What does an enneagram go to in stress?

In this blog post, we talk about what each Enneagram type goes through in stress, and how they handle difficult situations.

The Enneagram model

The Enneagram model is a psychodynamic model that is based on nine typologies (enneatypes).

The current approach used was developed in principle by Oscar Ichazo around the 1960s and spread by Claudio Naranjo in the 1970s.

It is noteworthy that human society can benefit from knowing the typology of people who are involved in various activities, which is the purpose of these reports that will be further presented.

I don’t think it’s a surprise to find that in today’s digital society, people’s personal data can be easily used in complex analysis that uses the specificity of certain typologies, suggesting in these cases actions that may appear inconsistent and detached with unexpected results.

Although not associated with any religion, one of the primary uses of the Enneagram is as a transformative tool that helps us realize our essential nature (divine nature or being) and integrate our personality. 

What does an enneagram 1 go to in stress

Enneagram type 1 does their best to break down obstacles of all kinds – especially moral obstacles – so that the human spirit can shine and transform the world.

They struggle to attain ever higher moral values, even at the cost of personal sacrifice.

Under conditions of high stress, those in type One long to free themselves from their burdens and obligations, and it may happen to them to dream with open eyes of ideal relationships or escape to exotic places, just like those of type four medium.

They may feel romantic or nostalgic, thinking of people they have met.

Being of type One, however, they generally inhibit their tendency to tell the object of their desires what they really feel, much less to act.

If, however, they risk showing interest in their dream “lover”, any rejection or ridicule can result in deep shame and an even stronger determination not to show these impulses. 

Type One feels guilty and becomes even more strict with himself.  They can suddenly become sullen, melancholy, and withdrawn.

Their inner discipline and control dissolve into strong feelings of envy and anger. (“Everyone has a better life than mine.”) 

They may show up dramatically or make a sad and affected face, which is not their usual thing.

Emotional outbursts, mood swings, hostility and withdrawal from society can be part of this picture.

If attention is drawn to these manifestations, those of type One will become painfully controlled and shy.

At lower levels, moving to type Four can lead them to increased self-indulgence and a desire to be an exception to their own rules.

After all, no one worked as hard as they did. Who could blame them for drinking a few glasses or for having a secret passionate affair?

These things may not be so harmful in themselves, but because they oppose the dictatorship of the Type One superego, they become a source of even greater tension and anxiety. 

Moreover, the way One chooses to have fun tends not to be really beneficial, so it will not really have the effect of removing his tension and frustration.

As they become more disharmonious, their superego becomes so severe that they may unconsciously seek more and more destructive ways to get rid of or counteract it.

What does an enneagram 2 go to in stress

When the degree of anxiety and stress exceeds their defense possibilities, the people from typology Two go to typology Eight, becoming more brutal and imposing themselves by force. 

Normally, people in type Two have the image of altruistic kindness, but when they go to Eight they turn out to be extremely harsh in-depth – the others end up discovering that there is a handful of steel under the velvet glove. 

Their vague attitude usually turns into a more direct approach, and the middle-level representatives of typology Two openly reproach people for not offering them anything in return – complaining that they have not been offered evidence of affection. which would have been expected or sufficiently appreciated. 

They can be surprisingly aggressive and quarrelsome, insisting quite a lot on the fact that others have wronged them.

Needless to say, these wishes will surprise many others. 

At the same time, like the representatives of the middle level of typology Eight, when they are stressed, those of typology Doi begin to take care of their basic needs, working harder and without rest. 

They want their efforts to be appreciated, and just like those in the Eight types, they let people know who is making the rules of the game. (“I hope you realize how important I am in your life.”).

When they are extremely stressed, those of type Two become dominant, seeking to control others openly. 

Thus, they end up threatening others by trying to undermine the trust of people who need them.

The move to Eight can be seen as a result of the feelings of anger and betrayal that Altruists are unable to face under normal conditions.

What does an enneagram 3 go to in stress

Under the influence of increasing stress, the mechanism of adaptation of the type Three medium can give way, failing to manifest some of the characteristics of the type New medium to unhealthy.

Those of type Three are very focused, determined to achieve what they set out to do and identify with what they are doing, and the migration to type Nine gives them a break in their relentless flight for success.

Because they are so eager to fulfil their purpose and assert themselves, type Three inevitably creates stress and conflict in their relationships with others.

In such moments it is possible for them to slow down, becoming more diplomatic and forgiving, like those in the Nine Middle type. 

