~ the tale of
Enneagram Types 1, 2, & 6
The Enneagram is a system based on triads and types 1, 2, and 6, the dutiful (sometimes called compliant) types, make up just one of those many triads.
Dutiful types spend a lot of time in their head but the thinking they do is often not awakened thinking, despite what they tell themself.
If you are a dutiful type, you’re probably feeling and doing and feeling and doing and you forget to bring in the wisdom of the head center.
If you are saying, “that’s not me, I’m always thinking,” then… this is probably for you.
Because that’s what it feels like inside your head.
Here’s how it often looks:
1. If you identify with point 1, you likely care so much about the world and feel all kinds of feelings about how you (and those around you) don’t measure up … and then you act from that feeling;
2. If you identify with point 2, you likely care so much about your relationships and feel a deep longing to be seen as loving and kind … and then you act from that feeling;
3. If you identify with point 6, you likely care about being responsible and dutiful to whatever cause, belief, or group with which you identify. You feel a pull to do what is expected of you.
One of two things happens here:
- you either have endless thoughts that never land in that grounded place where you really KNOW,
- you are just responding and reacting to what is expected of you.
In both cases, you outsource your wisdom to friends, groups, family, and beliefs to which you feel loyal … and then you act from that place.
Of course, these are descriptions of you when you aren’t self-aware. It is when your type is doing its thing.
When you are awake to this, you get to step in and do something different. You can bring in the higher head center ~ this part of you that has been forgotten ~ and not default to the unconscious pattern of your type (this is the place we talk about levels. For more on levels, you can read this).
When not present to this, you may think you are thinking and choosing, but it’s actually your type ~ your personality ~ doing the work.
Here’s how it looks for each type.
At point 1, you don’t think about the whole picture.
- That restaurant you are boycotting because they don’t support an agenda about which you feel strongly might have used their resources to support other worthwhile causes.
- That politician you dehumanized on the Internet might have children who are deeply impacted by your words.
Without that higher intelligence from your head center, you are reacting to something that feels (and often IS) extremely important, but are you considering the whole story?
This is the place from which cancel culture comes.
Remembering the intelligence of the head allows you to see that there are many true things ~ not just the one truth on which you are currently focused ~ and will support you to take intelligent, non-reactive, action. And yes, it might be the same action, but you are now considering the bigger picture and can navigate it more clearly.
At point 2, you are so focused on your version of kindness that you don’t consider the other person’s version. They might need a different kind of help or support.
- You inundate them with groceries during a time of crisis in a way that is intended to be helpful but that actually gives them more to do, rather than less to do.
- You make assumptions about all the reasons someone has turned down an invitation, leaving you feeling rejected, and/or leave you brainstorming ways to get them to accept (because surely they want to come!).
This is the place friendships go to die.
Bringing in the intelligence of the head allows you to consider aspects other than your vision of how to strengthen the relationship.
- You see that offering a gift card for takeout doesn’t require them to prepare and clean up, lightening the burden.
- You understand that people turn down invitations for myriad reasons, many having nothing to do with you, and this will help to guide your next steps. Your relationship is not dependent on your grocery delivery or their attendance at an event.
At point 6, things are a little different. You are either so caught up in your overthinking and can’t land anywhere so you take no action or you forget what actually matters to you and take action based on someone else’s thinking.
- You can’t decide what to wear to a wedding so you buy all the dresses and have viewing parties with friends and take selfies to send to the bride and still end up feeling like it isn’t right come wedding day.
- You don’t know which is the better job opportunity so you ask someone what they’d do. And then you ask another person. And another. Because somewhere inside, you know that their values are different, but you can’t decide because… well, what if they are right?
- You turn down an amazing perk from your work – to travel to the Grand Canyon – because it wouldn’t be right to pull your 2nd grader from school, despite the fact that they’d receive an amazing lesson in geology, indigenous people, and create lasting memories with you.
- You insist that your elderly parents stop driving because of their age and the statistics, while they insist they want to continue to drive. But rules are rules.
This is territory for anxiety and discontent.
When you bring in the higher head center, you act according to what is logical, you pay attention to what you want (your heart), and you take action from that place.
- You let go of the belief that there is one perfect outfit and you choose what’s at the intersection of what you love and you can afford.
- You realize that what’s best for your child might not be the traditionally responsible thing to do, but wouldn’t we all agree that the responsible thing is to do right by our child?
- You have a conversation about what risks you and your parents can find mutually acceptable and which are deal-breakers. You become aware that your fear comes from love, not from statistics and rules.
- You are clear about what you want for your life’s work and trust that you are considering what you need to consider.
Being in touch with your centers doesn’t mean you know all the answers; it just means you are using all the intelligence available to you. You might be using that intelligence to decide that you actually don’t know and need someone’s advice or more data or more time.
If you have worked with me before or if you know my work, you know what I’m going to say next:
All of us have what I have described here to some degree or another.
The Enneagram is about the 9 parts of our personality and it points us to the place or places that are causing us the most trouble.
For points 1, 2, & 6, the forgotten head center gets you in trouble.
When you remember who you are, that clarity and deep knowing that allows you to act with integrity, authenticity, awareness, and compassion (for yourself and others!), returns. It is just so beautiful.
You can learn how to be more in touch with this intelligence by joining the GCC community in Mighty Networks or by taking part in an upcoming course. More information can be found under the resources tab here on the website.