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The Freudian Theory of the Enneagram

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Timeless' Freudian theory of the Enneagram. An excellent piece on the intricacies of the Enneagram personality system.
  The Freudian Theory of Enneagram by timeless I. Overview The Enneagram is a personality typing system that consists of nine distinct types. These types are distinct because they each possess unique fears and desires. Enneagram theorists use these core personality features to create type descriptions, which you can find in several locations on PersonalityCafe. But my interest in enneagram is not the behaviors associated with these core personality features, but why these fears and desires came into existence in the first place. In other words, which elements of personality determine a person's type?Many newcomers to enneagram reject it because it seems almost arbitrary. For example, wing theory is supported by extensive observation but the actual reason for wing theory is nebulous at best. That's a theme in the enneagram: there's a great deal of accurate observational evidence, but there's no lynchpin to tie it together. My position is that the enneagram is not arbitrary at all: in fact, it's entirely internally consistent. This is achieved by looking at the enneagram through the lens of Freudian psychoanalysis.Sigmund Freud developed the structural model of the psyche: he posited that there was an id, ego, and superego, existing at different levels of awareness within the mind. I'm going to explore the connection between the nine enneatypes and the id, ego, and superego agencies.Freud proposed that a libidinal energy exists, which represents all psychic (mental) energy. Every mental process takes some amount of this energy. There is a finite amount of libidinal energy, and someone who invests their libidinal energy into their id will likely be very different than someone who invests this energy into the superego. My theory is that each enneagram type spends their libidinal energy in different ways, and this can be explained through Freudian psychoanalysis.This thread can be useful for enneagram beginners and veterans. If you are new to the enneagram, you should be aware that I discuss integration/disintegration states. Each enneatype, if they are in a growth state, can take on traits of another type. Similarly, if they are stressed, they can do the same thing. This is not something I cover in detail, but it makes sense within the Freudian model.To give you a quick preview: I'll cover a basic description of the id, ego, and superego. Then I'll divide the types amongst the three categories. After that, I'll explain the benefits of thinking in Freudian terms and I'll illustrate how this clarifies a few ambiguities and apparent contradictions in the enneagram. II. Introduction to the Freudian Agencies - the id, ego, and superego. Almost everyone is familiar with the concepts of the id, ego, and superego. Collectively, they are calledthe Freudian agencies . Don't confuse these with the Freudian drives . The drives are Eros and Thanatos (Love and Death, respectively.) The drives are not discussed in my post.Here's a brief summary so we're all on the same page. If you already know this, then skip down to the next section. (Even if you think you know this, you may want to give it a quick skimming!)You can visualize the human mind as having three levels: conscious, pre-conscious, subconscious. The conscious level is where you are right now. The pre-conscious exists just under the surface of the  conscious mind. You can access the pre-conscious but it's a challenge. Accessing the subconscious is even harder, and Freudian psychoanalysis relies on clues to figure that level out. (You may have heard of Freudian dream analysis; the purpose of it is to plumb the subconscious.)The id, ego, and superego exist across these levels. Here's a great diagram for illustration purposes: (Thank you, Google Image Search.) Keep that in mind as we discuss the id, ego, and superego. Id:  The id is a reservoir of psychic energy and the only component of the personality that's present at birth. It wants immediate gratification; it's impulsive, desirous and chaotic. As you can tell, the id is very troublesome; it's not rational. It doesn't consider the consequences of its actions. It utilizes what Freud called primary process thinking ; when the id cannot be satisfied, it generates a mental image of what it wants to satiate it. (Keep this in mind when we discuss Type 3.) It's considered primary because it exists before all other processes. The id is entirely subconscious. Ego:  The ego is your interface to reality. It exists in both the conscious mind and the pre-conscious mind. This is the part of your mind that's responsible for rational decision-making. It utilizes secondary process thinking , which acts to rationally get what you want. Instead of imagining the pizza in your id with the primary process , the secondary process is what induces you to call up the pizza place. Superego:  The superego develops over time, and it's the last to form. It contains all your standards of right and wrong. Contrary to popular belief, this isn't just the conscience. It contains the ego ideal and the conscience, and they're two sides of the same coin. The ego ideal is the summation of all positive behaviors. A good example might be sharing or being helpful. The conscience is the flipside; it onlycomes into play with negative behaviors. It makes you feel bad when you do something against your ego ideal. (Keep this in mind when we talk about Type 6.)As you can see, there are some themes here. You can see how the id and the superego are going to butt heads with the ego acting as an intermediary. This is important when analyzing the types.Lastly, Freud developed the concept of the libido. The libido is a pool of energy that you can spend on mental tasks. It's conceivable that you could spend more libidinal energy on your superego desires than your id desires (or ego instead of id, or so on), and thus, enneatypes are born. III. The Freudian Enneagram Each enneagram type is distinct because of their unique set of fears and desires. These fears and desiresare the core components of each type, and they can be explained using a Freudian model.My theory is that every type is associated with libidinal energy expenditure on the id, ego, or superego. This means that an id type would prefer id motivations in their daily life, while a superego type would look toward their superego. This doesn't mean that id types don't have a superego, it's just less used than a superego type, for example.  