I recently attended a phenomenal weekend workshop with Helen Palmer and Terry Seracino entitled “Observing the Hidden Barriers in Relationships”. It focused on the Enneagram personality system and specifically the three subtypes that play out in our relationships. The weekend was rich in exercises, witnessing and experiencing how these inner habits of focus can play out within our interactions. I thought some of you may be curious to learn a bit about these subtypes; so here we go.
“Our conditioned Enneagram type structure is defined by a pattern of thought supported by an emotional habit (historically called the passion of the heart) which plays out in three critical behaviours called Subtypes that affect our relationships as well as how we spend our time and energy.”
These three subtypes can also be referred to as instinctual energy and I will give a brief overview here taken from the notes of the weekend workshop.
Subtype 1 – Self-Preservation
Attention style: inward, singular
- Personal survival
- Adequate basic resources
Subtype 2 – One to One
Attention Style: focused, one-to-one
- Intimate relationships
- Bonding with special others
Subtype 3 – Social
Attention style: outward, panoramic, inclusive
We can subconsciously spend energy on our main instinct until we bring attention to it and learn to free our conditioned energy and create neural plasticity.
With 9 Enneagram Types and 3 instinctual energies we end up with 27 subtype behaviours.
The subtype behaviours can be more powerful transformers than the passion of the type itself.
A gold mine for growth/transformation: When brought under self-observation, Subtype behaviours can be choice points for positive change in relationship.
If I bring this into my own relationship to look at the strengths that my husband and I bring to each other, it looks like this.
I am Social
- Look at the good of everyone
- Handle many tasks
- Like networking and connection with everyone
- I bring new experiences, spontaneity
- My excitement and enthusiasm is infectious
- Always look for what’s out there….
He is Self-Preservation
- Focused in the present, grounding
- Has depth focus to details
- Brings a calm and quiet
- Creates a safeness to express my emotions without over reacting
- The foundation of our home/finances/security are looked after
Of course the exercise continued to review the challenges brought about by each type and then looked at tips for improving the relationship from each person’s point of view.
There is always more to explore, which is stimulating to me and of course as a Social Subtype, I want to share the learning with everyone! You can learn more by going to Helen Palmer’s website by clicking here.
I’d love your feedback! Have you explored the Enneagram subtypes? Please feel free to leave a link back to your own blog if you have one via the commentluv feature here on the site.
Until next time,