The Enneagram: Detailed Instinctual Stackings by Type – from |


April 4 by The Running Son

Detailed Instinctual Stackings by Type


For an introduction to the theory of Instinctual Subtype Stackings, read:

NOTE: By reputation, the website was a popular and respected site for Enneagram content. It closed down several years ago.

Wayback Machine

The Instinctual Subtypes Stackings were retrieved from cache using the (very cool) WayBack Machine. I continue to research authorship. If anyone has any helpful information, please comment.  -the RFB

The paper is presented “as is”, with certain omissions left as they were on the original website.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype One

Enneatype One belongs to the instinctual/gut triad; its instinctual energy and anger are directed inward. This inward build-up of energies gives to the sexual variant an energy similar to a cork under pressure. The fixation of the One is focused on containnment and improvement, but the sexual instinct is passionate and impulsive and its needs don’t take kindly to “going underground.” It is essentially opposed to Oneness.

Comparatively, the social One is less conflicted. The social instinct lends itself more to a plan, an order; the instinctual energy has a natural outlet. Not everyone sees things the same way as the One however, and that’s where problems arise for the One who wants to be “right” and wants the social realm also to be “right.”

The self-pres energy of type One is in sync with its dominant fixation, which can work well when the person is balanced. When out of balance, the self-pres One can become obsessive-compulsive, anal, and/or perfectionistic. The sexual instinct is, in many ways, in opposition to self-pres One energy, so inner conflict is seen more as the sexual variant is expressed through the Oneness.


Enneatype One’s basic fear is of not being perfect, therefore, not being good enough. This manifests in the self-pres variant as the need to “fix” the environment.

This type is the most steady, organized, and practical. They prioritize time well, pride themselves on, for instance, finding the bargain, buying quality, putting forth their best effort. Perfection comes from dotting all the i’s. They tend to watch their health and to not overindulge. When healthy, their example of efficiency is inspiring. The pride they take in their work is commendable.

On the down side, they can become obsessive-compulsive. They can lose the forest for the trees in attempting to make their homes and environments perfect. They can also be very hard on themselves. The energy of this type is the most consistent. When their ideal falls short, frustration usually turns inward. Anger is repressed, especially with the Nine wing.


This type is more fiery than the self-pres/social. They still have many of the same concerns of the first type, but there is this secondary energy that wants to throw all their repression out the window. This energy is mainly contained, but it’s there just under the surface. The focus of their perfectionism is on their loved ones. On the down side, they can be very critical of the people close to them. Although normally controlled, this type is likely to erupt from time to time with those close to them. It’s an explosion of built up repression that has to be released.

On the high side, this type can relax a little more than the self-pres/social, but on the down side, they are more volatile. They do share the inner conflict between their sexual and self-pres instincts with the sexual/self-pres, but the self-pres energy usually wins out. The instinctual energy of the sexual instinct is more apparent than with the self-pres/social. Despite being critical of their mates, they are usually very committed to their relationships. In the mind of the self-pres/sexual One, the judgmental criticality is a sign of commitment and love.


When the social instinct is dominant in enneatype One, the fear of not being perfect manifests with regards to their connection to others. The social instinct is satisfied when others follow their rules or hold up their standards of justice.

This type is very community minded. They are likely to be the person on the block who offers a hand, tells you, for instance, how to maintain your lawn just right. When healthy, they do this in a truly helpful way. These individuals can be counted on to do the right thing. They convey to others that they can be trusted and have everyone’s best interest in mind. This type is likely to have an interest in politics and social concerns.

They are similar to the self-pres/social in the respect that both types will be community minded, but the self-pres/social will focus more on self and this type will extend its focus to the group. On the down side, they can be judgmental and intrusive when their input is not called for. Frustration for the social/self-pres One comes when others aren’t maintaining the same ideals and standards the One holds. This frustration in the social arena combines with the self-pres concerns, and can generate the impetus for action we so often see with this type.


The social/sexual One will have the same concerns as the social/self-pres types, however those concerns center more on individuals. Rules aren’t quite as important. They will zero in on what they want to make better and the intensity of their conviction is more obvious. Along with this, they are more personable, somewhat “lighter” and don’t generally take themselves as seriously. They can have a great sense of humor.

On the down side, their sensitivity can cause them to hold grudges. Because the self-pres instinct is last, this subtype could easily be mistaken for other enneatypes. Along with the sexual/social subtype, they can even be somewhat sloppy. Usually, there is still a sense of organization and a desire to do the job right, but there is much less emphasis on perfectionism in the material, physical environment. Most of their focus is on people and society. With this as their focus, they can be quite persuasive when it comes to their chosen causes. On the down side, when this extra outward energy is taken too far, they can approach the world with the attitude that they need to be right at all costs.


When the sexual instinct is dominant, the One’s fear of not being perfect manifests directly in the realm of close personal relationships. Close bonds are the focus of their perfectionism. They focus on having a perfect mate or perfect friends and family. Competition and intensity can enter the picture.

This subtype is a mass of contradictions. They want to let themselves go, but judge themselves for doing so. The difference between this type and the self-pres/sexual is that the sexual first intensity wins out. They can be highly critical of their spouses, expecting perfection from them. They can be very jealous and protective of their relationships. Their sense of humor can be sarcastic and biting. On the down side, they can be brutal to others while being very sensitive themselves to the slightest criticism. When their standards or ideals aren’t met, you’ll likely know about it. The anger and frustration is more visible in this subtype, and they also tend to be more emotionally demonstrative than the other non-sexual subtypes.

On the high side, the contradictions and struggle usually make for a very interesting person, combining high ideals with passion. Their blind spot can be their inability to see the impact of their intensity in the social realm.


The instinctual energy of this subtype is the most at odds with their dominant Oneness. This subtype is the most intense. They are looking for perfection in everyone they are close to, not just their spouses. They can be very charismatic and engaging. They can also be very persuasive, like the social/sexual. If they have an opinion you are going to hear about it. It’s very important for them to be understood. They are outwardly competitive. Like the social/sexual, they too may be mistyped as other enneatypes. The anger that is under the surface with the other instinctual variants of type One is much more likely to be apparent with this subtype. You always know where you stand with them. They can mimic type Eight’s energy in this regard. On the high side, this type is warm and engaging, but on the down side this same energy can bring with it the full brunt of the One’s anger and the need to be right.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype Two

Healthy Twos know how to give of themselves without the need for reciprocity on their terms. If their love goes unreciprocated, they might still focus energy on the situation, but they accept life for what it is. As Twos become less healthy, pride creeps in and they can’t accept that the love and closeness they want from another is not available. They begin to force the issue. They become blind to the fact that their ego is engaged and they start to manipulate others into feeling guilty for not returning their love. They justify, or don’t even see that they are manipulating others, because they just can’t accept that they don’t deserve to be loved. Deep down, the hurt and fear of type Two is that they aren’t lovable, but pride blinds them, and the ego’s game is to force the other person into giving the Two what the Two wants. This results in a cycle of giving followed by anger. When healthy, Twos give with acceptance of any outcome.

The basic fear of being unlovable manifests differently with the various instinctual stackings. Two is part of the feeling triad; their fear is of not being loved or seen as loving. When this image/feeling energy combines with the sexual instinct, it compounds the outward merging energy of both the Two and the sexual instinct, resulting in a type very focused on others. The survival energy is based on the need to feel love from intimates.

