Faculty Triads: Gut, Head, Heart
The Gut Triad (8,9,1)
The gut triad deals with issues of anger and autonomy. The emotion of rage is most pronounced in this triad, though it is only openly expressed in type 8. For ones, the anger manifests as righteous indignation, sometimes in the silent form. Nines have trouble generating anger due to internalized sense of insignificance. There was a sense in childhood of not being able to assert one's space, and so there's a sense of needing to carve out a space for oneself in the world. There's an acute awareness of one's body, and a key theme of being in opposition to the environment. There is a strong impression of "this is me, this is where I am" and "this is the other, this does not belong to me." Imagine being an explorer of some strange, new lands. For the eight, there's an awareness this land one needs to conquer in order to be certain of one's survival. The boundaries are asserted in the most aggressive manner possible. The the one there is a need to maintain a sense of internal boundary. They scan the new place, hold back and evaluate it according to their own criteria, fearing if they ease up that they will lose control of themselves and have their inner boundaries permeated. Type nine will adapt to the new environment with seeming ease, while part of them will remain disengaged and sequestered.
While all of the types employ ego boundaries, the Eight, Nine, and One do so for a particular reason – they are attempting to use their will to affect the world without being affected by it. They try to influence their environment, to remake it, control it, hold it back, without having their sense of self influenced by it. To put this differently, all three of these types resist being influenced by reality in different ways. They try to create a sense of wholeness and autonomy by building a “wall” between what they consider self and not self, although where these walls are varies from type to type and from person to person.
In Type Eight the ego boundary is primarily focused outward, against the environment. The focus of attention is also outward. The result is an expansiveness and an outpouring of the Eight’s vitality into the world. Eights are constantly putting out energy so that nothing can get too close and hurt them. Their whole approach to life is as if they were saying, “Nothing’s going to get the upper hand on me. No one is going to get through my defenses and hurt me. I’m going to keep my guard up.” The more wounded an Eight is from childhood, the thicker the ego boundary, and the tougher they are going to make it for others to get through to them.
Type One individuals also hold a boundary against the outside world, but they are far more invested in maintaining their internal boundary. All of us have aspects of ourselves that we do not trust or approve of that makes us feel anxious and that we want to defend ourselves from. Ones expend enormous amounts of energy trying to hold back certain unconscious impulses, trying to keep them from getting into consciousness. It is as if Ones were saying to themselves, “I don’t want that feeling! I don’t want to have that reaction or that impulse!” They create a great deal of physical tensions to maintain their inner boundaries and hold aspects of their own inner nature at bay.
Type Nine, the central type in the Triad (the type positioned on the equilateral triangle), tries to hold their ego boundaries in both areas, internal and external. In the internal realm, Nines do not want certain parts of themselves just as Ones do, suppressing powerful instinctive drives and emotions. At the same time, Nines maintain a strong ego boundary against the outside world so that they will not be hurt, like Eights. They often engage in passive-aggressive behaviors and turn a blind eye to whatever threatens their peace. It is no wonder that Nines report that they often feel fatigued, because it takes a tremendous amount of their vitality to maintain these boundaries, it is not available for living and engaging more fully in the world.
• Each of these types has problems with aggression. Eights tend to act out rage, Nines tend to deny it, and Ones tend to repress it.
• The Instinctive Triad is about maintaining a sense of self.
• These types are concerned with the resulting aspects of the present.
