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enneagram: instinctual variants, triads and more
part 5 of 9
The instinctual variants are a more advanced topic to explore once you are clear on which type you are.
These are based on which of our three basic instincts have been most distorted in childhood, and explain how we have evolved to cope with that distortion over time.
These are called the Self-Preservation variant, the Social variant, and the Sexual variant.
Self-Preservationists are preoccupied with getting and maintaining physical comfort;
Socialists are preoccupied with being accepted and needed in their world;
Sexualists are preoccupied with a constant search for intensity and connection with others.
These preoccupations can drive certain behaviors and create habits that may or may not serve one well.
There is an entire separate assessment to discover your instinctual variant on this website: http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
Fear, Shame, and Rage - the Enneagram Triads and Our Ego
Each type within the Enneagram is interconnected with the others in profound ways, and the triads are one of the primary ways to look at these differences.
The triads divide the Enneagram into three groups that specify where our chief ego imbalance lies, as well as the defenses that we typically use to limit ourselves as a way to cope with the world.
These refer to the three basic components of the human psyche: thinking, feeling, and instinct.
The Instinctive Triad is made up of types 8, 9 and 1.
The Feeling Triad contains types 2, 3, and 4.
The Thinking Triad is comprised of types 5, 6, and 7.
In each triad, the function in question is the one that the ego has formed around.
Therefore, it represents the aspect of our psyche that is least able to function freely.
In the Instinctive Triad, the types 8, 9, and 1 tend to resist reality.
They have problems with aggression and repression, and typically harbor a great deal of rage.
In the Feeling Triad, the types of 2, 3, and 4 are overly attached to the assumed self of personality.
They believe that the stories and qualities that describe themselves are their true identity, and typically harbor a great deal of shame.
In the Thinking triad, the types of 5, 6, and 7 are concerned with a lack of support and guidance.
They are preoccupied with enhancing their security, and typically harbor a great deal of fear.
Each triad is concerned with a particular aspect of reality, but each type within the triad focuses his or her energy and attention toward that aspect of reality differently.
For example, all eights, nines, and ones have issues with anger--but a type 8 will direct that anger outward, toward others, while a type 1 will direct his anger inward, repressing it.
Similarly, all fives, sixes, and sevens have trouble with feeling secure and safe--but a type 5 will typically withdraw from the world to achieve a feeling of security, while a type 7 will try everything as a substitute for security.
Other ways to group the Enneagram types are with the Hornevian groups, which have to do with the three distinct social styles among the types; and the Harmonic groups, which have to do with the three main coping styles that the types exhibit when their needs are not met.
More information is available on these groupings in the books I mentioned earlier in this series.