The Enneagram of Personality is a typology model which looks at 9 core types of personality, each denoted by the underlying patterns of their fears and passions. I’ve been “studying” this system for over 5 years at this point. I own 3 books and have listened to many podcasts over the years, but was recently advised to check out Enneagrammer Universe Facebook group.
This group has close ties to the Enneagrammer website and Big Hormone Enneagram podcast. It is actually run by the admins of the website and the team from the podcast is also active. They recently started an Enneagram Typing class (similar to the one run by Objective Personality) called the Dark Arts Academy. If that sounds interesting to you, be sure to check the free classes they have available to get an idea what those look like.
Why get typed by Enneagrammer?
I’ll admit that Enneagrammer has a bit of a mixed reputation online. So you may wonder why I chose to get typed by this group vs any other method online. They are particularly criticized for typing everyone as a 9 or a 6 and that they are resistant to typing anyone as type 4. However, I know numerous people typed by EU types other than 6 and 9, so it certainly isn’t everyone that is typed that way. While I can’t speak to everyone’s experience with EU, I can speak to mine and I promise its not all sunshine and rainbows (hint: I wasn’t typed a 279 trifix).
This reputation is in large part due to the way in which their group is pushing back on some of the ideas that have been spreading throughout the Enneagram community at large. They created the #nota4 Instagram account where they push back against many posts online which claim to be discussing type 4 on the Enneagram but are not what EU considers to be type 4. They have found that many of the 4s online are actually discussing type 9 or even type 6 patterns and that the understanding of these types has blurred. They have even given this crusade a more positive spin of “Make Nine Great Again” as 9s are often looked down upon by the Enneagram community as a “lazy” archetype while discounting the gifts that this type is truly capable of.
I myself was a bit turned off by when I first listened to the Big Hormone Enneagram podcast. One of my the first episodes I checked out was, “Countertype is Dumb” which served largely as a two episode roast of Beatrice Chestnut’s book The Complete Enneagram. This just so happens to be one of the 3 books I own and is one of the more popular Enneagram books and teachers online. Beatrice Chestnut is also the Enneagram expert they consult with on the Personality Hacker podcast if you are familiar with them. When I listened to this episode, I was particularly disappointed in the way they argued their points, which to me came off of as “this is wrong and we know better” without a whole lot of additional substance… at least that was how it felt to me at the time.
However, for some reason I kept on listening and continued looking for what was drawing in so many people to this community. What could I be missing out on? Many sources I’d read in the past were offering blurry descriptions that lacked the clarity I was seeking. These guys were not afraid to create sharp distinctions, so perhaps I could learn something. I read the instinct descriptions on the Enneagrammer website, but I wanted some more information… Eventually I stumbled upon their podcast series on the various instinct stackings and discussions on the object relations triad (attachment/frustration/rejection). These episodes did a much better job at communicating to me the way in which they understood the Enneagram and how their stance differed from what I had been learning about the Enneagram elsewhere from Chestnut and some of the Christian community podcasts I have listened to. Finally I was able to see why they were expressing so much hostility towards these other teachings… they really care about the Enneagram.
Because of my rocky experience with the podcast I ended up compiling a list of what I consider to be some of the best episodes of their podcast to help others get started on understanding their perspective. While this playlist is made from YouTube videos, you should be able to find their podcast on most podcasting platforms. Hopefully it will help you to learn something new about the Enneagram and introduce you to the EU as it did for me.
Some of the key ideas are Hexad (124578) vs Attachment (369) types, Trifix descriptions, Instinctual Drives, Levels of Health, the Harmonic Triad, and finally their stance on why Countertype is Dumb.
What I learned from the Podcast
By listening to and learning from the Big Hormone Enneagram podcast I was able to narrow down my type in a way that I didn’t feel confident to do before. In particular, I learned about instincts in a whole new way. The podcast made the separation between the Social and Sexual instincts distinct in a way I hadn’t clearly understood before. Sometimes Sexual is renamed as “1 to 1” (likely for better marketability to our Sexual blind leaning society and businesses). This rename seems to imply that Sexual is simply about intimacy/closeness with a single other. This is NOT what Sexual is about and allows you to easily confuse it with Social which is the instinctual drive for connection. In brief, Sexual instinct is about attraction and repulsion and invoking and seeking this sense in others. To do so, those exercising their Sexual instinct must reveal themselves in ways in which may repel or attract others. This sense of tension and the energy which forms from it seems to be what the sexual drive is after. In this way Sexual is actually working counter to Social which instead adapts and connects with others, maintaining a shared communal space.
There seems to be a bit of a sexual bias floating around in some of the Enneagram communities online. It reminds me a bit of the intuitive bias we often see in MBTI communities. We learn about this thing called intuition and think, oh yeah I do do that! That is totally me. When in reality we often are able to notice these things because they stand out from our natural behavior. I’m not positive this is what is going on with the sexual drive’s “popularity” as it could just be that people want to see themselves as attractive to others and calling yourself “sexual blind” doesn’t exactly boost one’s confidence in that arena. Perhaps its in need of a rebrand?
EU and the podcast also introduced to me a new way of understanding tritype or trifix which enriched my experience with the Enneagram. For a long time I had been in the camp considering tritype an excessive use of the Enneagram. I had often heard it stated that tritype gets in the way of learning about and understanding your core type and was merely some additional fluff and description to your type, distracting you from your core type pattern where the real growth and discovery is. However, upon listening to their Trifix Roast episodes of the podcast, I began to understand the way in which trifix can heavily color the core type and create archetypes of their own independent from core type. The fixations of each type in the trifix is something that type is trying to balance between each of the other numbers. That sense of balance and interaction creates unique dynamics between each trifix which either support or conflict with one another.
As a basic example, 469 contains 2 reactive numbers (4 and 6), but also a positive number (9) which doesn’t want to make waves. This combination results in an archetype with noticeable reactivity, but no real punch to it since the 9 as the body type seeks to disperse that reactivity. This trifix is nicknamed the Whiny Tears or the Charlie Brown but I also like to think of it as the Karl Pilkington (though he is not typed by them) who is sort of a living Charlie Brown figure.
Check out episodes 28-33 of the Big Hormone Enneagram podcast to hear more.
I created an app for exploring the trifixes based on my new understanding from the podcast as well as additional descriptions over at Enneagrammer.
So thanks to the podcast I finally settled on a type for myself that I could feel fairly confident in and yet at the same time I was also convinced to get typed by them! Admittedly this is a bit contradictory, but I wanted to ensure that I was truly understanding how they were assessing types and that my self-assessment was in line with that. I have grown to respect their opinion and wanted to see that we were in alignment. If you haven’t been typed by someone before it can also be a bit of a humbling experience. I’m admitting that I don’t know everything. I might know myself or at least think I do, but to think I know myself well enough to assess myself in the same way a stranger might is something completely different. Typing yourself effectively isn’t an easy thing to do.
Okay fine, I was also just after a bit of piece of mind. That isn’t necessarily the best mindset for going into a typing since you may get a completely different result, but luckily that wasn’t my experience… this time.
The Enneagrammer Typing Service
Their typing service requests you create a video at least 10 mins long and also make some collages which they use to assess your instinct stacking. If you choose to post in the EU Facebook group (COME AND JOIN US), others from the group will probably give you feedback and/or their best guess on your type as well. You can also post without paying the admins to type you as well (I did this at first), but others in the group don’t have the wealth of experience typing as the admins so your mileage may vary. If you are too shy/private to share your video, then you can also choose to send it only to the admins.
Below is the video I submit if you’d like to take a look. In it I answer the following questions provided by Enneagrammer:
- What are your biggest interests/hobbies?
- Do you see yourself as an assertive person? Why or why not?
- What is your best and worst quality?
- What is your ideal place to live in the world?
- What is your biggest pet peeve?
- What are/were your greatest life goals?
- If you could be one animal, what would it be and why?
- What was the most stressful time in your life? Why?
- What was the best time in your life? Why?
Here are the collages I submit with the video:
On Collage Typing…
Typing via collage is a somewhat controversial idea and I get that, I was pretty skeptical as well. To be honest, I still kind of am since I don’t fully get it for myself, but I’ll at least explain how I understand it at the moment.
The idea stems from the notion that we are constantly viewing the world through our instinct stacking and thus the way in which we express ourselves is innately colored by that experience. Thus when we create a collage or other art form, this is expressed through these built in patterns of perception. There are some over-arching themes and ways in which the instincts show up which are noted here on Enneagrammer’s site. This last part is the part I don’t fully grock just yet… I don’t feel confident deciphering the different themes. I hope as my understanding of the instincts grows it will continue to make more sense, but this is an area I’m still very much learning. Hopefully this is another thing I can possibly explore more here on da blog with ya’ll.
There are no real rules or instructions on how to go about getting images and putting them together for your collages. It seems that finding and choosing a method is part of the experience, but I’ll let you know how I made mine in case you are curious and/or want to copy my method. I downloaded an app called Pic-Collage on my phone, and I acquired various images using Getty Images. For the majority of the images here I searched on the term “illustration” since I thought it might give me some more hand drawn looking images I could use and might appeal to me. Others seem to use things like Pinterest and Instagram to find things, but this was the method I chose.
My Guess and Result
Oh right, you wanted to hear my type! You didn’t just scroll past the rest of this article did you? That would be rude! To be honest I didn’t expect this to be so wordy, but sometimes when you get a blast last talking they can just keep going and going and going and going and going and… anyway! Here is the type result they got for me. They give you this fancy image with one of your collage’s they think suits you best.
My Type – so/sp 9w1 963
And I guessed it correctly! My core type guess for awhile now has been 9. In fact, remember that Complete Enneagram book I mentioned? Well I even wrote on the inside of it that I’m a 9 so that I would finally stop questioning it!
My Wing – 9w1
While I had settled on core 9 for awhile, other parts were still in flux. I had recently been reconsidering my wing, as I had never truly grasped what it means to be a 9w8. 9w8 seems to be a 9 which establishes boundaries more readily and thus the 9 which more proactively creates space for themselves to be a 9, walling off themselves from what might disrupt their peace. They assert their boundaries in which they maintain their comfort. My favorite example at the moment is Vin Diesel who has this very self-contained and calm vibe. I also love this video of Dasha Nekrasova aka “Sailor Socialism” calmly sipping her coffee while being questioned by InfoWars. Her blunt retorts of, “I just want people to have healthcare honey” and “You people have worms in your brains, honestly” will forever represent the unflappability of the 9w8 for me.
Conversely, 9w1 seems to instead “be good” to maintain peace. The idea of, “if I am good, then no one will bother me” seems to be underlying the 9w1 pattern. Unfortunately, I very much align with this idea as a means to keep the peace. I try not to be a problem so that I can keep doing my thing as I am. This is an extension/defense of the core 9 pattern rather than a fixation itself. That is how I now understand wings to work. They are a leverage point by which we shield ourselves or propel ourselves forward to maintain the core pattern. I like to visualize the wing as something which can wrap around us or flap as a reminder for those this works.
Instincts – So/Sp
For instincts I had also landed on So/Sp. Social being the most obvious for me as someone who is constantly trying to adapt myself to not cause issues with others (to both negative and positive results alike) and find my role and place within groups. It is like I see people as most in control of my ability to maintain peace and simultaneously the most likely to cause disruptions to my peace. Thus the drive to establish and maintain Social connection is at the forefront. Self-Preservation vs Sexual was a bit more of a journey to understand, but was aided by the BHE podcast as I mentioned above. I learned that my drive to connect with others was still coming from the Social instinct and that what Sexual instinct was actually doing was something I viewed as a threat to those connections.
