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Multiple Enneagram Subtypes/Instincts Syn flow and contra flow instincts

Such Irony

Honor Thy Inferior
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
5,060
MBTI Type
INtp
Enneagram
5w6
Instinctual Variant
sp/so
Do you think the syn-flow vs. contra-flow theory is valid? Do you see it applying to your stacking?





Source: Socionics - the16types.info - Instinctual Stackings

Flow of Instinctual Energies & Compatibility

When we invest our energy, most of it is devoted to fulfillment of our primary instinct. The remaining energy radiates or flows onto the secondary instinct and finally onto the last instinct, which receives the smallest share. There are two possible configurations or directions for this flow. In first configuration, energy is invested in the order of sx→sp→so→sx. This direction gives rise to three stackings: sx/sp, sp/so, so/sx. In the second configuration, energy is invested in the order of sx→so→sp→sx, which gives rise to the other three stackings: sx/so, so/sp and sp/sx.

Syn-flow: sp → so → sx → sp
Stackings involved: sp/so → so/sx → sx/sp → sp/so
Direction: Compelled toward people. Acting upon and with others as a born insider i.e.- deeply human.

Contra-flow: sp → sx → so → sp
Stackings involved: sp/sx → sx/so → so/sp → sp/sx
Direction: Compelled against people. Seething belligerent outsiders; 'antisocial', provoking, reverse-flow change catalysts. In some profound sense, rejecting the human condition, their own and/or that of others.

The two flows move in the opposite directions. This antithesis can be seen if the instinctual stackings are compared in pairs:

so/sx - including, associating, affiliating, networking, incorporating, interconnecting, introducing, unifying, linking, bonding, annexing, cooperating, receiving
sx/so - excluding, eliminating, dividing, separating, contradicting, subverting, confronting, rebuffing, ridiculing, challenging, interrupting, reforming, rupturing

sx/sp - intensifying, escalating, rising, surging, enlivening, invigorating, accelerating, stimulating, energizing, vitalizing, reviving, animating, inspiriting
sp/sx - dulling, calming, quieting, grounding, descending, lowering, dampening, numbing, desensitizing, exhausting, deadening, extinguishing, making still

sp/so - conserving, protecting, maintaining, preserving, supplying, repairing, sustaining, stewarding
so/sp - utilizing, employing, implementing, expending, exercising, spending, capitalizing, expropriating


It has been proposed that people of stackings that are part of same flow progression generally have mutually reinforcing and supportive interactions as they are channeling their attention, efforts and energies in the same direction. The stacking located upstream within the flow progression has the ability to cover for the blindspot instinct of the downstream stacking, by this also reinforcing the energy flow of downstream stacking. For example: a person of sx/sp stacking is directing energy in the following manner sx→sp→so, in which case someone with sp/so stack can reinforce the sx/sp's weaker secondary sp→so link and support their social-last blindspot.

The relationship between people of downsteam and upstream stackings within the same flow can be compared to relations of Benefit or Supervision in Socionics i.e. they contain elements of asymmetry; partners seem to one another simultaneously talented in some way and also somehow lacking.

