The Different Enneagram Types And How They Respond To Stress - Zenful Business


The Different Enneagram Types And How They Respond To Stress


The Enneagram is the spiritual and psychological personality types, and how our brain reacts under stress. It is not a spiritual evaluation of yourself but a mental and psychological way that we think as individuals.

There are nine different types that govern our default thinking. If you know your type and number- great! You already know how you react under stress. However, if you don’t know your Enneagram type and number, I’d suggest you check and see each of these nine descriptions below and have a guess which one you are based on. You’ll know yourself when you’re stressed.  If you also know anyone else’s Enneagram number, you can apply that to them too.

What is my Enneagram type? PICK OUT YOUR TYPE by reading this below…

Enneagram Number 1 – The Reformer

When you’re under stress or under pressure, the common signs are that you become more rigid and more self-critical. There can be resentment building up. It’s likened to an ‘inner-critic on steroids’. You start to get really hard on yourself and others. If you’re getting really stressed or really pressured, sometimes it will feel like you are divisive, you’re trying to create a bridge between you and other people. And the common term is, “Nobody understands me,” or, “No one understands what’s needed,” or, “Only I can know this”. That tends to lead to a bit of social withdrawal. You can even experience feelings of guilt or shame or, “I haven’t done enough,” or “I should do more!”.

Enneagram Number 2 – The Helper

When they’re under pressure or stress they tend to over-extend even more. They can get themselves physically, financially or emotionally drained. And because Type 2’s tend to stuff their feelings down, they might eat stressfully, or they might do something to try and gain back their power. If you’re pushed to extremes, you’ll actually start to get angry, controlling or forceful.  You’ll even complain about being unappreciated.  It is quite like the ‘Martyr complex’ of, “Nobody appreciates me” or “Nobody gets what I do”. You may even get intense to the point of working harder or being too relentless and might have the tendency to convince other people how good you are in order to feel like you’re actually being valued. This is because you’re looking for some sort of affirmation that you’re okay and that you are valued and loved. Type Two’s greatest fear is not being loved.

Enneagram Number 3 – The Achiever

If you’re a Type Three on the Enneagram you tend to overdrive in general. You chase success and values but when you start feeling exhausted or burnout, you shut down, cut off or disengage from people and sometimes mistrust some people as a result of being in the overstressed state. Therefore, Type Three’s starts to feel empty or even get jealous as a result of being in denial. They can also turn into a chameleon where they’re changing shape to try and succeed in what they’re doing. Your greatest fear is of having no value, so as you feel less confident that natural tendency to over-achieve can get out of control and you start to forget you have a body or any personal needs and just keep charging.

Enneagram Number 4 – The Individualist

Let’s move on to the Type Fours. When under stress or pressure, they will tend to withdraw or lose themselves in their own fantasy world. They sort of want people to notice they’re withdrawn or even create an emotional scene to see who will actually step up and care about them. They can get a little bit possessive with other people or can create lots of dependency, like, “I need you. You need to step up and help me.” So they might feel a little bit hopeless, a little bit depressed under that stress. Type Four’s have the tendency to self-sabotage as well. So if you’ve been pushed to the end of your pressure rope, you’ll start to withdraw and lose yourself. You can feel very alone in the world.

Enneagram Number 5 – the Investigator

Type Five’s under stress can get a real ‘heady’ withdrawal so they’ll be stingy with their time. Their mind will speed up and might get quite restless. But when they start to get stuck in their head, their focus can often become very narrow and cut off any sort of connection or effectiveness. When stressed with the outer world, they retreat into their inner MIND world and reject external conversation. Some Five’s have the tendency to binge, drink or take drugs when under stress. They kind of shut off and tend to cut connections and isolate themselves. As a result of this restlessness, you’ll notice they are a bit more eccentric or overthink resulting in sleeping disorders like insomnia.

Enneagram Number 6 – The Loyalist

Type Six’s are a bit of workaholic. They’ll try to step up and fit in and have other people notice them. They’re very aware of their own energy and image. They have strong convictions and loyalty to the system to the extend of being over righteous. Sometimes when Type Six’s are really pushed and stressed, they can come a little bit clingy and can be prone to anxiety or panic attacks. They’ll stand up for something and fight, but they will also feel dependent. So there’s kind of a, “I don’t trust myself, and I waiver between those two extremes”. People that are in the Type Six category can become quite depressed and paranoid when they’re in their extreme stress state. They can be very ardent to their beliefs, to the point of being over righteous and defiant but can be anxious and paranoid at the same time. They want a person or system to believe in, yet if that gets crushed… they feel they lost their safety net and can fall hard.

Enneagram Number 7 – The Enthusiast 

Seven’s on the Enneagram, when stressed,  tend to be uptight, rigid and hard on themselves. They get very restless and scattered trying to do too much at once. They often feel trapped. Their greatest fear is of being trapped. They start to feel like everyone’s boxing them in, and they have to debate everything and fight everything. Then the nitpicking or sarcasm can come in, or the sort of restless activities, or a little bit of mania. At an extreme level when they’re really stressed out, they’ll be impulsive and prone to addictions, a little bit like throwing the toys out of the cot. They can have tantrums, feeling a bit out of control and experience wild mood swings. So I think the sevens tend to get that real restlessness, “Don’t box me in”, want to go out and be free, but that leads to reckless behaviour.

Enneagram Number 8 – The Challenger

Let’s move on to the Eight. When the Eight’s are under stress, control sets in. They firstly retreat to gather their strength when compromised. They’ll be really quite brooding and occupied and secretive because they fear people are turning on them to the point of getting paranoid. They start to work more, become more impatient, uptight and controlling. They want to know what everyone is doing, as a result, they often forget about looking after themselves. Their health, good eating and fitness regime falls off completely. They start to feel betrayed and angry and vengeful because they don’t want to be dominated or harmed by others. They try to get into the lead and take the front foot. As a result of doing that at a high energy effort, they often burnout.

Enneagram Number 9 – The Peace Maker

And the last on the enneagram is the Nine’s. When they’re under stress, they will become passive-aggressive and retreat to their inner sanctum and look to other people for safety and security. They can be pessimistic and start to doubt everything. Old things that have been brewing for a long time that they don’t like, start to come up to the surface. Old complaints and old things suddenly bother them. Or worse, they just avoid dealing with anything. They sort of wallow in denial especially around their health or their money. They numb out and dampen their vitality. Because they’re sort of feeling like they’re inadequate, they need someone else to help them.  And ultimately, if they stay in that stressed state for a very long time, they can become quite depressed, flat, and a little bit disconnected and confused.

It’s interesting to know your own Enneagram type or others so you can learn how these types resonate with each other. You might resonate with one distinct type or have bits in all of them, but only one type will really stand out. If you feel like you resonate more with one enneagram type, you need to get more worded up in that number and start to understand how to work with it and learn how to come out of it because that’s what your natural fallback is. If you’re feeling those symptoms and a particular number stands out, have a deeper look at that and how you might be able to mitigate those feelings. We all get stressed, we all get under pressure, but to know how you particularly operate and what you can do about it is powerful.
Need a personal Enneagram session? Get in touch with me Debbie Pask 🙂


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