The Heart Triad (2,3,4)
The main issue for heart triad types is that of self-image. They experience love as conditional, and think that one's true self cannot be loved, so they must "put on" a more acceptable persona. In extreme cases, their real self can be subconsciously substituted with the persona that will get them the most approval. In Katherine and David Fauvre's lecture on type 4, they state: "In order to be loved for who I am, I must pretend to be what I am not." Imagine being a kid and getting the lead in the school play. While you're on stage, your parents are in the front row. You see them, watching you. If you do well, you hear them praise you and brag about you to their friends, but there's this sense that it's the performance that is being rewarded, not you as a person. This is most intense in three. For twos, the approval comes through being seen as loving, generous, helpful person. You aren't in the lead, but you are the one that selflessly helps out with the costumes and decorations and you're rewarded for being seen as caring and kind. For fours, there's the sense that you can't ever be the one to get the lead, you're the understudy, you want the accolades of the lead but for some reason it is never available to you, so you come up with something unique and distinctive about yourself, to cover up for the fact that you feel perenially lacking. However the image issues manifest, in each case, the goal is to be adequately mirrored and validated in some way.
The three types of the Feeling Triad are primarily concerned with the development of a self-image. They compensate for a lack of deeper connection with the Essential qualities of the heart by erecting a false identity and becoming identified with it. They then present this image to others (as well as to themselves) in the hope that it will attract love, attention, approval, and a sense of value.
The major themes in this Triad involve identity issues (“Who am I?”) and problems with hostility (“I hate you for not loving me in the way I want!”). Because Twos, Threes, and Fours unconsciously know what their identity is not an expression of who they really are, they respond with hostility whenever their personal-identity is not validated. Hostility serves both to deflect people who might question or devalue this identity, and to defend these types against deeper feelings of shame and humiliation.
Type Two is looking for value in the good regard of others. Twos want to be wanted; they try to obtain favorable reactions by giving people their energy and attention. Twos look for positive responses to their overtures of friendliness, help, and goodness in order to build up their own self-esteem. The focus of their feelings is outward, on others, but as a result, they often have difficulty knowing what their own feelings are telling them. They also frequently feel unappreciated, although, as much as possible, they must conceal the hostile feelings that this generates.
Type Four is the opposite: their energy and attention go inward to maintain a self-image based on feelings, fantasies, and stories from the past. Their personality-identity centers on being “different,” being unlike anyone else, and as a result, they often feel estranged from people. Fours tend to create and sustain moods rather than allow whatever feelings are actually present to arise. Less healthy Fours often see themselves as victims and prisoners of their pasts. They believe that there is no hope of being another way because of all the tragedies and abuses that have befallen them. This is also their way of eliciting attention and pity from others and, hence, some degree of validation.
Type Three, the central type of this Triad (the type positioned on the equilateral triangle), directs attention and energy both inward and outward. Like Twos, Threes need the positive feedback and affirmation of others. Threes primarily seek value through accomplishment; they develop notions about what a valuable person would be like, then try to become that person. But Threes also engage in a great deal of internal “self-talk,” attempting to create and sustain a consistent internal picture of themselves, like Fours. They are always in danger of “believing their own press releases” more than the truth.
• Twos are rescuers, Fours are rescuees, Threes do not need rescuing.
• In the Feeling Triad Twos, Threes, and Fours are trying to deal with feelings of shame. Twos become ultragood, trying to be caring and of service to others. Threes become perfect in their performance and outstanding in their achievements. Fours dramatize their losses and hurts and see themselves as victims.
• The Feeling Triad is about maintaining a personal identity.
• These types are past-oriented because our self-image is built up out of memories and interpretations of the past.
The Head Triad (5,6,7)
Head types deal with issues of anxiety, fear of possible threats. There's a lot of mental chatter that goes on in the mind of the head types. Their main concern is with finding some sort of strategy to cope with life. There is a pronounced orientation towards the future, which may result in preoccupation with planning, and a general sense that early on authority was not trustworthy or consistent. Imagine that you're working the graveyard shift in a building where the only source of food if you get hungry is a vending machine which only works half the time that money is deposited. For the six, the vending machine would be a source of profound anxiety. Their focus will go on how to make sure they aren't without food. They won't want to risk leaving the building and getting in trouble, but they wouldn't want to go hungry either, so they will be sure to pack their lunch, or make sure they have emergency money in case it takes two or three attempts to get their snack, but even after doing all of these, there will be persistent anxiety which far exceeds the consequences of the thread of not getting the snack and going hungry. For the seven, the vending machine will be equally frustrating, but rather than consciously get anxious, the seven will plan out all the other places in the area which offer better changes of getting a snack. Being able to sneak out of the building everyday for a tastier option than the vending machine provides will be seen as a challenge, but even if they get caught once, they can probably come up with an excuse and talk their way out of it. The five will deal with the vending machine by trying to figure out exactly why it isn't working, perhaps getting so caught up in trying to tinker with it that the main tasks of the job they're supposed to be doing get overlooked. When all else fails, they may get so preoccupied with figuring out the problem that they forget about eating, or deny that the chocolate bar is all that important.
