The Three Main Strategies

Image, Fear and Anger

Image: Styles 2,3,4

Those with image strategies tend to rate themselves according to how others rate them. Their center of gravity is in the hands of others: they lack a certain density. They can be spiritually insubstantial when they repress their assertive, vindictive, power grabbing instincts. And when they do assert themselves or grab for power, they do it indirectly, obliquely and without noticing that they are doing it. They are nice. But they may fall prey to Thomson's law: "What you don't get up front, you tend to get out back."

They don't acknowledge their aggression needs openly, so they use manipulation, guilt, self-pity - more passive and proper ways of asserting themselves. These people have trouble claiming their souls, saying no, standing their ground and doing what they really want. They do what society wants, or mother wanted or what will bring recognition. They don't do what they want. Instead they play roles, they live through others or they lament their helpless lot in life. Their deepest emotions are undeveloped and so they live through social or artistic forms. They act.

Their dependency on the esteem and response of others does give them a secondary gain: they can be extremely sensitive to the needs and wants of others -- their emotional life depends on them. We all get good at what we need for survival. In healthy people this becomes utter altruism and nurturing friendship. In neurotic people it can become devouring invasiveness or complete co-dependency, not to mention flattery or seduction.

Fear: Styles 5,6,7

Fives, Sixes and Sevens are usually called fear-based types: fear is their basic preoccupation. Their diverse types of fear make quite different experiences of life, but all three live in varying degrees of terror, partially because they live from their head center. They think a lot and frighten themselves. Their knot is in their will: they have a variety of ways of not being able to take action in their world.

These two characteristics, fear and thinking, come together via anticipation. The types in this center tend to approach life by figuring it out, by acting now to deal with what they expect to happen in the future. Fives expect to run out of resources, so they frequently, (especially under stress) hoard time, energy and money. Sixes expect the worst to happen so they spend a lot of time making sure they are protected against every eventuality. Sevens don't expect things to work out very well, so they have multiple options and a habit of deliberately not looking at whatever may be negative. As Satchel Paige, the legendary Seven black baseball pitcher said. "Never look back, something may be gaining on you."

Anger: Styles 8,9,1

Center 8-9-1 is referred to as the instinctive or gut center. The predominant motive in the lives of these numbers is anger. The anger is expressed differently in all three cases, but anger it is. This anger tends to create a knot in their thinking. An angry eight blocks out thinking, or thinks in caricatures, a compulsive one tends to see black and white only and nines tend to get fuzzy or have long rambling introductions to a point easily overlooked.

They have a different approach than thinkers; they have an intuitive "gut feeling" way of making their way through the world. They can have writer's block, or have trouble expressing themselves verbally. Their processing of verbal or written information can be slow, but they also are often highly intuitive - making correct concrete decisions quickly and easily.

They tend to be preoccupied, positively or negatively with the physical aspects of life. Enneagram Eights, for example, prefer direct, outward solutions to problems. Enneagram Nines tend to express emotions physically. They would say "my flesh crawls" instead of "I get uneasy," and their flesh might well goose-bump. Enneagram Ones tend to be polarized against their own sensuality, having strong sensual urges, but denying them and getting critical of people or places that encourage sensual expression

Each Enneagram center requires specific coaching assistance. The Enneagram triad energies are the grist for the coach's mill.