Enneagram Subtypes

Enneagram Subtypes

3 September 2021 Enneagram 0

The Enneagram Subtypes

The key to the enneagram: the subtypes

Enneagram subtypes – Eric Salmon – 2007 (Reference Book in France)

These subtypes that explain why people of the same Enneagram type can have such different attentions and behaviors.

Intro of Enneagram Subtypes

The Enneagram is an easy-to-understand and easy-to-use reading grid based on 9 personality profiles. In addition to these 9 profiles (types or enneatypes), there are 3 subtypes for each profile. Which corresponds to 27 profiles in reality. The main interest of the subtype is to reveal the behavioral part of the enneagram. Where the type tells us about Who I Am, the subtype explain where and how we take our place in the world.

When Carl Jung speaks of the “self,” Winicott of the “real me,” and the humanistic psychologists of the “essence”, the enneagram helps us discover our “false self” by pointing to unconscious automatic patterns in our behavior. So to realize that this “false me” is sometimes limiting. Indeed, we are stupidly wasting energy trying to consolidate obsolete defense mechanisms. As Dr Viktor Frankl said “between stimulus and reactivity, there is a choice”.

Becareful, at the professional level, as much as it seems impossible to find occupational criteria by type, certain sectors of activity correspond more to certain sub-types, for example the “social” sub-type in politics.

The Enneagram Model

The Enneagram claims that there are 9 disguises, 9 ways to play a role in trying to survive and receive minimal affection. Depending on their perceived injury, the child will choose the most suitable role to receive affection from this environment.

According to the enneagram, human has 3 centers of perception, three modes of communication. The mental center (reason), the emotional center (the emotions) and the instinctive center (survival).

Then the instinctive center itself is subdivided into 3 fundamental instincts:

  • The conservation or instinct for self-preservation (finding food, shelter, warmth …).
  • The sexual instinct (or intimacy) which corresponds to Face-to-Face trend
  • Finally the gregarious (or social) instinct

Find food, shelter, warmth. It affects our security in the physical world.

The main wounds certainly took place during the first 2 years of our life.

When we talk about food, we are talking about worrying about having enough to eat, what and when to eat, the need to shop. But it can relate to the family unit and concerns for the safety of loved ones.

The next phase of our childhood is the differentiation phase between 2 and 4 years old.

The instinct of intimacy is characterized by the need to establish a relationship and therefore generates concerns centered around:

  • Being more comfortable in a relationship with one person than in a group relationship.
  • To be able, in this one-to-one relationship, to deploy intense energy
  • Have a passionate side …

For example, to compare with the instinct of conservation, when you go to dinner and what is in the meal is much less important than the desire to be with someone.

The third phase of childhood is opening up to the world.

Awareness of the existence of others, of making friends. This instinct is characterized by the need to belong to a group and therefore generates concerns centered around:

  • Ease of relating to others
  • Enjoy participating in meetings, events, parties …

For example, to compare with the instinct of self-preservation, the exact time of the meal is less important than the presence of friends whom one has invited to dinner.

In summary

In theory, we are influenced by the 3 instinctual drives, but almost always one of them dominates and controls the direction of our attention.

We live in direct relation with an external environment (a “you” and an “that” in psychology). Depending on how friendly or how aggressive this environment is, I will react with different levels of tension.

From the same Enneagram type, there are 3 different operations.

This is where we will talk about the subtypes of the enneagram. Everyone thinks first about the issues that concern them and the bulk of their concerns are focused in one direction.


So a good evening at home translates differently depending on your subtype:

  • For the Conservation subtype: being at home with my partner and my children. “A little tired we had dinner together with a log fire, then we watched TV. The atmosphere was sweet.
  • The Intimacy subtype: “I suggested that my partner go to bed early. We had a one-to-one dinner. His eyes were intense. We discussed together, cut off from the outside world. Then we watched a movie. We almost fused together the highlights of the film. What intensity!
  • For the Social subtype: “we were at home with my partner. As we don’t really like quiet evenings, we invited some friends. There was a great atmosphere all together. What a beautiful evening!


The vast majority of our friends are of the same subtype as us. In the case of a couple relationship, the difference in subtype can generate tensions.

Type 1

Not accepting that things are as they are, and the consequently feeling anger inside.

Type 1 concern: try to do well.

Below are the 3 subtypes of the type 1 :

= anxiety.

Meeting basic needs is so important that it causes anxiety. “Always better, always more effort”.

The Metaphor : the Pioneer

(he creates a better world, the perfect world)

= Jealousy / Zealousness

focus on the partner and the perfect relationship

The Metaphor : The preacher

(who preaches moral principles high)

= Social inadaptability

Reform politics, religion. Inquisitively reform those who act differently.

The Metaphor :  the reformer (improve the rules of the game / the World)

Type 2

The pride of the type 2 is to fall into the pride of being of service to others, to the point of denying his own needs.

Type 2 concern: to detect the needs of the other and to suppress his own.

Below are the 3 subtypes of the type 2 :

= privileges.

with all the time he spends looking after his family, he has the right to be seated in the best place).

The Metaphor : the italian mamma

= Seduction / Aggression

The Metaphor : The Lover (capable of anything to be loved)

= Social ambition

Achieve a certain social status, close to the leader.

The Metaphor : the ambassador

Type 3

The type 3 lie is to look at the world only through its criteria for success, to the point of fixing the truth.

