The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

The Rabbit Hole is written by Blas Moros. To support, sign up for the newsletter, become a patron, and/or join The Latticework. Original Design by Thilo Konzok.


  1. The author digs into the various enneagram types, their strengths and areas for improvement, what they’re like as children, what it’s like to be in a relationship with them, and more. Why does this matter? “What we don’t know about ourselves can and will hurt us, not to mention others”.  It’s when we stop trying to change people and simply love them that they actually have a shot at transformation. The Enneagram is a tool that awakens our compassion for people just as they are, not the people we wish they would become so our lives would become easier.

Key Takeaways

  1. The purpose of the Enneagram is to develop self-knowledge and learn how to recognize and dis-identify with the parts of our personalities that limit us so we can be reunited with our truest and best selves, that “pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven,” as Thomas Merton said. The point of it is self-understanding and growing beyond the self-defeating dimensions of our personality, as well as improving relationships and growing in compassion for others.
    1. Type 1: The Perfectionist.
    2. Type 2: The Helper.
      1. Healthy Twos can often name their own needs and feelings without fear of losing relationships. They are generous in their efforts to love well and care for others. These happy, secure Twos also have appropriate boundaries, knowing what is theirs to do and what is not. They create a comfortable, safe space for others and are often considered to be a friend to many. Loving and lovable, they adapt well to changing circumstances and are aware of the true self that exists beyond their relationships.
    3. Type 3: The Performer.
      1. Healthy Threes have transcended the goal of merely looking good and are moving toward being known and loved for who they are, not for what they accomplish. They still love to set goals, rise to challenges and solve problems, but their self-worth is not tied to these things. They try to balance their abundant energy between work, rest and some kind of contemplative practice, recognizing the importance of being instead of doing. They feel valuable, which unleashes a tender benevolence that is focused on the common good.
      2. Unaware Threes are social chameleons. As you can imagine, however, their ability to create and project the image to make the sale or get the girl or guy can leave them wondering who their authentic self is.
      3. Without exception, the relationships of spiritually unevolved Threes suffer because they’re almost all workaholics. They have so many projects running and so many goals to achieve they can’t give their undivided attention to people they love.
      4. Security. When Threes are feeling secure they move to the positive side of Six, where they become warmer and more in touch with their feelings and the feelings of others. Less competitive and defensive, Threes in this space have more energy to devote to family and friends. No longer needing to be the star or in control, they care more about what’s best for the group and want to connect to something that’s bigger than they are.
    4. Type 4: The Romantic.
    5. Type 5: The Investigator.
      1. Fives are motivated by a desire to understand. To them, gathering knowledge and mastering information are not just interesting endeavors but keys to survival. By embarking on a lifelong quest for information, often about unusual or challenging subjects, Fives believe they can insulate themselves from emotional and spiritual harm.
      2. They take in all the information and don’t feel anything until they have a few days on their own to process it in private. For them life is like a knowledge salad bar. They get in line, pick what they want, then bag it up, take it home, eat it and over the next week digest it. They need extended periods of time alone where they can process their thoughts and feelings.
      3. Fives don’t want to be sucked into your emotional dramas, which is another relational challenge for them. They aren’t cold-hearted jerks; on the contrary, they will listen and be supportive while you talk about your feelings. But they don’t want to be made to feel responsible for those feelings. They’ll take responsibility for their own emotions, and they expect you to take responsibility for yours. Fives have to have independence. People who are in a relationship with them need to understand that this is not a preference but a necessity.
      4. This may sound like mundane stuff, but disclosing even little things about our lives is like Miracle-Gro for relationships. By keeping everyone on a need-to-know basis, Fives can make their friends and even their partners wonder, “Do I really know this person? Will I ever know this person?”
    6. Type 6: The Loyalist.
      1. Learn to recognize the difference between legitimate fear and free-floating anxiety, and ascribe different values to them.
    7. Type 7: The Enthusiast.
      1. Scratch the vibrant paint on the surface of a Seven and what you’ll find underneath is the need to avoid pain. I can’t say that strongly enough—Sevens don’t want to feel unpleasant emotions, particularly that swirl of fear and emptiness they register at their core. No one enjoys feeling frightened, sad, bored, angry, disappointed or frustrated, but for Sevens, emotions like these are intolerable.