When the social instinct is dominant, the fear of being unloved is less focused on key individuals. The sin of pride becomes very apparent in this subtype, and focuses on the need to maintain social bonds. The image/feeling issues of the type combine with the social instinct, and can make for the very caring compassionate drive that is often seen in the social Two.

The self-pres Two turns their fear of being unloved into material giving. They give of themselves in concrete terms, as in doing things for others. Giving and doing can result in a feeling of entitlement, where they give to get, expecting the return of whatever good they have brought to others.


The self-pres instinct in the Two is somewhat at odds with the dominant type Two fixation. The heart energy of the Two is an outward energy, while the self-pres energy focuses inward. So the self-pres Two wants to bring love to themselves. They do this in a way that relates to their environment, their safety, comfort, and possessions.

This subtype is warm, friendly and very personable. Their focus is usually on their home and family. They give to others in acts of kindness – gifts, thoughtful cards, remembering special days. They are likely to be there physically to help, cook, lend a hand, fix something. On the down side, they will resent that they are the ones that do all the work. It would be nice if someone helped them out once in a while. They develop a feeling of entitlement, feeling that it’s their turn to be catered to for a while, since they have done so much. They can be stubborn and passive-aggressive in an attempt to get their needs met.

On the high side, as long as this subtype takes the time to tend to their own needs, they can gain much enjoyment in service to others and the life they build for themselves and their friends and family.


This subtype is more assertive then the self-pres/social subtype in giving and getting love. On the high side, they are more connected to the people closest to them and not as concerned about others. When the social instinct is last, it helps dampen some of the image issues that surface when this subtype is out of balance. On the down side, they can make a lot of demands on their loved ones. Their world is usually wrapped around their family. On the high side, this type can be the glue that holds people together, but, on the down side, manipulation can enter into the picture when things aren’t going as the Two would like. When their attempts to give love don’t get appreciated, the Two will most certainly let others know, usually in the form of a guilt trip.


The social instinct in the Two emphasizes the Two’s issues with pride. The fear of not being seen as loving becomes the focus for the social Two.

This subtype has strong opinions. On the high side, they want to give to society. For instance they do charity work or volunteer for their church. They get involved in the community in a helping way. On the down side, they can be very manipulative, for instance playing friends against each other in an attempt to keep themselves as the center of attention, as the one that others have to turn to. They can become “know-it-alls.” They need to tell you how everything should be done for your own good. They constantly fear the loss of their standing within the group, so they manipulate the group in indirect ways to keep themselves in good standing.


The soc/sexual Two is very people oriented. They are friends with everyone. They make a point of making a connection with most everyone they meet. They will use humor and charm. They will remind you of how many friends they have. They may exaggerate just how close those friends are to them. Their gift to others is themselves, their friendship. Their focus is not so much on material things. On the upside they are great friends – usually positive and inspiring. On the down side they can be too clingy, causing people to feel violated.


Jealousy is a big issue for the sexual variant of type Two. When unhealthy, they can’t see how they push away the people from whom they most want love. It becomes a vicious cycle because the more they get rejected the more they push. Twos are usually very good at reading others’ emotions and needs, but their blind spot (just like all the heart centered types) is not always being able to read how they are making others feel, especially in the present. The Two is past oriented; they have an emotional tally in their minds of all the good they have done in the past for others, but are blind to how they can make others feel at the moment. This is common to all unhealthy Twos, but is even more accentuated in the sexual variant because the underlying fear of both the enneatype and the sexual instinct are very similar.

This subtype loves attention. They give by shows of affection and by spending time with those they are focused on. They make themselves attractive to be lovable. They can be very flirtatious, and are very good at making the other person feel special. On the down side, if this attention is not reciprocated, they can become controlling and manipulative with their loved ones. When unhealthy, the sex/self-pres subtype can become volatile with their intimates. When healthier, the Two develops powers of introspection which helps them form truly healthy relationships.

Telling the difference between self-pres/sexual subtype and sexual/self-pres subtype can be very difficult with enneatype Two because type Two energy itself can mimic the energy of the sexual instinct. Therefore, a self-pres Two can still have many of the same issues as the sexual Two. The biggest difference will be in intensity. When unhealthy, the self-pres/sexual Two will adopt more of an air of entitlement as compared to the sexual/self-pres subtype. They will be less direct when it comes to expressing their needs. They expect their intimates to read their minds and do things for them to show their appreciation.


This subtype shares most of the same issues with the sex/self-pres subtype – the flirtatiousness, the jealousy, and the intense focus on others. They differ in that they give their attention to more people. They actually have a softer presentation than the fiercely intense sex/self-pres. This subtype has a lot of charisma. On the high side, they can be a role model for acceptance and caring. Their love can spread to all of humanity. The down side can be similar to that of the sex/self-pres, but the secondary social instinct brings the issue of pride more into focus as well.

The sexual/social, like the social/sexual, tend to consider their presence to be their gift. They can be wonderful friends just like the soc/sex, the difference being that their relationships are taken more seriously, once they move beyond the early stages. They may not work as hard in those early stages as the soc/sex will, but at some point, when the relationship becomes more intimate, the sexual variant issues get triggered. With the soc/sexual the issues and dysfunction are more apparent before the intimacy even begins.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype Three

Enneatype Three belongs to the feeling/image triad. The fear of being unlovable and the concern with validation are expressed differently with the different instinctual stackings.

With the self-pres instinct dominant, the need for validation is tied to material possessions. Feelings of safety and security are tied to the Three’s always having enough and to being seen by others as having enough.

When the social instinct is dominant, the concern with validation of image is accentuated, so there is generally a competitive nature to social Threes. Social Threes may go to great lengths to further the image of themselves as being successful. In the social Three, since image validation is accentuated, we find a subtype that can be very competitive when it comes to social status.

The sexual Three is competitive in the area of physical attraction. Their focus is on being seen as someone who is able to attract and secure a mate.


This subtype is the most reserved and introverted of the subtypes of enneatype Three, and possibly the hardest worker. They generally put a great deal of effort into their work, excelling at whatever they choose to do. They usually do what it takes to rise to the top. There is a strong desire to excel, although the areas chosen may differ widely from one Three to the next. These Threes are competitive in a quiet way. On the high side, they can be very generous with what they have learned and acquired. The driving motivation for their hard work comes down to their fear of not being good enough. Self-pres Threes seem to feel that if they get that promotion, have enough money or buy a big enough house they will then be lovable, admired by others and finally stop feeling like a failure. The false belief that they are what they accomplish is the driving force behind the behavior of self-pres/soc Threes. When healthier, this subtype comes to the realization that all of their hard work won’t change what they fundamentally feel inside. They learn to prioritize other aspects of their lives. They slow down and begin to accept themselves as they are. As the sexual instinct is last, less energy is available for intimate relationships. These Threes can therefore have a hard time with intimacy until they learn to slow down and prioritize their relationships.


