Have you ever noticed that you experience emotions very differently from a friend, family member, or partner? Today we’re going to explore some of the typical emotional patterns of each of the nine Enneagram types. Keep in mind that we’ll be giving brief but informative descriptions. Your emotional experience may also be impacted by your Myers-Briggs type, your state of mental health, or your stress levels!
Not sure what your Enneatype is? You can take our free Enneagram questionnaire here.
Table of contents
- Enneagram Ones and Emotions
- Enneagram Twos and Emotions
- Enneagram Threes and Emotions
- Enneagram Fours and Emotions
- Enneagram Fives and Emotions
- Enneagram Sixes and Emotions
- Enneagram Sevens and Emotions
- Enneagram Eights and Emotions
- Enneagram Nines and Emotions
Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
Enneagram Ones and Emotions
Basic Fear: Of being “bad” or corrupt
Basic Desire: To be good and to have integrity
Ones strive to keep their emotions in check, although it may not seem like it to others. These types spend a great deal of time thinking about the consequences of their actions so they’re unlikely to fly off the handle or express their feelings spontaneously unless they are severely stressed. Ones often struggle with repression, resistance, and stifled anger. While others might see them as highly self-controlled, Ones themselves often feel like they’re burying an enormous mountain of passion just beneath the surface.
You’re likely to see the emotional reactions of Ones in their body language more than their words. They may instinctively clench their fists or tighten their jaws when they are angry but fail to verbalize their anger outright. They may gasp or blush when they feel strong affection but stutter or pause when they’re trying to verbalize their feelings. The anger of the One is likely to come out in irritation or resentment, rather than a violent outburst or emotionally-charged speech.
As Ones mature and develop they typically become more in touch with their feelings and less strained about revealing them. They become self-aware, wise, accepting, and principled.
Ones with a Nine wing have a more relaxed demeanor than Ones with a Two wing. They are less likely to react instantaneously when someone disagrees with them, instead trying to analyze other perspectives. They will pause before expressing their feelings outright, trying to make sure they are being fair.
Ones with a Two wing are typically more gregarious and effusive with their feelings. These Ones are driven to help people and may often more warm than the 1w9, but also quicker to react emotionally.
Read This Next: 21 Signs That You’re an Enneagram One Type
Enneagram Twos and Emotions
Basic Fear: Of being unloved or unwanted for themselves
Basic Desire: To feel loved
Twos strive to put other people’s feelings ahead of their own. Typically warm and generous, they aim to be empathetic, understanding and giving. At average to unhealthy levels, Twos repress their own feelings in favor of focusing on others’ feelings. Over time they can build up a great deal of emotional frustration and resentment as they continuously bury their own needs and desires under the needs and desires of others. During periods of intense stress, they can suddenly blurt out all their frustration and anger, accusing others of taking advantage of them or not caring. They tend to feel a great deal of sadness when they feel that their efforts are unappreciated, unwanted, or unvalued.
At healthy levels, Two with One wings are empathetic, generous, and serious-minded. They believe in helping the world in tangible ways – perhaps through ministry, healing, or volunteer work. At average to unhealthy levels, these types can be self-neglectful and emotionally overwhelmed, falling into the trap of playing the martyr as their needs continually go unmet.
Twos with a One wing are more likely to be able to say no to requests that seem frivolous or selfish. While they aim to be selfless, they also have a strong moral compass and will be firm in denying requests that don’t align with their morals. They are likely to be more self-critical and questioning than the Two with a Three wing.
Twos with a Three wing strive to create warm, intense connections with others. Gregarious and charming, they enjoy sharing their feelings of positivity and acceptance with their friends. They’re also more likely to crack jokes and “read the room” in order to adapt to it. These types typically appear more sentimental, affable, and extroverted than the Two with a One wing.
Read This Next: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram 2 Type
Enneagram Threes and Emotions
Basic Fear: Of being worthless without achievements
Basic Desire: To feel worthwhile and desirable
Threes often worry that their feelings will get in the way of their performance. Goal-oriented and driven, they try to prioritize practical action over their feelings. It’s typically easier for Threes to acknowledge anger or frustration over fear and sadness. They worry that if they express these feelings others will see them as “weak” or incompetent in some way. If Threes grow up in a hostile environment they often have a great deal of anger and hostility beneath the surface. These Threes will appear edgier and more emotionally high-strung than other Threes.
The Three with a Two wing is usually more emotionally expressive than the Three with a Four wing. They are often generous, warm, and charming. They know how to “turn it on” to impress people and rub shoulders with the most successful people in the room. These types are more sensitive to other people’s feelings than the 3w4 types, and they will go out of their way (sometimes excessively) to help others in their goals and dreams.
The Three with a Four wing often pours their feelings into their work, putting their mark on their tasks in a unique and often artistic way. They are typically more serious and task-oriented than the Three with the Two wing, believing that their goals will help them to achieve their inner vision and experience emotional harmony. These threes often have a wide variety of deep feelings that they struggle to verbalize except with their closest friends.
