ENNEAGRAM


WINGS, LINES & INTEGRATION

The Dynamic Enneagram

The Enneagram is much more than nine points on an intersection of a triangle and a hexagon or a set of categories or types to be ‘sorted into’. It is a psycho-dynamic framework that provides a powerful model for understanding how development and integration operate.

The Enneagram does not provide a ‘quick fix’ with a limited lifespan once insight has been reached. It enables people to develop themselves over time as the Enneagram continues to speak to us as we and our circumstances change.

Within the framework, the wings, instincts, levels of integration and lines represent the movement and journey we are on in life. The gift of the Enneagram is the richness of potential and movement it offers, flexing between core type, wings and line of release and connection, and levels of integration, to more fully exploring one’s being.

There are three fundamental ways of looking at movement within the Enneagram:


WINGS

Moving around the circle to connect to points on either side of your core type, ‘close neighbours’.

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LINES

Movement to connected points across the circle, your points of ‘stretch and release’.

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LEVELS OF INTEGRATION

Movement from a ‘trapped’ relationship to our core type to letting go of core fears and transcending the limitations of type.

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Using the Wings

The wings refer to the two types adjacent to your core type on the Enneagram circle. These ‘close neighbours’ influence, but do not change your core type. If core type is like ice-cream in a bowl, the wing indicates the kind of sauce you add to your ice-cream. It is not a second type of ice-cream that you add, just the flavour of the adjacent types. We all have access to both of our wings, and each has a different set of resources and characteristics that we find helpful at times. At time, one of these wings is more familiar, or predominant. Some people don’t like to add much ‘sauce’ at all (true type or light wings), others add a lot (strong wing/s) and some add both (balanced double wing).

The wings enable us to understand the types not only in isolation, but in relationship to one another. Since the Enneagram types are seen as a spectrum or continuum, connecting to your wings can help you understand the subtleties of your core type. By leaning into our wings, to one side or the other, we expand our perspective and increase our emotional and behavioural repertoire. The wings may also offer a way to understand the tension and influences on an individual when they are stuck, and create the potential to reframe their dilemma as a development opportunity.


E1 - STRICT PERFECTIONIST | WING DESCRIPTIONS

Nine Wing

Gifts:

  • Their intense need and drive to correct and improve is toned down
  • The Nine invites Ones to be more relaxed, trusting and accepting of others
  • Willingness to surrender to the natural unfolding of events
  • Able to hold more viewpoints and be more collaborative than the One

Challenges:

  • May make Ones less resourceful or prone to putting off important tasks
  • They may neglect things which are important but difficult
  • Influences Ones to focus less on themselves and more on what needs to be done, which may lead to self-neglect

One (Core Type)

Ones are about improvement and making sure things get done correctly and properly, both by themselves and others. They tend to be principled, with a clear sense of what is right and wrong, which may seem idealistic, self-righteous or fussy to others. They tend to organise and structure their world and value facts, precision and clarity. Through their effort, hard work and application they strive to take “right action” and avoid mistakes.

At lower levels of integration, the One can be inflexible, rigid, dogmatic and intolerant. They don’t include themselves in their criticism and judgements.

At high levels of integration, the One is tolerant, realistic in their evaluations of themselves and others.

Two Wing

Gifts:

  • The critical attitude of the One is tempered by compassion and understanding of others
  • Invites Ones to give time to their own needs instead of only to what they ‘should’ do
  • Brings acceptance of limitation, that the One can’t fix the world
  • Idealism is expressed constructively, in the form of service to others

Challenges:

  • This wing makes Ones more prone to feeling hurt if their efforts are not appreciated
  • Their desire may shift to wanting to improve people and situations to feel worthwhile and accepted
  • They may feel victimized or taken advantage of, even as they sacrifice their own needs

E2 - CONSIDERATE HELPER | WING DESCRIPTIONS

One Wing

Gifts:

  • The One’s moral discernment leads Twos to give to whoever is in need, not just their favourites
  • They align with objective standards and are less likely to bend rules
  • They are honest with themselves and firm up their boundaries
  • Instead of exploding, they can direct their emotions to improving things

Challenges:

  • May lead Twos to neglect themselves even more as they chase unrealistic ideals and higher expectations
  • Under pressure the Two’s feelings of hurt may lead to criticism and resentment
  • Risk of overworking for justice and concern for the underdog

Two (Core Type)

Twos want to be liked and will go to great lengths to meet the needs of others in a helpful, supportive and empathic way. They tend to be people-oriented and build relationships that provide the affirmation they need. As a result Twos tend to over-involve themselves in other people’s projects, lives and issues, at times uninvited and intrusively. Although Twos are giving and warm, they are also highly sensitive to not being appreciated and may become very angry.

