The Enneagram Personality Test

Having taken many personality tests in the past, whether for fun or for guidance, the one that has most resonated with me is the Enneagram, officially known as the Eclectic Energies Enneagram test. The test’s origins may not be completely understood, with many having done research on and adding different aspects to the concept, but the Enneagram has developed into a system that categorizes personalities into nine different types. Many define themselves as their type, believing it encapsulates who they are. 

When I first took the test about two years ago and read the description I’d been offered, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe how deeply I related to my results, and tears almost came to my eyes. I’d been given the title of type four, the Individualist. No other test had put my feelings into words like this one, particularly during a time of confusion within my life. Ever since, I’ve researched the Enneagram, read books on the subject, and dove into the world of digital content that surrounds the test. 

The nine categories of the test consist of the Reformer, the Helper, the Achiever, the Individualist, the Investigator, the Loyalist, the Enthusiast, the Challenger, and the Peacemaker. Each type consists of its own personal description as well as other unique factors such as relations to other types. Essentially, the test hopes to assist people on their journies of self-discovery, also supporting the idea that everyone is unified. No type outweighs another, and each is necessary to contribute something to the world and maintain balance. 

Everyone has their own interpretation of the types. Some say that you can only be defined by one of the Enneagram personalities, but others have referred to them as “suits of armor” that you pick up and wear throughout different stages of your life. Others view the types as “traps,” believing that once you read your type description, you may begin to act as described and see yourself in that light. In this sense, you may lose sight of yourself through the test, but to avoid this, it is encouraged to take the Enneagram with an open mind. 

The Enneagram types are not all that this test offers. The Enneagram symbol, a circle that connects each type, representing unity, also breaks itself into three triads known as the heart, head, and gut triads. The heart triad includes types two, three, and four, reflecting those that tend to lead with their hearts and emotions. Types five, six, and seven represent the head triad and those who prefer thinking over feeling. Finally, the gut triad consists of types eight, nine, and one, comprising those that follow their gut instincts. Some view the triads in other lights, such as representing the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As I’ve mentioned, it can be up to interpretation. 

The types are also given their own personal levels of coping methods, displaying how they respond to their dominant emotions based on their triad. For example, the heart triad’s dominant emotion is shame. Type twos respond to shame by trying to get others to like them while type threes deny their shame through striving to be valuable and successful. Type fours attempt to control shame with feelings of believing themselves special or different. The head triad’s dominant emotion is fear while the gut triad’s is anger, each type responding to such in a unique manner. Each type additionally has a basic fear and desire. A type four, for example, fears having no personal significance, desiring identity. Type eights fear being harmed or controlled by others, desiring to protect themselves and control their destinies. Each of the types have nine levels of development as well, including nine stages that represent how they act when at their best and at their worst. 

Types can stress or grow to act as other types too. A type four typically becomes clingy and needy for people when stressed, leaning towards a type two’s feelings and responses. However, during a growth period, a type four becomes more ambitious and achieving like a type one. Types can also have a “wing” or an additional quality that differentiates the person from being the usual type. A type four can have a three wing, meaning the type is more extroverted than usual. If a type four has a five wing, the type is more introverted and introspective. Including wings, there are technically twenty-seven different types you could possibly be, as each person can have one of its type's two corresponding wings, or a person may not have a wing at all. If you include subtypes, there are eighty-one different personalities to fall under. A subtype includes three different versions of each type. For example, I could fall under the category of being a self-preservationist, a social, or a sexual subtype, and then resonate with one of the nine types within that subtype. A self-preservationist type four is slightly different from a sexual type four, as the first longs for security while the latter thrives off relationships. 

In order to determine your type, the classic Enneagram test can be found at eclecticenergies.com. If you wish to learn more about the Enneagram, I recommend the website "The Enneagram Institute." It may seem extremely complex because... well, it is a little complex, but it is easy to quickly understand. However, no matter what type you may be given, it does not have to define you unless you allow it to. Everyone is unique, and you can’t expect every little detail to apply to you. Don’t lose sight of yourself through your journey of self-discovery, but pick up treasures you may find and hold them at a safe distance, bringing them as close as you desire.