Relationships (Type Combinations) — The Enneagram Institute
Type compatibility is more about similar levels self awareness than it is about personality Man is Type 8 (Leader) or Type 9 (Peacemaker). Harmony: 9 allows 4 to pursue her options, 4 plans out romantic dates 8's anger scares 5 away, 5 finds places of solitude to avoid 8. Harmony. 8 strongly How do you see the Enneagram types affecting your personal relationships? (It does. In relationships they can be controlling and sometimes overwhelming The Eight attention style fixes on power, overt control, excess, strength, and justice.
Even healthy Eights spend a lot of time overcoming obstacles and adversity; they are fighters trying to survive and make their mark on the world. Nines are like a safe harbor, a respite, a person with whom Eights can let down their guard and relax. They tend therefore to teach each other what the other lacks: Eights bring Nines self-confidence and self-assertion, while Nines teach Eights which battles are worth fighting for and how not to push so hard.
Their roles are well-defined with each playing a parenting role toward the others—one is usually the daddy while the other is the mommy—although this does not go along gender lines as might be expected.
Both have powerful drives and strong willpower; both like comfort and simplicity; both want to create a safe retreat from the world. When these forces and their talents are harnessed together after the same goals, this pair can be dynamic and powerful but also comfortable and receptive at the same time.
Potential Trouble Spots or Issues One of the main problem areas for people of this combination is that, as they deteriorate, their defenses go in opposite directions: Eights tend to push harder, while Nines tend to increasingly shut down. Type 1, the Perfectionist, and Type 9, the Mediator Synergies and Challenges Key Conflicts Perfectionists and Mediators often join together in attending to detail and leading an orderly, steady life.
Mediators, however, can feel criticized and prodded instead of encouraged by Perfectionists. As a result, Mediators may end up feeling inferior. In attempting to please, they over-accommodate and build up stubborn resistance that annoys and frustrates Perfectionists. A cycle of escalating conflict can follow, leading to further prodding of the Mediator, which creates a power struggle: This pattern is compounded since both types have difficulty knowing their real needs and desires.
Over time the relationship can deteriorate to extinction. What to Appreciate in Mediators. Flexibility, patience, acceptance, adaptability, steadiness, genuine care, empathy. To build acceptance and appreciation of your differences. Develop flexibility and patience. Supportive structure, clarity, industry and effort, conscientiousness, improvement and fairness in orientation. Pick up your own pace. Take positions and make initiatives.
Face anger and conflict. Type 2, the Giver, with Another Type 2 Synergies and Challenges Key Conflicts Givers join together in valuing a focus on relationships and in appreciating the nurturing quality and sensitivity to feelings in each other. Having little awareness of their own needs, however, they may become overly solicitous with each other, compete for approval, and feel unappreciated, unfulfilled, and ironically unconnected.
Failure to get into the natural flow of giving and receiving, can lead to emotional upset and to who is dependent on whom. Ultimately hurt feelings may then ensue leading to angry, emotional outbursts and ultimately to withdrawal or rejection. There just may not be enough flow of giving and receiving to sustain the relationship.
Relationship Development for Givers with Givers: Pride connected to giving leading to tendency to be overly helpfuldifficulty receiving, inattention to own needs, anger when needs go unmet or when feeling unappreciated, over-connection in relationships, and unhealthy focus on gaining approval.
What to Appreciate in Other Givers. Helpfulness, relationship orientation, genuine care and support, positivity, flexibility, and sensitivity to feelings. Express own needs and desires directly and encourage other Giver to do the same. Practice getting into the natural flow of giving and receiving.
Conflict occurs when Givers experience Performers as discounting feelings and relationship issues, while Performers experience Givers as getting off task and wanting too much time and attention. A cycle of increasing conflict can result with the two types polarizing — the Giver feeling rejected, getting emotional, and emoting anger and with the Performer feeling unrecognized and impatient and then disappearing into work.
This pattern can result in withdrawal and eventually in alienation end to the relationship. Positive accomplishment orientation, enthusiasm, hopefulness, efficiency, and material support. Balance relationship and goal orientations. Moderate shared characteristics of intensity, positivity, fast pace, and active force.
Directly express own needs and desires. Work on developing receptive force of simply being present in the moment. Inattention to feelings, excessive focus on work and accomplishments, desire for recognition, and shared focus of wanting approval and constructing a good image.