They will want to continue to be different from the rest, but not so fervently. they will relax their guard and try to adapt to their entourage.

As we have seen, the pursuit of success can lead to type Three in situations where they have to do things that do not really interest them.

They can cope with this situation for limited periods of time, but over longer periods (or an entire career or relationship that is not based on the real desires of type Three) will make them become indifferent and dissociated like some cases of type Nine.

Instead of being efficient, they will fill their time with work and routine, hoping to get through difficult situations without being affected by them.

Although type Three is usually quick and efficient in solving tasks and responding to the demands of others, stress makes them strangely irresponsible and inert.

Major failures or problems in their careers can be extremely difficult for the Three.

In such times, they are disappointed in life and in themselves. Their inner emptiness comes to the surface and they may seem apathetic and consumed. 

Instead of using their ingenuity to change things for the better, they tend to avoid the realities of their problems and waste their time dreaming of how they would like to be or their future great success.

What does an enneagram 4 go to in stress

As we have seen, those in the Four typology tend to get lost in romantic fantasies and avoid people, both to ask for attention and to protect their feelings.

The transition to type Two represents the efforts of a Four to compensate for the problems created. 

After a period of closure and egocentrism, a Four goes to Two and unconsciously tries to solve his interpersonal problems through forced sociability.

Like type Two, they begin to worry about their relationships and look for artificial ways to get closer to the people they like.

They need strong confirmations that their relationship is stable. 

Thus, they will frequently show their affection for the other and will constantly remind them how important their relationship is.

In extreme cases, they will mimic emotional crises to see if others care or not.

This behaviour exhausts those around them, who end up losing interest and leaving them, causing the inevitable problems of abandonment.

In this case, maybe there was again a transition to type Two; they will try to maintain their relationship by clinging to each other’s necks.

They will also find it unsafe to express their needs and begin to hide their problems, focusing on others, (“I’m here to help you.”)

They will become increasingly in need of emotional and financial support to continue their unrealistic lifestyle.

They are afraid that with strong support, they will lose the opportunity to achieve their dreams. To prevent this, they will exaggerate their importance in the lives of others. 

They will always be reminded of the many benefits of their association, will assume the happiness of others, and will find subtle ways to strengthen their dependence on others.

They will invent needs and become more and more jealous and possessive of the people they care about. 

Like type Two, a stressful Four will compulsively seek appreciation for his accomplishments, while complaining that his work is not being valued enough.

What does an enneagram 5 go to in stress

Observers try to get rid of stress by focusing on very few things and retreating to the sanctuary of their thoughts.

When this method of coping fails to alleviate their problems, they move on to the Seventh Typology, throwing themselves impulsively into various actions to combat isolation.

 They become restless and agitated – their minds rush and they feel the need to distract themselves from growing fears.

The anxiety they feel when it comes to finding a niche for themselves can cause them to become scattered in action.

As in the middle zone of the Seventh typology, they jump from activity to activity, from idea to idea and do not seem able to find something to satisfy them.

After refusing to take care of the needs they feel, especially the sensory ones and that of being helped, those in the Fifth typology go to the Seven and act in search of strong stimulation and experience. 

In general, these diversions have little to do with their professional projects – they can throw themselves into movies, drinks, drug “tests” or sexual escapades.

They can start secretly going to bars, strip clubs or weirder, more unusual places, which would surprise those who think they know them very well.

When they go through extreme stress, the Observers defend themselves by becoming aggressive and insensitive in the pursuit of their current interest – like Generalists with unhealthy tendencies.

They may also find a way out of substance abuse of various kinds.

What does an enneagram 6 go to in stress

As we have seen, devotees are constantly investing their time and energy in “security systems.” When they go through stronger stress than they are normally able to bear, those in the Sixth typology can move on to the Third Typology and become even more involved, possibly even dependent on work. 

They make extra efforts to become part of others and adapt to what is around them, striving to be true examples in everything they do to maintain their social and financial position.

Thus, they become more aware of the way they look in front of others, developing their jargon, gestures and a perfect image to be accepted by those around them. 

He hopes that in this way he will gain the appreciation of others and avoid rejection.

However, those around them often discover the forced quality of their friendship or professionalism, making them wonder what Devotions are up to.

Like Competitors, Devotees can compete with others, though often by identifying with a group or faith (favourite football team, company, school, nationality, religion).

They can also become boastful, adopting a condescending attitude, despising others, and emphasizing their own superiority in a desperate attempt to defend themselves against bad opinions about themselves and against feelings of inferiority. 

