Enneagram Personality Type System

Enneagram, A Tool for Self-Discovery

Trpe Name
The Enneagram Type System
1 The Perfectionist
Enneagram Types
2 The Giver
3 The Performer
4 The Romantic
5 The Observer
6 The Loyal Skeptic
7 The Epicure
8 The Protector
9 The Mediator

The Enneagram Personality Type System is a dynamic, and enlightening system that includes nine personality types. Each one of us gravitates towards one of the types, and through self-reflection, you can begin to see how being this type has affected your life. It's a system that can be very helpful when you feel a need for change in your life, but you don't know where to begin. It's a self-typing system where you discover for yourself what type you most resonate with. The system has been made popular by some of the leading Enneagram experts of the day including Helen Palmer, David Daniels, Virginia Price, Don Richard Riso, Russ Hudson, Sandra Maitri, Katherine Chernick Fauvre and and David W. Fauvre.

As you explore the nine types, you will begin to see behavior patterns that you have been living with your whole life. Through discovering which type you are, you can begin to make more conscious choices in your life. The first step on any journey of self-discovery is awareness. As you become more aware of your behaviors in the moment, then you can begin to take steps to make changes in each and every moment.

In my newsletter, Iris Insights, I wrote a series of articles on the nine types. The articles are all on this page from Type One through Type Nine. If you are unsure of your Enneagram Type, you can check out the following websites which have self-typing tests that you can take on-line: www.enneagramworldwide.com, and www.enneagraminstitute.com, or www.KatherineFauvre.com

Type One - The Perfectionist/The Reformer

The Type One known as The Perfectionist/The Reformer. I know this type quite well because I live with a Type One, and believe me, they are a lot harder on themselves than they are on others. They often live with a strong judge, or inner critic within themselves, that can sometimes be wise and discerning, but is also often demanding, and nit-picking. They can feel like they are always striving towards a perfect world which seems to be just out of reach. They have high standards for themselves as well as others. They can be the ideal employee, because they are so responsible, and want to do the right thing, and will put in the extra hours to make it happen. Some employers do take advantage of these over-achievers in the workplace.

Ones also have high moral standards, and are really great examples of what integrity and being ethical looks like. We certainly could use more Ones in the arena of politics. They seem to have a personal sense of a higher mission, and can feel called to leave their comfortable lives behind to achieve those higher goals. In India, Gandhi is one example who left behind his wife and family, and his successful law practice, to become an advocate of Indian independence, and nonviolent social changes. This is the kind of high idealism that a One can live with.

In their goal to stay true to their high principles, Ones can resist being affected by their instinctual drives which can result in repression, resistance and aggression. They can be seen as highly self-controlled, and afraid of letting out all those messy emotions that they do feel.

In their childhoods, Ones were the good kids who felt that they had to be good to justify their existence. They often developed a serious side and a sense of adult responsibility at an early age. For various reasons, they often experienced a disconnect from the protective parent which is often the biological father, but not always. The result is a sense of frustration, and a feeling that they have to "father" themselves. They can be hyper-responsible, and a voice of reason in their family system. In this way, they are able to establish a sense of autonomy and boundaries which are key issues for this type.

By Donna Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2009

(Thanks to Don Richard Riso, and Russ Hudson's book The Wisdom of the Enneagram, and David Daniels, MD, and Virginia Price, Ph.D.'s book The Essential Enneagram for their insights on the Type One.)

Type Two - The Giver/The Helper

Being involved with the counseling profession, I have met quite a few Type Twos. I even have a couple of close friends who are Givers, and we have had many conversations on the art of giving because they are usually very good at giving gifts to others, but not so good at receiving. Being generous, and always helping others makes Twos feel needed and worthwhile. When Twos are healthy and in balance, they are loving, generous, and considerate. They truly give from the heart without expecting anything in return. People are drawn to them like bees to honey. They are engaging, charismatic, and are able to help others see positive qualities in themselves that they didn't recognize which is why they do make compassionate and caring counselors. Healthy Twos open our hearts because their hearts are already wide open.

