Enneagram Type One ~ Polarities
Enneagram Type 1 has the Primary Polarity of “Trying not to be bad.”
The Polarity of the Type shows a movement towards a set of qualities and a movement away from its opposites. Like a pendulum in an old clock, the Type is sustaining this duality. Once the Type grows to its highest expression, the polarities collapse into natural wholeness.
This means that Type 1 is striving and working to avoid anything that is perceived as not “good.” Good for Ones means morals, ethics, standards, rules and perfection.
Bad means lack of morals, ethics, low standards, breaking the rules and imperfection.
A few Secondary Polarities for Ones at their lower expression:
- There is a right way and a wrong way, no in-between.
- Ones work hard to be responsible and not irresponsible.
- They want things to be perfect rather than chaotic.
- They can be hypercritical rather than relaxed.
- At lower to medium expressions, they righteously dictate in a dogmatic rather than wise way.
A few Secondary Polarities for Ones at their highest expression:
- Instead of seeing only a right way and a wrong way, they see the grey in-between.
- They balance being responsible with more carefree playful healthy irresponsible times.
- They see perfection in chaotic natural imperfection.
- They relax their hypercritical vigilance to be more relaxed.
- At higher to medium expressions, they drop rigid dogma and speak for more gentle wisdom.
Enneagram Type One ~ Personality Pearl
Type 9 has the InnerLifeSkills RED Pearl of Gut Instinct + Resisting Reality + Impact + Anger Continuum.
This means that Type 1 is operating from a combination of gut, an unconscious physical push back against the moment (think about the sensation of resisting what we judge as imperfect or wrong), plus scanning for impact from the world and to the world and triggered anger (from irritation to rage) under stress.
Add this to the Polarities and you understand the REASON for the behaviors of Type 1.
Examples of reasons for behavior:
- Ones use their gut instinct to bring order to chaos, resisting the reality of anything that is not seen as good.
- Ones can feel impacted by low standards and imperfections, to work to keep things good.
- Ones deny their anger because anger is not always seen as a good emotion to have.
If you understand the Personality Pearl + Polarities, you understand how the Type arises. This forms a part of the InnerLifeSkills 8 Step Coaching Typing Test Method, where we teach you to use a narrative style to coach your clients to understand all 9 Types, and using trademarked worksheets of the Pearls, Polarities and Types, you help a client to discover their type.
Infographic for Type 1 Enneagram
If you look at our InnerLifeSkills Enneagram infographic, you’ll see the body posture of correcting, of “should and shouldn’t”.
You’ll see the eyes narrow, being critical of self and others – struggling to relax.
The check mark symbol on the chest is a reminder of the Primary Polarity.
Here are some voices for Type One (from our InnerLifeSkills Enneagram Coaches)
- “I want to impact by making things right.”
- “I look for ways to improve myself, sometimes being very harsh on myself.“
- “I don’t like anything being out of place.”
- “It’s hard for me to relax, I’m always working to be productive.”
- “I have high standards and expect my loved ones to meet them as well.”
- “I’m very clear on what is right and wrong, there is no grey.”
- “It took a lot to find my playful side, to learn to relax and color outside of the lines sometimes.”
- “I didn’t recognize myself as a Red Pearl, because I don’t like to think of myself as angry, after all, anger is not a good emotion.”
Enneagram Type 1 Map for Growth
At the lowest expression, Ones have created a false sense of goodness by polarizing away from humanity and imperfections.
“It’s only at my highest expression that I discover what real goodness is made of, that real goodness is whole, human and flawed.”
Ones Lowest Expression
When our Enneagram Type is at its lowest expression, it tends to have a CLOSED door to its opposite polarized Type, denying the balancing qualities of that type, to restore wholeness. And it tends to have only one OPEN door to the other type, which because of the lack of balance, adds lower functioning qualities to the primary type.
- At Enneagram Type 1’s lowest expression, the energetic door to Type 7 which is their polarity opposite is closed. This means all the healthy functional qualities of Type 7 like playfulness, gentleness, free creativity and joy is denied to Ones.
- Leaving the only energetic door open to Type 4 at its worst. This lets in the heart type shame, emotional intensity and theatrical self-expression.
“At my lowest expression, I tend to access the worst characteristics of Type 4, which means I can explode in angry theatrical complaining and reprimanding.”
“As a Type 1 when I go to 4, it’s a making a mountain out of a molehill moment.”
“It’s all self-control, self-critical containment and suddenly I can feel very emotional.”
Ones Highest Expression
When our Enneagram Type 1 is at its highest expression, it tends to have a OPEN door to its opposite polarized Type, allowing the balancing qualities of that type to restore wholeness. And it tends to then also have an OPEN door to the other type, which because of the balance, adds more higher functioning qualities to the primary type.
- At Enneagram Type 1’s highest expression, the energetic door to Type 7 which is their polarity opposite is open. This means all the healthy functional qualities of Type 7 like free joy, spontaneity, relaxation and fun are available to Ones.
