The Enneagram is all about personal growth, so I have always explored the "Levels of Health" aspect of the system with particular interest. It's so helpful to be able to see a picture of yourself at your best and worst. I've only ever seen this aspect of the system fleshed out for core types, so I set out to describe and characterize the levels of health for each type-wing combination.
If you're new to the Enneagram, there is plenty of information available online on the basic types! I'll soon be expanding my site to include more information on this amazing system for personal development, but in the meantime you can search online or check out some popular books to find out more.
Before diving in, it will help to understand my perception of each of the three levels I use below in general terms.
The "Healthy" stage for any type will be grounded, humble, and have deep inner peace. A healthy individual of any type has mastered his fear by accepting it as part of his nature, and it no longer limits him or controls his actions. His behaviors cause others to instinctively react in a way that fulfills his basic core desire. There is always an element of supporting others.
The "Average" stage for any type is what you see most commonly in each type. An average individual of any type experiences occasional fulfillment of his core desire, and occasionally struggles with his core fear. He holds on to unrealistic narratives internally, but still functions respectably in society. There is generally an element of self-focus and stagnation, rather than helping or harming others.
The "Unhealthy" stage for any type will always show signs of being unrealistic, conflicted, and somewhat extreme. An unhealthy individual of any type holds on to his core fears so deeply that he paradoxically bring those fears into reality. This means that his behaviors cause others to instinctively react in a way that reinforces his core fear. There is always an element of isolation from others.
In the classically accepted structure of the "Levels of Health" in the Enneagram, there are nine levels and it is often said that we move up and down the levels constantly. However, from what I have observed, people tend to operate generally within each of the three stages I have laid out above. Meaning, if you are in an "Average" stage you will likely remain in that stage unless something major occurs in your life that pushes you in either direction, or you make a decision to change for the better and work towards it.
I hope this helps you on your self discovery journey, please read on for the type-by-type descriptions!
Note: I alternate genders for each type profile, but know that any type can be any gender, and that the personality dynamics explained apply to both men and women in all cases!
A 1w9 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to have integrity (1) and peace of mind (9), and they fear being evil (1) and loss and separation (9).
Healthy: the Paragon
At healthy levels, a 1w9 will live by a set of values which realistically account for a goal of harmony for himself and others. Titled "the Paragon" because his life serves as an example to those around him without his having to push his ideas on others. He feel at peace in himself and accepts the flaws in the world as part of life rather than problems to fix.
Average: the Idealist
At average levels, a 1w9 holds on firmly to a set of values and filters his experiences through them. These principles may be clearly defined or more notional - either way, he has a sense that they are somehow absolute. Called "the Idealist" because his principles hold higher importance than reality. This gives rise to natural tension as his idealized world view comes into contact with reality, disturbing his inner peace.
Unhealthy: the Hypocrite
At unhealthy levels, a 1w9 will constantly look to prove himself to be "in the right". His emotional need to feel that he is "good" detaches from his actions. Labeled "the Hypocrite" as he becomes lazy in his application of his purported principles, instead resorting to judgement of others to reinforce his sense of moral superiority.
1w2 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to have integrity (1) and to be loved (2), and they fear being evil (1) and being unwanted (2).
Healthy: the Shepherd
At healthy levels, a 1w2 will embody principles that are generally quite selfless and noble. Titled "the Shepherd" because her belief system, and consistency in living by it, has a positive impact on just about everyone she meets. Regardless of what kind of work she does, her actions make her someone others love, look up to, and gather around.
Average: the Preacher
At average levels, a 1w2 will use her strong inner compass to proactively gain love and recognition from those around her. Called "the Preacher" as an aspect of personal drive becomes visible. She tries to blend genuine desire to help and guide others with a goal of fulfilling her own emotional needs. Even while making a positive difference in others' lives, she may hold on to self judgements that make accepting gratitude difficult.
Unhealthy: the Zealot
At unhealthy levels, a 1w2's beliefs become more rigid and less helpful. She thinks that she knows what's best for everyone. She may feel strong guilt for failing to show them the way while simultaneously resenting them for not following her ideology. Called "the Zealot" because of the strength with which she holds on to her moral superiority, neglecting the fact that her views invalidate other people's own values and freedom. This clinging becomes her focus, hiding her true desire for love and integrity from her own awareness.