Support and care, relationship orientation, generosity, positivity, flexibility, and sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others. Balance goal and relationship orientations. Pay attention to own deeper needs and desires. Type 2, the Giver, and Type 4, the Romantic Synergies and Challenges Key Conflicts Givers try to satisfy the apparently needy Romantics, attempting to fulfill their needs.
They can get caught up in the emotions and intensity of Romantics and lose their own sense of separateness. This cycle could lead to an unraveling of the relationship. Tendency to overdo helpfulness, desire to keep life up, difficulty with deep and darker feelings, and need for appreciation, approval, and attention.
Intensity, relationship orientation, idealization of what could be, depth of feelings, empathy, and authenticity. Practice steadiness since both types fluctuate emotionally. Work on becoming more self-directed and holding ground, especially in the presence of strong emotions and dissatisfaction. Express own desires and needs. Remind the Romantic of what is positive and present. Need to feel special, not feeling satisfied or complete resulting in fluctuating emotions, tendency toward self-absorption and amplification of feelings, and difficulty appreciating what is present and positive.
Giving and caring quality, positive image, enthusiasm, desire to bring happiness, active forward moving energy, and flexibility. Work on assisting Givers in referencing to their own needs.
Show appreciation and gratitude for the positives in life and for what Givers provide. This relationship is truly an attraction of opposites.
However, in wanting more connection and acknowledgement, Givers try to bring Observers forward into feelings and more sustained contact. Then Givers active energy can feel intrusive, overly emotional, and demanding to Observers, who then contracts and disengages. Angry outbursts, alienation, and even disruption of the relationship can ensue. Tendency to overdo helpfulness and become intrusive and over emotional, need for appreciation, approval and attention, and difficulty sustaining a separate or independent self.
Develop own autonomy or independence and inner life. Work on moderating claims for time, energy, and connection. Encourage the Observer to move forward into life and feelings. Positivity and support, open-heartedness, engagement in life, social skills, generosity, and relationship focus. Move into feelings and stay engaged in life. Allow for dependency and nurturance. Thus, while appreciating Givers support and care, Loyal Skeptics may back off from or confront what they experience as too much attention.
A cycle of escalating conflict can result polarizing the situation with the Loyal Skeptic getting accusatory and the Giver getting emotional. Withdrawal can ensue as one or the other or both types attempt to reduce distress. Eventually, this pattern can cause a lasting disruption of the relationship. Tendency to overdo helpfulness, intrusive behavior, need for approval and attention, hidden dependence, and tendency to over influence with emotions.
Questioning mind, healthy skepticism, loyalty, concern for underdogs, analytic skills, warmth, and endurance. Notice and moderate intrusiveness the big forward-moving energyemotional claims, and helpfulness. Practice directness in expressing own needs and desires.
Positivity and support, open-heartedness, responsiveness, genuine caring, generosity, and sensitivity to others. Claim own authority and boundaries. State what actually is needed and desired. Encourage Giver to express own autonomy, needs, and desires.
Reduce the tendency to magnify what can go wrong. Type 2, the Giver, and Type 7, the Epicure Synergies and Challenges Key Conflicts Both types enjoy the strengths they share in common — especially flexibility, friendliness and the love of freedom and the good life. However, Givers can find Epicures overly self-referencing and self-serving, hence not paying enough attention to the relationship or sufficiently reciprocating in give and take.
Givers can then feel neglected and unappreciated and become emotional, demanding, and guilt provoking. Epicures, on the other hand, can find Givers overly focused on others, intrusive, and too needy of attention.
A cycle of ever-increasing conflict can occur as the Epicure, feeling smothered and limited, can respond with escapism and rationalization and the Giver with angry outbursts and emotionality, possibly resulting in alienation and deterioration and even destruction of the relationship. Disowned needs and desires, preoccupation with relationship and connection, and tendency to become inadvertently emotionally controlling.
The many interests and ideas, healthy self-interest, idealism, flexibility, and the shared optimism and quest for happiness Key Tasks for Building and Sustaining Relationship.
Develop autonomy the separate or independent self. Work on providing the Epicure with space while maintaining connection. Express own deeper feelings, needs, and desires. Allow for slowing pace and increasing receptive force.
