Breaking the Enneagram: A Total Beginner's Guide (2023)

Breaking the Enneagram: A Total Beginner's Guide

July 21, 2019 / WedYuan-Lilie Clinically verified bySteven Melendy, PhD in Psychology.on July 21, 2019

Category:self-development and well-being

IsEnneagramm, a funky 9-pointed geometric structure, has been the whole subject of personality testing and career training for the past decade. The nine distinct points are connected to the deeper facets of the psyche (ie the unconscious) to identify the core motivations, fixations, virtues, fears, desires and temptations. If that sounds a bit confusing, then we're here to add some clarity to the process.

Breaking down the Enneagram for beginners

We're excited to announce our version of the Enneagram! It takes about 10 minutes to fill out and provides a pie chart breakdown of your preferences for each of the nine ennea types.Take our free Enneagram test now!

Your results are here. What do you mean?

A visual example of the results:

Breaking the Enneagram: A Total Beginner's Guide (1)

Most of your results should indicate the enneatype that best describes you, from the numbers 1 through 9. In the example above, our examinee is enneagram type 6.

the nine speciesThey are divided intothree triadswhich divide the system into three areas:

  • Visceral instincts):Type 8, 9, 1

  • Idea):Type 2, 3, 4

  • head (thinking):Type 5, 6, 7

Each member of the triad has a hyper-focused core feeling when under stress:

  • Gut (Types 8, 9, 1): Anger

  • Heart (Types 2, 3, 4): Shame

  • Head (Types 5, 6, 7): Fear

Wings: when types are merged

Every point in itThe Enneagram is surrounded by wings, or two adjacent enneatypes (numerical values: one above and one below), which can influence the properties of the original enneatype. It is also possible to write without a specific wing, meaning that you are very characteristic of your ennea type.

The resulting subtype is loudly called "(Type) 'Wing' (Type)". So a 2 has either a wing 1 or a wing 3. Do the math: this gives a total of 18 variations in addition to the original 9 ennea types.

The main type "borrows" features from the neighboring wing, resulting in a hybrid of the two. For example, a 2W1 ("Two Wing One") is a helper (Type 2) with reformist tendencies (Type 1). This particular person is likely to be passionate about something and extremely organized.

(If you are more curious, there are 6 sets ofinstinctive variantin addition to the 27 subtypes, resulting in 162 combinations, but that is beyond the scope of this article).

It can be helpful to run the test a few more times afterward to check for consistency. Remember: choose the answer that comes to mind first; Your answers should be intuitive to provide the most accurate results.

The official principles of the Enneagram state:

(Video) The Enneagram: A Basic Overview

  1. Personality does not change from one type to another.

  2. The description of each type is universal and can be applied to all genres.

  3. The description of each type cannot be applied to one person forever, as human nature oscillates between healthy and unhealthy levels.

  4. Numbers are used to represent each type; They are considered neutral.

  5. The order (1-9) does not represent the goodness or badness of the types.

  6. No type is better or worse than another; Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Nine Rolls: A Brief Summary

Here are the 9 Eneatipo Scrolls with a brief overview of each one.

Typ 1(The Perfectionist)

The Perfectionist is serious and practical, with strict morals that show in their lifestyle and decisions. They are on a quiet mission to improve the world with their knowledge and intrinsic drive.

  • Focus: organize, comply, systematize
  • Basic goal: To be a good and just citizen of society; contribute to high standards.
  • Basic fear: being morally wrong or corrupt; breaking principles and promises.

Typ 2(Assistant)

With a natural affinity foremotional intelligence, the helper builds and strengthens connections. As natural givers, they are generous with their time and energy and have high hopes of bringing out the best in others.

  • Focus: giving, connecting, sharing
  • Basic Goal: Caring for and giving freely to others; that love will be returned.
  • Basic fear: of being unwanted or unnecessary and having no one to take care of.

Typ 3(The winner)

Successful and motivated, the top performer takes on new challenges in order to expand his ever-growing wall of personal achievement. They are adaptable, charismatic and willing to go the extra mile to achieve their dreams.

