Instincts: 1

So, we now have a better idea of what an Enneagram 1 is, what they desire, what they fear, what motivates them to be the way they are. I don’t know about you, but I love to know that stuff about people! Each person I meet, I see as a unique variety of human. I actually joked with a friend once, that it’s kind of like Pokemon for me. ūüėČ

Yes, you can laugh at that, but it’s kind of true!

Even now that you’ve read over (or have previous knowledge of) the basics of type 1, we need to realize that not all 1’s are the same– far from it. There are actually twelve versions of each Enneagram type; what with two wing variations¬†and six instinctual stacks. ¬†Both the differences and commonality between individuals of the same core can be striking!

Clearly, all of that information can be a little much at first, so back to our topic of today: Instinctual subtypes of Enneagram 1.

So what are instincts? Many good things have been written on this topic (and I’ll provide further reading below) but I think it comes down to this: we are born with all three instinctual needs within us (Self Preservation, Sexual and Social), instinctual stackings just tell us which we favor and which we neglect– sort of a hierarchy of emotional needs. The instinct we usually prioritize above the others, is actually also the area in which we have been most wounded or deprived. I’ve been amazed to see how applicable this has been in understanding relationships with others, especially those whose instinctual¬†preferences might be different than our own. It all comes down to what we¬†need.


When talking about instincts, it’s important to realize how the same instinct can look different from core type to core type. The general descriptions of the instincts (above) are much less specific than when those instincts are applied to a specific type.

The anger, perfectionism and self-righteousness of 1 manifest with each instinct in a unique way.


It’s easy to see how the first (more general descriptions) factor into the type specific ones. ¬†As aforementioned, all 1’s will probably relate¬†somewhat to all three above descriptions, but more strongly with one or two. ¬†This brings us to the concept of¬†Instinctual Stack, which denotes the order of an individual’s instinctual preferences. ¬†For instance, Sp/So tells us that Self Preservation is preferred, So is auxiliary¬†and Sx is the “blind spot”. ¬†I do also think looking into the instincts of your wing (especially if it is heavy) is important to behold the whole picture.

Other great sources for more detailed reading on the instincts, are The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut, these descriptions originally from (the now inactive) Ocean Moonshine, and the work of early Enneagram scholar, Claudio Naranjo (notes on his work on the instincts).

Next post: Basics of Enneagram 2!

Instincts: 1

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