Major Themes of the Three Triads:
The Instinctive Triad: 8, 9 and 1 are concerned with maintaining resistance to reality (creating boundaries for the self that are based on physical tensions). These types tend to have problems with aggression and repression. Underneath their ego defenses, they carry a great deal of rage.
Ego Defense Directions: 8 directs energy outward against the environment. 1 directs energy inward against their internal impulses. 9 directs energy against both inward and outward “threats.”
The Feeling Triad: 2, 3, and 4 are concerned with self-image (attachment to the false or assumed self of personality). They believe that the stories about themselves and their assumed qualities are their actual identity. Underneath their ego defenses, they carry a great deal of shame.
Ego Defense Directions: 2 pretends self-image outwardly to others. 4 presents self-imagine inwardly to themselves. 3 presents self-image to self and others.
The Thinking Triad: 5, 6 and 7 are concerned with anxiety (they experience a lack of support and guidance). They engage in behaviors that they believe will enhance their safety and security. Underneath their ego defenses, they carry a great deal of fear.
Ego Defense Directions: 5 flees inward due to fear of aspects of the outer world. 7s flee outward due to fear of aspects of the outer world. 6 flees inward to avoid external threats and outward to avoid internal fears.
The Hornevian Groups
Indicate the social style of each type and how they get their primary needs met (as indicated to the Triadic Center). The assertive types (3, 7, 8) insist or demand that they get what they want. Their approach is active and direct as they go after what they believe they need. The compliant types (1, 2, 6) all attempt to earn something by placating their super ego to get what they want. They do their best to be “good” to get their needs met. The withdrawn group (4, 5, 9) all withdraw to get what they want. They disengage from others to deal with their needs.
The Harmonic Group
This tells us what attitude the type adopts if it fails to meet its dominant need. It’s how we cope with conflict and difficulty; how we respond when we do not get what we want.
The Positive Outlook Group: 2, 7, 9. They adopt a positive attitude, re-framing disappointment in a positive way. They emphasize the uplifting aspects of life and look at the bright side. They have trouble facing the dark side of themselves; they do not want to look at anything painful or negative in themselves.
The Competency Group: 1, 3, 5. Deal with difficulty by putting aside their personal feelings and striving for objectivity, effectiveness, and competency. They problem solve logically and expect others to do the same. They often have power struggles with the systems and rules around them, since they don’t know how much they want to obey them or rebel.
The Reactive Group: 4, 6, 8. They react emotionally to conflicts and problems and have difficulties knowing how much to trust other people. (“I need you to know how I feel about this.”) When problems arise, they seek emotional responses from others that match their own concern. (“This is really bothering me, it should bother you too!”) They have strong likes and dislikes, and must deal with their feelings before calming down to handle the issue. They struggle to balance their need for independence with a need for others’ support. They are either looking for advice and direction or engaging in rebellion.
Main Themes of the Positive Outlook group:
2: Emphasizes positive self-image (”I am a caring, loving person.”) They focus on their good intentions. Avoids seeing: their own neediness, disappointment, and anger. Problems with needs: overemphasis on the needs of others; neglect of their own needs.
7: Emphasizes positive experiences, enjoyment, activity, excitement, and fun. Avoids seeing: their pain and emptiness; their role in creating suffering for self and others. Problems with needs: overemphasis on their own needs. They easily feel burdened by the needs of others.
9: Emphasizes the positive qualities of others and of their environment. They idealize their world. Avoids seeing: problems with their loved ones or their environment as well as their own lack of development. Problems with needs: feeling overwhelmed by their own needs and the needs of others. They do not want to deal with others.
At a glance: deny that they have any problems.
2: “You have a problem. I am here to help you.”
7: “There may be a problem, but I’m fine.”
9: “What problem? I don’t think there is a problem.”
Main themes of the Competency Group:
1: Emphasizes being correct, organized, and sensible. They focus on standards, improving themselves, and knowing the rules. Manages feelings: by repression and denial. Feelings are channeled into activity, getting things done perfectly. Feelings are also held as a physical rigidity in the body. Relation to systems: 1s want to work with the system. They try to be a “good boy or girl” and are irritated with people who disregard the rules.
3: Emphasizes being efficient, capable, and outstanding. They focus on goals, being pragmatic, and knowing how to present self. Manages feelings: by repression and keeping attention on tasks, staying active. Achievement offsets painful feelings. They look to others for feeling cues. Relation to systems: 3s want to work with the system but also like being outside of it–bending rules and finding shortcuts.
5: Emphasizes being the expert and having deep information. They focus on the process, objective facts, and maintaining clarity and detachment. Manages feelings: by splitting off and abstracting feelings, they stay preoccupied and cerebral as if their feelings were happening to somebody else. Relation to systems: 5s reject the system and want to work on their own, outside of it. They have little patience with rules or procedures.
At a glance: cut off feelings and solve problems logically.
1: “I’m sure we can solve this like sensible, mature adults.”
3: “There’s an efficient solution to this–we just need to get to work.”
5: “There are a number of hidden issues here; let me think about this.”
Main Themes of the Reactive Group:
4: Seeks a rescuer, someone to understand them and support their life and dreams. They want to be seen. Fears: abandonment–no one will care for them; they will not have enough support to find and become themselves. Deals with others by keeping others interested by limiting access, playing hard to get, and holding on to supporters.
6: Seeks both independence and support. They want someone to rely on but they also need to be “the strong one.” Fears: being abandoned and without support, but also becoming too dependent on others. Deals with others by being committed and reliable while trying to maintain their independence; they are engaging but also defensive.
8: Seeks independence and self-reliance. They want to need others as little as possible, to be their own person. Fears: being controlled or dominated by others. Thus, they fear intimacy and becoming vulnerable by trusting or caring too much. Deals with others by keeping up their guard, not letting others get too close, and toughening themselves against hurt and their need for others.
At a glance: react strongly and need a response from others.
4: “I really feel hurt, and I need to express myself.”
6: “I really feel pressured, and I’ve got to let off some steam.”
8: “I’m angry about this and you’re going to hear about it.”
How each type manipulates others:
1: By correcting them, insisting others share their standards.
2: By finding out others’ needs and desires, thus creating dependencies.
3: By charming others, and by adopting whatever image will “work.”
4: By being temperamental, and by making others “walk on eggshells.”
5: By staying preoccupied, and by detaching emotionally from others.
6: By complaining, and by testing others’ commitments to them.
7: By distracting others, and by insisting others meet their demands.
8: By dominating others, and by demanding others do as they say.
9: By “checking out” and by passive-aggressively resisting others.
– The Wisdom of the Enneagram, by Don Richard Riso and Ross Hudson