Avoidance of painful feelings, difficulty accepting naturally occurring limits, tendency to avoid emotional commitment, and self-referencing to own interests and ideas. Giving and caring nature, strong relationship focus, generosity, and the shared optimism and quest for happiness Key Tasks for Building and Sustaining Relationship. Commit to the relationship while asserting boundaries.
Allow in feelings and concerns. In turn, the Protector often resists the influence and may react to feeling contained or manipulated with more confrontation and anger. Feeling rejected and devalued, the Giver may withdraw or burst out in anger and emotion. This all can result in a deep rift in the relationship and repeated cycles of uncontained reactivity leading to destruction of the relationship.
Failure to focus on and express own needs, habit of altering to please, desire for attention and approval, intrusiveness, and potentially inadvertent emotionally manipulative behavior designed to soften and modify Protectors. What to Appreciate in Protectors. Power and strength, assertiveness, encouragement and support of desires, zest for life, directness, and protectiveness. Practice holding ground, expressing self directly, and claiming own needs.
Work at accepting, not changing, the Protector. Develop the separate or independent self. Become aware of and moderate intrusiveness and emotionality that the Protector experiences as controlling. Genuine care, helpfulness and willingness to give, sensitivity regarding feelings and relationships, and positive active energy. Develop sensitivity to feelings and allow in own vulnerabilities.
Manage energy expression and boundaries. Type 2, the Giver, and Type 9, the Mediator Synergies and Challenges Key Conflicts Givers and Mediators get along well together because they both are sensitive, pleasing, helpful, and accommodating.
But conflict arises when Givers become overly helpful and intrusive in an effort to get Mediators to set priorities, take initiatives, and say what they need even though Givers have great difficulty themselves with experiencing what they need. When this pattern persists, the relationship can deteriorate and even dissolve. Steadiness, patience, genuine care, acceptance of life, empathy, and the tendency to counter active energy with a slower pace and relaxed attitude.
Notice and moderate emotions, pace, amount of advice.
Enneagram in Relationships
Develop and express own separate and independent self. Work at personal priorities and needs and encourage the Mediator to do likewise. Genuine care, helpfulness, empathy, sensitivity regarding feelings, liveliness, and positive active energy. Work on own priorities, personal boundaries, and needs and encourage the Giver to do likewise.
Take responsibility for own part in conflict. Be willing to confront intrusion and over giving. They can live parallel yet supportive lives with each taking on the tasks necessary to function and attain goals. They may even become competitive, experience one another as obstacles in the path of attainment and success, and feel insufficiently recognized. A cycle of ever-increasing conflict can result when this occurs.
Then each can get frustrated, impatient, angry, and distance himself or herself from each other, leading to alienation and distant co-existence or dissolution of the relationship. Inattention to feelings and relationship issues, excessive focus on work and accomplishments, desire for too much recognition, and difficulty slowing pace.
What to Appreciate in Other Performers. Notice pace and moderate pace and allow in the receptive force. Encourage expression of feelings in each other associated with the development of the receptive force. Create time for non-work related activities and simply the relationship.
Recognize that love comes from being, not doing. The Loyalist In the article on the Type Six, I wrote about this combination, and now I will continue with some of the challenges of the relationship. The skeptical Six may wonder if the Two stands to benefit in some way.
The Six can even feel set up by the Two to be the vehicle for their personal ambition. Already stressed by exposure and success, the Six may then sabotage the effort by letting the Two down. It does help if the Two can have their own profession and activities separate from the Six. Sixes enjoy being loyal supporters for the family.
Type Two with a Type Seven: The two types are naturally seductive people who like to consider the potential availability of other partners. It helps if they can commit to one another, and determine how much outside attention each person needs. Both types have challenges with prolonged contact. The Seven can feel limited by it, and the Two can feel like they may be exposed. At times, the Two may want more attention than the Seven can easily give. An attention crisis can then develop where the Two sees a superficial lightweight, and the Seven sees an emotional drag.
Both partners can thrive when they focus on real feelings, and move from infatuation to emotional depth in their relationship. Type Two with a Type Eight: The Protector This couple can align around the seduction of the Two and the power of the Eight.