This subtype also focuses on material success but is overall less concerned with status. These Threes often try to do it all, be the perfect mother or father for instance, while working many hours, and maintaining relationships with friends and family. This subtype is prone to double and triple booking the hours of the day. Their sense of style is quite apparent. You may see them having quite a talent for design and creativity especially, where it comes to their homes and appearance. They take their relationships seriously, but when unbalanced can become cold when their self-pres instinct is threatened in any way. With the social instinct being last, they can have a distrust of new people within their circle of influence. Their focus is not naturally in the social arena, so this can unnerve the self-pres/sexual Three.


The social instinct combines with the dominant Threeness and accentuates the desire for external validation. This Three derives validation from peer admiration due to high social rank. Of course, the actual sources of admiration (money, a large house, college degrees, flashy cars, etc.) will vary greatly depending on the individual life circumstances. However, the goal will always be on attaining an enviable status in the eyes of others, which necessitates a degree of conformity to the norms of the individual’s culture. For example, a social/self-pres Three born in American society will likely strive to epitomize the “American dream” by embodying all the qualities most Americans currently associate with perfection. These Threes will work tirelessly to find an attractive mate, attain a beautiful home, drive a high status car, and, of course, possess a physically appealing appearance. The bottom line is, unless the social Three perceives their status as being “exceptional” compared to their peers, they feel utterly valueless; there is no middle ground. This stems from the Three’s fear that they are inherently empty and must continuously prove their worth by receiving validation. The social Three thus focuses their energy on the arena of social status.

When backed by the self-preservational instinct, the need for material stability is intensified. For this stacking, status will invariably be associated with wealth. This often leads to a tendency to have lucrative, highly-respected careers in fields such as medicine, law, etc. Self-preservation in the secondary position can also lead to fears and preoccupations with health and safety when the social needs are believed to be unmet.

Having the sexual instinct in the last position diminishes this type’s need for intimacy and intensity. Being social types, however, this subtype of Three can mimic a sexual variant’s vivaciousness and out-reaching. However, they sometimes lack the resources for sustained intimacy, because the social and self-pres needs will trump the effort for closer bonds. As a result, unhealthy Threes of this stacking will have many colleagues in high places and successful, respectable acquaintances; but may be lacking deep, true friends.

When this subtype is healthy, they can become very generous and can direct their high energy and enthusiasm into the social sphere with extremely positive results.


This stacking will cause most of the social variant issues described for the social/self-pres to manifest. The primary differences will be in the arena of interpersonal relationships. Because this is still a social subtype, this Three will strive for the accumulation of wealth in cultures where there is social validation for wealth. The motivation for attainment of material wealth will be derived less out of need for stability and more purely from the desire for social admiration. As with all self-preservation last types, this Three will find it difficult to expend sufficient energy in practical matters, except where there is social pressure to do so. Therefore, just as with the social/self-pres Three; this Three will have an desirable home; but most likely it will fall into disarray when visitors are not expected. With the social/self-pres stacking, there is more internal motivation (stemming from the self- preservation instinct in the secondary position) to maintain order and stability for themselves. With this soc/sexual subtype the motivation to keep up appearances is more purely external.

This type can still be materially successful, but they will not be as directly focused on this goal as the social/self-pres Three. There will be many occasions where the lure of enjoyment (even excess) will take precedence over the need to stay on the “straight and narrow.” Focus on interpersonal relationships, as well as longing for intensity of experience is far more pronounced in this type of Three than in the social/self-pres. Having the social instinct backed by the sexual instinct creates the most playful energy combination, making this Three seem somewhat like a Seven. While social validation is still the primary focus, sexual validation as well as intimacy are also sought, and it is more likely for this subtype to choose “impractically” in the area of relationships (though they may keep their more “socially unacceptable” friends hidden from public scrutiny.)

When these Threes are healthy, their interpersonal skills become a useful tool for grounding themselves and for finding what they really want from life and for finding who they really are. They learn to maintain a more consistent identity, bringing all of who they really are to the forefront, which means recognizing the real self first.


This subtype can appear almost Four-like. They can be dramatic and appear introspective, especially with the Four wing. There is an on and off quality to these Threes. They can be very emotional and then become very business like. It’s not uncommon to find this subtype in the arts, especially as actors, singers or performers. The outward sexual energy coupled with the secondary self-pres energy can cause these Threes to focus on projecting an image of themselves to the world. They will seek validation in the area of their persona. This type especially wrestles with the authenticity of the persona/image they create. On the one hand, the image protects the real self, but at the same time they hate the image they project. This subtype is likely to be in a constant state of flux when it comes to the image they project and for this reason, they run the risk of burn-out and disillusionment. They are more prone to depression than the other subtypes.

When healthier, these Threes begin to trust their intimate relationships, and begin to disentangle the real self from the flux of partial identities they create. They learn that being vulnerable is necessary if they are to get what they really want, which is to reveal the real self and trust that they are lovable even with their flaws.


The focus of this subtype is less on material gain. The basic fear for this type is loss of intimate love. The sex/soc subtype, like the sex/self-pres, lacks trust in their intimates. Because they feel unworthy of true love, they don’t believe that anyone can love them solely for themselves. Therefore, they continuously strive to hold onto their intimates’ admiration, deluding themselves that if they are admired, they may become worthy of love. They do this through vigorous maintenance of their appearance, achievements, etc. Ageing is often especially difficult for this subtype.

This insecurity leads to an incessant need for reassurance from intimates, in the form of words of affirmation or time spent together (to the exclusion of others). This insatiable need often leads to intense jealousy, which only serves to distance others from them, thus erroneously affirming the Three’s basic fear that they are unworthy of true love. While they share a lot with the sex/self-pres Three, the secondary social instinct adds an element of competition when it comes to questions of desirability. This subtype likes to be seen as the alpha male or alpha female.

When the sex/soc is healthier, they realize this competition is self-defeating. They can take comfort in the thought that another person’s success and attention do not take away their worth in any way.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype Four


This subtype is the least volatile and fiery of the type Four stackings. They can resemble type One in terms of their efficiency and practicality. Although their focus will be more on the emotional aesthetic, these Fours do have a considerable practical side. Less flashy than some of the subtypes of Four, they nevertheless have a quiet charm and developed sense of style. They are likely to value their possessions, to perhaps collect items of personal emotional significance. They may, for instance, have shelves and shelves of books and have a place for each book. This subtype can also resemble type Six in terms of having a great deal of anxiety. This anxiety often revolves around self-pres concerns such as those surrounding health issues and mortality. Their strong self-pres instinct also lends a degree of independence to this subtype. As the sexual instinct is least pronounced, this subtype of Four is prone to romanticize intimacy without actually pursuing real relationships. When healthy, these Fours can be very productive; when less healthy they might suffer from boughts of melancholy or self pity. The strong self-pres instinct however often helps these individuals to recognize how their state of mind is impacting their health and well being. This enables them to become action oriented.


This subtype also cares very much about their surroundings and their possessions. They feel as if these things help to express who they are. There is more of a passionate sense about them as compared to the self/soc. They have more of a sensual relationship with their environment. These Fours are much more tortured by their difficulty with respect to maintaining close relationships. The self-preservational instinct tends to be in conflict with the sexual instinct, causing this subtype to habitually analyze their relationships to the point where they find it difficult to be present to them. When unhealthy, these Fours can become very disdainful of the social environment. They also start to envy the ease with which others seem to form relationships and maintain friendships. When Fours of this subtype are healthy, they find that they can form relationships without feeling as though they are sacrificing authenticity. They no longer feel that they have to automatically define themselves as “different from others,” as outside the group. They are able to see the ways in which their emotionality might cloud their better judgment and to use that insight to establish equilibrium.