Type 3 concern: action, success, image.

Below are the 3 subtypes of the type 3 :

= security.

Type 3 Conservation will be all the more effective in producing (money ..) as they feel insecure about the sustainability of their assets.

The Metaphor : The entrepreneur (Business Man)

= Masculinity / Femininity

(the caring lover, the successful fighter, the trendy producer).

The Metaphor : the movie actor (playing the right role)

= Prestige

A social image

The Metaphor : The politician

Type 4

Desire. Like the 3, the image is important, but for the 4 it is the envy of the ideal image. Hence the tendency to be different or theatrical.

Type 4 concern: quest for meaning, intensity, authenticity.

Below are the 3 subtypes of the type 4 :

= Intrepidity / Dauntlessness

The refusal to have a comfortable and routine life

The Metaphor : The reckless

= Competitiveness / Hate

The passionate power 2.

The Metaphor : The King / The Queen

(to fill a perceived personal deficiency)

= Honor / Shame

A sort of idealization of social classes.

The Metaphor : the critical commentator

Type 5

Greed is taken broadly. : Miserly of the time spent with the other, miserly of the experiences of his emotions. Detach from the outside world.

Type 5 concern: to protect himself from invasion, to limit needs, to learn.

Below are the 3 subtypes of the type 5 :

= Fortified Castle

Privacy is nice and the world is intrusive 

The Metaphor : The distant / Far and Away

= Confidentiality / Secret

The Metaphor : The secret agent 

(carefully selected relationships)

= Totems / Symbols

Social 5 is passionate about ideas and people that impact culture and history.

The Metaphor : Academician

Type 6

Fear of his own impulses or fear of acting spontaneously. A sort of anxious reluctance to take action.

Type 6 concern: trusting, questioning, worrying about the consequences.

Below are the 3 subtypes of the type 6 :

= Heat / Warmth

Being kind means ensuring his survival.

The Metaphor : The loyalist

= Stength / Beauty

Boosting his strength or his pulling power to hide the fear of a relationship.

The Metaphor : Mr Soft /  Mr Warrior

(Creativity / acts of bravery)

= Duty

Doubt about the reliability of the group, the company.

The Metaphor : The vigilant

Type 7

The fear of confinement and boredom leads to the desire for more experiences. Hence a gluttony of multiple different experiences that quickly follow one another.

Type 7 concern: to be free, to have fun, to stay in motion.

Below are the 3 subtypes of the type 7 :

= Clan

Prioritizes time spent at home with family.

The Metaphor : the nice organizer of the holiday club

= Fascination / Suggestibility

Create links. The discovery of others is a delight.

The Metaphor : Don Juan

= Sacrifice

Personal freedom is sacrificed for the sake of social ideals.

The Metaphor : the idealistic visionary

Type 8

The Lust of the type 8 corresponds to the lack of control over his instinctual impulses. “It’s to dare to serve himself in the environment to take what he wants.”

Type 8 concern: to live intensely, to get what he wants.

Below are the 3 subtypes of the type 8 :

= Satisfaction / Survival

Their insecurity about survival will make them control the environment (eat, earn money, have a home, protect the tribe).

The Metaphor : The justiciary

= Possession / Surrender

The relationship is “all or nothing”. I lead all things I am taking care or I let the lead but without any responsibilities . Everyone is fully responsible for their area.

The Metaphor : The “all or nothing” partner

= Friendship

The well-being of the group is essential. This is the protector 8.

The Metaphor : The patriarch

Type 9

Type 9 :

It is about forgetting himself, failing to take his needs into consideration, laziness in loving himself. He is welcoming, dedicated, attentive. Not to weigh on others, to carry their burden, perhaps, but not to inflict his  own on them. Becareful to the pressure cooker.

Type 9 concern: fleeing conflicts, avoiding assertiveness and taking his place.

Below are the 3 subtypes of the type 9 :

= Appetite

I have my habits, I go out little, I have made a comfortable house, I purr in a routine of life. Or I activate myself for the material comforts of home.

The Metaphor : the comfort seeker

= Union / Merge

Self-forgetfulness and the desire for an intense relationship.

The Metaphor : The fusional

= Social Participation

Self-forgetting will happen in groups. It is a reassuring way to experience belonging.

The Metaphor : the unifier

In conclusion, the Enneagram subtypes

The enneagram provides both elements to recognize the limits of his point of view, the keys to better accept the difference of the other.

The enneagram names the central concern of the type. Subtypes allow you to quickly see if you are reacting in conditioned patterns again. So you have to start observing your own behavior.


The incomparable advantage of the Enneagram is that it puts a clear name on the Ego and how it works.

For most people involved in personal development, the word “let go” is a classic. But in the majority of cases, it remains a bit abstract. The point of the enneagram is that it clarifies where, when and what to relax.

Thus it allows us to distance ourselves from our compulsive reactivity in order to take a step back, to assess whether our reaction is indeed the most suitable response to the present situation.

Emotionally, several specialists (see ACT) believe that the best remedy for emotional suffering is not in struggle, in flight, or in anesthesia by distraction. The best formula, according to them, is to relax in pain to bring about a relaxation of the sensation. That doesn’t mean the pain is going away. This means that we do not add pain to pain by the imagination. See Mindfulness approaches.


Laisser un commentaire