They may lie about the society they came from, about the education they received, to self-exploit or to exploit others, or to want above all to triumph over a rival group or ideology.

What does an enneagram 7 go to in stress

When they are very stressed, Generalists become aware that you have to focus to achieve something.

Thus, they begin to feel the need to shrink, just like ordinary Perfectionists. 

They work harder, feeling that only they can do the job well. they impose limits on their behaviour.

Basically, they are forced to stay in a certain direction, while becoming frustrated with all the structures and limitations. 

They may become either more restless and scattered, or more controlled and rigid, in which case their usual merriment may become a grim seriousness.

Like middle-level perfectionists, these Generalists try to educate others – whether they are talking about an interesting book or a workshop, or a particular political or spiritual point of view.

 Enthusiasm for one’s own opinions can quickly turn into a tendency to debate or criticize the views of others.

They can become “dry”, impersonal and very impatient with any degree of incompetence in themselves or in others. 

When they are extremely stressed, their resentments and background anger rise to the surface and they begin to quarrel with those around them, cling to details and be sarcastic.

What does an enneagram 8 go to in stress

As the pressure on them increases, Leaders can only resist up to a point.

After all, their confrontational attitude and desire to assert themselves can lead to overwhelming situations. 

When they have assumed more than they can carry, they can move on to the Fifth Typology of the Observatory, withdrawing from conflicts to make strategies, gain time, and gather strength.

In such moments, they may become lonely and melancholy, spending many orcs reading and gathering information to help them better judge their situation. Insist on being given the time, space and privacy to work things out before moving back into action. 

Observers, too, can become very preoccupied with their plans and projects – they stay up late at night to work, avoid others, and become secretive.

They can also become very silent and detached, which may surprise those who are accustomed to their imposing, passionate features.

Also, periods of stress can make them more agitated, just like those in the middle levels of the Fifth typology.

They tend to minimize their comfort and needs and generally neglect themselves. They can often eat unhealthily and have insomnia.

Feelings of rejection can also lead them to the darker aspects of the Fifth typology. Then they become very cynical and contemptuous of the values ​​and beliefs of others.

And Leaders who go from bad to worse can become nihilists, always feel on the outside, and the hopes of reconnecting with the world or finding something positive in themselves or in the world are very low.

What does an enneagram 9 go to in stress

As we have seen, the Nine type chooses to cope with stress by minimizing his own desires and choices and retreating to the inner sanctuary.

When these methods are no longer enough to solve anxieties, type Nine takes on strong influences from type Six, investing energy and effort in activities or relationships that they believe would bring them more peace and stability in life.

When worries and anxieties come to the surface, the Nine guy focuses on work, projects and any other activities.

As if, after putting things aside for a while, they suddenly recover and try to cover all the problems in one fell swoop intense activity. 

At the same time, they become increasingly refractory in their relationships with others, increasingly passive-aggressive and defensive.

Cracks appear in their positive philosophies of life and the doubts and pessimism with which they defend themselves fiercely begin to be seen.

Like type Six, in a state of stress, they bring to the surface complaints and grievances that have long been hidden and set aside about others and their lives in general. 

Although these discharges temporarily relieve their stress, the benefits are very short-lived, because they still avoid recognizing the roots of their unhappiness.

In situations of extreme stress, a siege mentality can develop. 

Paranoid suspicions can quickly degenerate into blaming others for their own problems and defiant reactions.

Uncontrolled outbursts of anger can be as surprising to the Nine as they are to those who observe them from the outside.


In this blog post, we talked about what each Enneagram type goes through in stress, and how they handle difficult situations.

Which Enneagram type are you? Did you find something new about yourself today?

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments!

Further reading 

The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types, by Don Richard Riso 

Enneagram Self-Discovery: Understand Personality Types to Enhance Your Spiritual Growth & Build Healthy Relationships, by Elliot Hudson 

The Enneagram Of Personality: Why Discovering Your Unique Personality Type Is Essential For Your Personal Growth, by Arthur Canfield 

The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery (The Road Back to You Set), by Ian Morgan Cron

The Sacred Enneagram: Finding Your Unique Path to Spiritual Growth, by Christopher L. Heuertz  


The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types, by Don Richard Riso 

Personality Types: Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery, by Don Richard Riso, Russ Hudson

Understanding the Enneagram: The Practical Guide to Personality Types, by Don Richard Riso, Russ Hudson


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