The Giver moves towards others by trying to please while the Protector moves against them to uncover the truth. The more secure the Eight feels in the relationship, then they can be extremely generous. They can show affection by trying to make things happen for their partner. This puts the Giver in the position as the receiver which is often an unfamiliar place for them. This can lead to emotional outbursts, but it can also bring the couple closer together. Eights feel more secure when all the cards are on the table, and Twos are finally pressured into knowing what their needs are.
This can be the outcome when both partners are conscious, but if they are acting unconsciously, the outbursts can escalate into a full-scale conflict. That is when the couple is best served by having an objective third party like a counselor mediate their conflict. There are strengths to this relationship, but there are also challenges that may be too much for one or both of the partners. Type Two with Type Nine: The Mediator In the article on the Type Nine, I wrote about this combination, and now I will continue with some of the challenges of the relationship.
A crisis can emerge in this couple dynamic if the Two becomes indispensable and the Nine feels controlled. Nines can hold back their own potential, and spread their attention to other matters. A painful cycle of withdrawal by the Nine, and pursuing by the Two can begin. The cycle can only be broken when both partners take responsibility for their actions.
Eights in Psychotherapy - Enneagram Monthly
This can also be another couple that could benefit from some counseling when the two become polarized in their struggle. The Three enjoys being admired and appreciated for their winning image, and their success in the exterior world.
Performers are willing to do a lot for their relationship. They want to provide for their family, and they want status in the eyes of the world for the family. Threes come home late and tired, and wonder why no one appreciates all that they have done. From their perspective, it can be a real dilemma: Threes can fall into relating as just another one of their many activities.
Their partners really need to take the time to reassure them that they are loved for themselves, and not for all that they provide for others. Type Three with Type One: The Perfectionist This couple is well-matched. The like to both be active, and focus on status and social image, and both find their identity through work. This couple needs romantic times together because relating through achievements only distances them from intimacy and true feelings.
Both types are concerned with what other people think, but can act it out differently. Ones compare themselves with others, but are not fooled by a carefully-crafted image, preferring real achievement instead. Type Three with Type Two: Even Twos with their own worldly accomplishments will adapt to the needs of their Three partners.
Twos like to receive the approval of loved ones, while Threes are driven to their own personal success. At times, these types can appear similar, but their motives are quite different. Givers work to be loved, and Performers love to work. Each supports the other professionally while the Giver becomes the emotional center for the family. This couple does have a lot in common: A Double Performer Couple This couple combination is a rare, but when they do get together they can have a sense that everything and anything seems achievable.
They usually have several projects going on at the same time. The trick is to be able to support one another in their professional lives without ending up leading separate, busy lives. At some point, there can be a need for them to turn inward, and to deepen emotionally especially after they grow weary of the exterior life. If this couple is able to mature and deepen their relationship especially at mid-life, they can continue to be together for the long-term.
Type Three with Type Four: The Romantic In the article on the Type Four, I wrote about this combination, and now I will continue with some of the challenges of the relationship.
Fours overvalue the emotional life while the Threes undervalue it. Type Three with Type Five: The Observer As I wrote in the article on the Type Five, this attraction of opposites seems to work well for these two types. The most typical arrangement is of the Three becoming the social organizer for the couple. The Performer sifts through the messages and invitations, and then consults with the Observer in private, before conveying their decisions to others.
Home life can develop into a place where they follow their separate interests, but then come together for meals and family time. This couple can get into a cyclical pattern where the Five finally speaks up when the Three has become over-involved in work and interests outside the home, leaving the Five alone too much. Then the Three reduces their workload to keep the peace for a time, and then begins to slip back into working overtime again.
The Five can then sulk and withhold comfort, presence and even sex to get the attention of the Three. The Three can then respond by working more to numb their feelings, hoping that the problem will resolve on its own.
This couple can benefit the most by sitting down, and negotiating mutual commitments so that they can feel more understood by the other. In time, the Five can learn to enjoy the pleasures of a social life, and Threes can welcome the chance to spend quiet times together. Type Three with the Type Six: The Loyal Skeptic As I wrote under the Type Six, these two types are not found together very often in a romantic relationship.
Their success seems to depend on resolving the issue of performance and performance anxiety. For them, public image feels like a set-up where you can be ridiculed and attacked for being too visible. They could certainly learn a lot from each other if they are both willing to acknowledge their different views.
Type Three with the Type Seven: Sevens can avoid pain and rationalize any failures by visualizing the future. Both types also tend to disappear when their public image is questioned: Threes by changing their image, and telling partial truths while Sevens switch options, and rationalize the change.
