Can I Have More Than One Personality Type?

No. What we can say is that under conditions of personal and environmental security or in instances of personal and environmental insecurity, we change the pattern of our habitual response. That is to say, each personality type has a security and insecurity point that they access when personal and environmental circumstances change. These security and insecurity points are shown on the Enneagram diagram by the arrows moving around the diagram.

For example, for type sixes − the security point is at type nine, while the insecurity point (called the stress point by some authors) is at type three. When conditions return to what is considered normal for the person, they return to their core or central personality type of six.

When the person moves to their stress or security point, they do not change personality type but compensate for the changed environmental circumstances. The general experience, however, is that we spend by far the most of our time at our core personality type. However, there have been reported instances of people spending years at their security or insecurity point as a result of disease, famine, incarceration, sickness or some other calamity. These exceptional experiences aside, people’s security and insecurity points are generally not as well developed or as gracefully accessed as their core personality type, which is usually well developed through extensive life experience.

Unfortunately, there is a wide spread error perpetrated by some of the leading writers of the Enneagram which has its origins in the Catholicisation of the Enneagram in Chicago in the 1970s. This view distorts the original teaching of the Enneagram and suggests that the insecurity point is a point of ‘less healthy’ behavior than the security point, which unbelievably is pursued as the point of divine transcendence. In other words, the security point is defined as the point of ‘health’, while the insecurity point is considered to be a point of dysfunction and un-health. This error constitutes an incredible perversion of the original teaching which continues to infect the writings of some of the leading Enneagram teachers today.


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