However, Twos may face challenges in their inner development when they take a look at their shadow sides which can be pride, self-deception, the tendency to become over-involved in the lives of others, and the tendency to manipulate others to get their emotional needs met. It can be challenging for them to look at these darker sides of Self when they prefer to focus on the sunny side of life.

Twos, Threes and Fours all share the Heart Center or the Feeling Triad in the Enneagram where they can be overly concerned with self-image with the underlying fear being worthlessness. They can feel like they have to be or do something extraordinary for others to love and accept them. The Two can present an image of being completely generous and unselfish when in fact, they really have great expectations and unacknowledged emotional needs. In a sense, the Two is seeking validation of their worth from others.

"During their childhood, Twos came to believe three things. First, that they must put other people's needs ahead of their own; second, that they must give in order to get; and third, that they must earn a place in the affections of others because love will not simply be given to them," as described by Riso and Hudson. Thus, Twos learned how to function within their family by being the helper, the selfless friend, the pleaser, and the giver of love and attention to all others. In a sense, they didn't feel like they could have any needs of their own because that was being selfish. When these generous souls are able to take a look within, and acknowledge their own needs, then they are freer to give to others without strings attached, and they finally learn how to receive with open arms.

By Donna Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2009

(Thanks to Don Richard Riso, and Russ Hudson's book The Wisdom of the Enneagram, and David Daniels, MD, and Virginia Price, Ph.D.'s book The Essential Enneagram for their added insights on the Type Two.)

Type Three - The Performer/The Achiever

In my on-going series on the Enneagram, I am focusing on the Type Three - The Performer/The Achiever this month. It's interesting that many of the Enneagram groups that I have been involved with have often been missing the presence of a Type Three. They seem to be too busy at times to participate in such groups, and often come to their own path of Self-discovery later in life. If there are any Type Threes out there who feel differently, I would enjoy hearing from them.

Healthy Threes are often known for achieving success in many areas of their lives. They derive a lot of satisfaction from developing themselves, and contributing their talents to the world. They are also good at motivating others to achieve their own personal dreams. They are almost always successful in their lives, and embody many of the socially valued qualities of success. However, the way the Three defines their personal success is based on their family, cultural, and social values. In some families, success may have been to have a large home, expensive cars, and other status symbols. In other families, a good education would have been highly valued. A religious family might encourage a child to become a minister, a priest, or a rabbi. No matter how success is defined, the Three wants to become somebody noteworthy in their family, and their community.

Thus, Threes learn how to be goal-oriented, and to perform in ways that will get them the attention and praise that they need. As children, they discovered what activities were valued by their parents, and then their peers, and then put their energy into excelling in those activities. All of us need attention and encouragement in our lives, but for a Three, it can feel like life or death. Without the success, they can feel empty, and worthless. Deep down, they can feel like they are nobody and have no value unless they are successful in the world.

Even though, Threes are the primary type in the Heart Center or the Feeling Triad, they are often out of touch with their feelings. As Riso and Hudson write, "It's as if they put their feelings in a box so that they can get ahead with what they want to achieve. Threes have come to believe that emotions get in the way of performance, so they substitute thinking and practical action for feelings."

Threes usually come to a path of Self-discovery when they realize how much they have adapted their lives to the expectations of others. They then begin to ask the questions, "What do I really want?" and "Who am I without my outer success?" They then begin to take stock of their lives, and to discover their authentic Self underneath the outward displays of success. It can be a fruitful time for a Three.

By Donna Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2009

(Thanks to Don Richard Riso, and Russ Hudson's book The Wisdom of the Enneagram, and David Daniels, MD, and Virginia Price, Ph.D.'s book The Essential Enneagram for their added insights on the Type Three.)

