The Lie That Each Enneagram Type Believes, and How to Avoid It

Each of us, regardless of our types, has certain core beliefs. Many of our beliefs are rooted in our values, the experiences of our lives, or truths we hold dear. But some core beliefs are foggy; we aren’t even aware we’re believing them. But they follow us throughout our lives, creating our idiosyncrasies and some of our weaknesses.

In today’s article, we’re going to dive into the false belief that each Enneagram type struggles with. We’ll also explore some ways to circumvent this belief and find renewed energy and purpose.

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The Lie Each Enneagram Type Believes, and How to Avoid It

Enneagram One – “Avoiding Fun and Pleasure is the Responsible Thing”

The lie Enneagram Ones believe is that experiencing fun or pleasure is unimportant

As a One, you often feel that your to-do list is king. Work first, play later is probably your motto. Responsibilities, agendas, structures, and rules are your guide. And while your responsibility and work ethic are to be admired, at times you can cut yourself off from pleasure or enjoyment because it’s “trivial.” Over time, this can lead to resentment, bitterness, and jealousy. Rather than creating a sense of joy and meaning in your life, you feel trapped by your own critical nature.

To avoid this false belief, schedule time every day to seek out healthy pleasure. Read a chapter in a book you love before bed, savor the food at a favorite restaurant, or watch the sunset with a friend you love. Your to-do list may be plaguing you for the first few times that you do this, but eventually, your sense of joy and relaxation will override the false belief that pleasure is not important. And this practice can help you to grow into the healthy version of the One. The healthy One isn’t condemning, judgmental, and exhausted; the healthy One is tolerant, joyful, and wise.

Find Out More About Ones: The Enneagram 1 – The Perfectionist

Enneagram Two – “Neglecting my needs and putting others first will stabilize my relationships”

The lie Enneagram Twos believe is that they can stabilize their relationships by forgetting themselves.

As a Two, you are a firm believer in selflessness. And while selflessness is one of your greatest qualities, you can fool yourself into believing that any assertion of your own needs is a cardinal sin. You worry that you will be seen as greedy or selfish and that it puts your relationships at risk. The problem is, in the end, all your repressed needs can come out in an unhealthy way. You may find yourself exhausted, resentful, needy, and overwhelmed.

To avoid this false belief, start with small acts of self-care every day. Pick up a green tea latte after work, buy yourself fresh flowers for your kitchen table, or take an extra long bubble bath on Sunday night. Start small and build up your self-care routine. As you see that your needs can be met without sacrificing relationships or stability, you’ll start to recognize that healthy relationships involve both give and take. The healthy Two isn’t overly needy or co-dependent; the healthy Two is mature, generous, and kind – both with themselves and others.

Find Out More About Enneagram Twos: The Enneagram 2 – The Helper

Enneagram Three – “I can outwork my feelings”

The lie Enneagram Threes believe is that they can outwork their feelings.

As a Three, you are the king of productivity. You have the drive to succeed and a deep-seated need for achievement. And while this is an admirable quality, it can lead you to believe that hard work will make all of your problems go away. But in reality, feelings are not something that can be worked away or forgotten about. Suppressing your emotions on a continuous basis leads to isolation, emptiness, and depression.

To avoid this false belief, begin to pay attention to your feelings more intentionally. Notice when they come up and then try to label them (e.g., am I hurt, sad, angry?). When possible, name what has caused the feeling – was it something someone said or did? Once you have the answer, process your emotions in a healthy way. Talk with a friend or write in a journal – just make sure to allow yourself to feel and express your feelings authentically. As you learn to manage your feelings and achieve balance between productivity and emotion, you’ll start to embody the healthy version of the Three – confident, self-aware, and full of energy.

Find Out More About Enneagram Threes: The Enneagram 3 – The Achiever

Enneagram Four – “I’m different from everyone else in the world”

The lie that Enneagram Fours believe is that they are different and unlike everyone else.

As a Four, you often feel like a misfit in the world around you. This feeling of “otherness” can lead to feelings of despair, disillusionment, and inferiority. Some Fours, rather than feeling inferior, feel superior to others in their otherness; like they are better, more unique, or more evolved. Over time this can stifle a Four’s ability to empathize, connect, and form healthy relationships. Many unhealthy Fours isolate themselves from the world, lingering in a space of regret and loneliness.

To avoid this false belief, realize that you can be a unique individual while also sharing many commonalities with others. You don’t have to feel inferior or superior – you just have to be yourself. Find a place within yourself to appreciate your authentic humanity. If you feel overwhelmed by shame, realize that you are not worse than others, but you may be more attentive to your flaws than others. Realize that everyone has flawed families, mistakes, failures, shame, fear, anger, as well as joy, hope, and the desire for love and meaning. As you break through the illusion of separateness and embrace your connection to humanity, you will be able to embody the healthy version of the Four – creative, self-aware, and connected.

Discover More About Enneagram Fours: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram Four Type

Enneagram Five – “My resources and energy are in constant danger of disappearing”

The lie Enneagram Fives believe is that their resources and energy can disappear forever.

As a Five, you probably felt anxiety around resource-management as a child. Many Fives hide and isolate themselves as children because they’re afraid of being overwhelmed by others or having their energy starved. When this anxiety is carried into adulthood, it can create a restless need to hoard energy, time, and resources in order to protect the self. Unfortunately, this doesn’t lead to happiness and meaning, but loneliness, increased anxiety, and stinginess.