The person of downstream stacking usually feels a measure of attraction for a person of their upstream stacking; feeling drawn towards them, they may attempt to become acquainted. In they become close, the downstream stacking person may attempt to provide for the upstream stacking person by help and activities channeled through their secondary instinct (e.g. so/sx may try to draw out sx/sp out of their shell into the social sphere, invite them to partake in some social activities, introduce them to new people, sensing that sx/sp is too insular). The downstream stacking person at the same time feels some kind of deficiency in the individual of the upstream stacking. This is reflected, first of all, in inflexible and overly emphatic focus on their first instinct, which for downstream stacking is an adaptive, flexible, creative area only of secondary importance; and secondly, the deficiency is felt in lack of attention to their primary instinct (e.g. sx/sp may feel that sp/so doesn't know how to creatively provide for their sp-needs and that sp/so is not as emotionally responsive or immersed). The upstream person, meanwhile, comes into awareness of downstream stacking's deficiency in their blindspot instinct which for upstream stacking serves as a creative area. If their relations are friendly, the upstream person will attempt to provide for the blindspot of the downstream person, guiding them away from committing mistakes and towards beneficial and constructive actions in this sphere (e.g. sx/sp will try to guide so/sx away from doing anything that may threaten their self-preservation needs, their well-being, health, and livelihood, and direct them towards ensuring greater degree of sustainability, practicality, and well-being in their lives). The downstream person may be reluctant to accept such help, since this is not something that they generally concern about, but at the same time sense that it is supportive and reinforcing of their lifestyle, since it helps them to deal with their blindspot issues. Such help may also feel invigorating, inspiring, and uplifting, since influence exerted on one's blindspot instinct has the effect of alleviating the neuroses and insecurities related to the fixations of the primary instinct. However, if these people are on unfriendly terms, the upstream stacking person may be openly critical and derisive of the weaknesses of downstream person in their blindspot areas, and look down on the downstream person for what they see as misguided and deficient orientation.

Relations between stackings of opposite flows may feel attractive initially due to their novelty and contrast. However, in the long run, the interaction may feel somewhat boring, unrewarding, uncomplimentary, disorienting, correcting, stifling, and otherwise frustrating to the people involved.

Interaction between opposite flow stackings that share the dominant instinct (e.g. sp/so-sp/sx, sx/sp-sx/so) are usually attractive, interesting and compelling; such pairings are frequently encountered. Both partners share the same primary drive and orientation, which evokes mutual sympathy and respect. However, eventually they discover that they tap into different spheres to try to fulfill their primary need due to having different secondary instincts. At this point, each may attempt to pull the other into the realm of their secondary instinct, but find that while the other person appreciates this invitation in at least for its novelty, their partner doesn't feel comfortable within this sphere and will withdraw. This can lead to disagreement, loss of interest in one another, and even mutual reproaches (e.g. sx/so may complain that sx/sp is too socially unaware and unrefined, while sx/sp will find fault with what they see as sx/so's social vassalage and disregard for their privacy). It is as if both partners have similar strivings and end goals, but end up pulling it into different directions to reach them, which brings about friction and over time loss of interest in one another. Nevertheless, among the opposite flow matches, this pairing is often the most attractive and frequently encountered one.

Opposite flow stackings that share both instincts (e.g. sp/so and so/sp) often have overlapping areas of interests, concerns, and desires, and same area of disinterest and disregard (same instinctual blindspot). They may appreciate what the other person brings into relationship in terms of content, feel camaraderie with one another on basis of sharing the blindspot instinct (e.g. sp/sx and sx/sp may appreciate each other's disregard for the social convention and "lone wolf" attitude). However, partners feel somehow elusive to one another: what constitutes the primary drive, desire, and concern of one partner, the other approaches in a creative, flexible, lighthearted way as something that is only of secondary interest and importance. Thus, while inverse stackings can sense some kind of similarity, they manage to constantly unbalance and throw each other off by displaying an impudent attitude toward the area that the other considers to be "sacred" and not to be played around with. Since these stackings are channeling their attention and energies in the opposite directions, they may enter a cycle of mutual reorientation, correction, extinguishment, and criticize the other for what they see as a misguided focus, not being able to take the other's primary instinctual value in a serious manner. Both of them might feel as if they are constantly pulling the rug from under each other's feet.

Stackings that share the same middle instinct but not the leading one can be said to be most opposite in their orientation. If there is any attraction between people of these stackings, it usually forms on basis of overlap of their middle instinct (e.g. sx/sp and so/sp may have involving discussion about sp-topics). They soon discover, however, that their primary motivations and desires couldn't be any more different, that they do not truly understand each other's orientation and primary desires. Feeling that it is difficult to bridge the distance, they often part ways. Often it happens that one of them finds that the primary orientation of the other is too disruptive to their own world (e.g. so/sp feels like sx/sp is too sharp and socially unrefined in self-expression). In such worst case scenarios, one of the people involved may try to eliminate or somehow suppress the other person. This pairing holds the most potential for misunderstandings and conflicts of all other stacking combinations.
 