Type Four - The Romantic/The Individualist

In my on-going series on the Enneagram, this month, I am highlighting the Type-Four - The Romantic/The Individualist. Since this is my type, I could probably write about my own personal journey as a Four, but I would rather write about all the Romantics that I met while I was writing my book. To gather information on the Type Four, I interviewed several women and men, and have included their stories in my book in order to reveal the many facets of the Romantic. Of course, most of the stories focus on the romantic relationships of these women and men.

Living up to their name, these Fours were definitely born for romantic relationships. In this day and age, some of the women even mentioned that a career was never that important to them because they were always more focused on the relationship that they were currently in. Whether a Romantic was single or married, they still spent a lot of time dwelling on their current relationship, or seeking a more perfect relationship. With the insight of the Enneagram, many of the Fours were able to make changes in their relationships. Instead of leaving the relationship every time they came down to earth, they began to stay longer in the relationship, and get to know their partner in a different way. Instead of creating the relationship drama with their leaving, and coming back, they decided to be with some of those ordinary moments of day-to-day life in a relationship, and some even discovered the extraordinary in those times together.

Some of the clues to whether or not you are a Four can be found in your childhood experiences. Fours build their identity around how unlike everyone else they are, and this does begin with their parents. Many Romantics revealed that they actually fantasized that they were mistakenly switched at the hospital, or that they were even orphans. This really struck home for me when I remembered that my favorite childhood books were The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, both about orphans written by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Fours often express the feelings that they were never "seen" by their parents, and felt very misunderstood by their own family. As Riso and Hudson write, "In psychological terms, Fours feel that they have not had adequate mirroring, or at least the mirroring of actual qualities and talents that they can make part of their developing identity. In family systems theory, Fours tend to identify with the Lost Child role."

The Romantics often feel like something must be wrong with them which can lead to a lifelong search for their true Self. They usually focus on what is missing in them, and in their relationships instead of seeing all the wonderful gifts that they do have, and can experience through their relationships. Because they have so many doubts about their own identity, they can often come across as mysterious and intriguing hiding behind a Fantasy Self image. Their hope is that they will attract someone who will love and accept them for who they really are.

Hopefully, as a Four evolves, they can begin to let go of this Fantasy Self image, and begin to express their true Self to others. In doing so, they can begin to accept their flaws, and realize that there is nothing wrong with them, and that they are as good as anyone else. In time, they can see that they can be themselves in their own lives, and begin to channel some of that emotional intensity into their own creative projects. Finally, the Four begins to see that the true Self is not a fixed way of being, but is really an ever-changing, and ever-renewing inner process. As Riso and Hudson write, "When Fours abide in their true nature, they are one with the ceaseless creativity and transformation that are part of the dynamics of Essence. At their core, Fours represent creation, the constant out flowing of the manifest, changing universe in the eternal now. It is the most profound gift of Fours to be a symbol of this, and to remind the other types that they, too, participate in Divine creativity." And I leave you with that gift.

For more about the Four, read my book, The Healing Path of the Romantic.

By Donna Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

(Thanks to Don Richard Riso, and Russ Hudson's book The Wisdom of the Enneagram, and David Daniels, MD, and Virginia Price, Ph.D.'s book The Essential Enneagram for their added insights on the Type Four.)

Type Five - The Observer/The Investigator

In my continuing series on the Enneagram, this month, I am focusing on the Type Five- The Observer/The Investigator who are one of the more elusive types, and not likely to be found at an Enneagram social gathering. Most people who are the Observer are not looking for the limelight, but are often found on the sidelines of life. In the Enneagram, each personality type can have a wing which blends with your basic type, and highlights certain tendencies. As I have mentioned, I am the Romantic, the Type Four, and I have a Five-wing so I am quite familiar with the experience of being a Five.

Once upon a time, I worked in the world of public relations for a performing arts center and I loved being around the theatre, and all that creative energy, but most of all, I loved being backstage, and watching from behind the curtain. I had no desire to be the star on the stage preferring to play a more supportive role. This is one of the experiences of the Five.