2w1 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be loved (2) and to be good (1), and they fear being unwanted (2) and being evil (1).
Healthy: the Partner
At healthy levels, a 2w1 will be highly dedicated to and supportive of those around him. He is loved for who he is and what he does, both in leading and support roles. Titled "the Partner" because of his natural ability to see what others need and motivation to proactively provide it for them. He finds meaning and balance in service, bringing stability to his personal and professional relationships.
Average: the Dependent
At average levels, a 2w1 helps others both out of kindness and fear. On the one hand, he feels genuine love towards others and wants to connect with them. On the other hand, helping others can win him love in a transactional way while simultaneously fulfilling his perceived obligation to "do the right thing". Called "the Dependent" because he needs others to accept his help in order to feel good about himself.
Unhealthy: the Martyr
At unhealthy levels, a 2w1 rejects all love directed at him. He believes he is "defective" and that love is withheld from him as punishment, regardless of how others around him actually feel. Rather than taking responsibility for the life he has created for himself, he believes he has been unfairly given a difficult life by a higher power, and he feels justified in manipulating others into giving him what he wants. Labeled "the Martyr" because that is image he hides behind. Rather than trying to help others, he bemoans his fate to others to gain sympathy and influence over them.
2w3 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be loved (2) and to be valuable (3), and they fear being unwanted (2) and being worthless (3).
Healthy: the Giver
At healthy levels, a 2w3 gives to those she cares about openly, providing genuine value for them. More than just reacting to their needs, she helps them set and achieve their goals, supporting them along the way. Called "the Giver" because what she gives is both meaningful and effective. Unlike at unhealthy levels, she does not struggle with boundaries and has no trouble accepting love or making time for herself.
Average: the Charmer
At average levels, a 2w3's self image is determined by others. Looking for love and approval, she forms herself based on what she thinks others want, and is often quite good at it. Called "the Charmer" because she has an uplifting attitude that often impacts others positively, but sometimes uses that effect for her own emotional or tangible gain. She is very in tune to others' wants and needs, and very in tune to her own impact on others, and so may begin to view emotions as a transactional exchange, not fully grasping that others don't think the same way.
Unhealthy: the Seductor
At unhealthy levels, a 2w3 paradoxically adopts more aggressive tactics to get what she wants. Rather than seeking fulfillment of her true desires for love and connection, she seeks to use others to prove to herself that she isn't worthless. Labeled "the Seductor" because she coldly uses others' desires to get what she wants from them (this doesn't have to involve intimacy, though that is one way this pattern may manifest).
3w2 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be valuable (3) and to be loved (2), and they fear being worthless (3) and unwanted (2).
Healthy: the Provider
At healthy levels, a 3w2 will be successful and dynamic. Titled "the Provider" because he's a champion of those in her inner circle, sharing his success and genuinely earning and accepting their love. He set goals realistically and accomplishes them, never losing site of the fact that the people he cares about are the real prize.
Average: the Pleaser
At average levels, a 3w2 mixes his emotional needs with his goal-driven attitude. He wants to be admired, praised, and loved, and begins to view his success as a condition for having his emotional needs met. Called "the Pleaser" because his goal becomes to win peoples' approval. He makes life choices based on what others will reward him for, and losses touch with what he truly desires for himself.
Unhealthy: the Manipulator
At unhealthy levels, a 3w2 becomes consumed with his goals, many of which have to do with his image. Labeled "the Manipulator" because, fearing that he is secretly hated, he actively pushes a positive image of himself on people in his circles. He does little to earn respect, but does a lot of self promoting to convince people he is worthy of it. He sees others primarily as a tool for self gratification, and does not hesitate to do whatever it takes to get what he wants from them.
3w4 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be valuable (3) and to be significant (4), and they fear being worthless (3) and insignificant (4).