Read This Next: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram 3 Type
Enneagram Fours and Emotions
Basic Fear: Of having no clear identity or personal significance
Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance
Fours experience a kaleidoscope of intense feelings, but they are often internalized rather than verbally expressed. Average Fours experience a sense of longing – like some part of themselves is missing, but they aren’t quite sure what it is. They often feel different from others, self-conscious or socially awkward. These feelings can result in a sense of being a misfit, misunderstood, or out-of-place. They look inward to their vast plethora of emotions to try to curate an identity. With a careful eye, they pick and choose the emotions they’ll hold onto and the ones they’ll try to discard. They are profoundly sensitive, not only to their own feelings but the feelings of others. However, it can be difficult for them to express their feelings because they are so nuanced and ever-shifting. Ginger Lapid-Bogda, author of “Bringing Out the Best in Everyone You Coach: Use the Enneagram System for Exceptional Results” writes, “Their sensitivity to feeling not good enough is connected to their tendency to absorb negative information about themselves as if this negative data were true, but to reject positive information about themselves without absorbing or integrating it into their sense of self. Internalizing so much negative data gives Fours an interior reservoir of painful feelings, which makes them reactive to anything that might imply something negative about them.”
The healthier the Four is the more self-aware and self-accepting they can be. They let go of the belief that they are more flawed than others and they become life-embracing and confident in who they are and their unique gifts.
Creative and ambitious, Fours with a Three wing try to combine their emotional depth with a sense of artistry and personal advancement. These types are more aware of how they come across than 4w5s most of the time, and they put more effort into their image and presentation. They tend to have higher energy levels, exhibit more social charm, and be more comfortable being emotionally expressive and visible.
Highly introspective, these Fours are less concerned with outward status and more concerned with finding their own creative self-expression. They are typically rebellious towards conventions or authority, reveling in the inner world and refining their inner landscapes. They are often less reactive and emotionally expressive than Four with Three wings, restraining themselves to analyze their feelings in order to view them as objectively as they can.
Read This Next: Seven Struggles of the Enneagram 4 Type
Enneagram Fives and Emotions
Basic Fear: Of being helpless, useless, or incompetent
Basic Desire: To be capable and competent
Fives are often far more emotionally sensitive than people realize on the surface. While they may present a stoic or detached face to the outside world, there’s a flurry of emotions beneath the exterior. That said, Fives try to intellectualize their feelings as much as possible so that they won’t be overwhelmed by them. In childhood, most Fives turned their attention away from their emotional needs so that they could rely on something “objective.” They don’t like to be impeded by others’ emotional needs and can feel stifled and anxious when other people seem emotionally reactive or hypersensitive. If asked how they feel, many Fives struggle to express an answer because it’s difficult for them to differentiate between their thoughts and feelings.
As Fives become healthier and more balanced, they learn to reconnect to the emotional world and sense their feelings, heart, and sensitivity. They become more grounded in their bodies and more compassionate and connected to others.
Imaginative and perceptive, these Fives are more emotionally sensitive than their 5w6 counterparts. Because they experience more intense emotions, they may try to hide away from the world more severely in order to avoid getting overwhelmed. Though they struggle to verbalize and understand their emotions, they still experience them deeply.
Detail-oriented and cautious, these Fives are more purely intellectual than any of the other Enneatypes. They are extremely restrained and guarded about their feelings, directing their attention to objects or theories more than people. While 5w4s tend to rebel against structure, rules, or authorities, 5w6s engage more readily with teams and are deeply loyal to their chosen communities.
Read This Next: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram Five Type
Enneagram Sixes and Emotions
Basic Fear: Of having no support or guidance.
Basic Desire: To find security and support.
Worry is the constant companion of the average Six Enneatype. Vexation, doubt, and anxiety are their most frequently experienced emotions. At the same time, they may suddenly have moments of extreme courage and risk-taking as they try to fight against their inner fears. This Enneatype is a bundle of contradictions; they want security but fight against outer control, they want support but feel skeptical of others, they can be warm and accommodating and change to distant and rebellious at the drop of a hat. Ginger Lapid-Bogda states, “Most Sixes exhibit overt displays of courage or risk-taking as a way to prove to themselves and others that they are not afraid. These displays of nerve can be verbal as well as physical….All of these behaviors are driven by the emotion of fear, which propels Sixes forward to take such actions.”
The healthier the Six is the more courageous, balanced, and relaxed they become. They learn to trust their own inner guidance instead of looking to others for rules to follow. They become more secure, grounded, and brave.
More independent than their 6w7 counterparts, Sixes with a Five wing tend to see the world as a dangerous place. They try to evade danger by gathering reliable information where rules and parameters are well established. Self-contained and restrained, they have a passion for knowledge and the pursuit of knowledge. They can occasionally become aggressive when they feel that their freedoms are being impinged upon or they are being overwhelmed.
