Can You Have More Than One Enneagram Type?
"What's your Enneagram type?"
When you first heard about the Enneagram, it probably came in the form of this question. As you began to explore the Enneagram to discover your type, perhaps you had a hard time deciding between two or three different types. Maybe you heard about wings, instincts, and tri-type. So now you're probably wondering: "Can you have more than one Enneagram type?"
The short answer:
Yes, you can have more than one Enneagram type. In fact, you actually have many types: your core type, tri-type, wings, your growth and stress types, and your instinctual stacking. Each of these adds a particular variation to your unique personality.
Your core type is what many people think of as their Enneagram type. It’s the type that most dominates their personality.
In Enneagram theory, there are three centers of consciousness: mind, heart, and body. Your core type falls into one of these three centers:
Your tri-type consists of your type in each of these three centers. For example, if your core type is 2, and your mind type is 6, and your body type is 8, your tri-type would be 268.
Every type on the Enneagram has a type on either side of it. These are known as “wings.” One of those wings is usually stronger than the other and that wing lends a different “flavor” to your core type.
Suppose your Enneagram type is 3; you could be a 3 with a 2 wing (3w2), or a 3 with a 4 wing (3w4). These two types have the 3 in common, but the wings create for very different expressions of type 3. And yes–each of the types in your tritype also has a wing.
Connection Points (Growth & Stress)
Every type is connected by lines to two other points on the Enneagram. These are known as the growth and stress points. When you’re healthier, you resemble the healthier side of the personality of your growth point. When you’re stressed, you resemble the less healthy side of your stress point.
Instincts are motivational drives and these are the motor or motive force behind your personality type.
There are three human instincts:
- self preservation
Everybody has a dominant instinct. This is the instinct that you are most preoccupied with and that gets most of your attention. But our dominant instinct is also the instinct that we tend to be the most neurotic about.
For example, there are three instinctual variants of Type 3: Self Preservation 3, Social 3, and Sexual 3.
There are also further variants, because everyone also has a secondary instinct. Your dominant and secondary instincts combine to create one of six variants:
- Self Preservation/Social (sp/so)
- Self Preservation/Sexual (sp/sx)
- Social/Self Preservation (so/sp)
- Social/Sexual (so/sx)
- Sexual/Self Preservation (sx/sp)
- Sexual/Social (sx/so)
These are known as instinctual stackings.
To continue the example of type 3: there can be a self preservation/social 3 (aka sp/so 3); a sexual/self preservation 3 (aka sx/sp 3); a social/sexual 3 (aka so/sx 3); and so on.
Adding the third instinct illuminates the full stacking (e.g. sp/so becomes sp/so/sx). The last instinct in the stacking is generally experienced as a blindspot.
Be very careful when deciding on your instincts. Many people want to think of themselves as “sexual” because it sounds sexy. But most people who type as “sexual” aren’t actually the sexual variant.