Healthy: the Role Model
At healthy levels, a 3w4 is self-driven and effective. She creates value for those around her, and is open and honest with the world about who she is. Titled "the Role Model" because her successful image has been earned
and genuine, inspiring others to be grounded and focused rather than just aspirational. Leadership and conventional definitions of success are natural, but she can be successful in any context and still be fulfilled.
Average: the Achiever
At average levels, a 3w4 will strive for success and admiration, aiming to prove her worth both to others and to herself. Feeling that success is a condition of having her emotional needs fulfilled, she puts effort into projecting an image of success in whatever circles she is part of. Tension arises around the question of authenticity, either when her projected image is questioned by others, or when she notices herself acting very different around different groups of people. Called "the Achiever" because she seeks to solve internal turbulence through external success.
Unhealthy: the Conceited
At unhealthy levels, a 3w4 will lose herself in pursuit of her goals. Seeing other people as significantly less important than her aims, she elevates herself above them in her mind, and convinces herself that others view (or should view) her in that way as well. Her goals are her identity, and in order to justify this inflated self image her goals become elevated to unrealistic levels as well. Labeled "the Conceited" because of the impenetrability of the self image she creates. She constantly denies reality by over-focusing on her goals, attaching herself to the idea of who she would be if she achieved them, not much caring about whether she achieves them or not.
A 4w3 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire significance (4) and to be valuable (3), and they fear being insignificant (4) and worthless (3).
Healthy: the Inspired
At healthy levels, a 4w3 has found who he wants to be. He is excited to play this role, and he is able to do it well and be acknowledged for it by others. His title is "the Inspired" because not only are others inspired by his level of inner fulfillment, but he actually is inspired by himself, fully accepting every aspect of who he is and eager to share all aspects of himself with the world.
Average: the Actor
At average levels, a 4w3 will be unsure of who he is. He will try to gain recognition, and may even succeed, but never accepts his own accomplishments as valid. He is called "the Actor" because he will change roles over time, selectively hiding and showing different parts of himself to the outside world at different times. In spite of these efforts though, his self perceptions and others' perceptions of him may be quite different.
Unhealthy: the Melancholy
At unhealthy levels, a 4w3 will be strongly self-critical, brooding, and detached from his own nature. He feels chained to negative labels he has given himself, believing them to be what others think of him. He is called "the Melancholy" because his negative mood becomes his identity. Moody, judgmental, and bitter, he feels he has been mistreated by the world and does not have the power to steer his life in a better direction, therefore he has nothing to do but feel negative.
A 4w5 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire significance (4) and to be competent (5), and they fear being insignificant (4) and useless (5).
Healthy: the Self Actualized
At healthy levels, a 4w5 will have found meaning in her life in a unique way. She has developed skill or understanding in an area that excites her, and this competency gives her both meaning and purpose. Her title is "the Self Actualized" because she found her identity and did the work to cultivate herself according to it. Her expertise is a part of her identity, and using it allows her to share herself with the world.
Average: The Sophomore
At average levels, a 4w5 will identify with certain ideas or areas of study. Called "the Sophomore" because regardless of how deeply she understands a topic of interest, she assigns herself meaning based on the topic rather than her own qualities. She is caught between the challenge of true learning, which takes time, and the desire to have her feelings validated, which wants quicker results. She will likely do some work to develop the skill in order to feed into the image she wants to project, rather than directly exploring and resolving her feelings.
Unhealthy: the Snob
At unhealthy levels, a 4w5 will be dismissive, identifying herself as possessing superior knowledge to others. Regardless of whether she has an area of expertise or not, she nurtures her false, "superior" identity and places no importance on providing value to others. She is labeled "the Snob" because this image conveniently masks her feelings of insignificance and incompetence by overcompensating in those areas.
A 5w4 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be competent (5) and to have meaning (4), and they fear being useless (5) and insignificant (4).
Healthy: the Sage
At healthy levels, a 5w4 will be grounded, insightful, and open minded. A true resource for those around him, "the Sage" loves making insights into a new problem as much as he enjoys explaining one he solved decades ago. With a deep emotional understanding of others, he has a tendency to enjoy giving thorough advice without invalidating the one asking for it.
