Misidentification: 2 vs. 6

misid_26Oh, what a busy blur the past few months have been! I am glad to say that I’m newly married and cross-country moved, but in the midst of that I have greatly missed writing and exploring the nuances of personality and motivation here. The wonderful (and surprising) response that I have received from those of you reading or watching along, has been so encouraging and I’m quite looking forward to diving back in as 2017 continues.

As I am still settling in Arizona, I’ll tackle my next type comparison topic here on the blog via writing (instead of through video, as I have not yet found the right space to record). The misidentification of 6 vs. 2 has shown up via real life examples for me a couple of times recently, so let’s break down the nuanced differences between Loyalists and Helpers!

Both of these core types can be warm, loving, protective and sweet “people-persons”, seeing others in their lives as worthy of sacrificing for– even by putting others before themselves.  As always though, the motivations causing this for each type are quite different– namely Fear and Pride. It should be noted that I tend to capitalize these words for the sake of pointing them out as core motivations, which does not mean that individuals of other types don’t experience the feelings of pride and fear (they do), but that these may not be central, re-occurring themes for them.

Pride for an Enneagram 2 tends to manifest in their belief that they must do, help or give in order to have value or be loved by others.  Try to give or do something for a Helper, and you will find that receiving is very difficult for them– this comes across almost like keeping score, as long as they have done/given the most (compared to others) then they can avoid feelings of shame by feeling pride in their deeds.  The feeling of need is very unacceptable to 2’s, instead of being vulnerable about their very real needs, they give love to others in order to be owed love back– transactional love is a theme.  This is even more pronounced usually in the 1 wing variety of the Helper (2w1) because of the added black and white sense of Righteousness and good vs. bad.  This can look a bit different based on instincts.  Growth for 2 comes into play when they can realize that their true worth/value comes not from what they do for others, but from recognizing who they are as an individual.

The Loyalist on the other hand is warm and loving specifically with those whom they feel are trustworthy and “their people”.  Fear for a 6 comes from concern of being without the kind of security in something greater than the self– what this entity is, can vary greatly based on the person, and on instinctual variation but is generally seen through the lens of hero worship style admiration and loyalty.  Many 6’s I have interviewed or conversed with over time attest to having difficulty making decisions for themselves without input from this entity, be it their large immediate family, their best friend, or the ideals of a certain subculture, political movement or interest group.  Of particular note, however, is the unique dichotomy present in the personality structure of a Loyalist– hot and cold, skeptical and naive, submissive and aggressive, the 6 is sometimes compared to a ping pong ball of the mind, “This! No, that. Wait, this. Yes…no.” The mental skepticism and high requirements for trust, often cause 6’s to be indecisive and prone towards anxiety– which of course, is just hopped up, spinning Fear.  Like the two sides of this inner struggle, it’s outward manifestation can also come in two colors: phobic and counter phobic.  I would call these the two sides of *Reactivity for Enneagram 6, in that they feel the need to respond or act in some way when feeling Fear.

  • Phobic – akin to Flight, in that the response to Fear is to flee or hide from it.
  • Counter Phobic – akin to Fight, in that the response to Fear is to meet and conquer it head on.

Recognizing these two varied ways of responding to Fear is very important when examining the Loyalist, as many CP individuals mistype as 8’s, 7’s, 4’s or 3’s because they don’t relate to the cowering, shaken (decidedly Phobic) picture that is often painted of 6’s. The Loyalist is aptly named, in that the Counter Phobic variation can actually be one of the most Fear engaging, courageous types in the Enneagram.

Some major differences that I usually point out when someone is trying to ascertain type between 2 and 6, are as follows:

  • Head vs. Heart – both types can be warm, but 2 is much more fueled by emotion, shame and fixated with identity, while 6 is more prone to mental doubt, anxiety and seeking belonging/security.
  • Health patterns – 2 under stress goes to 8, getting puffed up and indignant with Pride in a way that is demanding of others (usually in an “you owe me” type of way).  6 under stress, on the other hand goes to 3, becoming fixated with and anxious about achievement and cultural ideals in order to feel secure– many times in my experience, this has involved body image, dieting and fitness.  Both types positive health points are also nuanced and important to check out!

As always, the other factors of Enneagram often help us to accurately type– instinct descriptions, wing, etc.– still, a second opinion from someone who knows the Enneagram is also great!  If you should desire that, or further help in understanding this awesome tool for growth, do let me know by emailing me at ennegaramgirl@yahoo.com

Till next time, friends! 😉

*4 and 8 are the other reactive types, should you be interested.


Misidentification: 2 vs. 6

Misidentification: 3 vs 5 (video)


A new full length video is up on the Enneagram Girl YouTube Channel, and this time I’m touching on the main differences that help us to discern between 3 and 5– this inspired by a conversation I had with some friends last night!  Check it out and also the info graphics and instincts for the Achiever and the Investigator may be helpful!