Fives can spend a lot of time observing and contemplating life. As they immerse themselves in their observations, they can internalize the knowledge which can give them a feeling of self-confidence. Riso and Hudson call them the Investigator because more than any other type, they want to know how the world works from the study of an ant hill to the expansive exploration of the cosmos. They want to know it all, and have a relentless pursuit for knowledge which can cover up some of their deeper insecurities about being successful in the world.

As Riso and Hudson write, "Fives feel that they do not have an ability to do things as well as others. But rather than engage in activities that might bolster their confidence, Fives 'take a step back' into their minds where they feel more capable. Their belief is that from the safety of their minds, they will eventually figure out how to do things – and one day rejoin the world."

Fives value knowledge, understanding and insight, but rather than exploring what is familiar and well established, they are more drawn to what is unusual, overlooked, secret and unthinkable. They are searching for their own niche - something that they can know and discover for themselves which can give them independence and confidence.

Fives often mention that as children, they did not feel safe in their families. They lived with a fear of being overwhelmed by their parents, and to protect themselves, they retreated into their own private space. Young fives often spent a lot of time on their own living in their minds and imaginary worlds with books, musical instruments, and computers; collecting insects or plants, or playing with games. Sometimes parents who want their Five children to be more "normal" will pressure them into social activities, but they are usually met with strong resistance. Fives would rather be alone, and don't expect anything from others, except to be left alone to pursue their interests without others' demands and needs, especially their emotional needs. Independence is their way of attaining safety and the feeling that they have control over their lives.

The Five's challenge is to become more engaged in their lives, not always retreating into the safety of their mind, and the mental commentary of their experience. Many great scientists such as Einstein and Darwin were probably Type Fives, and where would be without their amazing discoveries about life on this planet? We are grateful for the gifts and the eccentricities of the Fives.

By Donna Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

(Thanks to Don Richard Riso, and Russ Hudson's book The Wisdom of the Enneagram, and David Daniels, MD, and Virginia Price, Ph.D.'s book The Essential Enneagram for their added insights on the Type Five.)

Type Six - The Loyal Skeptic/The Loyalist

This month, I am focusing on the Type Six - The Loyal Skeptic/The Loyalist in the Enneagram Personality Type System. This past week-end, I had the pleasure of participating in an Enneagram workshop presented by Katherine Chernick Fauvre and David Fauvre. In the group, there was a man who was a Type Six, and it was really refreshing to have his presence in the midst of mostly Type Fours. He had a direct, and down to earth approach to life which was in sharp contrast to the Four's more lofty and idealistic view of life. As he spoke about his experiences, I was reminded of my own upbringing which seemed to include more than one Type Six. As a child, I remember often being pulled down to earth by my more practical and security-oriented parents. I don't know if they are both Type Sixes, but their view of life definitely has a Type Six slant.

Riso and Hudson describe the Type Six as "The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious and Suspicious." Chernick Fauvre and Fauvre call the Type Six, the Loyal Guardian, and see them as wanting to be safe and secure, and to fit in and belong.

Sixes are very loyal to their friends, and to their beliefs, but they do believe that all ideas and authorities can be questioned. Once they make up their mind about a belief, they will definitely fight and defend that belief in the face of opposition, just as they will stand up and defend their family or community if need be.

Riso and Hudson believe that, "The reason Sixes are so loyal to others is that they do not want to be abandoned and left without support – their Basic Fear." Underneath their brave front, there can be a lack of self-confidence where they need to look to structures, others, and belief systems outside themselves for guidance. It's as if they feel they don't have the necessary internal resources to depend on.

