Blog Post

5 years ago

Enneagram Instinctual Variants

◊ Posted by A β Pseudolonewolf
Categories: EnneagramPersonality
Unforunately, I've got nothing much to say about Timid Cervid at the moment; nothing new, I mean. So I will say nothing about it at all!1

Instead, I'll be talking about everyone's favourite topic: PERSONALITY TYPES. Gasp. I've never done THAT before, have I?

The enneagram is fairly well integrated into the site at the moment, and adding tritypes recently added a lot of variety and depth to it.
However, there's another aspect of the enneagram that I've not covered at all, but which significantly affects how the types manifest themselves. It's called Instinctual Variants.

There are three 'instinctual variants', which are called Sexual (Sx), Social (So), and Self-Preservation (Sp).
We all have all three of these instincts, but to varying degrees; to show your preference, you'd list your first two and omit the third. SxSo, for example, would mean that the Sexual instinct was dominant, the Social instinct was important too, but the Self Preservation instinct was faint.

The 'Sexual' instinct doesn't deal with sex as such. It relates to intimacy; to deep connections, and to 'intensity' of various kinds as well.

The 'Social' instinct doesn't relate to socialising either; instead, it relates to concerns like how others will think of you, how you fit on the social ladder, and so on. Social types generally want to be admired by others; they may find the idea of being a celebrity appealing.

The 'Self Preservation' instinct deals with protecting yourself and ensuring your personal comfort; it can lead to obsessing over whether or not you have a healthy home life and adequate resources, or it can lead to things like hiding personal information to ensure your safety.

Each of these variants manifests very differently for each type, though!
You can read about them in detail on this handy site: ∞ LINK ∞

For example, I personally am a type 4 (for this, you only use the FIRST number of your, uh, six from your tritype; the dominant number of your dominant enneatype), and my instinctual variants are apparently Sexual and Social.

Isn't that totally what you were expecting?!? o_O

I'm certainly not any kind of SEX HOUND who goes around seeking out promiscuous pleasures of the flesh, but intimate bonds are what I aim for, and I couldn't live without a deep loving relationship with another. I am not interested in 'shallow' friendships; acquaintances.
I've mentioned before that I have a strong sense of a 'social ladder', and while I can talk to members of this site, I'm terrified of joining others in case I'm not accepted, and I wouldn't seek out other game developers because I feel I have no right to talk to them. Negotiating sponsorship deals for my games is very difficult, because I feel that the sponsor is 'above' me on the ladder, and as such I can't talk to them comfortably at all.
I'm not remotely tough, though, and it bothers me when people hide things about themselves that prevent me from knowing more about them. I'm physically dependent on others to survive, and roll my eyes at people who prepare for the zombie apocalypse rather than thinking 'hmm, maybe I should do that'.

This description of the Sx Type 4 (which it calls the 'Intimate' rather than 'Sexual') describes me very well indeed: ∞ LINK ∞

It also explains a whole lot of my current problems, anxieties, and in many ways my sluggish recent progress with game development. I can't function without love!

But what about you? If you know your enneatype, perhaps you'd be interested in reading about the three variants of it on that site and choosing two of them.
You might learn more about yourself!

I'm thinking of adding them as *yet another* Setting thing to further clutter up userpages, because they do make a lot of difference. I can't relate to Self-Preservation 4s at all, for example, and would find them rather uncomfortable to know, as it apparently manifests as the *opposite* of self-preserving; as recklessness, volatility, and so on.

I may add them as a feature RIGHT NOW in fact!

Testing: SoSx SpSx SoSp

on 8 Roots


Red Halo

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Offtopic again, but you posted on Newgrounds that you would upload Mardek 3 there. My little sister was looking for it on NG.

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mmagee 32 Canada CholericSanguine ENFP 297 21C
You continue to enlighten me.

On the original batch of tests I got a 9w8 fairly consistently. I don't think I fully understood what it meant but I went with it. It seemed very balanced to me so i liked it.

When I first did the tri-type test I got a 2w3, 9w8, 7w8. I was skeptical.

Then this test identified me as a sexual 7 and I'd say that if anything I'd have a social second variant (self preservation is not natural to me). Also, the descriptions of the variants from type 2 and type 9 seem very far from who I am.

