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This was very interesting and cleared up a lot of my doubts on IVs, thank you op!

I do get confused to annoyed when I see people around me "overdo" the sp instinct. My first thought is "why are they so bothered by this thing? I'm not affected by it at all". It's always important to get to know how other people might be different and react differently to things, and enneagram helped me a lot with this
My biggest struggle with the sp instinct has always been taking care of my health (it takes me a whole lot to finally go to a doctor when I have a problem) and knowing when to put a limit, for ex. I'm slowly learning how not to "overdo it" when I'm working out and actually try to listen to my body to understand why I'm feeling what I'm feeling and what I need in that particular moment. It's a hard struggle and I don't always succeed, but I'm definitely getting better at it than before
 

John Catstentine

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