  • Areas of focus: Status, Appearance, Achievement
  • Basic goal: To be more and more successful, fulfilled and valuable.
  • Basic fear: Losing reputation and becoming insignificant in the eyes of others.

Typ 4(The individualist)

By creating unique works of personal expression, the Individualist focuses on presenting the world with their authentic, unfiltered self and ultimately trying to unleash their true inner identity. Her overarching goal is to seek a deep sense of purpose in all aspects of her life.

  • Areas of focus: self-identification, creation, conceptualization
  • The basic goal: to choose an unmistakable image and to stand out as a truly unique person.
  • Basic fear: Being unoriginal and unappreciated, without a clear self-identity.

typ 5(The investigator)

As life philosophers, the researcher searches for patterns and connections between the great mysteries of the essence of life itself. They are knowledge sponges and intellectually open-minded they go new and virginal paths.

  • Areas of focus: detention, analysis, prosecution
  • Primary goal: To become ever more knowledgeable, wiser and informed about the complexities of life.
  • Basic Fear: Being incompetent and useless; helpless in the face of new challenges.

Enter 6(The faithful)

Skeptical and detail-oriented, the Loyalist seeks security and devotion in all areas of his life. You are keen on maintaining trust and are excellent problem solvers who can get down to the details.

  • Areas of focus: preparation, engagement, savings
  • Basic goal: to feel safe, accepted and supported.
  • Basic fear: Being in a panic; Feeling of insecurity and disorientation.

typ 7(The Enthusiast)

Wide-eyed and full of energy, every step of life's journey is an adventure for the enthusiast. Optimistic and infinitely curious, they like to seek out new experiences and enjoy life to the fullest at every moment.

  • Focus: discover, experience, recharge your batteries
  • Basic Goal: Live an exciting and fulfilling life full of joy and opportunity.
  • Basic Fear: Getting caught up in menial activities and succumbing to boredom.

Typ 8(The challenger)

Goals, strategy and continuous improvement are the three cornerstones of Challenger. Stubborn and courageous, they make leaps and bounds in what they anchor their minds to. Their desire for autonomy and power drives them to become opinion leaders in their fields.

  • Focus: Leadership, Pioneers, Strategy Making
  • Fundamental goal: to dominate life as a strong, motivated and intrinsically motivated person.
  • Basic Fear: Being controlled and weakened by lack of freedom and power.

typ 9(The Peacemaker)

The Peacemaker is accepting and tolerant of others, and goes to great lengths to ensure harmony in a group. They are masters of language and gently encourage others to express their views openly, with patience and empathy.

  • Areas of focus: harmonise, calm down, encourage
  • Basic Goal: Feel fullness and peace with the outer and inner environment.
  • Basic Fear: Being haunted by a constant sense of conflict and being separated from others.

One of the key features of the Enneagram is the breakdown of healthy, normal, and unhealthy levels. Under stress, one type can resemble another, so it's important to pay attention to the integration (growth) ↔ dissolution (stress) arrows. More on that below.

The truth about the arrows of growth and stress

Breaking the Enneagram: A Total Beginner's Guide (2)

Each type of Enneagram indicates a different type of growth (integration) and tension (disintegration). We call these pointsArrows of the Enneagram. When an ennea type is functioning optimally (good work-life balance, strong sense of purpose, support system, physical health), the growth arrow is activated. You will experience traits of a different nature that will enhance your self-development.

For example, if a Type 2 (Helper) is successful, they will inherit some traits from a Creative Type 4 (Individualist). This allows them to feel comfortable with themselves and understand how to take care of the needs of others while maintaining their identity.

However, when stress strikes, the cold can produce anxiety, depression, and even psychosomatic symptoms (e.g., pain or trouble sleeping). This process is called disintegration and triggers the stress arrow.

When a Type 2 breaks up, they come across as more like a controlling Type 8 (challenger), trying in vain to assert control of their relationships, being overly rigid and uptight about getting exactly what they want, the complete opposite of how. d work normally.

Enneagram Applications

In addition to exploring adjustment and career resources, the Enneagram's applications are widespread. From improving team communication to inspirationguide, is a complete and awesome tool that guides you through every stage of the growth process.

