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The Unhealthy Enneagram One – The Criticizer
At an unhealthy level, Ones forcefully justify themselves and their ideals without question. They may have underlying worries that their motives or ideals are wrong, but they won’t let themselves consider it for too long because they have to convince themselves that they are “good.” As a result, they become close-minded, unwilling to accept criticism, and may simply cut people out of their lives who confront them about their issues. Highly self-righteous, unhealthy Ones must believe that they are on the morally right side of every story. They will become punitive and condemning to anything or anyone that disagrees with their position. At their worst extreme, Ones do the very things they publicly condemn. They become highly hypocritical and out of control, acting out their repressed desires, but seething with anger when others do the same.
Signs of an Unhealthy One:
- Rigid and inflexible
- Rationalize own actions, but give no leeway to others
- Depressed and gloomy
- Have outbursts of anger, “righteous” fury, and condemnation
- Have obsessive thinking and compulsions
- Have periods of self-destruction and self-punishment
The Unhealthy Enneagram Two – The Manipulator
Unhealthy Twos want to feel needed and affirmed by other people, but they can’t come right out and say it. They don’t want anyone else to be loved more than them, and so they compete with “kindness” to stay needed and attractive. In order to cultivate friendships they will resort to flattery, people-pleasing, and meddling or manipulating. In order to maintain a claim on other people, they will ignore their own needs and tend to others – often intrusively. They are extremely possessive of their relationships and make a habit of reminding others of how many wonderful things they’ve done for them. If they aren’t getting the affirmation or kinship that they want from others, they may manipulate their way into getting attention by complaining about their health or playing the victim. Over time, this can make them feel that they are driving other people away. Rather than take responsibility, they assume that other people are simply “selfish” and unappreciative of their behavior. They aim to get pity since they can’t get real love, so they will come up with stories and actions that will illicit sympathy. At their worst, unhealthy Twos play the martyr and may actually fall into extremely unhealthy behaviors so that someone will rescue them.
Signs of an Unhealthy Two:
- Flatter others in hopes of getting flattery in return
- Enable other people in their addictions or poor behaviors so that they can feel needed or consistently “rescue” the other person
- Have martyr complexes
- Manipulate and coerce others
- Obsess over being loved by others
- Suck up to people of higher status
- Act out repressed aggressions inappropriately
- Have co-dependency issues
The Unhealthy Enneagram Three – The Egomaniac
Unhealthy Threes are completely fixated on their ego images. Their outer self is where they devote all their attention, effectively cutting off their connection with their inner, more vulnerable self. They fixate on curating the perfect image, showing off, and boasting about their accomplishments. They feel that they must be attractive and desirable to other people. In fact, everything that represents them (their house, their family, their car, their clothes) must simulate a perfect, luxurious, successful image. They worry about being outdone by the accomplishments of others, so they have to over-achieve and drive themselves to the brink of exhaustion to look the best. Impressing others becomes their neverending goal, so they may exaggerate their accomplishments or manipulate relationships to “win” something. They deceive themselves and others, doing whatever will impress them. Unfortunately, they are left with an aching emptiness inside that does nothing to satisfy their core needs. At their worst, they will take out their repressed hostility on real or imagined oppressors – trying to bring down whoever they feel has rejected them.
Signs of an Unhealthy Three:
- Physically exhausted from over-working themselves
- Exploit others to get ahead
- Have random, severe episodes of rage
- Are jealous of others success and can’t stop comparing
- Conceal their emotional distress
- Feel empty inside
- Create a false persona that appears successful
- Will make up stories or exaggerate to impress people
- Feel that they have to be the best and most successful of everyone in their circle
Read This Next: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram Three Personality Type
The Unhealthy Enneagram Four – The Masochist
Unhealthy Fours feel desperately in need of a rescuer. They are terrified of abandonment, and worry that in the real world they will be rejected. Because of their insecurity, they resort more and more to a fantasy world of supporters and rescuers. They dream of someone who will see them for who they truly are and pull them into a beautiful life. However, they get so lost in their fantasy world that they forget to take action and really live in the real world around them. Deeply envious, they see others as lucky and become hateful of anyone who doesn’t support their view of themselves or their emotional whims. At their worst, Fours become so addicted to the fantasy version of themselves that they hate everything about their real self. They hate themselves and they hate others for not rescuing them as they hoped. Eventually the realization that their best memories are all fantasies becomes too much to bear. They become more frenetic in their attempts to be rescued, becoming self-destructive or reckless in order to be saved by someone who will take pity on them and see them for who they truly are.