The dominant feelings in types Five, Six, and Seven are anxiety and insecurity.
Fives, Sixes, and Sevens cannot get their minds to simmer down. This is a problem because the quiet mind allows us to feel profoundly supported; inner knowing and guidance arise in the quiet mind and give us confidence to act in the world. When these qualities are blocked, we feel fear. Their reactions to fear distinguish the three types of the Thinking Triad.
Type Five responds by retreating from life and reducing their personal needs. Fives believe that they are too frail and insubstantial to safely survive in the world. The only safe place is in their minds, and so they stockpile whatever they believe will help them survive until they are ready to rejoin the world. Fives also feel that they do not have enough to “bring to the table” to meet the demands of practical life. They retreat until they can learn something or master some skill that would allow them to feel safe enough to come out of hiding.
Type Seven, by contrast, charges into life and appears to be afraid of nothing. It at first seems strange that Sevens are in a triad whose types are afflicted by fear since they are so outwardly adventurous. Despite appearances, however, Sevens are full of fear, but not of the outside world: they are afraid of their inner world – of being trapped in emotional pain, grief, and especially feelings of anxiety. So they escape into activity and anticipation of activity. Sevens unconsciously attempt to keep their minds occupied so that their underlying anxieties and hurts will not surface.
In Type Six, the central type of this Triad (the type positioned on the equilateral triangle), attention and energy are directed both inward and outward. Sixes feel anxious inside, and so launch into external action and anticipation of the future like Sevens. But having done so, they eventually become afraid that they will make mistakes and be punished or overwhelmed by the demands on them, so like Fives, they “jump back inside.” They get scared by their feelings again, and the reactive cycle continues, with anxiety causing their attention to bounce around like a Ping-Pong ball.
• The Thinking Triad is about finding a sense of inner guidance and support.
• These types are more concerned about the future, as if to ask, “What’s going to happen to me? How am I going to survive? How can I prepare myself to keep bad things from happening? How do I more forward in life? How do I cope?”
Summary of Triads
Faculty - gut/instinct/anger (1-8-9) heart/emotion/envy (2-3-4) head/reason/fear (5-6-7)
Object relations - frustration (1-4-7) attachment (3-6-9) rejection (2-5-8)
Hornevian triads / social styles - assertive (3-7-8) compliant (1-2-6) withdrawn (4-5-9)
Harmonics / coping strategies - positive outlook (2-7-9) competency (1-3-5) reactive (4-6-8)
Freudian triads - anal (1 - retentive, 2 - expulsive, 6 - receptive) oral (4 - retentive, 5 - expulsive, 9 receptive) phallic (3 - receptive, 7 - retentive, 8 expulsive) [for example, oral-retention in 4s indicates restraint and perfectionism in how one expresses oneself and holding onto one's story/images]
1 - gut, compliant, competency, frustration
2 - heart, compliant, positive outlook, rejection
3 - heart, assertive, competency, attachment
4 - heart, withdrawing, reactive, frustration
5 - head, withdrawing, competency, rejection
6 - head, compliant, reactive, attachment
7 - head, assertive, positive outlook, frustration
8 - gut, assertive, reactive, rejection
9 - gut, withdrawing, positive outlook, attachment
Source: Riso, Don Richard., and Russ Hudson. The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types. New York: Bantam, 1999. Print.