A person’s basic dominant type is often modified or highly influenced to some degree by its neighbors. This theory manifests itself as a certain ‘wing’.
There is a theory that also influences the enneagram types greatly besides the wings – it is the instinctual sub-types.
• If you are a type 2, you may have a wing of type 1 or type 3.
• This can be summarizes as a 2 with wing 1 or a 2 with wing 3.
• If you are a type 9, you may have a wing of type 1 or type 8.
• This can be summarizes as a 9 with wing 1 or a 9 with wing 8.
A person who is strongly influenced by one side manifests only one of the wings. A person who is strongly influenced by both sides (or none at all) is considered a person with balanced wings or ‘no wings’ (meaning that they are a pure personality type of their dominant type without the influence of their neighbor).
No matter how strong a person’s wing, it does not change the fundamental type of the dominant personality.
In other words, two people may have the following characteristics:
• 2 with wing 3 (Helper with Achiever Wing)
• 3 with wing 2 (Achiever with Helper Wing)
They both can still be really different with one another though they may share the common dominant type and wing.
A simple way to summarize this is that you will always have a chocolate flavored ice cream but it is completely different from an ice cream flavored chocolate – meaning the CORE type never changes and so do their primary functions.
The subtypes are typically manifestations of a person’s instinct as they deal with the world.
The instinctual energies are expressed in such a way that each person who has the dominant type may manifest their instinctual energies in different ways.
The 3 instincts are:
- The self preservation variant
- The sexual or one-to-one variant
- The social variant
Self preservation types tend to focus more on their personal safety, their well being, natural resources, their nest egg, health and are generally more reserved compared to the sexual or social variant.
Sexual types tend to focus strongly on the chemistry or the connection between one individual and another. They are not necessarily driven by sex drives but more as a way of expressing their relationships through intimacy or deep emotional connection. Unlike the social sub-type, they prefer to have a few very close friends or a strong intimate relationship.
Social types on the other hand are not that fixated on primary intimacy. They function well in groups and are leaning more towards many personal connections rather than intensity or intimacy.
There is a theory that when a child is born, they need to feel safe, secure and well fed. Failure to meet this need throughout one’s childhood leads to a person developing a self preservation variant which is mostly fixated on their own survival.
If a child’s physical and safety needs are met but emotional connection is absent, a person might grow up to become a sexual variant as they long and seek intimacy with others which often times is absent when growing up with one or both parents.
If both needs are well met, they become healthy social types. There may be exceptions to this rule of upbringing but it is often a recurring pattern among subtypes.