As always, feel free to reach out to me at enneagramgirl@yahoo.com if you have questions or thoughts. 🙂


Misidentification: 3 vs 5 (video)

Video: 6 vs. 9

Hey Enneagram friends!  After quite the gap, I’ve finally posted another YouTube Enneagram Girl video, this time examining some recent nuances I’ve noticed about misidentification between 6 and 9!  I touch on some of the differences, similarities, health paths and even venture into correlation with MBTI a bit! 😉

Check it out, and feel free to ask questions if you have any!  I hope to be creating more and more videos in the months to come, so keep an eye out.

Video: 6 vs. 9

Misidentification: 3 + 8

misid_38Let’s talk about the movers and shakers of the Enneagram, shall we?  This misidentification is extremely common, especially among men– I personally have witnessed the phenomenon more times than I have fingers.  Yes, for real.

Even the words “Achiever” and “Challenger” are somewhat kindred in meaning.  Both 3s and 8s are people who get things done, and expect the same of others.  Both types come across as confident, self focused and in control, they tend to be blessed with leadership skills and presence.  This, however, is where we reach a decided fork in the road.  On the inside (which few truly see, for either type), Achievers and Challengers are completely different animals.

While 3s and 8s both like to win, this is with very different motivations.  Achievers live to win (and win others over), be the best and succeed because they believe they are unworthy of love if they don’t. Challengers on the other hand, win only as a side effect of their focus on survival, by dominating anything that (they perceive) would threaten them. 3s live to gain approval from others, 8s live to have absolute power and generally don’t care about approval or “likeability”.

Other marked differences are these: 3s are image focused people, who take care with their presentation to others– in appearance/style, in word, in reputation.  Conversely, 8s are body/action focused individuals who generally give little thought to how they are perceived. Achievers are people oriented and desire approval, Challengers are independent and desire power.  3s achieve success often by charming and winning over others, while 8s achieve success by controlling the environment and sadistically leveling the playing field.  Both types are “self serving”; 3s through manipulation, deception and charm, 8s through domination, intimidation and force of will. Achievers are often called “chameleons” as they are great adaptors to what others desire from them– this may also explain part of why many male 3s mistake themselves for 8s.

One fascinating comparison that I sometimes use when discussing the differences between these types: Oral Narcissism vs. Phallic Narcissism.  3s have the tendencies of Oral Narcissism– verbally self promoting and giving voice to their many achievements. Achievers can be quite the “name droppers” in this way, hoping to gain the admiration of others and be valued for their achievements. 8s on the other hand exemplify traits of Phallic Narcissism, choosing to demonstrate or show their superiority rather than tell about it. In this way, Challengers can be perceived as bullies or thugs because they dominate through action, in their attempt to survive those that might try to control them.

As aforementioned, because of their loss of true identity, 3’s are much more prone to this mistype than 8’s.  For more information on this topic, check out the Enneagram Institute’s overview of the differences between any two types.

As with any type misidentification, one of the best tools to determine accuracy are the other components of type: integration when health focused, disintegration when under stress, and even wings. 3 and 8 have very different health journeys, and stress points. You can read more about them here: 3 | 8.

Have questions? Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email at enneagramgirl@yahoo.com, and tune in next time for my misidentification post on types 2 and 6.


Misidentification: 3 + 8

Misidentification: 4 + 9


This, like the combo before, is a pretty common confusion. Peacemakers and Individualists can behave and look very similar, even having kindred ideals. Both tend to be emotionally intuitive, deep thinkers, drawn to nature and the creative world, and usually are somewhat socially withdrawn. This surface commonality, however, is dwarfed by the inner differences between the two.

9’s are conflict averse creatures, and tend to lay low in stormy waters. 4’s on the other hand, are one of the three types dubbed reactive in the Enneagram– which means they are quick to express their viewpoint, feelings, etc.  Peacemakers are known to idealize the world and people around them, and thus can become self forgetting, neglecting their own personal development, interests and sense of self, in order to maintain peace with others. Individualists on the other hand, spend exorbitant amounts of time analyzing their feelings, identity, preferences and general inner world. These very different tendencies land 9’s and 4’s with two very different predicaments: 9’s become detached from who they are, building stubborn resentment in silence against those around them. Conversely, 4’s end up alienating those around them out of their self absorbed fixation on authentic identity.  Individualists have issues with dissatisfaction, emotional volatility and shame, where Peacemakers struggle more with issues of apathy, resentment and anxiety.

More often than not, this misidentification happens when Peacemakers mistake themselves as Individualists (not the other way around). Because their own needs, preferences and defining characteristics are often muted to 9’s, it’s easy to understand why they tend be more prone to mistyping.  It’s interesting to note also, that either potental wing for a 9 (1 or 8) has definite connections to 4 as well– making it even more probable that a 9 might mistype as a 4.