This subtype can mimic type One when it comes to social values. They can be harsh critics of the current mores. They have romantic ideals of what the world should be like; reality always falls short. Ironically, this type can be the most withdrawn of the Fours. Social anxiety combines with the Four’s shame issues to make this type feel that the pressure associated with “fitting in” is just not worth it. They are also the most likely of the Fours to intellectualize their emotions and in this way resemble type Five.

The social instinct tends to give the personality a focus on being included, fitting in, or finding a way to make a valued contribution. This agenda conflicts with the Four’s sense of being “different from” or “other than.” The Four’s need to establish a separate identity conflicts with the social instinct’s drive towards inclusion. The social Four often deals with this dilemma by defining themselves as being outside the social system. By defining themselves always in terms of the system, even if it is to establish distance, this Four stays essentially tied to it. Fours with the social/self-pres stacking tend to acutely feel a sense of social shame at not quite belonging.

When this subtype is reasonably healthy, they are often gifted critics of the prevailing culture. They develop true insight into social dynamics and have an eye for the nuances and subtleties of social interactions. Many Four writers are soc/self.


This is overall the “lightest” type Four when it comes to social interaction. They are likely to utilize charm and humor. This type is more scattered and can be down right disorganized. They can drift through life always feeling like an outsider, yet they usually have friends. They can alternate from being the life of the party to withdrawing. Intimates will know of their insecurities and dark moody side while acquaintances will see a softer, friendlier side. This subtype’s energy is geared towards people, but they never feel as though they really fit in. They are often quite creative, talented people who have many interests, but they frequently lack the energy to actually accomplish what they would like. They can drift and withdraw very easily. When healthy and with the right support from friends (and perhaps a little push) they tap into their instinctual energy. When they do this, they begin to see how much they can accomplish. A positive connection to others helps them stay focused.


This is a very volatile type. They are driven to form connections but have very high demands of their partners. When their powerful fantasies don’t match reality, they become very restless. They take the fire and passion of the sexual instinct and turn it inward. This can cause both brooding and fiery outbursts. Dramatic mood swings are very likely with this type. This subtype of Four could be considered the most classic Four, because of the way they seem to embody the archetype of the tortured artist, although not all Fours of this subtype are artists. Stereotype aside, this subtype does tend to bring their emotions into focus more readily then the other subtypes of Four. What is under the surface with the self-pres/sexual is now bubbling to the surface. This subtype can resemble type Seven because of their drama, passion for experience and tendency to suffer from frustration when life seems dull. Like type Seven, they can seem to throw themselves into experience.

When healthy, this subtype learns to balance the need for passion with the less obvious need for groundedness which can come from solid and focused relationships with others and with their creative outlets.


This subtype is able to connect with others and with life itself, but always with an undertone of volatility and a tendency to dramatize. They are the most involved and connected of the subtypes of Four. They can go from relationship to relationship, seemingly tortured by each one. They are the most driven of the subtypes of Four to express themselves publicly and type Four celebrities are commonly found with this stacking. This subtype has a real difficulty remaining grounded, partly due to the undeveloped self-pres instinct. Although they can appear almost Eight-like at times with their lust for life and desire for passionate experience, they lack the focus of the Eight and the instinctual energy that would keep them grounded. Sometimes alcohol or substance abuse can be a problem. These Fours become more healthy when they learn to control their impulsivenss and focus their energies.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype Five

The self-preservational instinct is accentuated by the type Five fixation. The other two instincts are in opposition to the main type. When dominant, the social and sexual instincts therefore set up some degree of conflict with the dominant type Five fixation.


In the average health range, this instinctual stacking is warm, friendly, and loyal. They need their down time and have no problem spending time alone. They actually value it very much. They feel an energy drain from people’s demands on them. This instinctual stacking is what is described in most Enneagram books. The most notable and potentially frustrating thing about people of this type is the difficulty involved in getting really close to them. While they can usually handle themselves socially, they always hold back when it comes to intensity or intimacy in a relationship which can frustrate a sexual variant type. Others are aware that there is more going on beneath the surface, but it can’t really be accessed. These Fives are masters at minimizing their needs. Even though they shy away from intense personal relationships they often have a lot of intuition about others. Their detached level of personal involvement somehow brings objectivity to their insights. They can be the most practical of the instinctual stackings.

Their issues usually revolve around demands made on their time. This can become problematic in personal relationships. This subtype has an ideal vision of what a close or romantic relationship should be, but given their concerns for protecting their space and time and lacking the instinctual drive of a strong sexual instinct, energy just doesn’t flow in that direction. Because this subtype is good at minimizing their needs they can get along fine with few relationships or without a romantic partner. With the social instinct second in the stacking, they generally do find friends or colleagues and they may even be married, but the need to maintain their own time to pursue their interests is always a point of contention.


This subtype, like the self-pres/social, is more typical of the depictions of type Five. The self-preservational instinct accentuates the self-contained, withdrawing tendencies of the Five. Fives of this subtype love their time alone with a passion, and pursue it more actively even than the other subtype of self-pres Five, although with the sexual instinct second, they often want to find time for intimates as well. On the down side, they have more disdain for people and little use for the social aspects of life. They want to be left alone or they want to share their inner world with their intimates. The intensity of the sexual instinct is reserved for their intimates and even there it is sporadic. The self-pres energy gives this subtype a solid foundation and some degree of practicality.

These Fives are conflicted when it comes to experiencing and expressing emotions. They usually default to emotional repression and to detached intellectual analysis. This is a dynamic common to all Fives, but with the self-pres/sexual instinctual stacking, the balance of these forces is pretty precarious and it seems as though the scales are being constantly adjusted one way or another. As the social instinct is the least developed, the social arena gets the drier more intellectual approach almost by default.


One might think that the energy of this subtype would be warmer and friendlier than that of the self-pres/social, but it doesn’t usually present that way. Because the social instinct is dominant, these Fives are much more aware of their role in the group. They are therefore more careful of their involvements with others. The social arena is more important and is invested with more energy, so these Fives will pull up faster and harder into self-pres mode if they should feel at all threatened. This will sometimes give others the impression of coldness. This subtype will center a lot of their intellectual interest around the workings of society, humanity or spirituality. This serves as their connection with people. By means of these abstract mental constructs, Fives of this subtype feel a sense of belonging socially, without having to be personally involved and invested. The healthier people of this subtype are, the more they are able to integrate their mental constructs with their actual experiences. They can really be content to adopt the role of “people watcher,” but they do it from a closer and closer perspective. Their blind spot revolves around the fact that they tend to convince themselves they can get along just fine in the observer role. It does feel safer to them. If they do have a few people relatively close to them, they can really strike a good balance between their need to withdraw and their need to connect to the larger social world.

This subtype could be seen as the most intellectual of type Five. The combination of the basic desire for knowing with the social instinct’s need to “fit in,” makes people of this subtype want to find a niche as the expert. Their interest in structure, especially social structure, accentuates their natural inclination for acquiring knowledge. With the sexual instinct least developed, this subtype is in the position of having a strong pull towards understanding the workings of the world around them, without the emotional intensity of the sexual instinct setting up any distraction. These Fives fit the role of the scientist or professor quite well in this respect.