At lower integration, Twos may be manipulative and blind to the destructiveness and neediness in their behaviour.

At the higher levels of integration, their altruism is unconditional and they are able to nurture themselves as well as others.

Three Wing

Gifts:

  • The Three wing brings more self-esteem, organization and focus, enabling effectiveness and delegation
  • This makes for good team players who don’t have to do everything themselves
  • The Three invites the ability to adapt to other people and get along with others in a variety of settings

Challenges:

  • This wing brings the risk of workaholism, as the Two becomes more involved with work and less with their inner self and needs
  • Their helping becomes more selective and prideful, as they work to be acknowledged by ‘important’ influential people

E3 - COMPETITIVE ACHIEVER | WING DESCRIPTIONS

Two Wing

Gifts:

  • This wing balances the Three’s task-oriented behaviour with more people orientation
  • This makes them less likely to run over people, as they value people as individuals not just contributors
  • They become more aware of their own needs and can balance these with work.
  • Accessing this wing may strengthen and deepen personal relationships

Challenges:

  • The Two amplifies the need to please key stakeholders, making Threes more outward-directed, seeking approval
  • Burnout is a risk as they work hard to adapt themselves to whatever others want or need
  • Instead of being true to themselves, they focus on others’ expectations
  • If their achievements are not appreciated, they may become disappointed and critical

Three (Core Type)

Threes are competitive “doers” and tend to be practical, task-oriented and willing to make sacrifices to achieve their goals. They usually show strong “A-Type” behavioural tendencies, focusing their energy on winning and appearing successful. They tend to project a polished persona or image, which they adapt to fit the requirements of success in a given situation.

At lower levels of integration, workaholic Threes may overextend themselves and resort to deception or extreme expediency to maintain their winning image.

At higher levels, they connect to a strong sense of who they are, moving towards compassionate self-acceptance, authentic influence and a strong connection between heart and hands.

Four Wing

Gifts:

  • To value the inner journey of self-development as well as making the world more efficient
  • The Four influence invites Threes to be authentic and true to themselves, tuning into their inner voice
  • They value relationships as mutual exchanges, not just utilitarian or to get things done
  • This wing brings insight and sensitivity to the moods of others

Challenges:

  • A Four wing brings introversion and distance, making the Three more moody and reflective
  • Unused to their inner self, they may feel awkward, leading to exaggerated feelings of superiority
  • While they value success, they also desire what is missing and may jump into intense and short-lived relationships to help them feel good

E4 - INTENSE CREATIVE | WING DESCRIPTIONS

Three Wing

Gifts:

  • The influence of the Three balances the internal drama of the Four with a need to be effective in the outside world
  • This enables them to practically implement their creative fantasies and express themselves in ways that engage others
  • Networking draws on the Three to broaden their interpersonal world and experiences
  • The desire to look good and impress others helps the Four to be real and resist dramatizing

Challenges:

  • The Three may bring form without substance, leading to a flamboyant and dramatic act, not genuine in self-expression
  • They may perform instead of engaging and producing, to escape their inner turmoil
  • They may attempt to fix the world instead of themselves
  • They become agitated depressives when adding the pressures of success to a deep melancholy

Four (Core Type)

Fours never accept anything at face value and constantly search for meaning, depth and authenticity. They are sensitive at an emotional and an aesthetic level, and express themselves in individualistic ways. Their sensitivity means they are attuned to their environment, specifically to darker emotions.

At lower levels of integration, Fours seem emotionally tormented, self-indulgent and angry at themselves and depressed, with an over-emphasis on what is lacking in their lives. They feel that everyone has let them down, and may extract themselves from groups and society.

At higher levels, Fours are in touch with their inner voice but able to put a healthy distance between their identity and their emotions.