Average: the Analyst
At average levels, a 5w4 feels that his intelligence is his identity. Over-relying on logical analysis or fixating on structures over reality, he somewhat detaches from the variety offered in the human experience. Called "the Analyst" because he develops a kind of tunnel vision, emotionally attaching to the facts of his area of study or interest and not allowing room for much else in his life.
Unhealthy: the Recluse
At unhealthy levels, a 5w4 will withdraw into a limited world built on his ideas and observations. Reacting harshly to anything new that enters his world, and yet not acknowledging the emotional nature that leads to that reaction. Labeled "the Recluse" because isolation feels most comfortable to him, in spite of it leaving him emotionally unfulfilled. Highly detached from his needs, he may neglect his body in addition to his emotions.
A 5w6 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be competent (5) and to be secure (6), and they fear being useless (5) and unsupported (6).
Healthy: the Realist
At healthy levels, a 5w6 makes an easy job of understanding her world and predicting what is likely to happen next. She feels comfortable and safe, confident in her ability to see problems coming, and feeling that she has amply prepared for them. Called "the Realist" because she is well grounded in physical reality. She knows the rules of the game of life, and helps others to do the same by providing solutions and guidance that gets them through their challenges effectively.
Average: the Investigator
At average levels, a 5w6 goes out of her way to find problems in order to try to get ahead of them. Called "the Investigator" because, suspecting there may be danger around the corner, she employs her powers of observation and ability to connect the dots clearly to predict and evade potential issues. She feels gratified after solving a problem, and is largely confident in her ability to do so, but her world view dictates that something may go wrong without her efforts and it is difficult for her to obtain peace of mind.
Unhealthy: the Conspiracy Theorist
At unhealthy levels, a 5w6 will live in a conceptual reality full of fear. Focusing largely on factors of her life outside of her control, and operating on conjecture, she validates her fears with speculation. Labeled "the Conspiracy Theorist" because in an effort to rationalize her fears, she builds complex theories on small observations. These theories gain prominence in her life and will be in the back of her mind even when engaging in normal activities as she looks for more evidence to justify her fear.
A 6w5 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be safe (6) and to be competent (5), and they fear being unsupported (6) and useless (5).
Healthy: the Parent
At healthy levels, a 6w5 is a constructive member of his community, bringing insight, guidance, and foresight to those around him. Titled "the Parent" for his stabilizing effect on whatever group he is a part of. He is level-headedness and dedicated, not shying away from taking on responsibility for the good of all. He finds meaning in supporting those around him, and often is the one who makes his community one worth being in.
Average: the Employee
At average levels, a 6w5 will seek out support from a group even if he does not feel aligned with it. Called "the Employee" because he feels that he needs to be part of a group to be safe, but may begrudge the group for it rather than addressing his fear. He is likely to have an attitude of resignation, avoiding responsibility and hiding behind bureaucratic structure. Also adopts a habit of complaining about other group members in order to signal that he is not the least valuable member.
Unhealthy: the Paranoid
At unhealthy levels, a 6w5 feels deeply unsafe, confidently believing that he is not capable of protecting himself and simultaneously mistrusts the authority figures that could otherwise give him a sense of security. Labeled "the Paranoid" because he acts irrationally and develops phobias, approaching anything new by gauging its threat level. People represent possibly the greatest threat of all, and he may behave aggressively towards them, believing they are secretly plotting against him.
A 6w7 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be safe (6) and to be satisfied (7), and they fear being unsupported (6) and deprived (7).
Healthy: the Hero
At healthy levels, a 6w7 looks after the wants and needs of her community. She is always ready to help someone in need, or to take action for a cause she believes in. Titled "the Hero" for her desire and ability to put others first, and for the appreciation she naturally draws from those around her. She moves naturally within social groups, and draws meaning in her life from contributing to them.
Average: the Politician
At average levels, a 6w7 worries that her social status is at risk and fears the pain of rejection. Because her sense of security relies so heavily on being "in" with the right people, she acts out of fear and uses indirect methods to solidify her position. Called "the Politician" because she is a master at signaling solidarity to her group without revealing that to her they are a means to fulfill her needs. She jumps at the chance to share something negative about her peers in order to cement security through superior status.