When reasonably healthy, people of this subtype can be very engaging (for a Five). They smile a lot and are often friendly. Their energy is quite different from the social/self-pres subtype because both the social and sexual energies push outwards, and so partly balance out some of the withdrawing tendencies of the Five. This doesn’t mean that people of this subtype are necessarily any healthier however. The outgoing energy is not the result of true integration to Eight but is the result of the compulsive pull of the instincts. People of this subtype are usually warm and when feeling secure are likely to let people in and even to initiate contact. When they feel insecure however, they can actually go to the other extreme and be very shy. For this reason, people of this subtype could easily be mistyped; those Fives who withdraw from social contact because of feelings of insecurity, might not seem like social subtypes at all. It might not be obvious that they actually very much desire contact. For people of this subtype, the social instinct actually works as a release value for the sexual component. When relaxed and comfortable with others, the sexual instinct can easily be seen.

People of this subtype are very aware of how they “fit in,” and also experience the sexual drive of wanting to connect with intimates. Like other social/sexual subtypes, they have the tendency to cultivate many relationships. They want to be liked by everyone, but being Fives they also tend to hold a part of themselves back for fear of rejection or of being overwhelmed by the demands of the relationship. This subtype of Five is more likely to fear rejection than the other subtypes of Five. Because both of the dominant instincts are focused on people, any failure in the realm of interpersonal relationships triggers a fear that there is no safety in the world. Personality systems like the Enneagram function as tool to help this subtype of Five to feel safe in the world. People of this subtype tend to think that the more they understand people, the less chance they have of being rejected. This tends to be a blind spot for people of this subtype as they don’t see that what will actually help them to become healthier is gaining more life experience. This will help them to see that their world will not come to an end with a little rejection.


This subtype has a lot in common the self-pres/sexual instinctual stacking. They experience many of the same internal conflicts surrounding relationships, the need for independence and emotional expression. The sexual/self-pres subtype differs however in being more intense, more counterphobic. They entertain more dark nihilistic ideas, ideas that most others don’t want to consider.

With this subtype, a lot of energy revolves around the issue of boundaries. Sexual/self-pres Fives tend to forge strong connections quickly and deeply, but if they feel betrayed, begin to feel overwhelmed, or if they feel that the connection doesn’t serve their true needs, can seem to cut the connection precipitously and “go cold.” They have high standards for significant others. They must feel that they can share their emotions with a significant other without being judged. This is their private world that they share. Relationships can be difficult, because individuals of this subtype will still want their own space and alone time, while at other times will want intense connection. Because the social instinct is least developed, this subtype is not very concerned with how others perceive them (except their intimates). This subtype is deceptive in that they may not seem to be especially intense – until they are engaged in a conversation they find interesting. Then the intensity and emotion become apparent. The internal struggle for this subtype is similar to that of the self-pres/sexual, but more energized and volatile, and getting to know this subtype means getting to know that.

When unhealthy, the energy of the sexual instinct can combine with the dominant type Five fixation to create a very impulsive Eight-like anger. The strength of their convictions can then come out quite forcefully.


This subtype is the most dramatic of the instinctual stackings of type Five. They are less concerned than the social/sexual subtype with social rejection, but take rejection from intimates very much to heart. They have a strong desire to express themselves, and can be the most Four-like of all the instinctual subtypes of type Five.

Not only do they have a strong desire to merge with a significant other, they also want to make their mark in the larger social sphere. The intensity, aggression, counterphobic stance and desire to connect deeply, all combine with the social instinct to produce a highly charged personality. This subtype can become quite accomplished if they are able to form an intimate connection with someone who will help ground them and provide them with a feeling of security. When Fives of this subtype feel a sense of safety due to healthy intimate relationships, they will want to share whatever knowledge, talent or insight they may have.

When unhealthy, this subtype can be very dark, pessimistic and the most confrontational of all the subtypes of Five. They can also become very arrogant.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype Six


This subtype of Six is generally warm and friendly. The self-pres combines with the social instinct in such a way that the Six looks to find security in alliances. This type is the least counterphobic of the instinctual stackings of type Six. It’s not so much that they can’t be counterphobic; it’s just not where they locate their security. They would rather feel comforted by the safety of like-minded individuals. Family and traditions are often very important to them. They can appear like enneatype One in their ability to get things done, their organizational style, their sense of duty, and their loyalty. This type is usually very independent and proactive when it comes to the details of life. They get things done before they become a problem. On the down side, they can become frozen with anxiety. This stacking is the most visibly anxious Six. They can exhaust themselves from worrying.

In relationships, when healthy, they are very loyal and trustworthy. The self-pres in the Six brings a focus on security. Security to the self-pres/social Six is generated by connections with other individuals or groups. These alliances with others foster a “going towards.” This stance usually involves a testing of others to make sure that they are safe. Does the other person have the best interests of the Six at heart? They question other’s intentions. It’s not generally an overt confrontational testing, but still, testing others is always an essential element in determining who becomes a trusted friend or romantic partner.


This type shares with the self-pres/social stacking the need to keep their environment in order. They also can appear One-like in that way. The differences revolve around the fact that they find their security more in their ability to attract a mate. They are concerned about how they are seen sexually. Their alliances to groups and authority can be quite conflicting. With the social instinct last in their stacking, this subtype can have a natural distrust of the social dynamic, especially when they fear it threatens their self-preservational concerns. The stance with regards to political or social concerns can vary wildly within this subtype. The self-pres is looking for safety and alliances with others, usually in a “going towards” fashion, but at the same time, the more assertive energy of the sexual instinct can manifest in a more counterphobic stance.

Their intimates are very important. Their issues with security are focused on their loved ones; their anxiety is closely tied to the pulse and feedback of the people closest to them. They are less outwardly fearful than the self-pres/social. While mainly phobic, their counterphobic nature shows in their sense of fun. They are drawn to intensity, and are likely to overcome fear in order to engage in adventures.(This is especially true with the Seven wing.)


This type appears One-like also, but for different reasons. This time, the social instinct combines with the self-pres to give this subtype a strong desire to know where they fit within the group, with whom they can make strong alliances. Conversely, they can counterphobicaly oppose groups. They are usually political in some form. Adhering to rules is seen as very important to this type. They have issues with authority, such as distrusting reactively or trusting too vehemently. This is the result of their lack of a close connection to people (a function of the undeveloped sexual instinct). Their allegiance is not to individuals but to a group of like-minded others. This subtype could possibly find themselves in jobs such as with the police of firefighting force, and in such professions where it is possible to identify with a group which has clearly defined rules and purposes. On the up side, these are people with a strong moral compass; they can be counted on to do the right thing. They do volunteer work. They become politicians. They are generally solid people. On the down side, their “us against them” thinking can turn into bigotry, paranoia, and “playing the martyr.”