To avoid this false belief, remember that you can manage and replenish your energy. You are not a glass of water that, once emptied, can never be filled again. You can keep refilling your energy when needed. Prioritize self-care and connection, and create a schedule that allows for regular breaks from work and recharging activities like exercise or meditation. Practice being a bit more generous – with your time, money, and energy – in order to open yourself up to the abundance of life. As you learn to manage your resources without fear, you will embody the healthy version of the Five – thoughtful, confident, and resourceful.

Find Out More About Enneagram Five: 7 Struggles of the Enneagram Five Personality Type

Enneagram Six – “By focusing on potential problems, I can keep them from happening”

The lie Enneagram Sixes believe is that if they worry enough, they can find a solution

If you’re a Six, you probably believe that by worrying about potential problems you can find solutions for them. Unfortunately, the reverse is often true. By focusing on what could go wrong, you can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, you might fear that your significant other is going to leave you, so you start acting strange and distrustful around them, testing their loyalties, getting into arguments about misconstrued details, and causing a rift in the relationship.

To avoid this false belief, focus on what is going right instead of what could go wrong. When fear and doubt arise, take a step back and look at all that could be going right as well. Remind yourself of the resources you have inside yourself should things go wrong. And remember that oftentimes, the situations we fear never come to pass. One of my favorite quotes (as someone who also struggles with anxiety) is from a book called Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to use the neuroscience of fear to end anxiety, panic, and worry. This quote says: “Although people may believe thinking processes like worry or rumination will lead to a solution, what actually happens is a strengthening of the circuitry in the cortex that produces anxiety. In addition, rumination has been shown to lead to depression.”

I try to keep that quote in mind when I’m tempted to ruminate and worry in order to find a “solution” that I likely will never discover.

Find Out More About the Enneagram Six: The Enneagram 6 – The Loyalist

Enneagram Seven – “If I can pursue enough experiences, I will eventually be satisfied”

The lie that Enneagram Sevens believe is that if they chase pleasure enough they'll find contentment

As a Seven, it’s tempting to chase after experiences and objects, looking for the “perfect” distraction that will eventually give you a sense of contentment. While yes, you may experience a moment of happiness or pleasure, true satisfaction usually comes from within; not without. Instead, you may find yourself constantly chasing after experiences or pleasure, but with a growing feeling of despair or dissatisfaction.

To avoid this false belief, remember that satisfaction comes from within and requires cultivating self-awareness and contentment with what you have in life. Acknowledge your emotions and don’t run away from them; instead, embrace them for what they are. Allow yourself to rest in the moment without always needing something more stimulating or exciting. Make a game out of finding satisfaction in less; in simply existing and noticing the small details that give life meaning and beauty. By finding satisfaction in the smaller things that bring meaning, you can avoid the negative consequences of pleasure-seeking or excessive indulgence.

Find Out More About Enneagram Sevens: The Enneagram 7 – The Enthusiast

Enneagram Eight – “Being vulnerable and intimate with someone will ruin my life”

The lie Enneagram Eights believe is that vulnerability will ruin their lives

As an Eight, you are often plagued by the feeling that others will take advantage of you or try to control you. As a child, many Eights experienced some kind of betrayal. This betrayal gave them the deep conviction that they would need to take care of themselves because nobody else had their best interests at heart. If you’re an Eight, you can probably pinpoint some experiences like that right away. Over time, this can lead to building up defenses, distrust, and a need to control. This especially comes to light in relationships, where you may refuse to be vulnerable or struggle to form intimacy with a friend or significant other. While Eights are often told about their “flaws” (many people like to vilify this type), what I want to focus on here is that the unwillingness to be vulnerable is actually leading to a less satisfying life for you as an Eight. And you deserve a satisfying life. At your best, you are a “defender of justice” and a crucial part of any team or relationship.

To avoid this false belief, remember that being vulnerable with someone is not a sign of weakness; it is actually an act of strength and security. Allow yourself to be seen and heard without feeling like you need to protect yourself all the time. Connecting with others can be quite beautiful when done correctly, so don’t fear giving up your control or building meaningful relationships in your life. Taking small steps towards connection will help you learn how to trust and build true intimacy, which will lead to more genuine joy for you as an Eight.

Find Out More About Enneagram Eights: The Enneagram 8 Challenger

Enneagram Nine – “Nobody wants to hear what I have to say”

The lie Enneagram Nines believe is that nobody cares what they have to say

As a Nine, you may feel like the world only wants to hear your opinions when it aligns with what everyone else is saying. So in order to maintain your peace, you may stay silent and avoid speaking up. You may feel yourself getting self-conscious when you speak, worrying that others are bored or irritated with you. The downside of this is that you are denying yourself the opportunity to share your unique thoughts and perspectives – something that can bring great joy and satisfaction into your life. You can also find yourself in one-sided relationships where people aren’t considering your perspective or needs.

To avoid the false belief that nobody cares what you have to say, remember that every single one of us has valuable insight worth sharing. Speak up when you have an opinion or idea – even if it’s different from what other people think. Find supportive friends who respect and value your voice, as well as encourage and challenge you to think outside the box. You don’t have to wait to be asked for your thoughts and opinions; it’s okay to simply share them without being asked directly.

Find Out More About Enneagram Nines: Seven Struggles of the Enneagram Nine Type

What Are Your Thoughts?

Was this article helpful to you? Do you have any suggestions or tips you’d like to share with other readers? Leave a comment!


The Honest Enneagram by Sarajane Case, Andrew McMeel Publishing

Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Don Richard Riso with Russ Hudson, Houghton Mifflin Company.

About the Author:

Susan Storm is a certified MBTI® practitioner and Enneagram coach. As the founder of Psychology Junkie, she loves writing about the practical applications of personality type. Susan Storm is also a mother of five and works from home while homeschooling.

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