With the promise of further intensive research and development, the Enneagram has great potential for major advances in the professional field. It is also gaining support in areas such as psychotherapy, business and healthcare.

(Video) All About Enneagram (discovering our personality types!)

What are your results? How useful do you find the Enneagram? Did you learn something new? We'd love to hear it in the comments below!


Lily Yuan is a personality psychology writer who, like an INTP, tests and constantly questions her type. Learn more Discover her blog

More from this author...

About the clinical assessor

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a clinical psychologist who received his PhD from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in a variety of settings, from community clinics to San Francisco General Hospital. He firmly believes in the importance of self-care, good friendships and humor whenever possible.



3 years 7 months ago

I think the Enneagram tests are more difficult to get an accurate score than some others. For example, I get the same Myers Briggs score every time, and have been since I was a kid (my family made me take it when I was only 9 or 10). But with the Enneagram, I get a different score almost every time, and I think that's because it's so much easier to answer questions about behavior and personality than internal motivations...especially since the Enneagram deals a lot with the subconscious and the answers depends so much on how healthy/integrated or unhealthy/disintegrated you are.

Right now I think I'm a 2 (ENFJ on Myers-Briggs so that makes sense) but it took me forever to settle on that. whose description made no sense to me). Apparently my friends thought I was a 7 (I read that description and wished it was me not wanting to be "the funny one" but I had to admit that sadly I wasn't haha).

However what I see is that in every test including yours the same guys top the list for me almost even (in this case 9 followed VERY closely by a tie of 2 and 1 then 3 followed by a tie between 4 and 7).

Thing is, if I'm being honest with myself, I'm too proud to be a 9, although I definitely identify with the 9's pain of being "overlooked"... and the shame is definitely more at the root as the anger. I think 2 is a better description. But even both are a bit hard for me... and I think that's because I haven't found myself in a traditional "helping" role for most of my life (for example, I'm not a mother, I' I have never had to care for someone on their deathbed, I like babies but would rather be part of the prayer team or lead a small group than serve in the church daycare etc.).

In summary, I think I'm a 2 with a 1 or 3 wing at the moment (is it possible to have both 1 and 3 strong wings?) and it's understandable that as a 2 I would answer a lot of questions Kind of which would make me write as a 9 because that's how I come across in most situations.

The Enneagram is really fascinating!

  • responder

Carol A. Weaver (unverified)Dice...

3 years 4 days ago

Hallo Becky,

(Video) Enneagram Type 9s Explained - A Complete Guide

I understand your desire to lead a prayer team or small group caring for a baby. The Self-Preservation Two is more interested in nurturing. I'm a Social/Sexual Type Two. So I prefer to lead a prayer team as well. It's about your core fear. Type Two's basic fear is "fear of not being wanted or loved". If you are on the Healthy side of your Type Two, you will manifest the traits of a Healthy Four and even a Healthy Eight (although I find myself moving to a Healthy Eight after going to the inner self-care side of a Healthy Four). ). I've previously been associated with Type 9s and Type 2s, but while I don't like conflict, I'm willing to risk discomfort in order to come to a harmonious connection. My spiritual leader was the one who broke the tie after 6 years. :) She said, "You wear your heart on your sleeve and don't have any pent-up anger" (People with Type 9s don't even realize that sometimes they have anger, but they do).

  • responder

Lillian Golden (unverified)Dice...

6 months 3 weeks ago

Hello! I totally agree that the Enneagram is such a fascinating way to understand yourself and your personality.

As I understand it, Myers-Briggs is a very superficial proficiency test, meaning almost everyone gets the same score every time they take the test based on their superficial proficiency level. However, the Enneagram delves much deeper and into the root of a person's personality. Myers-Briggs is nice to know, but I think the Enneagram is a lot more helpful in your relationships and for you in the long run. MBTI explains what you do and how you act, but the Enneagram addresses WHY you do what you do and WHY you act the way you do.