In relationships, they can appear almost Two-like sometimes. Their need for people in their lives, coupled with the sexual instinct being last, causes them to worry about the close bonds they have with others and can also cause them to “go towards” while at the same time requiring validation about the strength of the bond. On the down side, they can become very critical of others when they fear their differences. Their need to find security within the group is threatened when others don’t do things the way they do or think the way they think. This occurs mostly when this subtype is unhealthy. When they are healthier, the differences between themselves and others are not bothersome and may even be seen as reassuring.


This type can be very different from the other social type, because with this type, security comes from making alliances with individuals. Their weakness comes from their self-pres instinct being last, so they are not as independent as the self-pres/soc. They rely on key people in their lives when doubt sets in. Their security comes from maintaining close bonds. They fear rejection much more then the soc/self-pres. This softens the strong stances seen in the soc/self-pres, because the soc/sex doesn’t find its security in organizations and government. They go through life looking for the people they think will be able to direct them. On the down side, they can make individuals into their authority figures and rely too much on them. They are a lighter Six. They go with the flow more than the other subtypes. They are likely to use humor to charm people, but on the down side may whine and complain about their circumstances to garner support. When healthier, their charm, enthusiasm and curiosity are infectious. They are very loyal friends, although that can be said more or less about all reasonably healthy Sixes. But with the self-pres/soc and the soc/sex nothing much more then your support is required, for maintaining their friendship.


The sexual/self-pres Six is more concerned with strength, beauty and merging. With this stacking, the counterphobic energy is directed more toward individuals than towards ideas and concepts. It’s more about controlling the people closest to them. Paranoia arises when the Six feels abandoned by intimates. In the sexual/self-pres Six, doubt and anxiety is relieved by the knowledge that one’s intimates really are trustworthy. These Sixes are always testing their mates for loyalty. The sexual Six is counterphobic in terms of needing to prove their desirability and strength.

This type is identified with their respective gender roles for security. They can be competitive and appear Eight-like. Male Sixes are likely to show strength as a form of counterphobia. Female Sixes are likely to emphasize their looks in order to be attractive. Security comes from knowing they are desirable. They can be very possessive of their mates. This can turn to extreme jealousy. On the down side, paranoia about the relationship can set in. The sexual/self-pres Six can appear Three-like, because of their need for validation and competitiveness.

On the high side, this subtype can be the most fiercely loyal to their friendships and to those loved ones who have gained their trust. The intensity of the sexual instinct brings with it a passion that is unwavering for the love and protection of their loved ones. The nature of the Six to “go towards,” combined with the merging of the sexual instinct, can sometimes create an idealization of others, the ones that have passed the test of the Six. On the down side, the fear of losing the close relationship can cause this subtype to desperately lash out counterphobicaly.


The counterphobic stance of the sexual Six can be seen in competition for attracting the right mate, and in testing to see who is worthy of trust. This is true of both sexual subtypes and especially true of the sexual/social. This type is likely to be found quite commonly among actresses and actors as they tend towards a dramatic presentation. Their need to be identified with their desirability and their strong social instinct, combine to sometimes make them public figures. They are less possessive of their mates, but still feel the need to have control in the relationship. They can have a very focused intensity. They can appear Four-like in their desire to express themselves and give into their passions. They define themselves in accordance with the prevailing gender norms opting to appear masculine or feminine as the case may be. This outward energy is sometimes counterbalanced with inward doubting, which can lead to depression, anger, and acting out, at the lower levels of health.

Anxiety isn’t as noticeable with the sexual variant of type Six, especially when the self-pres instinct is last. The typical things we associate with anxiety aren’t obvious with this subtype. Their anxiety is focused in the arena of relationships, and since their stance is mostly counterphobic, anxiety is not always obvious, and the Six too might be unaware of its presence. This can be true of all the subtypes of type Six. Their anxiety exists at a core level so that Sixes don’t always know how to gauge its existence. So, even the more visibly anxious subtypes might not be aware of their underlying anxiety. The sexual/social can appear Eight-like, in their defense of their loved ones and social standing.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype Seven

The instinctual energies often appear to manifest differently in enneatype Seven, but the underlying structure really is the same as with any other type. The Seven fixation results in a running away from the internal, away from boredom or pain. Sevens go towards the external world for relief. While the self-pres energy is an inward turning energy, when coupled with the Seven’s outward orientation, the self-pres subtype of Seven can appear outgoing, and more fun loving than other self-pres subtypes.

Social seven tends to exhibit a nervous energy compared to the other subtypes of Seven while a dominant sexual instinct often accentuates the outward energy of the Seven in terms of a seeking after intensity.


Self-pres/soc Seven has many friends and loves to entertain. Sevens want to experience life with their friends. The self-pres in type Seven manifests in a desire for sensual pleasures. Their energy goes to the comforts of the body and positive experiences, both experiences of the body and the mind. Like all Sevens, they have an enthusiastic quality, especially as it pertains to the future. Making plans for life is essential for the self-pres/social Seven. This future orientation of the self/social Seven can be an escape from boredom, so many of the plans they make for the future don’t come to fruition. This doesn’t stop them however from forging ahead and moving onto the next grand scheme. The self-pres/social Seven’s plans usually focus around typical self-pres concerns such as making money, exploring job opportunities, or renovating the house. With social second in the stacking much of their energy will spill over into maintaining social connections.

When unhealthier, their many friendships serve mostly as tools which help keep the Seven distracted from facing themselves and their problems. The more friends, the more opportunities the Seven has to be distracted. These Sevens can have a hard time making or keeping commitments, as commitments can feel like a limitation on their options. With the sexual instinct least developed, they can feel unmotivated to put in the work it takes to maintain a close relationship.

When this subtype gets healthier they learn to ground themselves, slow down and actually appreciate the many things they have acquired, whether they be material things or experiences. They start to realize that the next great plan may not give them the happiness they are expecting.


This subtype is similar to the self-pres/social, but their plans and pursuits are more passionate in nature. There is often more of an artistic flair. They can be moodier then the other subtype. Their focus is more on relationships, although commitment can also be a problem for this subtype. This subtype can even be known to use introspection as an escape. They can go inward with a seeming depth, but they will usually avoid the most troublesome areas, the areas and characteristics most painful to them.

This subtype of Seven is overall more focused than the self-pres/social. Their focus is on their intimates although certainly not solely on them as they usually have many other fires burning also. They generally have a great sense of humor, sharp quick minds and many interests. These qualities might be common to all subtypes of the Seven, but in the self-pres/sexual subtype, the infusion of enthusiasm comes through when they are engaged in their plans and fulfilling them.


Enneatype Seven is a mentally fixated type, with image focus generally underdeveloped. For the social Seven, the concern with issues of image and relation to the group is somewhat at odds with dominant type Seven fixation. This can result in some apparently conflicting behaviors in the social/self-pres Seven. There is an underlying sense of insecurity and anxiety that isn’t as apparent in the other subtypes of Seven which is especially noticeable with the Six wing. (These can even become quite needy when unbalanced.) With sexual instinct least developed, they can lose trust in the bonds they have. While they may be very good and comfortable in a large group and when dealing with surface social relationships, they sometimes can struggle with forming and maintaining connections in a closer relationship.

The self-pres backup for the social instinct adds a grounding force that is missing with the social/sexual. While still possessing a good sense of humor, this subtype also usually has more focus and follow-through when it comes to their many projects. On the high side, they are community minded, have a lot of energy and usually socially accomplished.