So I went and did the tri-type test again, to check whats what, and my results were 7w8, 9w8, 2w3.

I definitely think that you have unearthed enough of a breadth of information in this field that I've been able to key into an accurate model of my personality. Thank You.

I do have to admit the Myress-Briggs stuff is a little too convoluted for my tastes. But to each thier own I suppose...

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I definitely have to look more into these types, I'm having a hard time right now, when I'm not busy I will dedicate a whole day to update my profile and complete my Bio here

If only I wasn't so into temperaments, I try to see everything through that focus, which impairs me n things like reactivity and enneagram type. But even with it I am firm in the belief that everything in the nature part of "nature and nurture" can be classified.

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DarthKitty 23 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic INTP 153 337C
First and foremost, the website you linked to was rather poorly designed (although I've seen much worse!). This is important to note because, as studies have shown, sites which are poorly designed are subconsciously deemed to be less trustworthy than sites which are well designed. It's also worth mentioning because I happened to encounter quite a bit of trouble getting to the pages I was looking for; other people might have similar troubles.

Secondly, the articles on the site are written quite... negatively? It seems almost as though the author of the site believes people are inherently bad (a commonly-held belief). The articles seem to list off the negatives without also listing off the positives. Fives are described as believing themselves superior ("I understand what is really going on."), ones as being so blinded by what is "right" that they completely lose sight of themselves, and so on.

Whether these statements are entirely true or not (perhaps I am simply too how out-of-touch to realize how out-of-touch I really am) is, in my opinion, completely beside the point. The point is that the articles seem to be lacking a healthy dose of neutrality.

So, I went out and gathered together several links about the instinctual variants. I haven't looked in-depth at these yet, but hopefully at least one of these sites contains more neutral information!

∞ Here is... something or other... which describes the instinctual variants in a manner similarly to your blog post. ∞ Unfortunately, it doesn't go into detail about the correlation between primary enneagram type and instinctual variants.

∞ Here's a similar thing to the one above. ∞

∞ Here's an article/study thing on the subject ∞. There's also a link to an instinctual variant test on the left. (EDIT: You have to pay for the test.)

∞ Here's a test on the matter. ∞ I'm pretty sure A β Pseudolonewolf linked to a different test on this site some time ago. ∞ They have a bunch of other tests and information too. ∞

∞ Here's a partially-completed description thing of instinctual variants and how they correlate to primary enneagram types. ∞ It was abandoned several years ago, and it isn't complete, but there's some info there.

∞ More info on instinctual variants themselves. ∞ (EDIT: Contains information directly from the article/study thing.)

∞ This site has a complete set of correlations. ∞

∞ There's a lot of information here, some of which may include correlations. ∞

∞ Here's some information about the variants. ∞ Pretty sure A β Pseudolonewolf has linked to this site in the past as well. ∞ Even more info from them here. ∞

∞ This site also contains links to info about correlations between each primary type. ∞

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DarthKitty 23 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic INTP 153 337C
Well, I think I might have figured out why the site A β Pseudolonewolf linked to is so negative about instinctual variants. IVs essentially describe "animal nature," if you will. Y'know, those behaviors we humans tend to pride ourselves as having overcome.

IVs sound so bad because, well, they are by definition. Or rather, IVs are the things we're all taught are bad. They represent very basic needs; if your basic needs are being met, then, well, you don't see too much of your IVs. If your basic needs aren't being met (and basic needs vary depending on which of your IVs are dominant, or "most broken"), certain behaviors emerge, flavored by your primary enneagram type.

Type 1s, for instance, become much more domineering when their basic needs aren't being met; type 1s will attempt to control... things... in order to meet their basic needs. The things type 1s will try to control depend entirely upon whichever of their needs aren't met. A dominant IV means a dominant need; an SxSo, for instance, needs intimacy most.

The kicker though, is this: the behaviors described by IVs, by definition, describe unhealthiness. Healthy type 1s are much less controlling than unhealthy type 1s, and so on.

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Silanine 25 United States ISTJ 6w5 46C
So, although this is an age overdue reply... On the first link, yes, it actually does give more info IF you click on your enneagram type description. And there's another variant page too. o_o But I don't like it as much as the type related stuff.