Sixes are in the Thinking center of the Enneagram, and they do spend a lot of time thinking, and worrying about life's challenges. They often have a fear of making big decisions, but at the same time, they don't want anyone making the decisions for them. They don't want others to control them, and their lives. They have a strong desire to create security in their lives, but if it doesn't work out, they are often left feeling anxious and self-doubting. Riso and Hudson have some good questions for the Six which are: "When will I know that I have enough security?", and "What is security?" Without a strong inner guidance, Sixes are often left feeling like they have to find some solid ground in their lives.

Chernick Fauvre and Fauvre describe the Sixes' greatest strengths as their ability to test for the truth, and to recognize and challenge questionable authority. Sixes also understand the sacrifices for the group, and are willing to enforce society's rules for the safety and security of all. They often believe that if everyone followed the rules and cooperated with one another that the world would be a safer place.

In their childhood, Sixes experienced a lack of support or guidance from their primary caretakers which resulted in their deep ambivalence and anxiety about trust, being nurtured, and feeling close to another. Because of this experience, Sixes long for approval and closeness, but feel a need to defend against it as well. They want to be supported by others, but not overwhelmed by them.

The Sixes' challenge is to develop a sense of faith in themselves, and in others. If they can learn to trust themselves, and their own inner guidance, they can create an inner sense of security which can be more lasting than the worldly securities that they have invested in.

By Donna Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

(Thanks to Don Richard Riso, and Russ Hudson's book The Wisdom of the Enneagram, and Katherine Chernick Fauvre and David Fauvre for their insights into the Type Six.)

Type Seven - The Epicure/The Enthusiast

The Springtime seems to be the perfect time to feature the Type Seven - The Epicure / The Enthusiast of the Enneagram. I can just picture them like a butterfly flitting from one newly blossomed flower to another trying to capture all those different scents and experiences of life. It is with a touch of envy that I write about the Type Seven. I wish I could skim the surface of life enjoying a multitude of different pursuits, but as a Four, I am always called to go deeper into my experiences. Some people have commented on the variety of my interests from the Enneagram to Hypnotherapy, and from Astrology to the Tarot, but if you look closer, they all have a common thread - they are all tools on the journey of Self-discovery.

Riso and Hudson describe the Type Seven, The Enthusiast as "The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Acquisitive, and Scattered... They approach life with curiosity, optimism, and a sense of adventure." Chernick Fauvre and Fauvre of call them the Entertaining Optimist, and see them as wanting to be fascinating, optimistic, diverse, playful and fun loving.

Sevens are always up for a new adventure, and can be found at all kinds of artsy and educational events. They are always seeking to learn something new. When they begin to feel a little down, they escape their anxiety and boredom through creating a life of variety and activity. They are always on the move, and less enthusiastic friends wonder where they get all the energy to keep going from one interest to another.

Sevens are in the Thinking Triad, and as Riso and Hudson describe, "Their thinking is anticipatory: they foresee events and generate ideas on the fly, favoring activities that stimulate their minds - which in turn generate more things to do and think about…Sevens are exhilarated by the rush of ideas and by the pleasure of being spontaneous, preferring broad overviews and the excitement of the initial stages of the creative process to probing a single topic in depth."

Like Type Five and Type Six of the Thinking Triad, Sevens can be out of touch with their own inner guidance which can cause a great deal of anxiety. To cope with this anxiety, they try to keep their minds busy all the time which keeps the more "negative" feelings out of their conscious awareness. Likewise, they also like to stay on the go, moving from one experience to another in their constant search for more stimulation. They are probably the type that is the most comfortable with all these new ways of staying in touch with people from the smart phones to the social networking sites, and from twittering to text messaging. They can stay in a constant frenzy of activity that would exhaust most of the other types.

Chernick Fauvre and Fauvre describe the Sevens' greatest strengths as their "visionary abilities, to think or do things in new ways, and to manifest joyful abundance." Sevens find it hard to see people feeling down, and will go out of their way to cheer them up. They literally practice "random acts of kindness," and can easily turn lemons into lemonade.

