In addition to the Triads, the Enneagram of personality can be divided into another three groups of three based on the work of Karen Horney (1885–1952). Karen Horney was a Neo-Freudian psychoanalyst who is best known for founding feminist psychology, kicking off the self-help movement by empowering the average person to employ self-awareness in their own treatment and for her theories on the relationship between parental indifference and neurosis. She is also responsible for changing the view of neurosis as less of a permanent, pathological state and more of a dysfunctional coping strategy that can be brought back into balance.
The personality types corresponding to Karen Horney’s Withdrawn strategy are the Four, Five and Nine. These types are generally receptive and internally-focused. Each responds to problems, threats and obstacles through avoidance. In other words, there’s a distinct sense of the
The personality types corresponding to Karen Horney’s Aggressive strategy are the Three, Seven and Eight. All three are generally bold and energetic and respond to problems, threats and obstacles by expanding and reinforcing egoic boundaries. In other words, they see
The personality types corresponding to Karen Horney’s Compliant strategy are the One, Two and Six. These types are generally industrious, principled and conscientious. It’s worth mentioning here that the word compliant doesn’t necessarily mean that these types are compliant to
The Center of intelligence associated with the Head is our capacity for awareness, perception and contemplation as well as our source of vision, insight, intuition and inner guidance. The Head Center is also home to our capacity for an intuitive understanding of the workings of the universe. At its best, it is a pure, crystalline field of consciousness in which our perceptions arise and recede without attachment. It is this open awareness that allows us to fully sense the signals coming from both the outer and inner worlds, thus allowing us to make conscious decisions free of distraction and bias. To make space for this, we must be able to quiet our minds so we can be pristinely receptive to the subtlest cues and have the capacity to process our impressions from a point of clarity and objectivity.
The Center of intelligence associated with the Heart is that which recognizes and falls in love with the true nature of all things. Russ Hudson calls the Heart “the organ of knowing.” We think that knowing and the recognition of truth happen in the Head, but much like our emotions really originating in the Belly, this view is a misappropriation of the roles of both the Heart and the Head.
“Without awareness of bodily feeling and attitude, a person becomes split into a disembodied spirit and a disenchanted body.” —Alexander Lowen Overview of the Riso-Hudson Belly Center The Center of intelligence associated with the Belly allows us to live life
The nine personality types on the Enneagram can be divided into three groups of three, each Triad relating to a Center of intelligence. In the Riso-Hudson teaching—as influenced by the work of G. I. Gurdjieff and Oscar Ichazo—the Centers are the Belly, the Heart and the Head. Gurdjieff theorized that man, unless realized, is a “machine” in which these Centers are not functioning properly. Riso and Hudson further theorize that each of the personality types on the Enneagram is a result of a specific state of imbalance in one of the three Centers.
In Enneagram terms, your “wing” is the type, adjacent to your primary type, that flavors its expression. For example: if you are a Nine, your wing would either be Eight or One. If you have an Eight wing, the nomenclature is “Nine with an Eight wing.” If you spend any time on Enneagram-related discussion boards, you might see abbreviations like 9w8 or 9w/8 which are referring to the same thing.
In contrast to behavioral systems such as Meyers-Briggs in which type characteristics are easily observable, the Enneagram focuses on our deeper motivational structures. These structures can be largely unconscious and can take some “digging” to expose. Therefore, discovering your type on the Enneagram tends to be a lengthier process, however the rewards are rich and well worth the effort. Even if it takes you quite some time to figure it out, nothing is lost. Just going through the process of looking within and doing some self-observation can lead to some interesting discoveries.