Such Irony

Honor Thy Inferior
Joined
Jul 23, 2010
Messages
5,060
MBTI Type
INtp
Enneagram
5w6
Instinctual Variant
sp/so
I've always been torn between sp/so and so/sp stackings for myself. I do see myself as somewhat more syn-flow than contra-flow and I tend to get along better with the syn flow stackings.

I don't know yet how valid this theory is but it does give something interesting to think about.
 

brainheart

New member
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
Messages
77
MBTI Type
INFP
Enneagram
4w5
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
I am definitely syn-flow. I've noticed my instincts operate like the Fauvre's concept of tritype, in that if my dominant orientation isn't working I will shift to the next strongest. I very much follow a pattern of sx-sp-so. I don't know if this applies to others, but it seems to be how I work.
 

Tomb1

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Messages
857
That theory was first introduced at enneasite.com:

enneasite:

Flow #1: sp/so —> so/sx —> sx/sp :: Compelled toward people/participation/involvement

Flow #2: sp/sx —> sx/so —> so/sp :: Compelled against and/or solipsistically away from people

You can learn more about its origins here:

Stackings · EnneaSite

16types got an enneagram subforum after the enneagram had been stuffed into the psychology subforum for nearly a decade. enneasite's stuff on stackings hit 16types like a tidal wave and the rest was history. they eventually got their own enneagram subform. fter the enneasite and stackemup resources started to circulate, that sparked more enthusiasm.

The two people to read at the 16types for the enneagram are kill4me and woofwoofl. They appear to be the most knowledgable enneagrammers. kill is excellent at enneagram typing and woof is excellent at fleshing the enneagram types out.
 

Masokissed

Spoiled Brat 🍒
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
Messages
941
MBTI Type
ESFP
Enneagram
7w6
Instinctual Variant
sx/so
I relate to both. :shrug: I kind of disagree with 'rejecting the human condition', so syn-flow?
 

Duffy

New member
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Jun 13, 2015
Messages
344
I relate to both. :shrug: I kind of disagree with 'rejecting the human condition', so syn-flow?

I think I get the point of whoever developed this concept. While the rejecting part can be literal, I don't think that was the intention. For example, I think sp/sx has a very inward quality. It's like a snake coiling into itself. These types of people could come across as rejecting the human race, or what you and might deem the "mainstream," by simply being "them," by being absorbed by their own needs and concerns. So I can see them as having an inadvertent effect of going against the norm / protocol / standards (social last).
 

cascadeco

New member
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Oct 7, 2007
Messages
9,083
MBTI Type
INFJ
Enneagram
9w1
Instinctual Variant
sp/sx
I can't say I really *like* the contra description in OP, it seems biased and pretty negative compared to the syn description. I try not to be as 'separate'/observing vs part of and embracing, but I'm probably more naturally contra even if again it makes me sound like a bad person.
 

Masokissed

Spoiled Brat 🍒
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Apr 22, 2015
Messages
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ESFP
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7w6
Instinctual Variant
sx/so

I understand how sp/sx would work but why is sx/so contra-flow? Is it because sx need for intensity and so need for social security leads sx/so people to join counter-culture groups? So they're "anti-social" and "contra-flow" even though they're really not?
 

Duffy

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Jun 13, 2015
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I understand how sp/sx would work but why is sx/so contra-flow? Is it because sx need for intensity and so need for social security leads sx/so people to join counter-culture groups? So they're "anti-social" and "contra-flow" even though they're really not?

Reducing the sx instinct to it's most basic: it's the thing that drives us to mate, hence, sexual. Human beings are complex, so we find clever ways to deal with sexual impulses. The extracurricular stuff associated with it, like intensity, obsession, merging and desirability are the various manifestations. I think the social instinct is aware of group dynamics, but not necessarily drawn to joining groups, not always. So when people talk about being tuned to the emotional temperature of a room, they may be indicating their concern with how everyone is interacting with each other, and in relation to themselves.

