What Defines an Enneagram Type?

The enneagram is absolutely not just a simple personality test that categorises 9 different types of functioning: it uses a neighbouring group participation system (the wings) and several levels of healthiness at the heart of each type (which can lead towards an integration or a disintegration type). Thus, two people of the same type, depending on how they manage their compulsions and the degree of influence of neighbouring types, can be very different.

A 4 can be as generous as a 2. A 2 can be as artistic as a 4. An 8 can be as analytical as a 5, etc.

An enneagram type is not defined by the personality traits that are generally attributed to it (especially since these traits can be very different depending on one's level of healthiness), but above all by its avoidance compulsion. This is the root of an enneagram type. From this compulsion are deduced the centres of attention and motivation, the vices and the defence mechanisms.

The compulsion is not always easy to identify, especially since, most of the time, humans are influenced by it on an unconscious level. The precise purpose of the enneagram is to help us become aware of this trait in order to help our personal development.

When a person from an enneagram type masters his compulsion, they are able to develop the positive qualities of all types and create a positive influence on both themselves and others.

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