Herb Pearce Enneagram Personality Types, Communication & Growth

35+ Years of Teaching and Counseling

Enneagram Instinctual Subtypes

The instinctual subtypes reference how you relate to basic survival instincts – the mating or depth instinct, social or herd instinct, and self preservation or core survival instinct. Each Enneagram type has 3 major subtype versions and descriptive differences and actually 6 versions with the stacking order, your unique sequence of survival strategies. We have all 3 instincts, but one is typically an obsessive dominant focus, one of them is easier or more natural and developed in you and one instinct is avoided and underdeveloped in you. All this will be explained below.

There are 3 Basic Survival Instinct areas that we all have: Look at the group as a whole rather than just how you fit into its parts. We have all 3 survival instincts though one is overly used, one is used in a balanced way generally and one is underused. Below are the three major instinct categories.

Self-preservation instinct – Maintain yourself

Relates to your basic body survival, safety and security, food/shelter/clothing, stability, structure, what is known, money, health, planning for the future, the home, hearth, insurance, family, work, comfort, room temperature, familiarity, concern about sudden changes, wanting continuity and regularity, being in relationship with people who support your security

Social instinct – Belong and be valued in a social context

Relates to the herd instinct – how you fit into the group, whether you are included or excluded, your social ranking, social value, social power, your social image, seeing yourself as related to others, connection to family, groups, friends, friend and acquaintances network, meetings, organizations, the world, identifying through a group, how you are in meeting and relating to others in a group context and your comfort level with groups, focus on community contribution

Sexual or Relationship instinct – Desire for intensity, depth

Relates to mating, sexuality, your desire for bonding, intimacy with a close other, partnering, romance, a tendency toward intensity in general, deep experiences, searching, seeking, strong energy, merging, focusing in depth, seeking self through another, deep spiritual experiences, importance of creativity, out of the ordinary experiences, not wanting to miss out, ecstasy, etc.

Usually one of the above three instinct areas is dominant or obsessive for you (causes obsessive thinking and strong pursuit of that instinct or reaction or strong avoidance of the instinct because of the pain around it – in other words you have a major charge on it!) and causes great concern if it feels incomplete or unsatisfied.

One of the instincts is easier and more natural for you and you are more naturally good at or comfortable with it (considered the middle or second instinct) and one you neglect or are not interested in as much – doesn’t draw you or satisfy you as much (last one or third).