They can conspire to let each other do what they want rather than working with each other as allies in personal growth. A mature couple can learn to face their anxieties rather than burying them in activities, and when they do, Threes can step up to the plate, and take on the challenge of improving the relationship.
From their side, Sevens can bring pleasure to the relationship which can be liberating for a Three who can be overly focused on work and achievement in the world. Type Three with Type Eight: The Protector The biggest challenge for this couple is when they are faced with a failure, but this can also lead to their biggest breakthrough. Three-Eight couples mention that adversity helped them to lean on one another. Performers find that the Protectors are loyal to them as people even when scandal occurs, and their public image is shattered.
The Eight is often surprised by the Three who can save the day in an out-of-control emergency. In a healthy relationship, they can both be confidants for one another. This couple easily joins in activity and action, but the areas of feeling and being are new territory for them, and worth exploring.
Type Three with Type Nine: The Mediator Under the Type Nine, I wrote about the positive attributes of this couple, and now I will address some of the challenges. The Nine can then feel stuck, trying to come up with different solutions to their situation. An interesting outcome of this search for identity is that Nines often discover that they really did choose this life without having to change careers or partners.
They then can often re-commit to the relationship with a deeper love and understanding of the other. Having written a book on the Type Four, I covered many of the gifts and the challenges of the Romantic in relationships. The Romantics long for relationships with a soulmate, but at the same time, they can distance and pull away from the relationship. Fours have a push-pull habit in relationships, and can go through this cycle of relating with one person for a long time.
For the Four, the relationship that they are currently in can seem pale in comparison with the promise of an absent lover. They feel that their happiness lies elsewhere with this distant lover, but when they meet up with this idealized partner, then they often begin to push and pull away from them as well, and so the cycle continues. The Four grows in awareness when they can stay with a partner past the infatuation stage, and really see them for who they are, and accept them without pushing them away.
The Four needs a partner who can stay strong and stable when they begin their relationship dance. They are helped by a partner who sees the good in the here and now; and who can be an anchor during their intense emotional tides. A Love Story of Past Livesone of the leading characters, Danielle is a classic Romantic, swept up in a romance with a distant and often unavailable partner, Roberto, who seems to be a Type Five, The Observer. Type Four with Type One: The Perfectionist These two types can be a mirror for one another.
This relationship can introduce the Ones to a life of feelings rather than their usual black and white thinking. It can look like self-indulgence to the One. In retaliation, the Four can point out to the One what is missing in them.
The Ones can also begin to see that Romantics can be true companions during times of emotional pain. Romantics can also be drawn to the emotional steadiness and practicality of the Perfectionists. This can be exactly what the Four needs — someone they can depend on in stormy times. Type Four with Type Two: The Giver This relationship really captures the dance of intimacy.
Both partners can have a push-pull pattern. It makes for quite a romantic tango. Each does appreciate the other for their depth of feeling. At last, they feel that someone can meet them emotionally. They are only partnered in a dance of emotional distancing because they are each afraid of commitment. The dance is complete when the partners agree to commit to each other. With commitment, the push-pull pattern can end.
This relationship also has a feeling of a mirror because they both can express the qualities of the other in their own lives. Type Four with Type Three: The Performer This couple can be overly focused on image, and the attention that they receive from other people. Performers want respect for achievement, and Romantics need to be seen as special and unique.
This couple usually presents well in public, often adopting a lifestyle that emanates a successful elegance. Early on in the relationship, the Performer can be drawn to the inner drama of the Romantic as a counterpart to their own desire for public recognition. Fours can feel that they never get enough attention from the Three, leaving them to focus on what is missing in the relationship; and so the dance continues. For this high profile couple, keeping up the image could be what keeps them together.
They are a rare couple even though Romantics love to hang out together and become best friends. The best friend status is usually supported by a common interest such as a love of opera, a favorite cause, or a shared belief system. Best friends can also be more open with each other than their romantic partners, since Fours often believe that revealing a flaw to a significant other could result in abandonment. Double Fours share their attraction to intensity that can be evoked by the beauty of the world, by tenderness, and by experiencing the depths of emotion.