This Seven has a lot of energy although not always a productive energy, as it often contains a frenetic quality. These Sevens usually have a great sense of humor and many comedians are soc/sexual sevens. The social and sexual instincts go hand in hand with the type Seven fixation. These Sevens want to keep things light. They have fast sharp minds that incorporate social awareness into their humor which they use to get by in their interactions with the world. On the down side, commitment is a big issue for this subtype. They cultivate many friendships and can thrive on winning people over, making them laugh and entertaining them but intimacy can feel threatening and constraining. For others, interacting with this subtype of Seven can feel draining, because they are “on” so much of the time.

With the self-pres instinct least developed in the stacking, they tend to lose focus on their many plans. On the down side, their health and commitments can fall by the wayside in lieu of the buzz of the newest excitement.

In intimate relationships, this subtype is “the charmer,” but they maintain their freedom from any strong ties to the one person. They may end up in marriages or long term commitments where they hook up with someone reliable and stable, someone with a much more low key personality. This gives them the stability they don’t have themselves. This eventually leads to trouble if the soc/sexual seven doesn’t realize that responsibility for his or her own life can’t be transferred to another. It’s not that the soc/sexual goes into the relationship with this kind of pattern in mind. It is just easy for the dynamic to default to that dynamic.


The energy of the sexual instinct is, in some ways, at odds with the type Seven fixation. The Seven’s focus is future oriented and outward, away from the inner world, while the sexual variant is instinctual and dwells on the inner self as far as relationships and identity are concerned. This combination can make for a Seven that can be Four-like in many ways. They can have a flamboyant style and be very moody and intense. In relationships, there is often a push-pull quality. They are very attracted to the falling in love part. The buzz and high of that is very stimulating to them, almost drug-like for them. Their problems come when that buzz wears off. They want to recreate it again and again, but they also have a way of becoming attached and sometimes very dependent on their romantic partners. On the down side, they can be very clingy but don’t want at the same time to lose their freedom. When unhealthy, they can be very selfish in these relationships, things become one-sided in a way that favors the interests of the Seven.

The sexual/self-pres Seven’s addictive behavior with relationships can extend to other areas, like music, and performing in general. The rock star image and lifestyle can be attractive to the sexual Seven. Many rock stars are sexual Sevens the buzz they experience from music can be similar to what they experience in relationships. Creativity can also function as a release of frustration from the boredom.


This subtype has a lot of energy, crazy, intense energy and this energy is going to find a way to manifest. This subtype of Seven can have the biggest extremes in behavior and with material success in life. With the self-pres instinct last in the stacking they aren’t afraid of taking risks, so they sometimes become very successful, as in the case of rock stars, but they typically also take too many risks, look for too many easy ways out. With the self-pres least developed, they can become dependent on others to add a much needed stabilizing element to their busy hedonistic lives. They have many of the same issues and share many of the same problems as the other sexual first subtype with regards to relationship addiction and have even more dependency issues then the sexual/self-pres. They can lose focus and drift similar to the social/sexual subtype and their high energy can likewise be draining for others.

With this subtype, you have drama mixed with mental energy. What separates them from Fours who they might resemble superficially is their planning and future orientation. Their drama and intensity is focused on what they are going to do, not on what has happened. They are usually blind to their past, moving forward and not looking back.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype Eight

Each of the instincts of enneatype Eight are amplified and manifest without conflict with the main enneatype. The Eight is an instinctual type and the variants are instinctual energies. You see what you get. A self-pres Eight takes care of their self-pres needs. A social Eight is social and issues of control extend to their circle of influence. The sexual instinct gets amplified also. The lust of the Eight is best exemplified in the sexual Eight.


Self-pres/soc Eights are very self reliant. They are frequently entrepreneurial; the self-preservational instinct combines with the social to make a subtype that is very focused on the external environment. Self-pres/social Eights are the least dramatic of type Eight. They are “no nonsense” types. They can be introverted, especially when the Nine wing is dominant. But, even though they are often quiet, they are very much in control of themselves and their direction in life. On the high side, they make great business owners. They show a sense of fairness and have an instinctual drive to do what needs to be done. They know how to make decisions and aren’t afraid to implement them. Because the sexual instinct is last, they can sometimes be seen as difficult to warm up to. They can be seen as “all business.”

This type has a tendency to see relationships as somehow “getting in the way.” While they may desire a close romantic relationship, they don’t want it if it is at the expense of their self-pres needs. They can appear Five-like in this way, as they are concerned about the demands a relationship might make on their time.


This subtype is more fiery and impulsive. They still have the “no nonsense” approach to life, along with the “can do” attitude, but they exhibit more outward energy. Because the self-preservational instinct and the sexual instinct are in conflict, the one pulling in and the other pushing forward, they often have more of an on-off quality to them. But you will know where you stand with a self-pres/sexual Eight. Although their outward energy is in contrast to their inward self-pres energy, they have a very focused attitude in the areas of life in which the two energies coincide, such as the realm of family and close friendship, those things they are really passionate about. Their control over their intimate life will be noticeable. With the social instinct last in the instinctual stacking, this subtype can be blunt and confrontational with people who aren’t in their inner circle.

The self-pres/sexual Eight feels very independent. They feel as though they need no one outside of the few people they are close to. On the down side, they have a tendendcy to distrust people and tend to challenge them to see where they stand. When healthier, they realize there is sometimes a greater strength in adopting a softer approach.


This subtype generally has a larger sphere of influence, although they might still be very entrepreneurial. They are likely to be more socially minded then the other subtypes of Eight. They are more aware of group dynamics. The social instinct, when combined with the type Eight fixation, causes an exagerrated awareness of whoever is in control. This often leads these Eights to get involved in politics, or to rise to levels of leadership within their place of business, or within their social organizations. They are also just as likely to oppose the group or the person in charge of it. The self-pres instinct combines with the social to give this subtype a “can do” approach to life, similar to that of the self-pres/soc. The difference is that their scope of interests extends further into the social arena. The soc/self-pres Eight, when unhealthy, can use their awareness of power realtions to abuse whatever power they might have.


This subtype is a very charismatic. They have a very assertive energy and they demand attention. The lust of the Eight combines with the sexual instinct to make one of the most fiery of the combinations of all of the enneatypes, especially if Seven is the dominant wing. Sexual/self-pres Eights aren’t afraid to tell you what they think. The “can do” attitude that the other subtypes have is now intertwined with an outward passionate storm of energy. The sexual/self-pres Eight will be similar to the self-pres/sex Eight with respect to interests and attachment to close friends and family, but the intensity level is augmented. Since the sexual instinct is first, these Eights usually don’t let an opportunity pass by to connect with those they find interesting. They can sense the power in any situation and they like to challenge people. They can enjoy making others react to them, keeping others on their toes, to find out what makes them tick. They are likely to use humor to accomplish this. When sex/self-pres Eights are unbalanced, they are very quick to anger and have a difficult time controlling their impulses.


This subtype of Eight comes across a little softer then the sexual first subtypes. The social instinct combines with the sexual to make a subtype that is very aware of interpersonal dynamics. Like the social/self-pres Eight, they are less concerned with group dynamics. The social/sexual is more talkative, and if the Seven wing is dominant, may even be mistaken for a Seven. This subtype usually has a wide circle of friends. They can be very charismatic also, using humor to charm people. On the down side, they can use their interpersonal awareness to con people.