Unhealthy: the Rebel
At unhealthy levels, a 6w7 lives in fear while actively rejecting the idea of personal responsibility. Labeled "the Rebel" because she feels bitter that her need for security is not being met by the authority figures in her life, and acts out against them. She is highly focused on these figures while contradictorily attempting to signal independence and personal power. Irrational, indulgent, and sometimes aggressive behaviors emerge as a way to convince herself that she is in control.
A 7w6 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be satisfied (7) and to be secure (6), and they fear being deprived (7) and unsafe (6).
Healthy: the Joybringer
At healthy levels, a 7w6 is inspired by life itself and enjoys experiencing it with others. Grateful to those around him for their presence, he inspires them to view the world optimistically. Titled "the Joybringer" for his natural purity and the ease with which he makes everything around him brighter. He isn't swayed by fear or deterred by negativity, he simply and realistically deals with issues that arise without losing sight of the positive side.
Average: the Troubadour
At average levels, a 7w6 is an upbeat wanderer. Focusing on the positive and denying the negative, he often attempts to avoid his problems rather than dealing with them. Called "the Troubadour" because he brings positivity wherever he goes, however when the going gets tough he rarely sticks around. He can be a long term and dedicated friend when times are good, but he is likely to avoid more difficult conversations or situations, or react poorly to them out of fear.
Unhealthy: the Vagrant
At unhealthy levels, a 7w6 finds himself alone to deal with a pile of problems. Having turned his back on others when they needed him, he finds the issues he denied or avoided come back to bite him. Labeled "the Vagrant" because he has worn out his welcome everywhere he may have found a home. He feels slighted or deprived, blaming others for not supporting him, even though he did not support them either.
A 7w8 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be satisfied (7) and to protect themselves (8), and they fear being deprived (7) and losing control (8).
Healthy: the Doer
At healthy levels, a 7w8 is robust, fun-loving, and dynamic. She is full of life, clear about what she wants, and has no trouble getting it. Strongly independent, but gets along well with others, often leading them down paths they wouldn't normally travel. Titled "the Doer" for their love of action and appetite for life, and because they focus this power on getting things done rather than indulgence or distraction.
Average: the Self-seeker
At average levels, a 7w8 uses her dynamism to gratify herself without much regard for the consequences. She has a dislike for making plans and for compromise, only feeling comfortable when she knows she has the flexibility to do what she wants to in the moment. Called "the Self-seeker" because she puts herself before others on a day to day basis as well as setting her life goals based on what will bring her the most gratification. Simultaneously, she neglects those of her needs that require discipline or sacrifice to fulfill.
Unhealthy: the Denier
At unhealthy levels, a 7w8 sees her choices come back to haunt her. In pursuit of short-sited self gratification, she has blocked out awareness of many of too many of her needs. Labeled "the Denier" for her stubbornness and willingness to fight against reality, believing she can make anything happen through sheer force of will. Physical needs are often among those denied the strongest, and she finds her energy levels drained, potentially suffering from health issues that could have easily been avoided. She may begin regretting the decisions that led her to her current position, but still holds on to bad habits or stubborn thought forms.
An 8w7 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be in control (8) and to have their needs satisfied (7), and they fear being controlled by others (8) and being in pain (7).
Healthy: the Trailblazer
At healthy levels, an 8w7 is a benevolent powerhouse. Void of self-doubt, he is comfortable operating in unknown territory and without guidance. Titled "the Trailblazer" because he pushes forward towards new horizons, paving a path that others can follow in. He accounts for his own needs as well as those around him, and he is well equipped to fulfill them all. He is most at one with himself when he is in charge, and so surrounds himself with people who benefit from his presence and guidance.
Average: the Boss
At average levels, an 8w7 feels only feels comfortable when everyone around him knows he is in charge. Often feeling that "offense is the best defense", he may behave aggressively towards those who undermine him. Called "the Boss" because that is how he views himself, regardless of his rank, title, or the sentiment of those around him. Beginning to get caught up in stubborn thought patterns, he often prefers to stay in a situation where he is not in charge and fight for control than to move on and find a place where he is valued. He is not sure how much control he will have in a new situation, and avoids it out of fear.
Unhealthy: the Domineer
At unhealthy levels, an 8w7 sees enemies all around him and is prepared to fight at any moment. Fearing they have become powerless, they instill fear in others to create the semblance of control, but gaining nothing from it in the long run. Called "the Domineer" because they show a highly aggressive façade in order to deflect any possibility of others pointing out their fear or other sensitivities. This charade is a form of self-indulgence, and they actively seek out people to dominate, or positions of power where they can sustain this attitude without ending up alone.
An 8w9 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to be in control (8) and inner peace (9), and they fear being controlled by others (8) and loss and abandonment (9).
Healthy: the Pillar
At healthy levels, an 8w9 is grounded, focused, and reliable. Highly confident, she sets all of her own goal, and can't be stopped once she has started off on a path. That said, she doesn't have a restless bone in her body, and is just as content to sit peacefully and rest as she is when she's hard at work. Titled "the Pillar" for the steady, consistent, and invaluable support she offers those around her.
Average: the Bear
At average levels, an 8w9 can be stubborn, rejecting suggestions from others and sticking to her path. She often finds herself caught between a desire to maintain control and a desire to keep the peace. The control side typically wins, but the imbalance between the two factors causes tension for her. Called "the Bear" because of her determination, stubbornness, and power. Comfortable in positions of authority, she leads with steadiness, but can be aggressive when her boundaries are pushed.
Unhealthy: the Loner
At unhealthy levels, the 8w9 becomes isolated and powerless. She chooses to be alone to achieve absolute control, rather than compromising or letting go of the fear that causes this desire. Labeled "the Loner", she lives a dull life, avoiding or rejecting anything or anyone new she comes into contact with, fearing she will have to dig within herself and upset the "comfortable" and "safe" balance she has achieved in isolation.
A 9w8 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to have inner peace (9) and to protect themselves (8), and they fear loss and abandonment (9) and being controlled by other (8).
Healthy: the Guide
At healthy levels, a 9w8 is at peace in both his outer and inner worlds. Engaged in his day to day life, he works towards his goal of establishing harmony for himself and those around him without shying away from conflict. Titled "the Guide" because his stability shows others how to maintain their peace while navigating the turbulence of the world.
Average: the Undecided
At average levels, a 9w8 is calm and kind to others, but neglects important areas in his life. Somewhat disconnected from reality, he may numb out strong feelings instead of dealing with them. However, when provoked, anger may arise and break through. Called "the Undecided" because his haziness and detachment make him hesitant, struggling to make decisions and preferring to go with the flow.
Unhealthy: the Lazy Bum
At unhealthy levels, a 9w8 'checks out', mastering the art of emotional repression and accepting whatever comes his way. Labeled "the Lazy Bum" because he has drained himself of conviction, and will not lift a finger unless he's prompted to. Paradoxically, he is highly determined to do very little, and will actively resist outside attempts to change his behavior.
A 9w1 has a blend of the two types' core desires and fears. This means they desire to have inner peace (9) and to have integrity (1), and they fear conflict (9) and being evil (1).
Healthy: the Mediator
At healthy levels, a 9w1 is incredibly serene and self assured. Having explored and established her views, she lives by her own code and doesn't respects others' views as well. Titled "the Mediator" for her ability to settle conflicts, helping both sides relax and explore the issues objectively. She is highly flexible and comfortable filling many roles, happy to help those around her in any way she can.
Average: the Daydreamer
At average levels, a 9w1 will spend a lot of time lost in thought. To protect against negative feelings, she chooses goes with the flow and process her experiences later. Called "the Daydreamer" because she is more comfortable in her head than her body, focusing her mind on possibilities rather than the real world. She may have strong opinions about how things "should" be, but does little to manifest those beliefs.
Unhealthy: the Lost
At unhealthy levels, a 9w1 becomes highly disassociated from her experiences. Fearing conflict to an extreme, she detaches from her feelings in order to be ready, willing, and able to go along with anything and everything that comes up. Labeled "the Lost" because her thoughts revolve around concepts of right and wrong, but her thinking is too hazy to form a stance or create an opinion.