A good relationship encompasses all these aspects for this couple. They may also elevate the search for a fulfilling relationship to incredibly high standards. A real relationship can become like an artistic achievement for this couple. Their romantic needs can be highly idealized while an intimate relationship cannot be forever in bliss. On the high side, this couple can keep the spark alive for a lifetime.
Type Four with Type Five: The Observer Under the article on Type Fives, I wrote about this relationship, and now, I will share more insights about these two types together. Despite their obvious differences, these two share a worldview that is filled with meaning, and symbolism.
Both would agree that there are principles and keys of hidden meaning that operate beneath the surface of ordinary events. It is this agreement that could draw them to one another. The sense that real life is more than just superficial appearances connects these two in how they see the world very differently from mainstream society.
Boundary issues are common with this couple. Fives want to conserve energy, and will protect themselves by controlling time spent with others. Romantics want to be with their beloved, and need the attention of a lover. Observers can find excuses to limit communication, and refuse to be touched. The more the Four reaches out, the more the Five can withdraw, having a different idea of what relationship is about.
It helps when both partners work out the right degree of contact with one another. Commonly, the couple can fall into a half-distant relationship which can serve the needs of both partners when they take the time to meet one another in the middle.
Type Four with the Type Six: The Loyal Skeptic In the article on the Type Six, I wrote about this combination, and now I will continue with some of the challenges of the relationship. In a down moment, they can each blame the other for feeling low self-esteem. The Romantic may wonder if this is right partner for them, and the Loyal Skeptic can be filled with doubt about the future of the relationship.
This couple often reports frequent breakups and reunions because a mutual blaming causes mutual mistrust. Fours squirm when their flaws are exposed, and Sixes want steadfast support even when they fail. Romantics can become difficult in a crisis, refusing to see their own flaws, and making the other wrong for their views. The Loyal Skeptic will then react by arguing against whatever position the partner thinks is important, and pushing them away in the process. It helps when each partner can back down to reaffirm their commitment to one another, and to see through their own ambivalence about intimacy.
Type Four with the Type Seven: The Epicure In the article on the Type Seven, I wrote about this couple, and now I will focus more on the challenges of the relationship. Epicures have a hard time being present when things get difficult because they would rather be pursuing a more pleasant activity.
Sevens crave experience, and a Four who wants the relationship will have to participate in some of their activities. The partners can argue about how to deal with loaded issues. Fours can become unhappy when they hold their feelings back, and Sevens are afraid to go deep into their emotions.
With some counseling support, this couple could learn a lot from each other. It just depends if they are able to look past the differences, and to see what they do have in common. Type Four with Type Eight: The Protector Under the Type Eight, I wrote about this intense couple, and now, I will share more of the insights of these two types together.
In their relationship, they can actually help each other by just being themselves. An Eight usually prefers the company of a Four when they are upbeat, but if they become depressed, the Eight may disappear to go find a good time elsewhere, leaving the Four feeling ignored. This can then trigger the Four to get angry which could break their depression. If depression is anger turned inward, then an Eight could be the best remedy to help the Four express their anger.
If the Four can shift their need for attention from the Eight to a project that they both share together, then both partners can feel needed, and supported. Type Four with Type Nine: The Mediator In the article on the Type Nine, I wrote about this couple combination, and now, I will address more of their challenges in relationship.
Romantics crave intensity, and with the Mediator, they could feel like they are going to sleep rather than experiencing a deep authentic love. Craving an awakening through love, the Fours want to experience the depths of love from the acute attraction to the smoldering passion. The Nine can sense the feelings of the Four, and in good times, can step up to the plate, but in other situations, they can disappear energetically, keeping busy with mundane activities.
This couple can also benefit from having their own interests. When they each have their own personal purpose, then they can often come back together with renewed interest in their shared time as a couple.
Disengaging thought from feeling is how they protect themselves. Making a commitment to another person infringes on their independence. Suddenly, they can be touched, seen and loved by another. And it can be a very scary place for them to be. In a relationship with a Five, you need to be the active partner. You need to be the one to initiate, and reach out to them.
After a great evening out, you may experience a lengthy silence from them. Without consciously being aware that they pull away, the Five needs time to withdraw and think. A Love Story of Past Lives, one of the main characters, Roberto, exhibits some of these characteristics — the distancing, the lack of emotion at times, and the challenge to commit to another.
Type Five with Type One: