Determining Your Enneagram Type

DJ Wayne djwayne3 Twitter Sat Mar 11 2023

As opposed to other personality tests the enneagram gets at your core motivations and fears. From there patterns of thinking feeling and behavior can be extrapolated which form an archetype or your "type". To determine your type you need to examine your fears and motivations, but where does one start?

Its commonly said that your personality gets developed overtime, but many enneagram teachers talk about how you your type develops as a result of a childhood wound. Something happened in your past that still effects you and you are compensating for in some ways. It could be many things:

  • Your parent did or didn’t do something
  • A specific incident happened
  • Your environment was skewed a certain way
  • A sibling or friend treated you a certain way
  • You were constantly told a certain message

There is a great article here that explains and gives great examples of the enneagram’s childhood wounds.

You do not have to specifically identify your childhood wound in order to find your type but whatever your childhood was it causes you to be sensitive to a specific emotion. Identifying that core emotion that effects you is the first step.

Emotions Tangent

It may seem overwhelming to try to identify what core emotion affects you the most but it might not as hard as you think. Click here if you would like to do a quick experiment with regards to emotions, otherwise keep reading to help determine your type.

Identifying your dominant core emotion

In the enneagram the three core emotions are anger, fear and shame which we will explain further later. We all feel these emotions from time to time and do what we can to deal with them. But ask yourself which of these emotions comes up for you the most in daily life? You either

  • Feel that emotion and use it motivate you
  • Feel that emotion and actively push it away
  • Feel that emotion constantly in the back of your head

Another way to get at that emotion would be to ask which emotion do you have the easiest access to? Or if someone else was feeling anger fear or shame which emotion would be easiest for you to empathize with? You might find it easier to empathize someone feeling anger over someone feeling shame or fear or vice versa. Once you have identified that emotion you are ready for the next part.

Emotions and centers of intelligence explained

In the enneagram these core emotions relate to centers of intelligence. Or put another way, as you feel one of these emotions you learn to cope with it by developing a certain intelligence. The core emotions map to the centers of intelligence like this:

  • Fear –> Head/ Intellectual Intelligence
  • Shame –> Heart/ Emotional Intelligence
  • Anger –> Body/ Instinctual Intelligence

If you think about it, fear is born out of possible situations that might go wrong. When you are feeling fear you are stuck in your head. You feel insecure because you just need to know a little bit more so you don’t fear and you do feel secure. So overtime you develop good reasoning and logical thinking abilities. It becomes easy for you to logically think through complex situations.

If you are feeling shame you can feel other people judging you. When you feel shame you are feeling all the negative emotions that are wrapped up in someone not liking you. You feel insecure because you just need to be seen in a positive light again so you don’t feel shame but feel good about yourself. Overtime your emotional intelligence develops and you can sense how people are feeling based on how you would feel in the same situation. It become easy for you to connect with others emotionally.

If you are feeling anger you feel instinctually something is not right. Before you can emotionally or logically determine something is not right you instinctually feel it and you feel angry. You feel insecure because something needs to be done so you don’t feel anger but if you follow your instincts and lash out you situation worse. Overtime you learn to surround yourself with people and set up your environment where in you can be comfortable and at peace free from anger.

Discovering the archetypes behind the core emotions

Once you have identified the emotion that you interact with the most the next part is to deduce which type you are. Each core emotion forms a triad where it has 3 types under it. Or said another way each core emotion has 3 archetypes wherein there are different ways to cope with that emotion.

For now read the types and determine which if any you identify with. More to come!

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