Riso and Hudson believe that the Seven's childhood usually included a feeling of disconnection from the nurturing parent whether it was their mother, or another primary caretaker. In any case, the young Seven unconsciously decided that they had to nurture themselves. As they learned to be more independent of their mothers, they focused on what psychologists call "transitional objects." Having toys, games, playmates and other distractions helped the young child to tolerate their anxiety. As adults, Sevens seem to still be searching for those transitional objects which show up as new and interesting ideas, experiences, people and "toys." If they were unable to find a distraction, they would then have to face their anxiety and emotional conflicts.

Sevens can learn how to connect with their inner guidance. Through learning how to slow down, and quiet their minds, they can learn the beauty and the gifts of being in the present moment. Instead of rushing off to the next activity, they can learn how to enjoy one moment at a time, and even experience those moments that they once avoided seeing the gifts in every moment of their lives.

By Donna Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

(Thanks to Don Richard Riso, and Russ Hudson's book The Wisdom of the Enneagram, and Katherine Chernick Fauvre and David Fauvre for their insights into the Type Seven.)

Type Eight - The Protector/The Challenger

Back in February, I had the pleasure of participating in an Enneagram workshop presented by Katherine Chernick Fauvre and David Fauvre. Being a Four, it was interesting for me to observe the dynamic between Katherine, who is a Type Eight, and her husband, David, who is a Type Four. Both types can be intense, and expressive, but the Eight expresses the energy in their own direct, and powerful way while the Four may do it a more emotional, and sensitive manner. As a Four, I have been attracted to the energy of an Eight, but I also wondered if I could live with someone who was an Eight. You definitely have to be up for a challenge. Like their name, the Challenger, the Eight enjoys a lively discussion, and doesn't avoid confrontation, but meets it head on.

Riso and Hudson describe the Type Eight, the Challenger as "The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful and Confrontational. Eights enjoy taking on challenges themselves as well as giving others opportunities that challenge them to exceed themselves in some way. They are charismatic and have the physical and psychological capacities to persuade others to follow them into all kinds of endeavors."

Chernick Fauvre and Fauvre call them the Protective Challenger, and see them as wanting to be open, honest, direct and straightforward. They also want to be independent, make their own decisions, and be the captain of their own ship. Their idealized image is that they are protective and powerful.

Eights have a lot of willpower and energy, and feel most alive when they are able to express these capacities in the world. They use their abundant energy to make changes in the world in order to leave their mark. At an early age, Eights learn how to develop strength, will, persistence and endurance seeing these qualities as essential for survival in the world. Eights are definitely learning lessons around power, and the right use of power. Personally, they do not want to be controlled; or to allow others to have power over them which is their Basic Fear. They can spend a lot of time making sure that they retain and increase whatever power they have for as long as possible.

Eights are individualists, and are proud of their independence. They often go against social conventions, and are usually aware of how others see them, but they don't let the opinions of others influence them in any way. They stand alone, but often, at the price of having emotional connections with the people in their lives. Beneath their tough exterior, Eights can feel hurt and rejected, but they may never speak of their deepest feelings because they don't like to admit their vulnerability to themselves, let alone anyone else. The result is that Eights can become blocked in their ability to reach out to others, or to even love another since love gives the other power over them, reawakening that Basic Fear.

Most Eights had to grow up too soon as children, and take on 'adult-like' responsibilities. They often had to deal with survival issues which taught them early on that it's not safe to be gentle and giving. These attitudes feel 'soft' and 'weak' to them only inviting rejection, betrayal and hurt. They feel that it's not best to let their guard down, so if there is going to be any warmth and nurturing in their lives, someone else is going to have to provide it - not them.

When Eights are able to get in touch with their vulnerability, and face their Basic Fear, they are able to trust, and surrender to a greater plan than their own. They can tap into an inner strength that runs deep, and share their many gifts with others without the need to control them, or have power over them. They can emulate other famous Eights like Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who were strong leaders who surrendered concern for their own individual survival to become advocates for a higher purpose in the world.