Five Wing

Gifts:

  • Balances intuition and subjective impressions with reason, logic and objective observation
  • The Five influences them to look at things objectively and take things less personally
  • This brings a balance of attachment and detachment, and emotional control
  • As thinking connects with feeling, the Four tends to become less impulsive and more restrained

Challenges:

  • Might have a tendency to over-intellectualize to the Three’s over-dramatisation, getting lost in themselves even more   
  • They may feel marginalised and alien and struggle to connect with others
  • Withdrawing and dissociating pushes them further into the fringes of society
  • They isolate themselves when depressed, hiding feelings from others

E5 - QUIET SPECIALIST | WING DESCRIPTIONS

Four Wing

Gifts:

  • Thoughts connect to feelings to create energy and expression
  • Balance observing with passionate interest and involvement of life
  • Connect more deeply in intimate relationships
  • Connect right and left brain, intuition and analytical ability

Challenges:

  • Accentuate the inner sense of being different and misunderstood, may be moody and depressed
  • Can withdraw even further into mental fantasies
  • Avoid confrontation by using symbolism to communicate, ‘performing’ instead of engaging

Five (Core Type)

Fives are private individuals who live in an active mental space. They enjoy observing and exploring how the world works. They struggle to share thoughts and feelings and may seem socially awkward or disinterested. They tend to compartmentalize their lives and emotions.

At lower levels of integration, Fives may be antagonistic towards the world, withdrawn into isolation and cut off in an extreme way, aggressively defending their isolation.

At higher levels of integration, they are able to transcend rational thought to reveal objective reality. As intellectual pioneers they are at peace in the world, and bring their gift of wisdom unselfconsciously and perceptively.

Six Wing

Gifts:

  • Enhanced ability to weigh the evidence, take and defend a position or point of view
  • More faith in themselves and others enables commitment to people and causes
  • Connect more deeply with groups or teams
  • Tap into the courage of the Six to be more assertive

Challenges:

  • Mistrust or scepticism of others may move them to the side-lines or make them withdraw even more
  • Anger manifests in hidden suspicious thinking, unexpressed
  • Hesitant to get involved because of indecision and fear of upsetting authority

E6 - LOYAL SCEPTIC | WING DESCRIPTIONS

Five Wing

Gifts:

  • Allows them to trust their inner observer and authority, rather than seeking validation
  • More confidence in basing sound judgements on their own experience and reason
  • Helps put fears in perspective by analysing what is going on
  • Make more reasonable decisions, open to multiple perspectives and viewpoints

Challenges:

  • The Five wing may amplify the Six’s fears and anxiety
  • May tend to back away from confrontation instead of tackling issues head-on
  • Moving into their heads instead of feelings or body, they become even more removed from the action
  • May turn to dogma or rigid systems for a sense of safety.

Six (Core Type)

Sixes easily tune into the potential for unexpected or hidden danger and risks. They act on and react to a sense of trepidation and anxiety. Sixes may project themselves as sceptical and tend to think in “yes, but...” and “what if...” ways. They are attuned to issues of trust, responsibility and loyalty and have an inherent need to feel that they are safe and they belong.

At lower levels of integration, they may be paranoid with a tendency to over-react from a place of insecurity. Their loyalty turns into dependency, complaining and over-sensitivity.

At higher levels of integration, healthy Sixes are self-reliant and grounded. They give confidence and courage to those around them, and have the resilience to cope with what is unexpected and threatening without becoming reactive and fearful.

Seven Wing

Gifts:

  • The Seven makes Sixes more optimistic and less inclined to imagine the worst
  • This wing invites them to be more optimistic and trusting in the goodness of others
  • Tend to be more extroverted, playful and light-hearted, able to laugh at their own fears
  • The ability to see multiple perspectives supports them in being more innovative

Challenges:

  • This wing may make the Six avoid confronting the issues in front of them
  • They may seek escape into ideas or plans to postpone action
  • Fear of pain combines with avoidance of pain, risking withdrawal from life or distraction by trivial things

E7 - ENTHUSIASTIC VISIONARY | WING DESCRIPTIONS

Six Wing

Gifts:

  • Increases commitment to a chosen course of action, exploring things deeper
  • Invites the Seven to ally with a limited number of people, grounding their desire for unlimited freedom
  • More seriousness and inhibition as a sense of risk balances their blind optimism
  • Staying present in the here and now to work and connect

Challenges:

  • Exaggerate underlying fears and become more flighty
  • Self-doubt and worsens ability of planning and doing
  • Feeling guilty when they are irresponsible and may feel obliged rather than freed
  • Duty becomes a burden

Seven (Core Type)

Sevens seek variety, stimulation and fun in life, tackle challenges with optimism and are charming. Future-orientated, they engage in life by asking “what’s next?” They may seem impulsive, distracted, hedonistic, insensitive or irresponsible to others. They are inspirational team members, enhancing creativity, energy and optimism in the team.