Signs of an Unhealthy Four:
- Feel like they are missing out constantly
- Are self-indulgent
- Are temperamental
- Feel that nobody could possibly understand them
- Feel alienated and lonely most of the time
- Have outbursts of rage and hostility
- Feel hopeless and depressed
- Become self-sabotaging and self-destructive
- Are obsessed with their flaws
- Withdraw into a fantasy world
Read This Next: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram 4 Personality Type
The Unhealthy Enneagram Five – The Nihilist
Reclusive and cynical, the unhealthy Five feels unable to deal with real life. They accumulate knowledge and resources, hoping that eventually they will be able to face the world. They obsess over data and practice, hoping that through absorbing more material they’ll somehow be able to face the world. But instead, they wind up closing the door tighter against the outside world and personal relationships. They hoard their space, time, and sparse comforts, and often appear greedy about their time and energy. At this stage, they refuse to help anyone out because they feel that there simply isn’t enough of them to go around. As a result, they fight people off or enjoy “trolling” or antagonizing them in order to dismantle their belief systems. Even though Fives fend people off, they still feel an aching loneliness and emptiness inside. Rather than dwell on this feeling, they retreat into an empty inner world and become obsessed with dark fears and obsessions. They often have strange fantasies and fears that they can’t escape.
Signs of an Unhealthy Five:
- They are often nihilistic and cynical
- Eccentric and obsessive
- Provocative and antagonizing
- Reclusive and greedy of their time and energy
- Physically neglectful of themselves
- Hostile towards help or any intrusions on their space
- Distorted perceptions and viewpoints
- Suffer from sleep disorders or nightmares
Read This Next: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram 5 Personality Type
The Unhealthy Enneagram Six – The Catastrophizer
Sixes can be either aggressive or phobic, so there are two different reactions that this type can have to being unhealthy. Counterphobic Sixes react aggressively to their fear and can become violent, intimidating, and suspicious of everyone around them when they are unhealthy. All unhealthy Sixes make mountains out of molehills and are filled with anxiety, pessimism, and suspicion. Eager for support, they look for an authority they can believe in, but they are so unsure of themselves and others that they become cynical, bitter, and betrayed. Often panicky, they search restlessly for something or someone they can trust. Their insecurity can lead to complete despair, and they may destroy whatever safety they’ve accumulated in an outburst of frustration. When this happens, they lash out at real or imagined enemies, rant about their relentless fears, and become increasingly self-destructive.
Signs of an Unhealthy Six:
- Endlessly anxious
- Feel inferior and alone
- Test people to find out who will “stick around”
- Fluctuate between being dependent and asserting independence
- Struggle to let go of bad relationships
- Suspicious and paranoid
- Panicky and fearful
- Hysterical and aggressive towards perceived enemies
- Blame people and themselves for all their problems
The Unhealthy Enneagram Seven Enneagram Type – The Escapist
At an unhealthy level, Sevens are so driven by the pursuit of pleasure and excitement that they steamroll over their own values in the process. Seeking instant gratification, they jump from one thrill to another, hoping to fill the emptiness inside. At this level, they fear boredom because it would make them face their anxiety – an area that they’d rather keep in the dark. So rather than deal with their own pain and turmoil, they impulsively pursue pleasure. They become hysterically active, unfaithful, escapist, and reckless. Self-centered and excessive, they focus on consuming without concern for their impact they have on the world or other people.
Signs of an Unhealthy Seven:
- Exude reckless and impulsive behavior
- May have addiction issues
- Respond in an immature or infantile way to problems
- Experience wild mood swings
- Have unexpected bouts of terror and panic
- Are selfish
- Embrace hedonism and incessant pleasure-seeking
The Unhealthy Eight Enneagram Type
Emotionally shut down and intimidating, unhealthy Eights won’t stand for any slight to their self-respect or authority (even if it’s simply imagined). Because they’re so unwilling to be disrespected or ignored, they tend to boast, bluff, and be pushy to get people aligned with them. Often, these Eights feel plagued by uncertainty about people. They don’t know who they can trust, so they protect themselves by becoming predatory, vengeful, and aggressive. Because they’ve made so many enemies at this point, they try to attack anyone who might retaliate against them. In the process they tend to put themselves and their loved ones in dangerous situations. They are so determined not to let anyone else win or have control over them that they become remorseless and destructive to everyone and everything that gets in their way.
Signs of the Unhealthy Eight Enneagram Type: The Tyrant
- Easily feels betrayed
- Retaliates against others for imagined wrongdoings
- Sees self as an “outlaw” who doesn’t have to play by the rules
- Lacks empathy or a moral code
- Isolated and bitter
- Controlling and possessive
- Violent and aggressive
- Confrontational and intimidating
The Unhealthy Nine Enneagram Type: The Comatose
Unhealthy Nines often operate against themselves, repressing their power and energy so that they become static and immobile. They are so afraid of expressing their anger and true feelings that they appear numb and detached, never fully revealing who they are. They avoid potential conflicts by going along with the crowd and saying yes to things they really don’t want to do. In order to avoid becoming overwhelmed by others, they downplay the importance of their problems and deflect questions or requests. At this stage, they have illusions that everything will be okay and that their problems aren’t really that severe. They are often depressed, empty, and ineffective. They block out reality and live in a state of dissociation and denial. They appear unresponsive, numb, and lazy.
Signs of an Unhealthy Nine:
- Live in denial of their problems and struggles
- Resistant to getting help or revealing their problems
- Feel inadequate and empty
- Feel emotionally “flat”
- Dissociated and numb to the outer world
- Detached from reality
- Say “yes” to doing things, then fail to do them as a way to get back at others
Read This Next: How Enneagram Nines Handle Anger
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