This subtype, largely because the self-preservational instinct is last, may be the least entrepreneurial of the instinctual subtypes of type Eight. The lust for life manifests through connection to others. On the high side, their awareness of the social dynamic makes them very charismatic. On the down side, it can make them overly aware of issues involving control. They are especially sensitive to any hint that others may be trying to control them, but they may misuse power themselves.


This subtype of Eight manifests as the alpha male and alpha female. They demand everyone’s attention, and usually get it. They can be very charismatic. The assertive energy of the Eight combines with the assertive energy of the sexual instinct. With the self-preservational instinct least developed, this subtype has a lot of extroverted energy. This type isn’t afraid to go after what they want in life. The fixation on lust and the emphasis on control combine with great intensisty. At times, it’s almost as if their energy gets ahead of them, which can cause problems. They often have a vision of the future, but they have their blind spots too. They can harness a tremendous amount of energy for change, but at the same time be unaware of the fallout they might encounter because of their sometimes excessive self-assertion.

The Instinctual Stackings of Enneatype Nine

Enneatype Nines are out of touch with the instinctual center. Because Nines are of touch with their instinctual energy they have a very conflicted relationship to the expression of the various instincts.


This subtype is the most self-effacing of type Nine, possibly the least assertive of all the enneagram types. They can feel as though they have been looked over and passed by. While they do desire attention and recognition, with the sexual instinct last in the stacking, they seldom actively pursue it. They feel as though it’s just not worth it. This subtype is usually very deliberate and methodical in their speech. They sometimes get frustrated because they don’t feel that they can say what they really want to say. They are therefore often very short and concise with their communication, not wanting to provoke any confrontation. But when given a chance and the time to express themselves, they can be quite talkative. While self-pres needs are important to this type, the fact that they are essentially Nines, sometimes causes them to put the needs of others before their own. When under stress, this type is likely to do busy work, anything that distracts them from their problems.

In relationships, the self-pres instinct combines with the merging qualities of the Nine to make a person committed and connected strongly in areas of security, home and other practical matters. They merge their environment with their loved ones. On the down side, this subtype can be passive-aggressive and withdraw under stress, holding back affection. They could possibly go long periods of time without talking to their spouse directly.


This subtype is self-effacing also, but is generally more assertive. They may be the subtype of Nine which is most aware of the boundaries between themselves and others and at the same time, possibly the most frustrated when those boundaries are violated. They can be aware of being walked over and they might even be aware of the anger it causes, but they become frustrated with their seeming inability to control this pattern. This is true, to some degree, of all Nines, but with the self-pres/sexual instinctual stacking, there seems to be a complex and interesting balance between the withdrawing energy caused by the dominant self-pres instinct and the assertive energy of the sexual instinct. This combination seems to raise consciousness of this dynamic.

Getting healthy for this subtype, and for all Nines, involves becoming aware of this dynamic and realizing they do have the power to control their boundaries. Part of this must come from the realization on the part of the Nine that they have invited this overstepping of their boundaries from others by not defining them.
Close relationships will usually work or not for this subtype depending on how well they deal with this issue.


Social Nines feel the need for validation and for “fitting in” but they feel these indirectly. They move towards others in a way which can resemble Twos, but they are motivated by a desire to initiate and maintain contact without provoking conflict. On the high side, the social/self-pres Nine generally knows a lot of people and gets along with most everyone. They are helpful people who generally have a great sense of humor. They get involved with the social environment. They might be the soccer coach, or if politically inclined, they might join and participate in a political party. When in leadership roles, they lead by consensus and charm. Their skill is in conflict management. With the sexual instinct last, they tend to avoid intensity, but they are actively involved with people.

Intimate relationships might be frustrating for the partner of this subtype of Nine because the Nine’s social engagements might make the partner feel as though the Nine is connected with everyone except them. Sometimes this subtype can use their social connections in a passive-aggressive way against the partner; they might withhold attention from the partner in lieu of spending time with friends.


This subtype is “everyone’s friend.” The social/sexual energy combines with the Nine’s merging tendency and conflict avoidance to create a subtype that is very charming and uses humor quite extensively to engage with the people in their lives. On the down side, they can be frustrating because they can easily lose focus when it comes to their life priorities. With the self-pres instinct last in the stacking, they have a hard time tending to their own needs. They drift, and tend to use their charm to get a lot of their self-pres needs met by the people in their lives. When the Eight wing is dominant, they sometimes even develop a sense of entitlement, though they are just as likely to return help to those they charm into helping them.

In relationships, this subtype can suffer from some of the same problems as the other social subtype. They usually fall into a relationship in which the partner pushes them to “do more” with their lives. This can be positive for both parties, but often ends up causing resentment to build for both partners.


The energy of the sexual instinct is at odds with the dominant type Nine energy and makes for a conflicted subtype. These Nines can appear to have a stronger connection to Three, for this reason. The assertive fiery energy engages in a constant push-pull with the calm peace-seeking energy of the Nine. This subtype can have an intense relationship with their environment. They are often drawn to solo sports or to an active engagement with nature that involves some risk and exertion. These Nines are drawn to peak experiences. They might enjoy outdoor solo sports or engaging in nature by way of hiking, rock climbing etc.

With the social instinct last in the stacking, there can be an on/off quality when it comes to relating and these Nines are often somewhat moodier than the other subtypes. As with the self-pres/sexual, this subtype might not engage socially with the same smoothness as other subtypes of Nine. They seem to go towards others in a staccato fashion – they connect in bursts, then withdraw.

When it comes to intimate relationships, this subtype can be needy. The merging of the Nine combines with the intensity of the sexual instinct to create a subtype that will always be in danger of losing themselves in a relationship. Their boundaries for themselves and their partner can become blurred which can lead to conflicts. This subtype might have a hard time judging clearly the degree to which they have merged.


This subtype of Nine may appear least like a stereotypical Nine because the outward sexual and social energies obscure some of the withdrawing and “zoning out” tendencies of the Nine. These Nines are the most connected and assertive of the subtypes of Nine, especially when it comes to relationships. There is still some internal struggle, as with the sexual/self-pres, but overall there is less of a tendency to withdraw. With the self-pres instinct last, this subtype can neglect self-preservational needs in favor of the intensity of their sexual instinct’s pursuits. Individuals of this subtype could easily be mistaken for the dominant wing, because the sexual energy tends to flow in a manner similar to the energy of the wing. A Nine with a One wing would therefore appear more One-like and a Nine with Eight might be mistaken for an Eight.

The central conflict for these Nines will still be in the realm of close intimate relationships and these Nines will have many of the same issues and challenges as the sexual/self-pres Nines.




The Running Father Blog

3 thoughts on “The Enneagram: Detailed Instinctual Stackings by Type – from |

  1. […] for more detailed reading on the instincts, are The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut, these descriptions originally from (the now inactive) Ocean Moonshine, and the work of early Enneagram scholar, […]

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RFB editor Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013

RunningSon aka Jim Aldrich, Joshua Tree CA 2013 | This site is dedicated with the deepest gratitude to Dr. Cláudio Naranjo, whose writings gave me life.

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