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β Wanderer 24 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic INTP 512 288C
This is very interesting, but I find the site that you linked very unusual! The test there gave me a result of type 7, saying:

Most people aren't as happy as I am. If you look at things right, you know they're going to work out all right. People shouldn't dwell on the negative. I always have lots of things to do that I like and I don't see why so many people sit around and complain.

This is probably the least compatible type - it's wrong about absolutely every detail! Anyway, I then read through the type 5 descriptions, which were extremely complimentary and made me feel so much better about myself - and indeed, my dreams and aspirations:


I almost wanted to apologize! Then, it went on about how fives are emotional kleptomaniacs, which wasn't particularly encouraging, either! It continued with a long section all about the teaching of Jesus (how appropriate), and this is all before we get to the instinctual variants!

I suspect myself to be SpSx (after reading through the instinctual variants, with another lesson on Christianity shoehorned helpfully in), which actually bothers me quite a lot. Self-preservation seems extremely self-centred to the point of intense paranoia and egotism, and indeed, there was a comparison made with type 5 and greediness (the deadly sin with which I am bound to suffer) and I dearly hope that I don't come across like that, but the way that they described the reclusivity just fits me too well for me to be either of the others. I wish that I could say that I too am SxSo, which sounds so much more appealing to me, and I wonder how easy it is to mask or overcome these natural inclinations. Is it a fluid scale again, or is it set in stone and immutable?

All the same, I had a lot of fun reading through this site, and I'm grateful for the explanation. It's nice to be able to reflect on myself like this, even if the truth cuts a little.

Edit: the test in DarthKitty's link gave me SxSo, but that could be due to an idealism bias or faulty test mechanics or any number of things so I suppose I'll leave mine blank until I'm slightly more certain.

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The test on the site Pseudo linked to gave me a Type 3, which is so retardedly the opposite of what I am that I think the test is just defective. It's also not programmed well. So I think it's better to just disregard that one.

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Oh, I didn't even notice that there was a test on that site! Maybe I'll see which incorrect type it gives me!
...Oh, it gave me type 4, but that's because I knew what the questions were getting at. It's also interesting that on page 2 - which I assume was filtered based on my choices from page 1 - the three sets of questions were clearly type 4, 5 and 9 ones in order to narrow down my type from one of those.

I can't say that I liked the writing style on that site either, though. I felt like I was being mocked or spoken down to and felt offended after reading about type 4; I wonder what type the writer is. People also said that about my own descriptions of the types a while ago, though! o_O

I also didn't like how many of the descriptions either focused around Jesus, American politicians, or films I've never seen and never will see, using these things as the entire basis for the explanation. It's not a good way to explain, I think.

I wouldn't say that SxSo is particularly desirable, as one myself! My lack of Sp makes me very dependent, terrified of growing up and having to fend for myself, because I simply don't have the instinctual 'talent' that other people do for fending for themselves. It also makes me very fragile, because I imagine Sp grants a degree of toughness, a shield, and I don't have that. I imagine that many of my emotional troubles - and my loneliness! - are due to being a picky type 4 SxSo type.

One of the pages about type 4 Sx or So mentioned that they are the typical 'starving artists', who live in an unheated flat working on their art because they simply refuse to get a bland office job to support themselves. That's me all over. I'm not going to be living in a mansion at any time in my life, that's for sure. o_O

Sp seems like it allows people to survive a whole lot easier, and to live more comfortable lives; I'd say that only at its extremes is it paranoid or self-centred.

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The way it describes the two sexual is actually a sex hound. The way it describes the two social is someone who entirely bases their life on people thinking highly of them because of who they are with. The way it describes the two self-preservation is someone who thinks they are entitled to good fortune. The way the two is described is also someone who believes they are entitled to good fortune, and believes it us thus a crime for anybody to treat them less than superior. This website disgusts me.

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Phoenix 22 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic INTJ 631 45C
I like it, personally. It does give more insight into oneself.

Honestly, I have always loved trying to figure out how my brain, as well as others', works. However, I didn't even know these things existed, until I came to this website! It's amazing what you can learn about yourself by studying them, though.

It's ironic, how I can relate to these things that each personality type describes. Yet, a few years ago, I could not explain them myself. It's like a color that you can see, but you have no name for. These personality tests and the like, give it a name.

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It's now possible to choose your instinctual variants from the settings page, and this is a comment to see how it looks on comments!