Sixes with a Seven wing are usually more optimistic, cheerful, and energetic than their 6w5 counterparts. You’ll often see them kidding around, using energy, humor, and a sense of fun to connect to others. They are eager to be liked and accepted, and at average levels can be visibly insecure and dependent on loved ones. They are likely to have a lot of activities and projects that they dabble in to avoid their underlying anxiety.
Read This Next: Seven Struggles of the Enneagram Six Type
Enneagram Sevens and Emotions
Basic Fear: Of being trapped or deprived.
Basic Desire: To be happy, satisfied, and fulfilled.
Energetic and enthusiastic, Sevens may seem like they experience nothing but positive emotions. Yet underneath their active exterior they often have anxieties under the surface. They try to avoid these anxieties by staying on the go and moving from one project or experience to the next. They try to avoid negative emotions like sadness or anxiety by reframing situations to find a silver lining. Typically, Sevens appear exuberant and upbeat, not taking themselves or life too seriously.
As Sevens become healthier and more mature they let go of the belief that they need to be constantly active in order to be satisfied. They fully engage with life, finishing what they start, even when feelings like boredom and anxiety are present.
Sevens with a Six wing have a knack for anticipating potential problems and circumventing them. Playful and curious, they are known for their quick minds and fast-talking, witty personalities. They are often extroverted, finding security in intimate relationships and friendships.
Driven and energetic, these types tend to be more assertive than their 7w6 counterparts. These types are also less averse to being alone than the 7w6 types, often focusing more on generating activities than engaging with people. While the 7w6 is often enthusiastic and playful, the 7w8 is more tough-minded and direct.
Enneagram Eights and Emotions
Basic Fear: Being harmed or controlled by others.
Basic Desire: To protect themselves and have control of their own lives.
Tough-minded and driven, Eights often keep others at an emotional distance. They strive to keep situations under control and take action in order to hide their own vulnerability or avoid becoming dependent. The one emotion Eights don’t tend to repress is their anger. Their intense anger can show up readily, catalyzing them towards action. That said, their anger may be a cover for underlying feelings of sadness or vulnerability. They strive to protect themselves from feeling vulnerable, believing that they must be tough, assertive, and bold instead.
As Eights reach healthy levels of maturity they let go of the belief that they always have to be in control. They’re able to let down their guard and become more connected with others. While they still are action-oriented and tough, they can also be forgiving, protective, and helpful.
Charismatic and independent, Eights with a Seven wing are drawn towards adventure and opportunity. They are typically sociable and extroverted, skilled at getting others to join them in their endeavors. They enjoy trying new things for the sake of their personal or professional development as well as their own enjoyment. These types are typically more aggressive and confrontational than their 8w9 counterparts.
Grounded and steady, these Eights are typically warmer and more family-oriented than their 8w7 counterparts. With their closest loved ones, they can be warm, affectionate, and gentle. Outside of those relationships, however, they can be much more aggressive and tough. Their tempers, when lost, are explosive and sudden, but fade away quickly.
Enneagram Nines and Emotions
Basic Fear: Loss and separation.
Basic Desire: To maintain inner stability and peace of mind.
The emotional patterns of Nines vary greatly depending on their level of health and maturity. At healthy levels, Nines are deeply in touch with their feelings and instincts. At unhealthy levels, they dissociate from their feelings and frustrations in order to emphasize the pleasant things in life or keep the peace. On the outside Nines often appear steady, accepting, and even-tempered. Yet on the inside, they often experience a range of low-to-medium intensity feelings. Anger, in particular, is often repressed so much that they aren’t even aware that they are feeling it. Nines try to protect themselves and their feelings by creating an “Inner Sanctum” in their minds where they can withdraw during times of anxiety or frustration. Here they revisit idealized memories or fantasies in order to find peace.
The healthier the Nine is, the more they become connected to themselves and their own feelings. They learn to express themselves, assert their needs calmly, and inspire others with their peaceful yet honest nature.
When Nines have an Eight wing, they are typically more take-charge and action-oriented than the 9w1. While still easy-going and accepting, these Nines are more comfortable asserting their own points of view and making quick decisions. They are more likely to have random explosions of temper than their 9w1 counterparts, although these explosions fizzle out quickly and they return to their normal calm state. At unhealthy levels they can be unpredictable, defensive, and passive-aggressive.
When Nines have a One wing, they are typically more focused, idealistic, and detail-oriented. They are often driven by their morals, pursuing jobs that they hope will have a meaningful impact on the world. They are less adventurous than their 9w8 counterparts, preferring routines and stability more than action or adventure. They often appear proper, respectable, and focused. At unhealthy levels, they can be morally superior, classist, or judgmental.
What Do You Think?
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