Enneagram Type Nine ~ Polarities
Enneagram Type 9 has the Primary Polarity of “Trying not to disturb the peace.”
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 9 is avoiding and working to smooth over anything that has the power to disrupt inner and outer peace. Inner peace means Nines are trying to keep the equilibrium of their peaceful mind, heart and gut.
Outer peace means avoiding conflict and trying to keep the status quo as calm and neutral.
A few Secondary Polarities for Nines at their lower expression:
- It’s often easier to tune out rather than to be fully awake.
- Nines prefer to take their time slowly rather than be very dynamic.
- They prefer to avoid rather than confront.
- They can numb instead of assert themselves.
- At lower to medium expressions they find it easier to hide than show up, follow than lead.
A few Secondary Polarities for Nines at their highest expression:
- Instead of tuning out they now feel fully awake.
- From moving slowly they now become active and dynamic.
- Instead of avoiding impact they are able to confront.
- From being numb they now wake the fire needed to assert themselves.
- No longer hiding they show up, and instead of only following they now step up to lead.
Enneagram Type Nine ~ Personality Pearl
Type 9 has the InnerLifeSkills RED Pearl of Gut Instinct + Resisting Reality + Impact + Anger Continuum.
This means that Type 9 is operating from a combination of gut, an unconscious physical push back against the moment (think about the sensation of inertia), 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 9.
Examples of reasons for behavior:
- Nines use their gut instinct to avoid conflict, resisting the reality of anything that disturbs the peace.
- Nines can tune out when they feel impacted, to sustain their inner peace.
- Nines fall asleep to their anger because they feel it disturbing their peace.
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.
Learn to become an InnerLifeSkills Certified Enneagram Coach.
Infographic for Type 9 Enneagram
If you look at our InnerLifeSkills Enneagram infographic, you’ll see the bubble of peace around the Nine, to avoid impact.
You’ll see the eyes closed, enjoying being asleep to “the self” – struggling to finish sentences that start with “I” like “I like…” “I want…” and “I believe in…”
The peace symbol on the chest is a reminder of the Primary Polarity.
Here are some voices for Type Nine (from our InnerLifeSkills Enneagram Coaches)
- “I don’t want to be impacted, so I don’t mind just blending in.”
- “I look for ways to numb myself, sometimes with watching television, or some other mindless activity.“
- “I don’t like a fuss being made over me.”
- “My ex told me that I was never fully present in the relationship, sometimes I feel like I’m not really in my life.”
- “I’m an uncomplicated person, content with simple things.”
- “I’m chilled, and people describe me as amicable.”
- “It took a lot to find my fire, to learn to assert myself, work out what I wanted and take a stand, but it’s been worth it.”
- “I didn’t recognize myself as a Red Pearl, because I’m so relaxed, and have only been very angry a few times in my life. But when I have been angry it’s been full body rage.”
Enneagram Type 9 Map for Growth
At the lowest expression Nines create a false sense of peace by polarizing away from anger and impact.
“It’s only at my highest expression that I discover what real peace is made of, that real peace needs my fire, it needs myself, my ‘I’ to show up fully in life and in relationships.”
Picture 2 doorways, between Nine and the two other types Nines are connected to, Six and Three.
Nines 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 9’s lowest expression, the energetic door to Type 3, which is their polarity opposite is closed. This means all the healthy functional qualities of Type 3 like inspiration to take action, charisma, solution focused thinking, time efficiency and being visible are denied to Nines.
- Leaving the only energetic door open to Type 6 at its worst. This lets in the mind type anxiety, procrastination, self-doubt, lack of authority and excessive humility.
“At my lowest expression, I tend to access the worst characteristics of Type 6, which means I procrastinate, overthink things, become anxious to the point of collapsing into a slow 9 heap.”
“As a Type 9, when I go to 6, it’s a heavy anxiety that borders on depression.”
“It’s all thinking, and thinking, and confusion, sharpening pencils, and making long to-do lists instead of taking action.”
“Questioning myself, questioning my questions, instead of getting to the fire in my gut, which says “I want this!”
Nines Highest Expression
When our Enneagram Type 9 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 higher functioning qualities to the primary type.
- At Enneagram Type 9’s highest expression, the energetic door to Type 3, which is their polarity opposite is open. This means all the healthy functional qualities of Type 3 like inspiration to take action, charisma, solution focused thinking, time efficiency and being visible are available to Nines.
