Enneagram Type 1 – The Reformer
Perfectionists, responsible, fixated on improvement
People of this personality type are essentially looking to make things better, as they think nothing is ever quite good enough. This makes them perfectionists who desire to reform and improve; idealists who strive to make order out of the omnipresent chaos.
Ones have a fine eye for detail. They are always aware of the flaws in themselves, others and the situations in which they find themselves. This triggers their need to improve, which can be beneficial for all concerned, but which can also prove to be burdensome to both the One and those who are on the receiving end of the One’s reform efforts.
The One’s inability to achieve the perfection they desire feeds their feelings of guilt for having fallen short, and fuels their incipient anger against an imperfect world. Ones, however, tend to feel guilty about their anger. Anger is a “bad” emotion, and Ones strive sincerely and wholeheartedly to be “good.” Anger is therefore vigorously repressed from consciousness, bursting forth in occasional fits of temper, but usually manifesting in one of its many less obvious permutations – impatience, frustration, annoyance and judgmental criticality. For this reason, Ones can be difficult to live with, but, on the high side, they tend to be loyal, responsible and capable partners and friends.
Ones are serious people; they tend to be highly principled, competent and uncompromising. They follow the rules and expect others to do so as well. Because they believe so thoroughly in their convictions, they are often excellent leaders who can inspire those who follow them with their own vision of excellence. Reform movements are frequently spearheaded by Ones.
Ones are often driven and ambitious, and are sometimes workaholics. But whatever their professional involvement, they are definitely active, practical people who get things done. They are natural born organizers, listmakers who finish everything on the list, the last one to leave the office, the first one to return, industrious, reliable, honest and dutiful.
The relentlessness of their pursuit of the ideal can make Ones tense people who have a hard time relaxing and who unnecessarily deny themselves many of the harmless pleasures of life. They tend to be emotionally repressed and uncomfortable with expressing tender feelings; they generally see emotionality as a sign of weakness and lack of control. They are seldom spontaneous. They have multiple interests and talents however; they are self-reliant and seldom run out of things to do.
Ones are often intelligent and independent and can easily mistake themselves for Fives, but unlike Fives, Ones are primarily people of action, not thought. Ones tend to worry and are prone to anxiety and can sometimes mistype as Sixes, but they are far less affiliative than Sixes and their standards are not reached by seeking consensus with a group. Finally, the relentless pursuit of perfection can take its toll and lead to depression. At such times, a One can mistype as a Four. But Fours have a tendency towards self-indulgence whereas Ones are self-denying. Fours are emotionally expressive; Ones are emotionally constrained.
I was also described to have a “wing” of Type 2, The Helper:
Enneagram Type 2 – The Helper
Helpers who need to be needed
People of this personality type essentially feel that they are worthy insofar as they are helpful to others. Love is their highest ideal. Selflessness is their duty. Giving to others is their reason for being. Involved, socially aware, usually extroverted, Twos are the type of people who remember everyone’s birthday and who go the extra mile to help out a co-worker, spouse or friend in need.
Twos are warm, emotional people who care a great deal about their personal relationships, devote an enormous amount of energy to them, and who expect to be appreciated for their efforts. They are practical people who thrive in the helping professions and who know how to make a home comfortable and inviting. Helping others makes Twos feel good about themselves; being needed makes them feel important; being selfless, makes Twos feel virtuous. Much of a Two’s self-image revolves around these issues, and any threat to that self-image is scarcely tolerated. Twos are thoroughly convinced of their selflessness, and it is true that they are frequently genuinely helpful and concerned about others. It is equally true, however, that Twos require appreciation; they need to be needed. Their love is not entirely without ulterior motive.
Twos often develop a sense of entitlement when it comes to the people closest to them. Because they have extended themselves for others, they begin to feel that gratitude is owed to them. They can become intrusive and demanding if their often unacknowledged emotional needs go unmet. They can be bossy and manipulative, feeling entirely justified in being so, because they “have earned the right” and their intentions are good. The darkest side of the type Two fixation appears when the Two begins to feel that they will never receive the love they deserve for all of their efforts. Under such circumstances, they can become hysterical, irrational and even abusive.
Because Twos are generally helping others meet their needs, they can forget to take care of their own. This can lead to physical burnout, emotional exhaustion and emotional volatility. Twos need to learn that they can only be of true service to others if they are healthy, balanced and centered in themselves.
Twos can mistype themselves if they are not in an obvious helper role in their professional lives; they might not recognize the extent of their involvement in assisting others. This is especially true for male Twos, who have not received the same social rewards for helping as female Twos receive. Male Twos frequently mistype as Ones or Threes, the wings of type Two. Females, of all types, are bound to recognize some of the dynamics of type Two in their personalities, as such qualities have been socially reinforced. Female Nines, for instance, are especially prone to mistyping as Twos, particularly if they are the mothers of small children. But Nines are self-effacing and humble; Twos are proud and have a strong sense of their own worth.
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