With that said, I can see why you're wondering how the two mesh, as it seems to contradicts one another. Sexual feels more selfish and destructive, whereas social is more altruistic, and keen on how it's affecting others.... but I think that's the point - Those attributes can exist in the same person. I'm thinking about the people we label bipolar. I think when a person is sx dominant, there's more of a desire to attract. With social as a middling preference, I wonder if it's serving the primary instinct more than telling the person chillout because it's not cool (contrast with so/sx). There's more of a desire to "act out," using the social domain as a platform to fulfill sx needs.... something like that. And I figure with sp in the backseat, there are no brakes so to speak. So this leads to what's deemed as "inappropriate" behavior, "contra-flow." That's how I interpret it.

references
 

sulfit

New member
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
495
MBTI Type
INTP
Enneagram
6w5
Instinctual Variant
sp/so
I get along more naturally with those in syn flow, at the same time as cascadeco has noted the contra-flow description reads as too negative and discouraging to type into and needs to be rescripted.
 

sulfit

New member
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
495
MBTI Type
INTP
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6w5
Instinctual Variant
sp/so
I understand how sp/sx would work but why is sx/so contra-flow? Is it because sx need for intensity and so need for social security leads sx/so people to join counter-culture groups? So they're "anti-social" and "contra-flow" even though they're really not?
Sx/so is associated with revolution. I assume it's those people who show up to the party and yell "hi all I'm here!" at the top of their lungs to shake up the scene. Personally expressive, socially open, and sp blindspot gives them fearlessness in the face of physical destruction. There are some clues to this at this link: Socionics - the16types.info - Notes on the instincts
 

Evo

Unapologetic being
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Jul 1, 2011
Messages
3,161
MBTI Type
XNTJ
Enneagram
1w9
Instinctual Variant
sp/sx
Sx/so is associated with revolution. I assume it's those people who show up to the party and yell "hi all I'm here!" at the top of their lungs to shake up the scene. Personally expressive, socially open, and sp blindspot gives them fearlessness in the face of physical destruction. There are some clues to this at this link: Socionics - the16types.info - Notes on the instincts

I think of sx/so as the challenging type.

What they challenge varies though. It doesn't have to be as heavy and harsh as made to sound.
 

Forever

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Aug 30, 2013
Messages
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NiFi
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3w4
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sx/so
._. I am compulsively attached to people only to help see reality in an entirely new and different way making them seem alien to others.
 

Lady Lazarus

Permabanned
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,148
MBTI Type
INFJ
Enneagram
9w8
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
Direction: Compelled against people. Seething belligerent outsiders; 'antisocial', provoking, reverse-flow change catalysts. In some profound sense, rejecting the human condition, their own and/or that of others.

This is where most of my Fi archetype mimicking features come from. That is, I Fe in the self-crippling way described above. These things "do not go together" in a sense and together they become something apparently unrecognizable for what they actually are because of that distortion in expression.
 

Virtual ghost

Complex paradigm
Joined
Jun 6, 2008
Messages
16,048
Contra-flow: sp → sx → so → sp
Stackings involved: sp/sx → sx/so → so/sp → sp/sx
Direction: Compelled against people. Seething belligerent outsiders; 'antisocial', provoking, reverse-flow change catalysts. In some profound sense, rejecting the human condition, their own and/or that of others.

so/sp - utilizing, employing, implementing, expending, exercising, spending, capitalizing, expropriating


This makes sense form me. Since I was always a provocator of some kind, as well as ambitious person and person that gives people the creeps with my ideas or bodylanguage.
 

erg

New member
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Oct 7, 2016
Messages
291
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None
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4w3
Instinctual Variant
sx/sp
I haven't decided if this theory is grounded in reality. Need to observe more. In any case, people seem to be misusing it.
 