As with any type misidentification, one of the best tools to determine accuracy are the other components of type: integration when health focused, disintegration when under stress, and even wings. 4 and 9 have very different health journeys, and stress points. You can read more about them here: 4 | 9.

Have questions? Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email at enneagramgirl@yahoo.com, and tune in next time for my misidentification post on types 1 and 6!

Misidentification: 4 + 9

Misidentification: 3 + 7

misid_37Enneagram 3’s and 7’s can have a similar energy about them– external, positive, fast paced and people oriented. I know a 3 who has called herself a “false 7” because it’s what many identified her as at first. At the core though, Achievers and Enthusiasts reasons for doing things could not be more different. 3’s seek love and approval, 7’s seek stimulation and distraction. If there were two Olympians that were these types, they would compete with different motivation– the 7 to see the world, and have varied experiences, and the 3 to prove their worth by winning.  One is driven, the other more happy-go-lucky.

Enneagram 3 is a heart type, and struggles with issues of identity– because they have always tried to live up to the expectations of others (donning masks to do so) they often feel that they don’t really know their true selves. It’s said that they sacrifice their heart’s desires at a young age to live up to the ideals of their culture.

Enneagram 7 is a head type, and struggles with issues of fear– specifically of their own deep or negative feelings, or those of others. Enthusiasts are the true optimists, and choose to distract themselves away from negativity by seeking constant positive stimulation. They are continually looking for things to distract them from their own thoughts and feelings. This, of course, is hard to sustain, so 7’s bounce from thing to thing, not staying focused very long on any one.

I actually often use the term bouncy to describe the physicality of Enthusiasts. There is an energizer bunny type of vibe, distracted, bright and effervescent. Conversely, 3’s lack the childlike, open nature of 7’s– coming across in a more polished, charming and salesman-like manner. Because Enthusiasts value experiences over appearance, their physical presentation is usually an afterthought– or if distinctive, adopted for the sake of novelty, or variety.  3’s on the other hand find physical presentation of the utmost importance. Achievers generally put a lot of thought into their appearance, modeling it after popular culture, or people they believe are winners— another product and manifestation of not really knowing who they are.

The sins (or passions) of 3 and 7 are also quite different from each other. The former struggling with Deceit (of self and others) and the latter with Gluttony– the overdoing of, and overindulging in all things: food, social activities, hobbies, you name it.

Clearly there are some surface level similarities between these types, but a lot of core differences.  For more information on this topic, check out the Enneagram Institute’s overview of the differences between any two types and misidentification in general (which can be very helpful when determining type).

Tune in next time for my next Misidentification pair: 4 and 9!

Misidentification: 3 + 7



My study and observation over the last four years, has included reading both books and people– and in the end, cross referencing the two. As with any complex topic or system, there is much confusion and misunderstanding afoot in regards to the Enneagram. Understanding these hiccups and why people might be prone to make them is one of my favorite topics, in part because it’s a puzzle within a puzzle. True understanding has the ability to determine what something is, but also what something is not (and the why behind both).

In Biology, I imagine this looks something like the comparison between a butterfly and a moth. Seeing that both have two sets of wings and a similar body shape is not enough, and might lead a casual observer to assume both creatures are close enough to be the same. Many fall into a similar pit when trying to understand the inner workings of others– if they look, talk and behave like your friend Rob, you might assume they have a similar personality structure. Remember that adage about not judging a book by its’ cover? Whether with insects or with human identity, that advice rings true. If a butterfly is too complex to judge on sight, then certainly humans are as well– even when trying to sort out ourselves, we often miss the mark! Actions are clear, but with the Enneagram, we are looking below the surface at motivations, sin patterns and themes. That is when a butterfly and a moth become totally different animals!

It’s important to note that misidentification is a problem, not for the sake of right and wrong, but because the Enneagram is only an effective tool when we authentically identify. Because this system is rooted in sin patterns, the point is to understand that dark side of ourselves in order to move towards health– realizing these things about ourselves should be a humbling experience. Unfortunately, I have found the two main culprits of misidentification are pride/ego and lack of knowledge.  Either an individual feels less threatened (or more flattered) by a type other than their actual type, or they are assigning a label to themselves with little to no understanding of what that label means– the latter is extremely common, and usually fallen into by those unfamiliar with the system. This is the main reason that I am not a proponent of test taking without follow-up study: the Enneagram was intended to further self awareness and personal growth, something that is simply not attainable by answering a fifty question test.

While many people misidentify between core types, it is also very common for individuals to mistype as their wing (a 3w4 mistyping as a 4, for example), or as one of the two points on their health spectrum. Because the possible misidentification scenarios are many, I’ll be covering the most probable and specific cases that I’ve personally witnessed. Check back on Monday for my first post on the subject, Misidentification: 3 and 7!