At lower levels of integration, the Seven’s excess is likely to catch up with them. While they may be unhappy they choose to not recognise this, hiding in escapism, hyperactivity and the impulsive pursuit of pleasure.

At higher levels, they stay present to their experiences, finding joy within rather than in escapist activities.

Eight Wing

Gifts:

  • This wing invites the Seven to access their own power, becoming more assertive
  • The drive to action helps them move from planning to doing
  • They become more grounded and honest in self-disclosure and interactions with others
  • The inner toughness of the Eight supports them in being less afraid of getting hurt

Challenges:

  • Assertiveness may become aggressive as they force their bold ideas on others
  • They may become more self-absorbed and act more superior to others
  • Gluttonous desire combines with a drive for immediate satisfaction, potentially taking advantage of others for pleasure and gain

E8 - ACTIVE CONTROLLER | WING DESCRIPTIONS

Seven Wing

Gifts:

  • The Seven brings broad vision to the driver Eight, balancing the urgency to act with planning and perspective
  • Instead of ‘doing it alone’ they connect with other people and exchange ideas
  • Value synthesizing and expressing their thoughts as well as acting out fantasies
  • Happier, they move through life lightly and less ruthlessly

Challenges:

  • Adds a desperation for more experience to their passion to satisfy their wants and desires
  • May make them more self-absorbed, less reflective on consequences of their actions
  • This wing influence brings more potential to have addictive personalities

Eight (Core Type)

Eights are forces of nature, with a strong presence and personality. They value being in control and may resist taking a follower role. They find it difficult to let down their guard, but they are sensitive, caring and protective of those they take under their wing. Eights pursue truth relentlessly and mask their vulnerability with a tough, certain and no-nonsense exterior.

At lower levels of integration, the Eight may be intimidating and confrontational, with a chip on their shoulder.

At higher levels of integration Eights combine their force, directness and action with compassion and are able to collaborate with others while serving the greater good.

Nine Wing

Gifts:

  • This wing helps balance impulsiveness with a more ‘laid back’ approach
  • May make the Eight calmer and more receptive to others
  • Instead of making things happen, they are more willing to let things happen and unfold naturally
  • A sense of unity balances the strong sense of autonomy of the Eight

Challenges:

  • May make the Eight more out of touch with their inner self
  • Risk of neglecting themselves in favour of work
  • May reduce the already-limited introspection on what they really need to be whole
  • May lead them to withdraw, and then judge themselves for doing so

E9 - ADAPTIVE PEACEMAKER | WING DESCRIPTIONS

Eight Wing

Gifts:

  • More active, focused and direct, the Eight wing invites the Nine to get in touch with their power, autonomy and authority
  • Balances the impulse to ‘merge’ with others, with a sense of individuality and uniqueness
  • May make the Nine more confident and influential
  • The Eight boldness subdues the Nine’s fear of attack when they speak up

Challenges:

  • The repressed anger of the Nine may be expressed explosively and aggressively
  • Unresolved issues with authority may come to the surface, often in rebellious or resistant ways
  • This wing may lead them to focus more intensely on the pursuit of pleasure, rather than genuine desires and the needs of their real self

Nine (Core Type)

Nines are receptive and tend to easily understand and accept the perspectives and ideas of others. They are often facilitators or mediators and are diplomatic group members. They may struggle to connect to their own position or point of view and take firm, decisive action, and often say “yes” when they mean “no”. Nines enjoy the rhythm of their lives and find comfort in simple living. They often struggle with procrastination but once they begin, they persevere. A Nine under pressure may react in passive-aggressive ways to avoid being controlled.

At low levels of integration, Nines risk neglecting themselves and their responsibilities as they struggle with low self-esteem and repress anger to the point of living in illusion.