Type 1: Superego Ego Ideal Focused.Basic Fear : To be corrupt or defective. Basic Desire : To be good and to have integrity. Agency : Superego.Type 1 is the perfect embodiment of the ego ideal described by Freud as a part of the superego. Freudian personality theory holds that the superego strives against the id and the ego, and similarly, a Type 1 individual strives to uphold their moral principle. Whatever that principle happens to be, it's a very real part of the Type 1 lifestyle because the Type 1's influences often flow from their superego.Type 1s have a strong ability to determine what is right and what is wrong, and can be judgmental of both themselves and others if they don't uphold what's right. They not only have a strong superego, but they are confident in it; enough to present it to the outside world in an often-assertive manner.If you are a Type 1, you'll notice that hypocrisy may be an issue for you. There probably have been times in your life where you failed to live up to your ideal, and this may give you some degree of primal satisfaction but you still feel guilty. This is your superego doing battle against your id. A force always takes the path of least resistance - so you are likely to try to justify your actions within your existing rule-set than revise your rules. That's because you have a very strong superego and it's difficultto assail directly. To Encourage Integration:  Allow your id more room to breathe. Fulfill your desires occasionally; take the time to assess the realistic concerns behind your moralistic drives. To Avoid Disintegration:  Don't let your superego dictate everything you do; your internal rules may befallible. Keep in mind that your superego is not rational: it will come up with perfectionist standards that may be completely impossible to follow. Type 1 Wings:Type 1 with a 9 Wing  (Superego-Ego): The link to the ego drive softens the 1w9 in some respects, making them more relaxed as they are more able to temper the will of their superego. This type probably finds it easier to integrate to 7. Type 1 with a 2 Wing  (Superego-Superego): This wing doubles-up on superego aspects, making the 1w2 more incorruptible and aggressive than the 1w9. 1w2 is often more confident in their superego ideals and are more likely to be confrontational about them. However, this type is more likely to suffer stress because the superego is not rational and will likely generate unrealistically perfectionist standards. Type 2: Superego Helper.Basic Fear:  To be undeserving of love. Basic Desire:  To have unconditional love. Agency:  Superego.Type 2 is called The Helper because this type is associated with a concern for the well-being of others. Any type can care for others, but for Type 2, it's a core motivation. There's a tension within Type2: they help out of the goodness of their heart, but they also want to be loved. This is a typical function of the superego: their superego sees helping as a laudable ideal, and the superego reward is love. The  id understands love, but not unconditional love; love that extends beyond the present moment is not consistent with the instant gratification drive that the id possesses. Instead, this resides in the superego, and helping others allows the Type 2 to achieve their ego ideal.There is a darker side to Type 2. Unhealthy Type 2s can be manipulative and fall in love with their own goodness. As I've stated before, even though Type 2 is a superego type, a Type 2 individual still possesses an id. For the world to make sense, the Type 2's ego has to rationalize the conflict between the id and the superego. They do this by turning their instincts into something that they would find morally laudable. This allows them to retain their superego's integrity while fulfilling id desires. To Encourage Integration:  Avoid the temptation to only look at your positive elements. Honestly confront your shortcomings, because you can't deal with them unless you do. This may be psychologically stressful, but it helps you understand your limitations so that you don't overextend yourself. Once this self-certainty has been attained, the Type 2 gains some assertive characteristics of the Type 8. But instead of being assertive to fulfill their id desires, they become assertive to accomplishtheir superego's goal: to help others. To Avoid Disintegration:  Recognize where your desires are coming from: are you doing things to satisfy some base impulse (id), or are you actually trying to help others (superego)? Try to channel yourless altruistic desires into pursuits that don't put you at risk of manipulating others. Type 2 Wings:Type 2 with a 1 Wing  (Superego-Superego): This wing doubles-up on superego elements, making the 2w1 very moralistic. A 2w1 can appear more uptight than a 2w3 in many ways, since the id seems like a foreign force to them. They are more likely to be blindsided by their id desires because of that. Type 2 with a 3 Wing (Superego-Id): A 2w3 is more in touch with their basic id desires, making them more spontaneous and energetic than the 2w1. Some of the 3 image focus bleeds through, making the 2w3 more concerned with how they appear to the outside world than the 2w1. A 2w3 would be more in touch with their primal desires than a 2w1. This is exactly what you would expect out of a Superego-Id connection. Type 3: Id Achiever.Basic Fear:  To become worthlessness. Basic Desire: To become usefulness and to have value. Agency:  Id.The Type 3 is a motivated, goal-oriented achiever. They are part of the Image triad in Enneagram, and many people associate the Type 3 with ostentatiousness ; but that there's far more to Type 3 than status seeking. Healthy threes are often industrious and highly successful, and that's because of their id.The id is the source of the libido drive. But the libido doesn't just mean sex! It means all psychic energy. Type 3 is so industrious because they channel their libido into productive pursuits. At the same time, they get a deep id gratification when they accomplish something. They don't put their energies into serving a higher cause, like Type 1 or 2. Instead, their energy is directed back at themselves. This isn't a bad thing: it makes Type 3 one of the most dynamic and proactive types in the enneagram. To Encourage Integration:  Don't let your id convince you that you are completely responsible for all
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