Welcome back, Enneagram Paths friends! Today we’re going to start a journey around the Enneagram circle and look at each number’s subtype. If you’re new to the world of subtypes and instinctual drives, I’d encourage you to read my post What are Subtypes? or go check out the amazing Dr. Beatrice Chestnut’s book on subtypes called, The Complete Enneagram.
Let’s dive in with Type One: The Improver
Social Ones are often more attentive to groups than the other two subtypes, caring intensely about networks. They invest in their neighborhoods, towns, communities, schools, and friends—all intending to improve these organizations and structures. Social Ones often feel pressure to live up to who they “should be” in each of these spaces to exemplify and enlighten others into more righteous behavior. They internally take on a teacher persona in situations, embodying the model or ideal of what a person should say or do—to be correct and do things well for everyone’s good. They truly see many of the areas in their circles of influence that could be improved or fixed. When using this energy in healthy ways and with a dose of humbleness, Ones are a great asset to their communities. If they focus too much on imperfections, though, Social Ones can neglect to identify all the wonderful gifts each community offers just as it is. Social Ones focus on issues of justice and wide-reaching reform, they like to pinpoint the errors and missteps of others, and in stress, this makes them seem rigid and angry with everyone. They may like to exert their power to force “right” change to happen. In health, they relax and enjoy the company of the people they love and care for and find creative ways to enact desired change without alienating their friends, coworkers, and communities.
Sexual Ones (Countertype)
Sexual Ones are outward focused, much more so than the Self-Preservation and Social Ones, in that they don’t expect as much perfection in themselves. The other two subtypes see where others can improve, but they first compel themselves to attain that desired flawless state. Not so the Sexual Ones. Sexual Ones are fixated on the intimate relationships in their lives: their romantic partners, family, close friends, and certain co-workers they feel a connection to. There is often a fervent, impassioned sort of energy they bring to these relationships, and they can come across as really intense. They are the Countertype because they allow anger to be expressed instead of repressing it, and they direct their anger at the imperfections of others. They seek to reform “their people” and pour gut triad fire and passion into molding others (and sometimes the world) into their ideal. They feel justified in these pursuits, permitting themselves to act in regal-type ways because they’re fixing what is wrong in someone and therefore doing the right thing. In more healthy spaces, Sexual Ones are excited about making and sustaining deep connections. They will be loyal friends, lovers, workers, and companions to their inner circle. Healthy Sexual Ones will be dedicated to their loved ones and work on their relationships with warmth, sincerity, and mutuality.
Self-Preservation Ones want to have everything under control to get their needs met and not have to worry about unforeseen circumstances. They look into the future and plan for what might happen (much like Type 6) to stave off the almost constant sense that they “should” be doing something to make everything go well. They repress their anger more than the other two subtypes, often coming across as gentle and obedient. Internally, however, they have a well of rage that turns on the One, driving Self-Pres Ones into an obsession with self-perfection. Their anger scares them, it threatens their safety, so they work hard to become overly responsible, upstanding, and exemplary. Self-Pres Ones can feel triggered by criticism from others and become defensive or rigid. It is hard for them to get in touch with their feelings because they only allow themselves to feel whatever they (or society or culture) deem as “good”. In health, Self-Pres Ones let go and move more in the flow of things. They trust that the Universe holds them, and they engage in rest and relaxation. They more truly take care of themselves with love and then exude that love and care into the world. Healthy Self-Pres Ones know how to laugh and often have delightful senses of humor.