Thanks to the podcast, I have come to see the way in which I am containing Sx within my So/Sp lens. While I still have much to learn about instincts, I was able to at least identify in myself that I am not doing what Sx is doing in terms of provocation and that was enough for me. I’m only really being provocative when I know its contained and won’t disrupt. I’m seeking a “particular space” for it where the disruptions will not truly be disruptions. Its like seeking to undergo a scientific experiment within a controlled environment so that I can avoid blowing up the town nearby. In reality, Sx may not be so threatening, but that is the lens with which I am viewing it and part of the mystique of the blind instinct.
I’ve never really seen myself as someone who cares a lot about Self-Preservation type things. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love some BBQ and Tacos, but its not like I feel like that is what is driving me and getting me out of bed in the morning. However, I am also not someone who is suffering in this area or “fails to do the minimum” in the realm of Sp in the way that an Sp blind might. In fact, the mere acknowledgement that I could do better here is a representation itself of not being Sp blind. I’m aware of it and can see the benefits, but the drive to achieve and experience Social connection is just that much greater. That is what I’d describe the secondary instinct’s experience to be like.
Trifix – 369 aka Bermuda
My Trifix was actually fairly easy for me to guess. I had actively considered and seen parts of myself in each of 9, 6, and 3 so by extension it made sense that this was would be my trifix. 6 in particular I’d gone back and forth on since I felt that I related pretty strongly to certain core 6 concepts like self-doubting and problem solving, but it felt like there were certain aspects of 6 I simply wasn’t doing. In particular, I am not very proactive about the things which I was doubting and trying to bring to resolution. I was able to see myself forming an acceptance within a state of fog and confusion rather than the splitting and side choosing of 6. 9 simply fit me better and my tendency to “think positively” often overrode my tendency toward reaction/proactivity. While I can see these aspects of 6 and testing others in myself, for me there is less weight to this aspect of myself and I will often avoid this sort of testing if it comes at the cost of peace and overall comfort.
As for 3, while I often experience the drive to achieve and push myself forward to be a beacon of success and achievement, I again see this falling to the wayside when it might begin to sabotage my sense of peace. It is almost as if when I push myself upward and out of the fog that I begin to feel uncomfortable, and like the light will suddenly be shown on me and only me. I don’t feel prepared for that and may sink back down. There is some shame around that for me. I wish that I would not be afraid to step into that light and allow myself to succeed or to fail rather than simply floating in the fog, but it is something I also have learned to sort of accept in myself. The fog is a part of me and to move forward I must bring the fog with me in some way.
While Enneagrammer does not usually provide wings for each of the fixes, my suspicion at the moment is that my other wings are 6w5 and 3w2 which would give me a 125 “Friendzone” overlay. There aren’t many typed with this Trifix + Overlay combo currently which is unfortunate (David Boreanaz, give me a ring). It seems the 127 overlay is a bit more common in celebrities and I’ll admit the 6w7 types tend to be a bit more fun… but at least us 6w5 types are known for our spreadsheets. YES!
Overall, I was quite pleased with my Enneagrammer typing experience. It was a bit nerve-racking going into it with such a settled idea of what my type was already and not knowing whether they would flip the script on me as has happened for so many others. However, it was great to finally have the reassurance that I was understanding their perspective on the Enneagram and that it was in alignment with mine, at least in the case of my own type. I’ve gone on to join their class now as well to understand other types beyond my own and that too has been a good experience so far. Perhaps I will write a bit of a review of that experience here as well. Stay tuned!
Would I recommend getting typed by Enneagrammer?
Yes I would. I would however recommend you become familiar with their methods and perspective on the Enneagram first as it is different than many of the other perspectives out there, particularly when it comes to attachment types (3/6/9) and the sexual instinct. 3/6/9, self-preservation, and social are the most common patterns and types and many approach the Enneagram and typology trying to understand how they are different from others. This leads to an inevitable clash when one learns that their type does not clarify this as cleanly for them as they might like. However, understanding your true type and finally seeing yourself clearly can be an invaluable thing when you are ready for it.
So check out their free classes, learn about their typing methodology, and consider getting typed by Enneagrammer in the links below.
You can also check out more of my Enneagram content here.
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