Monday, January 28, 2013

Enneagram Type One

Perfectionism.  Idealism.  Morality.  Those are some of the words that roll off people's tongues soonest when they're describing Enneagram Type Ones.  Ones are sticklers for doing it right -- whatever it is.  They are one of the three Enneagram types (One, Two and Six) that must endure the sometimes-oppressive voice of a Superego inside their heads that hounds them with shoulds:  "You must do this.  Now you must do that.  Be responsible.  Fulfill your obligations."  And Type One's Superego additionally objects: "Not good enough!  Just look, you missed this detail!"  You know, that rhyme --

Good, better, best:
Never let it rest
Until your good is better,
And your better best. 

That might be Enneatype One in a nutshell right there.  They have a strong feeling / conviction that things are supposed to be perfect, and they're usually pretty convinced that they, themselves, know what constitutes said perfection.  So they make it their life mission, more or less, to try and get the world to match up with the ideals they carry in their minds and hearts.  Personally, I love them.  But they can be hard to live with.  I ought to know -- I married one.  :p  We aren't together anymore because I was too much of a slob for him to tolerate.  But since I myself have a 1-wing, I too have treated others a bit inconsiderately in the past, in the interest of making sure the project at hand was done perfectly.  Type Ones are the ones who get called "anal" -- who generally can't stand spelling and grammar mistakes -- who, at their unhealthiest, are obsessive-compulsive.  And I most certainly have to raise my hand too as a member of this group, at least to some degree.  When I was first getting to know my husband-to-be, the thing that stood out to me first and convinced me that I'd like him was when I saw him reach out, while sitting on the floor, and flip the corner of a rug that was folded up on itself so that it straightened out and laid flat.  As soon as I saw that, I thought, "Yes!  He cares about detail, and wants everything to be the way it's supposed to be!!!  He and I will get along great!"  :D  Little did I know what I would be getting into, with his being a core One -- a type I had never had extensive dealings with previously.

Like I said, though, I love this type.  They are noble.  Refined.  They love beauty and goodness.  They're my kind of folks.  Just a little hard to live with sometimes -- that's all.  ;)

Other characteristics of Type Ones: They're in the gut center (Enneatypes 8, 9 and 1), which means that their deepest emotional issues are with rage.  Because of their strictness with themselves and their effort to be good, perfect and well-behaved, however, they keep it tightly repressed, and it leaks out mainly as resentment toward others -- for not doing things perfectly according to the Type One's standards and/or for leaving too much work for the Type One to do.  They are one of the three Enneatypes (1, 3 and 5) that generally keep subjective feeling or emotion from affecting their decisions or actions; they're level-headed, rational and even-tempered, with a good, practical head for getting things done.  However, when deeply upset, Type One "goes to Four," which means they begin to exhibit the qualities of Type Four: emotional reactivity and extensive self-expression.  If they're even more upset, the unhealthy side of Type Four will manifest in them, making them temporarily give up on facing life's challenges, withdraw into solitude, and nurse their misery with whatever activity feels the most self-indulgent to them.  On the other hand, anytime Type Ones are feeling especially healthy and happy, they begin to exhibit the positive qualities of Type Seven: cheerfulness, optimism, and a willingness to let their hair down a bit more and enthusiastically enjoy life.

These three types -- 1, 4 and 7 -- constitute the Idealism Triad, also called the Frustration Triad because reality seldom matches up to their ideals, leading to a lot of dissatisfaction for these three Enneatypes.  Consequently, there's quite a bit of passionate intensity within these types, and a drive to keep looking and trying to attain what they feel they need, but don't have.  Call it the "grass is greener on the other side" syndrome.  These three types have the "sexual instinct" (which represents that intensity and yearning) innately built into their Enneatypes, regardless of what their instinctual stacking is. 

In addition to the variety you'll find in Type Ones based on differences in their respective instinctual stackings and their second and third fixes, there are two different "flavors" they can come in based on which is their more prominent wing: Type Nine or Type Two.  Type Ones with a 9-wing tend to be quieter, more introspective, and purely idealistic dreamers rather than down-to-earth activists on behalf of their cause.  They tend to be lower in energy, and more willing to just live by their ideals themselves and share their opinions with others if asked rather than beating anyone over the head with their convictions.  If dissatisfied with another person, which they easily can be due to their high standards, they are more likely to express themselves in an indirect, scathingly sarcastic fashion.  Type Ones with a 2-wing, on the other hand, are nothing if not straightforward, honest, direct, and to-the-point in expressing themselves.  For many, this is refreshing in comparison with the 9-winger's withdrawal and sarcasm.  However, of course, the flip side of the coin is that the One with a 2-wing is the person most likely to be vocally critical, nagging or nit-picking of others on a regular basis.  Ones with a 2-wing are said to enjoy politics (which is less likely to hold appeal for a 9-winger), and 2-wingers are also more likely than 9-wingers to get actively involved with a cause they believe in, to get right in there and do whatever is necessary to make it happen.  Since Mahatma Gandhi has been analyzed as a One with a 9-wing, this is not at all to imply that 9-winger Ones can't do that too, if they're determined enough.  But the 9ish qualities of quietness, gentleness, meditativeness and immovable stubbornness might very well affect the style of the person's activism, if they do engage in it.  2-wingers just tend to have more active energy and more of a practical ability to hash out with others a mutually agreeable solution (although they sure can be stubborn too if something is important enough to them), whereas 9-wingers tend to have quieter, slower energy and might hang on more tenaciously to the pure and uncompromised form of their ideals (although I'm sure they're capable of coming to a compromise with others as well if they can see that that's the best course of action).

Ones are capable of leading the way to a better world, if we just have respect for their insights and cooperate with them to make their great visions a reality.