      2. It also may be they don’t want to face the fact that suffering is the only point of entry into a deeper life.
    8. Type 8: The Challenger.
      1. The deadly sin of the Eight is lust, but not in the sexual sense. Eights lust after intensity—they are high-voltage human dynamos who want to be wherever the action and energy are, and if they can’t find any, they’ll cook it up. Eights have more energy than any other number on the Enneagram.
      2. Spiritually healthy, self-aware Eights love to do what others say can’t be done. When their energy is harnessed and channeled they can change the course of history. Think Martin Luther King Jr.
      3. Anger is the dominant emotion in an Eight’s life. They are fiercely independent people whose oppositional energy expresses itself in a need to be strong and go up against power.
      4. Try not to take it personally. As strange as it sounds, what feels like intimidation to you feels like intimacy to an Eight. For them, conflict is connection. In my experience Eights don’t see themselves as angry people. In fact, they’re genuinely surprised when they learn other people experience them as intimidating, insensitive and domineering.
      5. Eight identifies with the easily preyed upon and rushes to their aid.
      6. Eights don’t feel like they have to be the person in control—they just don’t want to be controlled.
      7. Eights want people to challenge them right back. Eights admire strength. They won’t respect you if you’re not willing to stand toe to toe with them. They want others to be their equals and stand up for what they believe.
      8. Eights want the unvarnished truth. Unless you like lengthy estrangements, never lie or send a mixed message to an Eight. You have to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Information is power, so Eights want to know all the facts.
      9. Eights want to be in control. Eights never want to feel like they’re not in control. This is one reason they don’t often say “I’m sorry.” If you tell them they’ve said or done something that hurt you, they may even make matters worse by accusing you of being too sensitive. When things go wrong Eights who lack self-awareness are super quick to blame others rather than own up and take responsibility for their mistakes.
      10. down their guard to allow others to see their fragility or their deep desire to be understood and loved. This is why Eights are often attracted to Enneagram feeling types (2, 3, 4), who can help them get in touch with and outwardly express their affection.
      11. Because they like to be in charge, free from limitations imposed on them by others, Eights often work for themselves.
      12. Vulnerability is the base metal of love and relationships. If Eights want to love and be loved they will have to risk opening their heart and revealing their innermost feelings to a trusted few. It’s the price of admission.
    9. Type 9: The Peacemaker.
  2. Spiritually speaking, it’s a real advantage to know what happens to your type and the number it naturally goes to in stress. It’s equally valuable to learn the positive qualities of the number you instinctively move toward in security as well. Once you become familiar with this material you can know and catch yourself when you’re heading in the direction of a breakthrough or a breakdown, and make wiser choices than in the past.
  3. “Information is not transformation.”
  4. Unfortunately, the downside of their independence and self-reliance is that these kids can forget their innocence much too early, and it is difficult to reclaim it later in life. They need to recover a little of the open-heartedness that defines childhood for others. They need to remember that time in life when they didn’t need to be in charge or control to feel safe, when they could trust others to protect them.
  5. “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.”
  6. Apart from the practical advice, the most invaluable part of the workshops comes when Rebecca hands the parents eyeglasses that correlate to each child’s specific disability. Almost always, the parents burst into tears. “I had no idea that this is the way my child sees the world,” they tell her. Once they have the experience of observing through their children’s eyes, they never experience the world in quite the same way again. They may still be angry about the diagnosis, but they’re not frustrated with their child, because even a brief exposure to the reality of how hard life is for these kids inspires in their parents only compassion. This is the gift of the Enneagram. Sometimes people talk about the Enneagram as a tool that reveals the lens through which people see the world.

What I got out of it

  1. Whether you put weight into the Enneagram or not, it’s helpful to be aware of and deeply understand that humans are different! I know, I know. Duh! But maybe not. People’s mindsets, priorities, and frames of mind change how they perceive situations and react to it. This can be hard to keep in mind in stressful situations and this book helps give a broad overview of some major ways people differ. I’m an 8 (nearly a 3) and my wife is a 6. It was really fun to read this with her and see a lot of us and our relationship in these descriptions.