I also agree that when you test, your results may vary, especially if you test in different locations. However, instead of taking the test, I would recommend reading the book "The Road Back To You" by Ian Morgan Cron. This book is an amazing enneagram book for beginners and it really helped me find my type without getting confused by test results. In fact, the test is known to get more wrong than right, and after people actually start reading the book and learning more about the guys before deciding on theirs, they realize they have a completely different number are than what he told them on the test. I took the test three times before reading the book: the test told me I had a 3, a 2, and a 6, and I read the book and knew almost immediately that I had a 9. That just shows what the test looks like. it almost never corrects and it's up to you to ultimately determine your number.

It's possible to be very strong on both wings, but not at the same time. They always enter one wing or the other, but never both at the same time. For example, I'm a 9 on the Enneagram with a very strong 1-wing. However, I've gotten pretty good at noticing when I'm accessing Wing 8. It can be difficult to identify your strongest wing because you access both so often, while many people access one more than the other.

One of the most common misspellings is 9 and 2. I've spent a long time trying to figure out if I'm a 9 or a 2, and while there are several ways to tell the two numbers apart, it can be really tricky! Both have similar motivations but for different reasons: both are motivated to help others and to do things for others, but the 9's desire to help others stems from a desire to be at peace with one another and a desire to have that peace close and preserve . Connection with others, while the 2's desire to help others stems from a desire to be recognized and valued.

I hope this helped!

  • responder

Estey (unverified)Dice...

2 years 9 months ago

So I took the test for the first time and got a tie between two different types (type 4 and type 5) after reading a lot about both types. I find things I see in myself for both, but I also see things in both guys that I'm not.

I guess my main question is should I retake the exam? I'm having trouble finding information about binding styles. And everything I read says you can only be one. But all my reading makes me feel like I really am both. I've read all the other guys and don't relate to them as strongly as I do to this one.

I have taken the Myers-Briggs several times and always test as an INFJ. Any help with this decryption would be helpful!

  • responder

Sue Liz Mer (unverified)Dice...

1 year 11 months ago

I'm an INFJ and a 4w5. I definitely see both aspects of 4 and 5 within me, but I go with my heart more than my head, longing to be seen as authentic and unique, and struggling with shame and a feeling that something is missing. That's definitely 4 features. I hope it helps!

  • responder

Lillian Golden (unverified)Dice...

6 months 3 weeks ago


Big question. Many people take the test and find that they are not the number the test told them to be. For example, I took the test three times and each time it told me it was a different number: a 2, a 3, and a 6, until I finally decided to really explore the Enneagram and learned it was a 9! So, to answer your question, I wouldn't take the test again, but would rather recommend reading the book The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron - it's a great book that really goes into depth on every subject and I do really helped. decide which number I am.

To answer your second question, there CAN only be one type, but each type has two "wings" and we usually access one of those wings more than the other. For example, I'm a Type 9 with a VERY strong 1 wing; However, my 8th wing pops up from time to time, mostly when I'm promoted to a managerial position. There are people like my brother and apparently like you who are a number (in his case a 5 or a 6) but are so related to both numbers that it takes them a long time to try to figure it out. What is your main type and what is your dominant wing? It just takes a lot of time, research and reading. And typically it can take weeks, months, to YEARS to find your type.

I hope it helps!

  • responder
(Video) Intro to the Enneagram || What are the 9 Personality Types?

Ryder (unverified)Dice...

1 year 4 months ago

I think it was partly right for me (4) but I also think it was a little bit wrong and made me think more about who I am as a person.

  • responder

Naomi Ben (unaudited)Dice...

1 year 4 months ago

Hello, my name is Noemi

  • responder

minutes (not verified)Dice...

1 year 4 months ago

I think this helps to improve a great communication skill with the team.

  • responder


(Video) What’s Your Personality Type? *The 9 Enneagram Numbers Explained*

Myers-Briggs® and MBTI® are registered trademarks of MBTI Trust, Inc., which is not affiliated with this website. truth offers apersonality testbased on Myers and Briggs types but does not provide the official MBTI® rating. For more information on evaluating the Myers Briggs Type Indicator®, go toHere.

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