- The other energetic door being open to Type 6 now adds its best. This lets in service, true humility, problem solving, integrity and the stamina for diligent mundane work.
“At my highest expression as an Enneagram Type 9, I become decisive, using my instincts to get off the couch and take focused action.”
“As a Type 9, when I access 3 I feel alive.”
“I can give an average 3 a run for their money, I become very productive, charismatic, even funny.”
“I still feel doubt and I question but this feels like a healthy way to check myself for too much ego!”
Enneagram Type 9 Keywords & Voices
- I avoid confrontation, it takes ages to work out what I really feel about something.
- In order to not be impacted, I might delay things. “Not now, not now!” Procrastinating and putting things off endlessly.
- I might escape into big dreams, and struggle to take small steps now. Sometimes I make my dreams so big to avoid them.
- I tend to ignore problems, especially when they’re unsettling to me; when they need me to take a stand.
- I don’t mind being invisible. In fact, sometimes I prefer it.
- I can be in denial about what I really need and really want to such an extent that I don’t even know what I want.
- I go with the flow, preferring to just drift with the tide and not cause a fuss.
- I’ll use routine to tune out and to stay endlessly peaceful, but this peacefulness is not alive.
- I’m a patient person, and not very judgemental for the most part.
- I can be very indecisive, and if you push me to make a decision, I can dig my heels in and procrastinate.
Enneagram Type 9 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 1 vs. 9: Both sacrifice personal needs, Ones in favor of doing the ‘right’ thing and 9 to go with the flow. Ones need to be good, Nines need to avoid conflict. Ones can be pedantic and harsh with words, Nines can fall asleep to their anger and lack confidence. One is an anger type who is learning to relax and let go, Nines are an anger type who are learning to be assertive and present.
- TYPE 2 vs. 9: Both sacrifice their needs, Twos in favor of ‘the others’ needs and Nines to keep the peace. Twos need to be liked to feel worthy, Nines are amicable to avoid causing waves. Twos want to fulfill the needs of others, but Nines can be out of touch with their needs. Twos are a self-worth type learning self-love, Nines are an anger type learning to be assertive and present
- TYPE 3 vs. 9: Both can be dreamers, Threes for their future success and Nines to avoid the impact of today. Threes need personal goals and dreams, Nines need a vision beyond their personal gain. Threes can get into action and work with speed, Nines can struggle to act. Threes are a self-worth type learning humility and service, Nines are an anger type learning to be assertive and present.
- TYPE 4 vs. 9: Both can be avoiding and compromising, Fours to stay broken and express their special true selves, Nines to hide from their true selves and avoid conflict. Fours need to stand out from the crowd, Nines needs to blend in. Fours can have intense dramatic feelings, Nines can numb their feelings. Fours are a self-worth type learning to be functional and ordinary, Nines are an anger type learning to be assertive and present.
- TYPE 5 vs. 9: Both can be withdrawn, Fives out of anxiety, wanting to observe and Nines to avoid impact and to tune out. Fives needs to understand, Nines needs to feel peaceful. Fives can have strong opinions, Nines can swallow their opinions to keep the peace. Fives are a fear type learning to be engaged and confident, Nines are an anger type learning to be assertive and present.
- TYPE 6 vs. 9: Both are sensitive to others, Sixes in favor of being fair and just and Nines in favor of keeping the peace. Sixes need support and feedback, Nines need harmony. Sixes can be anxious and untrusting struggling to let things go, Nines can be chilled, let go and go with the flow. Sixes are a feartype learning faith in self, Nines are an anger type learning to be assertive and present.
- TYPE 7 vs. 9: Both are carefree and not needy, Sevens seek variety, freedom and enjoyment and Nines seek routine, peace and harmony. Sevens live in the imagined fun of tomorrow and Nines tune out from the impact of today. Sevens avoid pain, Nines avoid conflict. Seven is a fear type who is learning focus and content stillness, Nine is an anger type who is learning to be assertive and present.
- TYPE 8 vs. 9: Both have strong instincts, Eight is tuned in to strategy and their desires and Nine is tuned in to bring peace. Eights need to be in charge, Nines need to go with the flow. Eights can be direct and harsh, Nines can try to keep the peace. Eight is an anger type learning generosity of heart and compassion, Nine is an anger type learning to be assertive and present.