At high levels of integration, they can express independence and the paradoxical energies of serenity and vitality. They display self-respect, acting with awareness and autonomy.

One Wing

Gifts:

  • This wing offers a structured, principled and focused perspective to the easy-going, ‘lazy’ Nine
  • The influence of the One may help motivate the Nine to do what they need to
  • They may be more willing to work on righting what is wrong rather than living with problems or dysfunctions
  • This wing supports the Nine as they move into action with purpose and certainty

Challenges:

  • May lead Nine to be even less expressive of their needs and anger for fear of alienating others
  • The morality of the One may get them caught up in what they ‘should’ do instead of what they want to do
  • Trying to perfect the world and themselves may lead to even more procrastination and distraction out of fear it won’t be right

Using the Lines of the Enneagram as a Journey of Development

The Enneagram is described in a series of lines of movement or influence. These lines indicate the influences and interactions between Enneagram types, patterns of energy movement or flow. While our core type remains constant as a ‘home base’, we are also capable of travelling, or even being pulled, along these connecting lines. Each Enneagram type or number is related to those on the other end of the line, as a polarity or paradox to be lived into.

Moving along the lines offers a significant shift in perspective or point of view, which allows us to step out of our typical style and reactions and create new ways to respond to the world around us. The lines, therefore, offer rich potential for exploration and development as they offer balance and fresh resources to our core type. Ideally we work to develop the ability to be fluent in the lines as a continuum, as a path of movement for our integrated self.

Here is the main thing: the lines are the basic building blocks of the Enneagram, not the points. An Enneagram line is an archetype, a collection of themes, like a novel or a life. These themes are meant to be engaged, participated in, and wrestled with.

Michael Goldberg Enneagram Author


Line of Release


The line pointing away from one’s core type can be seen as the direction of security, possibility or release. Moving along this line allows us to explore the higher aspects of the connected type, opening the doorway to increased health, self-actualisation and the release of stress.


EXAMPLE: If a Two under pressure is able to connect to the positive or higher characteristics of the Four, such as connecting to their own emotions and needs, creative expression, process-awareness and discernment, they are able to step into a different way of being, get a different perspective on their situation and find some release from their stress and internal conflict

Line of Stretch

The line pointing towards one’s core type can be seen as the direction of stretch, challenge or stress. Under pressure, you may revert to the ‘lower’ or less-healthy aspects of this type, opening the doorway to potential unhealthy expression, neurosis and the magnification of stress. However, an intentional move to the high or positive side of that type may create positive stress and stretch, balancing the less-effective tendencies or reactions of the core type.

EXAMPLE: If a Two consciously accesses the high side of the Eight, intentionally stepping out of their comfort zone and connecting to their personal power, expressing anger directly and appropriately and worrying less about how others react. For an overburdened ‘helper’ Two, experiments in this direction may be powerfully developmental and help stuck clients become unstuck.

Levels of Integration

The Levels of Integration or Levels of Development refer to the degree of self-mastery individuals have achieved so far in their personal development journeys in life. This is a time-bound measure and will change as people invest in their personal growth, but also as their circumstances become more or less challenging.

While integration is not fixed, and people may move between high and low integration behaviours depending on context, more people demonstrate a concentration of energy and behaviour at a particular level of integration over time.



LOW

At a low level of integration, one may be said to be ‘trapped by your type’ with a lot of behaviour driven by the core fear or reactivity of the core Enneagram Type and little ability to access other types.

MODERATE

At a moderate level of integration this may have eased to a core issue that is less reactive, but still drives and motivates behaviour to a large extent. Wings and alternative points may be more accessible but conflicted.

HIGH

At a high level of integration, there is a sense of “letting go” of core fears and concerns as people come to understand and move beyond the limitations of their core Enneagram Type.


At a high level of integration one moves towards the centre of the Enneagram, able to ‘play’ in the wings, the lines of stretch and release, holding your core type more lightly and fluidly. This tends to moderate the core motivations, behaviours, themes and fears of an individual’s main Enneagram type significantly and so individuals at high integration may be more challenging to type definitively.

The Integrative Enneagram Questionnaire broadly measures self-mastery according to three levels of integration. Even though all people may move between high and low integration behaviours depending on their context and level of strain, there is likely to be a concentration of energy and behaviour at a particular level of integration at any given point in time.