cosmictone

Vagrant Terranaut
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
77
MBTI Type
isfp
Enneagram
9w8
Instinctual Variant
sp/sx
I think a better and more palatable way to describe the flow of energy would be something like harmonizing for syn and revolutionizing for contra. I identify with the contra flow of energy but not because I hate people (at least not always) but because I consciously and subconsciously dislike everything about tradition -- jobs, living, whatever -- and the lightheartedness which initial social encounters usually require are boring to me and I'd rather jump right into the meat of things. The contra flow seems to me all about doing things differently than expected. That's not to say syn flow isn't exciting, it can and often is because it's upbeat and engaging and draws you in, just probably without shock value. Syn flows better with what has already been established. Contra is that rollercoaster ride that gives you whiplash but it's the best ride in the park.
 

thoughtlost

Honeyed Water
Joined
May 20, 2013
Messages
745
Enneagram
N/A
I like. I like. I haven't paid too much attention to the contra/syn flow thing. But now that I have, it makes sense to me, from personal experience.

I know some people think contra flow sounds "harsh". I think I know a contra-flow person. They don't really seem to be in touch with the human condition the way I am. However, they are not "bad people". I may not relate to how they deal with human reality on an experiential basis, but it's not like you should shun a contra-flow person saying "they are a bad seed of humanity".

Another forum member mentioned that so/sp people have a more "intellectual" way of looking at and understanding reality. At the moment, I agree with that perspective. They have such a "disconnected" way of understanding their and other people's feelings and experiences. They examples I am going to give are more so/sp because I know more of them (or at least I think I do)

4 so/sp... they are not as "raw" as you'd expect them to be due to the fact that they are a 4. They have this weird 1-ish "this is how things/feelings/whatever should be because obviously it's the better way". They just go around seeing other people/the world as incompetent, inefficient and ...simply not ideal. They have this 'no nonsense attitude' especially with interpersonal dynamics. So they also don't like emotionally incompetent people who can't get along with others well.

Someone who is a 9 so/sp may feel (and this biased towards 9w1) may be contra-flow in the sense that they are not as in touch with deeper parts of themselves. These types are not what you'd think of "contra-flow" because they may not be "bucking the patriarchal system", but they are bucking the part of themselves that is more spontaneous and truer to the soul for a more "I need to do what is expected of me so I don't disappoint others" frame of mind.

An so/sp 5 can be contra flow in that they don't like it when other people's "humanity/emotions/fluffy stuff" get in the way. They are the more true "robots" of enneagram 5.

They are not saying anything harsh or mean in anyway... but it's like they don't truly immerse themselves in the human psyche. Their own or others. They can understand it, but in a less immersed manner.

I'll add more about syn flow later, if desired.
 

julesiscools

Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2016
Messages
262
MBTI Type
ISFP
Syn-flow: sp → so → sx → sp
Stackings involved: sp/so → so/sx → sx/sp → sp/so
Direction: Compelled toward people. Acting upon and with others as a born insider i.e.- deeply human.

sx/sp - intensifying, escalating, rising, surging, enlivening, invigorating, accelerating, stimulating, energizing, vitalizing, reviving, animating, inspiriting

Yeah, I'd say this is pretty natural for me. I've had people say that when they get to know me I can be pretty intense and intimidating with the things I'm passionate about. I kind of have to take my anxiety - probably caused by people in my past telling me to calm down and be quiet - out of the equation, and look at how I act naturally when I'm comfortable. And to be honest, none of the others fit well at all, even if I'm feeling anxious.
 

Galena

Silver and Lead
Joined
Mar 12, 2013
Messages
3,788
Enneagram
4w5
Instinctual Variant
sx/so
If we assume this theory is true, then for me, I can eliminate every contra-flow stacking on the spot. But then when we break it down to the individual types, sp/so is still the only one that even begins to sound like me.

So we could go with that, but that would run me again into the problem of how when we look at specific stackings *for type 4*, sp is the one I'm by far the least like.

Yeah, this was the hardest part of my type to figure out.
 
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