By Donna Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

(Thanks to Don Richard Riso, and Russ Hudson's book The Wisdom of the Enneagram, and Katherine Chernick Fauvre and David Fauvre for their insights into the Type Eight.)

Type Nine - The Mediator/The Peacemaker

The Nine is the last number in the Enneagram Personality Type System, but it is also the number that encompasses all the types. As Riso and Hudson write, "Nines can have the strength of Eights, the sense of fun and adventure of Sevens, the dutifulness of Sixes, the intellectualism of Fives, the creativity of Fours, the attractiveness of Threes, the generosity of Twos, and the idealism of Ones."

Many Nines have trouble determining their type because they can feel empathy and understanding for all the other types to the degree where they can find it challenging to separate their own feelings from another. What they do need is a stronger sense of their own identity. Many counselors are Nines, and are quite gifted in their work when they are able to have clear boundaries between themselves, and their clients.

Riso and Hudson describe the Nine as "The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable and Complacent." They see them as the Peacemaker because they feel no type is more devoted to the quest for inner and external peace than the Nine. They are often on a spiritual quest looking for their connection with the universe, and with others. "The issues encountered in the Nine are fundamental to all inner work – being awake versus falling asleep to our true nature, presence versus entrancement, tension versus relaxation, peace versus pain, and union versus separation," as written by Riso and Hudson.

The Nine is also the center of the Instinctive Triad which carries the importance of being grounded in the physical world, and in the body. When Nines are able to be fully present in their bodies, they hold a great deal of power and presence in the world, but when they are ungrounded, they can be distant and disengaged from life. When they are out of touch with their instinctual energies, they can retreat into their minds, and their own emotional fantasies. They can then begin to ignore the disturbing aspects of life, and seek some degree of peace and comfort by numbing out. Escapism can then become their chosen path.

Chernick Fauvre and Fauvre call them the Peaceful Mediator because they want to be agreeable, peaceful and comfortable. More importantly, they want to be calm, and if at all possible, to avoid conflict. Their idealized image is that they are content and harmonious.

As Riso and Hudson write, "Many Nines report that they had a happy childhood, but this is not always the case. When their childhoods were more troubled, young Nines learned how to cope by disassociating from the threatening and traumatic events around them, and by adopting the role of Peacemaker or Mediator during family conflicts." In a sense, they would "disappear", and be the agreeable and happy go-lucky child that wouldn't cause their parents any trouble, or concern. They could become the "Lost Child." This way, they grew up feeling like they couldn't have needs, and never learning how to assert themselves, or express healthy anger. As a result, the Nines as adults have trouble asserting themselves, or actualizing themselves separate from their parents and significant others. Accommodating and adapting to the needs of others, they can often lose their own sense of Self, and their own needs to the point where they are really not sure of their own will, and what they really want in life.

Nines also have many strengths including patience, and the ability to allow others to be who they really are, and express their true selves. Once a Nine can allow themselves to do the same in their own lives, they can really share their many gifts and talents with the world. When they are healthy, Nines can work steadily and persistently toward their life goals, and often achieve them. They can hold a still, calm center that moves ahead, and makes things happen.

As Riso and Hudson write, "Ultimately Nines reclaim their Essential nature by confronting their Basic Fear of losing connection and by letting go of the belief that their participation in the world is unimportant…They realize that the only way to truly achieve the unity and wholeness that they seek is not by 'checking out' into the realms of imagination but by fully engaging themselves in the present moment... In order to achieve true connection and wholeness, this realm of mortal experience is what Nines must learn to accept and embrace."

By Donna Fisher-Jackson, MA © 2010

(Thanks to Don Richard Riso, and Russ Hudson's book The Wisdom of the Enneagram, and Katherine Chernick Fauvre and David Fauvre for their insights into the Type Nine.)