- The other energetic door being open to Type 4 now adds its best. This lets in creativity, unique approaches, emotional expression and gentle sensitivity.
“At my highest expression as an Enneagram Type 1, I become playful, more relaxed and less rigid.”
“As a Type 1, when I access 7 I feel free.”
“I can laugh freely, drop the burden of being responsible 24/7 and enjoy myself.”
“I still feel responsible and dutiful but with less judgment and more gentleness.”
Enneagram Type 1 Key Words & Voices
- As a Type 1 on the Enneagram I am “trying”; there’s a lot of effort.
- I strive for “ideals”.
- My “inner critic” can become an “outer critic” where I am looking to either impose or educate or teach or instruct others in how to be “good”.
- I tend to be quite “strict” on myself and others,
- You see, I want to “improve” things all the time – I’m striving for mastery in every area of my life.
- “Perfect” and perfection is what I am working towards, which means I am very hard on myself, because perfection is so difficult to attain.
- I think in terms of “right or wrong”, no grey, nothing in the middle, something can’t be 60% right, it’s either right or wrong.
- Even around small things, the proverbial “you didn’t put the cap back on the toothpaste tube” explosion or finally at the restaurant where someone gave me the wrong meal, there could be this hyper response.
- And I might find myself feeling quite martyred where I start to complain or describe how much I’m upset, with a tone of ‘righteousness‘.
- I’m endlessly trying to fix and endlessly trying to correct the world.
Enneagram Type 1 Common Mistyping Misidentifications
Because Enneagram tests are limited, they are often unreliable, with a 50-60% accuracy. This is why we prefer a narrative, coaching approach to helping people to discover their types. Types share common behaviors, but differ in their Personality Pearl “grain of sand” hidden reason for behavior.
Here are a few common Type 9 mistypings showing what is in common and what ultimately separates the types. We train our Enneagram Coaches to use this type of thinking as a framework to ask clients enlightening questions, so that clients can weigh in on the coaching session to find their type (with the expert guidance of their InnerLifeSkills Enneagram Coach).
- TYPE 2 vs. 1: Both sacrifice their personal needs, 1 in favor of the ‘right’ thing and 2 in favor of the ‘other’s needs’. 1 needs to be good, 2 needs to be loved and liked. 1 can be pedantic and harsh with words, 2 chooses kind words to be seen as loving. 1 is an anger type who is learning to relax and let go, 2 is a self-worth type who is learning self-love.
- TYPE 3 vs. 1: Both strive for excellence, 1 in favor of perfection and 3 in favor of winning. 1 follows the rules, 3 can bend the rules to get ahead. 1 can procrastinate getting stuck on details, 3 wants to move ahead quickly and can neglect details. 1 is an anger type who is learning to relax and let go, 3 is a self-worth type who is learning humility and service.
- TYPE 4 vs. 1: Both can become dramatic, 1 when the lid on anger explodes and 4 to vent intense feelings. 1 follows the norm, 4 wants to be different. 1 is responsible and law-abiding, 4 can take from life out of a sense of entitlement. 1 is an anger type learning to relax and let go, 4 is a self-worth type who is learning to be objective and hardworking.
- TYPE 5 vs. 1: Both care about the details and understanding, 1 in favor of doing the ‘right’ thing and 5 in favor of a hunger for knowledge. 1 does things carefully, 5 is anxious about being competent. 1 is more engaged with people, 5 prefers space and isolation. 1 is an anger type who is learning to relax and let go, 5 is a fear type who is learning confidence.
- TYPE 6 vs. 1: Both are diligent and hardworking, 1 in favor of doing the ‘right’ thing and 6 to be useful and of service. 1 follows the rules 6 might question the rules but follows out of fear. 1 can be angry and harsh, 6 is afraid of aggression (except CP6). 1 is an anger type who is learning to relax and let go, 6 is a fear type who is learning faith in self.
- TYPE 7 vs. 1: Both can be perfectionists, 1 in favor of the ‘right’ thing and 7 when they are focused. 1 needs to be ‘good’, 7 needs to have fun even if it means being ‘bad’. 1 can be hyper responsible and controlled, 7 can be irresponsible and wild. 1 is an anger type who is learning to relax and let go, 7 is a fear type who is learning focus and content stillness.
- TYPE 8 vs. 1: Both correct others to enforce, 1 in favor of the ‘right’ thing to do and 8 in favor of ‘my way’ of doing things. 1 looks to the world for the ‘way’, 8 follows their instincts. 1 can be critical and pedantic, 8 can be bossy and aggressive. 1 is an anger type who is learning to relax and let go, 8 is an anger type who is learning compassion.
- TYPE 9 vs. 1: Both sacrifice personal needs, 1 in favor of doing the ‘right’ thing and 9 to go with the flow. 1 needs to be good, 9 needs to avoid conflict. 1 can be pedantic and harsh with words, 9 can fall asleep to their anger and lack confidence. 1 is an anger type who is learning to relax and let go, 9 is an anger type who is learning to be assertive and present.